First off, all the veterans from last year will recognize some of these tips so this will be a refresher for you. Now, the ones who have followed my post from last year know that I run a ball control offense and a defense that leaves little time for the opposing QB to launch the rock. Ive been playing M2K for over a month now and I am just as addicted to this version as I was to M99. I started out slow and eventually started a franchise on all Madden and man Im having a blast. I didnt change any of the games original settings save one; momentum was pushed back one to allow for better cuts.
It would be great to have 80 or 90 OVR players at each position, but it wouldnt be any fun after awhile. I could have done some trades that would have ensured a stable running and passing game along with a rock solid D, but then what? Wheres the challenge? So far Ive done ok, but Im in serious need of a RB. Kaufman is too small and Wheatley is too slow. I still can run it just takes a little more work to have a successful running attack.
You have to know your players limitations and utilize him to the best of his ability. A small, quick back may not be able to take a hit, but he can outrun the defense on the outside with a couple of good blocks and he can move the ball shooting the gaps if you give him a lead blocker. If your back has good hands try to catch him on swings and screens. Also, dont run exclusively with the RB. Hand off /screen/swing to your FB as well. This will keep the D guessing and they wont focus on stopping just the RB.
Know were your talent is on the Oline and where their talent is on the D. Identifying these key personnel will help the running game immensely.
When I say identify your Oline talent, I dont mean the RG with an OVR of 99. Each game is different and just because your lineman has a 99 OVR doesnt mean hes not going to have games where hes off. I like to attack different areas of the Oline and then watch the replays to see which lineman is dominating the defense that day on a constant basis. Dont be surprise when your running through holes that your 73 OVR lineman created for you. Also, once you identify their talent on D you call plays that will take them out of the play. So if they have a talented LB who stuffs you every time you run the ball his way or pass in his direction simply call plays that go the opposite way or that pay special attention to him. Bring a lead blocker with you to pick him up or pass the ball away from his zone.
BUTTON, BUTTONS, BUTTONS.
Ah yes. I remember last year when hitting the juke or speed burst through the hole got you more yards and increase your chances of breaking onenot anymore. Now those moves have to be executed at the proper time in order to run effectively. I guess the most important one would be to never, ever juke or speed through a hole. Doing so releases control of the player until the move is complete and 9 times out of ten youll end up dancing right into the arms of a waiting DL or LB. About the only button you can get away with while hitting a hole would be the hurdle and stiff arm. Spinning is reserved for incoming tackles and juking is used best for making quick cuts against incoming defenders. Not every play runs exactly how it was drawn up and thats where you have to improvise. As soon as the ball is snapped I focus all my attention on the Oline and D and take into consideration a few things before I choose my running lane:
- Did the right hole open up? If not, was another created nearby? Did the LB drop back into to coverage or is he coming in? Is there room for me to juke or spin past the LB once I get through the hole? If there is no hole is the outside a possibility?
Seems like a lot, but it really only takes a second to assess the situation. Also, how a DL or LB is being blocked plays a big role in what you need to do to get through the line. Your lineman should be blocking away from the play so the LG or LT will be blocking towards the 10 Oclock position and your RG or RT will be facing the 2 Oclock position, this is for runs between the tackles. If they block closer to 12 or 6 then you will have to stiff arm as you go by to prevent the defender from pulling off the block and making the play. Once through the line youll have to juke if the LB is coming in fast or spin if hes already dove to make the tackle. During all this you still have to watch the ground for fallen lineman who you will have to hurdle to avoid shoestring tackles. Now, during any run your WR and TEs should have made it downfield so utilize them as blockers to get you the extra yardage. Dont be afraid to slow down to a crawl to keep your WR or TE between you and the incoming defender, just watch the pursuit behind you. Once out in the open field everyone will be coming for you at full steam so kick the tires and light the fires baby. Run a diagonal or zigzag route if your back has average speed, but if hes a streakerthe shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
Now, if youre calling plays that utilize lead blocks, pulling guards or sweeping TEs there are a few guidelines you should follow:
Running is a waiting game and all though its really nice to have a back whos SPD is 100 its much easier to have a high 80s or low 90s. Why? Because the back has to wait for the play to set up before he can make his move. So if the play is up the gut, the RB will have to wait and see if the lead blocker picked up the block and then determine if the defender is being blocked away from the play. For gut runs you want to make sure you dont crowd the lead blocker. Give him about 4 or five steps so you dont end up running into him when he stops abruptly. It will also give you time to react to missed blocks or if he has blocked into the play. For runs to the outside, wait for your blockers and know who they are. If you speed burst to the outside before the blocks are picked up then the D will rush in uninhibited and make play after glorious play. There will be times where you may have to tap the controls to stutter your RB so you dont outrun the blockers, you may even have to stop all together. Scary isnt it? Also, when running to the outside, put about three or four yards between your blocking OL/TE/WR/FB. This will give you time to react if a block is completely missed.
I cant tell you how much my patience has paid off. Ive had to run to the opposite side of the line because of busted plays, but allowing my guys to get out front afforded me the time to make that decision. As always, pay attention to which way the blocks are going, in or out and react accordingly.