Welcome to the start of our defensive tutorial series where we go over every Madden NFL 17 defensive coverage and show you their strengths. The very next article we’ll show you what type of formations and plays beat it. Today we start with a Cover 2 defensive breakdown and the new zone coverages.

A Cover 2’s purpose is to take away short passes, however this will result in only the 2 safeties back to prevent the big plays. Because one of the biggest weaknesses of Cover 2 is the space in between the corner and safety down each sideline, if the receiver can somehow get a straight release into this area, it’s not going to end well for the defense. The most common assignment you will see from corners in Cover 2 is Cloud Flat, which means means your corner will just tag along with the receiver as deep as the route takes him unless he spots short to break on once the ball is thrown. Hard Flat has him go all out to intercept anything thrown to the flats. Another option is Soft Squat Assignment, which allows the corner to convert to man on any deep route run by the receiver.

Another area of weakness with Cover 2 is the space between the 2 safeties. Because they are usually the only deep protection, when each safety starts to creep towards the sideline to cover an outside receiver they start to create a huge gap between them ready to be exploited. The defense’s way of combating this is by having the middle linebacker who will likely have a middle read assignment in Cover 2 and drop back deep, almost like another safety, if he feels the deep middle is about to be threatened. The outside linebackers will always have a vertical hook assignment which means they’ll cover the short hook zone area, but you will now also man up the nearest inside receiver going vertical if their area isn’t being threatened.

Cover 2 is a great formation to run if you have the personnel to minimize its obvious weaknesses.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our series where we go over how to beat Cover2 in more detail.

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Christopher Walker
I have been playing football games since 99’. All starting with the NFL Game Day demo and NFL Blitz on PlayStation, then I moved on to Madden for the next 5 years, where I really didn't know what I was going yet. I flirted with NFL 2K for a year, but have played Madden and NCAA (up until its demise last year) ever since steadily improving my game each year and developing a passion for the X’s and O’s part of football.