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Mattanite's M22 Franchise Tips

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Old 09-19-2021, 11:30 AM   #1
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Mattanite's M22 Franchise Tips

Mattanite’s Madden 22 Franchise Tips

After a month playing the game, some good such as the run game and some very bad… (hello broken coverage with little pass rush), I’ve managed to put together a series of franchise tips with the aim of outlining how new and existing systems work to newer coaches, the presence of certain bugs or exploits (to use or avoid) and allow more veteran coaches a guide to maximise their team and get that Superbowl. I’ve tried to write the tips from the viewpoint of both a solo franchise coach and also a coach in a user league. I’m a big advocate of user leagues, especially 32 coach sim user leagues, as they make the good systems shine and rules/fixes are in place to hide the blemishes you see in solo franchises (no one takes a QB back to back to back there). There are some new features and I’ve tried to write most of the thread with the idea of “Team State” in mind as you’ll find out.

As always, this is a live document and I will edit for updates, errors, new info and feedback all year round. If no significant changes are made for M23 then this will stand as a thread for that version also and I’ll stay active for advice here for M23.

Big Ticket New Features:
  • Weekly Strategy
  • Staff Systems
  • Gameday and Momentum Factors
  • Scouting – due October

Contents
  1. Team State
  2. Coaches and Schemes
  3. Coaching Carousel
  4. Coaching Skill Trees
  5. Scheme Archetypes
  6. Player Archetypes
  7. Development Traits
  8. Player Progression, Peak and Regression
  9. Weekly Strategy, Training and Fatigue
  10. Gameday and Momentum Factors
  11. Resigns and Free Agency
  12. Scouting and Drafting
  13. Trading (trade grid at end)
  14. Further Updates
  15. Conclusion
  16. 32 Owner/GM/Coach Mode

1. Team State
To be able to stitch many features of Franchise together into a cohesive thread I want to try and guide you all on viewing every stage or aspect I discuss through the lens of Team State. Team state is the flow of a team over time; however, there’s no hard boundaries or defined time to each state, they are defined as a series of events and the synchronous evaluation of staff, players, drafting and free agency in which certain strategies should be employed to move onto the next Team State. No matter if playing as a Coach or Owner, you are the GM. I divide Team State into 5 states:

Rebuilding – A team has wiped the slate clean. The GM has or should be focussed on collecting as many draft picks as possible or high value draft picks as well as signing very young players in free agency who show potential to develop. It is likely that a new staff has been hired from scratch with a new head coach who in turn selects new coordinators. There is no concern regarding wins (that would be counter productive to draft position anyway) and so the team is likely to be a low ovr young roster with very few veterans. The focus is on finding and developing a core of future stars the GM can further build a team around, usually characterised by the hunt for the next Franchise QB and the emergence of Superstars to develop. Training is a full pad free for all with the focus on the young starters who show the most potential without consideration for fatigue or injury risk. Example: Jets, Lions, Jaguars

Developing – A team has found its core. The GM has identified the young Superstars and the foundation on which to build a dynasty is set. The team very likely has a new young Franchise QB and the Superstars are progressing into very good starters, perhaps even elite. There are likely holes to fill on the roster, with rookies that will start to peak in the next state or with free agents just entering their prime (age26-29). The staff will have likely developed a lot of HC and player personnel abilities in order to allow quicker development of other staff and players. There is pressure to start winning, and maybe even making the playoffs and so veterans are more likely to be present on the team as there is a declining need to develop young starters as the pressure to win grows. Training focuses on the young starters with mostly full pads to maximise development, but splits/backups and half pads are used strategically to maintain a healthy fresh roster and some developmental depth. Example: Browns, Chargers, Bills

Contending – A team has hit its peak. The young QB is now a veteran, capable of leading a team alongside the now peaking foundational Superstars established in the previous two states. Some advantageous rookie contracts allow greater flexibility on salary cap to be able to flood the team with highly rated veterans in a very small window of time. There are no holes on the team and likely great depth across the roster. Draft picks are used to obtain backups/role players or to be traded freely in order to obtain high rated starters from declining/rebuild teams. The HC was already developed in the previous state so the focus is now on coordinators in order to maximise performance on the field with attribute bonuses. Training can be shared between starters and backups and less pressure on full pads to reduce risk of injury and maintain your top players fatigue. Example: Chiefs, Bucs

Reloading – A team fights to stay relevant. The young superstars and franchise QB suddenly have resign demands which the GM is obligated to pay in order to stay in the hunt for a Superbowl. The dwindling cap space starts to be felt as you can no longer sign any big name from free agency or resign that luxury role player you don’t fully utilise. Regression starts to occur with the veterans and cuts may happen. But the core foundation is still there, still at it’s peak, and so the hunt is on for value free agents on cheap contracts (old veterans signed to 1year deals that no one else is paying attention to). Draft picks focus on a few starters to plug the holes early and later picks focus on rookie backups to develop into starters very soon. The HC has peaked and so needs to win to keep their job, but likely experiences a turnover in staff as the maximised coordinators are poached away to HC positions on other teams. Training should be focussed on full pad splits/backups to develop those future starters as the return on XP is lost should focus be on old veterans. Example: Bears, Saints, 49ers

Declining – A team begins its swift descent. Reloads feel like they’re getting harder and harder, veterans start to decline considerably and the salary cap is full of inefficient contracts to middling veterans. The GM hits a wall and can no longer hide holes on the rosters with cheap old veterans, the Superstars have all lost their shine to carry games, or recognises that to keep doing that is to go 8-8 with a playoff loss each season. This state should be transitioned quickly or the pain will endure with teams for a long time. It could even feature the firing of the staff in order to rebuild the image/focus of the team. Good veterans are traded to developing, contending and reload teams and a contract cutting cull occurs at the start of offseason. Drafting starters becomes more of a focus again and evaluating the young players on the roster to keep going into a rebuild is key. Training should focus on full pads wherever these few young players are… and the cycle into a Rebuild begins once more. Example: Vikings, Steelers, Falcons

2. Coaches and Schemes
Below is a list of every Head Coach (HC) with primary schemes, Offensive Coordinator (OC) and Defensive Coordinator (DC). The number in brackets is the total skills that HC, OC or DC possesses at start of franchise. In some rare instances the OC or DC scheme is unique to the HC and that is listed after their skill total.

Bears: HC Matt Nagy (4), West Coast Spread, Base 3-4, OC Glenn Powers (2), DC Cameron Kelly(0).
Bengals: HC Zac Taylor (2), Multiple Zone Run, 4-3 Under, OC Marshawn Wallace (3), DC Ian Alexander (3).
Bills: HC Sean McDermott (6), Vertical Power Run, 4-3 Quarters, OC Braden Williamson (8), DC Louis Fox (7).
Broncos; HC Vic Fangio (4), West Coast Zone Run, 3-4 Under, OC Geoff Powell (5), DC Clyde Holland (6).
Browns: HC Kevin Stefanski (5), West Coast Zone Run, Base 4-3, OC Will Hudson (5), DC Josh Morton (2).
Buccaneers: HC Bruce Arians (7), Vertical Zone Run, 3-4 Under, OC Bob Bates (5), DC Michael Gray (9).
Cardinals: HC Kliff Kingsbury (3), Air Raid, Base 3-4, OC Marvin Fowler (1), DC Jon Grant (3).
Chargers: HC Brandon Staley (2), Multiple Power Run, Base 3-4, OC Seth Henry (3 – Vertical Power Run), DC David Brown (0 – 3-4 Under).
Chiefs: HC Andy Reid (12), West Coast Spread, Base 4-3, OC Ramiro Gallo (4), DC Lynn Wagner (7).
Colts: HC Frank Reich (5), West Coast Spread, Tampa 2, OC Garret Pratt (0), DC Marlon Burgess (6).
Cowboys: HC Mike McCarthy (4), Vertical Zone Run, 4-3 Under, OC Bill Duncan (6), DC Brendan Washington (6).
Dolphins: HC Brian Flores (6), Multiple Zone Run, 3-4 storm, OC Dan Hampton (0), DC Will Sanders (3).
Eagles: HC Nick Sirianni (0), West Coast Spread, Tampa 2, OC Joseph Wells (2), DC Bill Summers (0 – Base 4-3).
Falcons: HC Arthur Smither (0), West Coast Zone Run, Disguise 3-4, OC Henry Brock (0), DC Jim Nichols (8 – 4-3 Cover3).
49ers: HC Kyle Shanahan (9), West Coast Zone Run, 4-3 Cover3, OC Jay Gordon (2), DC Sammy Wagner (0).
Giants: HC Joe Judge (4), Vertical Zone Run, 3-4 Under, OC Todd Walters (5), DC Thomas Quinn (6).
Jaguars: HC Urban Meyer (4), Spread, Disguise 3-4, OC Brent Perkins (3 – West Coast Zone Run), DC Mark Anderson (1).
Jets: HC Robert Saleh (1), West Coast Zone Run, 4-3 Cover3, OC Zach Parker (0 – Multiple Zone Run), DC Steven Meyer (2 – 3-4 Under).
Lions: HC Dan Campbell (0), Vertical Power Run, 3-4 Under, OC Erik Aguilar (5 – Multiple Zone Run), DC Dean Fuller (2).
Packers: HC Matt Lafleur (5), West Coast Zone Run, Base 3-4, OC Gary Crawford (5), DC Chris Wolfe (2).
Panthers: HC Matt Rhule (3), Multiple Zone Run, 4-3 Under, OC Andrew Eaver (6), DC Darren Young (2).
Patriots: HC Griffin Murphy (6), Multiple Power Run, 3-4 Under, OC Kevin McGovern (9), DC Martin Kelly (5).
Raiders: HC Jon Gruden (6), West Coast Power Run, 4-3 Under, OC Rod Starling (2), DC Roy Walker (4).
Rams: HC Sean McVay (9), West Coast Zone Run, Base 3-4, OC Jarod Larsen (3), DC Kevin Bell (5).
Ravens: HC John Harbaugh (9), West Coast Power Run, Disguise 3-4, OC Lamont Booker (8), DC Patrick Bailey (10).
Saints: HC Sean Payton (11), Multiple Zone Run, Base 4-3, OC Scott Andersen (7), DC Benjamin Turner (6).
Seahawks: HC Pete Carroll (8), West Coast Zone Run, 4-3 Cover3, OC Mack Williams (2), DC Scott Jackson (5).
Steelers: HC Mike Tomlin (5), Multiple Power Run, Base 3-4, OC Victor Price (2), DC Craig Taylor (5).
Texans: HC David Culley (1), West Coast Power Run, Tampa 2, OC Ed Green (2 – Multiple Zone Run), DC Albert Torres (5 – Disguise 3-4).
Titans: HC Mike Vrabel (6), West Coast Zone Run, 3-4 Under, OC Chris Roberts (0), DC Aaron Ward (0).
Vikings: HC Mike Zimmer (5), West Coast Zone Run, 4-3 Quarters, OC Justin King (0), DC Jack Parker (4).
Washington Football Team: HC Ron Rivera (6), Vertical Power Run, Base 4-3, OC Roger Hughes (3), DC Adam Rogers (5).

Below is a list of franchise start HC, OC and DC free agents complete with schemes, playbooks, skill total and signing bonus at end.
  • HC Thomas Peters (0), Vertical Power Run, Base 3-4, Off-Falcons, Def-Falcons, 32
  • HC Brandon Starks (0), Spread, Tampa 2, Off-Buccaneers, Def-Buccaneers, 32
  • HC Emanuel Ortega (0), Vertical Zone Run, 4-3 Under, Off-Eagles, Def-Eagles, 32
  • OC Jamie Rodriguez (1), West Coast Power Run, 4-3 Cover 3, Off-Raiders, Def-Seahawks, 27
  • OC Bryan Warner (1), Multiple Zone Run, Disguise 3-4, Off-Panthers, Def-Steelers, 27
  • OC Nick Gregory (1), Vertical Zone Run, Tampa 2, Off-Lions, Def-Colts, 27
  • DC Sammy Rios (0), West Coast Zone Run, 4-3 Quarters, Off-49ers, Def-Buffalo, 33
  • DC Scott Anderson (0), Spread, 3-4Under, Off-Buccaneers, Def-Rams, 33
  • DC Jackson Pierce (0), West Coast Power Run, 3-4 Storm, Off-Raiders, Def-Dolphins, 33

Viewing the list you can easily spot some imitation coordinators (look at the Patriots for a stacked OC who’s been with the HC a long time) and the high staff point totals give a view as to which coordinators will be hired to HC positions by CPU sooner rather than later.

There is still a trick you can do, although I would advise against it if you are in a user league or want a steady sim experience, where you fire your current HC, OC and DC, hire 3 new ones, fire the new ones and rehire the old ones. None of the staff will refuse and you get a one off 82 staff point bonus to start your franchise. Add in the preorder bonus for 102 staff points, but the repeating weekly pre order bonus message once spent is very annoying.

A recommended house rule for solo Franchise players that adds an additional extra layer of value and gamifies staff more is to self impose a scheme lock according to your staff. So if the HC is a Base 4-3 and the DC is a 4-3 Under, then you are limited to using only one of those two schemes. If you want to change schemes then you need to fire/hire a new HC or DC to match that scheme (such as transitioning to a 3-4 defense). A softcore extension to this mode is to be only allowed to use playbooks that are listed under the allowed schemes and the hardcore extension to this mode is to only allow the specific playbook listed under your HC, OC or DC (to find out the playbook of a OC or DC you need to fire them, view the profile, and hire them again). This would be tough for folks wanting to use more unique schemes such as Air Raid, Pistol, 46 defense and 34 Storm where very few to no coaches exist. This has been a feature suggested to EA with some positive feedback but I’m assuming will not be an updated setting.

3. Coaching Carousel

The text below is what I’ve been told by EA on how it works but through multiple sims in both coach and owner mode with various settings I still cannot get coordinators to become HC for cpu. The cpu just recycles the same 32 real head coaches and 3 starting gen head coaches until enough retirements happen it forces a new gen head coach to be hired. I will update this once I can either get it to work or EA updates it.

Supposedly there is a coaching carousel in the game depending on what mode you’re playing. In Coach Mode, with CPU free teams and coach firing on, the CPU will apparently poach well established OC and DC and promote them to HC (Swami assured me this happens – will confirm once I’ve seen this). In Owner Mode, you can apparently promote your OC or DC to HC if you fire the HC, this isn’t an option right away and is likely tied to a specific week or scenario (Swami assured me this happens too – again, will confirm once I’ve seen this). It is NOT possible to have a coaching carousel in a 32 user league if using coaches but it is possible in a 32 user Owner league. It is NOT possible to hire any other OC or DC to replace yourself in Coach Mode. If you want the full carousel experience then Owner Mode with coach firing on is the way to go but you will miss out on a lot of coach scenarios and Owner Mode has not been updated in years (if online owner mode the “add $5mil funds” function is currently missing too).

The ONLY time to create the coaching carousel as an Owner is in the new first week of offseason known as Staff Week. Here, when you fire a HC, you will be able to see all free agent HC, OC and DC as well as all other teams OC and DC to be able to hire. It is uncontested and a first come first serve bases. Hiring away an OC or DC will completely reset their skill trees and wipe all their staff points to zero. Using this method, you can also fire your own OC and rehire them as a HC if you want to mimic an internal promotion. This will also completely wipe and reset your OC.

Using this method it is also possible to try and control the amount of abilities in a league and try to force hire cpu teams to hire coordinators as HC. Fire your HC, hire the best rated OC and DC in the league as your HC (instantly fire them). If you then go into HC free agents the OC and DC will be listed as possible Head Coaches. The cpu will hire them but their preference is always to hire away real existing NFL head coaches (cpu will hire HC as a coordinator on rare occasions, sometimes last a season, but completely resets them too). The risk here is that the newly minted HC (former OC and DC) are now totally unlocked and can also be hired back wrongly as OC and DC. E.g. Patriots OC McGovern (a clear McDaniels clone) I minted into a free agent HC (fire my HC, poach him, fire him, rehire my HC) but he was then hired as a completely wiped and reset DC for the Steelers. Even if they return to the correct OC or DC role they are completely reset.

4. Coaching Skill Trees
The HC, OC, DC and Player Personnel (PP) each get 2 skill trees featuring abilities that focus on different aspects of franchise. The skill trees are not unique and are identical across teams. The HC skill tree focuses on player development and staff development. The OC skill trees focus on offensive player performance in game. The DC skill trees focus on defensive player performance in game. The PP skill trees focus on trading, resigns and free agency. As I mentioned above, where you use your staff points should be influenced by your team state. A rebuild isn’t worried about performance yet so HC should be the focus to build your staff foundation, as you move towards Contending then the focus shifts to OC/DC to maximise your performance. PP is useful in different team states.

Staff points are earned each week through achieving a goal you set in Weekly Strategy for your HC, OC and DC, as well as a general weekly goal. There is an opportunity to earn up to 15-20 staff points each week should you hit all your goals. Some goals have tiers which reward partial successes (get 5 sacks for 5 staff points has tiers that let you earn 2 and 3 staff points for less sacks). There are 5 settings that set the rate of staff ability development:
  • Slowest 3x cost - HC 30-60, OC/DC 30 and PP 30-60
  • Slower 2x cost - HC 20-40, OC/DC 20 and PP 20-40
  • Slow 1.5x cost - HC 15-30, OC/DC 15 and PP 15-30
  • Normal 1x cost - HC 10-20, OC/DC 10 and PP 10-20
  • Fast 0.5x cost - HC 5-10, OC/DC 5 and PP 5-10
I would recommend using Slowest for both 32 user and solo franchise leagues. The reason is that on average during the sims I would earn around 150 staff points per season (up to 250 on a very good season). If the normal head coach perk is 10-20 points and the average OC or DC perks are around 10, that's 10-15 perks per season and all coaches will quickly max out. On slowest, depending on performance, that's around 5 abilities per season and the HC staff discounts become huge (20% off 30 is 6 points, which could be entire weeks earnings). This will hopefully make it so that only the most successful coaches get maxed out trees, it forces you to really think where you want to build up your staff and hopefully coaches/coordinators will retire soon after getting maxed out. Staff age can be viewed in the Staff Moves tab but sadly that is only for hired/fired/retired coaches which is annoying, if you want to know the age of your staff you'll need to fire/hire them.

CPU HC, OC, DC and PP all suffer from a style of development that occurred prior to the skill point era of Madden; where you had to set player development to every 4 weeks as a minimum or else CPU would dump XP into cheap AWR as fast as it could. The CPU earns staff points but it will spend them on the cheapest abilities as soon as the points are available. So what you'll see is lots of HC with the staff tree (10pts) filled out but not the player development (20pts), and then this will snow ball in the fact that suddenly the OC and DC (plus PP somewhat) have a 10% and 20% discount so become the clear cheapest abilities and so the CPU will focus on maxing out coordinators before spending on HC player development tree or the PP trees. There is no workaround for this and it will occur no matter what staff point rate you set. EA need to implement it so the CPU only spends staff points at intervals so they can accumulate in bulk (like an option to spend every 4 weeks or end of season like previous Madden options).

You cannot purchase all abilities as there are optional routes to choose that allow a staff and in turn a team focus & personality to form. Bold abilities are confluences in skill trees that must be purchased to progress further, numbered lists are one option tree, italics are second option trees that lock out, some abilities have multiple levels as denoted by / and the staff point cost is listed at the end and underlined final abilities are multi usage abilities payed per use/season. HC and PP abilities cost more due to the fact there is (meant to be??) less turnover of these staff positions. The final abilities for HC and PP have one time costs, when you click on them it will ask which player/group/OC-DC you want to affect and then confirm, and can be reused again later at cost. A full list of abilities within each tree are listed below:

Head Coach
Player Growth
o Secret Remedy – Decrease multi-week injury recovery time, 20
1. From The Top Down – Increase XP gains for FS/SS in training by 10%/20%, 20
2. Gap Defenders – Increase XP gains for LE/DT/RE in training by 10%/20%, 20
3. Versatility Is Key – Increase XP gains for OLB/MLB in training by 10%/20%, 20
4. Short Memories – Increase XP gains for CB in training by 10%/20%, 20
1. Line Games – Increase XP gains for OL in training in training by 10%/20%, 20
2. Ground and Pound – Increase XP gains for HB/FB in training by 10%/20%, 20
3. Receptions Gallore – Increase XP gains for WR/TE in training by 10%/20%, 20
4. Budding Commander – Increase XP gains for QBs in training by 10%/20%, 20

o The Final Piece – All players on your team count as scheme fits during training, 25
1. Fountain of Youth – Slow ratings regression for 1 season for one position, 40
1. We’ve Seen Enough – Reveal a hidden dev trait for 1 player once per season, 50

Secret remedy should be purchased as soon as possible if using higher injury sliders (we use 50 at SMLE for greater variation). The first two optional trees determine if your HC and therefore long term team personality is offensive or defensive focused. The 20% bonus is the equivalent of having a star dev player at each position so it is a big deal which route you pick. The final piece allows that extra XP on the route you didn’t pick and doubles down the route you did for player development. The final two abilities are not that great and it’s a choice of are you in a reload (slow regression) or do you want to use abilities on a rookie sooner, most likely in a rebuild/developing state. You’re likely better off spending these points elsewhere and coming back only when you have a fully developed staff.

Staff Modifications
o Eye for talent – Player Personnel talents cost 10%/20% less, 10
1. Hands On Offense – OC talents cost 10%/20% less, 10
2. Not All Is Lost – 10%/20% talent point refund when replacing an OC, 10
3. Premier Destination – Increase the hiring bonus when signing an OC, 10
1. Hands On Defense – DC talents cost 10%/20% less, 10
2. Same Team, Same Scheme – 10%/20% talent point refund when replacing a DC, 10
3. Premier Destination – Increase the hiring bonus when signing a DC, 10
o After School Tutoring – Access an additional focus player through weekly strategy 1/2/3, 20
o Mistakes Were Made – Reset 1 talent tree of OC, DC or PP once per season, 30

These abilities focus on your other staff members and are useful to be taken early, especially at the start of a rebuild but are also handy in a reload when (if??) your OC and DC are poached and replaced. The OC or DC route I’d recommend going the opposite of what you chose for HC player development first – i.e. if you went the defensive XP route then having discounts on the OC is more of a benefit as they can add attribute bonuses to where your HC weakness is. But you can also unlock the other branch too so it’s not an either-or situation. After School Tutoring is very useful for young player development in any team state but more useful if you don’t intend on starting rookies so they can still develop as projects, this should be maxed out. Mistakes Were Made allows you to shift the focus of the staff and therefore shift the performance boost of the OC/DC to where is needed (e.g. the Safeties are now superstar veterans but CB is a weak group so attribute bonuses are needed there instead). The PP reset is very useful in a solo Franchise as you switch team states from Rebuild/Developing (draft/trade focus) to Contend/Reload (free agent/resign focus).

Offensive Coordinator
On the Block
o X-Factor On – Gain the ability to equip X-Factors on the offensive lineup, 10
1. Mean Streak – Boost Impact Block for FB by 1/3, 10
2. On the Move – Boost Run Block Finesse for OL by 1/3, 10
1. Mean Streak – Boost Impact Block for TE by 1/3, 10
2. People Movers – Boost Run Block Power for OL by 1/3, 10

o On An Island – Boost Pass Block for TE by 3, 10
1. True Grinders – Boost Impact Blocking for WR by 1/3, 10
1. Film Junkies – Boost Awareness for OL by 1/3, 10
o Weight Room – Boost the Strength rating for OL by 4, 30

X-Factor should be purchased early on irrelevant of team state. The optional trees are basically do you use a FB or mostly single back (TE focus) and do you like Agile or Power OL (or want to make up for their deficiencies by choosing the opposite). Pass block for TE is useful, especially for Play Action teams. I would go AWR for OL generally but Impact on WR could be fun for extra pancakes on big runs. Weight Room is the ultimate goal in a mostly subpar skill tree as +4 strength for all OL means that you will get a much better passing pocket and much greater push in the run game.

Practice Makes Perfect
o Pliability – Boost the Injury rating for all offensive players by 4, 10
1. Brace for Impact – Boost Catch in Traffic for WR by 1/3, 10
2. Ball Security – Boost Carrying for HB/FB by 1/3, 10
3. Run Up The Hill – Boost Stamina for WR/TE by 3, 10
1. Brace For Impact – Boost Catch in Traffic for TE by 1/3, 10
2. Ball Security – Boost Carrying for QBs by 1/3, 10
3. Run Up The Hill – Boost Stamina for QB/HB/FB by 3, 10

o Fancy Footwork – Boost Release for WR by 1/3, 10
1. Concentration – Boost Catching for HB/FB by 5, 20
1. Concentration – Boost Catching for WR/TE by 5, 20

Pliability should be purchased as soon as possible if using higher gameplay sliders but doesn’t mean anything if doing all sim games (injury slider does not affect sim or training injuries). The two trees define if you prefer a traditional West Coast style offense with WR catching, HB running etc or the second tree where you prefer a Spread/QB Option style offense where you will use scramblers and TE as safety nets more. The release bonus is a nice ability for deep shot teams. Concentration choice becomes do you prefer to attack downfield with WR/TE or do you enjoy high % completion and utilising checkdowns more with HB/FB… the WR is targeted more but the HB boost is useful.

Defensive Coordinator
Trench Play
o X-Factors On – Gain the ability to equipt X-Factors on the defensive lineup, 10
1. In The Clutches – Boost Tackle for OLB/MLB by 1/3, 10
2. Shoot The Gaps – Boost Block Shedding for DE by 1/3, 10
3. Hot Pursuit – Boost Pursuit for DL by 1/3, 10
4. Squared Up – Boost Hit Power for DE by 1/3, 10
1. In The Clutches – Boost Tackle for all DL by 1/3, 10
2. Shoot The Gaps – Boost Block Shedding for DTs by 1/3, 10
3. Hot Pursuit – Boost Pursuit for OLB/MLB by 1/3, 10
4. Squared Up – Boost Hit Power for DTs by 1/3

o Weight Room – Boost the Strength rating for all DL by 4, 30

Again, X-Factor should be bought as soon as possible. The two trees divide early and present two distinct defensive runstop styles. The first branch boosts OLB/MLB and DE better and says you either want to rely on LB for runstop with DE setting the edge on outside runs or cuts in a 43 or that you play a 34 and therefore benefit much more from bonuses at those positions. The second branch boosts the DL tackle and DT block shed with pursuit for LBs and therefore suits a 43 style much more where you rely on stopping the run up the middle, with DL doing most of the tackling and LBs are just there to contain the run quickly and shoot gaps. Weight Room again is a super skill to have as you’ll get great push on the pocket for pass plays and resist pushback much better on run plays.

Practice Makes Perfect
o Pliability – Boost the injury rating for all defensive players by 4, 10
1. Seen That Before – Boost Play Recognition for CBs by 2, 10
2. Hot Pursuit – Boost Pursuit for CBs by 1/3, 10
3. Soft Hands – Boost Catching for CBs by 1/3, 10
4. Run Up The Hill – Boost Stamina for CB/FS/SS by 3, 10
5. In The Clutches – Boost Tackle for FS/SS by 1/3, 10
1. Seen That Before – Boost Play Recognition for FS/SS by 2, 10
2. Hot Pursuit – Boost Pursuit for FS/SS by 1/3, 10
3. Soft Hands – Boost Catching for FS/SS by 1/3, 10
4. Run Up The Hill – Boost Stamina for OLB/MLB by 3, 10
5. In The Clutches – Boost Tackle for CBs by 1/3, 10

o Road Block – Boost Press for CBs by 1/3, 20

Pliability is again a useful skill on higher injury sliders and with games played and should be bought early (such as in a user league). Like the front 7 skill tree above, this tree splits into two distinct play styles. The first branch says that CBs are your focus, thay they will be involved in a lot more plays spread more over the field and safeties will be relied on to tackle and therefore suits a Cover1/Cover3 scheme/playstyle a lot more. The second branch says that safeties will be relied on heavily to cover the field with LBs covering more ground and CBs relied on to tackle and therefore suits a Cover2/Cover2man scheme/playstyle a lot more. Road block for the press bonus helps as press generally develops at a slower pace than release on WR (WR have deep threat archetype, CBs don’t have a press focussed archetype) and allows more choice between off-man and press-man setups.

Player Personnel
Trades
o Mentors Wanted – 5%- trade discount on players older than 30, 20
1. Draft Day Everyday – 2%/4% trade discount for CPU draft picks, 20
1. Wheeling and Dealing – 2%/4% trade value increase for user draft picks, 20
o On Line One – Guaranteed trade package for current user pick during the draft, 20
o Quite The Sales Pitch – Non X-Factor user players will be valued 1 dev trait higher than actual in trades
1. Everyone’s Got A Price – 2%/4% trade discount for CPU players, 20
1. The Grass Is Greener – 2%/4% trade increase for user players, 20
o Smooth Talker – Reduce the cost of trading up in the draft, 30

I’ll start by saying I dislike this tree a lot… mainly as it represents a buggy user-cpu trading mess that has tried to be tuned out of Franchise for years. Having said that, you are paying staff points for these bonuses now so there is an opportunity cost in other staff trees in order to have these perks. This tree really suits a rebuild/decline if you focus on Draft Day Every Day and The Grass is Greener as you get a boost for trading away your players and a boost for accumulating draft picks. If you’re a developing/contending/reload team then Wheeling and Dealing and Everyone’s Got a Price allows you to trade away your draft picks and trade for CPU players at a better rate. On Line One is useful if you like to move down a lot and accumulate bulk picks rather than value picks (or guarantees a trade if your guy got picked right before you). Quite the Sales Pitch is for declining teams to help clear house and enter a rebuild really (it’s a bit overpowered in other team states as normal counts as star dev). Smooth Talker is useful in most team states, maybe you want that rebuild QB, or you want that elite WR in a contending team and that’s the final piece of the puzzle.

Contracts
o Hometown Discount – 5% discount on players under 90/85/80ovr on resign, 20
1. 15 Yards Away – Increase likelihood of FS/SS signing through free agency 1/2, 20
2. Feels Like Home – Scheme fits have increased interest in signing through free agency, 20
1. Line Guru – Increase likelihood of OL signing through free agency 1/2, 20
2. Backfield Vision – Increase likelihood of HB/FB signing through free agency 1/2, 20
1. Applying Pressure – Increase likelihood of all DL signing through free agency 1/2, 20
2. (Second) Level Up – Increase likelihood of OLB/MLB signing through free agency 1/2, 20
1. Blanket Coverage – Increase likelihood of CBs signing through free agency 1/2, 20
2. The Ultimate Catch – Increase likelihood of WR/TE signing through free agency 1/2, 20

o QB Whisperer – Increase likelihood of QBs signing through free agency 1/2, 30
o Unlocker – Unlock 1 player in re-signing who is “not interested” in negotiating once per season, 40

This is an odd tree as it has a combo branch options (you need starting branch 1 and 2 for later branch 1 or starting branch 2 and 3 for later branch 2). Hometown discount is very useful for developing/contending teams as they try to retain the top players (depends on XP sliders but 80ovr is a good starter, 85ovr is a great starter and 90ovr are your superstars). The three branches come down to where do you not develop well (maybe lack of HC abilities) and therefore need to focus on getting in free agency early on (all can be purchased eventually). The first branch is safeties and scheme fits which is a very useful perk as it covers multiple positions. The second branch is OL and HB which is useful as OL are dev progression immune and it’s sometimes better to pick up higher dev OL in free agency unless you operate a house rule OL dev award system. The third branch is the front 7 (DL/LB) and therefore good to pick if you have a HC with an offensive focus and haven’t developed your new DC as much. The next flowing branches that merge is the choice of WR or CB, again, most likely decided as what position do you develop poorly and therefore need free agents. The focus on QBs I don’t like due to the fact if you’re using free agency to land a QB (as oppose to draft and resign) then you likely have a big team identity problem (no definable team state… like the Saints with Winston or having a contending defense with rebuild offense… Steelers). Unlocker is useful for helping resign guys if you tried to lowball them too often and get a chance to offer their demanded value and not lose them to a competitive free agency.

My biggest gripe with the HC, OC and DC skill trees not being interchangeable is that when a HC is hired to OC or DC (possible during Staff Week at start of offseason, and CPU will do this on rare occasions too) then they lose their skill trees that gave them their personality (groups which they focused on). It is possible to hire ex HC to OC and DC positions but be WARNED!!!! Changing a HC to OC or DC results in a complete reset and wipe of all their staff points and abilities. The CPU will also usually hire a real ex HC away quickest in early offseasons when they fire their own HC. This bug also has it’s advantages in that staff regression does not occur and so staff points/abilities will snowball in a long running franchise and this method can be used to reset the staff points in the league.

My other biggest gripe is the system. There is ZERO incentive to ever change your staff. Staff points snowball quick (especially if using exploits, like the HC refund perk can be collected by firing and rehiring your OC and DC EVERY WEEK!), on one playthrough whilst using exploits I finished the year with over 1000 staff points and a fully maxed out staff in a single season. There’s no regression, there’s no penalty, and if poaching doesn’t work there’s no risk. It’s a poorly implemented system and so the ability to wipe HC/OC/DC via cross hiring is the only way to try and reset a league. In 5 seasons the entire staff free agent pool is just maxed out staff and all HC that just recycle between teams are maxed out.

5. Scheme Archetypes
The Schemes are unchanged this year and do influence the amount of training XP for a matching player primary archetype. Ignore the % scheme match when flicking through schemes as this just means “has a player within 3ovr of desired archetype” and is a visual aid without direct use for XP. Over time whilst maximising the XP earnt a scheme will impose a style or personality on a team due to the XP bonus creating a desire for matching archetype and then the attributes typically boosted on the player archetype. With training being available to the whole team this year then matching scheme via draft, development or free agency becomes much more important for XP as oppose to previous years where you could just edit the scheme to match those position groups in training only. There are very slight tweaks to the scheme archetypes this year and they are listed below:

Offensive Schemes

Spread – Will develop into a short quick passing team with ability to run outside with QB and HB whilst attacks vs TE matchup create a mid-deep passing game. The OL works well vs speed rushers but will struggle vs power rushers and have a dedicated blindside protector.
  • QB – Scrambler
  • HB – Elusive Back
  • FB – Utility
  • WR – Route Runner
  • TE – Vertical Threat
  • OL – Agile
  • LT – Pass Protector

West Coast Zone Run – Will develop into a varied passing game that can pass at any level inside or outside the pocket whilst utilising fast outside run plays and WR that specialise in getting open. The TE is the safety blanket. The OL works well vs speed rushers especially outside, but will struggle vs power rushers, particularly inside.
  • QB – Improviser
  • HB – Elusive Back
  • FB – Utility
  • WR – Route Runner
  • TE – Possession
  • OL – Agile

West Coast Power Run – Will develop into a varied passing game that can pass at any level inside or outside the pocket whilst utilising inside power runs and WR that specialise in getting open. The TE is the safety blanket. The OL works well vs power rushers but will struggle vs speed rushers, especially outside.
  • QB – Improviser
  • HB – Power Back
  • FB – Utility
  • WR – Route Runner
  • TE – Possession
  • OL – Power

Vertical Zone Run – Big arm QB working as a statue in the pocket waiting for the super-fast WR and TE to get open deep on their matchups. The offense is balanced with a fast-running game both outside but using the FB to run pro sets inside. The OL works well vs speed rushers but will struggle vs power rushers but has a dedicated blindside protector.
  • QB – Strong Arm
  • HB – Elusive Back
  • FB – Blocking
  • WR – Deep Threat
  • TE – Vertical Threat
  • OL – Agile
  • LT – Pass Protector

Vertical Power Run – Big arm QB working as a statue in the pocket waiting for the super-fast WR and TE to get open deep on their matchups. The offense is balanced with a heavy hitting inside run game with the power HB, blocking FB and Power G/C. The OL will struggle with speed rushers up the middle but be very strong vs power rushers and have dedicated protectors at each end.
  • QB – Strong Arm
  • HB – Power Back
  • FB – Blocking
  • WR – Deep Threat
  • TE – Vertical Threat
  • G/C – Power
  • LT/RT – Pass Protector

Multiple Power Run – A scheme that will look to attack multiple levels in the pass game with decent QB accuracy and throw opponents off guard with an inside power run game utilising play action with the safety of a blocking TE. The WR will look for size mismatches and the accurate QB can make use of high point passes to gain an advantage. The OL will be strong vs power rushers but the strongside and inside will be weak vs speed rushers; however, a dedicated blindside protector helps.
  • QB – Field General
  • HB – Power Back
  • FB – Blocking
  • WR – Physical
  • TE – Blocking
  • OL – Power
  • LT – Pass Protector

Multiple Zone Run – A scheme that will look to attack multiple levels in the pass game with decent QB accuracy and throw opponents off guard with an outside zone run game utilising play action with the safety of a blocking TE and FB. The WR will look for size mismatches and the accurate QB can make use of high point passes to gain an advantage or use the TE as a safety blanket to check down. The OL will be strong vs speed rushers but weak vs power rushers.
  • QB – Field General
  • HB – Elusive Back
  • FB – Blocking
  • WR – Physical
  • TE – Possession
  • OL – Agile

Run and Shoot – All about the passing. The combination of accurate QB with skill positions at HB, FB and WR all looking to find holes in coverage quickly will frustrate opponents. The blocking TE and pass block dedicated OL guarantee the QBs safety but should the passing game be stopped, a coach will find the run game in this scheme very weak.
  • QB – Field General
  • HB – Receiving Back
  • FB – Utility
  • WR – Slot
  • TE – Blocking
  • OL – Pass Protector

Air Raid – A unique scheme that aims to create opportunities to attack anywhere on the field. The QB will be both mobile and accurate, capable of passing inside or outside the pocket and under pressure to HB, WR and TE all looking to get open quickly. The OL is mostly dedicated to pass protection which works in tandem with the QB style but the presence of a blocking FB and Power RT means that should the team have to run with the HB or QB, they can do to the strong side.
  • QB – Improviser
  • HB – Receiving Back
  • FB – Blocking
  • WR – Slot
  • TE – Possession
  • OL – Pass Protector
  • RT – Power

Pistol – This was made for a freak QB (imagine Cam Newton or Lamar Jackson). The QB favours running or passing short whilst the HB, FB and TE combo all favour a heavy inside run game, combine the two and you get a QB option scheme. The WR are looking for size mismatches but the QB may miss on some high point throws if going deep. The OL will handle speed rushers looking to get to the QB as fast as they can but will struggle vs Power Rushers… luckily the QB should evade those slower power rushers.
  • QB – Scrambler
  • HB – Power Back
  • FB – Blocking
  • WR – Physical
  • TE – Blocking
  • OL – Agile

West Coast Spread – A scheme quite similar to the Air Raid. It also aims to create opportunities to attack anywhere on the field. The QB will be both mobile and accurate, capable of passing inside or outside the pocket and under pressure to HB, FB, WR and TE all looking to get open quickly. The OL is mostly dedicated to pass protection inside for a clean QB pocket but the presence of rub blocking RT and LT means outside runs and QB option plays will also work well.
  • QB – Improviser
  • HB – Receiving Back
  • FB – Utility
  • WR – Slot
  • TE – Possession
  • C/G – Pass Protector
  • LT/RT – Power

Specialist Formations – on offense you have the following options.
  • KOS – Best K/P based on Power archetype
  • LS – Best OL/TE based on Pass Protector archetype
  • 3DRB – Best HB/FB based on Receiving HB archetype, comes in on shotgun Pass Plays or 3rd down pass plays with 3WR.
  • PWHB – Best HB/FB based on Power HB archetype, comes in on 1WR sets (2TE-1FB, 3TE sets)y.
  • SLWR – Best WR/TE based on Slot WR archetype, comes in on 3WR+ sets

Defensive Schemes

Base 4-3 – This defense will develop into a moderately balanced team that favours stopping the run, only one dedicated pass rusher hurts but the presence of the pass coverage and field general LBs helps with coverage sacks. The Man CBs combined with the Zone/Run safety combo favour a Cover 1 look most (using press if the CBs have developed well) but be weak most of the field in zone coverage.
  • LE – Run Stopper
  • RE – Speed Rusher
  • DT – Run Stopper
  • LOLB – Run Stopper
  • MLB – Field General
  • ROLB – Pass Coverage
  • CB – Man to Man
  • FS – Zone
  • SS – Run Support

4-3 Under – This defense will develop into a moderately balanced team that favours stopping the pass. The DL favours pass rush and with only one run stopper LB then block shedding will be an issue. The balance of speed and power rushers helps with matchups vs OL but make sure to use the flip DE or flip LB function in game to line up the Power LOLB outside the Run Stop RE on the line of scrimmage. The combination of Zone safeties and Slot CBs favour a Cover 2 and Cover 2man team, with the safeties handling most deep and intermediate zones whilst the CBs offer much needed run support.
  • LE – Speed Rusher
  • RE – Run Stopper
  • DT – Speed Rusher
  • LOLB – Power Rusher
  • MLB – Field General
  • ROLB – Run Stopper
  • CB – Slot
  • FS – Zone
  • SS – Zone

4-3 Cover3
– This defense is skewed towards stopping the pass at the expense of the run. The DL is entirely pass rush focussed as well as featuring a Power OLB, the single Speed rusher helps balance vs OL and they should swarm the OL with the front 5. The pass cover OLB helps short to mid range but the combo of slot CB and run stop MLB will be doing a lot of the run stop work. The combination of hybrid safeties and slot CB favours zero blitz and zone blitz (especially with that front5) but will play well across most coverage schemes.
  • LE – Speed Rusher
  • RE – Power Rusher
  • DT – Power Rusher
  • LOLB – Pass Coverage
  • MLB – Run Stopper
  • ROLB – Power Rusher
  • CB – Slot
  • FS – Hybrid
  • SS – Hybrid

4-3 Quarters – This defense is balanced in both stopping the run and pass. There is a perfect mix of power, speed and run stop on the DL and the run stop LB adds to that run stop ability. The 2 pass cover LBs help the short to mid pass game and likely possess speed to shoot the gap in the run game helped by the slot CB. The combination of hybrid safeties and slot CB will play well across most coverage schemes and be able to carry out zero blitz and zone blitz.
  • LE – Run Stopper
  • RE – Speed Rusher
  • DT – Power Rusher
  • LOLB – Run Stopper
  • MLB – Pass Coverage
  • ROLB – Pass Coverage
  • CB – Slot
  • FS – Hybrid
  • SS – Hybrid

Tampa 2 – This scheme entirely focusses on stopping the pass (lovely if combined with a score at will offense). The DL are entirely focussed on pass rush with a decent mix of power and speed rushers. The LB corp are entirely pass coverage and therefore will need to rely on shooting the gap untouched in the run game but will have the whole field covered in the short to mid passing game. The combination of zone safeties and zone CBs means the strength here favours all zone cover plays but the team will struggle with man coverage and zero/zone blitz plays.
  • LE – Power Rusher
  • RE – Speed Rusher
  • DT – Power Rusher
  • LOLB – Pass Coverage
  • MLB – Pass Coverage
  • ROLB – Pass Coverage
  • CB – Zone
  • FS – Zone
  • SS – Zone

46 Defense – This scheme entirely focusses on stopping the run. The DL is mostly run stop and only has one power pass rush specialist. The LB corp is entirely run stoppers which is great for block shedding, especially when combined with the DL, but there will be weakness in stopping the short to mid pass game. The Man CBs combined with the Zone/hyrbid safety combo favour a Cover 1 and Cover 2 man plays most (using press if the CBs have developed well) but be weak most of the field in zone coverage plays.
  • LE – Run Stopper
  • RE – Power Rusher
  • DT – Run Stopper
  • LOLB – Run Stopper
  • MLB – Run Stopper
  • ROLB – Run Stopper
  • CB – Man-to-Man
  • FS – Zone
  • SS – Hybrid

Base 3-4 – Like the Base 4-3, this scheme is moderately balanced whilst having the ability towards stopping the run and pass. There are 3 pass rusher positions (both power and speed) in the front 7 and 2 run stop positions so fairly balanced with an emphasis on OLB contain whilst DL block shed. The Field General MLB will develop into balanced players who can help in the run and also cover short passes. The OLB will be weak in pass coverage when not rushing so watch out. The combination of Man CBs and Zone/Run Safeties favours a Cover 1 scheme with sparing use of Cover 2 man and will struggle in zone plays.
  • LE – Power Rusher
  • RE – Run Stopper
  • DT – Run Stopper
  • LOLB – Power Rusher
  • MLB –Field General
  • ROLB – Speed Rusher
  • CB – Man-to-Man
  • FS – Zone
  • SS – Run Support

3-4 Under – This scheme is moderately balanced whilst having the ability towards stopping the run and pass. There are 3 pass rusher positions (both power and speed) in the front 7 and 2 run stop positions so fairly balanced with an emphasis on OLB contain whilst DL block shed. The Field General MLB will develop into balanced players who can help in the run and also cover short passes. The OLB will be weak in pass coverage when not rushing so watch out. The combination of slot CB and hybrid/run safeties mean that this scheme will play strong in Cover 1 and be ok with zero blitz and zone blitz but not as great during zone plays.
  • LE – Power Rusher
  • RE – Run Stopper
  • DT – Run Stopper
  • LOLB – Speed Rusher
  • MLB – Field General
  • ROLB – Power Rusher
  • CB – Slot
  • FS – Hybrid
  • SS – Run Support

Disguise 3-4 – This scheme focuses on stopping the pass with some run defense ability. There are 4 pass rush positions in the front 7, mostly power with 1 speed rusher so may struggle vs agile OL and only 1 run stop position at DT. The pass rush combined with the pass cover MLB will mean that the short to mid pass game will be covered whilst getting pressure and the further combination of Man CB with hybrid safeties mean that both man and zone coverage will work in different parts of the field but zero blitz will work best of all.
  • LE – Power Rusher
  • RE – Power Rusher
  • DT – Run Stopper
  • LOLB – Power Rusher
  • MLB – Pass Coverage
  • ROLB – Speed Rusher
  • CB – Man-to-Man
  • FS – Hybrid
  • SS – Hybrid

3-4 Storm – This defense is the equivalent of a 34 tampa 2 and leans to the extreme of stopping the pass. The front 7 features 5 speed rushers which all focus on getting to the QB with speed and finesse and will work great until encountering a good agile OL unit. The combination of pass cover MLB and Zone DB means that zone plays and zone blitz plays will work very well, the field will be covered as pressure closes in. But all this is at the complete expense of stopping the run, where no position will develop block shedding and the DBs will be exposed as poor tacklers.
  • LE – Speed Rusher
  • RE – Speed Rusher
  • DT – Speed Rusher
  • LOLB – Speed Rusher
  • MLB – Pass Coverage
  • ROLB – Speed Rusher
  • CB – Zone
  • FS – Zone
  • SS – Zone

Specialist Formations – the system is smart enough to adjust for a 34 or 43, so RLE is either DE or OLB dependant on your scheme (34 or 43).
  • Rush Left End – Depth chart order based on your best Speed Rusher Archetype at DE (or 34OLB)
  • Rush Right End – Depth chart order based on your best Power Rusher Archetype at DE (or 34OLB)
  • Rush Defensive Tackle – Depth chart order based on your best Power Rusher Archetype at DT (or 34DE), If you use a 2-4-5 set up, DT1 is the 3Tech DE and DT2 is the 1gap DE. If you use a 3-3-5 set up, 1 is the RE, DT2 is the DT and DT3 is the LE.
  • Sub Linebacker – Depth chart order based on your best Pass Coverage LB Archetype at OLB/MLB (or 34OLB, 2nd 34 MLB). NLB1 is the MLB, NLB2 is the OLB in a 43. You can also put a safety at NLB for better coverage but less run stop (ovr calculated on the Pass Cover LB archetype).
  • Slot Cornerback – Depth chart order based on your best Slot Corner Archetype. I'd pick the slower CB you don't want covering deep in here

6. Player archetypes

A list of player archetypes by position can be found below. The core attributes listed are the most heavily weighted attributes for that archetype and therefore most likely to increase when using a skill point but a wide range of attributes form the OVR and therefore it is not guaranteed and other attributes can develop. I am always in favour of developing balanced players (alternating where you use the skill point as long as that archetype increased with the use of the last skill point in another archetype) as they benefit from better XP thresholds and contract demands later but don’t make the most effective starters early on, so focus developing a certain archetype does have it’s advantages. Certain archetypes also result in double jumps in other archetypes when a skill point is used so be aware when trying to maintain a scheme match (e.g Slot CB causes frequent double jumps in Man CB, Vertical TE causes jumps in Possession TE etc).

QB
  • Scrambler – BSK, RUN, SAC – Faster QBs with lower throwing attributes other than SAC. This archetype often gets a SPD, CAR and elusive move boosts.
  • Strong Arm – THP, DAC, MAC – Higher throw power but can vary in accuracy. This Archetype often gets a THP boost and usually develops DAC and MAC faster than SAC.
  • Improviser– RUN, TUP, DAC – Usually good throwers with some physical attributes and good at throwing on the run or under pressure and develops DAC, MAC and SAC.
  • Field General – MAC, SAC, DAC – Usually good accurate throwers and if you progress this archetype you'll get a decent spread of throw accuracy but likely get less THP and utility attributes like RUN, TUP etc.

HB
  • Elusive – ELU, SPN, JKM – Fast backs with good elusive moves, Change of Direction has replaced Elusive even though it still lists the attribute. SPD, AGI & ACC bonuses are common.
  • Power – SFA, TRK, BTK – Slower high strength backs with decent pass block. STR bonus is common and sometime freak power backs can be found if listed as 220lb+ but elusive archetype.
  • Receiving – CTH, RLS, SRR – Usually average to good physical stats, elusive running style and obviously good catching. SPD, AGI & ACC bonuses are common.

FB
  • Blocking – LBL, IBK, RBK – Slower but high strength and lead block FB with poor running. Amazing to use in pro sets for running and play action, often drafted with high OVR.
  • Utility – CTH, CAR, SRR – Faster lower strength mixed FB with some blocking and running. Often better 3DHBs due to ability to both block and catch.

WR
  • Deep Threat – DRR, RLS, SPC – Smaller super fast guys who become a one trick pony with good deep route running and release. Not always the best catchers but make good returners too. Sometimes freak 6’4”+ WR list as deep threat. Agility/COD not guaranteed.
  • Route Runner – SRR, MRR, DRR – Medium sized, ok to good physicals and can catch and develop into WR that get open quick on any route depth. Great for long term development.
  • Physical – RLS, SPC, CIT – Big bodied, decent speed but usually low agility/acceleration guys who can release and do all manner of catches. Great for 50/50 balls, especially over smaller DBs.
  • Slot – SRR, CIT, CTH – Slower more agile/higher COD undersized guys who can run block and develop SRR and elusive moves at a higher rate.

TE
  • Vertical Threat – DRR, MRR, RLS – Tall, fast, lower strength big catch guys with poor blocking but typically great speed and size combos.
  • Possession – CIT, SRR, RLS – Slower but not slow decent catching guys with OK blocking, a balanced TE whole develop as a decent check down.
  • Blocking – RBK, IBK, LBK – Really slow poor catching guys with decent blocking, usually drafted or developed as a stand in FB or second TE in 2TE sets.

OL
  • Pass Protector – PBK, PBP, PBF – OL who focus on pass blocking but poor run blockers and gain less total attributes when using a skill point. Likely have to use combo of agile and power to develop as a balanced OL.
  • Agile – RBF, PBF, IBK – Lower strength smaller fast OL who develop into balanced blockers and great vs Speed rushers and getting to the second level/outside.
  • Power – RBP, PBP, RBK – Higher strength big OL who develop into nice run blockers great for running inside, vs power rushers and generally come with high lead block for pulling.

DE
  • Run Stopper – BSH, TAK, PRC – Really slow big DE for 34 and 43 with good BSK and can mix in pass rush moves occasionally. 2 down DL who usually come out for SUBDE.
  • Power Rusher – PMV, TAK, PUR – Slower 43DE or 34DE build with good power and ok BSK, usually not good 34OLB (slower). Develop into great user DL due to decent pass rush animations.
  • Speed Rusher – FMV, TAK, PUR – Faster smaller 43 DE with good finesse and poor run, can move to 34OLB usually with poorer coverage. Usually better at getting to the QB early on due to physical attributes but user DL is harder due to slow speed animation on horn and spin.

DT
  • Run Stopper – BSH, TAK, PUR – Bigger stronger slower DL with good BSK and tackling, your run of the mill 2 down DT.
  • Power Rusher – PMV, TAK, PRC – Mid size/strength DL with decent Power moves and some run stop, great user DL vs 1 OL but needs higher STR and PMV to split double teams.
  • Speed Rusher – FMV, PRC, PUR – Smaller weak fast DL with decent Finesse and some run stop, usually develop into great pass rushers with good user DL moves. High strength finesse moves can split double teams now.

OLB
  • Pass Coverage – ZCV, MCV, PRC – Fast small weak guys who make good user LB in coverage but need to shoot the gap untouched to stop the run.
  • Run Stopper – BSH, PUR, TAK – Most 43 OLB fit this category and they develop well due to BSH, sometimes slower but can find fast guys (especially moving MLB to OLB).
  • Speed Rusher – FMV, PUR, TAK – Fast mid guys with decent finesse moves, like the DE. Will need to develop run stop and coverage too (34 OLB is hardest position to get good).
  • Power Rusher – POW, PMV, PUR – Mid speed heavy hitters with power moves, like the DE. Will need to develop run stop and coverage too (34 OLB is hardest position to get good).

MLB
  • Field General – PRC, PUR, TAK – Mid size-power-speed LB with a balance of skills and develop into good all around LBs.
  • Pass Coverage – ZCV, MCV, TAK – Fast agile weak user LB with good coverage and poor run defense skills. Need to use run stop to develop into a balanced MLB.
  • Run Stopper – POW, PUR, TAK – Slowish to mid speed big hitters with good run stop and develop reasonable cover skills.

CB
  • Man Coverage – MCV, PRS, JMP – Fast agile DB with good man, press and develop PRC and AWR alongside. Good for cover 1, 2 man and zero blitz but struggle in zones unless developed balanced.
  • Zone Coverage – ZCV, PRS, PRC – Generally bigger but slower DB with good zone, press and develop PRC and AWR alongside. Good for Cover 2, 3, 6 and 9 but struggle in man unless developed balanced.
  • Slot Corner – MCV, PRC, TAK – Mid size and physical with decent tackle and balanced cover skills but they develop MCV at a higher rate than ZCV and the TAK etc is very useful for nickel, cover 2 CBs or play receiver coverage.

S
  • Zone Coverage – ZCV, PRC, PUR – Mid speed/agility but tall and low man but high zone with mixed skills. Develop very slowly in other areas but zone cover.
  • Run Support – PRC, POW, TAK – Slower big hitters with low coverage but good run stop. Develop fairly balanced with a focus on being a mini LB. Good for SUBLB position.
  • Hybrid – MCV, PRS, PRC – Usually most athletic safeties with good press, man and zone cover but do develop decent run stop eventually. Slowest to develop due to being balanced.

K/P
  • Power – KPW, AWR – Big leg, poor accuracy but develops nicely (mostly AWR).
  • Accurate – KAC, AWR – Little leg but elite accuracy and develops mostly AWR with some KAC.

7. Development Traits

There have been some tweaks to the dev trait system, mostly for the positive but creating new problems. X-Factor and Superstar devs gain abilities which modify their on field performance in specific situations or actions. I won’t be listing the abilities like previously as they haven’t changed since last year and there is a wealth of information that already exists. Breakouts are back in the game and worth pursuing but the improved scenario system adds more depth to player XP and dev traits (some should avoid clicking on, like mid-season retirements, as they wont work if you don’t click).
  • X-Factor – earns XP at an increased rate, XP threshold for skill points is 50% (was 50%) and has regression protection.
  • Superstar – earns XP at an increased rate, XP threshold for skill point is 65% (was 50%) and has some regression protection.
  • Star – earns XP at a slightly increased rate, XP threshold for skill point is 80% (was 75%) and regresses normally.
  • Normal – earns XP at the basic rate, XP threshold for a skill point is at 100% and regresses most severely.

The change in the XP thresholds this year creates a better spread of player OVR over time but certain positions dominate collecting Superstar and X-Factor devs at the expense of other positions in draft or by dev regression. This dev dominance can cause bloating in high dev positions and clumping of ovr in lower dev positions. This is mainly noticed in the fact that more Superstar dev QBs come through the draft or gain dev for stats at end of year, and this is typically taken off the OL, K & P Superstars who do not get dev progression but are subject to dev regression. House rules are required to limit the number of Superstar and X-Factor QBs over time (such as 20+ INTs is an automatic regression) and OL, FB, K & P awards should be employed (boost devs based on stat spreadsheets or probowl appearances). XP Sliders should also be lower for QB and OL to avoid bloating at the top and clumping at the bottom. It is possible to upgrade OL, FB, K & P to X-factor dev to gain the 50% XP threshold bonus without giving them an X-Factor ability. Dev caps and injury slider should also be used to help the ovr spread of the league.

Sim Madden League Europe (SMLE) use the following settings along with QB limit rules, OL spreadsheets and FB, K and P probowl awards:

Injury Slider: 50 – creates boom and bust players with higher variability of ovr and quick change over of dev each season.
Star Dev: 428 (assuming 20 OL boosts, 4 K, 2 P and 2 FB)
Superstar: 80 (some OL, K, P and FB may reach here)
X-Factor: 56 (some OL, K, P and FB may reach here)
QB Slider 70
HB/FB Slider 100
WR Slider 100
TE Slider 110
OL Slider 70
DL Slider 100
LB Slider 100
DB Slider 110
K/P Slider 100

As always, there are advantages and disadvantages to defensive schemes when earning development traits and XP. The 43 defense generally develops DE and DT faster with DTs having an advantage in gaining development traits (they rush the passer more) whereas in a 34 the DT is a gap filler and the DE play inside. In a 34 the OLB develop faster due to getting more sacks and TFL but sometimes 43 OLB have an advantage in gaining devs due to pass coverage stats. MLB in both schemes are equal at rate of XP and chance of developing dev I’ve found.

Rookies with a dev trait also feature a fog of war as the dev icon will display “hidden” until a certain number of snaps have been played (500). You can find out the hidden dev trait by just going into player edit and looking at the traits section. If the player is star dev it can be an advantage as the XP threshold for hidden dev rookies assumes Superstar so that the XP remains the same, so star devs will earn skill points at faster rate until the dev becomes known. With training now able to focus on starters, splits and backups, as well as up to 6 focus train spots and whole team training it is now possible to sit a rookie and develop XP slowly whilst playing a veteran for performance reasons. Be warned that inactive young dev players can regress severely in resign week (in m21 I saw an X-Factor QB go to Normal dev in resign due to zero snaps played and assume the system is similar this year).

8. Player Progression, Peak and Regression

For player progression and regression I like to consider 3 stages of a player and the team states should influence how you interact and use the 3 stages of a players life cycle.
  • Young player (rookie to age 25) – developing fast
  • Peak Player (age 26 to 29) – developing slow
  • Veteran Player (age 30+) - regressing

Young players (age 25 and under) develop at the fastest rate due to much lower XP threshold and this compounds over time based on dev and age e.g. a 21 year old rookie has 5 seasons of lower XP threshold to develop vs a 23 year old rookie who only has 3 seasons, e.g. a Superstar dev 22 year old rookie has the 65% bonus to XP threshold so climbs even faster before soft cap vs a normal dev 22 year old who will reach soft cap at a much lower ovr. Rebuild teams should focus on acquiring and starting young players in the hope of dev progression and breakouts and the more draft picks equals greater chance of landing hidden dev rookies. Developing teams have their higher dev young players progressing while and are aiming to time their peaks/soft caps around the same time (e.g. drafting a 22yo 74ovr Superstar Rookie and signing a 24yo 74ovr star dev player to both be good to great starters at the same time). Contending and reload teams generally use young players as depth/ backups to rotate into starters or cover for injuries and so develop slower with less breakouts.

A player is peaking or has peaked from the XP soft cap (age 26) until the XP hard cap (age 29) right before harsh regression begins (age 30+). In this time the XP required for skill points causes certain players to plateau in progression based on dev. A normal dev starter could be expected to reach low 80s during the soft cap, a star dev starter expected to reach mid to high 80s during the soft cap and a Superstar and X-Factor player will keep progressing into the 90s during their soft cap until the hard cap. A developing and contending team should aim to resign all their soft cap veteran starters and as team state progresses into reload then late soft cap veterans may be released or not resigned in favour of trying to find a cheaper veteran replacement. A rebuilding or declining team likely does not have any soft cap peaked players or they should be sold for draft picks.

Player regression has been tuned for both attributes and dev traits. Regression is even more harsh now with veterans at a higher chance of losing their dev traits as they enter their 30s and I have been told that small amounts of random regression can occur once a player passes their XP soft cap (age 26). X-Factor and Superstar dev traits can reduce or even stop attribute regression, attribute regression occurs pre dev regression so that even if a veteran loses a dev trait they are assessed on their previous dev trait first. E.g Vikings Harrison Smith is Superstar dev, due to his age he regresses to Star Dev and regresses on certain attributes but his regression is assessed on his previous Superstar dev. Teams in a reload state heading towards decline will have their core Superstars start to dev regress and then physically regress until the point where there are no gamechangers on the team anymore and it’s time to sell and restart the process of finding a new core. Contending and reload teams will benefit from dev regressing veterans being released into free agency where bargains can be had but I’d avoid signing multi year deals as their demands will go down with each physical regression.

There are some tricks to squeeze out additional skill points out of players such as:
  • Moving OLB to MLB in a 43 typically drops primary archetype ovr by 1 and the XP threshold adjusts down to suit the new ovr.
  • Moving OL positions to C generally drops primary archetype ovr by 1 and the XP threshold adjusts down to suit the new ovr.
  • Spending skill points on none primary archetypes to try and create a balanced player helps the XP threshold. The XP threshold is for the primary archetype only and unspent skill points assume a boost to the primary archetype. E.g. A ROLB is a 80ovr Speed rusher but 74ovr Power Rusher, 70ovr Run stop and 69ovr Pass Coverage LB, if the skill point is spent on Speed Rusher, the XP threshold adjusts to the new primary archetype of 81ovr. If the skill point is spent on Power, Run or Pass Cover and Speed Rusher stays at 80ovr then the XP threshold reverts/stays at 80ovr. This allows balanced players to be developed better over time but early on they wont be specialists capable of doing 1 thing well. E.g. A rusher might have 82 finesse and 80 block shed and still be developing well instead of 92 finesse and 70 block shed but development slowed due to very high XP threshold.

9. Weekly Strategy, Training and Fatigue

The new training system is great and quite complex under the hood but has its downsides and bugs. Weekly strategy will generally default as Full Pads and Starters but as your progress through the season and fatigue accumulates then suggestions for which positions to split carries will occur and so on. A green +0 means that no change to fatigue (stamina available for next game) occurred in training and normal week to week recovery occurred. A green negative number means the training was good for the player and they recovered stamina ready for the next match. A red positive number means the training was detrimental to the players fatigue and stamina will be lower during the next game. This will carry from week to week to week so it’s important to track your player health in the tile (3rd tab along). If players start to show poor stamina for the next game (i.e. more than desired fatigue levels) then moving to splits is a moderate way to help next game recovery and backups is a good way to help starter recovery. Going to half pads is a very good way to help stamina recovery and also lowers the risk of injury to a team greatly which is more useful to teams that need to focus on winning over developing.

At the start of the year in preseason and early season, the fatigue recovery is generally neutral to good even in full pads, but as the season progresses the use of full pads starts to incur higher likelihood of negative effects as well as the magnitude of negative effects. Recovery generally starts as a -2 to -4 with plenty +0 on the summary screen. As the season starts to progress more and more +2, +4 and +8 will occur if using full pads and that starts to get detrimental if focusing on starters throughout the season. The worst can occur during the short week (played Sunday, next game Thursday) where going full pads showed +8 and +16 fatigue on most players; however, the following week was longer (Thursday to Sunday) and recovery was much improved with many -4 to -9 shown. When setting up a franchise or team, it is important to get used to adjusting your auto-subs to make sure starters stay on the field and return if the do have a break and you want to rotate in backups in game at times, such as second half when clearly winning.

The base effects on XP, injury risk and fatigue recovery is generally as below:
  • Full pad starters will generate 300xp for starters and 175xp for backups. Risk of injury is high to starters and moderate to backups and fatigue recovery for starters is detrimental and backups is poor.
  • Full pad splits will generate 200xp for starters and backups. Risk of injury is high for all and fatigue recovery is neutral for everyone.
  • Full pad backups will generate 175xp for starters and 300xp for backups. Risk of injury is high for backups and moderate for starters and fatigue recovery is decent for starters but detrimental for backups.
  • Half pad starters will generate 175xp for starters and 50xp for backups. Risk of injury is low and fatigue recovery for starters is neutral and backups recover a lot.
  • Half pad splits will generate 75xp for starters and backups. Risk of injury is low for all and fatigue recovery is good for everyone.
  • Half pad backups will generate 50xp for starters and 175xp for backups. Risk of injury is low for all and fatigue recovery is very good for starters but neutral for backups.

I’ve notified EA: The current bug is that any injured player (short term, long term, injured reserve) will still register as being able to train. Not only that, they will get max XP as the injury counts them as a backup and they register the training session as backup focus regardless if you used splits or starters. Full pads and half pads does affect the injured XP thankfully. Not only that, they will also get the bonus xp for staff abilities, scheme fit and dev traits too. Not only that it is possible to keep focus training an injured player if you don’t touch the tile. E.g. HB Nwangwu starts on injured reserved for 40 weeks for the Vikings. Despite this, I was able to generate 960xp per week through training on him. That’s around 20,000xp per season despite never playing a snap which equates to around 5 skill points.

The Weekly Strategies available to focus on all come with positive and negative situational effects and a range of attribute bonuses for the next game. This strategy can be changed at game half time without any penalty to the effects in case you want to change how your offense plays or you want to focus on a certain defensive strategy vs your opponent in the second half.

The attribute bonuses depend on full pads vs half pads and starters vs splits vs backups
  • Full pad starters will give a +5 bonus to starters and a +3 bonus to backups
  • Full pad splits will five a +4 bonus to both starters and backups
  • Full pad backups will give a +3 bonus to starters and a +5 bonus to backups
  • Half pad starters will give a +3 bonus to starters and a +1 bonus to backups
  • Half pad splits will give a +2 bonus to both starters and backups
  • Half pad backups will give a +1 bonus to starters and a +3 bonus to backups

The weekly strategies are as follows:

Offensive Strategy – The running strategies are my favourite as they offer very focused boosts and don’t force you to pick a reward/penalty in the pass game. The passing strategies attack different levels and all are great for relieving pressure, just depends what is your passing style (aggressive deep bomber, calculated mid attacker or conservative check downer).

Blitz Counter – Very focussed on pass blocking and getting the ball out quick under pressure to the WR but where the risk is defenders breaking on the quick passes. Will result in an even run game.
+ Blocker Blitz Awareness
+ Double Moves vs Off Coverages
- Faster Reaction to Short Pass
+TUP, SAC, RUN, BSK for QB
+AWR, PBK, PBF, PBP for HB/FB
+SRR, CTH, CIT, RLS for WR
+PBK, PBF, PBP, SRR for TE
+PBK, PBF, PBP, AWR for OL


Throw It Deep – Better pass blocking on OL with a focus on setting up deep shots but also opens up the running game at the second level. Will result in an even run game.
++ Slower DB Run Support
+ Better Deep Routes
+ Spectacular Catch Rating
-- Faster Reaction to Medium Pass
+TUP, DAC, PAC, BSK for QB
+DRR, CTH, SPC for HB/FB
+DRR, CTH, SPC, RLS for WR/TE
+PBK, PBF, PBP, AWR for OL


Run Inside – Heavy focus on run blocking at all support positions, especially inside and running with power HBs. The penalty to outside run blocking is somewhat countered by the bonus to WR/TE blocking. Will result in an even pass game.
++ Inside Run Blocking
--Outside Run Blocking
+CAR, BCV for QB
+CAR, BCV, SFA, TRK, BTK for HB/FB
+RBK, RBF, RBP for WR
+RBK, RBF, RBP, LBK, IBL for TE/OL


Throw It Medium – Improve pass blocking with a focus on getting all skill positions open and catching at the mid-levels. If mid-levels are not open then the penalty to short pass checkdowns can hurt. The beat press is a good addition if facing a press heavy opponent. Will result in an even run game.
+ Catch in Traffic
+ Better Medium Routes
+ Better Release vs Press
-- Faster Reaction to Short Pass
+TUP, MAC, PAC, RUN for QB
+MRR, CTH, CIT for HB/FB
+MRR, CTH, CIT, RLS for WR/TE
+PBK, PBF, PBP, AWR for OL


Run Outside – Heavy focus on run blocking, especially outside with an elusive HB. The penalty to inside running is somewhat countered by the bonus to OL. Will result in an even pass game.
++ Outside Run Blocking
-- Inside Run Blocking
+CAR, BCV for QB
+CAR, BCV, SPM, JKM, BTK for HB/FB
+RBK, RBF, RBP for WR
+RBK, RBF, RBP, LBK, IBL for TE/OL


Throw It Short – Improved pass blocking attributes but are countered by the faster pocket degradation (it makes a noticeable difference to pressure), but your WR, TE and HB will all break open on quick routes with high completion % looks. Will result in an even run game.
+++ Better Short Routes
+ Double Moves vs Off Coverage
-- Faster Pocket Degradation
+TUP, SAC, PAC, RUN for QB
+SRR, CTH, CIT for HB/FB
+SRR, CTH, CIT, RLS for WR/TE
+PBK, PBF, PBP, AWR for OL


Defensive Strategy – I don’t have a favourite here as all of them will be used as half time adjustments depending on coach play style. There’s good benefits and trade offs to them all and the initial strategy should be decided looking at both opponent play style (pass vs run), team style (power, elusive, big bodied short/mid pass or deep threats) and how you want to attack (take away the run or focus on getting pressure early).

Defend Deep Pass – Improved pass rush for all front 7 and improved DB coverage but the penalty to mid-level counters this in situations. Will be a bad strategy vs outside zone runs as DBs suffer in run support. With how safeties play poorly in game this could be a common strategy used.
++ Deep Pass Coverage
-- DB Run Support
- Intermediate Pass Coverage
+PMV, FMV PRC for DL
+PMV, FMV, ZCV, MCV for LB
+ZCV, MCV, PRC, AWR for DB


Defend Inside Run – Great focus on inside runs (lookout for opponent power HB) but cpu defenders will bite on play action and suffer vs outside runs (somewhat countered by the attribute bonuses). Could be turned to if you’re down heavy at half time and know opponent wants to run clock.
+++ Inside Run Defense
-- Inside Run PA
- Bounce Runs Outside
+BSH, PRC, TAK, PUR for all defenders

Defend Medium Pass – Improved pass rush for all front 7 but the LB/DB run support penalty hurts more than the defend deep pass strategy. The penalty to short passes doubly hurts. Not a great fan of this one unless you know your opponent loves mid-level passes (deep ins etc).
++Intermediate Pass Coverage
-- LB/DB Run Support
- Short Pass Coverage
+PMV, FMV, PRC for DL
+PMV, FMV, ZCV, MCV for LB
+ZCV, MCV, PRC, AWR for DB


Defend Outside Run – Great focus on outside runs (lookout for opponent elusive HB) but cpu defenders will bite on play action and suffer vs inside runs (somewhat countered by the attribute bonuses) and if your opponent knows how to read and react to a covered stretch play (bounce inside).
+++ Outside Run Defense
--Outside Run PA
- Outside Run Cutback
+BSH, PRC, TAK, PUR for all defenders

Contain QB Scramble – Heavy focus on stopping the run but instead of a HB inside or outside bonus/penalty you’ll get better contain (when fixed) at the expense of improved QB accuracy and reduced pass rush. This could be useful if you have a coach who scrambles very quickly but with pass rush slow as it is this scheme will hurt you if used as anything other than an in game adjustment.
++ QB Contain (broken anyway)
--Pass Rush
- QB More Accurate In Pocket
+BSH, PRC, TAK, PUR for all defenders

Defend Short Pass – Improved pass rush for all front 7 and improved coverage for all dbs whilst maintaining balanced deep pass coverage, greatly increased short pass coverage at the expense of mid-level pass coverage and double moves. I like this strategy if facing off against conservative coaches who like check downs and high % completion looks.
+++ Short Pass Coverage
--Double Move Routes
- Intermediate Pass Coverage
+PMV, FMV, PRC for DL
+PMV, FMV, ZCV, MCV for LB
+ZCV, MCV, PRC, AWR for DB


Overall, you should assume full pad starters as the default weekly strategy. The bonuses to XP and attributes are just too great on full pads to ignore with only an increased 1-2 week injury risk on up to 4 players and detrimental progressive fatigue. Splits and backups in full pads should be used as the initial mode of managing progressive fatigue. Only if you are desperate to avoid injuries (such as key games, playoff games), or you have a short week or you really need massive progressive fatigue recovery towards the end of a season should half pads be considered.

Team state does influence how you assign the training:
  • Rebuilding teams should have highlighted their potential future stars and so be full pads on starters most of the season and only use splits/backups/half pads to manage a few games of fatigue. If there is a positional battle with no solid starter between young players then full pad splits are recommended until a starter emerges. Wins are less important so weekly strategy is about XP.
  • Developing teams should have their foundation of superstars together and so be in full pad starters most of the season and only use splits/backups/half pads to manage a few games of fatigue. Wins and XP are both important and so weekly strategy should be juggled to manage both.
  • Contending teams need players on the field and therefore are more likely to use half pads or full pad backups on certain weeks in order to avoid injury and develop depth. Whilst full pad starters gives amazing in game attribute boosts the risk vs reward ahead of a big opponent or game should be considered. Wins are top priority and so weekly strategy should be used to achieve that over XP.
  • Reloading teams need players on the field and their veteran starters are not worth focussing on. Full pads with a mix of starters, splits and backups should be used to maximise where your reloaded youth players are, control fatigue over a season for veterans and also full pad starters could be a good risk vs reward against contending teams to give those declining players a boost ahead of big games as wins are still important.
  • Declining teams are investing in the future and so full pad splits and backups will mostly be used on young players whilst older veterans are traded away. Once young players move into open starter roles then full pad starters can be used. Wins are not important and so weekly strategy is solely about XP.

10. Gameday and Momentum Factors

New to Madden 22 are team specific momentum factors that trigger early when gameplay is going in your direction as the home team, level 1 and level 2 generic momentum factors that need bigger swings to activate and then scenario factors such as a rain game leading to more fumbles or fair weather leading to both teams getting a speed boost on the day.

Team Momentum Factors
49ers - Unstable Ground - Away Team has an increasingly hard time changing directions.
Bears - Bear Down - Away Team's kick meter moves faster on the downswing.
Bengals - Who Dey - No Huddle results in reduced clock runoff.
Bills - Downwind - Away Team kicking arc is harder to control.
Broncos - Mile High - Away Team players have less stamina during plays.
Browns - Dawg Pound - Away Team hot routes have a chance to fail in the red zone.
Buccaneers - Fire the Cannon - Home Team players have their fatigue temporarily replenished while in the red zone.
Cardinals - Rise Up Red Sea - Home Team gains momentum faster.
Chargers - Bolt Up - Home Team gains bonus momentum for yardage gains.
Chiefs - Home of The Chiefs - Offensive audibles made by the away team have a chance to fail.
Colts - Hot Count - The Home Team defense can see the hat count on all plays via coach cam.
Cowboys - Deflected - Away Team punt distance is shortened when kicking across the 50 yard line.
Dolphins - Made in the Shade - Home Team fatigues slower.
Eagles - Linc'd In - While winning, momentum gains are increased for the Home Team and decreased for the Away Team.
Falcons - Rise Up - Home Team gains a flat amount of bonus momentum on every offensive play.
Giants - Turf War - Away Team players fatigue faster.
Jaguars - Duuuval - Home Team gains bonus momentum on touchdowns.
Jets - Turf War - Away Team players fatigue faster.
Lions - Motor City - Home Team accelerates slightly faster.
Packers - Go Pack Go! - Home Team gain more momentum and Away Team gains less.
Panthers - Keep Pounding - Home Team has more stamina during plays.
Patriots - Our House - Home Team gains bonus momentum on touchdowns and third down stops.
Raiders - Just Win, Baby! - Home Team gains momentum faster and has increased fatigue recovery while winning.
Rams - Rams House - Home Team gains bonus momentum for defensive stops.
Ravens - Truzz the System - Home Team gains bonus momentum on every running play while winning.
Saints - Who Dat - Away Team receivers can mistakenly get incorrect routes on 3rd and 4th downs.
Seahawks - The 12's - Away Team has distorted play art on 3rd and 4th down.
Steelers - Terrible Distracting - Away Team hot routes have a chance to fail on 3rd and 4th down.
Texans - The Bullpen - Away Team gains less momentum for touchdowns.
Titans - Titan Up - Home Team will avoid committing holding penalties.
WFT - Unstable Ground - Away Team has an increasingly hard time changing directions.
Vikings - Skol! - Home Team gains a small amount of speed rating when in the red zone.

Here are some of the levelled momentum factors that are identically on both the home and away team's swing meter at the top of screen. They can be devastating to overcome after a couple of bad plays (I had Nerves and Shook at once and reading a play was impossible and had to be memorised at selections, added pressure on plays when I'm already down). List as follows:
Analysis Paralysis - Opposing Team QB periodically has trouble seeing receivers.
Check Out - Opposing Team QB has trouble seeing non-checkdown receivers.
Crossed Wires - Opposing Team receivers can receive incorrect hot routes.
Like a Book - User Team Defense can see the primary receiver's route via coach cam.
Heating Up - User Team players enter The Zone easier.
Hold The Line - User Team has improved blocking.
Hotter Routes - User Team can hot route faster.
Instinct - Opposing Team has their pass target highlighted.
Lockdown - User Team has improved coverage.
Nerves - Some of the Opposing Teams' receiver icons are hidden in preplay.
Prediction Problems - Hides the ball spot indicator for the Opposing Team.
Rattled O-Line - Opposing Team has trouble blocking.
Runner's High - User Team has infinite stamina during play.
Scatterbrained - Opposing Team offensive play art can be incorrect.
Scenic Route - Primary Receiver's play art is distorted for the Opposing Team.
Shook - Offensive play art is distorted for the Opposing Team.
Tunnel Vision - Some of the Opposing Team's receiver icons are hidden during play.
Zoned In - User Team players participating in Touchdowns or Takeaways enter The Zone.
Zoned Out - Opposing Team players cannot enter The Zone.

11. Resigns and Free Agency

Not much has changed in resigns or free agency other than the addition of the staff abilities (reskins of previous coach abilities mostly). Who you target in resign and free agency depends on your team state as well as salary cap situation. Irrelevant of team state, scheme or roster, getting and retaining good players has big impacts in gameplay but if you use competitive sliders or play in a 32 user league sometimes it takes peaking all players at the right time to win that elusive Superbowl. The following strategies are recommended:

Reloading: The team is most likely clear of any peak/veteran superstars age 26 or older and if lucky then a few superstars age 25 or younger are present. Young star and superstar players should be resigned at any cost ready to move into the next phase and free agency should focus on young players in the 70ovr-80ovr range. The reason not to target peak players, veteran players or high over players is that it will help the wins but with so many holes on the roster those few wins hurt the teams draft position and the peak/veteran players will be gone/regressing when the rest of your team is peaking as well as occupying a starter position that could be used to develop a young player. E.g. The Jets drafted QB Wilson no2 overall and are heavily focussed on youth and potential with the likes of DT Williams, DE Lawson, as well as trying to develop future starters at the CB, LB and OL positions. They traded away S Adams for multiple picks in order to acquire youth.

Developing: The team must resign all its young star and superstar players to keep the core intact but depending when in the rebuild or developing stage the QB was drafted will affect planning for your cap – QB resigns get expensive, expect $20, $30 or even $40mil per year for your QB. In free agency you want to target young players in the 70s and 80s as well as peak players in the 80s and 90s (peak players in their 70s are more depth/role players and less likely to develop into starters for a coach here). If moving into contending then veteran players in the 80s and 90s are well worth signing. E.g. The Browns have Mayfield to pay soon and managed to surround him with peaking draft talent such as HB Chubb, DE Garret as well as trade or sign key peak players such as WR Beckham, WR Landry, TE Hooper etc. Their OL is one of the best in the league and veteran defenders are brought in to play as starters such as SS Johnson and make sure there are slowly no holes on the roster.

Contending: The team must retain its QB and should resign all 90+ ovr young and peak players. Considerations must be made regarding resigning peak and veteran players in their mid 80s or below and becoming comfortable with letting a 29yo 85ovr star dev player leave in free agency is a must in order to keep all the superstars on the team. Free agency should target all peak and veteran players 80ovr or above and only go below this ovr for backups and role player veterans on minimum contracts. E.g. The Bucs bring in QB Brady to instantly compete and the majority of their superstars are peak or veteran players with no holes on the roster. There are a few young starters from high draft picks such as DB Winfield but the youth mainly forms the depth/backups.

Reloading: The team has started to encounter cap problems. The QB has been paid and trying to retain all the 90+ ovr superstars opens holes on the roster elsewhere. No longer can the team afford to resign luxury peak or veteran players in the 80-85ovr region with big demands, these players leave via free agency and go to developing teams with cap space. Instead resigns should be focussed on young 70s ovr players that plug holes cheaply or salary cap saved for free agency. In free agency the target should be 80ovr+ veteran players that have low interest. The low interest works best when a team manages to steal a veteran minimum contract so there’s very little cap hit and no cap penalty when cut. Another method is to offer 1yr fully guaranteed contracts to good/great veterans to get them onto the roster with a strategy of letting them walk a year later and maybe sign again if regression wasn’t severe. E.g. The Saints have a phenomenal roster full of superstar players at peak age all asking for huge contracts. Therefore they resign QB Winston on a cheaper contract than most starting QBs to remain relevant. They might draft a later round QB with the intention of starting amongst a solid starting roster like the Patriots did with QB Jones.

Declining: If you’re ripping the bandage off quickly as is the proper method then this state should only last you a season and offseason. Resigns should only be used on players age 24 and under who have potential to be future starters (they’re at the soft cap in 2 seasons when your rebuild is ending) or resigns/tags should be used on peak players and high ovr veterans that you intend on trading for draft picks or young players. Any high ovr peak or veteran player on roster should be considered trading also. In free agency your target is young high potential players age 24 or under, even better if they a low interest star dev low ovr player if no one else has noticed. You can fight off a decline if you go all in during free agency and have a big reload of veterans but it typically just holds off the inevitable as no young superstars are present on the team. E.g. The Vikings have a QB in decline (in Madden) and stars about to decline with MLB Kendricks, OLB Barr, SS Smith, WR Thielen etc. Should the Vikings open the season 2-6 before the trade deadline and suffer key injuries then it could be worth trading away the likes of DE Hunter or HB Cooks for a big trade package and begin the rebuild like the Jets did with SS Adams and QB Darnold.

12. Scouting and Drafting
The long awaited scouting update was delivered and I bet for 99.9% of the leagues that waited, we're now all scratching our heads as to how it all works - hint: it's not that straight forward and there are different strategies to get where you want to be. My verdict as it was worth waiting for as it introduced a new level of vagueness much needed for drafting strategy, it rewards the users who love diligently scouting who can get more consistent results over a "just play" user and it forces every user to reassess how they rate draft picks and rounds.

Below is my initial analysis of how it works but EA have said that I've missed a stealth scouting step at the end of the season. I didn't see it in the data but will update when I find the missed step they mentioned.

Scouting can be broken down into stages as follows:
  • Preseason Week1-4 - Market for scouts opens, users jostle for scouts at positions of biggest needs.
  • Week 1 - Draft class is generated or imported and scouting positions are re-evaluated and regions assigned.
  • Week 2 - Region scouts are locked in and now choose a positional focus for their region.
  • Week 3 - First mock draft available and shows early team ratings, needs and focus.
  • Week 5 - Results of regional scout information is available.
  • Week X - Second Mock draft available updated for team W/L.
  • Week 7 - National scout reviews every single player in the draft.
  • Week 8 - National scout is assigned to a position.
  • Week 10 - National scout information is available.
  • Week 11 - Three players at a focus "position" are chosen.
  • Weeks 12-14 - The three focus players information at a focus position is revealed.
  • Resign Player Week - Third mock draft available and locks in the team order for draft.
  • Free Agency Week1 - Combine results become available.
  • Free Agency Week2 - Fourth mock draft available and likely updated for peoples favourites. Pro day results available.
  • Free Agency Week3 - Private workouts at a focus "position" are chosen.
  • "Free Agency" Week4 - The pre draft week where fifth mock draft available and further updated for focus positions.

Warnings
  1. Make sure you're happy with your regions selected for scouts before advancing from Week 1 - you can't edit them again until next season.
  2. Make sure you're happy with your positions for regional scouts before advancing from Week 2 - you can't edit them again until next season.
  3. Make sure you're happy with your national scout before advancing from Week 1 and their position selection before advancing from Week 8 - this cannot be changed until next season and the selection of your national scout in Week 1 has bonus implications by the time you reach week 8.
  4. Make sure you do not even click on the focus scout scenario before you've used the normal scouting menu to look over players - the player tiles/info is not available when selecting focus scouts and if you back out or even just click on and cancel the focus scout scenario you completely lose the ability to focus scout and miss out on the %.
  5. All focus scout selections MUST be at the same position in order to work. EA are aware of this bug.
  6. Make sure you do not even click on the private work out scenario before you've used the normal scouting menu to look over players - the player tiles/info is not available when selecting private workout and if you back out or even just click on and cancel the focus scout scenario you completely lose the ability to offer workouts and miss out on the %.
  7. All private workout selections MUST be at the same position in order to work. EA are aware of this bug.
  8. The scouting update has a nasty habit of booting you from the server after confirming your focus scout and private workout players. Just sign back in to server and they should have processed. Focus shouts show 1 player per week as you advance but private workouts should have updated once you log back in.
  9. I would strongly advise going into the draft with as a minimum some notes on paper/phone/laptop of who you like and when and better yet a spreadsheet of certain details. The player tile function is much slower and you will only be able to skim the details of around 5 players before the clock pressures you into taking a player - if you get sniped you will be scrambling. Myself and FraserOliver17 have been working on a scouting spreadsheet for this new system but it's WIP.

The Scouts
You can hire 5 scouts with a range of ability (Tier 1 to 3) and who's expertise can focus on different position groups. Expert groups as follows (you'll notice there is no K/P so these players cannot be scouted further than 40% but Kick Power is displayed as a physical attribute);
  • QB
  • HB/FB
  • WR
  • TE
  • LT/RT
  • LG/C
  • RG/C
  • RE/LE
  • DT
  • ROLB/LOLB
  • MLB
  • CB
  • FS/SS

The bonuses are as follows:
  • Tier1 Scout = 2% Bonus (you have 3 of these) - assign based on position strength or moderate need.
  • Tier2 Scout = 5% Bonus (you have 1 of these) - recommended at the strongest position or biggest need.
  • Tier3 Scout = 10% Bonus (you have 1 of these) - strongly recommended as your National

Because free agency is ahead of the draft my preferred method is to primarily target your scouts expertise with the strongest positions/regions. This way you're more likely to pick up value at a position should you get sniped or a player falls to your pick. If you really need to target need then a more focussed strategy is needed on your scouts by region and if you're trying to land a franchise QB then a hyper-focussed strategy is needed.

E.g. Jets have need at OL and CB most, they have their future QB and some weapons. The T2 scout is used at LT/RT for the strongest OL region (North East) with a plan to focus on RT. The T3 scout is CB Darelle Revis so he is assigned at the national position and fortunately the CB draft is showing as nationally strong. The T1 scouts are assigned at RG/C as RG looks the strongest other OL group, HB as they're reported as strong in the West Region and WR at Central region as there seems to be a deep class in rounds 3-4 and day 3.

Scouting players
All players in the draft start with 20% completion in Week 1 which is enough to give you 2 random attributes (graded A, B, C, D or F) for that player and you will unlock a new attribute with each 10% unlocked. Player archetype is revealed at 70% and a player is fully scouted with Ovr revealed at 100%. At the start every user can see the same two attributes so don't worry about oversharing with friends. The grades differ per position and for injury (slightly higher ranges) and are fixed ranges. Ranges are still WIP.

A= Elite minimum up to 99.
B= Great Min-Max range
C= Good Min-Max range
D= Solid Min-Max range
F = Poor maximum and below.

Every player gets a rough indication of their athletic ability (Spd, Agi, Acc, Jmp, Str and Throw Power or Kick Power), these are position specific boundaries (a Great-Elite speed DT is different than a Great-Elite speed WR) and represent a fixed range of minimum and maximum. The categories are ordered as follows and remain viewable until draft:
  • Poor-Marginal
  • Marginal-Solid
  • Solid-Good
  • Good-Great
  • Great-Elite

Be aware that these are much broader ranges than those used to generate a class so the Combine and Pro days help further narrow down the physical attribute ranges.

Any scout assigned to a regional position will update the players scouted by 15% during Weeks 3 and 5 (think of it as 5% per week) and the bonus that a scout gains from their expert position is applied once to any position listed as their expertise (so a T2 LT/RT scout adds 5% to both LT and RT) at advance to week 2 and once to your specifically chosen position during this time (so if RT is chosen, only adds 5% to RT). Therefore the end result of the chosen position for regional scouting round is as follows:

Tier 1, 2 or 3 without matching bonus = 35%
Tier 1 with matched bonus - 39%
Tier 2 with matched bonus - 45%
Tier 3 with matched bonus - 55%

As you can see, as a new attribute is unlocked at each 10% increment the Tier 1 scout bonus is completely redundant/useless as it falls 1% short. I suspect these were edited down by EA following the deep dive from 5/10/15% without thinking of the end % falling short for T1.

In week 7 the National Scout adds 20% to all positions and in week 8 they add their bonus to any position listed as their expertise (so a LT/RT natioanl scout will add 10% to all LT and all RT). The profile of different player percentages updates as follows:

Unscouted = 40%
Unscouted with national T3 expert = 50%
T1 Region Scouted = 59%
T1 Region Scouted with national T3 expert = 69%
T2 Region Scouted = 65%
T2 Region Scouted with national T3 expert = 75%

In week 10 the national scout adds 20% to all players at the selected position plus an additional 10% bonus if expertise was matched with position (plus remember your previous Week 8 bonus of 10%).

Previously Unscouted = 60%
Previously Unscouted with national T3 expert = 80%
Previously T1 Region Scouted = 79%
Previously T1 Region Scouted with national T3 expert = 99% - SO ANNOYING, WHY NOT 2.5%???!!
Previously T2 Region Scouted = 85%
Previously T2 Region Scouted with national T3 expert = 100%

In week 11 as long as you make sure to pick all players at the same position (until fixed) then you gain 30% for 3 different players. If you do different positions then you only unlock the first player with a 30% bonus only instead. This can be used in different ways; use the focus scout to get 95% scouted on any of the T2 regionally or 100% on any nationally scouted but the higher the current % above 60% the more wastage you'll get from using it there. Ask yourself can you be happy using focus scouts elsewhere and leaving a position at 80% instead of 100%? And then use the focus scout at a completely unscouted position to get the archetypes on 3 players (40%+30%=70% plus archetype) e.g. The Jets are happy with their scouting so far but can really use a mid round TE, there are 3 good looking TE at West, South East and North East so the focus scout is used to get information on these specific players without having to use a regional or national scout.

Reserved space if I find this stealth end of season bonus scouting EA mentioned??

In offseason the private workouts are available at end of free agency (useful as you could have filled your team needs in free agency so far), pick 3 players at the same position for a 40% boost (if different positions then only the 3rd player shows the 40% boost). The EA servers kick me out after confirming the private workouts most of any stage in scouting, log back in to see your new higher %. As with focus scouts you can either use these 3 slots to get to 100% on players or use them at unscouted regions or positions to add depth to your draft board.

For now, use mock drafts 3 to 5 to view the locked in draft positions which will give a hint to team needs (players of low OVR at position) early on and then the mock drafts and player order will update as users use focus scouts, favourite them and private workouts. You'll see what you thought of as "my secret Day3 gem" suddenly move up to Round2-3 value as more users zone in on the player.

Player stories are back and worth tracking as they can cause significant boosts to specific attributes and changes to Ovr but with how scouting is setup then you're just lucky or unlucky if that player has a higher scouted %.

Scouting Review

So depending on how you've scouted, there will be a range of % on players but it is best to plan your strategy during preseason and Week 1 and not vary too much along the way. The following player % profiles will exist.
  1. Unscouted = 40%
  2. Unscouted with just T1 expert bonus1 = 42%
  3. Unscouted with just T2 expert bonus1 = 45%
  4. Unscouted with just National expert bonus1 = 50%
  5. Unscouted then focus or private workout = 70 or 80%
  6. Unscouted with just National expert bonus1 and focus or private workout = 80 or 90%
  7. Unscouted then focus and private workout = 70 then 100% (10% wastage)
  8. Unscouted then National scout = 60%
  9. Any Region Scout = 55%
  10. T1 Bonus on Region Scout = 59%
  11. T2 Bonus on Region Scout = 65%
  12. T3 Bonus on Region Scout = 75% but recommend you save for national
  13. Unscouted with National T1 scout and expert bonus = 64%
  14. Unscouted with National T2 scout and expert bonus = 70%
  15. Unscouted with National T3 scout and expert bonus = 80%
  16. T1 Region Scouted with National scout = 79%
  17. T1 Region Scouted with National T3 scout and expert bonus = 99% grrrrrr
  18. T2 Region Scouted with National scout = 85%
  19. T2 Region Scouted with National T3 scout and expert bonus = 100% (5% wastage)
  20. Add a focus scout or private workout to players 12, 14 to 19 above = 100%

Scouting Easy Mode

If you find the lack of % or the complicated process overwhelming then there is a way of creating a scouting "easy mode" by editing your draft class (either not looking or have someone external log in and change it for you as a favour if you're not bothered by the 32 user league lock bug).
  1. Move all TE to WR,
  2. move all FB to HB,
  3. move all RT to LT,
  4. move all RG and LG 6'5 or taller to LT,
  5. move all RG and LG 6'4 or under to C,
  6. move all LE under 280lbs to ROLB and all LE over 280lbs to DT,
  7. move all RE under 280 lbs to ROLB and all RE over 280lbs to DT,
  8. move all LOLB over 240lbs to ROLB
  9. move all ROLB and LOLB under 240lbs to MLB,
  10. move all SS to FS

This way all you require is to scout QB, HB-RB, WR-Catch, LT-OT, C/G, DT-DL, ROLB-Edge, MLB-LB, CB and FS-S (5 position groups per side with modern positions on D). Remember that you'll need to go through each CPU team afterwards and move rookies to match team scheme or positions of need (such as 34 and 43 defense), the lack of DE will confuse the CPU during draft also. My hope is that position groupings move towards the DL, Edge, LB designations in Madden very soon (I've mentioned it to them as feedback).

Scouting and Team State
As with everything in this thread, it always comes back to Team State, and scouting strategy is no different. The following strategies are recommended:

Rebuilding - All effort show be going on finding the Franchise QB. You want a T2 QB Scout and National QB scout so that you can hit 100% on the strongest region and 80% on the rest of the QBs. If you missed any very good lucking QBs outside of your T2 region then a focus scout or private workout round will unlock another 3 QBs. If you have multiple picks in the first 3 rounds then the rest of your efforts should be going into best player available regardless of need as you're going to lose often anyway.

Developing - As you're likely to be more successful the wins put you out of the Top10 draft category more and more. Best player available at premium positions is the mantra in the hopes you can score a future superstar, so you need the no1 stud WR, or the elite athlete RE to get sacks, or the rebuilt OL to protect your new QB. Without your future stars then you can stagnate in "developing" for too long.

Contending - It's rare that you'll have opening starter spots for rookies so this is a pure "best player available" draft strategy. With the very late draft spots you can focus mostly on the 1-2 and 3-4 value guys but also get lucky when a 1st player drops to you. These rookies are going to be role players and backups, so getting a project with good athleticism or a lopsided build (A finesse but D block shed) isn't bad as you have time to develop them before entering reload phase.

Reloading - You're likely still picking late in the rounds but if you don't manage to score the cheap higher ovr veteran in free agency then your draft strategy might have to be positions of need in rounds 1 and 2 in the hopes you can get a starter, later round guys are backups that will need to start sooner rather than later. Scouting should lean towards positions of need as a risk management strategy, the free agents will be on short contracts anyway so that 1st round rookie doesn't have long to sit.

Declining - You're selling the roster for picks and so hopefully sat on a lot of draft capital. The strategy should go back to scouting draft class strength but you've got so many draft lottery tickets you hope to score some future superstars late to begin the rebuild or some high potential athletes that can help support a new QB when you do enter full rebuild. A strategy here could be focus on OL, WR and TE ready for when the future QB becomes a reality.

13. Trading

I've added the SMLE trade grid system as an image/attachment below. Feel free to use it to guide your own sim trades in solo CFM or adopt it in your user league to not exploit CPU or other players.

The order in which to use it is:
  1. Check dev of player to compare to which grid.
  2. Determine age and ovr of player (77 counts as 75, 78 counts as 80).
  3. Add what you perceive as bonuses (QBs, athletic ability, long cheap contracts etc).
  4. Determine final value (plus 0.3 round means a mid 4th might be an early 4th etc).
  5. Repeat the process for the other side if a player swap.
  6. Balance the difference in draft picks.

14. Further Updates

TBD

15. Conclusion

Pending… I’m still gathering my thoughts and waiting to see if fixes occur on training whilst injured and improvements to the staff systems. Update: No improvements with scouting update, no new staff ability trees. Scouting update has a few design flaws (2% T1 Scout grrr) and bugs (focus/private scout has to be on same position for now).

As it stands right now training works well as a new feature and just needs cleaning up with some XP bugs on injured players and progressive fatigue hurting CPU and player rotations. Update: Apparently progressive fatigue fixed? Not checked injured XP bug.

Staff is a bit of a disappointment so far but it could be just not working for a specific set of people. There's no real carousel unless you force it and create new bugs and there's zero incentive to partake in the carousel. You only lose abilities by firing a head coach or coordinator and the refunds/signing bonuses can be exploited or just completely restore a new OC or DC instantly to the old fired one anyway. The HC ability lets you reset OC and DC trees anyway so you wouldn't even fire them for the chance to redo the ability tree and change the personality of a team. My advice is something like:
  1. Add scheme locks for HC as an option so you need to change coaches to be able to change schemes. Shout out to Fraser for his suggestions on this to Swami. Also check out his twitter for great goalie moments https://twitter.com/fraseroliver17
  2. Add some form of regression system for coaches so if they're fired they lose the top ability in each of their trees.
  3. Add a reason to fire staff, there is none right now. One of my favourite ideas for this is to add a player morale cap for each successive losing season of 40, 30, 20 and 10. So the coach may have a tonne of abilities but the longer you keep them and lose, the worse the player attribute penalties will get.
  4. Fix the coaching carousel so that HC, OC and DC move around more (might be just my sims, EA says they do move around).
  5. Add more coaching trees for variation (also adds value and a reason to hire/fire) so that HC and OC/DC don't just zero and reset when moved positions.
  6. Add negatives to staff abilities. e.g. If you get +3 tackle on OLB/MLB it should come with a -3 ZCV penalty etc. This used to be in Madden 09 on HC, OC and DC. You want to shape the focus of a team, not grind staff points to field a super boosted team.

16. 32 Owner/GM/Coach Mode

EA removed the real life owners from Franchise and in doing so meant that anyone wanting to do an offline 32 owner mode (commissioner mode) has to recreate each one. The advantages of doing this is to be able to create your own narratives where the CPU fails to do so, e.g. create a coaching carousel where the best offensive team loses their OC to a rebuild team on the hunt for a HC, or to create realistic trades across teams (M22 is very very bad at cpu trading this year), or even just to carry out rebuilds that make more sense (Jags to London anyone?). The disadvantage is that you lose the expanded coach/player scenario engine and will have to manage funds for each team to have guarabteed money for resigns/free agents (+$5mil funds function is still present offline).

The advantages of doing this work somewhat in 32 coach mode but you lose the carousel, however, you also don't have to create 32 profiles to do so (can use all existing head coaches). If you want to try and recreate some sort of HC carousel then you want to demand release, then retire the HC and wait for the old team to hire a new HC before taking control of them (or create a new HC for the old team but retiring created HC deletes them from the pool). You will also get the fully expanded coach scenario system this way and not have to deal with the legacy financial system in owner mode.

To start a Commissioner Mode offline franchise you need to create an offline league (make sure to turn staff bonus off for that annoying message and it only gives the bonus to the first profile anyway). Then click the touch pad on PS5 (xbox??) to bring up the Profile Menu, go to profile tab on the far right and click "create new character". Create the next Owner/GM or pick the next HC. Repeat the process until you have all 32 teams sorted. Use this menu to cycle through each profile when you want to make trades, coaching changes, free agent signings, check for scenarios, resign players or play a certain game that week. If you want to have a single main account and the rest CPU managed with you still able to use the profiles from time to time then turn "manage team" to "simple/auto" for each profile except your main one, then the CPU will take over that team when you don't. Save a backup once the league is set up (R3) so that you can reboot the league with that roster any time you want to restart. Good lcuk!

Here is an adapted list of owners for M22 (assign Financial Mogul to each):
  • 49ers, Jed York
  • Bears, Virginia McCaskey
  • Bengals, Mike Brown
  • Bills, Terry Pegula
  • Broncos, Joe Ellis
  • Browns, Jimmy Haslam
  • Buccaneers, Bryan Glazer
  • Cardinals, Bill Bidwill
  • Chargers, Dean Spanos
  • Chiefs, Clark Hunt
  • Colts, Jim Irsay
  • Cowboys, Jerry Jones
  • Dolphins, Stephen Ross
  • Eagles, Jeffrey Lurie
  • Falcons, Arthur Blank
  • Giants, John Mara/Steve Tisch
  • Jaguars, Shahid Khan
  • Jets, Robert Johnson iV/Christopher Johnson
  • Lions, Sheila Ford
  • Packers, Mark Murphy
  • Panthers, David Tepper
  • Patriots, Robert Kraft
  • Raiders, Mark Davis
  • Rams, Stan Kroenke
  • Ravens, Steve Bisciotti
  • Saints, Gayle Benson
  • Seahawks, Jody Allen
  • Steelers, Art Rooney II
  • Texans, Janince McNair
  • Titans, Amy Adams
  • Vikings, Zygi Wilf
  • WFT, Dan Snyder

As you have to create all owners anyway, I would really recommend pushing Madden Franchise to where it needs to go and that is a GM Mode. Then the likes of Bill Belichik are represented in game and maybe you're a fan of John Lynch or John Elway? If you retire the owner then that is the equivalent of the GM getting fired, you can then also match any real GM changes with the NFL.

Below is an adapted list of all M22 GMs and recommendations for their profile (big college players, ex NFL or long time coaches/scouts get Former Player, Lifelong Fan given to long serving incumbents with the organisation and Financial Mogul given to the business degree types):
  • 49ers, John Lynch, Former Player
  • Bears, Ryan Pace, Lifelong Fan
  • Bengals, Duke Tobin, Former Player
  • Bills, Brandon Beane, Financial Mogul
  • Broncos, John Elway (George Paton), Former Player
  • Browns, Andrew Berry, Financial Mogul
  • Buccaneers, Jason Licht, Former Player
  • Cardinals, Steve Keim, Former Player
  • Chargers, Tom Telesco, Financial Mogul
  • Chiefs, Brett Veach, Financial Mogul
  • Colts, Chris Ballard, Financial Mogul
  • Cowboys, Jerry Jones, Lifelong Fan
  • Dolphins, Chris Grier, Financial Mogul
  • Eagles, Howie Roseman, Financial Mogul
  • Falcons, Terry Fontenot, Former Player
  • Giants, Dave Gettleman, Financial Mogul
  • Jaguars, Trent Baalke, Financial Mogul
  • Jets, Joe Douglas, Former Player
  • Lions, Brad Holmes, Former Player
  • Packers, Brian Gutekunst, Lifelong Fan
  • Panthers, Scott Fitterer, Financial Mogul
  • Patriots, Bill Belichick, Lifelong Fan
  • Raiders, Mike Mayock, Former Player
  • Rams, Les Snead, Financial Mogul
  • Ravens, Eric DeCosta, Lifelong Fan
  • Saints, Micky Loomis, Lifelong Fan
  • Seahawks, John Schneider, Financial Mogul
  • Steelers, Kevin Colbert, Lifelong Fan
  • Texans, Nick Caserio, Former Player
  • Titans, Jon Robinson, Lifelong Fan
  • Vikings, Rick Spielman, Financial Mogul
  • WFT, Martin Mayhew, Former Player
Attached Images
File Type: png Team State Cycle.PNG (139.7 KB, 1158 views)
File Type: png M22 Trade Grid.PNG (61.0 KB, 1200 views)

Last edited by Mattanite; 11-16-2021 at 08:23 AM. Reason: Added Scouting
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Old 09-19-2021, 11:32 AM   #2
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Re: Mattanite's M22 Franchise Tips

Reserved Parking

DON'T QUOTE THE WHOLE THREAD ABOVE

I post twitch videos for SMLE, GM reviews of teams for other coaches and bugs/exploits to show EA on my twitch channel.
https://www.twitch.tv/mattanite

I'm also somewhat active on twitter but it's an odd mix of Madden Franchise and macro economics.
https://twitter.com/Mattanite

SMLE hosted on MyMadden here:
https://mymadden.com/lg/smle
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Old 09-19-2021, 02:21 PM   #3
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Re: Mattanite's M22 Franchise Tips

I look forward to this thread every year. Excellent work, man!
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Old 09-19-2021, 10:47 PM   #4
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Re: Mattanite's M22 Franchise Tips

The coaching trees being over powered and easy to max out is what I was afraid of when reading about the feature.

The CPU only recycling the same head coaches and not poaching your coordinators is a huge let down.

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Old 09-20-2021, 03:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrp1918
The coaching trees being over powered and easy to max out is what I was afraid of when reading about the feature.

The CPU only recycling the same head coaches and not poaching your coordinators is a huge let down.

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This was all done on Normal rate for staff points. I'd really recommend using slow, slower or slowest to increase the cost of a staff ability and so only the oldest most grizzled coaches will be maxed out just before they retire (coach age is displayed in staff moves during staff week and coordinaters will retire if old).

Edit: Added a brief section on this. Slowest or Slower is the way to go at the moment I reckon.

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Last edited by Mattanite; 09-20-2021 at 11:44 AM.
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Old 09-21-2021, 07:47 PM   #6
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Great guide again. Probably the best starting point for new Madden players you can find. Think your 2019 guide was probably what got me hooked on Madden
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Old 09-22-2021, 01:58 PM   #7
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Re: Mattanite's M22 Franchise Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmcain
Great guide again. Probably the best starting point for new Madden players you can find. Think your 2019 guide was probably what got me hooked on Madden
Cheers man! EA kindly gave me a nice break by not changing anything to start last year.

There were some slow nice additions over the year and then with M22 and I like to think these guides actually show the complex interplay between their systems.

I know that getting hooked feeling! And then seeing the success from gained experience play out gets you hooked more. As a brag, below is me hitting the peak of my expertise in M21 SMLE as the 3peat Superbowl Champion - led by a power run game behind 99ovr X-Factor Kalen Ballage and insane defense (see pic). I'm looking forward to a lot more challenge by the new Madden Franchise systems (I'm the Jets).
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Old 09-22-2021, 02:00 PM   #8
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Re: Mattanite's M22 Franchise Tips

Added the SMLE trade grid system above.

I thought it might help folks who don't use anything but wonder how to value trades within a sim range. We prefer folks to have flexibility in their trades so we don't like a detailed point system, it's a market with need for room for coaches to buy and sell.
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