Every power running formation needs at least one good passing play to compliment the runs. The typical strategy is to run high protection passes out of power formations, for the dual reasons that the defense is likely going to bring a lot of pressure (in an effort to penetrate against the run) and the formation doesn't have the team's best receivers in the game. Well with Flats Storm I throw conventional wisdom out the window, bringing a five route pass play to the one WR U Bacon formation. The idea is for the QB to pick out weaknesses in the coverage before the snap and simply make a quick pop throw to the receiver who runs into that area. There is a normal read progression in case the defense plays back, but it's probably less important in this play than for just about any other in my playbook.

U Bacon - Flats Storm

One of the great features of this play that Madden 2005 makes possible is its dynamic blitz pickup ability. I know that a lot of Madden fans grumbled when they heard that receivers would no longer be able to take off into routes when in motion behind the offensive line, but Flats Storm exploits this capability, in fact it's almost a necessity. With the default form of the play featuring no backup blockers the quarterback may not have time for even a hot route throw against a strong blitz. However, in the U Bacon formation every player except for the split end is likely to be an adequate if not excellent blocker, and as long as you construct this formation effectively the fullback, halfback and offset tight end can all motion through, into, or across the backfield. A blitz can be picked up no matter where it comes from as long as the QB picks it out before the snap. The only thing to watch out for is that you take care when picking the player to send in motion. The HB works very well in either direction, and his route isn't essential, but sending him tells the defense it probably won't be a run. The FB is an excellent blocker, but also has maybe the best route in the play. The off TE may be the best balance. As long as you mix things up each time you run the play the defense will be kept on their toes.

Finally, although every route is designed to work as a quick read, there is deep pass potential in this play. The quick slant by the SE can be a "one juke and gone" type quick completion and run after catch if the defense decides to load up against the strong side of the formation, bringing the safeties down close and leaving the cornerback in single coverage. It can also be a decent deep read late provided the QB has time in the pocket and the defense keeps only one safety back.

Player Assignments

Position Action
O-line Pass Block
QB Dropback 1yd
SE N1-N6E6 (open)
Up TE (TE #1) N1E2-E4 (open)
Off TE (TE #2) N2W2-N1W3-W1 (open)
FB N3E1-N2E5 (open)
HB N2E6 (open)

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

Read Progression

  1. TE out (quick)
  2. SE slant
  3. HB out
  4. FB out
  5. TE cross

Like I said above, you'll probably never actually have time to go through this entire read progression in an actual game, and even if you do you'd likely be too late by the time you got to the final TE crossing route. Instead use it as a guideline to how long each route takes to develop, to prioritize your hot reads against the blitz, and as general info on how to utilize each route. We start off with the #1 TE out. This should generally be thrown quickly, motioning him outside may give him an edge getting out of traffic, but will limit the room he works with. If the throw is not quick you'll likely have to wait for the TE to break off his route later to get open. Next is the SE slant. I like this best against a loose zone, but for big plays use it against any coverage when at least one safety comes up close to help against the run.

The HB out is third. Even though this is technically the third read the ball has to come out quick and sharp to keep the HB in bounds. This is another route which can be motioned out to the right, in this case it works best as a clearout for the TE quick out route. Fourth is the FB deep out, possibly the key to the play. This route takes full advantage of the TE/HB overload to the right side, working against most types of coverage. If the defense presses on the outside the TE out and HB may be taken away, but with a good release from the backfield the FB should slip behind the coverage. If the coverage is tight but the protection good I like to roll the QB under the FB, giving him a chance to run to the outside, the TE and HB underneath to break off their routes, and create a pretty good running opportunity for even traditionally slow QBs. Motioned to the left side the FB makes a great short post over the middle, great for killing all out LB blitzes. The final look is to the #2 TE running a shallow cross. Don't let this position in the progression fool you, this is one of the more reliable (if not big yardage) routes, though it does get caught up in the congestion fairly often.




Contact Arkaein with any comments or questions regarding the Monstrous Madden Playbook.