How To Make Pre-Play Adjustments!

To the novice Madden is merely a video game. To the hardcore “professional” gamer Madden is much deeper then just pushing a few buttons here and there. Unfortunately, for individual reasons, we all can’t master the craft of becoming the world’s greatest Madden mind. That’s where we come in, that’s our job, that’s what we want to teach you! Today at Madden Bible we are going give you a mind blowing tour of what goes on in the heads of the greatest players on the planet!

In every play on either side of the ball there are always three situations that occur,

pre-play- Pick your play until the snap

live play- From the snap until the whistle is blown (part 2 next)

post play- From the whistle until you select your next play (part 3)

Remember, Madden at its highest level is a chess match. Once the play is picked you can still make any hot route or defensive playmaker to give you an edge. Don’t snap the ball until you are comfortable with the play you have called against the defense you see. If your opponent motions out his RB, then call a playmaker flat zone real quick. If you him bringing some A gap heat, know your audible to an outside run. These are all pre play chess type battles that even players take on before every snap. Always try and make the last adjustments and when you are comfortable, SNAP THE ROCK!

All three need the finest attention to detail otherwise we will see weakness in our game. The vast majority of gamers can certainly grasp hold of the live play aspect, as that is the most practiced and sought after scenario we want to obtain. We all want LIVE play knowledge, we all need the best LIVE plays, we all seem to forget about the pre and post play situations. Once you get a feel for this type of Madden gaming you will see your game success rise like it has never before. Let’s take a look at each specific scenario and break it down!

Every time we get ready to battle on the virtual gridiron we get ready maybe with a few practice reps in the lab, play a unranked game with a friend, or maybe even play against the computer to get ready. Is this really going to get us ready for a live opponent though? Are we really using our precious free time in the best manner? Most reading this right now are saying to yourself, “Why YES! Of course I am” however what are all those preparation techniques focusing on? LIVE play! What are you doing to actually prepare for your pre-play game plan? Focusing on a pre-play game plan can certainly be a daunting task. How can you truly prepare for something that hasn’t even happened yet? First and foremost you need to know the weakness of your own play. If you truly don’t know the weakness of your own play then how can you expect to know the weakness of the defense? What we mean by knowing the weakness of your own play can bare weight on a few areas: pass protection, deep threats, quick hitters, the ability to run, and the ability to pass.

The list can certainly be bigger but those are primarily our general weaknesses.

With whatever play you decide to pick you need to first look to see what category your formation is weak in (that’s where that list above comes in hand!). For the sake of this breakdown we are going to assume we are playing the greatest Madden player on the planet. We assume this because if we can realize our own weakness it is safe to assume that our opponent has keyed on this as well. If we know our weakness we know what our opponent will try to use to beat us. The same can be said for the flip side of this argument. If we know our strength we can assume that our opponent knows as well. Our opponent will then be trying to attack our weakness while reducing our strengths! Coming together now isn’t it! Let’s take a look at what we mean by this…

We come out in “HB Power O I-form Normal” now what are the strengths of this formation and what are its weaknesses?

Strengths- the ability to run, quick hitters, and moderate pass protection

Weaknesses- deep threats, moderate ability to pass, and elite pass protection.

You may be asking yourself how we came to these conclusions, here is why. Any under center formation is going to have the ability to run the ball effectively. It is also going to have the ability to pass quickly and attack the flats quicker then shotgun sets because we will have a good snap every time as well as having the defense have to respect play action off the run. Our pass protection can be good under center but if we don’t properly block our players then we won’t have much time in the pocket to evade a good pass rush. Now that you understand how and why we came to these conclusions lets now look at what we can assume the defense will be doing based solely off the formation we are using.

In the above example we are going to come out in the HB Power O I-form Normal play. We have already figured our strengths and weakness and so has our opponent. Our next goal is to try and anticipate how our opponent is going to attack us. Based of our strength and weakness list we can narrow down the possibilities of what they may actually be playing. For this example we can anticipate that the defense will not be playing a cover 4 or cover 3. The defense doesn’t need to respect any type of downfield routes due to the fact that this formation is does not fit this type of game plan, therefore it wouldn’t make much sense to place a good portion of our defense to protect downfield assignments. We can assume now that the defense will be in some sort of a cover 2 zone or a man to man defense (both of which will provide a bump n’ run).

Now that we have the defense shell analyzed we now move on to who may or may not be blitzing the LOS. When we are consistently pounding the rock the defense will need to continue to commit more defenders to stop the run. The best way to do this is by attacking every gap on the offensive line. In order to achieve this the defense will need to commit at least 6 defenders to blitz. We have now just successfully broken down the defense pre-snap. Now that we have a good gauge of what they might be running lets see how we may want to attack that defense.

With this formation we are really going to want to use its strengths first and foremost as it would be crazy not to. Our first look is going to be the intentions of the formation. For this example that is running the ball. We want to run, run, and run again until the defense is actually over committing to what we are doing. Once we do that, that is when we start mixing it up. We are going to assume that we have been pounding the rock and now the defense is completely over committed to the run game. We now know they are in a cover 2/man to man and are blitzing 6 defenders. This means that of the remaining 5 defenders in a cover 2 zone they have 2 in the flats, 2 deep, and one shallow. If it is man to man we know that everyone is man’d up besides the HB. Now we want to attack this in by always sending our HB into the flat, we can accomplish this by either using a play that has the HB on assigned flat route, or by simply hot routing the HB on a drag, slant, or out route. This is our first read, if the HB is open keep on hitting him. Our opponent will have to soon make the adjustment to defend against the pass to the HB, that’s when we start running again. It will be a nice cat and mouse game we play. Our next progression will be with the TE and the FB. Seeing as we have our HB running to the flat we want to work these two players over the middle of the field. The reason being is that the defense only has one defender in this area and last I checked its near impossible to defend two players with only one defender. Whatever combination you get to work for you, stick with it! Our last progression is our outside WR’s. A weakness in the cover 2 is the sidelines. If we want to attack this we want to send routes that will attack that area. Once we get into the flow of the game we will be consistently going back and forth with our opponent.

Now imagine if you did this with ever formation, I bet you feel almost unstoppable right now. As you should, once you start going about Madden correctly there is no reason you should ever be stopped unless you make the mistake. Amazing that this is only part one of our 3 step process. Stay tuned for next weeks breakdown as we analyze the “live play” aspect of the 3 step scenario!

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About the Author: ZFarls is a 23 Year Old Madden Baller from Boston, MA. Along with Sgibs, he owns Madden Bible and looks to give players advanced strategies and tactics to win more madden games. He preaches confidence in what you are running and knowing the situation you are in. Everything else will come naturally!

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