For our second part of Quarters Coverage, we take an in-depth look at Cover 4 Alerts and Checks.
Zorro is a check versus a 2×2 tight split, and it’s designed to handle switch concepts such as scissors. Instead of the safety chasing the corner route by #2, and the cornerback chasing the post by #1(which is how this would play out without the zorro coverage check), the cornerback and safety simply pass the routes off.
This check is used to defend 3×1 sets, and locks the single receiver side corner in man coverage on #1. By doing this, it allows the backsid safety to work his way over top of #3 playside. The playside safety will split #2 and #3, and this will buy time for the backside safety to work his way over the top of #3. The middle hook dropper must sink with any vertical release by #3, this will also helps take some stress off of the backside safety.
COVER 4 CUT
Versus a reduced split, the two TE’s in the picture above, the strong side safety will “cut” any crossing route by #1. The strong side corner will then replace him, taking responsibility for #2 vertical.
COVER 4 CUT VS. A 3×1 REDUCED SET
This is a very aggressive way of handling a crossing route by #1 on the single receiver side. It’s a great change up from the solo check, and can be great “trap” coverage, depending on how much you use the solo check. There is one drawback to this coverage, the amount of ground the backside cornerback must cover to get over top of #3 vertical.
THE BOX CALL
The box call is quite possibly the most used call to defend bunch formations in the NFL. The strong side corner, and in this example, the sub package db(N), take the 1st and 2nd out. That leaves the strong side safety and inside backer to handle the 1st and 2nd in. Here is an example of how it plays out.
PRE SNAP ASSIGNMENTS
POST SNAP EXECUTION
Something to note on this play, the first out came from the backside of the formation. Take another look at the picture above, it was not one of the three bunched receivers, but rather the running back releasing from the core of the formation. This shows that the box call is designed to even handle routes coming from the backside.
COVER 4 PUSH
Push is another call used versus slot formations. The safety reads the release of #1(the te in this example), and if the tight end does not release vertically, he will “push” over the top of #3 vertical. If #3 is not vertical, then he will look to rob a shallow route, such as the smash route depicted in the picture above.
COVER 4 LOCK
Cover 4 lock places cornerbacks in man coverage on both #1’s. This is a great way to handle the intermediate crossing routes that quarters coverage can be vulnerable to.
To apply these coverage variations in Madden, it really doesn’t take more than a couple pre snap adjustments. Quarters coverage allows you the ability to get creative in your setups, and you now have the guidelines to govern what to adjust, and against what offensive formations you should make certain adjustments against.