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Madden NFL 20 - Gridiron Notes: October Title update

Check out the Gridiron notes on our title update and share your feedback here

Updating pass rush is great, but it all has to work in concert with logical football rules.

From the Gridiron Blog:
6. What updates have happened to the pass rush in Madden 20? Zone abilities, Superstar Abilities, RPOs, trick plays – how are we going to stop all of this?

We have made a strategic decision for the pass rush to have a big impact in the game to balance the passing game. You are not going to have a ton of time in the pocket on average to make reads, you’ll have to get the ball out quick. This is emphasized when playing against superstar pass rushers.

This is interesting, and I can certainly see how more pressure would help curve the current meta where QB's have the time to wait for a corner route or deep crosser to get open on almost every play.

I can imagine players loading up on pass rushers, playing a lot of bump and run coverage, and making all the short reads near impossible to complete. Which is a fine strategy, assuming there are legitimate ways to counter this defensive approach. But historically, Madden hasn't done a very good job simulating the chess match beyond a single adjustment. For example, if you have single coverage on the outside and the corner is shading inside to take away the slant, your receiver can run a fade and still get intercepted the majority of the time. Or the receiver just beats the coverage every time making it near impossible to play man to man single coverage.

The point is, the game defensive AI becomes too static resulting in "money plays" that people abuse over and over again.

I'm really encouraged by the attention to the pass rush, but until I see it for myself I'll continue to have a lot of concerns:

- What happens when someone goes into max protection? If it works too well, then it just makes the new meta to always be in pass protection.
- What happens when someone's superstar outside linebacker is always blitzing and you can't get a pass off over 5 yards down the field? Even if you slide the offensive line, use a back and a tightend to block?

I was watching the rebroadcast of Super Bowl 25 tonight (Giants vs. Bills). Consider this:

1. It was amazing watching Jeff Hostetler throw pass after pass on roll outs, play action, and rarely would the passes go more than 10 yards.
2. There were no turnovers in that game.
3. The Giants defense had only 2 or 3 lineman the entire game. And because the Bills refused to commit to the run, the Giants were largely successful.
4. When the Bills actually got serious about running the ball, they abused the Giants defense and scored TD's.
5. There was really only a single long passing play in the entire game, even though the Giants were only rushing two players at times.
6. When the Giants ran play action passes, especially after they had effectively established the run, Bills Linebackers were really far out of position (watch Darrell Tally trying to cover Cross in the 2nd half, classic).

This was a great game, and yet it was so far from what happens in Madden (currently). I'm not sure that pass rushing will be the only thing needed to change, but I agree it's a big deal. There are two other things that seem extremely important though.

A. Reducing the effectiveness of the user controlled defender. They should only be able to play a single zone or a single man. They should not be able to run around the entire field and disrupt the passing and play action passing game.
B. Play action passes and misdirection plays need to carry defenders with them. But it's situational. I mean if someone is really running the ball effectively, it shouldn't matter if a player picks "commit to the pass". You shouldn't be able to just commit to the pass the whole game and ignore play action. Likewise, you shouldn't be able to ignore misdirection artificially, either by having the AI just stand there or by having your super linebacker run so fast that even though you moved out of position you're still able to cover all the receivers.

I'm looking forward to see what you guys continue to change and improve. I'm going to go ahead and pre-order with the expectation that you won't ignore these very important areas.

Good luck.
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