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Thinking Man's Guide to Madden



Basically you want to run with your strength and attack your opponents weakness. For example if you are the Cowboys and you are playing the Eagles, you know that T Erik Williams vs DE Mike Mamula is a mismatch. Look for similar weaknesses in the defense and learn to exploit them. On the other hand, if you are playing Tampa Bay, running straight at Warren Sapp all day long may not be the most productive move.


You will always hear it said during football games that great backs have great vision. That is also true in Madden. Sometimes the way a play looks in your playbook may not be the same way the play actually develops.


The key to running successfully inside is to see where the offensive line is pushing back the defensive line. This is the "Soft Spot". Let your back hit this spot and use the speed burst button to help push the pile foward. If there is a tiny hole that he has to squeeze through, use the stiff arm to help him barrel through. Sometimes, when the defense is overshifted and the running lanes are clogged up, it is possible to bounce the play outside by hitting the juke button.


The key here is your receiver blocking skills and the angle that you take to attack the corner. On sweeps and tosses, I try to run at parrallel to the line of scrimmage, then try to cut it up field. Also, while running past the receiver who is blocking the corner, you may want to stiff arm past those guys in case the corner suddenly breaks free. Don't use the speed burst button or juke if a tackler is closing on you and you are in the backfield. It will usually mean a loss. Wait til use the speed burst until you have turned the corner and started upfield.


If you are tackled and still standing, pound on that speed button like mad. If your break tackle is high enough, you could break free. Be careful though, if you are facing the wrong way, you may actually lose yardage.


A real cool way to make a tackler miss is a simple hesitation. For example, if you are running down the sideline and a tackler is approaching from the side, just stop at the last possible moment and watch him fly by!


Sometimes when running to the outside, the defense may over-pursue, trapping you escape past. To make the most of this, juke to the inside and speed burst up the field.




Great if you have a big and strong back and the tackler doesn't have a clean shot at you. Don't wait too long to use it though.


If you have a smaller, more agile back, then the juke may be the move that you would need to avoid tacklers. Bigger backs may have trouble using it.


If you are about to be tackled and have a yard or two to go to get a TD or first down, Dive for it.


I think that this move is under-rated and one of the best open field moves. If you have a superior back, you can gain additional yardage with a well timed spin. Try to spin earlier, than later. This will at least cause the first tackler to miss you. The only down side that if you player has a low carry level, he could cough it up.


If you have a big back and get caught in a yucky mess in the middle, hurdle a couple of times to avoid getting tackled then run to day light when you see something open up. Also, use this move to jump over downed linemen (they have a tendency to tackle you while laying flat on their butts)


Even thought Madden has the best AI on the market, it still can be duped. Using 3 and 4 wide out formations will cause it to use nickle and dime formations, which is easier to run vs the standard 4-3. Also on second and long, the computer also sticks with its pass defense.


Humans don't think like the Madden AI so you will have to be a little more creative when calling your plays. Here are a few tips that may keep your foes off balance

A-Mix it up. Don't be afraid to throw or run on any down and distance. This element of surprise will keep your opponents of their toes because you are not sticking to a set pattern. Remember, that a successful running attack must always have a passing attack to compliment it.

B-Use the fake out buttons. If you call a play often you may want to use use you fake out button. Simply hit L1 or L2 and the select button to select the play directly above or below the play that is on the screen.

C-Use audibles and audible combinations. Have a pass audible that will compliment your running play if the line begins to become stacked. A good example is the Single Back HB Belly ST and the SE Slant audible combination. Also call fake audibles by pressing the triangle button or by calling hot routes to send a receiver deep.


The final factor in a successful running game is to have complete mastery of your D-pad. Some players find that the dual shock controllers stick are the way to go. Others like the circular D-Pad. Find a pad that is comfortable and compatable for your style of play. Go to the practice mode and just run plays. The more you run them, the more you will get familiar with them.


Q: I play a lowly team and I can't run. What should I do?
A: Switch Teams. Find a team with a proven running attack and use it. Why punish yourself using a medicore team (unless you love a challenge)

Q: What is the best running team?
A: Denver. Terrell Davis and Orlandis Gary in the same backfield? Think double screen.

Q: Who is your favorite running back?
A: For a franchise I love Dayne but for a single game, I'll take Edge James.

Q: When is it the best time to run?
A: When it snows! It seems that on Madden tacklers go slipin' and sliddin' everywhere. Oh, by the way, on defense, you may have along day against the run.

Q: What is your favorite running play?
A: The Shotgun//HB Toss.