This is a guide we made to explain how to properly position defense for best performance. It’s been nearly a year since we first made this guide and it needs a massive overhaul.
Note: This is kinda subjective for some things, so you might do it differently, and that’s ok, but if you want to know how to optimize your defense, follow this.
Madden NFL Mobile – Defensive Positioning
Defensive Backs Overview
In general, we prefer our defensive backs to be physical. We want tall corners and safeties that can match up vs big receivers like Gronk and Herman Moore. Also smaller guys like Deion Sanders seem to get lost vs the run.
This is your coverage safety. They should have high zone and high awareness. They don’t need to be the best tackler or have insane measurables, but they need to be able to drop into zone and play deep. Examples: Earl Thomas, Reggie Nelson
This is your tackling safety. This guy should be a good tackler and have decent coverage stats but that isn’t necessary . Usually these players are faster, stronger (haha), and have stats that better resemble a coverage LB maybe with a bit more man coverage. Also, hit power is a key stat. They usually cover the tight end, so they need to be able to lay a good hit on a stronger than average receiver. The best ones are gonna be 6’3 or taller. Examples: Bam Bam Kam, also the new Mike Evans OOP card
CB 1 and 2
Pretty self-explanatory. Speed, awareness and jumping are key stats. Note however that superbly fast corners will occasionally over-run a route. If you’re up against a slower and bigger receiver on a fly route, you don’t want your DB to be 5 yards in front of the receiver. Also play rec is pretty important too, and in fact I’d say that it’s almost more important than coverage. Agility is the most underrated stat for corners. We accidentally left this out last time, but AGI is what leads to more INTs. Make sure your CBs have decent BKS, you want to make sure they can set an edge vs run plays. Oh and we almost forgot, remember to look for high press coverage in a corner. It definitely helps slow down the receiver’s route.
Nickel and Dime
No they’re not swindling you a little at a time, they just sound like it. These positions are key!!!! We kinda neglect nickel sometimes and we usually just like putting a booster there, but if you want to really optimize gameplay, put someone there who is versatile and can handle both WRs and TEs coming out of the flex. Dime is much more important to me. Having a good dime player can be the difference between your opponent converting a 4th and 23 or dropping a drive. Go big or go home. Basically we treat this slot as Strong Safety v2.0. Aim for a taller, stronger guy, but also make sure they have enough speed to keep up with Gronk. We have 6’3 LvL Sherman there right now. 85 speed is just enough for him to get an under bite on Gronk from the dime, while also allowing our SS to cover up top.
OK, here’s where it gets interesting.
In madden there are two different defensive schemes, 3-4 and 4-3. The type of scheme and formation that your defense uses depends on what team you have chosen to represent. The Patriots kinda run a hybrid, but essentially we treat it as a 3-4. We find 3-4 harder to play against when I’m on offense, but they both have merits. The key thing to know though is that defensive positioning changes drastically depending on your scheme.
Positioning For 3-4
OLB 1: This is your right OLB. Use this slot for pass rushing linebackers with high speed and acceleration. High finesse moves or power moves are a nice luxury as well. Von Miller is an awesome example. In 3-4, the main job of your OLBs is to rush the passer. While the right OLB does need to occasionally cover Gronk, I’m fine with leaving Von on the right for 3-4 despite his shitty coverage stats. The reason why? He’s fast and tall and his awareness is great. Having a tall player covering the tight end position is key and Von makes up for his weak coverage with insane measurable (at this stage in the game). The other reason we like having your best pass rusher here is that the blocking mechanics for the right tackle are broken as fuck in this game. Because of how the defense lines up in 3-4, the ROLB will always be lined up on the far outside of the RT and actually usually slightly right of the TE. Given that the right DE or 5-tech in 3-4 lines up just left of the RT, he will usually eat up that block for you and give your ROLB a free rush at the QB. Additionally since most QBs are right handed, it’s more natural to roll right on bootlegs etc. You want a guy who can disrupt the motion of the QB to that side and possibly even get a sack.
OLB 2: This is your left OLB. Generally we like having a run preventer on this side to seal the edge and prevent inside run plays from being bounced to the outside. Given that a lot of people like running left, it makes sense to seal off this edge first so your opponents can’t force HB Dive WK to the outside all the time. The LOLB also has to cover the slot receiver, so like the nickel corner, he should be a bit versatile. He has three jobs basically: rush the passer, stop the run and cover the slot. He’s gotta be a jack of all trades, and speed and play rec are key stats. BKS and AWR are also important. The new UF Landon Collins seems like a good player to put here, but we haven’t looked into it too much (he is a tad undersized so I’m not entirely sure).
ILB 1: Ok for the first MLB slot, you should look to put a good coverage LB that has great awareness and solid tackling. In 3-4 your ILBS are your coverage linebackers. They need to play almost like DBs. You want fast and rangy guys who can cover WRs and TEs in zone.
ILB 2: It’s critical that both your ILBs in 3-4 know how to cover, so make this guy a carbon copy of your other ILB. Make sure this guy can cover both TEs and receivers out of the slot, as well as HBs and FBs coming out of the backfield. This isn’t a throwaway position for 3-4.
Right Defensive End: In 3-4, the defensive end positions are more like 2nd and 3rd DTs. They’re know as 5techs because of the slot they line up over with respect to the OLine. Make sure you get a big guy for this position, and speed is a bit less key. Look for high BKS and TKL. Strength and Power Moves are also important and the taller the better. These guys can kill a drive by swatting a few bullet passes. Think: Too Tall Jones
Left Defensive End: Same as above mostly. He should be over powering the OT on his side of the line and getting the sack or stopping the run.
Nose Tackle (DT 1): In 3-4 this position is known as the nose tackle. Typically the biggest, strongest guy on the field, the NT is responsible for stopping the run and sealing any wholes the Oline has made. He doesn’t need to get off blocks quickly per se, he just need to take up blocks. And eat them. Think: Eddie Lacy
(High BKS is actually a need here, but what we mean by taking up blocks vs getting off them is that he doesn’t need to be fast, he just needs to chew through the OLine and cause disruption, but he doesn’t need to get sacks)
DT 2: This is not a throwaway for 3-4! In fact no position is a throwaway in 3-4. In both Nickel and Dime packages, the second DT comes on to the field regardless of 3-4 or 4-3. This guy should be a bit faster and move agile. He is meant to disrupt the Oline and get through it and to the QB. He still needs to be big, with good Power or Finesse moves. He is the pass rushing DT. We suppose his position is a bit more glamorous or sexy than the NT position, if you could say that about a 300 pound defensive lineman. Example: John Randle
Positioning For 4-3:
LB 1: Much much different than for 3-4, this guy absolutely, positively, with no doubt MUST HAVE HIGH COVERAGE. The linebackers in 4-3 are coverage guys. Like the ILBs from 3-4, they are your second set of DBs. Look for mostly zone coverage in the right linebacker for 4-3. Also look for taller guys with enough sped to keep pace with Gronk. There are a lot of plays where the tight end runs a quick out route and you want our right linebacker to be able to recognise the play and get there in time. Speed, agility, play rec and awareness are super duper important.
LB 2: On the other side, more of the same. This guy has the responsibility to cover slot, so pay a lot of attention to physical stats like speed and STR. Play rec and tackle are important too because this guy has to stop the run if it comes to his side.
MLB: For the main MLB in 3-4 look for a really rangy and fast guy who can get off of blocks and make tackles all over the field. He’s responsible for the entire middle of the field and there’s no safety directly behind him, so it’s critical he can make a tackle by himself. His coverage should be at least pretty solid. Height is kinda a bonus for this position. We find it hard to pass over the middle on crossing routes if our opponent has a tall MLB.
ILB 2: Remember how we said no position in 3-4 is a throwaway? Well that’s wrong in 4-3. This is basically a throwaway. Just stick a booster here we guess. We mean, he will play on countered plays, but very rarely otherwise.
Right Defensive End: We like this guy to be slightly faster and have good finesse moves. Usually we user this DE, so we like to be able to get around the OT quickly and go in for the sack. Think Khalil Mack. We also like TG Ansah and maybe even Legend Kearse here. The main thing is speed. BlockShredding isn’t super important for this guy IMO. Most people run to the left and this guy is mainly just a pass rusher. He’s basically the bigger stronger version of the 3-4 ROLB. The key thing to know is that, similar to the 3-4 ROLB, the RDE has a clearer path to the QB. Speed is important because on this side, since the TE is often running a route instead of blocking, the RDE has few blockers impeding his path to the QB.
Left Defensive End: Pick a bigger, stronger DE for this side (closer to a 5tech) with high BKS. You want him to eat up blocks and prevent the OLine from taking out your weak side LB downfield. This guy sets up the gap that your left linebacker fires into.
DT 1: In 4-3 generally we follow a similar interior line plan as in 3-4. We like our first DT to be big and strong. Run defense comes first and the key to stopping the run is clogging the middle. You don’t want the OLine to be able to push your guys out of the way and open up running lanes for the RB.
DT 2: Similar to 3-4, this guy is more of an interior pass rusher in our system. It’s all about leveling: your first DT eats up blockers and your second DT finishes the job!
Thanks to user ‘UffaloIlls’ for help creating this Madden NFL Mobile Guide.
This is our version 2.0 of this Defensive Positioning guide, we hope you guys like it! If you have any questions, please comment them, and good luck in Madden NFL Mobile. For more Madden NFL Mobile Guides, check out our Guide-Section.