Today we’re going to be looking at how to beat Cover 4 defenses and the new zones attached to it in Madden NFL 17.

Last time we saw how Cover 4 defense’s purpose is to force you short. Sometimes you just have to take what the defense gives you, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t maximize our yardage potential. Cover 4 forces everything short and can frustrate you because it has all 4 secondary players playing deep, but we’re going look at it like this: It’s easy to beat because they have all 4 secondary players playing deep. Cover 4 leaves open a lot of possibilities in the short and intermediate passing game and huge potential yards after the catch.

One area to attack is on the edge, which immediately cancels out the advantage Cover 4 has with the 4 deep defenders. Instead this focuses on attacking the poor edge defender and the lack of underneath coverage. First off is the route combo that should be issued in a Madden starter kit is the curl/flat and slant/flat combos. Running these against Cover 4 will be a lot easier to complete because of how far back the safety on that side is and how far the inside linebacker would have to come over to. Giving the offense an opportunity to pick up yards after the catch on even the simplest of routes. Or, you can take advantage of the edge defenders new quarter/flat assignment in Cover 4 plays and run a smash concept like the one out of Gun Doubles Offset in the Panthers playbook. It takes advantage of the edge defenders responsibility of manning up any inside receiver whose route breaks to the outside if there’s no immediate threat to his area, so he ends up leaving the outside receiver wide open on the hitch route. You can also mix it up and hot route the outside receiver on like a dig to make the edge defender respect that his zone is being threatened and sit down in it opening up the post corner route.

You can also use plays like flood routes that removes the defender tasked to guard the edge and puts the pressure on the inside linebacker or safety to that side who will be out leveraged running to the corner, basically the same way you would attack a cover 3, because you nullified what makes a Cover 4 what it is.

Lastly a dagger concept like the one out of Gun Y Trips TE Slot can be very effective. The slot receiver holds the edge defender, the streak by the tight end occupies the nearest inside linebacker; which leaves only the cornerback a possible option to jump the dig route, because if the safety does it, the tight end has a clear lane to the end zone.

Cover 4 has its moments when it’s the only possible coverage to pick and other times where if your opponent picks it they’re begging to get lit up. It’s all about spotting the situation where you would think a Cover 4 would work best and plan accordingly against it.

Stay tuned for the next Madden NFL 17 defensive tips where we go over how to beat Man Defenses.

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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.