5 Madden 17 Money Plays (and How to Run Them!)
Madden 17 is out, and it is a very worthy successor to last year's game, garnering a full 9/10 from our review team. But what good is a great game if you're not great at it? If you're sick of getting stuffed in 3rd-and-goal scenarios, we're about to help you take your game to the next level with a few Madden 17 money plays that offer a high percentage of success and chances for big gains.
Now, before we begin, we should note that these are all passing plays. Picking the right run play in Madden is incredibly dependent on specific defensive schemes, and there are very few one-size-fits-all run plays (save for safe runs up the middle for, like 3 yards) that will consistently work well. That said, if you pay attention to the defense, and the lanes your blockers open up, most run plays can break for some decent yardage depending on how many players the defense has in the box. So let's get started.
The Stick Concept
In terms of high-percentage Madden 17 plays, the Stick concept plays offer perhaps the biggest reward for a read that is almost always very easy. Stick plays are usually good for 7-10 yards (or more, if you can shake your defender after the catch), and rely on the player making a quick read of a single defender.
If you look at the above image, the key defender here is lined up over Zach Miller, our tight end -- although in some cases, they will be lined up over the receiver running the flat route. When we snap the ball, we simply make a quick read to see whether that defender is covering the player running that curling route or the flat route, and complete a quick pass to the open man. Some stick plays even include a third receiver running a short curl route directly in front of the quarterback to give the player even more options. Regardless of who is open, a successful Stick play, regardless of formation, is an incredibly potent weapon in 3rd-and-long situations.
The Curl Concept
This concept is a bit more high-risk, but as long as you wait to make sure your man is open, you'll be fine. It's a money play, but it requires a bit more patience and discipline than the Stick concept. As you can see, Kevin White and Alshon Jeffery are both running curl routes, meaning that they're going to fake like they're running up the field and then, about 10 yards deep, turn around and wait for the pass. Usually, if the defense is in man coverage, the defenders will continue upfield for a few steps while your receivers turn around and wait for the ball.
That said, make sure your man is open. Curl routes can easily be cut off by defenders -- and if they are, the ball will almost always be batted down or intercepted. Just make sure you've made your read before you throw the ball. Worst case scenario, you can always dump it off to a receiver running a safer route in the flat and try to make something happen on the ground.
The Slant Concept
This is the simplest concept in the world, and it's an easy way to pick up about 5 or more yards consistently in Madden 17. The idea is that all these crossing routes will confuse defenders and cause them to switch their assignments mid-play no matter whether they are in zone or man coverage. We want to take advantage of those times when either our receivers have beaten their man, or when they exit one zone and have not yet entered another. Luckily, both of these things usually happen at the same time.
The moment of truth occurs when your receivers on the outside (in this case, Kevin White and Alshon Jeffery), pass in front of the quarterback. At that point, you should be able to see whether they have either beaten their defender in man coverage, or whether they are both in one man's zone at the same time. Either way, one should be open, and if not, you'll likely have an open receiver on the outside for a short gain before he goes out of bounds.
Just be careful -- these passes over the middle can be tipped, and with Madden 17's new ball physics, there's much more danger of that leading to an interception.
The Texas Concept
Personally, the Texas Concept is my go-to when it's third-and-about-7 and I need to pick up a crucial first down. It's a high-percentage play in Madden 17, and the read is very similar to the Slant concept we just went over. Our primary receiver here is the running back, Jeremy Langford. And as you can see, he's going to curl around the offensive line a bit behind our wide receivers, who are running routes designed to open the middle up for him.
This play takes a bit of time to develop, so a blitz will beat it, but if your opponent isn't rushing very many players, you should have plenty of time in the pocket for your man to get open. The great thing is that if he's not open, you'll usually have someone running a deeper route who is.
The Slip Screen Concept
So far, like most pass plays, all of these Madden 17 money plays will be vulnerable to a strong blitz. The Slip Screen isn't. In fact, it's designed to get the defense to bite and pursue the quarterback and forget all about the running back, who should have open field in front of him. The key to this play is patience. You want the offensive line to break down somewhat, and for the defense to think they have a sure sack. When you see the defenders bearing down on you, dump the ball off to your running back, in this case, Jeremy Langford. The longer you hold the ball, the more open space your back will have to work with. Much like a draw play, this concept works best when your opponent thinks you'll be looking downfield for a big gain, and is therefore trying to pressure the quarterback. If, however, the defense has settled into a safer zone coverage, there's a chance your running back won't have room to run.
The great thing about all of these concepts is that they exist in one form or another across a whole bunch of formations, and they can be customized depending on the situation. They can also be combined with one another using hot routes, so don't hesitate to experiment in practice mode and see what works best for you. Personally, I love combining slant and curl routes, and the Texas concept with a few deep curl routes.
What's your favorite 3rd-and-long play in Madden 17? Be sure to let us know in the comments!