Madden 20: Running the Read Option Plays

Read Options aren't new, but they have been tweaked this year. How should you use them?


A massive part of the college game, the ‘option’ play has grown in the NFL with the increase in mobile QBs. Option plays are what they say on the tin. The QB starts off with the ball at the snap, and one or more running backs will run by the QB, giving your passer the opportunity to pitch the ball, or keep it and run with it themselves.

If you want to have success with the read option plays, you need to learn the ‘read’ part. Before the snap, hold the right trigger to bring up the play art, and you’ll see a symbol hovering above the players that you need to consider.

READ MORE: How to run RPO plays in Madden 20

The standard options give a single choice of either a pitch or a handoff, against keeping on the QB run. The more complex triple option allows for a choice of all 3, which gives more chances to break a big play but it is also harder to pull off.

The best playbook for Option plays is the Panthers. Remember, you need a fast QB to make it worthwhile.

How to run an option play

Play Type -> Option 

  • Hold A/X to hand off option (Read R defender)
  • Press LB/L1 to pitch option (Read P defender)
  • Press nothing to keep with QB

READ MORE: How to master the Philly Special every time

Read option plays are about timing, waiting until the right defender bites on the ball and reacting in advance. You need agile and quick players to carry this off.

As with all plays in Madden, it’s a balance of risk and reward and will require plenty of practice but can unlock huge yardage and frustrate opponents.

Quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, and Cam Newton are perfect for option plays, but remember that your quarterback is going to take more hits with these plays so injuries can play a factor here.



Fumbles are also more likely with these plays, especially the speed option which involves a pitch rather than a hand-off. A bad read can lead to a big loss of yards so get plenty of practice in before you add this play to your repertoire.



READ MORE: How to improve your passing on Madden 20

The benefits of the option

the quarterback is not involved in most running plays, making it a 10 vs 11 play for the offense. The option adds the quarterback back into the equation. The successful use of an option play early on with a mobile quarterback will impact an opponent for the rest of the game. Every zone run or pistol formation suddenly carries another dimension to it that will slow their reads and make them hesitant to come barreling downhill for the running back. It makes plays like inside zone runs more effective as it looks like an option and forces the defense to wait for a split-second, opening a hole for your back.

These aren’t plays you can run with any quarterback though. Tom Brady and Philip Rivers would not run a successful option. You have to pick and choose your moments carefully with it and make sure you have the right personnel to use the play.

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Tom Owen

Contributor. I joined RealSport in 2019 contributing to Madden content.

I have followed the NFL for 15 years since playing Madden 2004, alongside being an avid life long gamer. I have been in a national Madden franchise league called NFL Out of Hours for 5 years.

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