Football Concepts: Man In Motion

 

I like to think of football as a much more physical game of chess in which several strategies can be utilized for success. The idea of putting skill players in motion is used all over the NFL and its virtual counterparts (Madden and NCAA) capture the same advantages as the real thing. Whether you’re running or passing the ball, motion can become an integral part of your offense. Here are four reasons for putting men in motion:

 

  1. Free up space or get more blocking: Let’s say you’re running a typical strong-side HB Toss out of I-Formation. If you move the wide receiver to the weak side and the defense is playing man-to-man, the WR will take his defending cornerback to the weak-side as well. This gives you more space to run with while relying on all of your blockers in 3-point stances while your WR with dicey run blocking is on the other side of the field. Weak-side runs such as counters and traps can be fortified by motioning the tight end over and giving yourself another big body to run behind. Occasionally, motioning a fullback over can
  2. Elude the bump-and-run: Obviously, cornerback pressing is an important staple of defenses and can disrupt a multitude of routes and passing concepts. If your receiver is running an intermediate pass route (slant, drag, in, out, etc.) and it looks like he’s going to be pressed, try putting him in motion and snapping the ball while he’s moving. This makes it infinitely more difficult for defensive backs to hit your receiver cleanly and jam him at the line. If you’ve seen some of the tips Madden Daily has put out, you’ve seen this frequently.
  3. Speed mismatches: As competitive Madden players, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you see your opponent has been playing a lot of man-to-man coverage, there’s a very high chance that the linebackers are responsible for covering your running backs (and of course your tight ends). Moving your running back out of the backfield into the slot further accentuates the mismatch and can make a routine pass route account for huge gains after the catch if a slower LB has to cover him. If you have a running back with good catching skills, don’t hesitate to mix this into your gameplan.
  4. Keep your opponent guessing: With the right mix of motions and mixing up your runs and passes, you’ll ensure your opponent will never know what you’re about to execute. You don’t want to get too predictable (always running to a certain side after motion, passing it to the WR you just put into motion); comfortably inserting motion into your offense will take some time. You may just start doing it when you’re trying to kill some clock and you do it for no evident reason. Some plays such as the Jet Sweep require a WR in motion running at full speed; if you can successfully integrate the play into your book, then it will make you even more unpredictable.

 

Do you use motion frequently? How important do you consider it to be in your gameplan?

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