Defensive Training Camp
Learning the Defensive Formations
By: Kyle Cooper
Having the right personnel on the field on defense can be the difference between winning and losing. In this section, we'll break down the different defensive formation to provide a better understanding of what you should expect when exiting the huddle.
The first formation we're going to take a look at is the 4-3. It's called the 4-3 because there are four Defensive Linemen and three Linebackers on the field. This defense is typically decent at stopping the run and good against users who enjoy running offenses from bigger sets. This formation should avoid against opponents who like to throw every play with four and five receiver sets.
The 3-4 defense is similar to the 4-3, only there's one more linebacker and one less Defensive Linemen on the field. This is another defense that should be used against bigger sets because you don't want to leave your Linebackers matched up in man-to-man coverage on receivers. However, some teams may be able to get away with using a 3-4 against spread offenses if they have a fast group of Linebackers.
The 46 defense is one of the most popular defensive formations in the game. The personnel is the same as the 4-3, but the ability to bring consistent pressure and stop the run with more regularity is enough for many users to make this their base defense throughout an entire game. However, spread sets can beat this defense if pressure isn't applied on the quarterback.
The Nickel 3-3-5 has three Defensive Linemen, three Linebackers, and five defensive backs. Many Madden players love the flexibility of this defense because it matches up fairly well against both big and spread sets. This flexibility allows players to counter opponents who like to audible up and down throughout the course of a game. A couple of downsides to this defense include the lack of pressure on the quarterback and the inability to consistently stop the run. Both of these weaknesses can be fixed with manual movements before the snap, but it certainly takes some work.
The Nickel 1-5-5 is one of the more unique defenses in the game. This defense calls for five Linebackers, five defensive backs, and just one Defensive Lineman. Needless to say, pressure from this defense isn't always easy or consistent. Furthermore, stopping the run with this formation takes a lot of work. The best part about this defense is that the player is able to move ten players anywhere on the field. The only player that cannot be moved with resetting to his original position is the Defensive Lineman. This defense may be confusing for opponents at times, but there are just too many weaknesses for it to be used throughout the course of a game.
The Nickel 1-5-5 Prowl is basically the same defense as the Nickel 1-5-5, but the Defensive Linemen is standing up instead of in a three-point stance. The good thing about both the 1-5-5 and the Prowl is that you can mix both formations together and create a truly unique defense if perfected.
The Nickel Normal is another defense that is flexible enough to be used against multiple offensive sets. This defense provides us with four Defensive Linemen, two Linebackers, and five defensive backs. With six big defenders in the box we are able to create solid pressure, as well as slow down most running plays. This is a formation that is good to start a game because you don't risk getting beat deep and it forces your opponent to work up the field as you learn tendencies.
The Nickel Strong can be just as useful as the Nickel Normal formation. The two differences between the formations is that in the Strong formation the nickel back stands right next to the defensive end on the left side of the Offensive Line and the strong safety is about three to four yards closer to the line of scrimmage. Having the nickel back stand next to the defensive end allows for great blitzes around the outside. However, most people usually suspect blitz from that side in this formation while the Nickel Normal formation can bring an element of surprise.
The Dime Normal formation is best used for passing situations because it places four Defensive Linemen, one linebacker, and seven defensive backs on the field. Most people prefer to stick with a defense that can stop both the run and the pass, so not too many users throw out the Dime look for opponents.
The Quarters 3 Deep formation is great for long yardage situations. There's also a Quarters Normal formation, but in that formation there isn't a deep safety in the middle of the field. Many Madden gamers will take this defense and hot route two of the three Defensive Linemen to play zones underneath. Obviously, this means that there's only one defender rushing after the quarterback, but when you've got ten other players in coverage downfield that doesn't always seem to matter.
The Goal Line formation is typically only used inside the ten yardline. However, this is a formation that can be productive against big offensive sets. The problem with coming out of the huddle having called a Goal Line defense is running into those opponents who audible up and down numerous times before the snap. You don't want to get caught trying to guard four and five receivers with your Goal Line personnel package on the field.
The best defenses to use are formations that can do a little bit of everything. It's probably going to be to your benefit to start every game by coming out in the Nickel Normal or 46 Normal defense until you get a feel for what your opponent is trying to do offensively. These formations are great because they can guard against both the run and the pass effectively. Also, these formations can bring consistent pressure as well. With that said, once you begin to start looking deeper into your defensive schemes you're going to want to consider which formations really allow you to utilize your strengths on the field.
Table of Contents
- Team Stats
- Offensive Formations
- Offensive Training Camp
- Defensive Formations and Playbooks
- Defensive Training Camp
- Xbox 360 Achievements
- Playstation 3 Trophies