- Picking up blitzes has been a major concern in Madden for years and the newest feature for Madden 18 will help fix these issues….ID the Mike. Which is short for identifying the Mike linebacker (or middle linebacker). This is an offensive feature that will fundamentally change how blitzes are picked up in Madden and should really stop many of the edge or nano blitzes from past versions of the game.
On passing plays, anywhere between five to eight blockers are responsible for keeping the quarterback upright. Let’s say that the five offensive linemen are going to block, one-on-one, one member of the opposing defense. They’ll move as one unit of five players to block five defenders. They just need to be aimed. When the quarterback calls out the Mike, he’s centering the blocking scheme. He’s ordering the offensive line to center themselves on that player and then block accordingly.
Just because you the ID the Mike and pick up a blitz successfully individual matchups still play a heavy role. So if you have your Running back pick up Khalil Mack on a blitz most times he’s going to win that matchup and still apply pressure.
So let’s take a look at an example of how this would work vs the nickel blitz which was one of the most popular blitzes this year. In Madden 17 the running back and offensive line had a hard time adjusting to edge pressure from defensive backs. Now with ID the Mike in Madden 18 you can set the protection to better pick up blitzes like this. In this play by designating the right linebacker as the mike you can see the how everyone is man to man solid blocking while the center and right guard double the defensive tackle and the center will come off and pick up the mike backer if he blitzes. The running back is reading inside to outside and will pick up the blitzing nickel back.
Now if you ID the Mike to the left LB you can see how the pass protection changes as the center will now double the left DT and pickup that LB if he then blitzes. The RB is the same way reading inside to outside incase the other LB blitzes then picking up the nickel back.
So what if BOTH linebackers blitz in like a zero man look? In that case depending on who you identified as the mike the running back would take whether inside linebacker.
By designating the mike the quarterback knows who is accounted for on the play or who is hot! Meaning who will be the unblocked rusher on the play. “Q” tells the offensive linemen that’s the quarterback’s guy. It’s the quarterback’s job to get the ball out before the free Blitzer sacks him. That’s where you hear the term “hot route”, it’s an adjustment of a receiver to a blitzing defender. So the QB or the WR recognizing this blitz can run his route into the vacated space left by the defender.
What you really want to do is to ID the Mike towards the side of the nickel back so the line will be responsible for the LB and the back will pickup the nickel blitzer. Of course we will have tips on how best to use this feature in a later article.
Now you can use ID the Mike on the Nickelback as well. In that case the tackle might slide out or the RB would block him directly instead of inside out, it really depends on the blocking scheme. But by doing that if one of the inside LBs blitzes as well in an overload blitz he might come free. So it’s a strategic cat and mouse game just like in the real NFL.
Hopefully the helps explain the ID the Mike feature in Madden 18. What do you think about this feature and how much will you use it in next year’s game?
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