Hellions Guide to Running
First of all, Im a little long winded and I know it, but at least you never had to be my history professor. Also, Jimbo just wrote a great guide to running the football, but I had wanted to do one of these anyway, and I think I have a lot of new things to say. Im in my 12th week of season 5, and in the last two years Ive had 4 -1000 yard rushers on my team. In my current season, I have one RB averaging 4.6 yards per carry with 1246 yards, and one averaging 5.4 per carry who has 676. In my first season, I averaged less than 3 per So it can take a little work, even if its just the simple process of improving your reaction time after the notoriously slow Madden 99!
Yeah, yeah, yeah, so we all know how running the ball lets one dominate possession time, control the pace of the game, and tire out the other team. But undoubtedly, the best thing about running the football successfully in Madden 2K is the look of pure frustration that shows on an opponent when you just handed it to him for an entire game, all day long. If you beat them with a long bomb, it sucks, but at least they get the ball back! After you gain another 5 yards on the 8th play of a soon-to-be 18 play drive, and youre only at midfield, well, that is just exasperating for the other guy. Theres nothing better.
Choosing a Play book
Right now my favorite play book for the running game is the Dolphins, it has most of the basic straight ahead runs, which are some of my favorite. My only problem with the Dolphins play book is that it doesnt have many runs like singleback hb slash, which routinely lets you choose between two or more equally strong holes. (which makes it a lot harder for the MLB to tackle you for a loss if blocking breaks down) Most runs in the Dolphins playbook are momentum runs towards one more defined hole, which makes changing holes a lot harder, which makes choosing the right play a little more important. That said, there are some exceptions, and these exceptions are my favorite runs in the Phins playbook. My two favorite runs are singleback normal or big HB belly strong, and singleback normal or 4WR sprint. These plays are deadly, because theres usually a nice hole waiting if they call most types of zone defense, and if they call man defense you can make it off tackle nicely most of the time. Obviously thats a generalization, but it works well for me. If they call man formation read the outside linebacker. If the TE or WR gets a good block on him, fly to the outside, even juke to the outside if it makes you feel safer. Just get outside. If he gets around the block you should be able to cut inside him for yards. The only way you can be dropped for no gain on one of these plays is if the LB scrapes or blitzes around the TE or T, and the T gets run over. Even then it should only be a loss of a yard, which isnt bad. That happens. I love passing the ball too, and this is also a good play book for that. If you want to go extreme with the running plays, check out the Falcons playbook. But check them all out. Choosing a playbook with more than just the passing game in mind is crucial to being successful.
Heres something that doesnt need to be explained too much. Having good guys on the field doesnt guarantee you a damn thing but makes your chances that much better. My main thing about personnel isnt the offensive line, that stuffs obvious. The only real mystery there is what KIND of line to get, a HOGS-type line or a Broncos-type line? Big or fast? Well, I like both. But if I had to choose, Id take big. My thing is having wide receivers who can block. Hey, its worked for the 9ers, so I use it too. I cant recommend anyone more than David Boston for a first pickup if you start a franchise team. Hes pretty easy to get, he has good hands, speed, and size, and great quickness, awareness, and run blocking. If your WR takes out the corner right off the bat, either by cutting him or just knocking him on his ass, that changes all the angles for the defense. A big play is in the works.
Dont be afraid to use two backs. I do. Both of my backs are good but neither have the carry rating of a premier running back. Basically, the fact that they both carry the ball all game long gives me that advantage of having a Terrell Davis, because theyre both just as good if theyre fresh. I sub them into non-global subs at the beginning of every game. The most effective set for this is the pro form set, I sub my power guy in for the FB, because I never have him block for me out of this formation. All the more deadly.
If you practice, youll get good at keeping your opponent off guard with your play calling. Mix it up as much as possible. After youve run inside/outside a few times, run outside/outside! Throw deep on first down, then pound it up the middle on 2nd and 3rd. Pass it like 6 times in a row, then go back to running ¾ of the time. Just mix it up as much as possible. I have a tendency to get angry when things arent going my way at this game, and I had this stubborn tendency to run a play AGAIN if it got stuffed! Why in the world did I do that? Sometimes I call a timeout if Im getting shut down and then pause the game for a few seconds and carefully think about what kinds of plays Ive been calling. I usually find that Ive gotten into a playcalling rut. Heheheh Along with mixing up your calls, its important to know which kinds of run plays are effective against what defensive calls. And get to know what kinds of defensive plays your opponent is likely to call if you beat them on certain kinds of passing plays. (for example, if you beat your opponent for a long bomb, you should be able to get yards via inside runs shortly thereafter. If you want you can practice and get really in depth on that, but my general advice is that you can USUALLY run inside against a zone formation, and you can usually run the ball to the outside against man, providing the OLB gets blocked. The reason is simple, the corners dont get blocked very often in zone formation and become very dangerous to the outside. Against man they immediately engage the WR anyway, which makes them easy to block. If the LB is playing man defense against your TE or one of your backs hell be blockable either way. In zone formations the inside linebackers usually back into coverage at the snap of the ball, making it easier to get into the secondary. Great players or blitzing players or any number of things will sometimes render that generalization untrue, but overall it works. I havent gone to the practice field to memorize every defensive play, yet
Additionally, arrange your audibles to include at least three runs. Two of them should be out of the same formation, an outside run and an inside run. Usually the computer or another player wont be able to adjust as well if you have two options from the same formation. This way you can change the play if you dont like what you see when you
Read the D
Its just as important for running the football as it is for passing, so I dont need to explain that too much. Look at the defensive formation, is it a 46? Consider the option of an audible to a different play! I dont much like to run against that formation, I tend not to be too effective. And remember, keeping your avg. per carry high has just as much to do with not losing a lot of yards as gaining them. Are the linebackers shaded to the strong or weak side of the field, or are they playing base? How is the defensive line positioned? Are they crowding the side of the field you want to run to? If you have reservations looking at that, change the play.
This is every man for himself, do you like to have the fullback block for you? I usually try it a couple times a game, but it really doesnt work for me well overall. There are two things to notice when reading a fullback block. Does he really HAVE anybody? I mean, just because hes heading toward a guy doesnt mean hes going to block him. When he does latch on, notice which side hes blocking to. Sometimes he wont block the way the play is drawn up, and you have to adjust to that. The worst thing about the fullback blocking is that sometimes theyll turn around in the hole, kind of aimless like, and really screw your situation up. Just be very careful of that, they get in the way an awful lot. The only reason Im not telling the truth about how much I hate blocking fullbacks in Madden is because everyone has their own style, and other people will swear by them. Find out what works for you.
I have the opinion that momentum is a huge part of Madden 2k. If the momentum isnt in your favor, dont try to jam the ball down the other teams throat. Your guys just wont do the job for you up front. Keep the momentum on your side, this means not throwing interceptions, not EVER trying for a 4th down and missing, (in short, let your defense get you the ball back) etc. On one play during my last game my front four and blitzing linebackers knocked over EVERY one of the opposing offensive linemen, including the TE. The four plays from scrimmage before that had included: a fumble by their team on the 15 yard line, a 15 yard TD run by me, an interception by Shawn Springs, and an immediate play action long bomb for another touchdown. No mystery there, my guys were pumped. If you sense the other team is on a roll, go to quick passes to backs out of the backfield or plays youre familiar with in the passing game. Get the easiest yards that you can, get a couple of first downs, maybe even a TD, and then go back to your power approach. This is truly an important part of the game.
Even the best moves will only help a RB if he knows how and when to use them
Speed burst/power run: Personally I dont like to use the speed burst much unless Im running to the outside and my blocks are all there. Otherwise using the speed burst to the outside usually gets you killed by the cornerback coroner-back? (truly bad, sorry) Dont use the speed burst before you get through the hole. For some reason that will get you tackled. You need to be able to maneuver proficiently through the hole. Once through, then it becomes your choice. If there arent any easy jukes to the outside, I like to speed/power burst straight ahead and hope I run over the safety, the quickest way to 6 is straight ahead. But the important part, is wait till youre past the line of scrimmage.
Spin move: The spin move is only good for ditching 1-3 over-pursuing defenders, as far as Im concerned. Its very useful for that though. If youre hotfooting it to the outside and the WHOLE TEAM is chasing you to the sideline, consider pushing triangle and jumping into that pile, but dont spin. Trust me, the jumping thing gets you YARDS! I dont know why. Actually, spin moves can be even more effective if you learn to do just d-pad spin moves at times check it out.
Stiff arm: The stiff arm is a helluva move, but it works better in some situations than in others. It has a high rate of effectiveness if you use it on a guy who is being partially blocked. You know what I mean. Hes being blocked, but he might jump at you when you try to pass by. It will almost always keep you from getting tackled in that situation. So for that reason its good for getting through the line if the hole looks iffy, or coming off tackle if the end looks like he might just come off the block once you make it off tackle. Also works well when a corner is blitzing or something and you manage to see him in time to take a little wider angle and stiff arm. It wont work as often when the defender has a good bead on you, or is going the same direction, but it will work sometimes. In that situation youd probably be better off doing a stutter stop/go though. Watch out because sometimes the stiff arm WILL work, but will turn you around due to the fact that you just planted your fist square in some guys neck. Just turn around with the momentum that carried you around and do a 360 and keep going!
Stutter stop n go: This is purely a d pad move, youre going full speed, a defender comes along in over-pursuit, and you totally screw his whole angle by quickly pushing the opposite direction from where you were going, which stops you, and then you go again. If you get good at the move you can do it so fast that you barely lose any momentum! Hell, you dont even have to stop all the way, sometimes. If you have room, hitting speed burst after you stop makes the move even more effective. One time I used this move 3 times on a 15 yard run, and looking at the replay, there was no other way I could have done it. I think its the most effective move there is.
Juke move: The catch with the juke move is that its a sell out move, so like the speed burst you cant control your direction until its over. I use it constantly though, once you measure your angles and see a hole its an awesome addition to Madden, much needed last year. Theres nothing better than coming up the middle, the corner gets knocked on his ass, the linebackers are all blocked, the safety over-pursues, and then with one push of the juke button youre flying down the sideline. You can add to the juke move by playing with the angles before you use it. For instance, get to the sideline, then act like youre going to go back inside, but then juke BACK to the sideline! Works even better if you can screw with the defenders before you even use it!
Dive: Would I be correct in saying that this is the oldest move in Madden? Maybe its tied with speed burst Its been here since the beginning, no mystery what it does. If you use the dive move for any other reason that to get into the end zone, youre done for that play, which is why I dont use it much. EXCEPT on third down Its GREAT for third downs! Especially since safeties and corners who have the angle on you seem to close very quickly, and keeping the chains moving is paramount.
Hurdle: A move Im working on using more often. If you get to the sideline defenders will often jump at you, and this is a way you can avoid being tackled by all those bodies flying through the air at you. Its also effective for avoiding shoestring tackles! Because I almost never use it, I constantly get tripped up by fallen defenders. I think Im just a little slow to the triangle button. If X was hurdle, Id be freakin Edwin Moses in football pads
Breakin Tackles: This is what really bumps your production up to the next level. Yards after contact You have to jam on the buttons to effectively break tackles, it says so right there in the manual. Push X if a guy is dragging you down from behind, square if from the left, and circle if from the right. Triangle if from the front, guess how many tackles I break with that button The cool thing about breaking tackles is that often times, other defenders in the area will fall from the initial tackle attempt! So if you get into the secondary, the safeties converge, grab you, and you break the tackle, who knows, you could very well get away. The easiest way to break tackles is to plan ahead that youre going to have to use a certain button. If youre running to the right, know that your best bet to break a tackle is to use the square button when they come from the left side. Knowing that ahead of time makes you much more likely to jam on the buttons and break the tackle. Also, you can use these buttons in combination with other ones. Dont be afraid to initiate the contact, if youre running outside, juke back into the defender and then immediately start hitting the corresponding button to break the tackle. Up the middle, hit the X button before making contact and then start whaling away on the triangle button.
Well, I hoped some of that will help you if youre having trouble running the football on Madden 2K. Otherwise just ask on the message board and I like trying to help with stuff.