Football 101 - Defending Complementary Plays

So you are on defense and your opponent understands complementary plays. He is constantly attacking open gaps in your defense no matter how you adjust your front. Is there anything you do?

Yes, to some extent. First, you can add players to the line of scrimmage this eliminating the available gaps for the offense. This is a good strategy against the run but can leave you vulnerable to outside runs and the passing game.

Another thing that can be done will require some knowledge of your opponent's personnel strength and play-calling tendencies. As we talked about earlier the alignment of the back can be an indicator of where the run will attack. You use this knowledge to align in the likely gaps being attacked. For example, inline formations have heavy tendencies as inside zone which have a landmark usually in the opposite A gap. The offset backfield alignment tends to be outside zone heavy toward the opposite C gap. This can change depending on play design and game.

If you can't get a read by alignment because they have the running back behind the center or they are just mixing it up well then you will have to determine what gaps are you willing to concede. For example, I've noticed many years in Madden that there weren't many plays that had landmarks attacking the B gap. Usually just inside zone and counter plays. Even if it did hit that gap I found that rarely did you get big plays runs attacking the B gap. So if that were the case you may like the 3-4 odd front. This front aligns a head up a defender on the center, the tackle, and tight end. This formation dares you to beat it running through the B gap consistently.

This is one way of dictating to the offense where you want the ball to be run and into a position that won't hurt your defense like other gaps will. Side Note: Attacking the gaps that are hardest to defend change year by year but the concepts stay the same.

Lastly, you can use your personal advantage and funnel offense to your best players. If you know you are weak outside then you may want to cover those gaps and leave the open gaps inside. This can funnel the offense into your better players away from your weaker players.



If the offense is attacking your weakness in the front(the open gaps) in different gaps you can do a few things.

  1. Bring more defenders to the line of scrimmage and plug the gaps.
  2. Give the offense gaps that will limit big plays.
  3. Give the offense gaps that funnel them into your best players.

Thank you for reading please comment and share.


Popular Posts