Here are some common football terms that are used in the Madden NFL 25 guide. This section will give you a reference point to check if you aren’t understanding a specific term. With so much information packed into the main sections of the guide, we often overlook some key terms that newer players may not understand yet. There is also a manual inside Madden NFL 25 that includes full controls that can further help with questions you may encounter playing the game. Feel free to email us at ZFarls@maddentips.com or SGibs@maddentips.com if you have any additional questions.
A gap — The gap in the offensive line between the center and the guards is the A gap. There is one to the right and one to the left. This is the fastest way to the QB since it’s right up the middle.
Audible/Audibling — The act of coming to the line and then changing your play. If you call something in the huddle and get to the line of scrimmage and realize the defense is doing something different than you expected, you want to call an audible. This will allow you to change your play to something you think will work better. You can set up to five audibles before the game to make sure you are ready for any situation.
Blitz — On offense, the defense may look to blitz you by bringing more defenders towards your QB than you can block. On defense, you blitz by rushing more players at the QB than your opponent can block. This leaves your coverage vulnerable, but you may force the offense into a bad decision or get a sack.
Block an HB — Blocking an HB is done by putting a player behind the line into a blocking hot route. This will help if you sense a blitz coming at your offense and want him to stay in and block.
Blue Route — This is a “block-and-release” route, which tells your offensive player (whose route is blue) to help block before releasing out on his route for a pass.
The Box — The area on defense before the snap where the defensive line and LBs line up. Looking at “the box” can help you decide if the defense is defending a run and has “eight defenders in the box” or not.
Bunch Set — Three players stacked tightly together on one-half of the field makes a bunch set. A bunch is great for flooding certain areas of the field. An example is Ace Bunch.
Check Down — To dump off a short pass to the halfback or last option on a play, especially after seeing that your other options are covered.
Clicking onto a Player — This is the act of switching your player mid-play to control someone close to the action. “I clicked onto the WR and tried to make the catch.”
Depth Chart — The area of the game where you can set your lineup. Access this by pressing the pause menu and you can set which players play where.
Draw — This is a run play that makes believe the offense is passing. The QB drops back and the receivers start to run routes. Once the defense is fooled, the QB hands off to the RB, who looks for open running lanes.
Dropping a Lineman — Placing a defender on the line of scrimmage into a zone assignment. This is most common with a zone blitz play.
Empty Set — A common formation with an empty set is Shotgun Empty. The backfield is “empty” because there are five WRs in on the play.
Flat — The area of the field near the sideline in line with the line of scrimmage. The most common term is a “pass to the flat,” which means a short pass to the HB who is running towards the sideline from out of the backfield.
Flood — When you send more receivers into a certain area of the field than the opponent has coverage. One example is Four Verticals against a Cover 3 defense. You have four receivers downfield and the opponent only has three defenders deep — therefore one must be open.
Horizontal Passing Concepts — Attacking the field with a short to medium passing game that uses safe throws to keep the chains moving. This offense lacks the big plays of a vertical passing game but should yield a higher percentage of completed throws. The mesh concept is a horizontal passing concept.
Hot Route — Before the snap, you can change any of your players’ route assignments to one of eight pre-set routes based on his position. If you read that the defense is weak in a certain area, look to call a hot route or use multiple hot routes to create a new play on the fly.
Hurry-Up Offense — After a play you can call your players back to the line of scrimmage without going back to the Play Call screen. The last play you called will be selected and the defense won’t be able to substitute. This up-tempo offense can be used to tire out the defense and keep them off balance. It is also known as a no-huddle offense.
Juke — Use the right stick to have your offensive player make a move to fake out the defender.
Line of Scrimmage — A horizontal plane where the ball is spotted right before it’s snapped. This is where the linemen blocking the defense take their places.
Motion a WR — Before the snap, you can highlight an offensive player (WR, TE, or HB) and have him move to a new position. When the blue circle is underneath him, use the D-pad to move him to a new position. This can create new formations and forces the defense to watch where you move your player.
Option Run — A play where the QB can either hand off the ball to his teammate or keep it for himself depending on what he sees with the defense. Also known as Read Option.
Press Coverage — When press coverage is called, your defensive back will stand close to the WR and play physical at the snap. This will force the receiver to use his hands to get off the jam at the line and can throw off timing with the QB. The danger is that if the WR can get free, he will often get good separation from the defender. This is also known as bump-n-run coverage.
Packaging — Using packages at the Play Call screen with the right stick can sub specific players into the game for special situations. For example, the Dual HB package will take out the FB and place another HB into the game at his position.
Pistol — This is a unique formation where the QB takes a shotgun snap but the HB still lines up behind him. You’ll find the Pistol in the Redskins playbook, for example.
Play-Action Pass — Play action involves faking a handoff to the back to try to fool the defense into thinking it’s a run. The QB still has the ball and looks to throw.
Quick Audible — Before the snap, you can quickly audible to another play if you read that the defense is weak against something. You can call a quick pass, deep pass, play-action pass, or run from any formation by using the right stick in a specific direction.
Read Option — An option run in which the QB either hands the ball off to his HB or keeps it. The QB must “read” the defender and make a quick decision!
Screen Pass — Screen passes are most often used when facing an aggressive defense. They look to hit the HB near the flat and try to get the offensive linemen out in front to block. Shotgun Snap — Any formation where the QB lines up 4–5 yards behind the center, who snaps the ball to the QB in the air. This increases chances for bad snaps and most commonly is used with formations that lean heavily towards the pass. The QB catches the snap and doesn’t have to backpedal, so he is all set up to throw.
Slide Protection — Before the snap, you can tell your linemen to slide left, right, or pinch into the middle. This will help them pick up blitzers if you sense them coming from a specific area.
Strafe — On defense, strafing will square your hips to the line of scrimmage and give you better control of your player. You will not be able to move as fast when strafing.
Swat — Having your defender try to knock the ball down rather than go for the interception. He looks to knock away the pass, which gives him more range and can be safer than trying for an interception.
Tight Set — Tight sets bring your receivers into the middle of the field rather than out wide as in most formations. This will create a lot of action in the middle of the field and force the defense to bump into each other as they try to cram into a tight area. Shotgun Tight Flex is a tight set.
Trips Set — These formations place three WRs onto one side of the field. This forces your opponents to shift their attention towards that side since there are more players on that side of the field. Trips sets are great for flooding zone coverages. Shotgun Trips is one example.
Truck — A ball carrier who tries to run over a defender when being tackled is a truck. Trucking is most common with power backs, especially near the goal line.
Under Center — Any formation where the QB lines up directly behind the center and takes a handoff directly from him. This is the opposite of a shotgun snap.
Usering/User Control — When you actively control a player during a play. Whatever player you use on defense is who you are “usering.” The best players believe they can make more plays than if the computer was controlling the same player.
User Catch — The act of clicking onto a WR and holding the Catch button to go after a pass.
Verticals Passing Concept — This passing concept looks to stretch the field aggressively towards your opponent’s end zone. Most often the deep pass audible, by flicking the right stick right, will give you this style of play. The most common way to attack the defense is with Four Verticals, which looks to flood coverage deep by sending all four receivers deep downfield.
Zone Blitz — The art of bringing pressure from one area of the field while dropping defenders into another. This is a tactic used to confuse the offense.
Defensive Playmaker Adjustments
Blitz — You can make any selected player blitz by using this hot route command, a.k.a. a blitz straight down since the players’ rush angle will appear straight down on the screen.
Buzz Zone — The “curl to flat” zone defender will drop 8–10 yards deep and defend the curl; if there is no route threatening that area, he will move to the flat. A buzz zone is also known as a purple zone because of the zone color.
Deep Zone — This dark blue zone will drop back and play deep assignments.
Flat Zone — This light blue zone will drop down and play the flat. It is great for guarding short throwing offenses and players who like to dump off passes to the HB.
Hook Zone — This yellow zone will guard a 3- to 5-yard radius around wherever it is assigned. It is great for covering the middle of the field.
QB Contain — This hot route will make sure your defender watches the QB if he looks to run outside the pocket. It is a great way to stop scrambling QBs who try to run outside the defense.
QB Spy or QB Spies — A QB spy tells your defender to watch the QB and attack him if he runs past the line of scrimmage. This is a great way to stop scrambling QBs. This route also helps stop short throws right over the middle.
Defensive Coverage Adjustments
Back Off — If you want to play bend-but-don’t-break defense, use Back Off coverage. This literally moves your defenders farther away from the line of scrimmage and puts them in a “prevent” defensive position.
Base Align — This allows defenses to align their defenders in the general settings of the formation. As offensive formations change they can alter how a formation looks and plays. To prevent that from happening we use Base Align.
Press — This will jam receivers at the line of scrimmage. Pressing slows down offenses and allows blitzes more time to get after the quarterback.
Safeties In — When your opponent attacks the deep middle of the field you can adjust the coverage of your deep safeties by using Safeties In. This will make them take away anything directly over the middle of the field.
Safeties Out — If your opponent is attacking the sideline, use this coverage adjustment. It will make the safeties protect the sidelines.
Shift Left — If the left side of the field is being attacked, use Shift Left to make your safeties shade the left side of the field.
Shift Right — If the right side of the field is being attacked, use Shift Right to make your safeties shade the right side of the field.
Show Blitz — A great way to load the box up with defenders is to utilize Show Blitz. Most formations in the game will create a Bear front, which is great for stopping the run and blitzing your opponent.
Offensive Hot Routes
Block-and-Release — This blue route tells your back to help block before releasing to the flat.
Comeback — A new route for outside WRs that runs around 15 yards downfield before turning around.
Curl — The WR starts out on a straight pattern and turns around sharply after 8–10 yards.
Drag — A drag runs straight across the field after a 2-yard move forward.
Fade — This route starts the WR moving a few steps towards the sideline and then runs straight downfield.
Flat — A short route by the HB that runs to the flat and gives the QB a short option near the sideline.
Hitch — Similar to the curl route but runs shorter and is only available on the inside.
In — The receiver runs straight for 8 yards before cutting 90 degrees towards the middle of the field. This is the opposite of an out route.
Option — A route by the HB that gives the player the option to sit underneath zone or continue towards the sideline against man-to-man.
Out — The receiver runs straight for 8 yards before cutting 90 degrees towards the sideline. This is the opposite of an in route.
Slant — This route starts like a streak for a few steps and then breaks sharply at an angle across the field.
Smart Route — By pressing down on the right stick, you can tell your WR to run his route to the first down marker. This is great for third-and-long plays where the standard route won’t run far enough downfield.
Smoke — The WR on the outside turns towards the QB to quickly catch the pass and get upfield. This route is best against defenses that are playing far back off the receiver.
Streak — This route runs straight downfield (a.k.a. a “go” or “9” route).
Wheel — This route starts like a flat route but cuts upfield on a streak once it reaches the sideline.
Zig — A zip appears to start like a slant route, but the receiver pivots and cuts back to the outside towards the sideline.
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