Disguising Play Calling with Offensive Personnel

What’s up Madden NFL fans?  EA SPORTS Game Changer Jordan Of Madden here to explain the importance of disguising your play calling with the personnel on the filed while running your offense.  Football is often compared to a game of chess and the gridiron is the chess board; Madden NFL is no different.  The defense has two tasks.  Determine what type of play you are trying to run, and execute a play to stop it. 

Disguising your play with personnel can throw off your opponent’s first task before you even get to the line of scrimmage.

Many Madden NFL players wait to pick their “D” according to the personnel on the field, meaning after you pick your offensive play they are looking to see how many wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs are going to be in the formation.   On the play calling screen you will see WR, representing wide receivers, TE for tight end, and HB for half back (running back).  When the defense delays their play calling for this information they are trying to complete the first task and determine what type of play of play you’re calling: a run or a pass play.  Here are some tips to make them lose that battle.

Most offensive run plays are ran out of formations with one or two wide receivers.  By only having 1-2 WR out on the field, you are usually able to have an extra blocker to help you bust a run up the field; most of the time that extra player is a HB or TE.  By getting the extra blocker on the field and one fewer receiver you are actually telling your opponent there is a good chance you are running the ball.  On the other hand, coming out with 3 WR is possibly telling the defense, “Hey man, I’m trying to pass this ball!”

To disguise running plays with personnel I believe it is essential to find running plays out of formations with three or more WR.  When your opponent sees 3 WR there is a pretty good chance they think you are passing the ball, and if you’re not they have failed their first task and this will make it even harder for them to execute a play to stop it.  Good plays for disguising your run using this tactic are running plays out of Single Back formations with 3 WR, Split Back plays with 3 WR, and any run play out of formations with 4 WR.

On the other hand, most Madden NFL players usually only throw out of formations with three or more wide receivers; if you can find passing plays that work for you consistently with two WR, you can possibly be setting up the defense to pick a play to stop the run or even commit to the run.  Try using plays like Single Back Ace which only has 2 WR or Split Back plays with 2 WR; weak and strong formations that are pass plays seem to work the best because they look so much like running plays.

The best part of disguising your play calling with personnel is it really opens up the whole playbook for you.  By the time you’re mid-way through the 2nd Quarter, your opponent will have no idea what you are picking by looking at your personnel.  Once it gets to that point, you can run or pass out of any formation and your opponent is stuck waiting for you to make a mistake since they can’t complete the first task of determining which play you’re running; when this happens, you have won half the battle.