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Madden 15 Tips: Defensive Dos and Don’ts

To do, or not to do? That is today's Madden 15 question.
To do, or not to do? That is today's Madden 15 question.

Getting your defense together in Madden 15 can be tough, even with all the defensive improvements. There are, however, a few simple things you can do to improve your chances on defense, and a few things you would also be wise to stay away from if you want to have any sort of consistent, long-term success. In today’s Madden 15 tip, we talk about the dos and don’ts of defense.

I’ve recently made a big move, and the internet here isn’t quite what it used to be so I’ll have a bit of trouble putting out videos for a while, however in the meantime you can certainly learn a lot just by following these few, key points on defense that I’ve made it a habit to adhere to, and believe you should too.

If reading isn’t your thing, check out the awesome Madden Tips videos we have.

Madden 15 Defensive DOs

1. DO bring a safety down into the box. It can be very difficult to push the ball deep in Madden 15 without a large speed advantage, or an elite WR that can win a jump ball. For this reason, you should regularly find yourself with an opportunity to bring a safety down into the box to help stop the run, and clog up those intermediate routes. This is especially the case if you use a team like the Seattle Seahawks, where Richard Sherman can lock down *almost* any receiver on a deep streak thanks to his height, jump and coverage abilities. To be safe, avoid pulling a safety off the top on the same side of your opponent’s most dangerous receiving threat, but for everyone else feel free to get creative with that second safety.

2. DO use the Spy Stuffer on key running downs. This powerful technique, particularly when used near the redzone or in the face of difficult-to-stop outside runs, can really change the complexion of a game. Don’t use it all the time or your opponent will catch on and take advantage, but when used sparingly and deliberately it can be quite effective at taking control of an opponent’s running game. I like calling this from at least one corner in the redzone from time to time, as the Spy will double as a both a quick run stuff if it’s a run, and a perfect slant coverage for at least half of the field if it’s a pass. In fact, my favorite redzone defense at the moment (more of a 10-yard or less defense) is to run a 4-3 cover 2 buzz, and put both my safeties in a QB spy. Control the MLB yourself, and you’ll find that the two QB spy safeties do a great job of helping stop the run, containing mobile QBs, and dropping right in front of a lot of short routes over the middle.

3. DO send corner blitzes on mobile QBs. If your opponent has a tendency to scramble to one side of the field or the other and throw passes, then surprise him with a CB blitz from that side of the field. Often times if the opponent is scrambling to their left or right out of habit, they’ll get blasted by the blitzing corner for a loss of yards, or force a dangerous pass. You can do this out of zone, or man coverage, but be sure if you do it out of man that you take control of the closest safety to keep an eye on the free receiver.

4. DO use player substitutions from the playcall screen. There is no reason to have your lumbering run-stopping middle line backer on the field in obvious passing situations, especially when using certain coverages (like quarters 3 deep) that are pretty much never called unless the opponent has to put the ball in the air. Jump into your substitions, and switch out that MLB for someone more user-control friendly, or that might be quicker with better pass coverage ratings. For example, Paul Posluzny is the MLB I use on the Jaguars on running downs, however I sub in 90 speed rookie Telvin Smith at MLB for obvious passing situations, and user control him (assuming I’m not usering the safety instead). Know your personnel, and know who should and should not be on the field in a given formation or situation.

5. DO make d-line adjustments FIRST. If you intend on making any d-line changes, make it a habit of doing them first, and making coverages in the secondary after. This is important because often times if you do the reverse, you’ll find yourself in trouble against a quick snap and stuck on a defensive linemen, and that can mean big trouble on defense. When you get your d-line adjustments out of the way first, you protect yourself against a quick snap, because by the time the ball is hiked you will likely already be on, or close to the player you are intending to change in the secondary, and it’s always better to be stuck on a defender in the secondary than on the d-line (when it’s an accident, that is).

Madden 15 Defensive DON’Ts

1. DON’T sit in one coverage all game. This was a really common — and surprisingly effective — tactic in Madden 11, however those days are far behind us. Unless you have a very specific system that involves making small adjustments to the coverage, and baiting players into certain throws, then try to mix up your coverage a bit. This is especially important in Madden 15, because your opponent can see your previous play in the play selection menu. Play the percentages with your coverage. First down is the time to send those dangerous cover 0 run blitzes, if you ever decide to be so bold, while third and infinity is when you want to send one more blitzer than there are blockers (don’t let those receivers get down field and win a jump ball). Whatever you do, however, just don’t sit in one play. Even if it works for one particular game, it will slow down your understanding of offenses and make things harder for you as you move up the ranks.

2. DON’T pick the team with the best defense every time. Look, I know it helps to have great players, but when you have the computer AI swatting down otherwise good passes and shedding blocks on otherwise open running lanes, you are going to slow down your growth on defense. Play a couple of games with a mediocre defense until you are comfortable with how to problem solve your way out of tough matchups, and then once you understand the nuances of defense a bit more, then jump on over to those elite defenses. That way, you’ll able to combine good decision making and problem solving skills with great players, and that’s a recipe for defensive success.

3. DON’T let their primary threat roam free. We all have defensive coverages we like to play, things we like to do, but depending on who and where the opponent’s best (or most used) offensive weapon is, you’ll want to change it up. Sometimes, that means flipping a play you like to make sure a safety is over the top of Calvin Johnson, other times it means usering a linebacker to keep better coverage on a TE. Figure out what player is causing the most trouble for you on defense, and attack that player with your user skills or additional coverage. Utilize concepts like inside/outside leverage to combine man and zone to shut a player down. Something as simple as a shade outside in man coverage, with a user’d linebacker or safety responsible for the inside go a long way toward stifling an opponent’s preferred weapon.

4. DON’T be afraid to use your timeouts. If an opponent is slicing down the field in no huddle, put your pride aside, call a timeout, and regroup. Often times players initiate no huddle when they see a defensive mismatch, so getting a new play called and coming out in a new formation can make all the difference in the world. This also applies if you are in an important down, and you put someone in a mistaken coverage. While you can go back to fix it, often times this will get you into trouble, and lose you a critical down. Better safe than sorry.

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  • Tsud13

    Instead of wasting your timeouts which I argue are actually very valuable an Offside penalty would be a more effective way of stopping the play without putting yourself out of what could be a close game. But thanks for the tips I will definitely try a few of them out hopefully finally stop Out of the pocket outside the number tight end crosses that mut community has fallen in love with.

  • Phineas Crumpy

    I wonder if any of these tips were actually…. broken… in this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMnvhJw4cuE

  • Modrewgnu

    As Madden 15 winds down, we should turn our attention to learning Madden 16 tips. One place that usually provides solid strategies is http://www.madden-school.com/