Not quite as flashy as its Nebula brethren, Nimbus is maybe the formation's most solid play, at least as far as converting 10 yard gains is concerned. It primarily targets the medium deep middle, excellent for converting sizable 3rd downs, and along the sidelines, excellent for conserving the clock towards the end of a half. Nimbus is also probably the easiest Nebula play to learn and read while under duress because only two different kinds of route are used despite having five receivers in the pattern.

Nebula - Nimbus

When I use Nimbus like I usually do, to convert a key down, my favorite target is the short crossing route run by the right split end.This route gets just enough depth to make for a safe throw over the defensive line, can get a natural downfield block care of the deeper crossing route, and is able to beat most coverages. Another reliable option that works well for players who can make moves after the catch is the quick dump to the rear right flanker. Thrown quickly the pass will be caught at least 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage but may catch a defense expecting a deep pass backpedaling. The mid flanker is in perfect position to become a lead blocker down the right sideline, giving the target receiver a chance to run and makes some jukes, as well as get out of bounds to stop the clock. Even if the defense is ready and in good position this pass is quite safe and will usually get at least a couple of yards.

The biggest drawback to Nimbus is a lack of dynamism; there aren't a lot of tricky maneuvers late in the play that can bail out the offense if the initial routes don't get open. It's crucial for the quarterback to make decisive reads to take advantage of openings as they appear.

Player Assignments

Position Action
O-Line Pass Block
QB Dropback 3yd
Left SE N4W1-N2E7 (open)
Left Flanker N3W2-N4W1-N3 (open)
Right SE N2E1-N1W7 (open)
Right Mid Flanker N3E2-N4E1-N3 (open)
Right Rear Flanker N2E3-N4E2-N4E1 (open)

See the Madden Playbook Guide for a description of these symbols.

Read Progression

  1. Left SE quick up seam
  2. Right rear flanker in flats
  3. Left flanker quick swing
  4. Right SE over middle
  5. Left SE deep middle
  6. Left flanker deep left
  7. Right mid flanker deep right
  8. Right rear flanker deep right sideline

Nimbus is best run as a slash and run play, quickly biting at the flanks of the defense, and taking only the occasional deep shot. Concentrate on the initial quick throw to get the most out of the play. The first look is a quick seam to the left SE. This won't be open too often and requires a fast, hard throw, but can gain an easy 10 yards. Open more often is the rear right flanker in the flats. This pass is safe to throw quickly and will usually gain at least a few yards, but hard passes thrown with feet planted have a tendency to hit the WR in the back. Roll out to the right as making the throw and use some touch. The final quick throw is a similar swing pass to the left flanker. This route is aimed a little more upfield and has a chance to run away from the lighter defense likely on this side. There is little chance to get a lead block but if the cornerback starts forward the flanker might make a quick catch and get to the outside.

Next are the crossing routes. The shorter cross is the bread-and-butter route of Nimbus. Throw after the SE gets a clean release and watch for the linebacker. The deeper cross is a much more dangerous throw. By the time the WR makes his break it's too late to make the throw safely, so the QB needs to anticipate the opening in the deep middle. Watch for the safeties to split to cover the deep sidelines after the snap.

Finally come the deep throws. These are pretty standard. The right rear flanker gets open most as the mid flanker tends to draw coverage, but requires holding onto the ball longest. The left flanker is also a decent bet. In all cases use high arcing throws aimed over the WR's outside shoulder.




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