Any Madden player will tell you that while passing is the best way to score quick points, being able to run the ball at will is a valuable skill. It can save you on late down and short situations, and help you burn time off the clock when you need to.
In those situations, knowing how to stop the run is very important. It’s relatively easy to fool the AI on a read-option, and you can’t manually control every defensive end the QB reads. Here are some tips and tricks to help you stop the run in Madden 21.
Remember your formations
If you don’t have a good alignment pre-snap, stopping the run is very difficult. You aren’t going to get much pressure on the line of scrimmage from a “dime” or “nickel” look. If you see a bunch of tight ends or a fullback coming in, select the 4-4, 3-4 Bear, or 4-6 defensive fronts. Simply having more linebackers close to the line of scrimmage will help pressure the edges of the offense, and funnel outside runs to the inside at the meat of your defense.
Base align and press your coverage
One of the best ways to stop the run is to set your players up to be as close as possible. Putting your defensive linemen in base alignment will place them head-up over the offensive linemen, giving them more flexibility on either side. Base aligning is only part of the equation and at times can be a hindrance, the important part is press coverage. If you think a run is coming, select press coverage to get your cornerbacks, safeties, and coverage linebackers as close to the line of scrimmage as possible. If your front seven get beat, having your cornerbacks and safeties closer to the ball can ensure that they don’t beat you by much.
Pressing the coverage pre-snap isn’t enough. If you think your opponent is about to run the ball, be in man coverage. The AI will automatically run to their spot in zone coverage, as opposed to attacking the man they’re supposed to be covering when the ball is snapped. Sometimes those zones force your corners and safeties to be on their back foot early, man coverage ensures that they start on the attack.
Manually control a defensive end or the middle linebacker
Sometimes, you can’t expect the AI to do it all. The best run defense is the one you set yourself. Take manual control over a wide defensive end to ensure that they set the edge against the offensive tackle and the pesky tight end, or take over the middle linebacker to plug the gaps yourself. Either way, taking command of a player and understanding their assignments is the easiest way to get an advantage in the run game. A big chunk of stopping the run is ensuring the offense doesn’t get to block the players they want to, and doing it yourself is the easiest way to do it.
Utilize the coaching adjustments menu
Don’t want Lamar Jackson running all over your team using option runs? Use the coaching adjustments menu to prioritize the QB on option runs. Would you rather Ryan Tannehill keep the ball on options, as opposed to the monstrous Derrick Henry hitting your defensive edges with a head of steam? Prioritize the running back, and shore up your B gap defensive linemen so the QB doesn’t take it inside the tackles. The coaching adjustments menu allows you to fully customize the way your team defends, and using it to help you stop the run is simple.