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Madden NFL 21 Gridiron Notes - Run Defense, Tackling Improvements, QB & Passing Improvements & Much More

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Madden NFL 21

Madden NFL 21 Gridiron Notes - Run Defense, Tackling Improvements, QB & Passing Improvements & Much More

The Madden NFL 21 team launched their latest Gridiron Notes, shortly after their gameplay Twitch stream this evening. It’s filled to the brim with gameplay goodies.

Included are various ways the team improved run defense, made tackling improvements and added location-based tackles, making players more aware of their field location and react accordingly, including the pylon, goal line, sideline and first down marker.

While there’s not a direct button input on the sticks for these tackles, they will be driven by player ratings and Superstar Abilities. In addition to the abilities, the defenders’ Tackle and Awareness ratings compared to the Ball Carriers’ Vision and Awareness ratings will drive the outcomes of these interactions dynamically.

They also go over the zone drop coach adjustment, to customize the depth of your zone-drops for underneath zone defenders.

These coaching adjustments will give you the ability to change the drop depths of Flat, Hook and Curl-Flat zones in increments of 5 yards, up to a max of 30 yards from the line of scrimmage. When using these adjustments, keep in mind that all Match Zone logic will be disabled in all zone coverage plays while using the adjustments, including the Deep Zone players. When facing a no-huddle offense, you can turn off these coaching adjustments by using the ‘Reset Play’ option in the Pre-Play Adjustments menu.

Quarterback and passing improvements include throwing out of sacks, where the accuracy and power of the pass, is dictated by physics.

The further into the passing animation the QB is at the point of contact, the more likely the pass will be accurate. However, if at any point the QB’s arm or shoulder are hit during the pass, that too can impact the accuracy. Throwing out of sacks does carry some risk as well. The earlier in the throwing animation the QB is hit in combination with the QB’s Strength (STR) rating, the more likely he will be to fumble.

The team also tweaked catching responsiveness, player personnel packaging, balance for repeated audibles and play flips in pre-play and player fatigue for out of position ball carriers.

The kick meter has finally been tuned as well in sim mode, so kickers and punters don’t always launch unrealistically deep kicks, while the wind impact on the kicking game will be less significant.

They also discuss ability improvements with more specific details coming at a later date. Make sure to read the entire Gridiron Notes, as it has a lot of solid details.

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  1. All the tidbits about QBs getting passes off while under pressure seem very promising to me. QBs tucking the ball too early and taking the sack when defenders were near (as opposed to trying to get a throw off) has been a gripe of mine for years.
    Man, hope I can get a Beta again to really focus on adjustments for CFM specifically (cough, cough Steve)!!!
    A positive for this feature is now weaker THP QB’s in a round-about way add value to the Defense personnel abilities (coverage ratings)
    A weaker THP QB allows Defenses (with the right coverage personnel of course) to play/sit on the quick/short and not have to worry about getting beat deep.
    - hope high THP has been tuned respectfully and a premium put on such QB’s (as in not many 90+)
    *having the ability to customize Zone Areas (depth/distance) adds a new chess layer for H2H play, esp 32 Team Online Leagues
    - somehow AI teams needs to be added to utilize this against Users in CFM (something to ask for)
    Glad they’re starting to separate/spread out what a coverage defender is good vs generic universal cover guys.
    Now R. Sherman will now play within his actual identity he’s currently known/best at this stage of his career (short Zone areas)
    - he should be getting his clock cleaned being in any Man Coverage!!!
    For us that play against the AI, this could become an OP issue if AI doesn’t adjust its defense to an open coverage hole the User keeps going to
    - this is where the new OL Move Recognition feature would be great to expand to the AI Defense against the Users Playcall method would be perfect (def will suggest you Clint)
    Anything that gives a brain to the OL is a welcome.
    - question is how will this affect weaker rated OL vs better Pass Rushers, even if it’s the same move, so the better Pass Rusher isn’t marginalized just because the feature is activated. (hopefully OL AWR is weighted in its activation)
    - definitely will look to make sure the feature doesn’t overwrite OL Archetypes and ratings.
    * RBK OL should not become J. Ogden on passes because of the feature. lol
    Again, another possible layer added to personnel and schemes.
    I'm gonna read the blog soon, but the screenshot in the picture at the top of this thread... like what is happening to the WRs in those stances.... like what the heck is happening? Did someone kneecap those guys? Are they 90 years old? Did they drop their pen on the ground? Why are they leaning over so much? And the same terrible stance is copy and pasted for each of them... What a horrible eye sore.
    A little something that caught my eye after a second look.
    Unless I missed this in M20, WR stances have some differences (don’t know how expanded this is/will be)
    - Brown is crouched/leaned more with a sprinter stance
    Anyways... interesting and new to me!!!
    khaliib
    Anything that gives a brain to the OL is a welcome.
    - question is how will this affect weaker rated OL vs better Pass Rushers, even if it’s the same move, so the better Pass Rusher isn’t marginalized just because the feature is activated. (hopefully OL AWR is weighted in its activation)
    - definitely will look to make sure the feature doesn’t overwrite OL Archetypes and ratings.
    * RBK OL should not become J. Ogden on passes because of the feature. lol
    Again, another possible layer added to personnel and schemes.

    Potential issue with this that already crossed my mind. It is possible that these tools are only utilized during user controlled pass rushing. I hope not, but until EA confirms, I will be concerned.
    Question about the zone drop depths...
    Can they be set in the main menu? The only screenshots I'm seeing are in practice mode, which tells me that they have to be reset manually every single game. Did they say anything to the contrary in the stream?
    khaliib
    Anything that gives a brain to the OL is a welcome.
    - question is how will this affect weaker rated OL vs better Pass Rushers, even if it’s the same move, so the better Pass Rusher isn’t marginalized just because the feature is activated. (hopefully OL AWR is weighted in its activation)
    - definitely will look to make sure the feature doesn’t overwrite OL Archetypes and ratings.
    * RBK OL should not become J. Ogden on passes because of the feature. lol
    Again, another possible layer added to personnel and schemes.

    Per Clint on Twitter.
    XtremeDunkz
    Potential issue with this that already crossed my mind. It is possible that these tools are only utilized during user controlled pass rushing. I hope not, but until EA confirms, I will be concerned.

    My fear/concern is that ea seems to be with each year trying to focus the game towards more user vs user games. So I think most of their changes are only going to affect user controlled players. Everything they have listed just feels like its all geared to the competitive crowd. Tuesday will be a big day in determining if I spend money on this game.
    Lots of exciting stuff in here! Could be big improvements if implemented appropriately (though I recognise that’s a pretty big if).
    Extremely relieved to see reduced fumbles for scrambling QBs.
    Simply put, stopping the running game in Madden 20 was too difficult for most

    Really? I can't say I agree with this.
    Unless this is EA's subtle way of acknowledge the ridiculous embarrassment that was the run-only offense winning the competitive championship?
    Good read, but I can't really understand why all these changes require a new developmental cycle to implement. These all sound like patch notes on steroids. Seems as if a lot of this could have been put in patches for Madden 20. Overall the patches we did get did not do much to affect the game.
    I like being able to adjust the zone drop depth, but at the cost of it removing the matching logic from any zone on the field??
    Definitely like being able to branch out at any point on drop backs and play-action. Tired of getting sacked before I even have control over the QB.
    Nza
    Really? I can't say I agree with this.
    Unless this is EA's subtle way of acknowledge the ridiculous embarrassment that was the run-only offense winning the competitive championship?

    I definitely think it’s a nod to the championship games. That’s not a good look for a sports game even if they don’t exactly pride themselves on putting out a product that is sim.
    I’m not sure I agree that running the ball was too easy but it was definitely too unrealistic. Bump the RBK slider up and you go for 20 every other run. Pull it down and you can’t get past the LoS. Running the ball just didn’t feel organic in any way.
    I’m definitely glad for some tweaks and am looking forward to seeing how it this plays this year.
    Nza
    Really? I can't say I agree with this.
    Unless this is EA's subtle way of acknowledge the ridiculous embarrassment that was the run-only offense winning the competitive championship?

    Do you play H2H? Because your observations are not in line with the overwhelming majority of that community.
    Wow. Not trying to get on the hype train or anything, but just about every one of these gameplay additions were all small things that were frustration points in 20. And, personally, I loved 20. Best madden to date from a gameplay perspective. I tweaked sliders just a little (tackle down to 33 to remove some big hits and fumbles up to 60-65 because of enforcers), but after finding some sweet spots, I never changed them even after tuning updates and patches. So, that was a positive. I’m in season 2030 with atl. I’ve really enjoyed 20, in general.
    The main small frustration points for me were:
    1. The qb release. I was all for the qb having a better pass rush and it offered a litttle more challenge to the game, but when you press the throw button, and then get hit while arm is in motion, u want to see those quick release throws and/or inaccurate passes. Passes into the ground, instead of always being a sack. So, from what they’re saying, it sounds like this has been tweaked or cleaned up and, in essence, they added some gameplay variety in terms of what your qb will do if about to get sacked and whether or not a decent or inaccurate throw will come off. Now, hopefully, they’re not all Ints, so as with anything in madden, u need to see it, but if it works well, this is a big upgrade, imo.
    2. Controlling WR direction at the moment of truth. This is also huge. While it seems like a ‘small’ change, it’s huge. This was just a constant gripe of mine, and had plagued the game for years, of course, not just 20. So, again, if implemented correctly, this is great, and should provide a more dynamic amount of catch animations leading to more variety leading to more realistic gameplay. I want to have that extra bit of control to keep wr in bounds or push upfield even with a possession catch so that he’s going for the first down, which lead me to
    3. I’m perfectly fine with them adding contextual awareness for first downs and the pylons based on player ratings. While, I’d love to flick the stick up or something for that extra yard or to extend my hand (with a small extra chance to fumble, maybe), I think this is a decent spot for ratings to dictate play. This last bit of effort can be the difference between an ‘aware’ player who always moves the chains, or for a defender who always makes that TD saving tackle. So, this is another good addition that will lead to more animations, again, leading to more realistic looking gameplay.
    4. Stopping the run. While, the cpu was able to run on me, some, and again, this added to challenge factor, a lot of runs just didn’t feel properly defended. And, I think it does all start with the force defender setting the edge. So, we’ll see how this works out. I have concerns that the force defender will just go ‘too’ wide, possibly, allowing for huge cutback gains or turning upfield early. But, we’ll see. I like what they’re saying, here.
    5. The break down tackles sound great, as well. And, there were a few in the gameplay video that looked solid. The one where Jackson tries to spin on the left side of the field, and a tackler just stood his ground and wrestled him to the ground. This looks great, imo. And, again, just looks more realistic.
    One thing missing, imo, is just overall better zone coverage, I’d say. They’ve added the coach adjustments, but that looks a little tricky. I’m hoping for better overall zone coverage from all AI defenders. I’d like to see them react more to players running through their zone and understanding ‘THIS is the man I MUST worry about, and now I will guard him and never leave him.’ I’m talking mostly about deep routes there, but it can apply to certain players running underneath routes as well. So, hoping they made some tweaks there as well.
    But, overall, man, I really like what I’m hearing in these improvements. It’s been rare to see madden address specific gameplay items in years past that were very specifically issues that plagued the game. So, looking forward to seeing it in motion. I was in the beta the last 2 years, so hoping I get another invite to see this game early and how some of these changes look.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    New/improved blocking interactions with defenders disrupting running lanes by pushing blockers further into the backfield during engagements vs. all run types.

    This little piece of information has gotten lost in the shuffle when discussing improvements to run defense. If they have finally gotten over the technical hurdles that have made them force defensive linemen to automatically always get pushed back at the LOS, then maybe great run stuffing dlinemen will finally be able to contribute in the game like they do in real life and inside running shouldn't be so automatic.
    Hopefully they also nerf the combo block that dives will sometimes execute (whether or not they'll attempt it depends on the defensive front deployed). Right now it's successful nearly 100% of the time and the G is almost always very fast in getting to the second level.
    The combo blocks were nerfed this year for the plays which Madden called Inside Zone (Dives and other isos are also zone runs) and it toned down what had been the most over powered running plays in the game for several years running (the weak side Inside Zones out of Shotgun).
    jfsolo
    This little piece of information has gotten lost in the shuffle when discussing improvements to run defense. If they have finally gotten over the technical hurdles that have made them force defensive linemen to automatically always get pushed back at the LOS, then maybe great run stuffing dlinemen will finally be able to contribute in the game like they do in real life and inside running shouldn't be so automatic.

    Good stuff. I even overlooked this, and I've been saying the running game has been OP since even when we were still getting NCAA releases because the OL always got significant push at the line. Dive plays always were guaranteed gains unless a guy went unblocked into the backfield.
    Even when messing with the modding scene on PC, I never could completely slow the OL down. I lowered their run blocking curve tremendously, I increased the cycles for reach tackling which boosted the DL play, but nothing could completely fix it. If EA has fixed it, then that's a huge deal gameplay-wise for me. You can tune the passing game already with mods to get it playing real well. The running game had zero hope to ever reach the same level
    If the issues of the DL have been rectified, that would be great news. Hopefully no more automatic 2 yard push by the OL. Value in adding DL to teams. Will we see the emergence of true 3-4 NTs? Will the 4-3 base be of similar value and a viable option as the 3-4 in M20?
    Will the OL actually benefit or fail based on the quality of their linemen? In previous Madden games it seemed like anyone could create a run and pass attack regardless of the quality of the OL players; there was always that 2 yard push. Hope M21 takes steps to make OL/DL player quality important.
    "...These penalties will be used in both Competitive and Simulation game styles and will be called primarily on user-controlled defenders..."
    WHY!!!???
    booker21
    "...These penalties will be used in both Competitive and Simulation game styles and will be called primarily on user-controlled defenders..."
    WHY!!!???

    Because users will intentionally bump receivers to slow them down and throw them off their routes.
    XtremeDunkz
    Because users will intentionally bump receivers to slow them down and throw them off their routes.

    I'm a bit more concerned about if the CPU will ever commit some of these penalties. Hell, I feel like I've been screwed over plenty by a LB in the way of a dig route that wasn't called for PI despite physically moving the receiver off the route.
    MajorSupreme
    I'm a bit more concerned about if the CPU will ever commit some of these penalties. Hell, I feel like I've been screwed over plenty by a LB in the way of a dig route that wasn't called for PI despite physically moving the receiver off the route.

    LBs; I’ve had cpu DBs block and knock my WR on routes @ or past 10 yards, a lot of times. Seems certain coverages are prone to such glitches. I need to look up which one specifically has been a continuous issue; some thing of a cover 3 SS blitz
    MajorSupreme
    I'm a bit more concerned about if the CPU will ever commit some of these penalties. Hell, I feel like I've been screwed over plenty by a LB in the way of a dig route that wasn't called for PI despite physically moving the receiver off the route.

    There's no if about it. Allowing down field contact is a crutch for their pass coverage AI. Guys who are crossing the field will get immediately bumped when you try to throw it to them in tight windows. Happens way too often not to be deliberate.
    stinkubus
    Do you play H2H? Because your observations are not in line with the overwhelming majority of that community.

    No, but EA didn't qualify the claim it was too hard to stop.
    Nza
    No, but EA didn't qualify the claim it was too hard to stop.

    If you put in a reasonable amount of volume in SP modes it's sort of hard to miss the HBs running/juking/spinning directly into contact. None of that would be necessary if the run was actually easy to stop.
    stinkubus
    If you put in a reasonable amount of volume in SP modes it's sort of hard to miss the HBs running/juking/spinning directly into contact. None of that would be necessary if the run was actually easy to stop.
    It's only hard because CPU AI is basically braindead. If blockers looked for blocks instead of the one shed freeze they do, and defenders took better angles it would be balanced. EA just has everything cluster u know so everything is either animation overruled or janky.
    Its like as long as it looks close enough to football then they give themselves A's for effort.
    Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
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