When you’re up against Cover 4 defense, your opponent either hopes to force a short pass or a long one into deep coverage. Forcing short passes results in the offense having to string together a long drive. This increases the chances of a major turnover. Knowing what the Cover 4 concedes and defends, I’m going to show you how to efficiently put together those 10 play drives in Madden 18.
Madden 18 Attacking Cover 4
Method 1 (Attack the Sidelines)
It’s important to remember Cover 4 dedicates four guys deep. By default, the most defenders the defense will have underneath is four as well. To combat this, you’ll want to stretch the defenders horizontally.
A play like Guns Doubles Offset- Curls Combo, has five receivers all running underneath routes. And since by default the most underneath defenders a Cover 4 defense can have is four, somebody will be open.
Also, you can target specific defenders. Smash concepts attack the sideline underneath defender by running a hitch with a post corner right behind it. If the sideline defenders takes the hitch, the post corner route is open. If the defender takes the post corner, the hitch route is there for the taking.
Method 2 (Ability to Run)
You also must take advantage of the fact that the defense is in a 2-deep shell. Punish them with the run. Three or four wide receiver sets do a good job of spreading the underneath defenders. It will force the safeties in run support. Of course, your opponent could have a stud like Aaron Donald on their line who can blow up this plan entirely. However, don’t shy away from the run the moment you get a tackle for loss. Try different types of runs (draws, traps, power o’s) before you completely throw in the towel.
Method 3 (Formation Alignment)
Since Cover 4 is a balanced formation, you can take advantage of that by deploying three or four receivers on either side of the field. A quick and easy way is to utilize Bubble Screens from Trip sets. Quick Bubbles forces the safety or linebacker on the play side to get adjust and try to prevent the defense from getting outnumbered.
Method 4 (Specific Play)
A play I want to highlight is Singleback Dice Slot -Z Post Y Out. The key part of this play is it attacks the safety with a dig route in front of him and a post route behind him. The whip route is also a quick pass option against the sideline defender. That’s if they aren’t playing underneath coverage against you. Between the running back and tight end, as long as one of them is attacking the middle of the field to hold any underneath from jumping the dig, you should be good. It is possible to attack deep against Cover 4 despite its play design. You want to look for plays that have a post route coming from the opposite side. Any type of route that can occupy the safety from undercutting it, can open up big plays.
Cover 4 has its moments, it can absolutely get the best of an aggressive type of player who doesn’t know the more specific ways to beat the coverage. However, against someone who knows what he’s doing, they might get ran off the field. It’s about knowing when you think your opponent might pick Cover 4 and being ready for it. Maybe he uses it on 1st down or exclusively on 3rd and long. You then take that information and plan accordingly.
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