EA Sports’ Madden NFL 25 celebrates 25 years of virtual pigskin football. There are a lot of developers working non-stop to deliver this feature packed effort. Patrick Bellanca, associate designer at EA Sports Tiburon, devotes every waking minute to football. When he’s not playing Madden, he can be found cheering on the Buffalo Bills. On that note, Bellanca offers strategies that will help gamers win with Buffalo in this exclusive interview.
What’s your favorite Madden football team?
Well that’s easy, Go Bills! They (we) have the best players, the best looking uniforms, the best logo and some of the greatest fans in the NFL. The players are young, fast and have great hands on both sides of the ball, which in Madden NFL 25 translates to plenty of big plays, but remember that all the talent in the world can’t save you if you fail to manage the game.
What advice would you give to someone playing as the Bills on the offensive side of the ball?
The Buffalo Bills finally drafted a first-round quarterback and view him as the franchise QB of the future. EJ Manuel can make plays with his arm and his feet, so I like to line up in shotgun and run the read option. Either CJ Spiller gets the ball up the middle, or EJ Manuel keeps the ball and goes outside. From there, run no-huddle and pass out of the shotgun to keep the defense on their toes. On top of that, mix up the play calling to keep the defense guessing and utilize all the speed that’s on the field. CJ Spiller, TJ Graham and Marquise Goodwin are all above 95 speed — use them! Simply put, I run my offense with short, high-percentage pass plays and a heavy dose of run attack to control the clock.
What’s the best way to take advantage of new offensive gameplay features with the Bills and its players?
The Buffalo Bills have an above average offensive line, so the new blocking scheme improvements mean we can run the ball effectively. With that in mind, you will definitely want to get CJ Spiller his share of touches — that guy is a monster on Sundays and has that same potential in Madden NFL 25 to score every time he touches the ball. With the ball in hand and a bevy of fast offensive weapons, make the defense miss with all the new foot-planting and step-based moves. There’s nothing sweeter than shaking a guy out of the play with a perfect juke and spin combo that leads to a big play.
What are some strengths of the Bills on the defensive side of the ball?
With a defensive line including Mario Williams, Marcel Dareus and Kyle Williams, offenses are going to have a tough time protecting their quarterback. The linebackers are young, but show strong potential and have above average ratings. The secondary includes perhaps the best safety in the NFL in Jairus Byrd, so don’t be afraid to blitz him when the QB least expects it. Like the offense, the Bills defense has players with high speed ratings all over the field, so try man coverage and blitz a good amount. All that being said, the defensive playbook has some new wrinkles in it this year due to the Bills hiring the former defensive coordinator of the Jets, so get some practice to see who you can make plays with on a weekly basis.
What’s the best way to take advantage of new defensive gameplay features with the Bills and its players?
You should see plenty of read option this year, so expect to key in on the running back or the quarterback — you just have to guess right. If they try passing the ball deep down field, switch to the nearest defender and try to Ball Hawk when the ball is in the air. The faster players like Stephen Gilmore can catch up to ball-carriers in open space, and you’ll want to use Heat Seeker when you’re close enough to target and tackle the ball-carrier. Again, make the right play call and try to determine where the offense is planning to go with the ball before the snap to be most effective.
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