Originally Posted by MeelaPo
P.S. I don't watch a whole lot of football and the only basics I understand are really on the offensive side of the ball.
That part right there is going to be your biggest problem. Some general basics on defense in football would be as follows:
1) Try and predict what play they are going to run next. Offensive plays are either straight up run
, straight up pass
the ball or sometimes both
. Alot of times you can tell by the formation if they are gonna run the ball, or pass or try something tricky.
1a) If they are going to run
the ball, a great defense is always 4-3. It gives you 4 defensive linemen (the really big 300+ lb guys at the line of scrimmage, who tackle extremely well but run very slow), 3 line backers (really big guys 250lb+ who tackle very well and run kinda fast), 2 safeties (medium guys 215+ lbs who tackle well and run really fast) and 2 cornerbacks (small guys 170+ lb, who dont tackle well at, but run extremely fast, usually the fastest guys on any team
.. and are good for intercepting/knocking down passes/defending recievers). Using a 4-3 is a great package to stop the run because the RB has to get thru 4 lineman, 3 LB's, 2 safeties and 2 very fast cornerbacks.
1b) If they are going to pass
the ball. Things can get really complicated here. You can run several different base defensives, but the absolutely best defense against the is dime. You have 7 defenders, a mix of cornerbacks & safeties and are called DB's (defensive backs) and are usually recievers who dont catch very well (thats why they play defense). You still have your 4 lineman at the line of scrimmage. You are basically using your fastest players to intercept or knock down any balls the QB will try and throw to very fast recievers. Using a dime package is a good idea when its like 3rd and 20, because you dont want to give up a big pass play.
1c) If they are going to do both
, things actually get a bit easier because most defenses are designed to give you some type of hybrid protection against either the pass or run. These defenses are great for trick plays, play action, sweeps, swings and screen plays. The 3-4 (3 lineman, 4 LBs, 4 DBs) the nickel (4 lineman, 2 LBs, 5 DBs), 4-6 (4 lineman, 6 LBs, 1 DB), cover 2 (mix of lineman/lbs with 2 safeties really far back), cover 3 (same as cover 2 with except 3 safties really far back) and Man to Man (any mix of players designed to match up with specific offensive players) are all hybrid defenses that will protect against both pass and run.
2) After you've picked a defense you need to decide if you are going to play man to man coverage or zone. Man 2 Man is what is says, every defensive player is assigned an offensive player to guard. While it sounds good on paper, most offensive players are more atheletically gifted than defensive players. Man 2 Man is where you risk giving up the biggest passing plays, Man 2 Man is also the best way to stop the run
because you always have a defender very very close to every player on the field.
2a) Playing zone is the safest way to play the game
. You arent guarding a particular guy, just particular areas around the field. You wont ever get beat by another guy because of atheleticism (meaning you probably also wont ever give up a really big play). But because you arent guarding specific people, you give up alot of small plays. Also because you are stationary facing the QB, instead of chasing some guy around the field.. you see where the QB is looking, where the ball is being thrown and you can be better prepared to intercept it or knock it down. This is why zone defense is where most interceptions will occur
. Zone's weakness is that it is least effective against the run, if a guy is stationary and disciplined to remain on one side of the field.. it will take time for him to run all the way to the other side of the field to make a play.
3) Lastly you want to concentrate on pressure
on the QB.. and using your safeties
effectively. If you want to hurry the QB into making mistakes.. you can blitz. That means you send an extra defender (unsuspectingly) after the QB. You can also use your safties to put pressure on the QB (safety blitz). The safties can double team certain players that have mismatch for the defender or the safties can come up and closer to the line of scrimmage to help stop a great running back (putting 8 or 9 in the box). Lastly the safties can 'hang back' (example Cover 2 defense) and scare the QB away from trying to throw the ball a long distance.
4) Certain rules of thumb:
A DB is gonna have a hard time stopping a running back or tight end. They are just too small to stop them.
A LB is gonna have a hard time guarding a wide reciever or running back in open space, they arent fast enough.
A Lineman is gonna have a hard time stopping anybody who gets past the line of scrimmage. Their job is mainly to plug up holes, not get pushed back, not let anyone get past them and to tackle the QB or RB behind the line of scrimmage.
You want to choose the amount of lineman, amount of LBs and amount of DB's you want on the field.. to match up with the number of RBs, TEs, and WR's that the offense has on the field. It should be atleast 1 Cornerback for every WR. And 1 LB for every RB or TE. You add extra LB's or DB's as you feel are needed. The lineman are always 3 or 4 when marching up the field. And usually 5 lineman when very very close to the goalline.
If I've confused you. Trust me, it gets way quicker than that. Playing defense is usually trying your best not to make a mistake, versus actually stopping another team. The whole point of a defense is really to make the offense make a mistake. Not to absolutely stop them. If you can make an offense make 2 mistakes in a series.. chances are they will have to kick the ball.
If theres pressure on the QB he'll make fast (and hopefully bad) decisions because he panicked. Or double teaming guys will make them fumble or drop easy passes, or even be scared to catch it. Or if a running back cant consistently beyond the line of scrimmage and gain positive yarddarge he will make it tougher for the entire team.A great option is use the "ask Madden option". Based on what the team has a history of doing best and worse, based on the down and yarddage, and based on who/where your best players are.. the CPU will recommend the best defense for every situation.
Use the "ask Madden option" until you see a series of repetitive suggestions and you become used to those repetitions showing up over and over again. You will not only learn what your best defenses are.. you will learn whens a good time to use and when is a good time not to.