*Madden NFL 09*
Madden NFL 09 FAQ
For XBox 360, PS3
Version 1.2 (8/21/08)
Written by Brad Russell "TheGum"
Version 1.0 – I could cover the modes and always go deeper into each team in
a later update.
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.
Table Of Contents
Use Ctrl + F to quick find in this guide.
1. A Brief Foreword
2. Controls ( CON2222 )
3. Starter Tips ( TIPS333 )
4A. National Football Conference ( NFC123 )
New York Giants
Green Bay Packers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Orleans Saints
St. Louis Rams
San Francisco 49ers
4B. American Football Conference ( AFC123 )
New England Patriots
New York Jets
San Diego Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs
5. Football ( PLAY555 )
Special Teams SPT9012
6. Glossary ( GLOS666 )
7. Madden Test ( TEST777 )
8. Game Modes ( MODE888 )
9. Power Rankings
10. 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.**
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.
* 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.
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
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
*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
*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
**L1/R1 (LB/RB) during play selection to change packages, such as Spell HB.
*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)
*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)
Pitch/Lateral – L2 (LT)
Fake pitch – L1 (LB)
Fullback (triple option, hold at handoff) – X (A)
*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
Switch to receiver – O (B)
Catch – TRI (Y)
Diving catch – SQU (X)
*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.
Of course after an INT or fumble, normal running moves apply.
Timeout – Select (Back)
Audible – SQU (X)
Jump Snap – L2 (LT)
Defensive line audibles – L1 (LB)
Linebacker audibles – R1 (RB)
Coverage audibles – TRI (Y)
*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
*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
*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
*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
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
<while engaged with blocker>
Bull rush – R1 (RB)
Finesse move – L1 (LB)
Hands up – TRI (Y)
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
#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
#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.
* 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.
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 >
Key Weapons: TO, Barber, Witten; Ware (OLB), Hamlin (FS)
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
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.
Key Weapons: Westbrook, Curtis/Brown, Jackson, Smith; Dawkins (FS)
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
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 the offensive potential is there for every play. If the
defense is playing run-defense, audible to passing play and send B-West into
a hot route.
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. Jackson is way fast, FYI.
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 average LB’s
can make a few plays.
New York Giants
Key Weapons: Burress; Pierce (MLB), try Phillips (FS)
Strength: offensive line
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
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.
Key Weapons: Portis, Moss, Randle El; Fletcher (MLB), Landry (SS)
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 not reliable over
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
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
< NFC North >
Green Bay Packers
Key Weapons: Driver, Jennings, Grant; Hawk (OLB)
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.
Key Weapons: AD (Peterson), Rice; Henderson (MLB), Sharper (SS)
Strength: Adrian Peterson
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.
Key Weapons: Hester; Urlacher(MLB)/Briggs(OLB), Brown (FS)
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
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.
Key Weapons: Williams & Johnson; Sims (OLB), Smith (SS)
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
There is no running game, so let’s move on. You’ll need to pass to set up the
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.
< NFC South >
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Key Weapons: Galloway; June(OLB)/Brooks(OLB)
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.
New Orleans Saints
Key Weapons: Colston, Bush, Shockey; Vilma (MLB)
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.
Key Weapons: Smith; Beason (MLB), Harris (SS)
Strength: Steve Smith
Lucky for you, no suspensions will be served in this game. Steve Smith and Jake
Delhomme are you 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
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
The defense has Peppers and Beason, but nothing spectacular anywhere else.
The defense isn’t bad, but not enough to win you games.
Key Weapons: White?
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. I could talk about this team if no other team had
superstars, but most teams do and this team has none.
< NFC West >
Key Weapons: Tatupu (MLB)
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.
Key Weapons: Fitzgerald & Boldin, James; Wilson (SS)
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.
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
St. Louis Rams
Key Weapons: Holt, Jackson; Witherspoon (MLB), Atogwe (FS)
Strength: Steven Jackson
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
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
Key Weapons: Gore; Willis (MLB), Lewis (SS)
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.
* 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.
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
Key Weapons: Moss, Welker, Watson, Maroney; any LB, Harrison (SS)
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
New York Jets
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.
Key Weapons: Evans, Lynch; Crowell (OLB), Whitner (SS)
Strength: Marshawn Lynch
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
Key Weapons: Brown; Porter (OLB)
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.
< AFC North >
Key Weapons: Ward, Holmes, Parker, Miller; any LB, Polamalu (SS)
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.
Key Weapons: Edwards, Winslow, Lewis
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.
Key Weapons: Johnson & TJ
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
Sadly, Rudi Johnson isn’t a blazing RB, but he can do good enough. Kenny Watson
could possibly be better as the year goes on, but either way you know you got
a good backup. The FB isn’t bad either. So the run game is solid at the least.
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
Key Weapons: McGahee, Mason, Heap; Lewis (MLB), Reed (FS)
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.
< AFC South >
Key Weapons: Wayne, Harrison, Addai, Clark; Brackett (MLB), either safety
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.
Key Weapons: Taylor & Drew; Peterson/Smith (LB), Nelson (FS)
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,
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.
Key Weapons: Chris Johnson, White, Crumpler; Bulluck (OLB), either safety
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.
Key Weapons: Johnson; Ryans (MLB)
Strength: Andre Johnson
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
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.
< AFC West >
San Diego Chargers
Key Weapons: LT, Chambers, Gates; Merriman/Phillips (OLB)
Strength: LaDainian Tomlinson
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.
Key Weapons: Marshall; Williams (OLB)
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
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.
Key Weapons: Walker, McFadden; Morrison/Howard (LB), either safety
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
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
Key Weapons: Johnson, Bowe, Gonzalez; Johnson/Edwards (OLB)
Strength: offense except QB
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.
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
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.*
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.
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
+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
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
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
*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
*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
*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
*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
*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
*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
*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.
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.*
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.
Marking Your Zone
Zone Coverage – My mind has change 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 are 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 of 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, so it works.
If you do want to call a pure zone defense, I suggest a zone blitz. It
causes pass rush and it defends the pass, but again, most rushers are picked
up and the QB makes the right pass.
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 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
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
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
Every now and then you may want to throw in a man blitz, the LB Ram Dog, or a
4-3 Free Fire, or a 46 blitz, but all of these usually result in your safety
covering a TE. This is a nightmare because any out or even a corner post
route usually means you’re beat. It’s best to play up on the TE and then
react to where he goes, but not a press. You just need to be aware that most
TE’s run curls. I don’t know, against the CPU calling a blitz just means
you’re letting them complete a pass, so it’s not wise at all. Good man blitzes
are when you are covering a runner, and don’t let motion throw off who you
*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
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.
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
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
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.
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
Cut – Either when an RB changes direction, or when a receiver changes his
angle in a route.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
Keep in mind there are many variations, but I will only cover the basic
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/
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
*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
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
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.
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
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
Swing – I believe this is any route that fakes a flat and then turns it up
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
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
* 7. Madden Test ( TEST777 ) *
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
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.*
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.
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.
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
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 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.
*NOTE: Not sure if you can win in OT on this one, but if you tie it up I
guess keep playing.*
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
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
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
**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
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
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.
You have a few games:
Forty Yard Dash
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
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.
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
* 9. 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. At
least the Giants made top 8 NFC… and we’ll see how long those ’Boys can hold
onto top NFC.
As of now I’ve only played like 8 of these teams, mostly the Eagles of course,
but I can safely say the Eagles play better than the Vikings and Packers. I
ain’t touchin’ the Pats or Cowgirls, so those teams are only tops out of
respect for their frontrunning fans.
Power Rankings (8/19/08) :
Patriots Highest rating, for whatever reason
Colts Passing is easy, great RB, and Bob Sanders
Chargers LT, Gates, and that D
Cowboys They do only have one WR, I expect them to fall
Eagles Fly Eagles fly!
Steelers Great defense and QB, but average receivers
Vikings Weak secondary, WR’s, and QB; great everything-else
Cardinals Fun passing attack and capable defense
Browns Fun passing attack, but weak defense
Packers Great overall team, just nothing awesome
Jaguars Best running attack and solid D
Seahawks Solid defense and great QB
Jets Brett Favre on a solid team, good enough for me
Bengals Really strong passing attack, but that’s it
Titans Fun to run around with VY, but offense is difficult
Redskins Solid everything-but-QB
Giants An okay defense, but the offense did only get 17 in SB
Rams They got Jackson and a decent WR, that’s about it
Bills Below average team all around, but could climb
Saints Potent offense, dummy defense
Lions Two great WR’s, that’s it
Buccaneers Lots of average RB’s, several QB’s, but just one WR
Raiders Promising young team
Texans One great WR, okay everything-else
Broncos Cutler has a few weapons
Chiefs Bad QB, average-at-best defense, good WR-TE-RB
Panthers Okay pass attack
Ravens Great defense, one RB for offense
Bears Great defense and Devin Hester
49ers Good D, whatever good that does ya
Dolphins Ricky Williams?
Falcons They’ve just bled out all their good players
Keep in mind, I expect these to change, both for player moves and my own
changed feelings. Very little of the change will be from reader thoughts, but
you never know.
* 10. Author Info / Copyright *
Wikipedia – for some glossary help
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.***
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.
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
Gears of War
Rainbow Six Vegas
TES IV: Oblivion
Knights of the Nine
HL2: Episode One
HL2: Episode Two
Call of Duty 4
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin
Sam & Max Episode 203
Devil May Cry 4
God of War: Chains of Olympus
Rainbow Six Vegas 2
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 Gamerhelp.com for a slew of other articles written by me in the
featured article section.
Here is my list of sites:
GameFAQs (main host site)
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.*
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Here is my website:
You’ll find all my other guides here too and perhaps something else you may
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Copyright 2008 Brad Russell
This guide posted to TheGameReviews.com with permission of the author.