Hello football fans, welcome back to another (long overdue) edition of Forward Progress.
Something that I’ve been asked all year long is “Why don’t you run much press coverage?” The honest truth is this: I don’t need to. BUT, it doesn’t mean that press coverage doesn’t have a place in my scheme …
Typically, when I have a lead greater than 3 points and less than 7 points, I will shift from my zone blitzing scheme to what I call the “trail technique.” The trail technique is often used in the NFL by teams that employ a majority of man under coverage with 2 high safeties. A base call of 2 Man Under is best to utilize the trail technique. The trail technique is all about is getting so physical with the outside wide receivers that they will eventually beat the initial coverage, but will be picked up by safety help shaded over the top immediately after; making the apparent window to throw the ball an optical illusion. I’m essentially BAITING my opponent into rushing a bad throw due to a roller-coaster of emotions.
Let me take you to a moment where I actually called trail coverage in the New York City Virgin Gaming Madden Challenge …
I had a 4 point lead with about 2 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter in the second round of the tournament. This was a $840 game. I had been giving my opponent a lot of zone blitz looks up to that point, and he’d really been trying to force the ball to the outside to Jermichael Finley, who had a distinct size advantage against Tramon Williams, who I’d been dropping into zone (allowing Finley a free release all game). Fast forward back to the scenario: My opponent decides to go for it on 4th and 4 at about midfield in the 3rd quarter. I decided to come out in my zone blitz look, but audible into the Dime formation, 2-Man Under once we got to the line of scrimmage. I shaded my safeties to the sideline and called individual press coverage on my opponents outside WRs. I knew that Jermichael would likely abuse Tramon Williams, but Nick Collins would quickly jump to him after he got a clean release. My opponent snaps the ball, and Jermichael Finley immediately swim moves Tramon’s whiffed press near the sideline. My opponent is then immediately keyed to Finley, who’s running a streak. He quickly throws a bullet pass as Collins is closing down the already small window to Finley. But by the time the ball gets there, the window is shut and Collins swats down the pass for a crucial turnover on downs. My opponent was furious. He thought I got “lucky” because he “had” Jermichael wide-open.
That’s what he thought; anyways…
Now, I don’t advocate this as a SOLE defensive scheme, but I absolutely love this when you’re opponent needs chunks of yards and fast. Rather than playing vanilla, get a little physical. Don’t go all out press coverage; just get physical with the outside receivers, and let your opponent’s slot and tight ends stay in front of you underneath. It’s a safe and secure call that may disrupt your opponent’s timing enough to get you that crucial stop to win a game. In this case, the trail technique won me 840 dollars. Hopefully it can get you closer to a W as well!
Here’s a play I recommend using for the trail technique:
Here’s how to set up the trail technique:
STEP1: Individual coverage assign The OUTSIDE MOST WRs to press coverage to get the outside trail technique.
STEP2: Shade the coverage to the sidelines (Y or triangle + R-stick up).
STEP3: Manually patrol the MLB, who’s responsible for the RB; if the RB stays to protect, help up the seam in a (Tampa 2) type of look.
Below is a video with commentary that showing the trail technique in action:
Until next time,
Zac Neal (ZAN)
XBL Gamertag: Peyton ZANning
PSN ID: Zanikowski