One of the new additions for Madden and NCAA this year that excites me in the new four-man slide protections. Since the offensive and defensive lines will not receive an overhaul this year, at least having something at our disposal is a plus for building protection schemes. As I sat and played NCAA 13, I discovered some good and some bad about slide protection. In the end, I think users are still left with a critical question: can you trust it?
Credit Gridironstrategies.com for Image.
The above diagram showcases a four-man slide protection scheme with the Center, Left Guard, Right Guard and Right Tackle working in tandem and sliding to the right side. The left tackle is Big on Big; the halfback kicks to the left side and slams the B gap closed in the event the backer rushes. This all makes sense and looks great. Let’s look at this in NCAA 13 and see if it mirrors what is going on here.
Credit primamadden.com for the image
The two plays I will put on the field here are Singleback Slot Levels Divide, which has two option routes on the right and the Levels Concept on the left making for a multiple option play.
I run this play against 4-3 Stack OLB Fire Man.
Credit primamadden.com for the image
The Fire Man is a perfect play to showcase this with since both the Will backer and the Sam are rushing.
Going back to our four-man slide diagram above, I should be able to slide the offensive line to the TE. The HB will be blocking to the weak side, picking up the linebacker as he fires through the B gap. With any type of blocking skills, the quarterback should be able to scan the field and get the pass off with this six-man protection in the face of the 4-3 Stack Fire man.
When we look at the Madden screens and video, just like the diagram here, the Left Guard is not covered although there is a one technique shade (this may play into keys to look for how to slide your line that I might cover in a later article) that might throw off the blocking. I’m not certain. With a slide-right call, the linemen should be looking to the defender to their right and checking gap responsibility right. The left tackle is big on big so he should take the RE.
The above screenshot showcases all the adjustments described above. This also looks exactly like the diagram for four-man slide protection that I began with. The question is, does it work as described?
On the snap of the football we encounter a big problem. The Center does not slide to the side of the call. The Left Guard does not slide either. The Right Guard and Right Tackle slide. This creates an open lane for the Left Defensive tackle.
The halfback, who should be stepping up into the B gap to pick up the Will backer slides back over and attempts to block the free rushing defensive tackle and whiffs. The result of the play is a sack.
If the defensive line is reduced and the linebackers are lined up over to the tight end side one would think that if the offensive line slides to the Tight End and the HB blocks back side with the left tackle it would be the proper call. The result is the same. The Center does not slide and the defensive tackle runs right up the gut untouched. The halfback will slide back over on occasion and attempt to pick the big guy up. Say what? Yes a HB attempting to pick up a DT.
Let’s look at the tape.
Now that was pretty bad. Again, I want to be clear, there is some good with the slide protection. Just do not expect it to run like it would in real life because as the tape showed, that is not going to happen. There are also times where linemen will shift behind each other, which does not make sense with slides. As I tinkered with the slide protection, I saw no communication between the Center, Left Guard, Right Guard and Right Tackle. They should be committing to the slide. The Center would actually step to the opposite side and the Left Guard sometimes would shift behind him and warp over to try to make a block.
With all of this said, how are gamers supposed to trust the tools that EA gives when we think they work a certain way and they do not? Why have the producers or someone from the A.I team not do pre-release videos on how they understand it and how it works in the game, rather than having the user think this is going to work a certain way? Let’s get on the same page. It would actually put out a lot of fires.