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Madden Mechanics: Coaching Adjustments

Posted July 28th at 10:00am.

Coaching Adjustments was a popular feature in our NCAA Football series. It now makes a debut in Madden NFL 18. 

For those of you who’ve played NCAA Football, you'll recognize elements of this feature and will have a general idea of how it works.  But, there are some key additions and updates we've made specifically for Madden. 

The Coaching Adjustments option is located on the front page of the play call screen.  This is for both offense and defense. Once the user selects the Coaching Adjustment option, they'll be taken to the next page, which contains the list of Coaching Adjustments available for the side of the ball they’re playing.

By default, each adjustment is set to Balanced.  This means standard gameplay conditions apply based on the mode the user is in. Here's the complete list of Coaching Adjustments, as well as the descriptions on what they do. 

Defensive Adjustments

  • Auto Flip Defense
    • On - The CPU will flip your defensive play to best match the offensive formation
    • Off - Disables auto flip defensive play call
  • Ball In Air Defense
    • Play Ball -- AI will play the ball in two-man catch situations
      • Pro:  Increased chance of an interception
      • Con: Increased chance of WR catching ball and increased chance of a broken tackle
    • Play Receiver – AI will play the receiver in two-man catch situations
      • Pro:  Decreased chance of a broken tackle
      • Con:  No chance of an interception
    • Swat Ball –AI will attempt a swat in two-man catch situations
      • Pro:  Increased chance of knocking out ball
      • Con:  No chance of an interception
  • Option
    • Conservative
      • Pro:  Focused on QB on the option
      • Con:  Dive and Pitch left open on the option
    • Aggressive
      • Pro: Focused on the Dive and Pitch on the option
      • Con: QB left open on the option
  • Pass Rush
    • Conservative
      • Pro:  Outside rushers play QB Contain and AI defensive line will look to swat passes
      • Con:  No Jump Snap bonus and more time in pocket for QB
    • Aggressive
      • Pro:  AI pass rushers will attempt to jump the snap
      • Con:  Higher chance of off sides penalty versus hard count
      • New Addition:  Pass Rushers also see an increase in fatigue
  • Strip Ball
    • Conservative
      • Pro:  Lowers break tackle chances
      • Con:  AI will not attempt to strip
    • Aggressive
      • Pro:  Higher chance for AI to attempt a strip for a higher fumble chance
      • Con:  Higher chance of a broken tackle and face mask penalty
  • Tackling
    • Conservative
      • Pro:  AI defenders tackle conservatively
      • Con:  Increases chances of allowing yards after contact
    • Aggressive:
      • Pro:  AI defenders attempt Hit Stick tackles for higher fumble chance
      • Con:  Higher chances of missed tackles

Offensive Adjustments

  • Ball Carrier
    • Conservative
      • Pro:  Ball carrier protects the ball, decreased fumble chances
      • Con:  Decreased ability to break tackles
    • Aggressive
      • Pro:  Higher chance of triggering auto break tackles
      • Con:  Increased fumble chances
  • Blocking
    • Conservative:
      • Pro:  Decreased chances of holding penalty
      • Con:  Hold blocks less for run and pass
    • Aggressive:
      • Hold blocks longer for run and pass
      • Increased chances of holding penalty
  • Deep Pass Catching
    • Conservative:
      • Pro:  Receivers will attempt a RAC catch, increases run after catch chances
      • Con:  Increased interception chance
    • Aggressive:
      • Pro:  Receivers will attempt an Aggressive catch 
      • Con:  Decreases run after catch chance
  • Intermediate Pass Catching
    • Conservative:
      • Pro:  Receivers will attempt a Possession catch
      • Con:  Decreased run after catch chance
    • Aggressive:
      • Pro: Receivers will attempt a RAC or Aggressive catch
      • Con:  Increased chances of ball being knocked out

Cornerback Matchups 

Cornerback Matchups is a Coaching Adjustment that allows the player to set what criteria they want to use to determine which wide receivers their CBs matchup against.  Cornerback Matchups work for both man and zone defenses. To maximize the effectiveness of this feature, users ideally want to make sure the number of CBs on the field is equal to or greater than the number of WRs. 

If, for example, the offense has more receivers on the field than cornerbacks, the CBs will still follow the matchup criteria set by the user. But only the CBs who are projected to matchup against a WR will swap positions with one another. 

The options the user has available are:

  • By Overall – Highest-rated cornerback will matchup vs. highest rated receiver
  • By Speed – Fastest cornerback will matchup vs. fastest receiver
  • By Height – Tallest cornerback will matchup vs. tallest receiver
  • By Route Running – Highest-rated man coverage cornerback will matchup vs. highest rated route run receiver
  • By Depth Chart – Matchup based on cornerback's depth chart position vs. receivers overall rating

By Depth Chart gives the user the ability to set specific cornerbacks to a specific receiver.  For example, if a user wants their highest-rated cornerback to matchup vs. the second highest overall-rated receiver, they can simply go to the team depth chart and place their highest rated cornerback into the CB2 slot.

AI Usage and Game Styles

Coaching Adjustments are available with all Game Styles and all play modes except for Practice.  Therefore, when a Coaching Adjustment is set, the assumption is that the user is willing to accept the inherent risks and rewards of that Coaching Adjustment.  Penalties and other various outcomes can occur as a result of a Coaching Adjustment in any game mode.

An added element is that the AI in the Simulation game style will use Coaching Adjustments.  When the AI uses a Coaching Adjustment, and if that adjustment had an impact on the play result, a drop-down banner will appear under the in-game scoreboard HUD displaying the adjustment that triggered.

The Coaching Adjustments that the AI will use are:

  • Ball Carrier Conservative
    • When ahead, late in the game, and running the ball in an effort to keep the clock running
  • Cornerback Matchups
    • By Overall rating, when it has a cornerback on its team with at least a 90 OVR, and the offense has a receiver with at least a 90 OVR
  • Pass Rush Aggressive
    • In certain passing situations.
  • Strip Ball Aggressive
    • When trailing late in a close game, when the offense is trying to keep the clock running
  • Strip Ball Conservative
    • During late-game, two-minute situations, when ahead
  • Tackling Aggressive
    • In some short yardage situations, also late in games when trailing in a close game
  • Tackling Conservative
    • During late-game, two-minute situations, when ahead

Madden NFL 18 is available on the PS4 and Xbox One August 25. Stay in the conversation by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter. Pre-order here for early access.

Have some thoughts on the new game styles? Chat with Madden devs @ClintOldenburg@RG_Madden, and @RexDEAFootball on Twitter.  

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