Madden 23 Schemes Explained: What You Need to Know

Learn how to master adjustments to become the king of the gridiron in Madden 23.


As is always the case, there’s a tremendous amount of hype circling around Madden 23, so many avid players are already planning their offensive and defensive schemes.

If you just joined the game franchise in recent years, you might have heard the term “scheme” thrown around a fair bit. Still, not everyone knows what it means and how to use a scheme. So, here’s everything that you need to know about Madden 23 schemes.


What is a scheme in Madden 23?

A Madden 23 scheme is a set of plays revolving around a limited number of formations. It usually involves plays that can be repeated and that exploit the game’s weaknesses.

Offensive schemes usually consist of plays that beat different types of coverage with simple adjustments. Defensive schemes, on the other hand, typically consist of a lot of adjustments to create pressure, cover deep zones, or cover mid-routes.

Does a scheme matter in Madden 23?

Yes, absolutely! Having a scheme is crucial, especially in online modes. Many players naturally develop schemes, repeating plays that work and that they find comfortable. Schemes of preference also depend on the current meta of the game.

Madden 21 defensive schemes involving man coverage were very effective. In response, most offensive -schemes offered a variety of man-beating routes. This made Madden 21 a pass-heavy game.


Madden 20, on the other hand, was certainly a running back-centered game. The defensive schemes had a lot of blitzing plays to stop the run.

From what we’ve seen so far, it seems like Madden 23 will be a pass-centric game for offense and primarily a zone-blitz game for defense like last years game.

How do you play zone coverage in Madden 23?

To play zone coverage in Madden 23, you need to either choose a zone play from your select a play screen or audible on the field by pressing the Square or X button.


Zones are areas that a specific defender has to cover. There are three main types of zone coverage: Cover 2 (two deep zones); Cover 3 (three deep zones); and Cover 4 (four deep zones). By selecting a zone coverage play, each defender will be assigned a specific zone.

Madden 23 shows a lot of improvements in the way that computer-controlled defenders play the zones. This means that fewer players can cover a large portion of the field. With fewer defensive backs needed in coverage, the zone-blitz will be the best type of play.

A zone-blitz play features fewer defenders in coverage, allowing more to attack the QB. This creates pressure that usually results in a sack, an incomplete pass, or a turnover. The key to managing this type of coverage lies in the zone adjustments, either dropping to a certain distance or playing at a certain depth.

How do you make adjustments to zone depth in Madden 23?

Zone depth adjustments can be implemented by pressing the Triangle or Y button and flicking the right analog to a certain option. This action is popularly known as shading coverage as the color of the zones changes depending on the adjustment.

  • By flicking the right analog up, the defenders will play overtop coverage, concentrating on deep routes. The defenders allow the receiver to gain a small distance at the moment of the snap, protecting the deep zones.
  • By flicking the right analog down, the defenders will play underneath coverage. This means that the DBs are more likely to press the defender, which makes it a great adjustment for short-yardage situations.
  • By flicking the right analog left, the defenders will play inside coverage. The defenders will concentrate on routes that run inside the numbers, like in-routes and slants.
  • By flicking the right analog right, the defenders will play outside coverage. This means that the defensive backs are going to focus on plays that target the sideline, such as out-routes and corners.

When to use zone drops in Madden 23

It’s best to use zone drops in Madden 23 when there’s a specific area of the field that you want to cover. Most zones will have weak spots that an adversary can exploit. To avoid that, Madden introduced zone drops to modify the coverage on a particular zone to a precise part of the field.

Zone drops are a fantastic feature that was first added in Madden 21 and has been carried over Madden 23. On the coaching adjustments screen, you can modify the drop distance for a certain type of zone. This includes zones like flats, curl flats, and hooks. Drops allow players to cover specific parts of the field with more accuracy, dismantling offensive schemes.

That’s everything that you need to know about Madden 23 scheme building; be ready to create pressure, improve your coverage skills, and achieve Super Bowl glory.

Looking for more Madden 23 guides?

Madden 23 Best Playbooks: Top Offensive & Defensive Plays to Win on Franchise Mode, MUT, and Online

Madden 23: Best Offensive Playbooks

Madden 23: Best Defensive Playbooks

Madden 23: Best Playbooks for Running QBs

Madden 23: Best Playbooks for 3-4 Defenses

Madden 23: Best Playbooks for 4-3 Defenses

Madden 23 Sliders: Realistic Gameplay Settings for Injuries and All-Pro Franchise Mode

Madden 23 Relocation Guide: All Team Uniforms, Teams, Logos, Cities and Stadiums

Madden 23: Best (and Worst) Teams to Rebuild

Madden 23 Defense: Interceptions, Controls, and Tips and Tricks to Crush Opposing Offenses

Madden 23 Running Tips: How to Hurdle, Jurdle, Juke, Spin, Truck, Sprint, Slide, Dead Leg and Tips

Madden 23 Stiff Arm Controls, Tips, Tricks, and Top Stiff Arm Players

Madden 23 Controls Guide (360 Cut Controls, Pass Rush, Free Form Pass, Offense, Defense, Running, Catching, and Intercept) for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X & Xbox One


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