On its face IB Mid Plunge looks like a pretty basic, up the middle power running play. You can you use it as such if you want to, but you won't really be getting your money's worth out of it unless you take the time to learn and practice the finer details of the play. While it should be effective no matter how you run it against the softer base defenses, with the muscle-heavy Sidewinder formation you'll probably be facing a defense geared to stop the run, so don't expect a cushy reception. Learning the subtler aspects of this play are what makes it effective even against eight men in the box.
I tested this play primarily against 4-3 defenses. At first it didn't seem very effective, and I was thinking about scratching it and starting over. Before giving up completely though, I started tinkering with the Playmaker control and putting either blocking back in motion. Though motioning blockers up close to the line of scrimmage helped on occasion, the seemingly minor detail that really made a big difference was the relationship between the direction of the play (manipulated using Playmaker) and the shift of the defensive line. I noticed that when I was able to aim the play at the spot right between the defensive tackles I had a fair bit more success than when I was aimed directly at a defensive tackle. With practice you should see the same results. See the details in the Blocking Assessment section.
|O-Line, TE and WR||Run Block|
|QB||Handoff to IB|
|W (FB2)||Lead Right|
|IB (HB)||Back Step - Dive Left|
See the Madden Playbook Guide for a description of these symbols.
As I wrote above, the key to successful blocking for IB Mid Plunge is aiming the run as near as possible to the spot precisely between the defensive tackles. I haven't personally tested this play against a 3-4 defense, but I suspect the situation would be similar here, just pick the best aimed gap to either side of the single defensive tackle. Now in most cases you will not get a perfectly targeted run because you only have two options to choose from, left (the default) and right. In most cases I tested it seemed that the left DT (from the offense's view) lined up just left of the center and the right DT lined up over the right guard, making the gap slightly wider on the right, meaning that you should run to the right. The gaps are better when the defensive line shifts in either direction. If the defensive line spreads out the gaps may be equally big to either side of the center, in this situation pick your direction based on the positions of the linebackers or target the weaker defensive linemen or your own stronger blocking side.
In addition to directional tactics, you can also use motion with the lead fullback to add some variety. This will not have as big of an impact, but may allow you to get a jump of the defenders and better secure short yardage at the possible cost of potential bigger gains. I have not had good success putting the W back in motion, so always use the lead FB for runs to either side, and snap the ball as soon as you can after the FB's forward motion has stopped and he starts sidestepping behind the offensive line.
- With experience and good use of the Playmaker control can penetrate any base defense
- Is adaptable to any defensive line shift
- Combining lead blocker motions with Playmaker control opens a lot of possibilities for a relatively simple looking running play
- Won't break for many long gains
- Requires a lot of practice and the ability to see subtle weaknesses in the defensive formation to be effective
- Relies fairly heavily on ability to make subtle cuts and jukes right at the line of scrimmage
Contact Arkaein with any comments or questions regarding the Monstrous Madden Playbook.