Madden NFL 2005 Walkthrough
Fall is fast approaching, which means it's time to throw around the pigskin. This new walkthrough will teach you the ins and outs of using Madden 2005's new defensive features and help you on your way to a Super Bowl victory.
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Design by Marty Smith
EA Sports venerable Madden franchise has dominated the football video game landscape for 15-years. The latest, Madden 2005, places emphasis on defense, embodied by cover man Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis. Madden 2005 offers several new features on defense, including playmaker control and the hit stick. This game guide covers everything you need to know about Madden 2005, including team and player stats, offense and defense strategy, and tips on defeating online competition.
This GameSpot Madden 2005 game guide features:
- Team Stats: Includes tables compiling overall, offensive, and defensive ratings for all current NFL teams as well as historical teams.
- Team Overviews: This section provides offensive and defensive statistics, key player stats, and analysis of each NFL teams strengths and weaknesses.
- Offense: Check this section for coverage of offensive formations and packages, specific tips on managing an explosive passing and rushing attack, and lists of the best Madden 2005 NFL offensive personnel.
- Defense: This section covers defensive formations, shifts, adjustments, and playmaker control. Madden 2005 offers several new defensive featured covered here, including defensive playmaker and the hit stick.
- Online Strategies: Look here for strategies for playing Madden 2005 online against human opponents.
Table of ContentsTeam Stats
Baltimore, Buffalo, and Carolina
Chicago, Cincinnati, and Cleveland
Dallas, Denver, and Detroit
Green Bay, Houston, and Indianapolis
Jacksonville, Kansas City, and Miami
Minnesota, New England, and New Orleans
New York Giants, New York Jets, and Oakland
Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Diego
San Francisco, Seattle, and St. Louis
Tampa Bay, Tennessee, and Washington
Shifts, Adjustments, and Playmaker
Managing Defense, and Top Ranked Players
Chapter 1 - Team Stats
See how your favorite National Football League team stacks up against the other teams in the league. This section reveals the primary statistics revealed on the team selection screen. Youll also find statistics for the historical teams available in Madden 2005. These statistics include a relative overall, offense, and defense rating. Each teams 2003 record and division are also included.
Current NFL Teams
The following table reveals the team statistics for the current 2004 National Football League teams.
|TEAM||CONFERENCE AND DIVISION||RECORD||OVERALL||OFFENSE||DEFENSE|
|Arizona Cardinals||NFC West||4-12||66||70||67|
|Atlanta Falcons||NFC South||5-11||84||86||77|
|Baltimore Ravens||AFC North||10-6||90||76||90|
|Buffalo Bills||AFC East||6-10||82||78||93|
|Carolina Panthers||NFC South||11-5||93||89||99|
|Chicago Bears||NFC North||7-9||70||70||76|
|Cincinnati Bengals||AFC North||8-8||83||86||74|
|Cleveland Browns||AFC North||5-11||65||69||68|
|Dallas Cowboys||NFC East||10-6||78||64||94|
|Denver Broncos||AFC West||10-6||80||77||89|
|Detroit Lions||NFC North||5-11||79||84||81|
|Green Bay Packers||NFC North||10-6||87||91||74|
|Houston Texans||AFC South||5-11||73||81||72|
|Indianapolis Colts||AFC South||12-4||94||98||78|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||AFC South||5-11||81||88||80|
|Kansas City Chiefs||AFC West||13-3||90||96||72|
|Miami Dolphins||AFC East||10-6||81||86||88|
|Minnesota Vikings||NFC North||9-7||85||90||84|
|New England Patriots||AFC East||14-2||99||90||99|
|New Orleans Saints||NFC South||8-8||76||88||72|
|New York Giants||NFC East||4-12||70||67||78|
|New York Jets||AFC East||6-10||80||85||72|
|Oakland Raiders||AFC West||4-12||77||69||86|
|Philadelphia Eagles||NFC East||12-4||95||93||89|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||AFC North||6-10||74||73||82|
|San Diego Chargers||AFC West||4-12||62||71||65|
|San Francisco 49ers||NFC West||7-9||66||69||71|
|Seattle Seahawks||NFC West||10-6||90||91||89|
|St. Louis Rams||NFC West||12-4||86||90||75|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||NFC South||7-9||80||81||86|
|Tennessee Titans||AFC South||12-4||92||89||85|
|Washington Redskins||NFC East||5-11||82||90||86|
This table reveals relative statistics for the historical teams offered in Madden 2005.
|All Chicago Bears||N/A||95||92||97|
|88 Chicago Bears||12-4||92||92||93|
|85 Chicago Bears||15-1||95||95||95|
|77 Chicago Bears||9-5||90||88||91|
|63 Chicago Bears||11-1-2||90||90||89|
|All Cincinnati Bengals||N/A||94||95||92|
|88 Cincinnati Bengals||12-4||91||93||88|
|81 Cincinnati Bengals||12-4||92||93||91|
|73 Cincinnati Bengals||10-4||91||90||93|
|All Buffalo Bills||N/A||95||95||94|
|93 Buffalo Bills||12-4||94||94||94|
|92 Buffalo Bills||11-5||94||95||92|
|91 Buffalo Bills||13-3||93||94||92|
|90 Buffalo Bills||13-3||93||93||93|
|All Denver Broncos||N/A||94||96||92|
|98 Denver Broncos||14-2||94||94||93|
|97 Denver Broncos||12-4||94||95||93|
|96 Denver Broncos||13-3||94||95||93|
|91 Denver Broncos||12-4||92||91||93|
|89 Denver Broncos||11-5||92||91||94|
|87 Denver Broncos||10-4-1||92||93||91|
|96 Denver Broncos||11-5||91||92||91|
|77 Denver Broncos||12-2||92||90||94|
|All Cleveland Browns||N/A||92||92||92|
|87 Cleveland Browns||10-5||91||90||92|
|86 Cleveland Browns||12-4||92||93||91|
|70 Cleveland Browns||7-7||95||96||96|
|65 Cleveland Browns||11-3||91||92||89|
|All Tampa Bay Buccaneers||N/A||91||90||92|
|02 Tampa Bay Buccaneers||12-4||86||83||90|
|79 Tampa Bay Buccaneers||10-6||91||88||93|
|All Arizona Cardinals||N/A||91||92||90|
|75 Arizona Cardinals||11-3||89||92||86|
|All San Diego Chargers||N/A||94||95||94|
|94 San Diego Chargers||11-5||91||90||92|
|81 San Diego Chargers||10-6||91||93||89|
|All Kansas City Chiefs||N/A||92||94||89|
|90 Kansas City Chiefs||10-6||94||93||95|
|71 Kansas City Chiefs||10-3-1||96||95||97|
|69 Kansas City Chiefs||11-3||93||93||92|
|66 Kansas City Chiefs||11-2-1||91||90||91|
|62 Kansas City Texans||11-3||89||87||91|
|All Indianapolis Colts||N/A||95||96||94|
|77 Baltimore Colts||10-4||93||91||94|
|70 Baltimore Colts||11-2-1||92||91||92|
|68 Baltimore Colts||13-1||92||93||89|
|58 Baltimore Colts||9-3||88||86||90|
|All Dallas Cowboys||N/A||95||97||94|
|95 Dallas Cowboys||12-4||95||94||94|
|94 Dallas Cowboys||12-4||93||94||92|
|93 Dallas Cowboys||12-4||94||95||92|
|92 Dallas Cowboys||13-3||94||94||93|
|85 Dallas Cowboys||10-6||92||91||91|
|81 Dallas Cowboys||12-4||93||94||91|
|79 Dallas Cowboys||11-5||95||96||94|
|78 Dallas Cowboys||12-4||93||94||92|
|77 Dallas Cowboys||12-2||93||94||92|
|75 Dallas Cowboys||10-4||92||93||90|
|71 Dallas Cowboys||11-3||92||95||89|
|70 Dallas Cowboys||10-4||91||92||90|
|67 Dallas Cowboys||9-5||88||85||92|
|66 Dallas Cowboys||10-3-1||87||82||93|
|All Miami Dolphins||N/A||94||95||93|
|85 Miami Dolphins||12-4||92||93||92|
|84 Miami Dolphins||14-2||94||94||92|
|82 Miami Dolphins||7-2||91||92||90|
|81 Miami Dolphins||11-4-1||93||92||93|
|78 Miami Dolphins||11-5||92||88||95|
|74 Miami Dolphins||11-3||91||91||91|
|73 Miami Dolphins||12-2||92||92||92|
|72 Miami Dolphins||14-0||93||93||93|
|71 Miami Dolphins||10-3-1||93||93||94|
|All Philadelphia Eagles||N/A||93||93||92|
|90 Philadelphia Eagles||10-6||91||90||91|
|80 Philadelphia Eagles||12-4||94||94||94|
|60 Philadelphia Eagles||10-2||91||92||91|
|All Atlanta Falcons||N/A||93||95||92|
|98 Atlanta Falcons||14-2||92||91||92|
|91 Atlanta Falcons||10-6||91||92||90|
|80 Atlanta Falcons||12-4||92||93||91|
|All San Francisco 49ers||N/A||93||96||91|
|98 San Francisco 49ers||12-4||95||96||95|
|94 San Francisco 49ers||13-3||94||95||93|
|92 San Francisco 49ers||14-2||93||93||93|
|90 San Francisco 49ers||14-2||94||94||93|
|89 San Francisco 49ers||14-2||95||96||93|
|88 San Francisco 49ers||10-6||95||96||94|
|84 San Francisco 49ers||15-1||93||93||93|
|81 San Francisco 49ers||13-3||93||92||94|
|57 San Francisco 49ers||8-4||89||88||91|
|All New York Giants||N/A||92||92||93|
|90 New York Giants||13-3||93||91||94|
|86 New York Giants||14-2||94||92||95|
|58 New York Giants||9-3||89||86||91|
|All Jacksonville Jaguars||N/A||89||92||86|
|96 Jacksonville Jaguars||9-7||89||91||85|
|All New York Jets||N/A||93||95||91|
|85 New York Jets||11-5||93||93||92|
|82 New York Jets||6-3||92||92||92|
|68 New York Jets||11-3||90||92||87|
|All Detroit Lions||N/A||92||92||91|
|91 Detroit Lions||12-4||92||92||91|
|80 Detroit Lions||9-7||91||93||90|
|57 Detroit Lions||8-4||88||86||90|
|All Green Bay Packers||N/A||97||98||97|
|98 Green Bay Packers||11-5||95||95||94|
|97 Green Bay Packers||13-3||93||94||93|
|96 Green Bay Packers||13-3||94||95||94|
|92 Green Bay Packers||9-7||94||94||94|
|67 Green Bay Packers||9-4-1||89||90||87|
|66 Green Bay Packers||12-2||90||92||87|
|All Carolina Panthers||N/A||90||90||89|
|96 Carolina Panthers||12-4||88||89||87|
|All New England Patriots||N/A||93||94||92|
|01 New England Patriots||11-5||88||87||88|
|96 New England Patriots||11-5||93||94||93|
|85 New England Patriots||11-4||94||94||93|
|76 New England Patriots||11-3||93||94||92|
|All Oakland Raiders||N/A||94||95||92|
|02 Oakland Raiders||11-5||85||88||82|
|90 Los Angeles Raiders||12-4||92||92||92|
|85 Los Angeles Raiders||12-4||92||91||93|
|83 Los Angeles Raiders||12-4||93||94||91|
|80 Oakland Raiders||11-5||93||93||93|
|77 Oakland Raiders||11-3||92||93||91|
|76 Oakland Raiders||13-1||92||94||91|
|75 Oakland Raiders||11-3||93||94||92|
|74 Oakland Raiders||12-2||97||96||97|
|72 Oakland Raiders||10-3-1||92||93||91|
|71 Oakland Raiders||8-4-2||88||86||90|
|70 Oakland Raiders||8-4-2||90||92||88|
|69 Oakland Raiders||12-1-1||90||93||89|
|68 Oakland Raiders||12-2||90||93||88|
|67 Oakland Raiders||13-1||90||92||89|
|All St. Louis Rams||N/A||95||96||94|
|01 St. Louis Rams||14-2||86||92||81|
|99 St. Louis Rams||13-3||89||94||84|
|84 Los Angeles Rams||10-6||92||92||92|
|79 Los Angeles Rams||9-7||91||90||92|
|75 Los Angeles Rams||12-2||93||92||94|
|67 Los Angeles Rams||11-1-2||92||88||96|
|All Baltimore Ravens||N/A||92||91||93|
|00 Baltimore Ravens||12-4||85||79||91|
|All Washington Redskins||N/A||95||96||93|
|91 Washington Redskins||14-2||94||94||94|
|87 Washington Redskins||11-4||94||95||94|
|83 Washington Redskins||14-2||95||96||93|
|82 Washington Redskins||8-1||94||95||93|
|79 Washington Redskins||10-6||91||88||94|
|72 Washington Redskins||11-3||92||93||91|
|All New Orleans Saints||N/A||92||94||90|
|92 New Orleans Saints||12-4||91||89||92|
|87 New Orleans Saints||12-3||90||91||89|
|All Seattle Seahawks||N/A||93||94||92|
|84 Seattle Seahawks||12-4||92||92||91|
|All Pittsburgh Steelers||N/A||96||96||95|
|95 Pittsburgh Steelers||11-5||93||93||92|
|79 Pittsburgh Steelers||12-4||94||94||93|
|78 Pittsburgh Steelers||14-2||93||93||93|
|75 Pittsburgh Steelers||12-2||94||93||95|
|74 Pittsburgh Steelers||10-3-1||94||95||93|
|72 Pittsburgh Steelers||11-3||93||92||92|
|All Tennessee Titans||N/A||93||96||90|
|99 Tennessee Titans||13-3||93||93||93|
|92 Houston Oilers||10-6||95||94||95|
|88 Houston Oilers||10-6||93||93||92|
|80 Houston Oilers||11-5||93||92||92|
|78 Houston Oilers||10-6||93||93||92|
|62 Houston Oilers||11-3||88||89||89|
|All Minnesota Vikings||N/A||94||95||92|
|98 Minnesota Vikings||15-1||95||95||96|
|76 Minnesota Vikings||11-2-1||92||93||91|
|75 Minnesota Vikings||12-2||97||95||98|
|74 Minnesota Vikings||10-4||92||93||91|
|73 Minnesota Vikings||12-2||92||93||91|
|70 Minnesota Vikings||12-2||93||92||94|
|69 Minnesota Vikings||12-2||94||94||94|
Chapter 2 - Team Overviews
This chapter provides in-depth analysis on your favorite National Football League teams. Youll find 2003 offensive and defensive statistics, key player stats, and commentary on the teams strengths and weaknesses. Note that these rosters and statistics are current as of the updated online rosters as of 8/18.
- OVR - The overall rating for the player.
- SPD - How fast the player can run.
- STR - The players strength, which affects his ability to break tackles or make blocks.
- AWR - A players ability to react and adjust. Affects a players ability to run routes for instance.
- AGI - The players agility, enhancing his ability to switch directions--important statistic for special maneuvers.
- ACC - How fast a player reaches full speed. Great for sprinting through open holes in your line or outrunning tacklers around a corner.
- CTH - How well the player can catch. A higher rating means fewer drops.
- CAR - How well the player holds onto the football. A higher rating means the less chance of a fumble.
- JMP - The players ability to jump, such as for grabbing high passes or blocking high passes.
- BTK - The players ability to break tackles.
- THP - How far a player can throw the ball.
- THA - How accurate a player throws.
- PBK - How well a player pass blocks.
- RBK - How well a player run blocks.
- TAK - A players ability to tackle.
- INJ - The likelihood of an injury. The higher the rating, the less likely a player will get injured.
Division: NFC West
2003 Record: 4-12
2003 Offensive Stats: 280.6 yards gained per game (27th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 344.0 yards allowed per game (26th overall)
Although their 2003 season ended with a dramatic win against the Minnesota Vikings (the loss kept the Vikings out of the postseason), the Arizona Cardinals finished 2003 in their usual position: at the bottom of their division. The future looks brighter--it has to--with some new, exciting, young offensive talent and a new head coach, Dennis Green.
Anquan Boldin made a big splash in 2003 with impressive receiving numbers and the offensive rookie of the year award. Hes a solid target for young, inexperienced Josh McNown. The Cardinals drafted college superstar Larry Fitzgerald to complement Boldin. In a few years, this could be one of the top duos in the league. Mix it up on offense with throws to Boldin and Fitzgerald (the Cardinals third receiver isnt bad either), the tight end, and Marcel Shipp out of the back field. Move Boldin around using motion or swaps to help keep him an open target for McNown. Use high percentage passing. McNown doesnt have the ratings to test tight coverage.
Division: NFC South
2003 Record: 5-11
2003 Offensive Stats: 272.3 yards gained per game (29th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 381.8 yards allowed per game (32nd overall)
Some might argue that the Atlanta Falcons 2003 season ended well before it started: when their star (and Madden 2004 cover guy) Michael Vick went down with a broken leg in the preseason. The Falcons offense never really recovered and the defense fell apart as well (the squad ranked last in the league in yards allowed per game). Hopes are once again high in 2004--if Vick can remain healthy.
This is a potent offense in Madden 2005. Once again Vick possesses explosive speed and mobility for a quarterback. A lot of Madden players utilize Vicks legs. Expect to see four wide receiver sets and if theres no one open at the snap, Vick scrambles behind the line and takes off. There are some new defenses to counter this maneuver so if youre hoping to keep Vick on the ground, watch out for the outside containment.
Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett are a solid one-two punch. Dunn is the speedster excelling in outside runs and as a receiver (out running most linebackers and safeties, which typically cover him one-on-one); Duckett is the north-south runner with burly break tackle ability. Send Dunn in the pattern often; he creates a lot of mismatches against slower safeties and even slower linebackers. Mix in Alge Crumpler, one of the better tight ends in the game. Spread the ball around effectively, which should enhance Vicks scrambling option even more.
Division: AFC North
2003 Record: 10-6
2003 Offensive Stats: 308.1 yards gained per game (21st overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 271.3 yards allowed per game (3rd overall)
The Baltimore Ravens gameplan remains the same. Punish defenses on the ground with pro bowler Jamal Lewis and play aggressive, take-away style defense with standout stars Chris McAlister, Ed Reed, and Madden 2005 cover man Ray Lewis leading a great all-around squad. Quarterbacking and wide receivers certainly arent the Ravens core talent. Apart from Todd Heap, a top tight end in the game, there really isnt another standout pass catcher. Even Jamal Lewis is best kept on the ground (he has just a 69 catch rating).
Your focus on offense begins with Jamal Lewis; hes seen a big boost in stats after his 2,000 yard season last year. His break tackle rating of 99 means he has the power to pound through linemen and over a lot of linebackers--use those stiff arms and special moves! Increased speed and acceleration over last season offers a better chance to implement outside runs.
Ray Lewis is nearly unstoppable on defense. His high awareness makes Lewis strongest in coverage not as much in blitz situations. Stick McAlister up against your opponents best receiver. Ed Reed has enough skills to play man-to-man or should be used to assist the Raven defenders not named Chris McAlister.
Division: AFC East
2003 Record: 6-10
2003 Offensive Stats: 271.8 yards gained per game (30th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 269.6 yards allowed per game (2nd overall)
With a threesome like Bledsoe, Henry, and Moulds, its surprising to see the Bills fall off so far offensively in 2003. They dropped to just 272 yards per game from 349 in 2002--this is the 30th ranked offense in yards gained per game! Offensively the stats are certainly decent, despite their rather poor showing in 2003. Defensively the team is strong with an excellent linebacker squad and a solid secondary led by former Patriot Lawyer Milloy.
On offense, establish a running game with Henry, a good mix of speed and break tackle power. Eric Moulds is your primary receiver in the passing game. Bledsoe has been downgraded slightly but is a capable, strong armed signal caller that wont have trouble zipping the ball to Moulds and the receiving squad. Look to insert second year player (though first for him as he was out all last season with a knee injury) Willis McGahee into two back formations for an intriguing one-two punch.
Division: NFC South
2003 Record: 11-5
2003 Offensive Stats: 321.3 yards gained per game (16th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 295.3 yards allowed per game (8th overall)
What a difference a year makes. At the end of the 2002 season, the Carolina Panthers had just concluded a 7-9 campaign with big questions at quarterback. In 2003, the quarterback question was answered early with the emergence of Jake Delhomme. And it didnt take long into 2003 to realize a combination of strong defense, power running, and a blazingly fast receiver posed big problems for most NFC teams, including the favorite Philadelphia Eagles. The 2003 Carolina Panthers went from 7-9 to nearly winning the Super Bowl.
Stephen Davis is a powerful runner. Hes not especially fast but his high break tackle rating should provide plenty of yardage between the tackles. In the passing game, look to match up quick Steve Smith on slower corners or, even better, even slower safeties or linebackers by shifting him around the field. Swap him into the slot and use motion to create mismatches. Put him on crossing routes and dont hesitate to test your opponents defense deep.
Defense is the teams strongest suit and led by an impressive defensive line. You should be able to win the battle of the trenches and find just four down linemen reaching your opponents quarterback on several occasions. You could lay off blitzing linebackers and defensive backs if you want to play a safer defensive coverage or enhance the lines power with additional blitzes to force your opponent into hurried decisions and throws.
Division: NFC North
2003 Record: 7-9
2003 Offensive Stats: 273.8 yards gained per game (28th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 309.2 yards allowed per game (14th overall)
The Chicago Bears begin 2004 with a much different look than the 2003 squad. A one-year experiment with Pittsburgh castoff Kordell Stewart at quarterback didnt end well; hes already moved on the Baltimore. Instead, the Bears look to the future and have presented the reins to Florida Gator quarterback and first-round defeat pick Rex Grossman. Hes a young star and his stats show it; they certainly arent fantastic but he does have decent power and accuracy and suited for a pocket passer style of game.
Journeyman Thomas Jones (from the Cardinals to the Bucs now to the Bears) starts at running back--decent speed, acceleration, and break tackle ratings gives you some options in the running game (though running behind all-pro center Olin Kreutz isnt a bad idea). Marty Booker is the best Chicago Bear receiver, though his ratings have slid a bit since last years game. Note that at the time of this writing, Booker had just been traded to the Miami Dolphins. A roster update could make this change.
Look for high percentage passes to offset Grossmans meager statistics. Keep your play calling unpredictable with passes out of run sets and runs out of passing sets. Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher is the Bears leader on defense. Hes one of the top linebackers in the game next to the Ravens Ray Lewis and the Buccaneers Derrick Brooks.
Division: AFC North
2003 Record: 8-8
2003 Offensive Stats: 333.1 yards gained per game (13th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 351.2 yards allowed per game (28th overall)
The Cincinnati Bengals surprised a lot of teams in 2003--almost to the point where many will forget their nickname, the Bungles. From 2-14 in 2002 to a respectable 8-8 in 2003, the Bengals hopes are high for an even better 2004 campaign. During the NFL off season, Coach Marvin Lewis named first-overall draft pick Carson Palmer the starting quarterback over incumbent Jon Kitna. Checking the ratings, both quarterbacks are extremely close. Kitna gets the nod with awareness for his veteran status but Palmer is faster and has a slightly stronger arm. Theyre virtually interchangeable the statistics are so close.
Having let long-time Bengal Corey Dillon move on to AFC rival New England, Cincinnati starts upstart Rudi Johnson at running back--good, but not superstar ratings--and even have a first-round draft pick Chris Perry behind him if needed. Chad Johnson is your star at wide receiver (hes seen a good boost in rating over last years game); Johnsons counterpart Peter Warrick is also a good, fast option that can test defenders deep.
Division: NFC North
2003 Record: 5-11
2003 Offensive Stats: 281.5 yards gained per game (26th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 309.9 yards allowed per game (15th overall)
The Cleveland Browns started 2003 with a quarterback controversy: would it be Kelly Holcomb or Tim Couch? The Browns finally answered that question definitively in 2004: it would be neither! Cleveland reached out to former San Francisco 49er Jeff Garcia to become the teams new offensive leader. If ratings are any indication, the Browns made the right choice: Garcia provides veteran awareness, excellent accuracy, quick feet for a quarterback, and near tank-like durability (the high injury rating). Utilize his mobility with roll outs and even some scrambles.
William Green and Lee Suggs offer the Browns a new controversy: who to start at running back? Ratings are nearly indistinguishable from one another. Utilize both in two back sets for a duo of decent options as both runners and pass catchers. First round draft pick Kellen Winslow provides a decent option at tight end: expect his ratings to soar higher in coming releases.
Division: NFC West
2003 Record: 10-6
2003 Offensive Stats: 322.6 yards gained per game (15th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 253.5 yards allowed per game (1st overall)
Despite making the playoffs with a 10-6 record, the Dallas Cowboys revamped considerably on offense. They lost their starting quarterback, starting wide receiver, and starting running back. Those are major positions to replace; but if anyone is up to the task, its Coach Bill Parcells. It certainly wont be an explosive offense, at least consistently. The quarterback position is led by former Parcell QB Vinny Testaverde. Options are limited; its either the aging veteran or the inexperienced rookie.
The Cowboys added former Titan Eddie George in hopes he still has something left in the tank. Dont expect much burst outside; keep him between the tackles and behind strong Larry Allen. Keyshawn Johnson, another former Parcell player, replaces Galloway at receiver in an off season trade with the Bucs. Hes a dependable pass catcher but lacks the speed to stretch defenses.
A conservative passing game--given the lack of standouts in key positions--will likely produce the most consistent results. Rely more on the Cowboys top ranked defense. LaRoi Glover anchors a solid line and Williams and Woodson are one of the best secondary duos in the game.
Division: AFC West
2003 Record: 10-6
2003 Offensive Stats: 349.9 yards gained per game (7th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 277.1 yards allowed per game (4th overall)
The Broncos made noise in the off season by trading star running back Clinton Portis to the Washington Redskins for arguably the best cover cornerback in the game, Champ Bailey (the Skins also threw in a draft pick as well). Champ Baileys statistics tell the story: 99 in speed and acceleration, 92 in jump, and 94 in awareness. Place Bailey on your opponents best receiver and shift all other coverage to the other side of the field.
Losing Portis means a significant downgrade at the running back position. The Broncos added ex-49er Garrison Hearst into their committee of running backs. Speedy Quintin Griffith is a front runner for the starting position, though the Broncos also drafted Tatum Bell as further insurance. Griffith is a good outside running with excellent catching skills; just dont expect him to bowl over defenders. Run behind excellent right guard Dan Neil.
Utilize inconsistent quarterback Jake Plummers speed as his primary asset. Roll out of the pocket and give time for your receivers to break open (dont forget about Griffith or Hearst out of the backfield). His lower power and accuracy scores means youll need to look for the open man instead of trying to force the ball to covered receivers.
Division: NFC North
2003 Record: 5-11
2003 Offensive Stats: 266.4 yards gained per game (32nd overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 335.0 yards allowed per game (24th overall)
The Detroit Lions are a young football team. If Coach Steve Mariucci can turn potential into points then the Lions will be a force to be reckoned with in the very near future. Second year player Charles Rodgers and rookie Roy Williams are a fast one-two punch at the receiver position. Move them around the field, put them in motion, and work to get them matched up against slower defenders.
The Lions drafted Kevin Jones to replace James Stewart at running back; utilize Jones speed and agility in outside runs. With Harringtons meager stats, rely on a balanced offense and use hot routes and swaps to get Rodgers and Williams open and an easier target for the Lions quarterback.
Green Bay Packers
Division: NFC West
2003 Record: 10-6
2003 Offensive Stats: 362.4 yards gained per game (4th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 318.8 yards allowed per game (17th overall)
The Green Bay Packers 2003 season ended in disappointing fashion in a tightly contested NFC playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The good news is that the Pack have returned nearly every starter; aging future Hall of Famer Brett Favre looks to make his last (hes always using the word "retire" in the off season) run at the Super Bowl. Hes one of the best quarterbacks in Madden: excellent throwing power, accuracy, awareness, and the best injury rating in the game.
Behind Favre is Ahman Green, one of the top running backs in the game. Near top ratings in both speed and acceleration, Green excels inside and outside the tackles and should be a big part of your pass offense as well. The receiving group lacks super stars but is a solid bunch; Javon Walker is an emerging star and offers the best speed on the team. Dont neglect Bubba Franks either; hes a capable tight end and offers Favre another downfield target.
Focus your offense on spreading the ball around. Hand off to Green inside then outside then work play action to Walker, Franks, or Green and repeat. Remain unpredictable. Theres enough talent on offense to run out of pass situations and pass out of run situations. The Packs defense is its weaker component. Contain your opponent and dont allow the big play.
Division: AFC South
2003 Record: 5-11
2003 Offensive Stats: 269.1 yards gained per game (31st overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 380.1 yards allowed per game (31st overall)
The Houston Texans failed to make significant strides in 2003. The team ranked near the bottom of the league in both yards gained per game and yards allowed per game. But the Texans are a young squad and are in place to improve in the upcoming season. David Carr has respectable ratings; good throwing power and decent accuracy. The Texans running game gained focus in 2003 with the emergence of Dominick Davis. Hes a fast, agile runner with great hands. Make sure hes an option for you out of the backfield on passing downs.
Andre Johnson leads the receiver squad with excellent speed and jumping ability. Stretch defenses with Johnson while maintaining a strong ground game behind Davis (and the fast Hollings when Davis needs a breather). Defensive stars remain the same in this years Madden. Jamie Sharper is one of the better middle linebackers and Aaron Glenn can be placed on your opponents best receiver.
Division: AFC South
2003 Record: 12-4
2003 Offensive Stats: 367.1 yards gained per game (3rd overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 299.3 yards allowed per game (11th overall)
The Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning cleared a big hump in the 2003 season: they won a playoff game. Unfortunately, they still lost a playoff game. The Colts were unable to beat the tenacious New England Patriot defense and failed to reach the Super Bowl. But the Colts should remain strong in 2004 and are certainly one of the best squads in Madden 2005.
Peyton Manning boasts impressive stats. Hes near the top in throwing power, accuracy, awareness, and hes durable to boot. Edgerrin James may have lost a step after a knee injury a few years back but hes still a solid running back and an excellent pass catcher. Utilize him in the flat and as a dump option when the downfield receivers are tightly covered.
Marvin Harrison remains one of the best receivers in the game: hes nearly maxed out in speed, acceleration, agility, and awareness. Harrison also has a 99 catch rating. Spread him around the field so you arent always moving him into your opponents best coverage. Call Harrison option routes; hell run them well given his 98 awareness rating. Mike Vanderjagt is also a legitimate offensive weapon. He can nail those 50 yard field goals.
Division: AFC South
2003 Record: 5-11
2003 Offensive Stats: 334.9 yards gained per game (12th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 291.1 yards allowed per game (6th overall)
Glance quickly at the Jacksonville Jaguars 2003 offensive and defensive statistics and you might be surprised at their 5-11 finish. The Jags finished 12th in yards gained per game and 6th in yards allowed per game. Those numbers should have translated into more wins. But the Jags lost several games by less than a touchdown, which can quickly turn a possible playoff run into a disappointing season finish.
With long-time starter Mark Brunell gone to the Redskins, the Jaguars future is now with second year quarterback Byron Leftwich. He offers a strong arm but only moderate accuracy and awareness. Fred Taylor is still one of the games elite running backs; hes fast, agile, and offers excellent break tackle. You can send Fred on the outside or up the gut for decent yardage. The wide receivers are young but led by veteran Jimmy Smith. Hes lost some speed so dont expect open go routes against good corners. Instead, look to hit Smith in openings in the zone or on out routes.
Kansas City Chiefs
Division: AFC West
2003 Record: 13-3
2003 Offensive Stats: 369.4 yards gained per game (2nd overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 356.7 yards allowed per game (29th overall)
The 2003 Kansas City Chiefs were the tale of two teams. On one side you have an offensive juggernaut led by the best running back in the game today: Priest Holmes. He can accelerate through the hole or around the end, can break tackles through the middle, and is a potent force as a pass catcher. He also has a great line to run behind. Tony Gonzalez, the best tight end in the game, offers a superb option--not just as a dump off but as your primary target. Move him around the field and work him into your game.
Dante Hall is the best kick returner available but hes also the Chiefs third receiver. Utilize his speed and look for opportunities to mismatch him up against a slower safety or linebacker. If the defense presses up or looks like theyre in a safety blitz, use a hot route to send Dante downfield for a bomb.
Lets not forget the other side. What the Chiefs have in offense, the Chiefs lack in defense. They ended 2003 with the 29th ranked defense in yards allowed per game. Fortunately the Chiefs have the offensive tools to win shootouts: expect high scoring games.
Division: AFC East
2003 Record: 10-6
2003 Offensive Stats: 288.1 yards gained per game (24th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 299.2 yards allowed per game (10th overall)
After another disappointing second half of the season, the Dolphins looked to improve at key offensive positions. They added A.J. Feeley, former backup at Philadelphia, as their expected new starting quarterback and signed David Boston, a strong but injury plagued receiver that couldnt make a strong connection in San Diego. These new "weapons" on offense combined with the running of Ricky Williams and their usual strong defense made 2004 seem hopeful.
That is until Ricky Williams suddenly retired right before training camp and David Boston was lost for the season with a knee injury. At least theres still A.J. Feeley. Madden 2005 includes Ricky Williams but if you download a roster update, hell be replaced by backup Travis Minor. Chris Chambers is another strong Dolphin receiver. Chambers and Boston make a nice combo in Madden 2005. Mix in Randy McMichael as another down field selection.
The Dolphins remain strong on defense. Jason Taylor anchors the line, Zach Thomas is one of the best middle linebackers, and Patrick Surtain can cover nearly everyone in the game in single coverage. There are many other stars as well. Play aggressive defense and keep scoring low and allow a conservative offense to stay in the game.
Division: NFC North
2003 Record: 9-7
2003 Offensive Stats: 393.4 yards gained per game (1st overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 334.8 yards allowed per game (23rd overall)
The Vikings started 2003 strong and looked to be the NFC favorite...but the season ended in disaster on a last second touchdown at Arizona. Despite the strong start, the Vikings failed to make the playoffs. The team mirrored the Chiefs: explosive offense but vulnerable defense. Culpepper is one of the top quarterbacks in the game. Hes extremely mobile (81 speed) and also has a powerful arm. Accuracy is Culpeppers main weakness.
Randy Moss is the best receiver in the game: maximum rating in speed, acceleration, and jump ability. Moss also has high awareness; use him on option routes and allow him to find the open space. Bennett is an extremely fast back and can be dangerous in pass patterns man-on-man against slow linebackers. But Moss is your primary weapon. Its not a matter of if youre going to go to him but when. Move him around the line to hopefully open him up. Use hot routes on him when you spot a mismatch. Dont be afraid to send him deep several times a game to test your opponents defense.
New England Patriots
Division: AFC East
2003 Record: 14-2
2003 Offensive Stats: 314.9 yards gained per game (17th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 291.6 yards allowed per game (7th overall)
The 2003 New England Patriots won their second Super Bowl in three years. And in a move that probably made other AFC teams more nervous, the Patriots bolstered their one "weak" position by adding long-time Cincinnati Bengal Corey Dillon to their backfield as the featured ball carrier. Tom Brady, one of the most underrated quarterbacks ever (if you can call a two-time Super Bowl MVP underrated), leads the Patriots. Spread the ball around to the Patriots capable receiving group; use two tight-end sets to get both solid Patriot tight-ends into the game.
The Patriots have the best defense in the game (rated 99 overall) and are pretty much solid across the board. Ty Law and Rodney Harrison are the primary superstars. Their coverage skills allow you to play any defensive coverage you wish--including an array of blitzes. The secondary is strong enough to play single coverage. The special teams unit is also a strong suit; Adam Vinatieri is one of the games best kickers.
New Orleans Saints
Division: NFC South
2003 Record: 8-8
2003 Offensive Stats: 339.9 yards gained per game (11th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 327.1 yards allowed per game (18th overall)
The New Orleans Saints seem to have the talent in place but cant seem to rise above a mediocre record (last years team finished an average 8-8). Deuce McAllister is one of the best running backs available in the game; hes a lethal mix of speed, acceleration, catching, and break tackle abilities.
Joe Horn and Donte Stallworth provide two weapons at wide out. Horn is the better overall receiver but Donte possesses the speed and acceleration to help stretch defenses, which should hopefully open more running lanes for McAllister. Boo Williams is a rising star at the tight-end position. Defense will be the Saints weak area; the squad lacks big time superstars. Expect a high scoring affair.
New York Giants
Division: NFC East
2003 Record: 4-12
2003 Offensive Stats: 308.4 yards gained per game (20th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 332.5 yards allowed per game (22nd overall)
The New York Giants enter 2004 with a controversy at quarterback. The Giants sent Kerry Collins packing (he ended up at the Oakland Raiders) but acquired two capable signal callers. Ex-Ram and Super Bowl champion Kurt Warner and first-round draft pick Eli Manning (brother of all-pro Colts quarterback Peyton Manning).
Their Madden 2005 ratings are quite close. Warner has a slight edge in throw power, accuracy, and awareness (Eli is a rookie after all) but Manning is more mobile and durable (Warner is the injury rating equivalent of a toothpick). The Giants do possess some weapons on offense. Tiki is fast, agile, and one of the top pass catching running backs available. Toomer is a solid receiver and Shockey is one of the games premiere tight ends.
New York Jets
Division: AFC East
2003 Record: 6-10
2003 Offensive Stats: 308.9 yards gained per game (19th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 332.4 yards allowed per game (21st overall)
The Jets had high hopes in 2003 but lost starting quarterback Chad Pennington to a broken wrist during the preseason. He didnt make it back until late in the year when the Jets season was already essentially over. Pennington is highly accurate but lacks the arm strength to consistently hit the deep ball. If you do test a defense deep, Santana Moss is your primary target; hes one of the fastest wide receivers available in the game.
The veteran Curtis Martin has lost a step or two but still retains respectable stats (just nothing explosive). Hes a dependable ball carrier that should pick up consistent yardage. Just dont expect Holmes-like breakaway runs. Kevin Mawae at center provides excellent blocking. Use dives and blast plays to get Martin through the line.
Division: AFC West
2003 Record: 4-12
2003 Offensive Stats: 285.8 yards gained per game (25th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 369.0 yards allowed per game (30th overall)
The Oakland Raiders suffered through one of the worst seasons for a team that was just one year removed from going to the Super Bowl. It was as if their lopsided defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Bucs lingered well into the next season. To compound matters, the Raiders opened the season without wide receiver Jerry Porter and quarterback Rich Gannon also missed most of the season with a shoulder injury.
Jerry Rice, the best receiver of all-time, lacks speed at 41 years old but hes a dependable target and rated the highest awareness possible in the game. Porter is a good secondary receiver. Both are similarly rated; neither will pose much of a deep threat. The Raiders running back situation is cluttered--several average backs and no real standouts. Use Wheatley to punch through the line.
Division: NFC East
2003 Record: 12-4
2003 Offensive Stats: 314.7 yards gained per game (18th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 331.7 yards allowed per game (20th overall)
The Philadelphia Eagles have reached the NFC Championship three seasons in a row--and havent reached the Super Bowl. The Eagles addressed two big concerns in the off season: a playmaker wide receiver and a legitimate pass rusher on the defensive line.
The Eagles added flamboyant wide receiver Terrell Owens, one of the best wide outs available in the game, to give McNabb an explosive target in the passing game and signed Jevon Kearse away from the Titans to provide much needed pressure on the opposing quarterback.
This is a solid squad and certainly one of the favorites to reach the NFC Championship game yet again. McNabb is a great quarterback with excellent speed for scrambles and mobility (hes a tad weak in accuracy). Westbrook and Buckhalter are the two backs; Westbrook offers better speed and pass catching ability while Buckhalter is superior in short yardage situations.
Division: AFC North
2003 Record: 6-10
2003 Offensive Stats: 299.5 yards gained per game (22nd overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 291.6 yards allowed per game (9th overall)
Although the Steelers still have one of the better defenses (anchored by all-pro linebacker Joey Porter), the offense fell off considerably in 2003. Inconsistency at the quarterback and running back position created the biggest problems. The Steelers signed ex-Eagle Duce Staley to energize the running attack. Staley and Bettis provide a strong one-two punch. Use Staley to run outside and to catch passes; Bettis is the better inside runner and should be used in short yardage situations.
The Steelers receiving group remains strong with Hines Ward the primary target. Establish a strong running game by swapping out Staley and Bettis for specific situations. Hit Staley out of the backfield to loosen the defense and open up your options at wide receiver.
San Diego Chargers
Division: AFC West
2003 Record: 4-12
2003 Offensive Stats: 322.9 yards gained per game (14th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 349.6 yards allowed per game (27th overall)
The San Diego Chargers have one of the best players in the game...but few other superstars. LaDainian Tomlinson is a dominant mix of speed and power. Hes also lethal out of the backfield--if you can get him the ball. The Chargers quarterback situation isnt strong. Former starter Drew Brees is a forgotten man so the Chargers drafted Philip Rivers as their new future star. Lorenzo Neal is another star on offense; hes one of the top fullbacks in the game and should open holes that Tomlinson can accelerate through.
San Francisco 49ers
Division: NFC West
2003 Record: 7-9
2003 Offensive Stats: 355.4 yards gained per game (5th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 308.0 yards allowed per game (13th overall)
The 2004 San Francisco 49ers bear little resemblance to the 2003 Niners. It was like an off season fire sale. The 49ers lost their starting quarterback, starting running back, and both starting receivers. Kevan Barlow started at running back late in the season and proved he deserved the position. Hes one of the best players on the team (though certainly not rated as an elite back) with high break tackle ability. Utilize highly rated Fred Beasley to open up holes.
Division: NFC West
2003 Record: 10-6
2003 Offensive Stats: 351.7 yards gained per game (6th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 327.4 yards allowed per game (19th overall)
The Seattle Seahawks should enter 2004 as one of the favorites in the NFC. Matt Hasselbeck has come into his own over the last season and a half and should be considered one of the top quarterbacks in the league. Shaun Alexander is one of the best all-around running backs in the game--potent acceleration to combine with high break tackle ability. Run behind strong offensive lineman Walter Jones at left tackle.
Darrell Jackson and Koren Robinson present two solid targets at receiver. Plus Bobby Engram is solid in three-receiver sets. Utilize a lot of singleback, three-receiver sets for both run and pass situations to keep defenses on guard.
St. Louis Rams
Division: NFC West
2003 Record: 12-4
2003 Offensive Stats: 341.1 yards gained per game (9th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 315.8 yards allowed per game (16th overall)
The St. Louis Rams still have one of the most explosive offenses in the game. Bulger is rated pretty well and shouldnt have a problem dishing out the rock to the Rams true stars: Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt, and Issac Bruce. These are your playmakers. Any of their Madden ratings could put them in a starting position on any other team. Play a wide open offense and spread the ball around to your big stars. Both Holt and Bruce could beat defenders deep, though Holt definitely has the speed and catching advantage.
Run Faulk behind all-pro left tackle Orlando Pace. Also make sure you use Faulk as a receiver as well. Use hot routes to send him out on every passing play so you have the option if needed. The Rams arent as strong defensively. Leonard Little is the best on the line while veteran cornerback Aeneas Williams can still stack up against the leagues best receivers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Division: NFC South
2003 Record: 7-9
2003 Offensive Stats: 340.8 yards gained per game (10th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 279.1 yards allowed per game (5th overall)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers completed a disappointing 2003 season after winning the Super Bowl the year before. The Bucs suffered from inconsistent play on both sides of the ball as well as some major off the field distractions by the name of Keyshawn Johnson. The Bucs made some moves in the off season trading Keyshawn Johnson to Dallas for Joey Galloway and adding Charlie Garner at running back.
Mix in Garner and Alstott as a speed versus power combination. Alstott excels in short yardage situations with a near maximum rating in break tackle ability. Utilize Garner as a receiver option out of the backfield. Galloway will stretch defenses while McCardell is a dependable possession receiver.
The Bucs defense remains one of the stronger squads in the game. Despite losing Sapp to the Raiders, the defensive line can create havoc in the opposing teams backfield. Left end Simeon Rice and defensive tackle Anthony McFarland are both highly rated linemen. Derrick Brooks is still one of the best linebackers available.
Division: AFC South
2003 Record: 12-4
2003 Offensive Stats: 343.8 yards gained per game (8th overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 306.3 yards allowed per game (12th overall)
Titans quarterback Steve McNair shared last seasons most valuable player award with Colts signal caller Peyton Manning. You could make a strong case for either quarterback but most would argue that McNair is the heart and soul of the Tennessee Titans. During the off season, the Titans let former Heisman trophy winner Eddie George go (he later signed with the Dallas Cowboys). The Titans will now lean on last seasons backup Chris Brown.
Derrick Mason should be McNairs primary target. Mix in passes to the Titans stellar tight-end group as well. McNair still has some legs; although not on par with Vick, Culpepper, or McNabb, McNairs speed rating still provides plenty of chances for rollouts and scrambles. Defensively the Titans remain strong with solid stars at each position level. Kevin Carter anchors the line, Keith Bullick is a standout linebacker, and Samari Rolle can shutdown many receivers.
Division: NFC East
2003 Record: 5-11
2003 Offensive Stats: 291.2 yards gained per game (23rd overall)
2003 Defensive Stats: 338.2 yards allowed per game (25th overall)
Under owner Daniel Snyder, the Washington Redskins have made major changes to the team every season. This season, Snyder coaxed former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs (winner of three Super Bowl titles) out of retirement to lead the team back to its glory days. Other off season moves included signing veteran, ex-Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell and completing a blockbuster trade that sent cornerback Champ Bailey to the Broncos for all-pro running back Clinton Portis.
The always-dangerous Portis should be your primary focus on offense. Brunell doesnt possess the rating for a consistently successful passing attack. Testing defenses deep will certainly help open holes for Portis. Look for primary wide out Laveraneus Coles--given a 99 rating for speed--on the deep go routes. Maneuver him around the line and use hot routes to take advantage of mismatches.
Chapter 3 - Offense
Most of Madden 2005s gameplay tweaks are on the defensive side of the ball. For the most part, strategies and features on offense remain largely the same. But whether youre a new Madden player or a seasoned veteran, this chapter will provide tips to hone and improve your offensive gameplan.
A successful offense moves the ball efficiently and effectively. Predict what the defense is doing so you can gain positive yards on every down. Avoid backpedaling and putting the team in long yardage situations where your course of action becomes much more predictable. Avoid turnovers and look to exploit the opposing defenses weaknesses and mismatches. This section will provide explanations of offensive formations and packages, offer specific tips on managing an explosive passing and rushing attack, and reveal the best Madden 2005 NFL players at key offensive positions.
Offensive Formations and Packages
When selecting your play on offense, you must first selection a formation. The formation inserts specific personnel onto the field in specific spots. For instance, the shotgun formation typically includes more speedy wide receivers since its generally a pass formation while the goal line formation includes more big linemen and tight ends because its generally a run formation.
Note that formations other than goal line also include "sub-formations" that further alter the players positions. For instance, theres a standard shotgun formation (one running back, three wide receivers) but then theres also a four wide receiver shotgun formation or even a five wide receiver shotgun formation. You can further adjust formation personnel through packages, such as using a jumbo backfield for short yardage, moving the tight end to the slot position, or giving your starting running back a rest. These package substitutions are covered later in this chapter.
The following list covers the basics of each formation, their strengths and weaknesses, and appropriate usage. Certain sub formations of each formation are also covered. Use this section as a guide during your offensive play selection.
- Goal Line: The aptly named goal line formation would be used most often in very short yardage (three yards or less) or goal line situations. Its a compact formation with big linemen blocking for a fullback and running back lining up behind the quarterback. Use playmaker control to switch the direction of your running play depending on how the defense stacks the line. Use package substitution to insert a jumbo backfield for, possibly, better break tackle ability (depending on your team). Switch to the Miami package to exchange the receiver for a better blocking tight end. Mix up your play with a pass out of goal line, which can be very effective. Use a hot route to ensure one of your receivers is running a quick pattern in case the defense has called a heavy blitz.
- I Form: The I Form formation features a fullback then a running back lined up directly behind the quarterback. The formations name is derived from the backfields resemblance to an "I". Its usually a run formation--the fullback provides a lead block for the running back. But it can be a powerful pass formation as well, especially against aggressive opponents thinking run. For instance, the I Form-Big formation inserts two tight ends and just one receiver. Certainly a good running formation with all that blocking but also a surprising pass formation. In any I Form formation, utilize the running back and fullback (or two running backs if you use the Dual HB package) as options in the flat. If your opponent aggressively blitzes, one of those options is likely to be wide open.
- Strong I, Weak I: These formations are similar to I-Form, but the fullback is offset either to the strong side (the side of the offensive line with the tight end) or the weak side (the side of the offensive line without the tight end). The uses are similar to the I Form. Its an expected run formation but does offer some pass option sub formations and hitting the two backs in the flat or across the middle can be dangerous against an aggressive defense expecting run.
- Far, Near: These formations are similar to Strong and Weak, but the fullback and running back are positioned close to one other behind the quarterback. Look for these formations in San Franciscos playbook.
- Split Backs: This is another two-back set but the two backs are lined up along the same line in a split formation. Both backs are just offset from the quarterback. It holds similar advantages and disadvantages to the other two back sets. Its a decent run formation (though the I Form, Strong, and Weak seem to be consistently better in Madden for running the ball) and is a solid pass formation when you work the backs into the patterns.
- Full House: The full house formation includes three backs in the backfield: one full back and two running backs. The position of the backs resembles a cross between the I Form and the Strong or Weak formation. Its another strong run formation that provides several options. You can hand off to the primary back, the secondary back, the full back, or use it as a passing formation and send three backs into the pattern. The dual HB package moves the secondary running back behind the quarterback; the spell HB package moves the secondary running back to the primarys position and uses a tight end in the full backs spot.
- Jumbo-T: The Packers playbook includes the Jumbo-T, which resembles the full house formation with multiple backs (two running backs, one fullback) behind the quarterback. Like full house, it allows for several run options and can be effective in passing plays with effective back and tight end routes.
- Singleback: The singleback formation is extremely varied. In fact, some of the sub formations dont even include a single back--such as Singleback-Empty 4WR and 5WR. Most, though, feature a single running back and a set of receivers, tight ends, or a mixture of both. Using the sets with a running back, three receivers, and a tight end can be unpredictable and pose match-up problems. If the defense calls nickel, then you have the advantage in the running game. If the defense calls 4-3 or 3-4, then you could have an advantage in the passing game.
- Shotgun: The shotgun formation is a typical passing formation because it allows extra time for the quarterback to read the defense and hit the open receiver before the rush closes in. Its certainly possible and often effective to run out of the shotgun formation as well.
The following table covers each NFL teams playbook and the included offensive formations and sub formations.
|TEAM PLAYBOOK||OFFENSIVE FORMATIONS|
|Arizona Cardinals||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Empty 4WR, Singleback-Trips TE, Singleback-Slot Strong, I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin WR, I Form-3WR, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-3WR, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-Twins WR, Shotgun-4WR, Shotgun-Slot Strong, Shotgun-Trips Bunch, Shotgun-Trips|
|Atlanta Falcons||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Tight, Singleback-Big, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Trips Bunch, Singleback-Slot Strong, I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin WR, Split Backs-Normal, Split Backs-3WR, Shotgun-Trips Bunch, Shotgun-2RB 3WR, Weak I-Normal, Full House-Normal, Full House-Strong, Full House-Weak|
|Baltimore Ravens||I Form-Normal, I Form-Big, I Form-Twin TE, I Form-Twin WR, I Form-3WR, Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-Slot Strong, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Tight, Shotgun-Normal Offset Wk, Shotgun-2RB 3WR, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-Twin TE, Strong I-Big|
|Buffalo Bills||I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin TE, Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-Empty 4WR, Singleback-Trips TE, Singleback-Trips Bunch, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-4WR, Shotgun-5WR, Shotgun-2RB 3WR, Shotgun-Trips, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-3WR, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-Twin WR|
|Carolina Panthers||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-Twin TE, Singleback-Trips Bunch, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Empty 5WR, I Form-Normal, I Form-Big, I Form-Twin TE, I Form-Twin WR, Shotgun-Normal, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-Twin TE, Strong I-Big, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-Twin TE|
|Chicago Bears||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Trips WR, Singleback-Trips Bunch, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-5WR, Shotgun-Empty 4WR, Shotgun- Trips TE, I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin WR, I Form-Twin TE, Split Backs-Normal, Split Backs-3WR, Strong-Normal, Strong-3WR|
|Cincinnati Bengals||I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin WR, I Form-3WR, Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Trips WR, Singleback-Empty 5WR, Shotgun-2RB 3WR, Shotgun-4WR, Shotgun-Trips, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-Big, Strong I-Twin WR, Split Backs-Normal, Split Backs-3WR|
|Cleveland Browns||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-Twin TE, Singleback-Twin TE WR, Singleback-Slot Strong, Singleback-Big 3TE, I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin TE, I Form-Big, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-4WR, Shotgun-5WR Bunch, Shotgun-2RB 3WR, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-Big, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-Twin TE|
|Dallas Cowboys||I Form-Normal, I Form-3WR, I Form-Twin TE, Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Twin TE, Singleback-Slot Strong, Split Backs-3WR, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-Twin WR, Shotgun-4WR, Shotgun-Trips, Shotgun-2RB 3WR|
|Denver Broncos||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Twin TE WR, Singleback-Big Twin WR, Singleback-Empty 4WR, I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin WR, I Form-Big, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-Twin WR, Strong I-Big Tight, Weak I-Twins, Weak I-Big, Shotgun-5WR, Shotgun-Trips TE|
|Detroit Lions||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Big, Singleback-Trips Bunch, Singleback-Empty 4WR, Singleback-Trips WR, Split Backs-Normal, Split Backs-Twin WR, I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin WR, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-3WR, Shotgun-Normal Offset Wk, Shotgun-4WR, Shotgun-Trips TE, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-3WR|
|Green Bay Packers||I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin WR, I Form-Twin TE, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-Twin TE, Strong I-3WR, Singleback-Normal, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Big, Singleback-Trips Bunch, Singleback-Twin TE WR, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-2RB 3WR, Shotgun-4WR, Jumbo T-Big, Full House-Wide, Full House-Weak, Full House-Strong|
|Houston Texans||I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin WR, I Form-3WR, I Form-Twin TE, Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-Big Twin WR, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Tight, Singleback-Big 3TE, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-2RB 3WR, Shotgun-4WR, Shotgun-Tight, Strong I-Normal, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-Twins WR|
|Indianapolis Colts||Singleback-Dice, Singleback-Deuce, Singleback-Slot Strong, Singleback-Big Twin WR, I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin WR, Split Backs-Normal, Split Backs-3WR, Split Backs-Twin WR, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-4WR, Shotgun-2RB 3WR, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-3WR|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin WR, I Form-Big, Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-Trips Bunch, Singleback-Slot Strong, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-5WR, Shotgun-5WR Bunch, Shotgun-Empty 4WR, Shotgun-2RB 3WR, Weak I-Big, Weak I-Twin WR, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-3WR|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-Slot Strong, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Empty 5WR, Singleback-Trips WR, I Form-Normal, I Form-Big, I Form-Twin WR, I Form-3WR, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-3WR, Strong I-Big, Shotgun-4WR, Shotgun-5WR, Shotgun-Trips TE|
|Miami Dolphins||I Form-Normal, I Form-Big, I Form-Twin WR, I Form-Twin TE, Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-Twin TE, Singleback-Tight, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-4WR, Shotgun-Empty 4WR, Shotgun-Slot Strong, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-3WR, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-Twin WR|
|Minnesota Vikings||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Trips WR, Singleback-Big Twin WR, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-4WR, Shotgun-Slot Strong, Shotgun-Trips TE, Shotgun-Tight, I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin WR, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-Twin TE, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-Big|
|New England Patriots||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-Twin TE, Singleback-Big 3TE, Singleback-Trips WR, Singleback-Trips Bunch, Singleback-Empty 5WR, I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin WR, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-Twin TE, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-5WR, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-Big, Split Backs-Normal, Split Backs-3WR|
|New Orleans Saints||I Form-Normal, I Form-3WR, I Form-Big, Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Trips WR, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-4WR, Shotgun-Slot Strong, Shotgun-Trips, Shotgun-Empty 4WR, Shotgun-5WR Bunch, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-Twin WR, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-Twin WR, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-3WR|
|New York Giants||I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin WR, I Form-3WR, Singleback-Normal, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Empty 4WR, Singleback-Big, Singleback-Twin TE, Singleback-Slot Strong, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-2RB 3WR, Shotgun-4WR, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-Twin WR, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-Twin TE|
|New York Jets||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-Slot Strong, Singleback-Trips Bunch, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Empty 4WR, I Form-Normal, I Form-Big, I Form-Twin WR, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-3WR, Strong I-Twin WR, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-Twins WR, Split Backs-Normal, Split Backs-3WR|
|Oakland Raiders||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Empty 4WR, Singleback-Empty 5WR, Singleback-Trips WR, Singleback-Tight, Singleback-Trips Bunch, I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin WR, I Form-3WR, Split Backs-Normal, Split Backs-3WR, Shotgun-5WR, Shotgun-Trips, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-3WR, Strong I-Big, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-3WR|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Slot Strong, Singleback-Empty 4WR, Singleback-Trips WR, Singleback-Trips Bunch, Singleback-Trips TE, Singleback-Tight, I Form-Normal, I Form-3WR, I Form-Twin WR, Split Backs-Normal, Split Backs-3WR, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-3WR, Weak I-Twins WR|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin WR, I Form-Twin TE, I Form-3WR, Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Trips Bunch, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Twin TE WR, Singleback-Empty 4WR, Singleback-Trips WR, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-4WR, Shotgun-Trips, Shotgun-Empty 4WR, Strong I-Normal|
|San Diego Chargers||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-Slot Strong, Singleback-Twin TE, Singleback-Twin TE WR, I Form-Normal, I Form-Big, I Form-Twin TE, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-Twin WR, Split Backs-3WR, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-Twin WR, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-2RB 3WR, Shotgun-4WR|
|San Francisco 49ers||I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin WR, I Form-3WR, I Form-Big, Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Slot Strong, Singleback-Twin TE WR, Singleback-Big Twin WR, Split Backs-Normal, Split Backs-3WR, Weak I-Normal, Strong I-Twin WR, Far-Normal, Near-Normal|
|Seattle Seahawks||I Form-Normal, I Form-3WR, I Form-Big, Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Slot Strong, Singleback-Twin TE, Split Backs-Normal, Split Backs-3WR, Split Backs-Big, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-3WR, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-Twin WR|
|St. Louis Rams||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-Trips WR, Singleback-Trips Bunch, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Empty 5WR, Shotgun-4WR, I Form-Normal, I Form-3WR, I Form-Twin WR, I Form-Twin TE, Split Backs-Normal, Split Backs-3WR, Weak I-Big, Weak I-3WR, Strong I-3WR, Strong I-Normal,|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-Empty 4WR, Singleback-Trips Bunch, Singleback-Tight, Singleback-Slot Strong, Singleback-Empty 5WR, Singleback-Trips TE, I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin WR, I Form-Twin TE, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-3WR, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-Twins WR, Split Backs-Twin WR, Split Backs-3WR|
|Tennessee Titans||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-Empty 5WR, Singleback-Slot Strong, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Big Twin WR, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-4WR, Shotgun-Slot Strong, Shotgun-Tight, I Form-Normal, I Form-Big, I Form-Twin TE, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-Twin WR, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-3WR|
|Washington Redskins||Singleback-Normal, Singleback-Big, Singleback-4WR, Singleback-Twin TE, I Form-Normal, I Form-Twin TE, I Form-3WR, I Form-Twin WR, Shotgun-Normal, Shotgun-4WR, Shotgun-Trips TE, Strong I-Normal, Strong I-3WR, Weak I-Normal, Weak I-Twins WR, Weak I-Big|
Alter the personnel in a specific formation with package substitutions. Using packages you can easy insert two running backs instead of using a fullback, swap wide receiver positions, or move a running back to the wide out slot. The following list details some of the package substitutions and how to use them effectively.
- Dual HB: In formations with two running backs (including Form, Strong, Weak, and Shotgun-2RB 3WR), this package switches the fullback for the teams secondary running back. This can be an effective substitution for teams with two decent running backs (for instance, Atlanta, Cleveland, Minnesota, Denver, etc) for pass plays to the backs. Also if you want a quick way to utilize the secondary running back on plays designed for the fullback.
- Jumbo Backfield: Substitutes your running back for the fullback for dual fullbacks. Good for short yardage situations and for teams with good fullbacks (San Francisco, San Diego, for instance) for use in runs designed for running backs.
- WR Swap: Swap the primary and secondary receiver positions to alter their assigned pass routes. Could create mismatches against a defense that hasnt made defensive assignments for man coverage.
- WR Swap Strong: Places your best two receivers on the strong side then swaps their position (essentially placing your top receiver in the slot position).
- Spell HB: If your primary running back is fatigued, use this package to quickly swap in your secondary back for some fresh legs. Return to normal package after a play or two once your primary back has rested.
- HB Slot: Substitution your running back into the slot position in a three or more receiver set. A great way to get a stellar pass receiving running back into the passing game. For instance, pass a ball deep to the Minnesotas speedy Michael Bennett.
- Strong Slot: Substitutes your best receiver into the slot position. Excellent for helping get your best receiver open and up against new defenders, possibly a mismatch against a safety or even a linebacker.
- Slot Swap: Swap the receivers in the slot position.
- HB Wideout: Substitutes your running back into the wideout position. Much like HB Slot, useful if your favorite team has a running back with great hands.
- TE Slot: Substitutes your tight end into the slot position. Use this package if your team has a good receiving tight end (Kansas City, Baltimore, New York Giants) or plan to run in the formation toward the tight end--the tight end is usually a better blocker.
- TE Swap: Switch tight end positions in formations with two tight ends.
- WR Strong: Places your top receivers on the strong side of the formation.
- WR Strong Weak: Places your best two receivers on the same side in a multiple receiver set--for instance in a five receiver set.
- WR Bunch: Positions the top receivers into the "bunch" area of the formation.
- Big: Substitutes wide receivers for tight ends and fullbacks for a "big" formation. This could turn a bunch formation passing play into a solid running play with the increased blocking abilities of the tight ends and fullbacks.
- Strong Solo: In formations with multiple receivers on one side and one receiver on another, places your top receiver in the solo position.
- Stack Strong: Stacks your best receivers on the strong side of the formation.
- Stack Weak: Stacks your best receivers on the weak side of the formation.
- Miami: On goal line, substitutes your receiver for a tight end and a defensive lineman for your tight end.
Top Ranked Offenses
The following chart reveals the top ranked offenses in Madden 2005 by overall rating.
|TEAM||CONFERENCE AND DIVISION||OFFENSE RATING|
|Indianapolis Colts||AFC South||98|
|Kansas City Chiefs||AFC West||96|
|Philadelphia Eagles||NFC East||93|
|Green Bay Packers||NFC North||91|
|Seattle Seahawks||NFC West||91|
|Minnesota Vikings||NFC North||90|
|New England Patriots||AFC East||90|
|St. Louis Rams||NFC West||90|
|Washington Redskins||NFC East||90|
The Passing Game
There are a number of variables that affect a successful passing play. Its not as simple as mashing the pass button and hoping the intended target catches the ball for positive yardage. It might work here and there but theres more that goes into a consistently effective passing game in Madden 2005. This section offers tips on reading pass defenses, using playmaker control, and moving the ball on offense on your quarterbacks arm.
Reading the Pass Defense
Youve called a pass play and are approaching the line of scrimmage. Immediately you can tell what formation the defense has selected. If there are seven players in the box--either three defensive linemen and four linebackers or four defensive linemen and three linebackers--then the defense is in the 3-4 or 4-3 respectively. If theres one extra defensive back, the defense is in the nickel; two extra defensive backs is the dime; and three is the quarter.
The greater the number of defensive backs, the more difficult your pass play becomes. Its certainly possible to connect on a pass play against a dime or quarter defense but the defense is geared to stop the pass and will likely win that battle more times than not. Pass plays, especially those with multiple receivers and backs out of the backfield, against 3-4, 4-3, 46 or goal line will be more effective because of match up problems.
Match ups are important in the passing game. Defensive cornerbacks are best at covering wide receivers. Safeties and linebackers are not as skilled in coverage. If you can match one of your better receivers against a safety or linebacker then you have the advantage. Shift your top receivers around the line of scrimmage using different packages and flipped plays.
You can determine if the defense is in man coverage or zone coverage through a number of methods. Put a man in motion and see if hes followed; if so, hes in man coverage. Though keep in mind that the defense can use "man lock" to keep defensive players in place even though theyre in man coverage; the coverage simply shifts to another defender.
In zone defenses, defenders cover a specific area of the field. Theyll cover any offensive player that enters the zone but will hand off coverage to another defender once the offensive player leaves the zone. Against a zone, look for holes in the zone. For instance, against the cover 2, look for the deep angled out pattern, called the flag. Theres a hole between the coverage of the cornerback and the safety.
In man defenses, defenders cover a specific player. Effective routes would include crossing routes, especially if you have a fast receiver matched up against a slower cornerback.
As you approach the line of scrimmage, see how the defense is lined up against your formation. In a 3-WR set, do you have a receiver that isnt directly covered by a cornerback? Watch the linebacker on that side; if he blitzes then hit that receiver quickly. If the defense is in a pass-oriented defense, consider calling an audible to a run play. And dont neglect your hot routes. Alter pass patterns based on the defensive lineup. If you believe youll have single coverage on a receiver, send him deep. Deep pass plays are rarely successful against two or more defenders; but in single-coverage, the receiver frequently has the advantage.
Watch how the defenders react as you approach the line. Which defenders have approached the line of scrimmage in a "blitz" stance? Use hot routes to open up a quick pattern so you can get rid of the ball quickly. Also, against linebacker blitzes hitting backs out of the backfield is often open, particularly against man coverage. Send the back in the direction of the blitzer and hit him once he clears the line of scrimmage.
You have a couple playmaker options in the passing game. Before the snap, use the right analog stick to alter the primary receivers pass route. Press the right analog stick up to send the primary receiver on a go route; move the stick left for a crossing route/out pattern left; move the stick right for a crossing route/out pattern right; and move it down for a screen. If you want to alter other receivers routes, use the hot route button. Send a receiver deep if hes in single coverage or adjust his route to a crossing pattern against double coverage, which could free up other receiver patterns on the same side.
Utilize playmaker control during the pass play to adjust a receivers current pattern. For instance, if youre scrambling and in trouble, push the right analog stick down to call a receiver back toward the line of scrimmage. Since the defender is likely behind the receiver, the pass should connect as long as there are no other defenders in the balls path.
Use the right trigger and directional pad to shift your formation along the line of scrimmage. The pass patterns remain the same but your players positions shift. Call a formation shift to spread out of the offense against tight defensive coverage.
Passing Tips and Tricks
This section offers a collection of general passing tips and tricks for Madden 2005.
- An effective passing attack certainly begins with team selection. If you want to emphasize the pass then its wise to select a team that will assist in your effort. Teams like St. Louis, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Seattle, Philadelphia, and others that offer a strong quarterback and good receivers will have a much easier time in the passing game than weaker passing teams.
- Hitch or curl patterns are an effective way of moving the ball consistently. Often your receiver will find an open spot in the zone (or the zone defender may move off when another receiver enters the zone) and youll have a chance to hit your target. If a defender is behind your receiver, whos now facing your quarterback, itll be a high percentage pass. Use a "bullet pass" (hold down the pass button) to get the ball to the receiver quickly.
- A quarterback throws more accurately with planted feet. Throwing on the run, while certainly sometimes successful, is generally less accurate than planting your feet. If youre consistently inaccurate, watch your quarterbacks movement as you through the ball. You might be moving around the pocket and not realize it.
- Use bullet passes (press the pass button firmly) to hit wide open receivers or those on a hitch or curl route. A receiver might not stay open forever so its best to get the ball there quickly. Use a lob pass (tap the pass button) to reach receivers on deep patterns or slightly covered receivers to give them a chance to outrun the pursuing defender. In either instance, its important to spot other defenders in the area that might be approaching your receiver. Against a lob pass this approaching defender could pick off your pass.
- Audibles and hot routes are extremely powerful. You dont need to retain the play called on every down--or any down for that matter. Assess the defense as you approach the line and adjust your receivers pass patterns as desired. Send a receiver in single-coverage deep. In trips, send two deep and one in a crossing route; the deep receivers may clear out defenders opening the crossing route. Send your backs into the pattern for additional options. Flood one side of the field with crossing routes and hit the open man.
- Consistent aerial success also depends on quick reads against the mobilized defense. Look for open passing lanes when hurling the pigskin. Avoid tossing the ball if theres a defender between your quarterback and the intended receiver. There are a lot of tips and, even worse, interceptions that can happen in crowded passing lanes.
- Quarterback scrambles are still fairly effective in Madden 2005. Michael Vick dominated Madden 2004 with his legs. Thankfully some defenses have been added to contain the quarterback more effectively. However, if the downfield coverage is strong and theres an open running lane and you have the wheels (Vick, Culpepper, McNabb, McNair), take off and gain positive yardage.
- Plays with "PA" in their name are play-action passes. These pass plays simulate a run play, which can trick defenders (and human opponents) and open up some of your receivers pass patterns. Be careful calling play action against an expected blitz. If the blitz gets through, your quarterbacks rather slow play action motion will likely be caught and sacked.
- It can pay to select the receiver and catch the ball using the catch button. For instance, your receiver is on a post or crossing route. The ball looks slightly overthrown. Select the receiver and intercept the ball; hit the catch button as the ball arrives. Its often the little things that win games and making a big catch on a bad pass can turn a game around.
- Madden 2005 includes new receiver "option" routes in some pass plays. In these plays, the receiver decides which route to run based on the defensive coverage. Note that a players awareness rating greatly affects the receivers decision making skills. High awareness receivers like Rice or Harrison make the correct decisions; rookies might make a mistake. These plays can be highly effective in a pinch. Also, look for running back option routes, particularly for high awareness, high catch abilities backs.
Top Ranked Quarterbacks
The following chart reveals the top rated quarterbacks in Madden 2005.
|Peyton Manning||Indianapolis Colts||97||96||97||98||49||57||97|
|Steve McNair||Tennessee Titans||96||94||90||89||74||63||82|
|Tom Brady||New England Patriots||95||91||96||95||57||56||93|
|Donovan McNabb||Philadelphia Eagles||95||96||85||87||81||52||85|
|Brett Favre||Green Bay Packers||94||97||90||98||53||51||99|
|Daunte Culpepper||Minnesota Vikings||93||98||85||79||81||42||83|
|Michael Vick||Atlanta Falcons||92||96||82||78||94||54||76|
|Trent Green||Kansas City Chiefs||91||89||95||93||50||48||79|
|Matt Hasselbeck||Seattle Seahawks||90||93||93||87||56||57||79|
|Chad Pennington||New York Jets||90||86||96||90||55||49||65|
Top Ranked Wide Receivers
The following chart reveals the top rated wide receivers in Madden 2005.
|Randy Moss||Minnesota Vikings||98||99||99||97||95||99||88|
|Marvin Harrison||Indianapolis Colts||98||97||98||97||99||87||98|
|Terrell Owens||Philadelphia Eagles||97||93||98||93||93||95||94|
|Torry Holt||St. Louis Rams||96||97||96||92||96||90||95|
|Hines Ward||Pittsburgh Steelers||94||89||90||94||96||86||93|
|Chad Johnson||Cincinnati Bengals||93||92||94||95||93||92||86|
|Joe Horn||New Orleans Saints||92||90||94||91||93||88||91|
|Eric Moulds||Buffalo Bills||92||93||95||90||90||91||90|
|Derrick Mason||Tennessee Titans||91||90||92||92||94||85||92|
|Laveraneus Coles||Washington Redskins||91||99||98||95||91||83||86|
|Issac Bruce||St. Louis Rams||90||93||93||95||92||86||92|
|Steve Smith||Carolina Panthers||90||96||97||96||90||85||85|
|Amani Toomer||New York Giants||90||91||92||91||90||89||89|
Top Ranked Tight Ends
The following chart reveals the top rated tight ends in Madden 2005.
|Tony Gonzalez||Kansas City Chiefs||98||82||55||57||90||75||86|
|Todd Heap||Baltimore Ravens||96||81||55||60||90||67||74|
|Jeremy Shockey||New York Giants||95||85||50||54||88||82||67|
|Alge Crumpler||Atlanta Falcons||92||83||55||60||84||69||70|
|Marcus Pollard||Indianapolis Colts||90||75||57||60||81||74||76|
|Randy McMichael||Miami Dolphins||89||82||55||57||79||75||73|
|Bubba Franks||Green Bay Packers||88||64||61||65||80||71||70|
The Running Game
Managing an effective running game is similar to managing a passing attack: there are numerous variables to consider that turn a running plays loss into a running plays gain. This section will help you gain consistent positive yardage with your favorite running back.
Reading the Defense
The genesis of a strong running game begins with knowing when to run and when to audible out of the run. Achieving consistent run success against "eight in the box" (meaning eight defenders positioned along the line and linebacker spots) is difficult. Its certainly possible to break through these defenders and pick up an astoundingly long gain but often youll be tackled after a short gain or even a loss.
Running against a nickel defense will often be more effective. This defense exchanges a linebacker, who typically excels at tackling the running back, for a cornerback, who typically doesnt excel at tackling the running back. Call three wide receiver sets and your opponent will often call nickel to protect against the pass. Run out of these sets to mix up your game. Continue to mix it up (passing out of run formations, running out of pass formations) to keep the advantage to your offense.
Shift your receivers along the line of scrimmage against man coverage. This moves defenders to the opposite side of the field. Run toward where the defenders were; now there are fewer defenders there. Thats fewer defenders you need to dodge or break tackle to pick up a solid gain.
The most important playmaker control in the running game is before the ball is snapped. You can alter the direction of the run play by moving the right analog stick left or right (opposite of the original run play direction). This can make a huge different depending on defensive alignment. If youve picked a run play toward the left and the defense as stacked the left side of the field, use playmaker control to shift the running play to the right by moving the right analog stick to the right.
You can also use the right analog stick during a running play for further playmaker control. Moving the right analog stick can adjust the movements of nearby blockers. Its difficult to put into motion but can be effective when you need just one single block to break a big gain. Note that you can also use this playmaker control on kick returns.
Running Tips and Tricks
The following list offers some tips on managing an effective rushing attack in Madden 2005.
- Examine your favorite running backs statistics. Faster runners (greater speed and acceleration) can excel in outside runs because they can outrun the pursuing ends and linebackers; slower runners may likely be better in churning out yardage in inside runs, especially if they have a strong break tackle rating.
- Learn the special move buttons, such as spin, stiff arm, and juke. All of these should be used to pick up an extra couple yards or even create a big gain. Press left or right when hitting the spin button to spin in that direction; spin away from would be tacklers. Utilize stiff arm for running over defenders, particularly weak tackling defenders like cornerbacks. Perform a juke move to dodge an incoming defender. You should also use juke to pop through a hole. For instance, you sprint toward a hole in the line and its collapsing along the left side. As you enter the hole, perform a juke to the right to squeeze through the hole.
- Its often best to follow the running play as designed. Your blockers are opening a specific hole for your running back; your goal is to hit that hole and sprint through into the linebackers or secondary. Naturally the play could break down. Observe how the blocking is holding up and adjust to another direction if necessary. Keep your back moving north and south rather than east and west so youre gaining positive yardage.
- Dont forget the "protect ball" button, especially when your opponent is lining up a defender to use the hit stick, a new feature in Madden 2005. Its not a bad idea to practice protecting the ball whenever a tackler approaches.
- This is a general offensive tip but highly applicable to running plays. Monitor your players fatigue levels. When you select a play, note the shade of your players symbols colors. The more yellow the symbol, the more fatigued the player. Running backs can get fatigued quickly from long runs or rough tackles. Use the spell HB package to send in a fresh body. Or if your whole team is fatigued after a lot of hurry up, you may want to burn a time out.
Top Ranked Running Backs
The following chart reveals the top rated running backs in Madden 2005.
|Priest Holmes||Kansas City Chiefs||98||92||96||95||79||92||95|
|LaDainian Tomlinson||San Diego Chargers||98||95||99||96||87||92||87|
|Jamal Lewis||Baltimore Ravens||97||91||97||90||69||99||82|
|Clinton Portis||Washington Redskins||95||97||99||96||70||88||87|
|Ahman Green||Green Bay Packers||95||97||98||92||77||91||77|
|Deuce McAllister||New Orleans Saints||94||93||96||89||77||94||86|
|Marshall Faulk||St. Louis Rams||93||94||94||95||83||82||85|
|Shaun Alexander||Seattle Seahawks||92||90||98||88||71||92||87|
|Stephen Davis||Carolina Panthers||92||87||93||86||65||95||91|
|Fred Taylor||Jacksonville Jaguars||92||92||94||90||67||91||88|
|Edgerrin James||Indianapolis Colts||92||89||92||87||78||91||90|
|Travis Henry||Buffalo Bills||90||90||94||87||67||95||77|
Top Ranked Fullbacks
The following chart reveals the top rated fullbacks in Madden 2005.
|Fred Beasley||San Francisco 49ers||93||72||52||64||72||75||77|
|Mike Alstott||Tampa Bay Bucs||93||82||47||53||95||65||74|
|Jim Kleinsasser||Minnesota Vikings||92||74||54||68||66||74||68|
|Richie Anderson||Dallas Cowboys||92||80||50||53||71||82||71|
|Lorenzo Neal||San Diego Chargers||92||55||66||85||68||54||70|
|Matt Strong||Seattle Seahawks||91||76||60||68||67||68||68|
|Tony Richardson||Kansas City Chiefs||91||78||52||56||84||72||80|
|James Hodgins||Arizona Cardinals||91||67||64||78||60||65||60|
Top Ranked Offensive Linemen
The following chart reveals the top rated offensive linemen in Madden 2005.
|Jonathan Ogden||Baltimore Ravens||LT||99||92||54||95||98||98||95|
|Orlando Pace||St. Louis Rams||LT||98||90||54||98||93||96||95|
|Olin Kreutz||Chicago Bears||C||98||88||60||94||92||91||90|
|Will Shields||Kansas City Chiefs||RG||98||85||50||93||95||92||95|
|Alan Faneca||Pittsburgh Steelers||LG||97||79||45||91||98||94||92|
|Kevin Mawae||New York Jets||C||97||87||53||94||90||90||95|
|Walter Jones||Seattle Seahawks||LT||96||88||51||98||94||93||92|
|Matt Birk||Minnesota Vikings||C||96||85||55||93||90||91||95|
Chapter 4 - Defense
The emphasis in Madden 2005 is defense; in fact Baltimore Ravens stellar linebacker Ray Lewis dons this years cover. There are several new defensive enhancements, including a series of defensive playmaker options, adjustments, and the hit stick, used to deliver a punishing blow to lodge the ball loose. This section covers defensive formations and packages, new Madden 2005 defensive playmaker control, utilizing the hit stick, and managing a stubborn defense.
Defensive Formations and Packages
Each NFL team features a specific playbook. This table reveals the available defenses within each defensive playbook.
|PLAYBOOK||4-3 DEFENSES||3-4 DEFENSES||46 DEFENSES||NICKEL DEFENSES||DIME DEFENSES||QUARTER DEFENSES|
|4-3||Normal, Over||Normal||None||Normal, Strong, 3-3-5||Normal, Flat||Normal|
|3-4||Normal||Normal||None||Normal, Strong, 3-3-5||Normal, Flat||Normal, 3 Deep|
|Cover 2||Normal||Normal||Bear||Normal, 3-3-5||Normal, Flat||Normal|
|46||Normal||None||Normal, Bear||Normal, Strong, 3-3-5||Normal, Flat||Normal|
|Balanced D||Normal, Over||Normal||Normal, Bear||Normal, 3-3-5||Normal, Flat||Normal, 3 Deep|
|QB Contain||Normal, Over||Normal||None||Normal, 3-3-5, Strong||Normal, Flat||Normal, 3 Deep|
The table below reveals the default defensive playbook for each NFL team.
|TEAM||DEFAULT DEFENSIVE PLAYBOOK|
|Chicago Bears||Cover 2|
|Green Bay Packers||4-3|
|Indianapolis Colts||Cover 2|
|Kansas City Chiefs||4-3|
|New England Patriots||3-4|
|New Orleans Saints||4-3|
|New York Giants||4-3|
|New York Jets||Cover 2|
|San Diego Chargers||3-4|
|San Francisco 49ers||3-4|
|St. Louis Rams||Cover 2|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Cover 2|
The following table covers each defense, provides a description, lists available packages, and provides commentary on advantages and disadvantages.
|Goal Line||Tight formation for short-yardage situations.||Safety Swap, Jumbo, 3 DT, LB Ends||Excellent in short yardage situations (three yards or less) when you can expect a run play. Adjust the line and linebackers to pinch the expected run route.||Vulnerable to pass plays, especially if you blitz the linebackers and its blocked. Be ready to switch out of goal line if the offense calls an audible and you now expect a pass.|
|4-3 Normal||Four defensive linemen, three linebackers, four defensive backs.||CB Swap, Safety Swap, Coverage Flip, LB Flip||This is the base defense for more NFL teams. A solid all-around defense, particularly against inside runs and short to medium passes.||Vulnerable to multiple wide out sets, especially if youre in man coverage. Can be susceptible to the outside run if you blitz linebackers.|
|4-3 Over||Moves outer linebackers to the line for six defensive linemen, two linebackers, and four defensive backs.||CB Swap, Safety Swap, Coverage Flip, LB Flip||Strong against the run and outside run as linebackers move up on the line. Can be an effective blitz package.||Beware of the inside run if the back gets through the line. There are only two linebackers there now. Like 4-3 Normal, very open to the passing game, including crossing routes over the middle.|
|3-4||Three defensive linemen, four linebackers, and four defensive backs.||CB Swap, Safety Swap, Coverage Flip, OLB Flip, MLB Flip||Several NFL teams now use the 3-4 defense (Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Houston, for instance). Better against outside runs and in middle coverage pass coverage.||Weaker pass rush unless you blitz linebackers or defensive backs. Can be vulnerable against multiple receiver sets, especially four or more.|
|46 Normal||Four defensive linemen, three linebackers, four defensive backs but shifts one safety up to the linebacker position leaving one safety deep.||Speed, OLB Swap||Similar to the 4-3 but one safety plays closer to the line of scrimmage for increased run stopping. Strong blitz defense.||Beware of deep passes, especially if the closer safety is forced into man coverage against a faster receiver.|
|46 Bear||Six defensive linemen (some are linebackers on the line), one linebacker, three defensive backs with one safety playing in a linebacker spot leaving one deep safety.||46 Swap, LB/DE Swap, LB Coverage||Combines the 46 Normal and 4-3 Over defenses. Increased pressure along the line for stronger run defense.||Stronger run defense often means weaker pass defense. The inside run is also more vulnerable with only two players in a linebacker position and one safety deep.|
|Nickel Normal||Four defensive linemen, two linebackers, five defensive backs.||Strong Nickel, Strong Shift, CB Swap, Safety Swap, LOLB Right, LOLB Left, LB Swap||An additional defensive back helps protect against the pass. Be sure the "nickel back" is lined up against the slot receiver. Optimum against 3 WR sets.||More susceptible to running plays. Also beware of the offense moving their best receiver around. Your "nickel back" isnt as skilled as your best corner and might be unable to cover the opposing teams best WR one-on-one.|
|Nickel Strong||Same as nickel but shifts the safety toward the strong side.||Strong Nickel, Strong Shift, CB Swap, Safety Swap, MLB Right, MLB Left||Increased safety help on the strong side. Helps provide additional coverage on a stacked formation (where more receivers and/or tight ends are on one side).||Similar to the standard nickel. Also the safety shifted over could leave the other side open, especially if there are backs on pass patterns.|
|Nickel 3-3-5||Three defensive linemen, three linebackers, and five defensive backs.||4th CB, OLB Flip||Five defensive backs cover the pass in standard nickel formation and the three linebackers help protect against the run and medium pass.||Not much pass rush from the three man line without additional blitzing.|
|Dime Normal||Four defensive linemen, one linebacker, six defensive backs.||ROLB, LOLB, CB Swap, LB Pass Rush||The addition of six defensive backs is strongest against the pass, particularly four or five receiver sets. Call in certain passing situations.||Being a heavily pass-oriented defense, its weaker against an unexpected run. Also beware of quarterback scrambles, especially if youre in man-to-man.|
|Dime Flat||Same as dime but closes safeties in and backs off corners. Its a tighter coverage.||ROLB, LOLB, CB Swap||Similar personnel to dime so its still strong against the pass but its tighter so not as weak against the run.||Can be vulnerable to deep pass routes.|
|Quarters Normal||Three defensive linemen, one linebacker, seven defensive backs.||Linebackers, LB Pass Rush, LOLB, ROLB||Seven defensive backs to flood the defensive zone with pass protectors.||Use it certain pass situations since its easy to run against.|
|Quarters 3 Deep||Same as quarters but shifts a defensive back into a deep safety position for three deep safeties.||ROLB Swap, CB Swap, Safety Swap, Coverage Swap, Slot Swap, LB Pass Rush, LOLB Swap||Shifts three safeties deep. Useful on very long yardage situations.||Dont call when the offense might run!|
The following table reveals defensive adjustments that can be made before the ball is snapped.
|Defensive Line||Shift outside tackles, shift tight between tackles, shift line left, shift line right||Against an expected inside run, shift line tighter; against an expected outside run, spread line out. Shift line toward a left or right run or toward a tight end to bump him at the line.|
|Linebackers||Spread linebackers out, shift linebackers in tight, shift linebackers left, shift linebackers right||Against an expected inside run, shift linebackers tighter; against an expected outside run, spread linebackers out. Shift linebackers left or right against corresponding run or to help free up blitzing linebackers.|
|Coverage||Put defensive backs into bump and run (tighter coverage at line), put defensive backs in loose coverage, shift safeties and linebackers into better position to cover assignment||Play tight coverage when your defensive backs have an advantage over opponents receivers; play looser against expected deep passes. Shift coverage into better position for tighter coverage against expected shorter routes.|
Madden 2005 features new defensive pre-snap adjustments that can be made to any defensive unit. The following table covers each adjustment with analysis.
|Defensive Line||Make line crash in, make line rush outside, make line crash left, make line crash right||These adjustments cause the defensive line to rush at angles. Crashing in angles toward the center (use against inside runs), crushing out angles toward lines edge (use against outside runs), and crashing left or right angles toward that direction.|
|Linebackers||Blitz all linebackers, call off all linebacker blitzes, blitz outside left linebacker, blitz outside right linebacker||Audible to a full linebacker blitz if you dont think your opponent has appropriate procection, call off a blitz if you need linebackers in coverage (any linebacker that was blitzing goes to QB spy so you may want to further adjust his coverage with playmaker), or order a blitz for the left or right linebacker (effective if you expect the play to move in that direction).|
|Secondary||Shift safeties zone coverage to the left, shift safeties zone coverage to the right||Use these adjustments to aid a stronger side of the field. For instance, if the offense has multiple receivers on one side and just one on the other. Best used when the corner youre leaving alone is skilled enough to play man-on-man.|
|Individual Match-Ups||Bump receiver, play off receiver, double team receiver||Instead of forcing all corners into bump and run, you can use these adjustments to cause a specific defender to bump his receiver or play off his receiver. Use double teams against your opponents strongest receiver (there must be a safety in zone coverage already to use double team). Be careful though, shifting a safety over to one receiver could leave the middle open for another one.|
Playmaker Control and the Hit Stick
Madden 2005s increased defensive control adds playmaker abilities to the defense. Like the shifts and adjustments, the playmaker controls are used before the ball has been snapped. This section offers commentary on the new playmaker controls and also covers the exciting new hit stick, a new control on defense to apply a big, hopefully fumble-causing, crack on an offensive or special team player.
|Linebacker Hook Zone or Defensive Back Deep Zone||Highlight player then move right analog stick up.||Send a specific defensive back into deep zone coverage to protect against a deep ball. Highlight a linebacker to put him in zone coverage in a specific area of the field|
|Blitz||Highlight player then move right analog stick down.||Adjust a defensive player to blitz. Realize this may leave an offensive player open either initially or late in the play. Use with caution.|
|Quarterback Contain||Highlight player then move right analog stick down twice.||For example instruct outside linebackers to contain the quarterback. Most important against fast quarterbacks such as Vick, Culpepper, McNabb, and McNair.|
|Quarterback Spy Coverage||Highlight player then move right analog stick left.||A player in QB Spy coverage follows the quarterbacks movements along the line of scrimmage. Its another means of defending against the quarterback scramble.|
|Flat Zone||Highlight player then move right analog stick right.||Order a defender into a wider, but flatter zone in a specific area. Useful against an offense abusing crossing or out routes.|
The hit stick is a great new feature that puts a bone-crushing, fumble-inducing hit in your control. Use the right analog stick in the direction of the offensive player to engage the hit stick. The advantages are certainly a stronger tackle that might cause a fumble but the downside is if you miss the angle, the missed tackle could result in significant positive yardage for the offensive player.
One of the best times to use the hit stick is on punt returns. For example, if the punt returner fails to signal for a fair catch and you have a defender closing in, dont just tackle himuse the hit stick! This nearly always results in a fumble if your angle is true. On regular offensive plays, its wise to use the hit stick when you have additional defenders in the area to protect you. If you miss the big hit, the other defenders will still be in position to make the play.
Managing your Defense
This section offers tips and tricks for managing a stubborn defense.
- Know what the different colors, lines, and symbols mean on each defensive play. A defender with no symbols around him is in man-to-man coverage; a defender with a yellow colored circle near him is in zone coverage covering that area of the field; a defender with a circle around him is spying the quarterback; and defenders with lines toward the line of scrimmage are blitzing.
- Choose which defender you want to control carefully. Use the coachs cam to see your coverage. If you select a defender thats in man-to-man coverage against a specific offensive player then youll need to cover him! If you choose to just blitz, the offensive player will be uncovered and a rather easy target. Likewise be careful if you move a defender out of their zone assignment. A receiver moving into that zone will certainly find an opening.
- Defending against the run doesnt necessarily mean stacking as many defenders on the line of scrimmage as possible. It might be a wise course of action in very short yardage situations but remember that with that many defenders on the line, you have that much fewer defenders off the line. If the running back gets a good block or makes a nice juke, he could break it all the way.
- Zone defense is better at covering the run than man-to-man. In man-to-man, your defenders are following specific offensive players--theyre likely moving away from the line of scrimmage with their back turned. In zone, defenders are stationed at specific areas and can adjust more quickly to the run plays direction.
- Its wise to wait until the offensive personnel report before calling your defensive play. It might be 1st and 10, you expect a run, and call a 46 defense. Meanwhile the offense has decided to air it out with a four wide receiver set. Youve now put your defense in a bad match up and have to audible (which is still poor personnel for four wide receivers even if the coverage is better) or worse, waste a timeout.
- Containment is an important tackling concept. Instead of just selecting a defender and charging, which could lead to missed tackles, keep the offensive player running east and west instead of north and south. Missing tackle after tackle could keep the opposing offense in short yardage situations--a big plus for the offense. An offense has plenty of options in 2nd and 4 or 3rd and 3 but not as many options in 2nd and 10 or 3rd and 8.
Top Ranked Defenses
The following chart reveals the top rated defenses based on overall rating in Madden 2005.
|TEAM||CONFERENCE AND DIVISION||DEFENSE RATING|
|Carolina Panthers||NFC South||99|
|New England Patriots||AFC East||99|
|Dallas Cowboys||NFC East||94|
|Buffalo Bills||AFC East||93|
|Baltimore Ravens||AFC North||90|
|Denver Broncos||AFC West||89|
|Philadelphia Eagles||NFC East||89|
|Seattle Seahawks||NFC West||89|
|Miami Dolphins||AFC East||88|
Top Ranked Defensive Linemen
The following chart reveals the top rated defensive linemen in Madden 2005.
|Michael Strahan||New York Giants||LE||98||72||84||71||88||88||95|
|Jason Taylor||Miami Dolphins||RE||98||82||92||80||78||83||85|
|Kris Jenkins||Carolina Panthers||DT||98||66||87||68||93||91||81|
|Simeon Rice||Tampa Bay Bucs||RE||97||81||93||79||77||80||92|
|LaRoi Glover||Dallas Cowboys||DT||97||64||76||64||90||94||89|
|Richard Seymour||New England Patriots||RE||96||69||87||70||90||87||85|
|Trevor Pryce||Denver Broncos||LE||95||70||78||67||91||91||86|
|Casey Hampton||Pittsburgh Steelers||DT||95||57||68||61||97||95||82|
|Corey Simon||Philadelphia Eagles||DT||95||65||87||64||89||88||84|
Top Ranked Linebackers
The following chart reveals the top rated linebackers in Madden 2005.
|Ray Lewis||Baltimore Ravens||MLB||99||85||92||87||60||99||99|
|LaVar Arrington||Washington Redskins||ROLB||98||88||96||87||54||90||85|
|Derrick Brooks||Tampa Bay Bucs||ROLB||98||83||90||81||65||92||95|
|Julian Peterson||San Francisco 49ers||LOLB||97||88||90||88||57||90||87|
|Brian Urlacher||Chicago Bears||MLB||97||87||90||86||62||95||89|
|Keith Bullick||Tennessee Titans||ROLB||96||87||90||87||65||90||84|
|Takeo Spikes||Buffalo Bills||ROLB||96||82||85||82||51||93||91|
|Al Wilson||Denver Broncos||MLB||95||87||89||83||60||94||88|
|Joey Porter||Pittsburgh Steelers||ROLB||95||85||91||82||65||91||84|
Top Ranked Defensive Backs
The following chart reveals the top rated defensive backs in Madden 2005.
|Champ Bailey||Denver Broncos||CB||99||99||99||92||79||62||94|
|Ty Law||New England Patriots||CB||98||95||95||89||79||68||96|
|Darren Sharper||Green Bay Packers||FS||98||87||95||86||75||76||90|
|Brian Dawkins||Philadelphia Eagles||FS||98||90||94||82||67||84||91|
|Chris McAlister||Baltimore Ravens||CB||97||95||98||97||68||68||94|
|Ed Reed||Baltimore Ravens||SS||97||91||92||90||80||73||88|
|Rodney Harrison||New England Patriots||SS||97||82||93||71||60||93||95|
|Patrick Surtain||Miami Dolphins||CB||96||93||93||92||81||68||93|
|Lawyer Milloy||Buffalo Bills||SS||96||85||89||72||65||88||93|
Chapter 5 - Online Strategies
Madden 2005 is the first Madden available on the Xbox Live multiplayer service (PlayStation 2 and PC owners enjoyed last years Madden in online competition). Lining up against a human opponent is much different than playing against the computer. A human opponent is much more unpredictable. You may find yourself up against endless hurry up offense, against a consistent quarterback scrambler, or the player who loves to throw the ball deep. This section offers some tips on conquering the competition online.
- Your online strategy begins with team selection. Unless youre playing a tournament (in which you select your team beforehand and must use it throughout the tournament), you can select your team as your opponent also selects a team. You can try and play match ups (a good pass offense versus a good pass defense, for instance). Once youve selected your team, you can deselect your team at any time. Just do so before your opponent selects. Beware of opponents "changing their mind" after youve selected. You might get baited and think youre playing against the Cardinals when your opponent decides to change to the Patriots.
- One of your first strategic decisions begins on kickoff. If you win the toss, do you elect to receive the ball now or kickoff the ball now and receive it after halftime? A lot of online players elect to kick if they win the toss. The thought is if you can get in a score just before halftime then receive the ball again after halftime with another chance to score. Your decision might also be based on team selection: a stubborn defensive unit would be a good squad to get out on the field first and "set the tone" as they say.
- If youre new to online play, its wise to use the "Optimatch" feature so you can match up against similar competition. Adjust the options so you play against a "Similar Ranking" or even "Within 1000" or "Within 2000" to ensure you arent matched up against some players that are currently atop the Madden leaderboard.
- If you chose to challenge others in the lobby, check out their statistics as a way of "scouting" their play. See if they like to employ quarterback scrambles, check out their favorite offensive playbook, offensive formation, or defensive formation, and observe their blitz, no huddle, audible, hot route, and run/pass play percentages. Know what youre up against! If you like the match up, challenge!
- Become unpredictable in your play calling. Human opponents catch on quick if you always run out of I Form-Normal or pass out of Shotgun-4WR. It may work against computer opponents but good online Madden players learn and adapt quickly. Be prepared to run out of pass formations, even in long yardage situations, and pass out of run formations, even in short yardage situations. For instance, 2nd Down and short yardage is a great time to test your opponents pass defense.
- Though some players might think its cheese play, you may find the no huddle offense an effective tactic. If youve caught the defense in a bad formation against your offensive play selection, use the no huddle to return to the line quickly with the same play call. Once at the line of scrimmage, you could keep the same call, audible, or use hot routes to adjust your receiver pass patterns. Counter this on defense with defensive audible preparation. Be ready to shift to a different defense, perhaps a base "safe" defense or even an aggressive blitz if you were burned in a safer set.
- Michael Vick abused many, many online players last year with his extremely fast scrambling ability. Falcon players would call a 4 WR set, scramble out of the pocket, check for an opponent receiver, and if theres no open target, Vick would take off. With the defense likely either following the receivers or at least far off the line of scrimmage, Vick could easily gain five to seven yards and, with good agility skills, pick up even larger yardage. Madden 2005 features a collection of good "QB Contain" defenses. Check for them specifically in dime and quarter packages. Outside defensive backs protect outside the tackles. It can leave "up the gut" somewhat exposed so consider selecting a central defensive man to plug the hole.
- When on defense, wait until your opponent selects their play before selecting your defense. You can use the information to decide on a defensive formation and play. If the offense is using a four wide receiver set, you may want to use dime so you have the receivers covered. If the offense uses two tight ends and three running backs, you may want to crowd the line against an expected run. Remember that its a guessing game, though--a mind game really--and that the offense could be running out of that four receiver set or passing out of that expected run set. Still, its much better than randomly selecting defenses and allowing the offense to abuse your personnel with counter play selections.