When Madden NFL 16 arrives next week, it'll introduce a whole new level of football for die-hard fans and rookies alike to master. This includes a number of tweaks to the offensive game, whether you prefer playing a running back making a sprint for the end zone, or the calculative quarterback waiting to deliver him a ball for the score. Let's take a look at the key differences that will make this year's experience stand out over the others.
Be the Quarterback
First up, if you're looking to step into the shoes of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or even Tim Tebow, you'll want to get a better understanding of what tools are available when it comes to hand-offs and passing. With the introduction of new body relative throws, along with new touch and roll out passes, you'll have better control over your QB, as you set up for an open receiver down the field. However, you'll still have to act quickly under pressure, or run the risk of being sacked from dawdling too long.
One of the key additions is the re-worked QB pocket, scramble and rollout locomotion. With this, you simply tap the right shoulder button during the drop back, which will enable the "roll to pass." By doing this, a quarterback can prepare better for accuracy, rather than throwing the ball while in motion and running the risk of being less than accurate. The drop back can just as easily be dropped as well, in case you feel like running or handing off the ball to a nearby receiver.
There are some quarterbacks that will be better at this than others, depending on their talents in the drop-back. This includes QB's like Marcus Mariota and Cam Newton, who will both have big numbers this year with their respective teams. The other QB's can adapt as well, but make sure to keep their talents in mind, like Peyton's laser precision.
On the Receiving End
Once you open up a player down the field for catching, you can take advantage of the QB's "body relative" throw, which enables a high jump ball to be caught. With this type of throw, the receiver stands a better chance of catching it than the defensive man, allowing for a great play down the field.
There are also various types of catches to take advantage of this time around, instead of just the one from years prior. Players can hold the catch button as soon as the quarterback makes his play. A button doesn't need to be hit to indicate the eligible player – it'll happen automatically. From there, it's up to you to make the catch by holding the button, and using steering to direct the receiver in the right place to be.
Players can also perform RAC's, or "run after catches," in which the receiver has the ability to run up the field during the catch in an effort to gain more yards – and, with enough push, maybe even cross the end zone. It's a matter of holding down the X/Square button once the pass is released, preparing for the catch and then inching forward for that extra yardage, even if someone from the other team is breathing down your neck.
For those who prefer something more rough and tumble, there's the aggressive catch. With this, the receiver can drop back to the ball and jump up for the catch, as well as fight their way back to its position, even if a defensive man is right on them. These can be performed with the Y/triangle button, depending on your version of the game.
Perhaps the most effective is the possession catch. With this move, the receiver will go into full protection mode, keeping the ball secure as he pushes forward to get additional yards. This will help prevent fumbles over other catches, and also assures that it won't be dropped (depending on the ranking of the player, of course). By holding the A/X button following the pass, the players can initiate into this motion, and prepare to keep things guarded as a result.
Movement Through the Line
One other key area is getting an offensive lineman down the field, through the awaiting line of players. This isn't always easy – finding a gap big enough to squeeze through is hardly child's play – but there are some techniques that come in handy.
The first is the ability to "get skinny". By holding down the right bumper button while running through the line, you'll have a better chance to cut through when the situation calls for it. You'll still struggle, but you'll be able to get by better than just trying to hustle alone, or spin past a defensive player in the hopes of reaching the first-and-ten marker.
There's also "hit the hole logic" that's employed in Madden NFL 16, where both locomotion and True Step have been rebalanced in terms of responsive controls on players. That enables better movement on the field, whether you're playing the running game, or a receiver ready to grab a ball that's in the air. In addition, contextual awareness has also been tweaked, with much better registration when it comes to dealing with other players.
Really, it's a matter of seeing an opportunity and exploiting it with the right set of moves. Masters of the running game will have no trouble adapting to these small tweaks, and clocking well over 200+ per contest and watching their season stats rise. As for the rookies, give them a try, and you too shall become privy at sprinting down the field.