MMM MMM AAA DDDDDDD DDDDDDD EEEEEEEE NNN NNN MMMM MMMM AAAAA DDDDDDDD DDDDDDDD EEEEEEEE NNNN NNN MMMMM MMMMM AAA AAA DDD DDD DDD DDD EEE NNNNN NNN MMMMMMMMMMM AAA AAA DDD DDD DDD DDD EEEEEE NNNNNN NNN MMMMMMMMMMM AAAAAAAAAAA DDD DDD DDD DDD EEEEEE NNN NNN NNN MMM MMM MMM AAAAAAAAAAA DDD DDD DDD DDD EEE NNN NNNNNN MMM MMM AAA AAA DDD DDD DDD DDD EEE NNN NNNNN MMM MMM AAA AAA DDDDDDDD DDDDDDDD EEEEEEEE NNN NNNN MMM MMM AAA AAA DDDDDDD DDDDDDD EEEEEEEE NNN NNN NNN NNN FFFFFFFF LLL 0000000 9999999 NNNN NNN FFFFFFFF LLL 000000000 999999999 NNNNN NNN FFF LLL 000 000 999 999 NNNNNN NNN FFF LLL 000 000 999999999 NNN NNN NNN FFFFFF LLL 000 000 99999999 NNN NNNNNN FFFFFF LLL 000 000 999 NNN NNNNN FFF LLL 000 000 999 NNN NNNN FFF LLLLLLLL 000000000 99999999 NNN NNN FFF LLLLLLLL 0000000 9999999 ************* *Madden NFL 09* ************* ************* Madden NFL 09 FAQ For XBox 360, PS3 Version 1.5 (10/9/08) Written by Brad Russell "TheGum" Email: Website: ************* Version 1.0 - I could cover the modes and always go deeper into each team in a later update. (8/20/08) Version 1.2 - Finished up the Madden Moments *gasps*, and added bits to other places. I know there will be more than a few updates as the rosters settle. (8/21/08) Version 1.5 - touched up things here and there. (10/9/08) ***************** Table Of Contents ***************** Use Ctrl + F to quick find in this guide. Section: Code: 1. A Brief Foreword 2. Controls ( CON2222 ) 3. Starter Tips ( TIPS333 ) 4. Teams: 4A. National Football Conference ( NFC123 ) NFC East Dallas Cowboys New York Giants Philadelphia Eagles Washington Redskins NFC North Green Bay Packers Minnesota Vikings Chicago Bears Detroit Lions NFC South Tampa Bay Buccaneers New Orleans Saints Carolina Panthers Atlanta Falcons NFC West Seattle Seahawks Arizona Cardinals St. Louis Rams San Francisco 49ers 4B. American Football Conference ( AFC123 ) AFC East New England Patriots New York Jets Buffalo Bills Miami Dolphins AFC North Pittsburgh Steelers Cleveland Browns Cincinnati Bengals Baltimore Ravens AFC South Indianapolis Colts Jacksonville Jaguars Tennessee Titans Houston Texans AFC West San Diego Chargers Denver Broncos Oakland Raiders Kansas City Chiefs 5. Football ( PLAY555 ) Offense OFF1234 Defense DEF5678 Special Teams SPT9012 6. Glossary ( GLOS666 ) Football FOB27 7. Madden Test ( TEST777 ) 8. Game Modes ( MODE888 ) 9. Tackling All-Madden ( ALLM666 ) 10. Power Rankings 11. Author Info / Copyright ***************************************************************************** * 1. A Brief Foreword * ***************************************************************************** **The following is a note I would write to EA if any of the following were applicable: A) if EA listened, B) if anyone else cared, or C) if there were somewhere to send it - don't worry, I haven't and don't plan to look. Sorry if it sounds like whining, which it is I suppose, but I hate because I love football so much.** Dear EA, I appreciate the effort of this year's Madden, but this game is becoming more and more unlike football. I understand programming AI that can play football must be hard, but scripting, rubberband AI, sliders, hidden sliders, and animations are not the answer. I'm sure it's nice and easy to copy and paste last year's tackle animations to this year, but if you actually compare those to how NFL players tackle, you'll see that your animations don't fly. The main thing to fix is how you let the CPU quarterback throw off his back foot on any play. I'm sure Madden himself would say, "Now he should have never thrown that ball off his back foot, boom!" Is it too much to ask for players to walk into a game with both teams on an equal field and the players decide the game, rather than sliders, scripting, and animations? I have been a loyal fan for many years, but other than crazy games against other gamers, I'm starting to understand why many people have long lost faith in the Madden franchise for not offering enough innovation. Madden 09 is just NCAA 09 in new packaging and some glitter to make it look better. For next year, please try to make a game that better reflects the NFL. TheGum. **OR** Dear EA, You no longer have to include any form of single-player gameplay because you fail to address it properly. Good players are better than the All-Pro setting and All-Madden is in no way real football. I don't have the time to list every point, but if you sat me down to play a game of All-Madden in front of you, we could write essays on what makes this game so frustrating for me. It's evident that no one at EA actually knows about football because you would know that pass interference does not count when a ball is tipped... So in closing, when you're ready to make a better football game, I will consider buying it. Until further notice, this is the last Madden I will ever buy. TheGum. **OR** Dear 2K Sports, Please get the NFL license back so you can show the world how to play real football! At least I hope. TheGum. ***************************************************************************** * 2. Controls ( CON2222 ) * ***************************************************************************** This is the most comprehensive controls section I've ever made, so you better like it. I hope they all match up with NCAA controls, as they are the same games, except for pump fakes and throwing away, which was TONS of fun to adjust to by the way. Key: When you see X (A), it means PS3 (XBox 360) PS3 = 360 X = A SQU = X O = B TRI = Y L1 = LB R1 = RB L2 = LT R2 = RT LS = LS RS = RS D-Pad = D-Pad L3 = L3 R3 = R3 Start = Start Select = Back ======= General ======= Move player - LS Sprint - R2 (RT) (can be bad at times) Switch player - tap O (B), hold and direction to scroll Show routes (playart) - R2 (RT) + Up; bluff with R2 (RT) + left/right Audible - SQU (X) Preplay help - R3 Replay - L1 + R1 (LB + RB) Timeout - Select (Back) Pause - Start ======= Offense ======= Hurry-up -------- *Hold these after a play is over Hurry - X (A) Hurry and call last play - TRI (Y) Spike - SQU (X) Fake spike - O (B) *NOTE: It's much faster to just call a play like normal instead of using these.* Pre-Play -------- *While at the line of scrimmage Timeout - Select (Back) Snap - X (A) Fake snap - R1 (RB) Audible - SQU (X) and then one of the receiver buttons that corresponds to the pre-set play. These are displayed for you in this game. Motion - hold O (B) + left/right to select a player, then press left/right to send him in motion Flip run - RS left/right Slide Protection - L2 (LT) + up/left/down/right Playart - R2 (RT) and RS up; bluff with RS left/right **L1/R1 (LB/RB) during play selection to change packages, such as Spell HB. Hot Routes ---------- *These are pre-play Select player - press TRI and then the receiver's button Hot Route - after you select a receiver, press one of the following routes Straight up - LS up Come back - LS down In/Out route - LS left/right Fade - RS up Drag - RS down Slant - RS left/right Block - left/right = L2/R2 (LT/RT) Smart route - R1 (RB) Cancel - O (B) Passing ------- *Keep in mind you can move in the pocket, and run and pass so long as you never cross the line of scrimmage Pass the ball - X, O, SQU, TRI, L1 (A, B, X, Y, LB); tap for a lob, hold for bullet pass Throw away (out of pocket) - click RS Pump fake - R1 (RB) Run - R2 (RT) (same as sprint) Option Plays ------------ Pitch/Lateral - L2 (LT) Fake pitch - L1 (LB) Fullback (triple option, hold at handoff) - X (A) Running ------- *This is when running to start, with the QB, or after a catch Sprint - R2 (RT) Spin - O (B); RS in a circle Dive - SQU (X) Hurdle - TRI (Y) Stiff Arm - X (A) Protect ball - R1 (RB) Lateral - L2 (LT) Juke - RS left/right/down Highlight stick - RS up High Step/celebrate - press/hold O (B) as you run to the endzone Celebrate - run into friendly player or press a button besides X (A) Dunk on goal posts - TRI (Y) running straight at it Catching -------- Switch to receiver - O (B) Catch - TRI (Y) Diving catch - SQU (X) Blocking -------- *I guess someone may want to do this, sadly For a running play, switch to player like a hot route, then press L1 (LB) to control that blocker after the snap. Press the RS up for an impact block, or down for a cut block. ======= Defense ======= Of course after an INT or fumble, normal running moves apply. Pre-Play -------- Timeout - Select (Back) Audible - SQU (X) Jump Snap - L2 (LT) Defensive line audibles - L1 (LB) Linebacker audibles - R1 (RB) Coverage audibles - TRI (Y) D-Line Audibles --------------- *L1 (LB) and then any of these buttons, or O (B) to cancel Shift - LS left/right Spread/Pinch - LS up/down Crash - RS right/left/down DE contain - RS up Linebacker Audibles ------------------- *R1 (RB) and then any of these buttons, or O (B) to cancel Shift - LS left/right Spread/Pinch - LS up/down Blitz - right/left/all = RS left/right/down LB Zone - RS up Coverage Audibles ----------------- *TRI (Y) and then any of these buttons, or O (B) to cancel Show blitz/Show man - LS left/right Soft/Press - LS up/down Safety zone shade - RS left/right Safety shade - RS up/down Hot Routes ---------- *Tap O (B) to select player, then press X (A) and one of these buttons, cancel with O (B) Hook Zone - LS up QB Contain - LS down Man Coverage - LS left + receiver icon Buzz zone - LS right Blitz - RS down Deep zone - RS up QB spy - RS left Flat zone - RS right After Snap ---------- Sprint - R2 (RT) Switch - O (B) Dive - SQU (X) Strip ball - X (A) Strafe - hold L2 (LT) Intercept - TRI (Y) Diving INT - SQU (X) Swat - X (A) Hit stick - RS up for high; RS down for low Bull rush - R1 (RB) Finesse move - L1 (LB) Hands up - TRI (Y) ============= Special Teams ============= Kick - LS change height and direction of kick; RS down until in the red, then up in the direction when in the red or close to it for power. Don't adjust kickoff height please. Punt - same as kick, just know low punts will be returned easier. Fair catch - TRI (Y) Kneel in endzone before leaving - don't move All other moves apply when returning. ***************************************************************************** * 3. Starter Tips ( TIPS333 ) * ***************************************************************************** #1. Be sure to quick save (LS) when you've done something, especially after a win in franchise, but also after just normal wins. #2. When playing, I always kick the ball to start a game. That way, no matter what happens in the first half, you can start the second half with the ball. #3. Not much harm in going for it on 4th down when the ball is near the 40, especially on Heisman where kickoffs and returns usually put the CPU team on the 40 anyway. #4. A basic tip while passing is to look downfield. Of course if you have routes that take a while to develop, maybe then you can watch the pocket collapse and enter scramble mode. You should see where the blitz is coming from right after the snap and either respond or see if it's picked up. #5. It's best to learn all the shifts before a play. There are three on defense and one on offense. Then learn all the motions and hot routes for offense; in time you may want to learn about the defensive hot routes too. #6. I never play the 2 pt conversion on odd scores. Great if you can score everytime, but I would rather take my 1 pt and then worry about cruncing #'s later. #7. I hope your realize there is a way to see what the offense is running when making defensive calls. It's usually to the side of your play sheet. #8. If you struggle with anything, whether it's run, pass, run defense, or pass defense, you can run the "Madden Tests", or just go to practice and actually put those skills to a better test. It's best to try out all the moves. Of course for any defense you could just play games - practice is really just to get timing of passing routes down and running. #9. Please, know what your team is good at. If you don't know, feel free to poke around the internet, or here's a thought, watch the games. Yeah, this is more an arcade game than a simulation, but bad defense is bad defense no matter what. #10. Please turn off weapons, they are stupid and make this game even more arcade-y than it needs to be. This is an arcade game by the way, in no way resembling anything close to real football, but it's a fun version of football. #11. Refer to my NCAA 09 guide for maybe some additional insight, but the two games are different in players and some formations. Keep in mind large portions of this guide are copied from that guide, and fittingly since the two games are basically the same. #12. When in the closing seconds of the game and behind, you're in hurry-up mode, but don't use the hurry-up controls post-play, just call a play like normal as it's much faster. #13. Please turn off injuries and weapons for your games/franchises. Weapons are stupid since stats are already there, and the smart weapons just ruin any potential that may be there. Injuries are just random, so why play with them? #14. To help you on offense, have two buttons ready to push before the snap when passing. This should help simplify the offense until you can scan the field. ***************************************************************************** * 4A. National Football Conference ( NFC123 ) * ***************************************************************************** Here is a rundown of all the teams in what is called the "weaker" division in the NFL. It's due to the thought that only a handful of teams could beat whoever wins the AFC, while the AFC has many top teams. Key Rating: offense + defense = overall** Key Weapons: best offensive options minus the QB; best defensive options for you to play Strength: best thing on this team Weakness: one thing far below the rest *NOTE: All of this is partly subjective on my part, but I try to stay honest about it all. See, I put my hated Cowboys first, then my Eagles.* **These will change, and I know they are not right at the time of this posting, but the ratings and players are mostly in the same ballpark. Teams will change up until the trade deadline, around week 6 or so in real time. ======== < NFC East > ======== Dallas Cowboys -------------- Rating: 96 Key Weapons: TO, Barber, Witten; Ware (OLB), Hamlin (FS) Strength: offense Weakness: defensive line The Cowboys have one of the most talented teams in the NFL, and luckily for you there is no choke factor in Madden. The only weakness on offense is the fact that there is little behind Terrell Owens at WR. Romo has passing and scrambling abilities, as well as the ability to evade some tackles. Couple that with Jason Witten and Owens and you have short passing and play action potential on every play. The running backs are not gamebusters, but they offer speed and power. Marion Barber is the work horse that gets you past 4th and 1 and goal line punches. Felix Jones lets you run laterally, but he's a rookie so don't rely on him in clutch downs. The defense is solid all around. DeMarcus Ware is one of the best LB's in the game, and the rest of his LB corps is great too, and they need to be to cover up the weakness in the d-line. Running offenses can find success up the middle, but passing plays should look for zone coverage and pass through Roy Williams, one of the worst zone defenders in the game. Philadelphia Eagles ------------------- Rating: 91 Key Weapons: Westbrook, Curtis/Brown, Jackson, Smith; Dawkins (FS) Strength: secondary Weakness: LB The Iggles offer a team that is very close to being elite. Donovan McNabb is no longer the scramble-first QB of old, but he can still move around. He's one of the stronger QB's in the game and always leaves open the threat of a deep bomb, even if his real-life counter-part insists on throwing to the flats until the clock winds down the zero and the Eagles have officially lost... Brian Westbrook is quite possibly the best all around offensive weapon in the NFL. He's a great RB alone, but combine that with the fact that he can act as a WR on every play and you can do things that most teams can't. Call a slant with him in the backfield, or send him in motion and no LB can cover him. You may notice that Ace runs work for BWest better than I-forms - trust me, they do. The Eagle receiving corps is not great, but it does provide depth. Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis take a Randy Moss and split him into two - Brown being tall and Curtis being fast. Playing in the shotgun puts in the rest of the WR's, mainly fast-guy Jackson, onto the field. Baskett beats out Avant for that 4th spot, but heck, even Lewis can catch passes if you need him. For defense you have talent all around, except in the linebacking corps. Where you may find trouble stopping the run you will not find such stopping the pass. This is the best secondary in the NFL, with only Quinten Mikell the "weak" link at SS, and he isn't horrible by any means. Heck, even the young, fast LB's can make a few plays. New York Giants --------------- Rating: 94 Key Weapons: Burress; Pierce (MLB), try Phillips (FS) Strength: offensive line Weakness: defense The Super Bowl Champs, or "the team that got hot at the right time to reach the Super Bowl and then got REALLY lucky to win the Super Bowl" don't offer much talent at the key positions. Eli is, kindly, a better QB in this game than in reality, but aside from Plaxico there aren't many playmakers he can pass to. There is some depth there, with Toomer, Smith, and Hixon, but none of them are gamebusters to count on. You'll rely almost completely on the running game, which is bolstered by the great offensive line. Jacobs and the other RB's offer all kinds of running styles, but aren't spectacular at anything. The defense isn't terrible, but it too offers little. You have one of the best pass rushing d-lines in the game with Osi and Tuck at defensive ends. Antonio Pierce helps stopping the run. The rest of the defense is better than most, but still not great. *Osi is not in the game, so it's Tuck, but he's pretty good. Washington Redskins ------------------- Rating: 88 Key Weapons: Portis, Moss, Randle El; Fletcher (MLB), Landry (SS) Strength: defense Weakness: passing The Redskins really don't do anything exceptionally well, but you have spots of goodness. Jason Campbell could one day be a great QB, but at the moment he offers the classic run-first talents of scrambling QB's. His speedy WR's help in crossing routes, but these receivers are short and easy to rough up. Clinton Portis is an above-average elusive back. Offense goes through him since defenders won't worry too much about the pass. You'll need to get a run game going with Portis or you could see pass coverage every down until you prove otherwise. The defense does well enough, with great LB's and a deep secondary. The d-line doesn't stand out, so rely on the other positions to bring pressure and stop the run. ========= < NFC North > ========= Green Bay Packers ----------------- Rating: 91 Key Weapons: Driver, Jennings, Grant; Hawk (OLB) Strength: defense Weakness: no Brett Favre (aka Aaron Rogers) Brett Favre wasn't gamebuster on the team, and Aaron Rogers doesn't help this team's passing attack at all. You have two great WR's in Jennings and Driver, but it just depends on whether Rogers can get the ball to them. Ryan Grant offers a bruising running game, but he's not a gamebuster either. Just like the Giants, you'll need to establish a running attack with Grant to open up the Rogers passing game. The Packer defense is solid all around, with great CB's, decent safeties, two strong LB's, and great DE's. This is one of the better balanced defenses in the game. You'll need them too to cover up for the "rookie" QB. Minnesota Vikings ----------------- Rating: 90 Key Weapons: AD (Peterson), Rice; Henderson (MLB), Sharper (SS) Strength: Adrian Peterson Weakness: QB Another team with all the pieces in place except for QB. Tarvaris Jackson has potential to be the next Donovan McNabb, but the arm isn't there. He's the classic run-first scrambling QB, and along with AD you can overkill your run game and then allow passing. Speaking of AD, which is All Day, Adrian Peterson is the man-child out of OU that will be one of the legends of the game if he stays healthy. He combines power with speed, and he can catch if needed. Seeing 8 in the box isn't much of a problem, but anything less and the defense has made a huge mistake. The Viking defense has one glaring flaw, the backfield. Up front you have the best defensive line in the game in Jared Allen and the two Williams. You have Sharper at SS, Winfield at CB, and Henderson at MLB, but other than that the rest of the backfield is average at best. Feel free to use 4-3 zones or nickels to make sure all your bases are covered. Chicago Bears ------------- Rating: 80 Key Weapons: Hester; Urlacher(MLB)/Briggs(OLB), Brown (FS) Strength: defense Weakness: offense A team in the Super Bowl a few years ago. You can only hope you have Rex* in at QB as he at least offers the deep ball. Sadly, that is the highlight of the offense believe it or not. You better find ways to get Devin Hester on offense because you'll need him. No run game, no true WR's, and all you have is Hester. Speaking of him, your special teams may be your best bet at making offense. Hester will go down as the best return man ever, so get good at reading returns and making your moves. One score with him and you've made up for the bad offense. The Bear defense is always known for being the best part of this team. Strong points are the LB's and corners, but the safeties and linemen could use some work. The corners help stop passes and the LB's will stuff the run, the rest is up to your playcalling. *Orton is the QB, but he's basically the same as Rex, underwhelming. Detroit Lions ------------- Rating: 78 Key Weapons: Williams & Johnson; Sims (OLB), Smith (SS) Strength: WR Weakness: running The lovable losers. You have Kitna as a decent QB, but it's best he gets the ball quickly to one of his tall WR's. Williams and Johnson offer possession and speed, Roy and Calvin respectively. McDonald is you slot guy with better moves than the others, so don't be afraid to give him the ball and let him make a play. There is no running game, so let's move on. You'll need to pass to set up the run, FYI. The Lion defense is pretty lame as well. You have a good LB in Sims and one good DT in Redding, but that's about it. Dodden is a good enough corner, but he is the only highlight of the secondary. *The addition of Rudi Johnson is not a big factor, or shouldn't be. A lot of this team is on the trade block, so don't be surprised if much of it is different at year's end. ========= < NFC South > ========= Tampa Bay Buccaneers -------------------- Rating: 91 Key Weapons: Galloway; June(OLB)/Brooks(OLB) Strength: defense Weakness: offense It may sound odd to say this offense is a weak point if you were to be around the NFL a few years ago. Garcia*, my boi, is getting old and he doesn't have stellar weapons around him. You could probably make some strange formations using more than one of these 3 above-average RB's. Dunn, Graham, and Williams are toss-ups to which one is better, so it's your call. Joey Galloway is still a speed guy at WR, but the rest are possession guys at best. The Buc defense is still the strength of this team. You have a strong LB corps in Brooks and June, and Ronde Barber will keep his guy mostly quiet. The other CB Buchanon is quite fast. The linemen are not bad, but not great. *Garcia is not the starter, but he's still rated above Griese, so feel free to play whoever you like better - Garcia. New Orleans Saints ------------------ Rating: 87 Key Weapons: Colston, Bush, Shockey; Vilma (MLB) Strength: offense Weakness: defense In a complete 180 of the Bucs, the Aints offer a pro offense, but a defense that couldn't stop USC. Drew Brees is an extremely good QB, and he has many weapons to throw to in Colston and Shockey. Reggie Bush may not be a great RB, but he is a solid receiver. The running game is still solid, but not stellar. Bush is a better RB in this game than in reality, but if you can get him in space he can do good. Deuce is a power back good for short yardage. Keep in mind what RB you have on a running play as the two are very different. Defense is horrible for this team. You have Vilma and some good linemen, but that's it, and I mean it. Fujita may be the best other guy on the team, but that's not saying a whole lot. You're giving up points, so deal with it. Carolina Panthers ----------------- Rating: 86 Key Weapons: Smith; Beason (MLB), Harris (SS) Strength: Steve Smith Weakness: running Lucky for you, no suspensions will be served in this game. Steve Smith and Jake Delhomme are your offense, so get that straight. There is really nothing else on offense, I swear. You have to sit in the pocket and wait for Smith to be open. I guess Musin is a good enough 2nd guy. The two RB's are average and very similar, so you could toss a coin as to which one you want to use. They are pretty inexperienced, so keep that in mind. The defense has Peppers and Beason, but nothing spectacular anywhere else. The defense isn't bad, but not enough to win you games alone. Atlanta Falcons --------------- Rating: 67 Key Weapons: White, Turner Strength: Turner Weakness: everything else Come on, they had some players last year, but this is a fresh team with nothing. You have a defensive end in Abraham, and maybe a burner in Michael Turner, but that's it. This team is much better in real life, not a whole lot better but a lot compared to where they are in this game. ======== < NFC West > ======== Seattle Seahawks ---------------- Rating: 87 Key Weapons: Tatupu (MLB) Strength: defense Weakness: running A team that is on the decline, but still tops in the NFC. Hasselbeck is in the upper tiers of QB's, and he has decent weapons to throw to. Branch, Engram, and Burleson are all #2 wide receivers, so they aren't bad. Shaun Alexander could have made the run game better since his stats would have been better in this game than in real life. As it stands, you have Jones as a decent small RB, but he's not great by any means. The defense will keep you in all your games. Tatupu and Peterson make for one of the best LB corps in the game, and the secondary isn't too bad either. On the line you have Kerney, which is probably enough. *This is a team that benefits from potential. Or home field advantage doesn't count enough for this game. Arizona Cardinals ----------------- Rating: 78 Key Weapons: Fitzgerald & Boldin, James; Wilson (SS) Strength: WR Weakness: defense You have a great weapons, but not really a great gunslinger at QB. Warner is a pocket passer, but Leinart isn't much better. You'll need to quickly get the ball to your two great wideouts, Fitz and Bold. Fitz is your big, deep threat while Boldin will make your catches over the middle. Edge is a solid RB, and nothing to sneeze at. He's not top-shelf material, but he's good enough as a runner. Feel free to sub in Hightower as a decent 2nd RB. The defense has a decent secondary, but that's about it. Average LB's, one good DT, and the rest of the line is sub-par. Expect to see a few runs against you. St. Louis Rams -------------- Rating: 77 Key Weapons: Holt, Jackson; Witherspoon (MLB), Atogwe (FS) Strength: Steven Jackson Weakness: defense Good for you virtual Jackson doesn't hold out. Bulger is was supposed to be the next great QB, but he is still below the upper tiers. He's good, but he doesn't have much to throw to. Holt is the solid veteran, and the rest are there. You'll need to ram the ball up the middle with Jackson. The FB isn't too bad either, so I-formations and play actions will work really well. You'll see 8 in the box to start games, so pass to Holt and company to open up the space for Jackson to truck forward. The defense is not bad, but not great. A few guys at postions, Witherspoon at MLB and Atogwe at FS, but not much else. Next year the Long guy could be better than now, or maybe as the season progresses. San Francisco 49ers ------------------- Rating: 72 Key Weapons: Gore; Willis (MLB), Lewis (SS) Strength: defense Weakness: QB Wow, you don't have a QB, so don't think otherwise. You really don't have much to throw to anyways. Davis at TE is good, but the rest of the wideouts are #3's at the best. Luckily for the passing game, you have Frank Gore to lower that FS. Gore is fast and strong, but not a gamebuster. Offense on the 49ers goes through him. Defense is above average for this team. For the secondary, only the FS is the weak point. At the LB corps you at least have Willis, one of the best in the game, and he will have to control the run game by himself. The line isn't terrible, but not strong. *JT is the QB, wooo! ***************************************************************************** * 5B. American Football Conference ( AFC123 ) * ***************************************************************************** This is the overall best conference because you have the "19-0" Patriots, the powerhouse Colts, flashy Chargers, power Steelers, up-and-coming Browns, and then a few other teams from the South not named the Texans. On any given Sunday these top teams could beat another in an AFC championship. Key Rating: offense + defense = overall** Key Weapons: best offensive options minus the QB; best defensive options for you to play Strength: best thing on this team Weakness: one thing far below the rest **These will change, and I know they are not right, but teams will change throughout the season, but at least you have some idea where a team ranks. ======== < AFC East > ======== New England Patriots -------------------- Rating: 97 Key Weapons: Moss, Welker, Watson, Maroney; any LB, Harrison (SS) Strength: passing Weakness: secondary Ah, the team that wears 18-1 t-shirts to work. The Pats are right up there as a top team based on talent alone. Brady and Moss will be legends of the game, and they have no flaws in their game. On top of that, Brady has Welker across from Moss and then Watson at TE. Combine that with the other WR's and the catching RB Faulk, you understand why this team can win games by playing the shotgun all game long. Maroney isn't a bad RB, he just can't win a game for you. He's good for short yards, draws, and screens, but he should be any player's second option to the passing game. He'll see plenty to time late in games when you're running out the clock. The line is solid, and running a 3-4 they need to be. The linebackers are old, not fast, but they can stop the run. So a solid line and strong LB's, that means you'll need to pass against the Pats. You have an old SS and decent corners. Passing isn't automatic, but it's the only weak point in this defense's armor. *Without Brady, it's a "rookie" driving the best car in the NFL. Still an okay team, but that defense is weaker in real life. New York Jets ------------- Rating: 76 Key Weapons: Coles & Cotchery, Jones; Harris (MLB), Rhodes (SS) Strength: no weaknesses Weakness: no strengths I swear I made the strengths and weaknesses for all teams the day before the Favre trade and this team had QB as a weakness. Favre doesn't make them the New England Patriots in passing, but they have two good WR's and an old legend at QB. The run game isn't too bad with Jones and Washington, and that new line helps open up lanes. This team doesn't have killer weapons on offense, but it's good enough if used correctly. Defense has a guy at each position who is solid, but not strong in any one thing. If anything, the LB corps is very promising, and could be better as the season rolls along. Defense isn't a big negative, but the whole team is about average all around. *Not sure why, but this team on All-Madden is extremely tough. Buffalo Bills ------------- Rating: 82 Key Weapons: Evans, Lynch; Crowell (OLB), Whitner (SS) Strength: Marshawn Lynch Weakness: QB Here is one of those up-and-coming teams that could be great down the road. As for now, there is no QB. At least there is one good WR in Evans. Lynch is your best weapon as he is the utili-back, capable of doing a little bit of all the things RB's can do. The defense is actually pretty good. You got a few guys on the line, a couple of above-average LB's, and then a solid secondary. Defense could be a bigger plus than the running game, but either way you know the Bills will make some stops. *Not sure who the QB is at the moment, but both QB's are about the same. Miami Dolphins -------------- Rating: 67 Key Weapons: Brown; Porter (OLB) Strength: running Weakness: passing At least there are a few good runners on this team, more than the Falcons have. Brown and Williams are both solid, with the nod going to Brown. Williams is fast enough to maybe catch some passes for you. No receivers on this team, so with no QB you'll be using a lot of Brown on 1st and 2nd down. The defense is average at best. Porter at LB is your best defender, but an average line and only average CB's. Believe it or not, this team is just a tiny bit ahead of the Falcons, despite a 1-15 season. *This team still is terrible in this game, even though the real team just beat the two best teams in the AFC. If they get a few more wins, expect this team to climb. ========= < AFC North > ========= Pittsburgh Steelers ------------------- Rating: 94 Key Weapons: Ward, Holmes, Parker, Miller; any LB, Polamalu (SS) Strength: defense Weakness: WR Big Ben has the ability to run out of the pocket, which is more than either Anderson or Palmer in the next two teams can do. Unlike the next two teams, Ben has less weapons to throw to. Ward, Holmes, and Miller are good, solid options, but they aren't gamebusters. Sure, you can move the ball with the pass, but it's an area to improve. Fast Willie and the rookie RB provide a punishing run game. The defense is pretty well-rounded. You have above-average corners, a great safety, a solid LB corps, and a two great linemen. If anything, you could test those corners with better wide receivers. Cleveland Browns ---------------- Rating: 88 Key Weapons: Edwards, Winslow, Lewis Strength: passing Weakness: defense The defense isn't bad, but this team is certainly on the brink of having an elite offense. Anchoring that offense is the surprise QB Derek Anderson. He's a traditional pocket passer, but for it you have Winslow at TE and Edwards at WR, two of the best at those positions to pass to. Jamal Lewis is a power runner, good for short yardage. The defense has two good players on the line, but the LB's and DB's lack any real stars. They aren't bad, but not great. Cincinnati Bengals ------------------ Rating: 80 Key Weapons: Ocho Cinco & TJ Strength: passing Weakness: defense It should come as no surprise the Bengals and Browns hooked up last year for a 50+ point performance on both sides. Just like the Browns, these cats are strong in the pass, but weak on defense. The Bengals actually have a better QB in Palmer, and two superb wideouts in disgruntled Johnson and under- appreciated TJ Who's-yo-momma. Palmer can sit in the pocket, wait for either of the two to streak up the field, and then let it fly. Both WR's can catch almost anything. Watson and Perry at RB are either/or, so go with whoever you like best. Where the Browns have an average defense, the Bengals are a step below that. A lesser line, LB corps, and secondary. At least they're in the way of the offense. *Yes, Chad Johnson is Ocho Cinco, and Rudi Johnson is no longer on the team. Also, expect one of the WR's to be traded. Baltimore Ravens ---------------- Rating: 81 Key Weapons: McGahee, Mason, Heap; Lewis (MLB), Reed (FS) Strength: defense Weakness: offense To fittingly, this team combats the better offenses in this division with the best defense, one of the best on paper. You have two great ends, a great LB unit, two great corners, and then one of the best defenders in the game, Ed Reed at FS. It's an older defense, but it won't be easy to score in any way against the Ravens. Oh yeah, there is an offense, somewhere. No QB, great RB, good TE, and at least one okay wideout. Trust me, anything you get out of the offense is a big win. Remember, you can choose your own QB. Flacco, Boller, and Smith are all about the same. Flacco is the rookie with a big arm; Boller is a solid backup to any other QB, but may be your best bet; and then Heisman winner Troy Smith offers more legs for ya. *Flacco is a rookie QB, so on this game that instantly makes him un-playable for whatever poor reason. He is the starter however, so maybe get used to his play. ========= < AFC South > ========= Indianapolis Colts ------------------ Rating: 95 Key Weapons: Wayne, Harrison, Addai, Clark; Brackett (MLB), either safety Strength: offense Weakness: running defense A team on level with the Patriots, so it's not surprising the two teams have such a good rivalry going. Peyton can carve up any defense with stellar wideout Wayne, veteran Harrison, slot guy Gonzalez, and TE Clark. On top of the pass attack, you can hand the ball off to Addai, a borderline top-tier RB. Rhodes is back as a backup runner, a good RB on his own. The secondary is great with the best defender Bob Sanders at FS, then you have Bethea at SS, and two above-average corners. The LB's are average as a whole, and despite two great defensive ends, those two are great pass rushers. This means you have your best bet running the ball against the Colts. Jacksonville Jaguars -------------------- Rating: 93 Key Weapons: Taylor & Drew; Peterson/Smith (LB), Nelson (FS) Strength: running Weakness: WR Here your have one of the best running attacks in football. Fred Taylor offers you speed and power, while Jones-Drew offers speed and elusiveness. You could play either one at any time, but Taylor has a slight edge over Pocket Hercules, Drew. However, if these two are shut down, your offense may be finished. On top of the great run attack you have a pretty solid QB in Garrard and a few good wideouts. You don't have any great guys, but all of them are about in the middle of the road, and Reggie Williams is pretty good. The defense is very good. The only weak point is where the line where you still have a great DT. Stellar LB's in Peterson and Smith, and then you have two good players in the secondary in Mathis and Nelson. It's not an awesome defense, but it's certainly above average. Tennessee Titans ---------------- Rating: 89 Key Weapons: Chris Johnson, White, Crumpler; Bulluck (OLB), either safety Strength: defense Weakness: WR A team that stays in games on its defense. Vince Young* is the top running QB in all of football. Sure, he can pass, but he has magic feet. Of course all defenses will know this, so you must plan on passing first, then run. Notice how I really haven't talked about this QB's weapons, it's because he has none except for old TE Crumpler. When your best wideout has average speed, time to rethink the pass attack. Thankfully, this team is built on running. You have LenDale White, a very solid RB who can get short yards. Then you have the rookie Chris Johnson who is possibly the fastest runner in the game, so don't be afraid to see if he can turn a few corners for ya in HB Sub packages. Of course a good d-line with two great players, an above-average LB corps, and then a solid secondary. Hope is a great player if you play SS, and then Bulluck is great for you linebacker players. This is a team hard to throw and pass on. *Vince is not the starter, but feel free to change it up as you see fit. Collins is the better passer, VY can run like no other. Too bad there's no button to quickly sub your QB's. Houston Texans -------------- Rating: 78 Key Weapons: Johnson; Ryans (MLB) Strength: Andre Johnson Weakness: running There isn't much to this team, but this isn't a bad team. Schaub has a few good options to throw to in Davis, Walter, and Daniels. Let us not forget Andre Johnson, a gamebusting wideout who is your main option. You will not win many games unless you're throwing to this guy. The run game is average at the very best. The d-line is very good with Okoye and Williams. You even have a good MLB, but sadly there are no big playmakers in the secondary. *Either QB is fine, doesn't matter. ======== < AFC West > ======== San Diego Chargers ------------------ Rating: 95 Key Weapons: LT, Chambers, Gates; Merriman/Phillips (OLB) Strength: LaDainian Tomlinson Weakness: WR The AFC West is the Chargers and a bunch of used-to-be-good teams. The weakest point of the offense is the QB Rivers, and he cracks 90 overall. He's a traditional pocket passer, but he has good weapons in Chambers and Gates, and Gates is your best receiver. Heck, you could put him out at WR and he would still be elite. Now for the good part, LT. Tomlinson is the best player in the game - on offense for sure. Feel free to run goal line's with LT and just cause major havoc. But everyone will load up for LT, so you'll have to pass to open up his running lanes. The defense is just as great as LT. When your weakest point is the safety position, you can do a lot more right than wrong. You have the two great d- linemen, two great LB's, and two solid corners. Remember, this team uses a 3-4 defense, with only three linemen and 4 LB's. *Down the road, maybe LT slips, but for now he's still the best. Don't forget Merriman is out this year too. Denver Broncos -------------- Rating: 84 Key Weapons: Marshall; Williams (OLB) Strength: passing Weakness: running defense Here is a team that is kinda hard to figure out. For one, they have one of the biggest QB arms in Cutler, and lucky for you EA has looked kindly upon Brandon Marshall and gave him a very nice rating. You also have an above average TE in Scheffler. Secondly, the o-line is kinda weak, and worst the RB's are all at par or less. Young is the best option, but the two backups aren't too far off. The run game isn't terrible, but you won't win many games on these guys alone. The defense could be an overall weakness, especially after the departure of overrated SS John Lynch. That doesn't help the weak d-line, average LB corps, and now weaker secondary. The two corners are your best defenders, and you have one good LB in D.J. Williams. With solid corners, you're forcing the other teams to run on your weak line. *Royal should become a nice WR. DeSean Jackson-like. Oakland Raiders --------------- Rating: 71 Key Weapons: Walker, McFadden; Morrison/Howard (LB), either safety Strength: defense Weakness: passing Raider Nation finally can say with confidence, "We might have a good team." Promising QB Russell (no relation) can scramble and pass with his rocket arm, but he's not accurate at the moment. Walker and Curry are average receivers, but at least you have something to throw to. Most interesting is the run game with rookie McFadden and Justin Fargas. Both are about equal now, but it's very possible McFadden will turn into a junior Adrian Peterson. Of course he could just be another average RB forever. You got the standard two good d-linemen, two great LB's, and then a very solid secondary. The secondary is the strongest with two above-average safeties and then two great corners. The Raiders have a defense, now it's just a question of whether the offense can score enough points. Kansas City Chiefs ------------------ Rating: 71 Key Weapons: Johnson, Bowe, Gonzalez; Johnson/Edwards (OLB) Strength: offense except QB Weakness: defense Basically you have a good WR in Dwayne Bowe and a great RB in Larry Johnson. However, you have no QB, so good luck with that. Don't forget about future HOF TE Tony Gonzalez. This defense losing Jared Allen means it's weaker than it already was. You have no d-line, so accept it. You actually have a good LB corps of guys I've never heard of but have good stats. You don't have a secondary, so accept that too. ***************************************************************************** * 5. Football ( PLAY555 ) * ***************************************************************************** A lot of this section is subjective on my part. This is what works for me, and if you find yourself losing using this advice, feel free to use what you think works best. Please note that most of this comes from my NCAA 09 guide, so some of it may sound weird, but I try to correct where I find it. Golden Advice ------------- It's just like basketball, baseball, and other sports, you can't always play lights-out offense, but you can always show up and play shut-down defense. If there is any part of your game to improve, it's most likely defense. Sure you can't win unless you score, but good defense is like good offense, and the opposite is true as well. There are a million reasons to play bad offense, but not many for bad defense. Before You Play --------------- Know your team first, or at least know your key players. The players to know about the most in order: QB, RB, WR, TE, MLB, FS, and SS. Notice that I've changed these from NCAA, and I'll explain now. *NOTE: There are weapons, but I will not get into those because I hate weapons, and so should you.* QB - Mainly you need to know if this guy can run or not. QB's like Vince Young, Donovan McNabb, and Tarvaris Jackson are scramblers, while Peyton Manning and Tom Brady and most others are pocket passers. RB - You got big backs and small guys, and then there's speed and power. For the NFL, LT, Peterson, Westbrook, and then a few more are impact RB's, the rest are not going to impact games. Most can catch, and that's a good thing. WR - More so than the college game, these guys are your QB's best friend. If in doubt, sometimes you can just chuck it up to these guys and hope for the best, usually putting touch as high as you can so they can jump up for it. It's really cool if you have a team with a deep WR corps as you can stretch the field. TE - If you look at some plays where you threw a pick or made a bad pass, 70% of the time your TE was wide open over the middle. Lots of these guys can outrun LB's, so play actions and bootlegs are almost always open. MLB - I put him up because if you play LB, you probably need to play this guy, but it not then feel free to play one of the outside guys. If you play this guy, your job is to protect against the run, blitz, and cover guys over the middle. Your biggest weakness is when someone runs out in the flats. For this, I have added another defensive position... FS/SS - For Madden I am playing safety, usually the one on the side of the strongest WR. For it I make sure that no matter what, my guy is only tasked to drift back, usually a cover 1. So what I do is drift up to the line to protect against possible runs, but my main job is to protect against curl routes on the best WR. This is the money route for CPU's, and if the WR curls I just jump the route. Of course if the WR keeps running, then it's all up to your skills, which you should develop as you play. *NOTE: Linemen are your only other option if you just suck at the other two positions. I say this because as a linemen you don't really affect the play in either way, but as a good linemen you can possibly cause havoc and you'll need to know your guy's best moves. Never play corner unless you have some massively wide screen TV, and even then, playing CB is tough enough.* ======= Offense OFF1234 ======= There are three plays: run, pass, and play action. All have their own formations, and those formations can themselves be used to trick the defense. Ace formations favor running plays but leave open passes. I-formations mean you will run and weakly keep open the ability to pass. Shotguns mean you are passing, so it's usually a good idea to really run it up the middle. Your goal is to gain 10 yards in three plays and at some point get to the endzone for a score, and if you break a big play then so be it. A successful drive makes it between both 40 yard lines. When on the 40 it may be a wise idea to go for it unless you've mastered how to punt the ball out of bounds, or keep it out of the endzone for a touchback. The biggest mistake would be to get near the red zone and not get at least 3 points. Sure, if you get to a 4th and 1, go for it, but you would be surprised in how many close games where you would say "had I only kicked that FG way back when I would have won this game instead of going into overtime" or something like that. Two field goals and one stop on defense is as close to a touchdown as it gets. Running Away ------------ The Run - You can run iso up the middle and just push forward. You may notice this will net less and less yards if you keep running it. That is when you need to look for lateral runs, but only if your RB is fast. You have the stretch, the pitch, sprints, the toss, counters, and the other plays that don't go straight up the middle. If your guy is super fast, perhaps you can out-run the safeties and other players to the sideline and then turn the corner to go up the field, or maybe you see a hole through your blockers and turn it up field, or maybe you feel lucky and decide to juke back and reverse your field (not wise). In order to improve your running, I want you to go to practice mode, choose normal, play as the Chargers, call either a power-O or iso in the I-formation, then have the defense run a zone play, and have at it. There are several things to keep in mind. +Don't sprint as soon as you have the ball. Going slow can draw the defenders to you, maybe into blockers, and then you can explode, maybe. +Know where you are supposed to run through your blockers, and see how they are blocking at that point - which means whether or not the d-linemen are being pushed into the hole. If so, you may need to run AROUND the side of your blocker, not straight into the defender. +Keep an eye on the LB's; if they are up close, you need to try and bounce it outside. +If you are running up the middle, you need to dance around. That doesn't mean use a ton of moves, but don't run into oncoming defenders. You can try to spin away, juke, or just run in the other direction. If you go up the middle, you may be surprised how well running in an "S" and then spinning works. +If you want to run outside, you must not touch the blocked DE or he will do a "Magnet Tackle", something these Madden games are famous for. I say run this as many times as you can until your realize that using moves at random works pretty well, and that simply running at weird angles up the middle works remarkably well. One thing that is hard to explain is once you are on the other side of the d-line, try to run parallel to them at their backs, or just do a spin move. It sounds crazy and doesn't work often, but if done right you may let all your blockers get a defender, and then you can slip free. Basically, when in doubt use the spin move (if your guy can do it that is). After you run this play over and over, try running against man coverage, then 46, then whatever. The idea is to get a sense of running correctly. Not all plays can work, no matter how well drawn up, but so long as you keep your running instincts each time your run, there will always be that chance of a modest to great gain. A bad run is 1-3 yards, a good run is 4-6, and a great run is anything over 6 yards. Keep in mind, calling ten run plays in a row does not work. You need to mix up your calls between pass and run, and then between all the formations. As far as formations, each run play depends on how many defenders are crowding the line of scrimmage. If there are six defenders close to the line, even if you have an I-formation, it may be wise to call a play action or pass. If you have a shotgun and the defenders are spread out, audible a run, which is hopefully a draw. And even a perfect call could fail, but at least you're making the defense think. In Madden, I say to counter all the cheapness of the CPU against the run, feel free to run goal line sets. Of course you can't overuse these either, but if you notice how perfectly higher level defenses defend even the best of running games, all's fair in my mind. Once you do get these plays to work, feel free to start using more traditional formations. It's best to realize what kind of defense you are up against. Strong d-lines and/or LB corps mean you need to pass more than run. Yes, it's not true to real football, as everyone can run to some degree on everyone else, but there is no "outsmarting" the defenses on this game. And know that most big runs are from complete flukes of someone breaking 5 tackles or so, so feel free to use those moves. ----- Here are my big tips for successful running: *When running through blockers, take your time, which means don't hold down sprint from the start. You need to develop vision where you see the defenders and where they are coming from. If you are running up the middle, maybe it's best to juke to the outside if the LB's are crashing in; maybe for a stretch you need to try and run to the sideline and turn the corner instead of cutting through blockers. But if there is a hole, hit it with the speed. Just know that sprinting is meant for catching up to receivers on defense and then outrunning defenders after catching a pass. As a RB, you only sprint when pursuing tacklers are behind you. *Mix up your calls between up the middle plays and runs that go outside. If the defense is in man coverage, a stretch/toss/pitch will usually work really well. If the defense is spread out, like for zone, a run up the middle may be best. *The spin move is your best friend as it seems to do more than just spin I've noticed. Sometimes I'll press the spin move too late, but my RB will still break the tackle. I've also noticed that the spin move works much better than juking. Just know you have to press the button before the tackler goes into his tackle animation. *Juking, highlight stick, and spinning increase your chance of fumbling, so use in moderation during a single run. Pressing up on the highlight stick seems to protect the ball, so do that when being tackled is your only option. However, I can attest to how little these moves make your fumble. I've fumbled more by normal tackles than using these moves while being tackled, so I say use them as much as you need. *Of course having a fast QB means all plays can be runs for your team, but just like in the real game, a scrambling QB can fill up the highlight reel while filling up the loss column. You need to pass the ball. *Whenever running, use your blockers. If a slow lineman is running with you as best you can, but there are some defenders incoming, it's a good idea to slow it down and not turn on the jets. There is no right way to go as the blockers could do nothing, but again, just make a sound decision rather than just sprinting on every run. Passing the Rock ---------------- The Pass - Passing can be to set up the run, or running to set up the pass. Passing is not wise when the defense is in zone coverage. Sure, there are holes in the zone, but those holes are extremely small as the difficult defenses are faster and your receivers are slower. The best time to pass is in man coverage, when the receiver has the defender beat and it's just a matter of placing the ball in front of the receiver, given that no other defender could intercept the ball. It's possible to pass all the time, just spread out your formations and have a wide variety of playcalls and routes, but you need to mix in runs, even small runs to open up the receivers. Ideal passing is when your blockers have picked up a blitz, which means someone is most likely open. *NOTE: If you have a run called and see defenders crowding the line of scrimmage, audible a pass or play action. The opposite is true as well.* Don't be afraid to air it out, but only wisely. Don't throw 40 yard bombs every other play because a lot of shorter routes can be expanded to longer plays with much less effort. Usually your long passes will be open in the middle of the field, but only in the area between the safeties and linebackers, and don't be surprised if those passes are knocked out of the air a lot. In the NFL, some of your #3 or 4 wideouts can outrun their defenders, so keep that in mind for go routes in man coverage. I like short passes. It's the same problem the Indianapolis Colts face in that defenses would rather let you nickel and dime your way up the field than let you have the deep pass. Slants, crossing routes, and posts are easy routes to know if they are open or not. Every now and then you may want to try a deep pass, but when you do, always have a few backup routes if the play falls apart. In Madden, quite out routes are your best friend, but they are only open at the receiver's cut. The pass rush determines your pass selection while the play is happening. It's a bad idea to look at your line to see if it's broken, but you do need to maybe see if anyone has broken through at the start of the play. If every defender has dropped back in coverage, usually the four pass rushers won't reach you for 3 seconds, so you have some time to let a route develop for a guy to get open. If defenders are blitzing, someone is open so find them and let it fly. Whether the pass rush is close or the blitz is on, having a QB that can run out of the pocket can extend passing plays, on top of being able to run with the QB. It's even better to already have two buttons in mind and have those routes as main options, and it's always nice to have one route ready if you see those corners blitz. ----- My tips to successful passing: *Hesitation is the mating call of bad passing. If you see a guy open, throw it. Of course "open" means there is no one in front of him. So if a guy is open and you see him open, pass or else he won't be open for long. *To extend the first tip, most passes are open right after the snap, especially some slot routes. On a similar note, most passes are open only as/before the receiver makes a cut in the route. Reacting to an open receiver is usually not wise, it's best to trust his running and have the ball waiting in the open area. *Slant routes are your best bet to get the passing game going. Slants to big, elite receivers are gold, especially if nothing else is working for you. It's a matter of trust of course, so have some way of forcing the near-side safety to go away. *I love to make decoy routes to open up crossing or slants routes. What this means is I send two receivers on one side up the field. This creates an open area where they just left if the defense is in zone. So wouldn't it be great if a receiver or RB were to catch a pass in this empty area? Yes, but again it's only against man coverage, with very limited success against zones (probably the decoy routes are your best option against zones). *It's less important to shift your o-line in this game as the defenders are super fast and could break through from the side you slide away from. Good for bootlegs or plays you intend to pass out of the pocket. *You only lob a pass, tab the pass button, when the receiver is streaking down the field and no one is ahead of him. Other than that, just throw bullets with touch. *Touch is never precise, and it may not be in this game, but I'm pretty sure it is. Touch is when you are throwing a ball to a spot, rather than directly to the receiver. If your man is running a slant with a defender behind him, and the pass would hit the defender, the best thing would be to throw the ball a bit ahead of the receiver so he is the only one to catch it. To do this you simply hold the LS in the direction you want the pass to go. Again, it's not precise or exact. You can try throwing high to where your guy has to jump to get a pass in traffic, and of course his pain is only virtual. Low passes can be just as effective, but of all of this, never apply touch to make a pass worst. *Check-downs are passes to either your tight end, half back, or full back that is parallel to the line of scrimmage. They are worthless if a defender is following them, but if there is no one covering the checkdown, throw it because it will ensure you gain yards. Aside from positive yards, you extend the drive, wear out the defense, and maybe your checkdown can gain a lot of yards. *Comebacks, hitches, curls, and screens have low success rates. Comebacks only work on man coverage, and only if the right touch is applied. Screens rarely work for many reasons. For one, the developers of this game thought it wise to occassionally let the linemen flow out with the RB about 50% of the time. Secondly, even if you get the pass cleanly to the RB, your blockers usually just let the defenders get you, and/or go block linemen who would never catch you. These plays are trash, so don't even use them, and thank EA if you don't like it. *Just recently I have found the short, crossing patterns to be most effective. For one, there's little risk as you should clearly know whether it's open or not. And secondly, defenses tend to back up to cover the deep passes, and that usually leaves all the short stuff open. Ace and shotgun packages will have plenty of plays with crossing patterns for either the TE or a WR. If the defense is in man, the pattern will work, usually. Of course if the crosser is far from the QB, the chances of completion are less, so you'll have to put touch far ahead of the receiver or the defender could jump the pass and score a TD. *Master your hot routes and sending players into motion pre-play. If the default play gives you few options, hot route a few receivers; if you sense a blitz or a mis-match, tell someone to go straight and toss them the ball the moment you see the blitz coming; and if your RB can catch, send him out there too. *A cheap way to buy time is to keep drifting back. Of course it reduces how far upfield you can throw it, but it helps buy time for short routes to get open, and so long as no pass rushers are chasing you, you can frustrate the defense all day. Really make them mad by reading the rush and going through your linemen so the defenders are blocked yet again. *The key to my offense is what I creatively call the "running receiver". It could be from my Sundays of seeing Brian Westbrook double as the Eagles' best running and receiving option. I like calling a hot route and either giving my RB a slant or fly, and then send him to the side of the field to either act as a decoy or make sure he will be open in that slant on the other side of the field. If you got a fast back that can catch, there is no linebacker that can keep up. Do this a lot against real players and you can really mess with their heads'. *NOTE: For hot route RB's, you can even keep them in the backfield and call slants. It's like a flat route only it means the RB will be going more upfield than a normal flat.* *Trust me, the CPU doesn't like it when you pass all over it. It's wise to start running the ball after a bunch of successful passes because you'll start to see defenders make phantom plays to intercept you. You need to believe me on this because slow defenders will start to run faster as the ball is thrown to give the illusion that they are playing good D. So please, run the ball a little. Of course sometimes you get the good bounces, but not often. Faking It --------- Play Action - If you are mixing enough runs and plays, the play action is always on the table. A play action, or PA, pass is one where you fake a run play which is really a passing play. It's a better play in real life because real players would bite on the fake, but in this game it only buys you a step or two for your receivers at the most. There is no such thing as a broken play where someone is wide open for no good reason. It's pretty simple, if it's 4th and 1 and you've had mucho success running the ball, call a PA and toss it to the FB running in the flat, or run with your QB if possible. The only time I would second-guess a PA is at the goal line where there is little room to pass, but it's possible. There is just one thing to think about when considering a PA: perhaps it's better to call a shotgun play where the field is spread and opens up the QB to run in most cases. Why? Because what defense would call zone coverage if you need a yard? The defenders would follow your guys and the QB should be free to run if not being spied. Just something to consider. *NOTE: When playing the CPU, don't be so naive to think they don't know what play you're running and won't let a DT come free. So on 4th and inches, unless you have a great running QB to make something happen, just know the CPU isn't above pulling a fast one.* ======= Defense DEF5678 ======= The goal of defense is to make the offense do as much work as possible. No, it's not to prevent them from scoring because even the worst of teams can put points on the board. So what does "do as much work as possible" mean? It means pressure. The worst thing you can do is let the opposing QB sit back there in the pocket and pick you apart. If you let him do that then what is the difference between letting them march down the field to letting them break a big TD pass? The difference is that if they score on a long pass it is because you applied pressure and the defender covering the receiver made a bad tackle. The tricky part is that on the same kind of play the QB could throw a pick out of panic and your defender could run it back to the house. You can call a pure, cover 3 a lot of the time. It means you don't want to make any brash plays, but you're prepared to respond to a good pass. It could even double as a way to spread out your defenders to defend runs. Of course with pure zones I like to either call "show blitz" or to call press coverage as an audible. The idea is at least the defenders who should be flowing back will be closer to the line and maybe have a better chance of picking off those medium passes. A very safe defense is the 46 or any kind of formation with a cover 4. Even better if you tell the coverage to press or show blitz. Really take it to the next step by telling an LB or two to blitz. Defenses I hate are anything involving cover 2. You leave too many soft spots unless you have the fastest secondary on earth. I also hate prevent defenses as cover three is usually good enough. I can safely say I haven't seen a deep completion against a 3-3-5 cover 3 zone. Even if you want to defend a deep pass it is better to vacate the middle of the field to blitz, which forces a completion there and so long as someone tackles the catching receiver it will waste clock. The last thing you need to take note of for general defenses is that you play set depends on the down and distance. 1st and 10 and you probably need to run either a 4-3 or 3-4, whichever your team defaults to. 2nd and 5 and maybe you need to play 46 or under schemes. 3rd and 1 and you better have some heat ready to go to clog the running lanes. Please refer to the glossary if you need help determining which personnel are on the field in any play call. Generally, if the formation is based on some form of money, it's to stop the pass in long distances. Marking Your Zone ----------------- Zone blitzes make up about 75% of my defensive sets. Pure zones are about 5%. Zone Coverage - My mind has changed of zone coverage from NCAA to this game. My pressure-only defense does work, but it seems like Madden QB's love to throw off their back foot, even though you really can't. So once you've accepted that nugget of reality, it may be time to rethink defense. I'll cut the story and just tell you it came down to me playing safety, either FS or SS, on the side of the strongest WR. For zones, I call cover 3, never cover 2, and assume the role of playing up toward the line, kinda like a 46 where my safety is up near the LB's. But my job is to cover the strong receiver's curl routes. Of course for faster WR's you may need to be ready for go's, but they don't do that too often. Anyway, zones means everyone else is covering their circles on the field, so it's strong against passing downs, but weak against medium passes, called the "holes in the zone." These are usually 10 yards up the field. They are created by the corners drifting up and the LB's staying low. I'll tell you this much, I rarely use a pure zone play because of this. The CPU just has these holes ready for an old "off the back foot pass." Most of my zones are just cover 1's, where the safeties are in backfield zones, purely as protection against streaking receivers. But again, for my covering of the WR, I make sure my safety is assigned to this far zone so that my drifting up doesn't really affect much. It's only bad if someone goes through your zone and you're not there, but you should be covering the best receiver. The basic zone play is cover 3, which is fine until you realize the offense is just marching up the field. That is when you flip through your plays and find out that there are many exotic blitzes that may help cause some confusion in the QB's eyes. I won't highlight all of these, but pretty much anything that is mainly a zone set but also has blitzing defenders. It's always best to play as a blitzing player. Two reasons: one, you can make sure the heat in applied as you see fit, or you can call it off and just play a free defender to do as you wish; two, if playing a real opponent, you can use this against them if they see you blitz for two plays and then all of sudden you pick off a pass as a corner from outside of the screen. I love any zone blitz with a safety because you can call it off to go after a run, or drop back at any moment. Corner blitzes are tricky, but in a zone you can play as that corner and if you don't think you can leave that WR, just back up and play him deep or under, depending on where the nearside defenders drift to. Another thing about zone blitzes is that they usually drop back d-linemen into coverage. Yes, the big fat guys will be protecting zones. That is good for certain linemen like Jared Allen of the Vikings who does that well. But mainly you are trying to confuse the o-line by messing with their blocking assignments down the line. Slide the LB's over and what should be happening is that a few of the o-linemen will be left without anyone to block while one side is overrun with defenders, AND you still have 6 or so guys back in zones. The possibilities of zone blitzes are endless, and I don't believe I actually got through all these years without abusing them. Keep in mind, you don't want to keep up the pressure all game long, just most of it. Man Up ------ Man blitzes are about 15% of my plays, usually all out LB blitzes for those, and then 5% are pure man coverages. Man Coverage - This is my primary coverage. Basic man means aside from blitzing defenders and the d-line, all other defenders will follow the receivers. If there is a speed difference between the players, it will show in no time. Of course if you give the QB time this will prove to be the worst defense possible as it will result in big gains a lot. With that in mind you should agree that rushing only four is not the best way to play this coverage. Rushing the four linemen and then one linebacker isn't good either since all plays have five blockers, and in this game the o-line blocks un-godly well. What used to be a good scheme was blitz in the 3-3-5 LB Ram Dogs, and it worked in NCAA 09 and past games. It still works to a degree in this game, but not as a primary defense. The idea was to force a quick, bad pass and hope someone can pick it off. It could work, but thanks to QB's passing off their back foot, it has a high chance of failing. So I can't really call many blitzes at all in this coverage. Now my preferred play is the 4-3 Cover 1, not forgetting to flip the play so my safety is on the #1 WR side, of course. This play is for 2 or 3 WR sets. It is mainly man coverage with your CB's and LB's, but the safeties are both in zones. Depending on how you flip it or not, one safety is in a middle-mid zone (yellow) and the other one is in a high-deep zone (blue). It's this deep safety that can afford to double-team the best WR as it should be rare any other WR makes it to where the deep safety should be. So what do you do as a safety as opposed to an LB? You play up to around where the LB's wait, not next to them, but capable of going after a run while keeping to the #1 WR. As soon as the play starts you will drift back, keeping your eyes on the QB, but drifting back no matter what. If there is a run and you see the runner going, go after him, but not when the ball is handed off in case of a PA. So the play is going on and now you are reading the #1 WR near you. If he goes up field and then stops, quickly run a bit ahead of him so you can stop and pick off the pass, or at least bat it down. If the WR happens to keep going or cross, you need to run either with him or some other receiver. Don't forget, you are supposed to be deep up the middle, but if the #1 WR is fast, like Randy Moss, consider just sprinting straight up the field. Trust me, man coverage and you playing it can be just random and you should expect to get burned at least once. It's all about when you break on the ball, as it is in real life. Sadly, on all-madden setting the receivers are just too fast and they usually do the opposite of what you are thinking, or they burn you before you realize what's going on. That is why you must blitz to keep the heat on the QB. This will sound like a grand defensive scheme, but you really need to throw in different kind of zone blitzes so you can apply heat and have guys in coverage. That is unless you play great man throughout the secondary, which is not the case for any team. So really, man coverage is a blitzing defensive play and if the blitz doesn't get there, you're finished. If you play too cautious, which the computer never does, then you'll fall to curl routes and underneath stuff. Play too close and the WR streaks up the field or into a sharp post. That's why, again, I encourage you to play a zone, even if you are supposed to play man. It sucks if the guy breaks for the sideline after the snap, but you don't want to get beat deep. 46 blitzes are where most of my man coverage plays come from. I love the Inside Blitz, Outside Blitz, and the SS Blitz. These are good for run stopping and they keep one safety in a deep zone just in case. Again, if you didn't read it before, 3-3-5 LB Ram Dogs worked like a charm for NCAA 09, and it's still good here. There are other zone blitzes in dime and nickle sets, but if you need to bring in extra DB's, you may as well can a zone blitz. *NOTE: When your defender is in man, you can usually read the offense to determine who covers who without seeing the playart. Of course against the CPU you can see the playart, but on quick snaps it's always best to develop a sense of who usually covers who in man. You should notice it's a matter of where the receivers line up, knowing only three can be on one side.* *NOTE: Keep in mind, playing as a safety means you want to get an INT, that is your goal.* Run Block --------- Of course there are no defense that only stop the run. Even if you do only want to defend the run, you call too much 46 and you'll get passed on like crazy. I only add this tiny section to let you know stopping the run just happens. You could call 3-3-5 all day if you want and runs won't kill you. Sure, more d-linemen increases run-stop potential, but then you are weak against passes. It's better to think pass-first in this game when playing D. One cool thing about playing as a hard-hitting safety is that you can track down runners who have gained lots of hards and come in for a crushing hit to force a fumble. It's happened for me more than once and turned bad defenses into perfect defenses. Of course don't run 3 d-linemen on 4th and 1, but anything can work at any time no matter what. ============= Special Teams SPT9012 ============= Special teams is when you are changing from offense to defense or defense to offense, or salvaging 3 points from a promising drive. Special team players are just the extras on your team, with some starters mixed in. Kicking the Bucket ------------------ Kickoffs are done after you score points, or at the start of one of the halves. Keep the default angle in place, or only aim a bit higher if you have a power kicker, but only ever so slightly. You also kickoff if your team gives up a safety, and for those you may really want to aim high. Field goals and PAT's are the same as far as kicking. The default angle of these kicks is best for kicks from the 20-30 yard line, maybe. The golden rule of kicking in video games is to aim a bit low, but not parallel to the ground. Low kicks increase distance while raising the chance of being tipped. Of course you need max power for all kicks, but low kicks with anything beside max power is sure to fall short. There is little risk of a tipped or blocked kick in video games, so don't count on it for low attempts. As far as defending field goals, well, all I can think of is crashing a player to the middle to possibly cause a bit of confusion in the blocking. But unless you see the guy run free as the kick is up, he will usually not do anything. And a guy will go unblocked once every 100 games or so, so it's safe to say I haven't pulled it off in this game. Other games sure, not this one. Punting?! How Sad... -------------------- Yes, punting is the mating call of losing. Punting the ball means you have no plan on offense and are terrible at playing - sorry, but it's totally true. You punt the same as kicking, but unlike kicking you are sending the ball to a guy that only has to avoid two or so tacklers and your punt will only have a net total of a few yards. So it's best to punt with a high arch, if the punter has a lot of field to work with. The opposite is to just punt out of bounds and deny a return since there is no penalty for it. In fact, if deep in enemy territory and too chicken to go for it on 4th down, then maybe try to punt to the 5 yard line out of bounds. This is called the "coffin corner" as the offense is highly likely to punt the ball back because of fear of passing. When aiming for the corner, it's not aiming to the sideline or directly to the corner, it's just about getting the ball to crossing the sideline as going out of bounds at the desired point. These punts, or just punting out of bounds in general, are best with low arching punts since you add distance and accuracy without caring how long it takes for the punt to get there. But again, punting means you need to quickly re-evaluate your offensive gameplan. As far as defending a punt, there is no penalty for pulling an lineman back before the punt. Why do this you ask? Well, I've never seen a blocked punt in these games, but I see terrible blocking on every play. Sure one extra blocker in front of the punt returner could be more trouble than he's worth, or maybe it buys you a few more yards. ***************************************************************************** * 6. Glossary ( GLOS666 ) * ***************************************************************************** This is not in alphabetical order by the way. These are just the terms and things that people who haven't played football won't know about, or just to help people with the lingo or new terms. I know there is probably a lot I've missed, but all I want are the things that are crucial, not the things that are too deep or not used often. ======== Football FOB27 ======== Rules/Terms ----------- Coin toss - Flip of the coin to determine who starts with the ball. The visiting team calls. The team that starts on defense gets the ball to start the second half. Downs - The offense has four downs to gain 10 yards, barring any penalties. If the offense fails, then the ball is turned over to the other team. That is why a team either tries a field goal or punts on 4th down. Playclock - A smaller, secondary clock that counts down the time you have to snap the ball. Quarter - There are 4, each taking 15 minutes in real life, usually just 5 in video games since there is no need to huddle and such. Half - The time between 2nd and 3rd quarters. Notable because unlike between the other quarters, the possession and placement of the ball do not carry over. So the end of the 2nd quarter is played much like the end of the game. Overtime - If the score is tied after the 4th quarter, an overtime is played. It is sudden death in the NFL, where the first team to score wins. In college it is a series of "red zone plays" where each team has a chance to score and the first team to fail and match the other will lose. Of course AFL has the best OT where it's two touches by both teams and then sudden death. Two-minute warning - A timeout in the NFL at the 2 minute mark at the end of each half. NOT a part of the college game. Touchdown - Having the football cross the line of the endzone. Worth 6 points. Point after try (PAT) - A short kick after a TD worth 1 point. 2 point conversion - Instead of the PAT, run a normal play worth 2 points Field goal - A kick through the goal posts worth 3 points. These are best tried from a maximum of around the 40 yard line on the opposing team's side of the field. Safety - When the offensive player with the ball is tackled in their own endzone. Worth 2 points and the ball. Line of scrimmage - The line denoting where the ball is, and neither player can cross it before the play. After the snap, the QB cannot make a pass after crossing the line. Endzone - The opposite end of the field when on offense. Redzone - The area between the endzone and the nearest 20 yard line. Getting the ball into this area means you should at least put up 3 points. Sidelines - The sides of the field. The clock is stopped when the ball is run or thrown out of bounds. Fair catch - When fielding a kick/punt, wave your hand in the air so that when you catch the ball you will not be tackled. The ball cannot be advanced, so only use when defenders and closing in. Touchback - When you wave your hands in the air when fielding a punt/kick in the endzone, when a player takes a knee in the endzone beforing running out of the endzone for a kick, punt, or interception, or when the ball is kicked out of the endzone. The ball is placed at the 20 yard line. Being down - The play ends when a player is down or goes out of bounds. In the NFL a player is down by contact with a defender and when on the ground. In college once the player is down on the ground, the play ends and you cannot get up. Pocket - The area behind the offensive linemen and between the tackles. The QB cannot throw the ball away while in the pocket. Receiver limits - Aside from only have 5 possible receivers, there can only be three receivers on either side of the center. There must be seven players on the line of scrimmage, something that doesn't affect gameplay in this game. Secondary - Any corners or safeties on the defense. Strong/weak side - Refers to the side the QB can see, and usually used in blitzes. Of course since it doesn't matter in a video game, these terms don't mean as much. Slot - When a receiver lines up anywhere between the o-line and the outside WR's. Strong receivers at this position can spell nightmares for thin secondaries. Cut - Either when an RB changes direction, or when a receiver changes his angle in a route. Penalties --------- False start - When an offensive player makes a move like the ball has been snapped. 5 yards. Offsides - When a defensive (offensive too) player is caught on the wrong side of the line of scrimmage as the ball is snapped. The play will still go on. 5 yards. Holding - When any player holds a player. 10 yards, replay down. Intential Grounding - When the QB throws the ball out of bounds while still in the pocket. Place where the foul occurred and lose of down. Pass interference - Contact with a player after five yards from scrimmage. Ball is where the contact was made. Usually never called, so get used to it. Delay of game - Offense letting the play clock expire. 5 yards. Face mask - When a player pulls another player's face mask. Illegal block - When a player is blocked in the back who is not the runner. Clipping - Blocking a player below the waist who is not the runner. Kick out of bounds - When a kickoff goes out of bounds. The ball is placed on the 40 yard line. Player Positions ---------------- Quarterback - The guy who takes the snap from the center and will either hand the ball to a running back or try to pass. If he is tackled behind the line of scrimmage it is called a sack. Scrambling QB's are a must if you lack strong receivers or tend to hold the ball for a long time or lack a good o-line. Running Back - Takes the ball from the QB and runs. He can also block or run a route like a receiver. Running backs can be speedy or powerful. Wide Receiver - Tall and fast players that catch the ball. Fullback - A bigger player that is used in I-formations as a blocker for the running back. He can also run the ball and even catch passes. Tight End - Bigger wide receivers that catch passes in the middle of the field. This is because they line up at the ends of the offensive line. Because of this they can also block. Center - The middle offensive lineman that snaps the ball. Offensive guards - Two offensive linemen on either side of the center. Offensive tackles - Two offensive linemen on the ends of the line. Defensive tackles - Defensive linemen that bring pressure up the middle. Defensive ends - Two players on the ends of the defensive line, usually the fastest linemen that provide the pass rush. Linebackers - Three by default, one middle and two on his side. They can cover, stop runs, and blitz. Some power teams in the NFL like the Pats and Chargers like to run 3-4 defenses with 4 LB's and one less lineman. Cornerbacks - Speedy defenders that cover the WR's. Safeties - Two defenders that are meant to protect deep passes, or cover TE's or extra WR's. Kicker - Player who kicks field goals or kickoffs. Punter - Player who punts the ball without the aid of a tee on 4th down when you are willing to freely give up the ball. Kick Returners - Two players near the endzone that run back kickoffs. It is sometimes wise to not return kicks out of the endzone. Punt returner - One player that returns punts. Will often need to fair catch, or spin out of tackles. Offensive Plays --------------- Kickoff - Kicking the ball to the other team between at the start of halves, and after scoring points. You are kicked to after a safety. Punt - Usually a 4th down play when beyond the 40 yard line of the other team's side of the field. Punts can be kicked out of bounds and the ball is placed where the ball left play. Fake kicks/punts - Only wise when the opponent is committed to a block set, otherwise you'll need a good runner/passer. Onside kick - During a kickoff a team can kick the ball short in order to try and recover. The kicking team can only touch the ball after it travels ten yards. If the ball goes into the air without touching the ground, the fielding team can fair catch. Run - When the QB hands the ball or pitches it to the HB/RB/FB. Pass - When the QB drops back and passes the ball forward. An offense can only forward pass the ball once. Play action - When the QB and HB fake a run play to open up a pass. Best used after many successful runs. Block - The O-line are blockers only, but on some plays the receivers are just used as blockers. During a run, any friendly players can be used to block defenders. Option - When the QB runs with the ball and has the option to hand the ball off to the FB, pitch to the HB, run with it, or sometimes pass. Not wise if the defense is spread out. Keep in mind you can lateral beyond the line of scrimmage. Flea Flicker - When the runner runs to the line of scrimmage, then tosses the ball back to the QB who passes it, usually to a wide open man deep. Not seen in many playbooks in this game. Draw - When the QB drops back like a pass, but hands the ball to the runner. Best used when the defense is expecting a pass and is spread out. Defensive Plays --------------- Man Coverage - The defenders either attempt to read and play the route of a receiver, or just follow them. Zone Coverage - Defenders back up into zones on the field and defend from that zone. Strong against the pass if there is a pass rush. QB Spy - Is one player that anticipates the QB running. They are the tiny orange circles when selecting a play. Mixed Coverage - A few rare plays offer both zone and man defenses. Prevent - These defenses drop all except a few linemen back into coverage. Used only to defend a lead in the closing seconds of a game. All-In/Max Blitz - In this game it's called "Engage Eight" where all but two corners and a safety blitz. Not wise against the CPU. Tackle - The tackle is the end of an offensive play, that or out of bounds or a TD. The sooner you bring the ball-carrier to the ground, the less yards they can gain. Blitz - When any player on the defense other than the linemen rush the passer. Key to applying pressure on the QB if you lack a pass rush (which you always do on higher difficulties). Blitzing can be beaten if it is expected; usually with a fly pattern to the TE. Pass Rush - The basic rushing of your linemen, usually the DE's. A good pass rush means you can focus your other players on other assignments. Bad pass rushing means you'll need to blitz to apply pressure. No pressure and an average secondary allows the offense to pass all the way down the field. Sack - When the ball-carrier is the QB and he is brought down before gaining yards or passing the ball. This shortens the downs the offense has to work with and of course forces them to gain more than 10 yards. Pass tip - Simply when a pass is batted out of the air. Sometimes leads to an INT, but mainly just an incompletion. Similar in theory to a sack. Incompletion - Aside from dropped balls, the defense can force an incompletion if the receiver doesn't establish control of the ball before dropping it, otherwise it's an fumble. A forced incompletion is when the receiver is hit immediately upon catching, usually while jumping. Interception - When the ball is caught by a defender. The defense and offense prior to the INT will change sides and the interceptor could score a TD, even lateral the ball. Fumble - When the ball is in control by someone and is dropped before the ball-carrier is down. The ground cannot force a fumble. Touchdown - A defensive TD is the best way to win a game. Defenses that can get INT's and score will allow the offense to be as bad as it needs to be. Three and Out - If the offense fails to score and must punt, then the defense has essentially forced a turnover if the ball started around the offense's own 20 yard line. Goal line stand - Once the offense reaches within the 30 yard line of your side of the field, the objective is to prevent a TD. A stop on the goal line is almost like the defense scoring 4 points in that 3 points is all a highly successful drive comes away with. Safety - The ultimate defensive play is to score a safety worth 2 points. This is because the offense who allowed the safety does not get the ball back. Formations ---------- Keep in mind there are many variations, but I will only cover the basic formations. Ace - The base formation with two TE's, one HB, and two WR's. Doesn't give the defense any indication what you could be running as you could do any play. I-formation - Uses a HB, FB, and then any combination of TE's and WR's, usually more TE's. Offers many different runs and play actions. A good counter if the defense is expecting run is to pass. Shotgun - The QB stands a few yards behind the center and the ball is long- snapped to him. The shotgun offers the best passing plays, but weak at running and play action; offenses with running QB's can run anything from the shotgun. Shotgun also helps fend off blitzes as the QB is standing farther from the line. Strong/Weak - Usually a kind of I-form that places the FB to either the right or left (strong or weak relative to the QB's vision). Goal line - Variation of Ace formations that can place extra linemen at the tight end positions and make them eligible to receive a pass. These are exclusively runs or play actions, and of course should only be used when you need a yard or so. *If you see these numberings when picking a play, 3-3-5, it means linemen/ linebackers/secondary players. 4-3 - The base formation. It denotes the base four linemen and three linebackers. This formation is used to block either passes or runs. 3-4 - A less popular base defense. It means three linemen and then four linebackers. It's not necessarily to strongly stop the run. It's best used with speedy LB's that can cover, but also to blitz as the offense will have a harder time knowing where the blitz is coming from. 46 - Same as the 4-3, only the strong safety plays next to the LB's. Strong against the run, but can also be ready for the pass. 4-4 - The SS of the 46 is replaced by a LB to commit to stopping the run. Nickel - Any formation using 5 defensive backs (safeties and corners). These heavily favor the pass, but you also spread the field for lateral runs while not completely abandoning the run. Dime - The use of 6 defensive backs. Only use late in games to preserve a lead or prevent the deep pass. Quarter/dollar - Defenses to use an extra safety/WR to specifically defend hail mary's. Goal line - Adds an extra DT, drops the safeties, puts in more linebackers, or many other combinations as there is no need to defend a deep pass. Kicks - Just your basic kick formation. You could also try a run or pass, but only if you have the players to do it or think you'll pull it off. Keep in mind the CPU in this game defaults to safe man plays. Kick defenses - You either run with everyone or go into a safe formation where guys are ready for a fake kick run or pass. Punts - A few variations to protect the punter, but they all work the same since the only way to block a punt is if someone busts through the middle of the line in these games. Punt defenses - You can either plan a return or block. Returns are good between when the offense is punting from their red zone or anywhere after. Blocks are okay on the goal line and when the offense is punting from deep into your territory. Kneel - When there is just a minute or so left, you are on first down, and the defense is out of timeouts, this play means you win the game, so long as you keep kneeling until time runs out. Pre-Play -------- Hurry-up - Quickly getting to the line when short on time. Spike - Toss the ball to the ground to stop the clock, when the game is almost over. You lose a down. You can fake, but that works best in the real game. Fake snap - An attempt to get the defense to jump before the snap. Works against the CPU if you have been snapping the ball at the same time for many plays. Overuse this and you can get your own guys to jump. In Madden 09, it seems d-linemen finally don't default to jumping the snap, so this is not needed against the CPU, much. Jump snap - If the offense is snapping at the same time, or you are willing to gamble, you can jump the snap as a lineman or LB and get ahead of the snap. Instead of reacting to the snap, you are going with the snap. Playart/Coach's Cam - The ability to see the play routes and schemes on the field. Easy to use against the CPU, and can be bluffed when playing in person. Could even be used to create a fake snap against live opponents. Motion - Moving a player from one side of the field to the other. Keep in mind you can only have three receivers on one side of the field, and if there is motion in the play (green lines), then you cannot call another. Audible - A call to change the play from one to another. This game allows some pre-set audibles or quick audibles that do not change the formation. You can change the set audibles in the options of the game. Can be done on either side of the ball. Flip Run - For a run play, change its direction if you see a weakness in the defense on one side. Hot Routes - Calls out one player to run a different route. You can call more than one of these and combine it with motion for completely new plays based on the defense given. The defense can even run these, or if you play a blitzing position you can just do what you need to change. Quiet/Pump up crowd - Defense will pump up the crowd and the offense can quiet the crowd to affect how much noise the crowd makes. Crowd noise can have an affect on audibles and playart if you are losing. Slide Protection - Moves the offensive line to one side or tells them to pinch or spread out. Defensive line shift - Moves the d-line to one side or pinch/spread. Linebacker shift - Moves them, tells them to blitz, or puts them in zones. Coverage audibles - Tells all pass defenders to play in many different ways. Moves ----- *There are stats for all of these in each of your players Juke - You run toward a defender and then slightly jump to the side away from him to make him more likely to miss you. Spin - You spin around to make the tackler go right past you. You must spin in the right direction, and you need to spin at the right time. Sometimes works as you are being tackled. Hurdle - Good for bigger backs to use as guys will sometimes go for your legs more often. It's a risk on other guys since being in the air raises the chances of fumbling. Stiff arm - You stick your arm out to deny a would-be tackler who isn't coming at you strongly. Best to use when running parallel to a defender or when turning a corner. Highlight stick - Just raises your likely hood of breaking a tackle. Good if the other moves wouldn't help you. Catch - Ability of the receiver to catch, and if you do it you must in the right position. Pump fake - Faking a pass as the QB to make the defender jump the route. Lateral - Hand or pitch the ball to a nearby offensive player if he is in a better position to run the ball. A dropped lateral is a fumble. Dive - Jump to the ball-carrier, but from too far away the tackle could fail, or a spin move would avoid it. Only use when the defender is pulling away or he's coming at you to at the least slow him down. Intercept - Only good catchers can intercept, as poor intercepting defenders will maybe get in the way. Swat - The defender just tries to knock the pass down, which is best for all defendes to make the pass miss. Strip - Attempt to make the ball-carrier fumble the ball by force. I've never seen it work, but you are free to try. Strafe - Just makes you stay looking forward as you move. Good if you want to break on a pass, but makes you easy to run past. Hit Stick - A high hit on little guys could hurt them, and a low hit on big guys is an easy tackle. Power/Bull Rush - On a blocker, this move drives into them. Finesse move - On a blocker, this move will either spin or swim around the blocker. Hands up/Bat ball - On a blocker you will stick your hands up if you will not reach the QB in time or are in his passing lane. Routes ------ Fly/Go/Streak - Run straight up the field, and aside from outrunning the CB, the route can be used to draw the safety and CB to leave open some of the field. A handy hot route for TE's or slot receivers if you sense a blitz. Drag - Runs a few yards and turns around to the inside to catch the ball Hitch - Fakes a deep route to just turn around and take the ball Fade - Use against press coverage to beat it and have the ball in the air as the receiver is breaking free. At good route to throw the lob. Curl/Come back - Receiver runs straight up like a fly route, then turns to catch a ball. Best used against man coverage, but you have to pass before the receiver turns around. Wheel - Receiver runs to the sideline, then up the field. Not very well executed routes in this game. Slant - Receiver runs at an angle up the field. Useful for blitzs when the LB's are coming. Also useful in sending receivers to the opposite side of the field. Sluggo - Fake a slant and then run up field. Flat - Any route that stays parallel and within a few yards of the line of scrimmage. Usually the "check down" if the down field routes are covered. Swing - I believe this is any route that fakes a flat and then turns it up field. Post - Run up the field about 10 yards, then cuts to the inside of the field at an angle. Corner - Same as the post, only to the sideline. Best to use touch to the far outside or these will always be tipped on bullet passes. In/Out - Run up the field then turns either to the inside or the sideline. Used to be the best routes in games, but hard to get off in recent EA titles. Crossing - When the receiver runs parallel to the line of scrimmage to the other side of the field. Can be short or deep. Slip - These are blue routes when choosing a play. The receiver, usually a TE, will block and after a short time run a route. Best used to counter aggressive defenses, or as a checkdown. Screen - When the HB and some of the offensive linemen run along the line of scrimmage to receive a pass. The idea is to lure the defense to the QB and then pass to the HB who will run up the field using the linemen as blockers. Best used against blitzes, but have a low rate of success in this game. Can also be used as slip screens. Flanker screen - Same as a normal screen, but for a WR. Much more risky than a normal screen. ***************************************************************************** * 7. Madden Test ( TEST777 ) * ***************************************************************************** Madden Test This is from the start of the game, and I didn't ace on my first try, but this test means nothing as far as your skills playing a game. True, these skills are about half of what makes you a good player, but the other half is playcalling and game management. ----- Rush Offense Part 1 Just run with your two blockers and let them hit each guy. Don't run in front of them, and if you do you'll need to use the move indicated. All you have to do is stop and let them block the defenders and then keep going. It's very easy and you do it four times. *NOTE: It's best to run straight, stopping to let your blockers catch up, because if you run to the sides your blockers will probably fall blocking the defenders.* Rush Offense Part 2 Throw in an extra blocker and send the defenders in faster. Again, just run straight, let your blockers go in front of you, and you'll be done in no time. If in doubt, just stop and let your guys catch up. After three rounds you may need to rely on your moves, just a warning. Rush Offense Part 3 Looks like part 1, but the defenders appear faster than in part 2. You can try to use your blockers only, but more than once you'll need to use your moves. ----- ----- Pass Offense Part 1 You have three linemen, a WR, and you're the QB. There is one corner and one d-lineman on defense. The goal is simple, you are given the route, so now sit in the pocket and wait to complete the pass. Repeat, YOU STAY IN THE POCKET, which is the circle behind the line - go out and the play ends. *NOTE: You wait for the receiver to make his cut in the route, then throw.* Pass Offense Part 2 Now you are given an extra WR and more defenders. The routes are still on the field, so wait for one or the other to be open, then throw or the linemen will get you. Pass Offense Part 3 Now you have no routes and a TE. The goal is to wait for someone to get open, then throw. I'm not sure what this proves, as sometimes a WR will get open and then run to where he isn't open, but oh well. ----- ----- Rush Defense Part 1 This is tricky because no matter what you need to use the right stick to tackle. First you need to trap the runner with your friend, usually he will take the first try and then you come in from a more outside angle. You have to use the stick or he will slip out no matter what. Don't forget you can sprint too. *NOTE: How you run at him to start usually determines which direction he will run. A good tactic is to run to the blockers, then sprint to the RB who is hopefully running to the sidelines.* Rush Defense Part 2 You may have other buttons to use, but it's basically the same. This time it's usually best to run at a more inside angle, but be ready for him to move, but he usually doesn't. Rush Defense Part 3 This one is tough, and I honestly don't have a sure-fire way to get through it myself. I know it's not wise to go too far outside or he just cuts up the middle of the field. You'll have to chase him to the sideline, probably at half-speed, and then you cut inside. And remember to press the correct button or it's all for nothing. ----- ----- Pass Defense Part 1 This one sucks a ton. For one, ignore the playart before the snap. For two you cannot change to the LB or CB, you just have to play who you got. Playing CB is probably new to everyone, even veteran players. Your best bet is to just give the receiver some space to either run up or inside, then put on the jets to swat (no use trying to intercept unless you're told to). Playing LB means you must rush the passer, which is hard because you are sure to get blocked. Luckily, you can rush and then switch to the CB to go for the swat, which is your best play by far. You could try to cover with the LB, but it's very hard. Pass Defense Part 2 There are a few more positions, but it's essentially the same as the last one. Pass Defense Part 3 This one is actually pretty easy. As the FS you just move up to take away one route, and then the QB has to go elsewhere. If to a CB you will need to switch and then defend; if to a guy in the flat you better hope someone is there to cover him or the pass is out of bounds. Remember, pass interference is not called, so feel free to bump somebody. ----- ***************************************************************************** * 8. Game Modes ( MODE888 ) * ***************************************************************************** ========= Franchise ========= You just take a team for as many seasons as you want (I think the cap is 60 or something). It's just a basic franchise mode, with light scouting elements that probably don't help much. Trades with the CPU are hard, so you'll pick up many players in free agency if you need to improve quickly. If you don't do well, you could be fired. There is an option to go into a fantasy draft, but I haven't even gotten there yet. ========= Superstar ========= This mode is just like franchise, except it's "first person" and you only play that one position. So you can only be on the field half the time and depending on the position you select, you may have little to no impact on a game. It's best to play QB or RB, but you can be anyone. I recommend playing as either Flacco or Ryan so you are a starting QB (Flacco if no updates). I believe the point of the practices is to gain a maximum of 10 influence that can be spent during the next game. So get ten and move on to the next game. When playing, sim to when superstar is on the field and play your position. You aren't the coach, so you can only play the play choosen for you. You also have this business to spend points (influence) before a drive. You can read the little graphic as to what players you can influence and improve their stats if any. If the dots are all red, you cannot influence them. Once you can, move the sliders as you wish. You can spend them on yourself until then. Then it's just play as normal. Remember, as the QB you can call audibles and hot routes to better suit the play to your style. If you didn't realize, you cannot control the receivers and RB once you get rid of the ball, but you can run around like a jackass if you wish. Remember, if you don't like to run, audible out of it. I honestly don't see the point of preseason at all, as usual. To be honest, this is just a stupid mode that needs to be axed until it's more playable. I don't know how your guy would get better, =============== Virtual Trainer =============== This is a little different from the Madden Test. For one, you have very similar drills to go over, but they are ten rounds long and come in three levels of difficulty. You start on Easy for each and work your way up. Rushing ------- I'm sure they tell Madden, "You see, the key to running in football if pressing the correct button as it appears over the defenders head." Using Blockers - You need to reach the endzone 7 times for all of these. This one is easy as you can just keep stopping until your blockers catch up and block the defenders. On easy you can literally just press up, not sprint, and you'll make it. For the other levels, *NOTE: You also get set back further and further for each attempt. And don't forget you can use your moves if you like. Never sprint, and resist the urge to move left or right too harshly.* Using Special Moves - It's simply press the button before the defender reaches you, or even as he is tackling you in some cases. It's pretty stupid as it really doesn't help you understand real football or arcade football, just pressing buttons at the right time - go play Guitar Hero! Each difficulty means the defenders get faster and the button is displayed later, because that's how real men play football! Both - Eh, just take the blocking and add buttons over the defenders' heads, nothing new here. Passing ------- Pocket Presence - This one is kinda fun. The idea is to stay in the pocket (the light circle on the ground), avoid the rush, and then pass. You are getting a sense of how to use your blockers, as they can only block in front of them. If you don't pass when the receiver appears another defender will be coming at ya. Often, the safest place to be is at your blocker's back. For the medium level, don't be afraid to use the whole pocket. Moving up or toward the defenders sometimes is the only thing you can do, but staying still won't work. For the last level, I guess luck is all you got because your blockers are dumb and you can't move, so best of luck. Throwing to Receivers - The idea is to throw the ball as the receiver is taking his angle in the route (the cut), and placing the ball so only he can get it (precision passing, aka "touch"). You apply touch by pushing the LS to where you want the ball to go relative to the receiver, either to the left/ right or high/low. The linebacker is terrible, and he only factors into inside routes. For level two you have two choices, and it really makes it easier as you still don't have a pass rush. Level three adds a tight end and takes away the play art, so the test is whether or not you can anticipate the open receiver, which is bad for the outside guys as they could be running crazy routes. Look to mainly complete to the TE, or crossing routes, unless you know to take some gambles. And of course, throw bullet passes, not lobs. *NOTE: Press coverage is when the cornerback is close to the receiever, and after the snap the CB will push into the WR before letting him go. If you are still standing in the pocket after this, pass to that WR immediately.* Both - Well, the golden rule is to not watch the pocket, but you can peek a bit to see if the one rusher is going outside or not. But you can pretty much just step back a bit, wait for the WR to get open, and then throw. Level two is not much harder, just have to be real careful between reading zone and man, and even then feel free to pass the ball high. Level three is tight end time, but of course the CPU will know this and sometimes double team the TE. Again, luck is needed because you have no clue what your guys are running. Rush Defense ------------ Avoiding Blockers - The easiest thing is to run toward the blocker, then sprint for the RB and press the high stick. Don't forget you can use engaged moves, finesse or power to elude blockers. For level two, again, run to the blockers and then cut to the RB. If he keeps going straight, use one of the moves and go after him. For level three, just zig zag to the blockers and then cut outside to get the RB; that's the only thing I got to work. The key to know is that you are faster than the blockers, so feel free to outrun them to the sidelines. Tackle Moves - These are tricky, but just like rushing buttons. The only real difference is that when you miss, sprint after the RB and maybe you can get a second chance. For level two, try to mainly corner the RB so he has little room to move, usually meaning you want him to run into your dummy blocker so you have time to catch up and tackle with ease. Level three Both - This one is mainly about the tackler portion, so review that if you need help. Remember, lure in the blockers and then go outside. You can even fall back on just running to the endzone if you're beat. Pass Defense ------------ Rushing the Passer - Where and when you use the move is key here, but on easy it really doesn't matter. Level two, keep in mind you don't have to use the moves, and sometimes the blocker will not block you. Also, if you run into a blocker so that the QB is at the blocker's side, you can just press over and you'll unblock and go to the QB. Level three is simple because you can just run into the middle blocker, then there's nothing they can do if you just keep holding down, you'll run right into the QB no matter what. Well, not totally, but pretty much. Pass Coverage - Easy is simple because you have the route. Just stay between the rout and the QB and press the intercept button (TRI or Y) and you'll pass with flying colors - or a firm slap on the behind. Actually, unless you are really good at judging your depth on the field, you may want to use the swat button instead. The key is to stay with the receiver or else the QB may pass to where you can't touch it. On medium, you need to negate at least one route and hope the QB throws a bad pass. For slants, just park in the middle. Don't forget, you can swith to the CB's after a throw, and for this phase you may want to use the swat button only. But really, it beats me how this tests anything as you can't play two people at once, and if the other CB is out of position, how is that my fault? Good luck. Both - Eh, just combinations of rushing and coverage. You can maybe use the LB in coverage if you like. =========== Madden Test =========== See the above section, or the Virtual Trainer right above. ============== Madden Moments ============== These are just challenges that resemble events that happened last season. Of course they don't have to end EXACTLY like the real games, but they must be close. Heck, may not be the same players as the moment. Keep in mind there is no punting, and you only have one shot. *NOTE: Feel free to just pass for big plays on most of these. Also, for special teams, the game doesn't automatically bring up those plays, so I hope your realize when a punt or kick is coming on 4th down.* ----- Phins Get a Win - Basically, if you complete the pass for a TD, good job. Otherwise you just need to march the ball up the field and score a TD, not a field goal. ----- Mile High Miracle - Just score a TD, easy. So unholy that Favre isn't doing this one. For shame Green Bay, for shame. ----- Mile High Freeze - Same field, now you're the home team. TD of course. ----- Stop the Stampede - This one starts with you defending a FG. When on offense, all you're trying to do is win the game, so feel free to run the ball until most of the game is over. Remember, you are just trying to win, so FG, punt, TD, whatever, but you don't have to go for it on 4th down. Easy. ----- Panthers Beast the Saints - Just score something to win. Complete a quick slant to Steve Smith or two, and then kick a field goal. ----- Dawg Pound Unleashed - Your only option is to complete a long-ass pass and streak up the sidelines. Lucky for you, I found one. It's called Gun-Snugs- Bench (or Switch). The idea is to have one receiver streak up the field** while either Stallworth or Edwards do a corner to the sidelines. This is about your only option and the only thing I got to work. And no, a field goal won't cut it, you must score a TD. Gun-Double Flex-Circle to Edwards is a good play in the redzone, could even work to get up the field. **Realize you need to audible this, and the receivers need to be next to each other for this to work. *NOTE: If you do complete a pass over the middle, just select a play like normal, it's faster.* ----- Comeback in the Desert - You must either tie or win. Let's keep the same plays from the last moment and use them here, but you have a lot more time. Of course the playbooks are different, but you can audible a similar setup. Yes, you can run a ton more plays than the last one, and no matter what, I say go for the win in regulation because OT is for whimps. ----- Shock the Patriots - Ah, how sweet. So long as you don't throw a lob to the endzone for no reason, this should happen like planned. You start on D and have the lead, so just hold on for eight and a half minutes. FYI, Jackson in Gun plays is the answer. Fly Eagles fly! ----- Hold Back the Pack - Another survive-and-win kinda deal. Pretty much stopping the Pack on their starting possession means you can run out the clock with LJ. ----- Win it for Ganggreen - So you trail by 7 and you can't go to OT. That means you must get a TD and then get the 2 pt conversion to seal it. Don't think too small, but do throw in a run just to make sure the clock winds down. ----- Falcons Claw Panthers - Just score a TD. It's a bit hard with the Falcons, but you do have White and Turner to move the ball. You have one timeout, so feel free to go over the middle, then slants to the endzone, or whatever. ----- Vikings Beat Broncos - Well, it's all good except for the fact that you start on 4th down, FYI. Okay, so you really need to score on this first possession or else you'll be playing from behind. You need three possessions to win this game, and if you don't convert this 4th down you need either two quick scores and three-and-outs on defense, or a turnover and then score. If you fail to score on the first try, you'll probably need two good 2 pointers. Win in regulation, FYI. ----- 49ers Goal Rush - This one is pretty easy as there is no time limit. I don't know why you don't play as the Cards. Just stop Arizona, maybe for a safety, and then score a field goal or TD. ----- Steel City Clash - As the Steelers you need to hold the Jags down. Luckily for your, the CPU plays for real until there are just 10 seconds left, so just survive or get a turnover, or stop them if possible. Now, if it's 4th down and they are kicking, call a timeout so that you can have time to score a FG yourself. And if they miss the kick, then take some knees. ----- Cool Under Pressure - As the Colts, just complete this first 4th down for a TD. They are coming with pressure from the outside, so call slants, back up, and throw to Wayne or Harrison. Easiest one. ----- Bengals Stuff Ravens - Opposite to the last one, now you need to make a goal line stand for four plays. The first is always a run, but don't just call a goal line defense - I got a 3-3-5 LB Ram Dog to work. 4-3 Free Fire is all I got, spread out the line and call press coverage. It really just requires luck, as it always does on defense, and some lucky drops. But finally, you face that Ravens offense. ----- Perfection? - Crap, we all have to play as the accursed Patriots. Oh well, you can always pray for forgiveness in the morning. Score a TD, of course you don't have the zebras on your side... or doooo you? More importantly, why the hell is the Ravens defense on so many of these? I'm starting to hate them more than the Pats! ----- Raiders Block the Browns - Just keep them from scoring, which is real easy if you stop them quickly. ----- Bills Circle the Wagon - Opposite of "Stop the Stampede". Now you must score all those points and win. It helps to convert this 4th down, but it's only the 3rd quarter, so play on. You need two TD's and defensive stops, and you will win. ----- No Cardiac Cards - Nope, you don't get the Ravens D, you get the Ravens O. At least you have McGahee and two timeouts, so just work up the field and kick a field goal to win. ----- Save the Saints - Yep, you got the Saints D. Impossible perhaps, but it starts on 4th down, so force a turnover on downs and then run out the clock. Also, Bush is number 25, if you want the spell HB in (that's one of the packages with the shoulder buttons as you choose a play). But you don't have to score, just win. ----- Break the Steel Curtain - Opposite of "Steel City Clash", now you must score at least a field goal as the Jags. Of course it's 4th and 2, so either run with Garrard, or just keep the chains moving however. Remember, you can just run straight up the field for a few more yards and kick. ----- Titans Turnaround - Just hold onto the 14 point lead and win before OT. You start with 1st and goal, so try to make another goal line stand like a previous moment, and then just go from there. Feel free to score a few points, it's really up to you - just win baby! *NOTE: The backup, rookie RB Chris Johnson, #29, is hella fast.* ----- Houston Heroics - Luckyily you don't have to score all of the points. It starts out 22-35, and you have the ball. Just call a slant to Johnson for this TD, and just kick the extra point. On the kickoff, just kick it deep and use all your timeouts to force a three and out; they'll run on all three plays, FYI, so call goal line defenses (Jam Cover 1 and plays as the FS). Then it's just hope for a big return, and when driving, if you can't go out of bounds, just call a play with haste, don't hurry up. And remember, just kick the extra point. ----- Beat the Bolts - You start on 4th down, so convert and then march for a score with the best passing offense in the land. Sure, it may require a lucky bomb to Wayne on a streak route, but remember, just call a play like normal, it takes less time. ----- Don't Kick it to Him - This is new, as all you need to do is return this punt for a TD. Eh, run in zig zags, turn your field, and use moves. It's really just random, so good luck. For some stupid reason, calling a punt block makes him punt out of bounds, so you have to call a punt return. The only thing I could even remotely recommend is to pull off a lineman to act as a blocker, then as Hester just stop for a second or fake a step to one side, and then sprint to the other. No matter what, this is all about luck, and if you weren't sick of home crowds booing after failing in this moments, you'll be just as sick as I am very soon. *NOTE: More than once you can even try to run backwards to the endzone, and what the hell, it might work! Hey, it was the only thing I got to work!* ----- Cowboys Wild Ride - Yeah, I had to crucify myself after this one. Actually, I used hypnosis to take myself to when I was 5 and stupid and a Cowboy fan so I could play this. Use Whimpen, Homo, and Blowens to win this stupid moment. I hate you Bills! They gave you every chance to win and you all had to crap up the place! By the way, you need a TD, a stop, and a field goal - no need for an onside. *shivers* ----- You Kicked it to Him? - Ah, no running backward this time (or is there?). It's actually pretty easy as I could do it on my first try! Just make sure Hester gets it and not the other guy. Run to one side, then at around the 20 reverse** your field and run to the other side. Should be just one guy to shed with a spin or something, then you should be able to hit the sideline and run to daylight. **Reverse your field means run horizontal, not upfield at an angle, or maybe at a slight angle, but mostly horizontal. ----- Rally the Rams - Now for a pretty stupid one, an onside kick. You need to aim high and to the right side of the ball, then kick like normal. Try different variations of where to the right and how hard you kick it. For all the times you fail, and there will be many, just run whatever to let the clock run out so you can retry. My best one was hitting it sorta in the middle and with like just two bits of power on the kick. Even less power is better. *NOTE: Feel free to complain to EA that only the CPU can audible in special teams, and for some reason time stops for the CPU. Yeah, it happened in the last game too. Also note that 100% of onside fails are because of those famous "magnet catches" that plague Madden games.* As for the tie or win, either call outs to the sidelines or slants with Jackson to the sidelines. Gun>Bunch TE>Stick is a good play, and send Holt on a slant. You have two normal plays and then maybe one quick slant to the sidelines to gain about 25 yards for a kick. Eh, at least you know how to recover onside kicks now. *NOTE: Ask yourself, "Who on earth picked this moment of all the moments from last season?"* ----- Lions Roar for 34 - You just need 34 or more points in 10 minutes, and you start close to the goal line. For one, get this TD no matter what. That's 7, or maybe 8, and so long as the final score is 37 for you, it's good. Use Johnson and Williams, and you could even let the Bears score, so long as you come out on top, I think. Rifle>Snugs Flip>WR Corners is a solid play for both of the top WR's; be sure to audible the inside WR to streak up on either side of the o-line too (even slant the other top WR). ----- Heads Up Play - Call FG Block Return, and the rest is just like the Hester kickoff return. Run one way and then the other. It's actually easier than you think since it's mostly linemen you need to elude. And I think it was Cromartie, FYI, not Sproles that really did the return. ----- Shootout in Atlanta - Similar to "Rally the Rams", only this time you also need to score a TD first. Remember, TD, extra point, onside kick, field goal, and then win in OT. If I recall, this was a "trash game", so why is it here? Also, you could even try a 2 pointer for that first TD and win on the field goal. The Snugs Flip plays are all good as this WR corps is deep. What I did was get a big completion on a streak up the middle with 9 seconds left and no timeout, then I quickly called a field goal and kicked before the screen was settled; I expect you'll do something similar. *NOTE: The 2 pointer is your best bet, and even failure means you can try to score a TD.* ----- Historic Kick Return - One more kick return, only this one with someone not as exciting as Hester, but still, same rules apply. Up one way and then the other. You could also try up the middle, zig zagging it, or whatever against the terrible Falcons special teams. I got it on a broken tackle up the middle, so maybe that's your best bet too. I'm pretty sure you can do it with either guy. ----- Giant Upset - Eh, I actually simmed the Super Bowl as the Giants and it came out 24-20 or something real close to what actually happened. Start by converting this 4th down with a slant outside to your TE. Then just drive and score a TD, just like Eli! For the life of me I don't know why the Giants don't want to catch anything, but oh well, deal with it I guess. ----- So what have we learned? That the Ravens are a much better team when only their overrated defense is on the field. ========== Mini Games ========== You have a few games: Forty Yard Dash - hold for ready position, steady pace to start, then speed up, and when "in the zone" you are good to go. Bench Press - I guess you either can do this or not, and I can't. I have better things to do than get better at fake bench presses. QB Challenge RB Challenge Coverage Challenge Lineman Challenge All of them are tests that both you and the CPU play and see who does better. For the plays, each side gets a shot playing offense and defense. If anything they are a slow way to build ring progress, but they are poor substitutes for practice. ======== Practice ======== You can choose your play and the defenses play, and even switch sides. You can run offense only if you like, and even work on special teams. These are the best way to practice as it is just like playing real games, without any of it counting. ============ Other Things ============ Go to "My Madden" from the start screen, choose Rosters, and then you can either create a team or a player. Both are probably not as fun as you think, but those are on the table. You can also assign free agents and even trade players, and not just to your team, you can do it for all the teams. You can also make a fantasy team online and import it to your game and play them. ***************************************************************************** * 9. Tackling All-Madden ( ALLM666 ) * ***************************************************************************** Okay, so all the other tips in this guide kinda apply only to lower levels, not all but some. Now I would like to help those who are struggling with the highest level of difficulty. Basic Tips #1. One or two deep passes #2. Keep it short and simple #3. Learn to run the ball #4. Either blitz every play, or rarely blitz #5. Learn to play any defensive position #6. Learn which are your best players on defense #7. Find your fastest receivers #8. Learn the differences between facing man and zone defense #9. Learn how to apply touch #10. Develop a sense of switching to a player as the ball is in the air. Once you have your gameplan ready, let's set it into motion. #1. Avoid the long ball because the defenders have crazy skills at picking off anything. Plus, your QB's accuracy and power at throwing is much less than it would normally be. If a long ball isn't picked off, it will most likely be batted away anyway. Your guy has to be completely open and much more physical than the nearest defender before you even think about throwing it his way. Don't forget, no pass interference. #2. So you want to keep things short for the passing game. Quick outs, slants, streaks for the TE, flat routes, and any blue route (which is pretend to block before going into the route) are your best friends. Feel free to call hot routes meant only to clear one side of the field for a slant to the empty area *hint at a Westbrook or any other RB*. #3. You must run the ball, period. I found runs in Ace formations work better than I-forms. Weak and Strong formations are also good if you call stretches or up the middle runs only. Whatever you do, you must gain more than 2 yards on most of your runs. You can always pass to set up the run or vice versa. #4. YOu can either sit back in coverage and let any QB (yes, even Matt Ryan) pick you apart, or you can blitz 90% of the game with zone blitzes like I do. The choice is yours. #5. You must know how to play any defender on the field. That means knowing how to play man and zone, knowing how to blitz, knowing when not to blitz even if your guy is supposed to, and knowing how to stop runs. Yes, I even want you to play corner a bit, for those corner blitzes at the very least. #6. Trust me, you can't do much if you play as a crappy defender. Let the CPU control your bad players while you use the auto-skills and better abilities of your top defenders. Better defenders are mainly good at shedding blocks, is the main point of this topic. #7. Find your speed guys on offense so you know the quick routes, but also what guys are most likely to be open when you're staring down the barrel of a blitz. #8. You must know that in zones, defenders can easily break for an INT. But in man they should be behind your guy. Yes, sometimes beaten defenders will suddenly burst in front of a receiver for a pick, but that's just Madden being Madden with the CPU AI doing as it wishes. *Hint: don't pass so much so the AI is less likely to pull a fast one on you.* #9. Touch is the only way to pass on all-madden. Even in man coverage, the defender is usually close to a receiver, so throwing it directly to the receiver is a good way to get it picked right off. But if you were to push to open area in front of the receiver with you left stick, maybe then your QB lays the pass where only your guy can get it. Or maybe he sails it right into the bread basket of a DB, who knows? Your QB's accuracy is directly tied to how well you can apply touch. #10. It's nothing anyone can teach you, you just have to learn how and when to switch to defenders and receivers when the ball is in the air. For defense, you want to maybe be the one to swat the ball down or pick it off. For offense it's to maybe make a poor decision into one unbelievable catch. Switching to a reciever is tricky because passes straight down the field are hard to judge, but passes going to an angled spot are a bit easier to run under. Keep in mind that in both cases it may be best you stay out of it, as you may switch to the wrong guy or have no depth perception of the field. ----- One final thought, I don't know why, but I cannot and have never beaten the Jets on all-madden. It's something weird with that defense, some guy named Calvin Pace who is just insanely good. I swear I was killed 28-0 by the Jets as the Eagles, then I turned around and smacked the Giants 35-10. I've beaten all the other top teams on All-Madden, but never the Jets. It's possible I suck and the Jets rule, I'm willing to believe that, or maybe there's something else going on I don't know about. ----- ***************************************************************************** * 10. Power Rankings * ***************************************************************************** These are just my rankings of HOW FUN these teams are to play, not the odds of them winning the Super Bowl or something, but that could be true too. These reflect at-time-of-posting rosters, both injuries in the NFL and the updated rosters. Could change from week to week, so keep that in mind. Power Rankings (10/8/08)* : *Note that all real NFL injuries are in place for the updates. If you don't update your roster, things would be different, but I assume most will run the roster updates. Sorry to all you Pats fans. **You get the updates by going online and playing a game, or at least getting to the point of playing a game. Colts Passing is easy, great RB, and Bob Sanders Chargers LT, Gates, and that D Eagles Westbrook, corps of receivers, blitz-happy defense Steelers Great defense, good pass attack, and solid run game Cowboys One WR, best TE, power running game, weak secondary Patriots Cassel at QB drops the team a few spots, and weak D Vikings Weak secondary, WR's, and QB; great everything-else Cardinals Awesome passing attack and capable defense Jets Brett Favre on a solid team, good enough for me Bengals Really strong passing attack, and decent defense Giants Good pass game, good run, good defense Titans Great D, strong run game, but weak passing attack Packers Great overall team, just nothing awesome Jaguars Best running attack, solid D, weak pass game Broncos Cutler has a few weapons, but D is not solid Redskins Solid everything-but-QB Buccaneers Average run game, ave. QB, one WR, great defense Browns Fun passing attack, but weak defense Texans One great WR, okay everything-else Raiders Okay all around Bills Okay at everything as well Seahawks Solid defense and worable offense Saints Potent offense, no defense Rams They got Jackson and a decent WR, that's about it Lions Two great WR's, that's it Chiefs Bad QB, average-at-best defense, good WR-TE-RB though Panthers Okay pass attack Ravens Great defense, below-average offense Bears Great defense and Devin Hester, not much else 49ers Good D, whatever good that does ya Falcons Good RB, decent enough defense, rookie QB Dolphins Needs to be given overhaul to match real team The Dolphins really need to be changed a lot. Their defense is much better than this game gives them, and their offense needs the option they run in real life. ***************************************************************************** * 11. Author Info / Copyright * ***************************************************************************** ------- Credits Wikipedia - for some glossary help ----- ----- FAQ's Q: How do you celebrate a TD? A: Press the jump/hurdle button. You can run to the goalpost for a dunk if running fast enough. Some players have their own dances too. You can even highstep into the endzone my holding the spin move down when no one is close to tackling you. Q: Which playbook is best for you? A: You know I'm an Eagle fan, but I honestly prefer their defensive sets and offensive formations. Of course teams that run 3-4 need their own playbook, but all other teams could probably get buy with what the Eagles use. Also, teams like the Colts have many more shotgun passes, if that's what you like. ----- ----------- Please contact me if you need any help, if you want to praise me, if you want to talk, or if you want to ask a question. All flames are deleted, so you're just wasting your time. All help is appreciated, but that doesn't mean it will be included in the guide. ***Please have 'Madden' in the title. Or anything to show it's not spam.*** My email: Extra points for good spelling, and the easier the question is to answer, the more likely I'll reply. Which means the better you set me up, the easier it is for me to knock it down. To potential flamers - The Eagles suck. There, saved you the effort. But seriously, light-hearted hatred, the kind an Eagle fan experiences at a Cowgirl game (like every concession stand saying "we don't serve your kind here" until you want to jump over the counter and start a brawl), is okay. Flames to waste my time are not. And Eagirls is a stupid name, there's no such thing as an "Eagirl." Only retared Dallas fans would think that name is actually a good comeback for being called "Cowgirls." PS - To GameFAQ's users, if you like the guide, click "recommend" at the top of the guide, but only if you like it. ----------- ----------- I have other guides floating around too. They are: Resident Evil 4 Dead Rising Gears of War Lost Planet Crackdown GRAW 2 Rainbow Six Vegas TES IV: Oblivion Shivering Isles Knights of the Nine The Darkness BioShock Halo 3 Half-Life 2 HL2: Episode One HL2: Episode Two Call of Duty 4 Assassin's Creed Mass Effect Advance Wars: Days of Ruin Perseus Mandate Sam & Max Episode 203 Devil May Cry 4 God of War: Chains of Olympus Rainbow Six Vegas 2 Okami Grand Theft Auto 4 Condemned 2: Bloodshot Metal Gear Solid 4 Alone in the Dark (360) NCAA Football 09 -------------- --------------- I've also been published in GamePro magazine, June 2007. Pretty cool if you ask me, and all because I write these little guides. Also, I am in the October issue as well, which should be out at the time of this guide's release. At least I ain't a one hit wonder. In a nice surprise, I didn't even know I was in the March 2008 issue of GamePro, but I am. Maybe I'll be in more I don't know about... Look to for a slew of other articles written by me in the featured article section. ---------------- ---------------- Here is my list of sites: GameFAQs (main host site) GameSpot GamerHelp IGN TheGameReviews SuperCheats GamesRadar CheatPlanet CheatCodeCentral ( GamersTemple ( and more here and there, too many to keep up with and even a few foreign ones too! *NOTE: There are many more with single guides, and then others with a few, and some that I just don't keep track of.* All other sites must ask permission if they want this. All I ask is that the guide be ad-free and in this text format. And if you want to make a donation at my site for hosting a guide, that is fine too. ------------------- -------------- Here is my website: You'll find all my other guides here too and perhaps something else you may like. ------------- --------- COPYRIGHT --------- This guide may not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright. All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their respective trademark and copyright holders. Copyright 2008 Brad Russell