Ricochet is a good play for teams with a speedy receiving corps and a quarterback with a rifle arm. Each receiver runs a single move route, and (with one exception, the comeback route) each of these moves has an angle of 45 degrees or less, meaning that the entire route can be taken at full speed. These little bits of wiggle won't generate huge openings by themselves, but with good speed each receiver should be able to create enough separation that a strong armed QB can squeeze a bullet pass in between defenders.

Nebula - Ricochet

The key route to learn in Ricochet is definitely the rear right flanker slant in route. This route starts right up the right seam just outside the tackle and is a great blitz neutralizer, quick and easy throw underneath a soft zone, and easy read right over the middle. Once you get to know this route inside and out Ricochet will become a devastating part of your arsenal. However, ignore the finer points of this route and Ricochet could be more a liability than an asset. Consider yourself duly warned.

While the slant in route is critical to the play, it is neither the only solid route nor the best shot for big yards. The slant out route run by the right middle flanker is also very important, being the best route against inside blitzes and usually drawing single coverage with the safeties occupied by deeper routes. If you want to go downfield the left flanker out-and-in skinny post is your best shot. Against Cover 2 and other zone defenses this route can run behind the linebacker and split the safeties right down the middle.

Player Assignments

Position Action
O-Line Pass Block
QB Dropback 3yd
Left SE N6W1-S5W2 (open)
Left Flanker N4W1-N6E4 (open)
Right SE 10yd Corner
Right Mid Flanker N3E2-E4 (open)
Right Rear Flanker N4W1-N2W5 (open)

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

Read Progression

  1. Right SE up seam
  2. Left SE up seam
  3. Right rear flanker seam slant
  4. Right mid flanker slant out
  5. Left flanker up seam
  6. Right mid flanker out
  7. Right rear flanker over middle
  8. Right SE deep corner
  9. Left flanker skinny post
  10. Left SE comeback

Ricochet features another 10 step Nebula read progression. Don't worry though, with practice you'll be able to filter out most of the reads through good pre-snap analysis of the defense. A good feel for finding the open spots in the field also helps, though this depends more on overall experience reading different defenses than just practicing a lot with a single play.

Because all routes have single moves I give each two reads, one before the move and one after. The first five reads are all on the initial segment of the routes, the last five on the second segments. The first two reads, the left and right split ends running more or less straight upfield, are sort of throwaway reads. They'll be open once in a while, usually if their defender comes on a blitz, but will generally not be good looks. This is especially true of the left SE who starts angled slightly to the outside with his back to the QB. Only look for these routes early if you spot glaring vulnerabilities in the defensive alignment. The right rear flanker slant in route is the first important read. This pass is absolutely crucial to have down cold before using this play when it counts. The right middle flanker slant out is another so-so read, it gets open occasionally but is a somewhat dangerous throw across a fair distance where a quick reacting slot cornerback could make a break on the ball. The left flanker quick seam throw is the second good read so far, following in the trail of the SE this gets open especially well against man coverage or blitzes where two DBs line up together to cover the left SE and flanker. In this alignment the defenders are stacked over the SE who becomes a partial screen for the underneath pass.

Things get a little more serious after the receivers all make their cuts. The first look here is to the out route. This can still be a slightly dangerous throw, but by this point you're almost certainly looking at single coverage so with good ball placement you'll be okay. Next is the in route over the middle. A linebacker in a short zone is the thing to watch out for here. You can complete this pass even with LB coverage, but after passing up the quick seam throw you may have to wait for the flanker to run all the way behind the LB past the left hash marks before making the throw. Now look to the right SE in the deep corner. This is a very difficult pass to complete against most Quarters or Dime defenses because you will see double coverage almost every single time, but it has the best yardage potential and is hard to intercept if thrown from solid footing. The next read, the left flanker skinny post, is generally a much better shot if not quite so deep as the corner route. Make sure to get the throw over the LB and try to split the safeties. I've found that if you can roll out about 5 yards to the right before planting and delivering this pass you get a much better angle against the trailing defenders and a much higher probability of completion. Finally look for the left SE comeback route. This won't gain too many yards and takes quite a while to develop, but works quite well against man coverage.




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