Constantly giving up 30+ points in Madden 17 because you can’t stop your opponent? Want to create a shut-down defence in out of any formation? Not sure when you should come out in Nickel or Dime? Well hopefully these tips can take your D to the next level.
Pay attention to your opponent’s habits
Players have go-to plays, same way head coaches in the NFL do. However, in Madden, it is a lot easier to recognise what players do in certain situations. I am guilty of it myself. If I need to gain a crucial 1st down on 3rd and long, I have a particular play regardless of how many yards I need to pick one up. My opponent will be no different. If I manage to get them into a third and long, I play particular attention to the formation he comes out in, the play he has picked and the player he throws to. Next time I get him in the same predicament and he comes out in that same formation, I should know exactly where the ball is going and adjust accordingly. The better players will have multiple plays or one play that has multiple targets. But the majority will have specific plays for specific situations. Sometimes, I let a player hit the same target again, just to think I haven’t noticed but really they just confirmed my suspicions. Which brings me on nicely to my next point.
Work on usering
We’ve all been there. Your opponent’s linebacker takes a step the wrong way as your receiver slants across the middle, wide open for an easy reception. The second you throw the ball, you notice in the corner of your eye that same player turn on a sixpence and snag the ball for an INT. This what you will see the top Madden players doing, usering a linebacker or safety, cutting off routes and then making the interception. This is a vital skill to have on defence and one that any aspiring player should be looking to master. It really is a skill and takes games upon games to practice. The trick is making it look like the receiver is wide open, forcing your opponent throw the ball to that player as you undercut the route and pick the ball off.
And look, here’s one I made for you earlier. In this short clip, I move Luke Kuechly to the right of the field, in case bruh_im_the_one runs the ball to that side but also making it seem like there will be a huge gap in the middle of the field. I then take Ryan Shazier, picked up for his user skills, and patrol the gap filled by Kuechly. Now granted, this is a terrible read from my opponent as his receiver was never actually open but the concept still works. Kuechly bites down on the play action and should it be a run play, he is there to make the stop. I on the other hand now have the whole of the middle of the field to guard. The receiver in the flats is wide open for an easy first down but where Kuechly has vacated that space, the throw is made to the receiver who should be open but isn’t. Easy INT and the opponent quits.
Now, while the temptation is to keep using a defender on the line and attempt to sack the QB, to take your game to the next level, I highly recommend biting the bullet and user a player in the secondary. Yes, you may give up big plays at first but practice makes perfect. And there is no better way to practice than…
Labbing with a friend
Ahhh, labbing. A term coined by someone online which means going into practice mode, by yourself or with a friend, and working on plays to improve your game. Labbing can also be done online with friends though you obviously have the disadvantages of 4th downs and time limits. But where you can, spend a few hours a week playing someone you know and working on your game. It doesn’t matter if you give up a big play while you are trying to work on things in a friendly. Giving up a touchdown online in a must-win game is rage-inducing and no-one likes breaking a third controller in a month. Have your friend stay on offence and run his scheme (more on that later) while you try and master the art of usering. However, there is no point being a master at usering if you are constantly in 3-4 under and your opponent has five receivers on the field and no-one in the backfield. So….
Pick a formation that makes sense and make adjustments
In previous editions of Madden, players were able to use the same play and formation regardless of the opponent’s formation. Last year, 2 Man Under in Quarters was all you needed. Also, the blitz out of Mike Scrape 3 was pretty much unstoppable. However, this year they have put a stop to nanos and one formation is unlikely to stop the run and pass (or so they say). Now this may be cheating but this guide I came across last year on MUTRank is a must read. I printed it out last year and spent days going over it and it has come in handy this year as well. But don’t just come out in the right formation, make sure the zones are correct as well. Is your opponent constantly throwing out routes or to the flats? Then put a linebacker or corner in a purple or light blue zone. They have been added for a reason this year and it is vital that you know what each zone does so you can make the correct adjustments. If you have the right zones and user the right zones, you should be getting INTs for fun.
Putting all these tips together should improve your gameplay on defence 100x over and before you know it, defence will actually become fun to play.