My original approach for defense on Madden was simple and quite similar to my approach to offense, namely favor speed over power. This worked pretty well in Madden 2003, especially against the CPU, but starting with the arrival of Madden 2004 I realized that more diversity was needed, particularly in bigger, stouter formations to defend the goal line and stuff inside runs. Cornerbacks blitzing from the slot just wouldn't cut it, at least not on a full time basis. I developed both 4-3 and 3-4 sets to serve the needs of any team's defensive personnel.
Nevertheless, by speed blitzing style has still remained successful enough that it remains at the core of my defensive strategy. I play mostly Nickel defenses on standard downs, resorting to 3-4 or 4-3 mainly when the opposing offense is having good success on the ground, and play mostly Quarter defense on passing downs. My most utilized formation is currently Edge Nickel, which makes up for lack of size by bringing all 11 defenders within a few yards of the line of scrimmage. Sheer number of bodies compensates for the power of a base 4-3, while the extra speed allows my players to run down offensive players who get to the second level. My approach is similar with my Speed Quarter defense, where instead of playing pure pass defense I often blitz the slot cornerbacks to bring pressure and shut down outside runs.
So far I've mostly talked about personnel rather than actual plays. This might be because I don't have a hard and fast approach to what works best on defense, other than diversity. I believe that the key to good play calling (on offense as well as defense) is to always have something ready that your opponent may not expect. I like to mix up just about every type of defensive play and technique: man coverages, zone coverages, blitzes, line stunts, and zone blitzes, to name a few. I like to disguise my coverages and blitzes, so that even if my opponent expects something he won't know where it will come from. Every play, and even every style of play, has weaknesses that a good opponent will exploit if given enough opportunities. By building a playbook containing a variety of schemes I try to make sure that opportunity never presents itself.
Contact Arkaein with any comments or questions regarding the Monstrous Madden Playbook.