Welcome back to our Madden NFL 17 defensive tutorial series. We’ve already seen how to run a Cover 3, today we’re looking at how to beat Cover 3 defense, despite its new ability to man up on the fly.

One of the weaknesses of Cover 3 is that the inside linebackers don’t have middle/read assignments that drop them deep into their zone. Unless you control him yourself, a huge void is left for the offense to attack behind the linebackers and in front of the safety. So you want to get it in this area. Although, another area to attack is the sidelines.

The problem we’re going to tackle figuring out how to beat Cover 3 consistently this year is making the Cover 3 Match plays nonexistent. Because if your opponent is running a match play, if you have a receiver lined up by himself or have a slot receiver make any sort of threat vertically, his defender who will have the new seam/flat assignment and the corner next to him will man up both receivers and blow up your play entirely if you expected zone. So how can we avoid that?

Running a drag with the inside or outside receiver seems to be the only route the defender will stay off and play as the play art suggest. Another option is formations with no outside receiver. Run the play as is and they’ll play you straight up, but as soon as you motion the guy to the outside, it’s man defense. Once you motioned him back it’s a straight zone play again. Lastly are regular sets that have 3 receivers on 1 side like Y Trip, where the defense can’t afford to man up somebody in fear of flood route concepts.

Do beware though, when using the Cover 3 Match play, sometimes mid play defenders will switch assignments with each other to get better angles on receivers.

Hopefully this can help you improve your game. Stay tuned because next we tackle Cover 4 defenses and the new zones attached to it!

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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.