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Madden 20: Inside Zone (Reads, RPOs) Deep Dive Guide

Madden NFL 20

Madden 20: Inside Zone (Reads, RPOs) Deep Dive Guide

EB is another person making his video debut on OS this week. He’s a former football coach and someone who loves breaking down football at a more granular level. In his first video, he goes deep into discussing inside zone strategies and some other permutations of the play. It’s a very powerful concept in Madden 20, and so he explains why that’s the case and how you can use it.

If you like the video, be sure to let EB know over at our OS YouTube page as well. If there’s other strategy content you would like to see on Madden, let us hear about that as well.


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  1. Fantastic!  Talking football through the game.  This iteration of Madden is effective with its zone, reads, and RPO packages making it a tool for educating. It's how I enjoy the game, for what it is instead of what it isn't.  I can't wait to see more videos and discussion.
    A shameless dig, it would be nice for the developers to see that there is a niche of players that play for the love of the game's science, not its card collecting arcade, so please consider this cohort of gamers.
    This is some really good stuff. Always enjoy watching X’s and O’s breakdowns.
    The problem with Madden is that they very often do not block according to what a realistic scheme would be. I’ve seen players double team a lineman two gaps over, Ive seen play side linebackers be left completely unblocked, there are some serious messes with the blocking logic.
    I think it has to do with linemen not recognizing that there is nobody to logically double team. If there is nobody in your zone on the line, you move to the second level. This doesn’t happen in Madden. If they are supposed to double team someone, they are going to double team the nearest lineman, even if it doesn’t make logical sense with the play. (Actually, I think it’s just random. Did a couple of zone plays just now and the results were random. Play side guard ran and blocked the corner on the opposite end of the field once.)
    You would think Oldenburg would recognize this better than anyone, but it’s been an ongoing problem for awhile now. I remember when NCAA 11 actually used real blocking schemes as a selling point. They had realistic pulls, double teams, chips, everything. They had coaches in their offices helping them with schemes and such. I miss that level of effort even if it didn’t always pan out how we would want.
    Great video - thanks for making it. I'm also endlessly fascinated with football play schemes and concepts, and listening to a former coach talk about the play concepts is something I could do all day.
    It's been about 10 years since I bought a Madden game (took the plunge on this one out of boredom and it was $25 so why not?), and I won't go into my impressions since there are plenty of those here already, but suffice to say, there's a lot more "fluff" than there used to be!
    With regard to the Read Option plays, I think there is an issue (seems more like an intentional playing-field-leveling 'cheat' to me) where you can't read the unblocked DE quickly enough to make a decision. What I mean is, by the time the DE declares himself - whether he's crashing or staying home - the decision on handoff or keep has already happened. Stated another way, the "mesh point" is too fast, so you can't pull the ball late enough to properly read what the DE is doing and react. There isn't enough time to actually "read" the DE on the Read Option.
    Does anyone have any tips for this? How can I either determine what the DE is doing (crashing vs staying home) earlier - especially since the first step animation is the same - OR hand-off/pull the ball late enough to be able to react. As it is, you basically have to make the hand-off or pull decision before the DE declares himself, which defeats the whole purpose of the play to begin with.
    I thought the read option was implemented perfectly in NCAA14, and this seems somehow significantly worse to me. Also, the lack of being able to slow down the game speed is seriously hindering my enjoyment of the game, but Madden gonna Madden I guess.
    Are you guys still making these videos? Because I really liked the detailed breakdowns and football theory discussed in these.

    Most likely in some form, but we felt it made more sense to wait until the next games come out so it feels a little more timely again. This was a test run of sorts.
    Most likely in some form, but we felt it made more sense to wait until the next games come out so it feels a little more timely again. This was a test run of sorts.

    Much appreciated. I think they were really well done and I really liked the detailed breakdowns of how plays are supposed to develop. Football concepts/theories are endlessly interesting to me (and I would imagine many others as well).

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