Top 5 Ways to Read Coverage in Madden NFL 13

Reading the defense and hitting your progressions on offense will improve your game-planning. A key to following the five sets for success is learning to read the defense and reacting with the perfect play call. While it takes some time, learning tendencies of your opponents and how their players line up allows you to take advantage of the situation when the time comes. Here are five key things to look for leading up to the snap of the ball in Madden NFL 13!

Here are the Top 5 Ways to Read Coverage in Madden NFL 13!

5. Read the Personnel
4. Read the Corners Pre-snap
3. Read the Safeties Pre-snap
2. Read the User Defender
1. Read the Safeties Post-snap

5. Read the Personnel

Honorable Mentions: Use spread formations, use trips formations, use compressed formations, use bunch formations

Pro Tip: Always try to attack mismatches if you get one like a faster receiver on a slower linebacker!

Looking at the defensive personnel can be a great starting point when selecting an offensive formation/play. If you see they have six DBs on the field in Dime, try going to an I-Form to run the ball. They are likely looking to defend the pass in this situation, and you should have stronger players able to get good matchups downfield. Against base defenses like the 3-4, try to spread out the defense with things like four-wide-receiver sets. Remember: If you get a mismatch, use a no-huddle offense to prevent the defense from subbing. The Patriots used this plenty last season.

4. Read the Corners Pre-snap

Pro Tip: If your opponents are aggressive, they will likely use more press coverage in their schemes.

By reading the corners in Madden NFL 13, we can get started on solving half of the secondary puzzle as to what coverage the defense is in. Read how close they are to your WR at the line of scrimmage. If they are playing back, you know it could be a blitz since they are providing a cushion, or it could be they are dropping back and playing Cover 4. If they are up tight, you know it could be man coverage with a press or just a generic Cover 3 zone if they back off without pressing. Starting with the corners helps you determine the coverage style, and then you move to the safeties.

3. Read the Safeties Pre-snap

Pro Tip: If you catch the safeties creeping up towards the line, look out for pressure.

Just before you snap the ball you should be looking at the safeties, and based on their positioning you can determine what type of deep coverage they have, if they are bringing a blitz, and where you want to go with the ball. If you read two high safeties this means that your opponent is in Cover 4 zone, Cover 2 man, or Cover 2 zone. It also tells us that the defense is most likely not blitzing. Whenever you see two high safeties you should be thinking of attacking the defense towards the middle of the field. This strategy is called middle-of-field open passing. Use this knowledge to your advantage and be ready to attack. If you see a single high safety this means that your opponent is in a Cover 3 zone, Cover 1 man, or man/zone blitz. When you see this attack the defense towards the sideline. This is called middle-of-field closed passing. By reading where the safeties are pre-snap you can determine what type of coverage to expect and where you should be delivering the ball at the snap.

2. Read the User Defender Pre-snap

Pro Tip: If your opponent cycles through the defensive linemen, he or she may be hot routing them to other assignments. Try running a draw in these situations.

Manually positioning your defenders is necessary to set up the best blitzes in Madden NFL 13. Try to make this work against your opponent. We like to key in on those moved players and then audible to a trips formation. This forces our opponents’ hand because once we change our formation the defenders will not move back into position. If they’re in man-to-man defense then they will have to manually move the defenders back into position to defend the trips set. If they are in zone the defense should adjust and they won’t have to move anyone into better position. These movements are subtle, so work on this in the lab to get a feel for how the defense reacts. Also key in on where they are stacking defenders, as this often means pressure is coming from that area. Players will user-control the weakest area of their defensive coverage and try to make up ground with great user skills and instinct. As a general rule of thumb, the first manually positioned defender is where pressure is going to come from.

1. Read the Safeties Post-snap

Pro Tip: Beware of plays like Cover 3 Buzz getting mixed in by your opponent. This has the corners dropping down and playing the flat instead of the safeties!

Now that you have all your pre-snap information analyzed, you can hike the ball and feel confident. The last step requires watching the safeties and making sure they are doing as you expected. The defense is always trying to disguise coverage, but once the ball is snapped they will reveal it and you can see if you made the proper read. Never read what the safeties are doing one play and expect them to be the same the next play. Instead you need to remember the situation, the formation, and the result of what the defense was doing. Save this information so that once you see it again you will be ready. Use the post-snap safety read in combination with your pre-snap safety read to learn what your opponent likes to do and when.

Related posts:

  1. Madden NFL 25 Tips: Top 5 Ways to Stop the Run
  2. Top 5 Ways to Stop TE Quick Passes!
  3. Madden NFL 25 Tips: How to Read Every Zone Coverage
  4. Madden NFL 25 Tips: How to Read Defensive Coverages
  5. Madden NFL 25 Tips: The Hardest Defensive Coverage to Read

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