In Madden 21, EA is committed to changing the defensive experience with regards to user-controlled players.
They are sticking to their guns despite feedback in the beta testing, with a new Madden coverage system that will slow down the feel of user defenses.
Zan has worked with EA Sports to cover the new coverage abilities in a youtube video.
So here's how to master the abilities linked to coverage.
Zone Coverage Abilities
Starting with the zone abilities, these are the key ones to look out for.
Deep Out Zone KO
This ability improves reactions/knockouts in deep outside zones (Tre’Davious White, Byron Jones, Jaire Alexander)
The out route was used heavily in the last game as an overpowered move. This is why this is the first coverage ability everyone is getting on to.
INITIATIVE: These abilities don't require a lot of thought and you can let them get on with it
Without the need for any intervention, these players will automatically be tuned to try to break up deep out routes.
They will match up well with the elite WRs that have the ability on their side.
Deep In Zone KO
This ability improves reactions/knockouts in deep inside zones (Earl Thomas III, Devin McCourty, Justin Simmons)
NOTHING IN THE MIDDLE: This is key to stop routes in the middle of the field
This ability allows you to strengthen cover 3 or 4 defenses at the FS position.
The player will have much better reactions and will make direct moves to play the ball.
Flat Zone KO
This ability improves reactions/knockouts in flat zones (Tyrann Mathieu, James Derwin Jr, Stephon Gilmore)
99 Club: Gilmore is one of the best players in the game and he has plenty of abilities
This drastically improves the speed at which the player breaks onto the ball when it is passed into the flat.
It allows the defender to cover more of the field and also increases the level of disruption on the catch when they do get to the receiver.
Mid Zone KO
This ability improves reactions/knockouts in mid zones (Fred Warner, Budda Baker, Lavonte David)
VITAL: The middle of the field has been a gold mine in recent Maddens
This will have the least impact of the abilities, as most players will continue to user this player over the middle of the field.
The player will break significantly quicker than his peers and break on drags and slants into the middle.
Man Coverage Abilities
If you prefer Madden coverage schemes that are man based, these are the abilities for you.
Short Route KO
This ability improves reactions/knockouts in man vs. short routes (Marlon Humphrey, Chris Harris Jr, Jaire Alexander, Tyrann Mathieu)
KEEP IT SHORT: These abilities will help fight against dink and dunk passing attacks
These players will keep a good distance against the short route tree.
They will follow every cut, whether its in or out - this is a great way of dealing with slot receivers.
Medium Route KO
This ability improves reactions/knockouts in man vs. medium routes (Micah Hyde)
GET MICAH: He's the only player with this ability
This is one of the best man coverage abilities in the game simply because most of the routes that work in Madden are medium routes.
These players will be far more disruptive than their peers when there's medium routes. This works across the middle, or coming in and out.
Deep Route KO
This ability improves reactions/knockouts in man vs. deep routes (Marlon Humphrey)
This is a great skill to combat those routes that come deep over the top.
Speedsters are common in Madden, with streak routes particularly popular. Obviously the player needs to have some speed to keep up, but when he does this is an effective defensive ability.
Other Coverage Abilities
Press wins fatigue the opposition receiver (Jalen Ramsey)
SMILE: You'd be happy if you had this many abilities in Madden 21
This slows down the receiver out of their route and then makes them sluggish in their cuts and turns. This buys a window for the coverage to make a play.
One Step Ahead
Faster reactions to receiver cuts in man coverage (Jalen Ramsey, Stephon Gilmore)
Even the most shift receivers will struggle to get away from this coverage. This is reserved for the most elite players and they will track their man step for step.
These are the Madden coverage X-factor abilities that will also have an impact on coverage.
Shutdown - allows tighter coverage and more frequent interceptions on contested catches (Tre’Davious White, Tyrann Mathieu, Richard Sherman, Jaire Alexander, Stephon Gilmore)
Zone Hawk - means more interceptions in zone coverage (Devin McCourty)
Bottleneck - means dominantly winning man press attempts (Jalen Ramsey)