Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What Madden Needs To Do Better

Thus far I have tried to point out the pros and cons to this year's Madden game and for the most part I have been very pleased (sorry Jorge) with the progress shown by this edition. There are issues to be sure but, as I have said many times, it's all a matter of degree -- and what you are willing to live with.

Today I noticed what I think is Madden's greatest failing -- and it's something I would think would be easy to fix -- and I really, really hope EA fixes it.

Defensive Playcalling and Packaging.

I always try and call a realistic game -- I'm not the guy who passes 60 times a game. I will normally just call a game like I would if I were actually in charge. So I'm playing vs the Saints today in an ex. game and I noticed -- and I had noticed this before but never really put it together -- it's pretty easy to throw to the halfback on swing passes/safety valve routes.

So it's 3rd and 6 on the Saints 35 and I come up in an Ace set, 1 HB, 3 WR and a TE. The play is supposed to be a post to Braylon but the Saints send the house so I dump it off to Harrison and he races for a 35 yd TD. Hey nice play!

However, upon looking at the replay it dawned on me:

Where is the Nickel back?

The Saints blitzed all 3 linebackers. The Saints corners were covering Edwards and Robiskie. The SS was over the TE and the FS was covering the slot receiver, Massaquoi.

That's insane. So when the LBers blitzed -- no one was left to check the HB who was wide open. It's not so much that, but the fact that when an NFL team puts its offensive personnel on the field, the DC or someone similar will do something like yell, "Three Wide! Three Wide!" The second Massaquoi stepped on the field it SHOULD have triggered the Saints to go Nickel.

Why? Because a FS won't be able to cover a slot WR (very well) and god forbid you put a LB on him. It's why you have a Nickel back.

So I started checking this out -- when I got the ball back I ran nothing but 3-wide sets with no FB. What do the Saints do? Nothing. They never go Nickel. Not once. Massaquoi catches 4 straight passes because the Saints LB has NO chance at checking him -- the Madden ratings really do work..and an OLB can't cover Massaquoi -- nor should he be ASKED to.

But the game absolutely needs to look at my personnel. It has to. Otherwise you'll be able to take advantage of this over and over again until the AI decides to call a nickel or dime defense. This was an exhibition game and not a franchise game, so who knows maybe it wont do that in a real game. Or maybe the Saints were just being dumb? I'll look later today.

But come on guys, please fix this -- don't let this scar what is otherwise a very solid and enjoyable game.