Here we’ll cover the basics of how Match Coverage works in Cover 4 Quarters. Cover 4 Quarters is a zone defense that becomes a man defense if the receivers run specific routes toward their respective zones.
But before we understand how Match Coverage works, we need to understand Numbering System in order to understand which zone is responsible for which receiver.
When counting receivers, you need to count from the outside in. So here, we have a 2x2 look, also called “Doubles”.
So, to mark the receiver, we first start from the outside to the left. So we have No. 1 receiver, No. 2 receiver, and then the running back will be counted as No. 3 receiver. Then, on the right side, we do the same thing. Starting on the outside, we have No. 1 receiver, then No. 2 receiver.
Here we will also cover Trips formation, 3x1 formation. Therefore, there are No. 1 receiver, No. 2 receiver and No. 3 receiver on the right side. On the left side, we have No. 1 receiver, so the running back will count as No. 2 receiver.
Understanding how to calculate a receiver’s Numbering System is critical to understanding match coverage. This is why in a 2x2 set or Doubles set, if No. 1 receiver runs vertically, the outside zone is responsible for receiving the ball. If No. 2 receiver runs vertically, the inside zone is responsible for receiving the ball.
So you’ll see that when all receivers are vertical, the outside area becomes man coverage for No. 1 receiver, and the inside area becomes man coverage for No. 2 receiver.
But when it comes to 3x1 or Trips groups, it’s a little different. On the right side, if he moves vertically, the outside area will be responsible for No. 1 receiver. If he moves vertically on the left side, the inside area will be responsible for No. 2 receiver.
But since we only have two deeps on this side, if No. 3 receiver moves vertically, the weakside safety will be responsible for the coverage. On the weak side, the outside area is responsible for the solo No. 1 receiver anyway.
So if your opponent runs Four Verticals on the stroke, you’re going to see the guys in the deep zone match up with their designated guys because they’re vertical.
Now we all know that verticals out of trips is a very popular gameplay in Madden 24, especially this year. And Cover 4 in the game pretty much sealed it. Especially because the deep crossing route hits the defensive player corresponding to the defensive player. Therefore, it is crucial to invest more Madden NFL 24 Coins on our defensive players to improve the player’s overall statistics.
Match vs Doubles
Now, what if some receivers don’t run vertically? When a receiver does not run vertically, the deep zone assigned to that receiver will end up functioning as its regular zone until they find a defensive route. This usually ends up being a Double Team or some type of bracket. Bracket is almost just another form of Double Team.
So here I will put No. 1 receiver on Smoke Screen and No. 2 receiver on the verticals. What you’ll see is that as soon as the perimeter realizes their defender doesn’t have a vertical, they immediately help the verticals.
Please note that the inside areas are all responsible for guarding the No. 2 receiver. Because No. 2 receiver is vertical.
Now, another detail you should notice is the two Quarter Flat defenders. Once they realize they can throw the slot receiver into deep territory, they immediately break out of the quick route. The middle area remains in the center of the field to scan the area.
Now, if we do the same thing with No. 1 receiver, but put No. 2 receiver on the corner route. When we spike the ball, you’ll see the inside area is No. 2 receiver guy because they’re vertical. The outer area then helps by bracketing the corner route below. Quarter Flat reacted to the short line again when they discovered that the short line was not vertical.
Then let’s talk about the running backs. If the running back runs to the left, the left Quarter Flat will take him one-on-one. If he runs to the right, the right Quarter Flat will take him one-on-one. But because we set the running back up on the left side, he actually starts going vertically. Then react to the running back as the route develops to the right side of the field.
Match vs Trips
Now let’s review the formation of Trips. We talk about what happens on the vertical side, but we don’t really talk about what happens on the weak side.
On the weak side, we have the solo No. 1 receiver, and no matter which route he runs, it will cover this receiver in the outside zone. So here, if I put him on the zig, the quarter zone will follow him on the zig. If he takes a drag route, defenders will follow him across the field.
Now let’s review the running backs. On the back, we put the running back on the wheel and the wide receiver on the drag. So here, the player defending the running back is a Quarter Flat player. So when the ball is hit, you see Quarter Flat brings the running back to the wheel route.
Obviously, you need to replace safeties at the linebacker position and lock down wheel routes. Especially if the safeties are on the running back.
In the last part, we discuss Flood Concept in the 3x1 group. So we put the inside wide receiver on the corner, the slot receiver on the flat, and the outside wide receiver on the vertical. You will see the corner route open up.
Because the weakside safety is the inside receiver, if he moves vertically, he has to run all the way down the field to defend the route to the outside. Then we have the flat guarded by Quarter Flat, and the vertical guarded by the outer Quarter Flat.
Now, if your opponent is just sending Flood Concept a lot, then what you can do is simply move the safety over. This way he can defend corners better.
You’ll notice that his coverage is narrower, so be careful with that. Because if your opponent does some wacky hot route, it can destroy Match Coverage.
However, there is a less risky way to defend a Flood Concept in a 3x1 match via Match Coverage. That is to use match and man defense hybrid.
So initially, I’m going to put the weak side safety in the middle third and the strong side safety on Curl Flat. Then I’ll cover the guy running the corner route on Quarter Flat. If you want to get really baffling, you can even put your defensive end on a hard-to-cover flat and shorter route.
So now we have this hybrid coverage on the right side, while we still have match principals on the left side.
That’s it for the basics of Match Coverage in Cover 4 Quarters, with some advanced tips at the end. Hopefully, these tips on Match Coverage will take your defensive planning to new heights so you can lock down any offense you may face!