Madden 17 was one of the best Madden's to date, but what can Electronic Arts do to improve next years game. (Xbox.com)
Madden 17 is one of the best Madden games in the Electronic Art's series. The gameplay is the best it has been in years, franchise mode has taken huge strides, and the presentation is top notch. However, as great has Madden 17 has been, no video game is perfect. What can Madden do to improve next years game? Let's find out; here is my wishlist for Madden 18.
- Lack of Clock Management - I’m disappointed that this once again has to be added to another Madden wishlist. EA has once again failed to address the horrific clock management that the CPU uses in late game situations. I was just playing a game recently and was up by 10 points late in the 4th quarter on the CPU. With about 3 minutes left, the CPU started the drive with a quick pass over the middle, casually entered the huddle and took their sweet ole time to get up to the line to snap the ball. Before you knew it, only two plays had been run, the two minute warning had hit, and the CPU was still only at its own 40. This simply doesn’t happen in the actual NFL. Teams recognize when down multiple scores with a just few minutes left that they have to go as quickly as possible. If they were to take their time and wait until after the two minute warning to pick up the pace, then they probably aren’t going to have the opportunity to get the ball back.
- No Forward Progress - Forward progress has been a problem in Madden for a few years. In fact, there really isn’t forward progress in Madden 17. When a player gets tackled and starts getting pushed backwards, if he makes an effort and starts progressing forward, wherever he is tackled is now the new line of scrimmage. Make it like the NFL so wherever he stopped progressing forward is where the player is marked down.
- Man Coverage No Huddle Cheese - This is a glitch that I just recently noticed while playing Madden 17. Let me set the scene. You’re playing the CPU, and the CPU has the ball at their own 20 with 1:54 left in the first half. You run a basic cover 3, and the CPU completes a pass for 15 yards. The CPU runs no huddle and you switch to man coverage as you hope it will have better success. Once you pull up the play art, you notice that your left outside corner side has been given the assignment to the receiver on the right side slot. Before you can have time to adjust the coverage, the CPU has gashed you with a 65 yard touchdown pass because of a blown coverage. When I switch from a zone to a man coverage when the CPU is in no huddle, I need the corners to pick up the proper assignments.
- Crowd/sidelines - This was one of my biggest pet peeves for presentation in Madden 16, and it has once again returned for Madden 17. With how great the 22 players on the field look, it’s such a shame at how terrible the rest of the game looks. The sidelines and the crowd still look like models from Madden 04 on the PS2. Please update the graphics EA.
- Big Mouthguards - Another small feature in presentation, but players need to have the giant mouthguards that they wear in the actual NFL. Just another thing to add to the realism.
- Adjustment for Arm Sleeves - This is a small feature in the presentation, but it's a personal pet peeve between me and a few of my friends. When editing a player's accessories, you are very limited when it comes to arm sleeves. What you do to one arm has to be done to another. You can’t for example, put a full sleeve on your QB’s right arm, then put a half sleeve on his left. With how much other sports franchises like NBA 2K and MLB the Show allow you to customize, Madden needs to step its game up.
- Play the next solo without leaving the menu - MUT took a huge step when they added the ability to retry solos without having to leave the game and go back to the main menu. The loading time to leave the game and go back to retry usually took longer than the attempt itself. This causes a lot for frustration and already makes the grind of doing solo challenges even worse. Now let’s take the next step and almost do away with the loading time. Let’s say you’re doing a set of solos like the gauntlet. Once you complete the first one you should be able to move on to the next solo challenge in that set without having to leave the game. This will essentially knock out almost all of the loading time in between solos, and make it even less of a grind.
- No More Contracts for MUT - After completing the journey solo challenge set, I’ve come to realize how big of a problem contracts are in Madden Ultimate Team. I started the solo challenge set with over 2,000 contracts, and about ¾ of the way through I had run out of contracts and had to purchase more. By the end of it, I had run out of contracts and had to purchase another 25k worth of contracts to complete the solo set. I think EA should do away with contracts all together. They are a waste of time and coins, and in my opinion I don’t see what the purpose is in having contracts.
- Cut/Practice Squad based off low overalls - Cuts in franchise mode have been a big problem for years in Madden. The problem is that the other 31 CPU franchises cut players or put them on the practice squad based off of overall and not based on position or where they were drafted. If you start a Madden 17 franchise and look at the practice squad list you’ll see a couple of names that shouldn’t be there. For example, a guy like Su'a Cravens. The former safety out of USC who was a 2nd round pick and now starts on the Washington Redskins. There’s also Kenyan Drake the 4th round running back out of Alabama. With Lamar Miller gone and the only running backs on the roster being a 30 year old Arian Foster and a Jay Ajayi who has battled knee injuries since college, you probably want to keep Kenyan Drake. Another example is Malcolm Mitchell, the receiver out of Georgia taken in the 4th round by the Patriots. New England has only taken two receivers in the 4th round or earlier since 2010, so I think Belichick sees something in Mitchell. The point is that the CPU needs to account more than just the overall. They are letting go potential building blocks for the franchise.
- Practice Mode Upgrades - Practice mode has become one of the best features in Madden franchise, but it still needs a few tweaks. The first thing to add is actually using practice squad players in practice. Practice squad is one of the new additions to Madden franchise. You can develop rookies and second year players without having to use a spot on the 53 man roster. While you can see who is on your practice squad, you can’t do anything with the players. In Madden 18 when using practice to gameplan for the upcoming game, you should use the practice squad players in that practice. Another thing to add is non contact jerseys for quarterbacks. In this year’s madden, QB’s can get destroyed by defensive players during practice. This is simply unrealistic. Quarterbacks are the prized possesion of an organization and aren’t allowed to be touched in practice.
- Edit Draft Classes before the Draft - As we all know by now, Madden lacks actual draft classes for franchise mode. They have done a great job with coming up with generated players, but it just isn’t the same with not having the college rookies come up into the NFL in your franchise. Now I know that Madden isn’t going to have the actual draft classes in the game anytime soon, and the NCAA Football franchise isn’t returning in the near future, but I have a solution. One thing that NBA 2K does really well is draft classes in their franchise mode. You can still use generated ones that are created by NBA 2K, or you can download a class from the community creations. This allows for guys like EmbraceThePace to build amazing, authentic NBA draft classes. Madden needs to steal this idea. If you give the ability for people to create prospects and build draft classes, and allow the user to download it before the season starts, it would make franchise that much more fun. It would be amazing to do a 49ers franchise and build my team around DeShone Kizer, instead of random generated QB out of Stanford.
- Snap Count limits - Madden 17 took a step in the right direction with their big decisions inside of connected franchise mode and the ability to bring a player back early from injury, and run the risk of that player getting re injured. I want to take it one step further. It’s unrealistic for a player to return from injury three weeks earlier than they are supposed to and be able to play the entire game at 100%. This is why most teams use snap count limits. Going into the game, the coach has set a certain amount of plays that player will play in the game. That way you’re easing a player back into the game, and it will decrease the chance of a re injury occurring.
- Benching for poor performance - Another cool feature to seen in Madden Franchise is the ability for players to be benched for poor performance by the CPU. Let’s take the New York Jets for example. The Jets don’t really have a true #1 starting quarterback. With Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, and Bryce Petty, the starting quarterback position is fair game to everyone. If Fitzpatrick were to go 0-4 to start the season, with 3 touchdowns to 7 interceptions, then the Jets should consider putting in Petty or Geno. Players aren’t really punished for poor performances by the CPU.
- Suspension, ability to implement - In today’s NFL suspensions seem to be more common than injuries. It’s actually surprising if you find a team that doesn’t have a suspended player in 2016. This makes it difficult for a player like me who likes to keep franchises realistic with roster moves. With the inability for player to get suspended in Madden or to put them on suspension, it's near impossible to keep players who are suspended in the actually NFL off the field in Madden. Now, I know that Madden doesn’t want to add suspensions because of the negative outlook it brings with it, but I think I have a fix. Add the ability to add players to a suspension list, and you don’t have to specify what the player is being suspended for. This makes it so that you can keep the realism of taking players off the field, while Madden and EA still keep a good image.
- Player Emotion - One thing that Madden franchise mode still truly lack is player emotion. EA took baby steps when they tweaked the contract negotiations so you can actually see what the player doesn’t like about his contract, but once again, I want to take it one step further. We need to see more emotion and interaction from players. If a player gets benched and they feel that they should still be the starter, let them voice their frustration to you. If you franchise tag a player who feels he should be given a contract as one of the highest paid players at his position, have them threaten to miss games and holdout until a deal is done.
- Online team up - The one thing that keeps me playing NBA 2k on a yearly basis is the my park and pro am feature in the game. You team up with several of your fellow friends and work together as a cohesive unit to battle against another team full of users. Madden used to have an online team up mode, but it was removed after Madden 25. EA please bring the mode back.
- Improve career mode - This is just getting sad at this point. In 2016 you have to have a career with some story. It’s inexcusable not to. NBA 2K has dominated the player based mode for years with an interesting story that changes from year to year. Now Fifa 17 has incorporated the story-based career mode with the Alex Hunter story. Madden’s career mode doesn’t have anything. You can be an instant starter by the first game. You don’t have any interaction with the team, opposing player, the coach, the owner, nothing. There’s no true incentive to play the career mode unless you want to see your player hit a 99 overall and break all the NFL records. If Madden 18’s player career mode doesn’t have a story or something new for the player career mode, they might as well just do away with it.
This concludes my Madden 18 wishlist. Let me know your thoughts. Did I miss anything in my wishlist? What would you like to see added to Madden 18? Let me know by leaving a comment below and tweeting me @Texashomeboy1.
Terrance Williams has struggled to start in his contract year, could his days as a Dallas Cowboy be numbered. (USA Today.)
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Contract years are when you usually see a player take that next leap in his development. You saw it from Josh Norman, and Oliver Vernon last season. After a pretty average start to their careers, Norman and Vernon saw a big leap in their play in the last year of their contract, which netted each player a huge payday in the offseason. Through three games this has not been the case for Terrance Williams. In fact he has done the exact opposite of elevate his play. In my opinion, this has been the worst three game stretch in Terrance Williams career.
If you look at just statistics, Terrance Williams hasn't been that bad. Williams is fourth on the team in targets (8), catches (7), yards (122), and leads the team in yards per reception (17.4.) Let's dig a little bit deeper into these numbers. If you take away Terrance's week three performance where he had 4 catches for 88 yards, in the first two games Terrance Williams had 3 catches for 44 yards in two weeks. In his week three performance, 47 of those 88 yards came off of one catch. That 47 yard catch came at the beginning of when Terrance Williams broke a post route to the next level and ran for 47 yards. What was going to be a huge gain that would take the Cowboys into the red zone and put the metaphorical nail in the coffin, was all taken away because Williams fumbled the football at the Chicago 17 yard line and Adrian Amos returned it all the to the Bears 40 yard line. Some people might give Terrance Williams a pass because the Cowboys were up 21 points and the game had seemed like it was already over, but not me. This fumbled could have easily avoided. First, you are taught as a receiver whenever possessing the ball, always keep it in the hand closest to the sidelines and away from defenders. Not only did he keep the ball in his right hand while racing down the left sidelines, but he had such a loose grip on the football that it was easily poked away by Jacoby Glenn. I wish I could say this is the only boneheaded move we've seen from Terrance Williams this season.
Let me set the scene. Its week 1 and the Dallas Cowboys are hosting division foe the New York football Giants. The Cowboys are down one with 12 seconds left and Dak Prescott has the ball at his own 46 on a 3rd and 10. The Cowboys have no timeouts. Terrance Williams runs an out route to the sidelines, Dak completes the pass to Williams at the Giants 47, and he can very easily run out of bounds at the 45 to give the Cowboys a shot at the game winning field goal. Terrance instead stops in his tracks, cuts up field, dives to the 40, and once he realized what he had just done, the clock had run out and the Giants had picked up the victory. Now I know what you're about to say, "even if Terrance Williams does run out of bounds, there's no guarantee that Dan Bailey is making a 62 yard field goal to win the game." You are 100% right. There is no guarantee that Bailey makes that field goal, but I like my chances with Dan Bailey, who was 5/5 on field goals on the day.
The misuse of clock management wasn't all Williams fault. To start the drive, Dak Prescott found Lance Dunbar on a 5 yard curl that he turned into a 17 yard reception before falling to the ground in bounds. With a little more effort, Dunbar probably gets out of bounds and saves the Cowboys about 12 seconds. Two plays later, Dak missed a wide open Jason Witten who would have probably scored a touchdown, but at the very least would have gotten in field goal range if the two connected. The loss wasn't fully on Terrance Williams. He's just the icing on top of the disaster cake.
If Terrance Williams had shown great statistical numbers in years past and had consistently produced on the field, then I wouldn't be so hard on him, but this just isn't the case. Last season Terrance Williams was the #1 receiver for most of the year with Dez Bryant out do to injury, and he didn't produce like one. Williams' 94 targets last season were the most in his career by a wide margin, as his previous career high was 74 back in his rookie season in 2013. Terrance 52 catches last season was only 8 more than his rookie season. His 3 touchdowns last season was a career low. I'm not saying he needs to produce 1,500 yards, 90 catches, and 9 touchdowns every season, but I need more production out of my #2 receiver.
With Terrance Williams set to hit the free agent market this season, he is going to get paid by someone. Last season we saw Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones each get over $6 million a year. Terrance should be one of the top receivers in next years free agent class, one that is headlined by Alshon Jeffrey, Michael Floyd, Desean Jackson, and Vincent Jackson. Some team is going to pay Terrance Williams, and I doubt it's the Cowboys. Let me know your thoughts. Should the Cowboys resign Terrance Williams? Let me know by leaving a comment below and tweeting me @Texashomeboy1!
Julio Jones looks to continue his success in week 2 against the 1-0 Raiders. (Madden 17)
*Disclaimer: This is based solely on a Madden 17 franchise and should not be taken for real life.
The season opener is out of the way, and man it feels so good to come out with a victory. The Falcons beat the division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35-28 in a game that was honestly too close for comfort. The Falcons couldn't have jumped out to a better start, as DeVonta Freeman took a 70 yard touchdown run to the house for the first touchdown of the season. After a touchdown pass from Jameis Winston, Matt Ryan proceeded to find Mohamed Sanu and Justin Hardy in the end zone, and the Falcons jumped out to a 21-7 lead. Late in the first half, rookie kicker Roberto Aguayo attempted a 50 yard field goal that was blocked by Desmond Trufant and returned for a touchdown. The Falcons went into halftime with a 21 point lead and couldn't have asked for a more perfect start. As far as the Buccaneers, they registered only 7 points in the first half, and to make matters worse Tampa would lose star running back Doug Martin for the rest of the game with a broken collarbone.
The 2nd half was a completely different ball game. The Buccaneers offense came out firing on the back of 2nd year man Jameis Winston. The Buccaneers scored early in the 3rd as Jameis found tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the back of the end zone to cut the Falcons lead to 28-14. Jameis once again found the end zone early in the 4th, connecting with Adam Humphries to cut the lead to 7. After multiple stops, the next score came late in the 4th with famous Jameis once again hooking up with Jenkins to tie the game at 28. The Falcons perfectly executed on their final drive of the game, on a drive that was capped off with a slant route by Julio Jones that he took 48 yards to the house. The Buccaneers nearly tied the game, but turned the ball over on downs inside the Falcons 10 to seal the victory for the birds. It wasn't clean, it wasn't the win we were expecting, but a win is a win.
My MVP for this week has to be Devonta Freeman. Coming into the season many expected Tevin Coleman to take the starting job at some point in the season, but Devonta quickly silenced the critics. Freeman rushed for 147 yards on 21 carries and scored a touchdown. He played so well that Dan Quinn ditched the running back by committee and went all in with Freeman. The passing attack looked strong with Matt Ryan hitting 5 different receivers over the course of the game, and three of them scoring a touchdown. The defense played great in the first half allowing only 7 points, and Desmond Trufant returning a blocked field goal for a touchdown. Overall the team didn't play great, but certainly, good enough to win.
Now let's look on to week 2 as our Falcons travel to Oakland to play the 1-0 Raiders. The Raiders squeaked out a 31-26 victory over the Saints led by a balanced attack on offense. Derek Carr finished the day 24/40, 228 yards and 3 touchdowns. With Latavius Murray out due to a cartilage tear in his knee, Taiwan Jones made the most of his opportunity, picking up 77 yards and a touchdown on the day. The standout at receiver was Andre Holmes believe or not, as he caught two of the three Derek Carr touchdown passes. It was a quiet day for Amari Cooper as he finished with only 3 catches for 41 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, David Amerson was the MVP for the silver and black, finishing with 10 tackles and an interception.
Much like last week, I expect this to be a high scoring game for both teams. I give the Oakland Raiders the slight edge because of the home field advantage, but this game could honestly go either way. Let's look at some key matchups to look out for. First one is Aldon Smith and Kahlil Mack vs the Falcons offensive tackles. Ryan Schrader and Jake Matthews did a good job in week one keeping Matt Ryan upright, and they will need a duplicate performance this week. The next matchup is Desmond Trufant vs Amari Cooper. Don't be fooled by the quiet week Amari had. In fact, I expect that to fuel Cooper into having a big week this week. Last one is battle of Derek Carr vs Matt Ryan. Both QB's are coming off of a great week, and are likely going to have the same success this week. I expect the Raiders to win a nail biter and improve to 2-0. Now lets get into some questions via Twitter.
First off thanks for the question Mike. I'm not to sure if there is a way to entirely shut down the connection between Amari Cooper and Derek Carr, but the Falcons can do a few things to help contain it. First off the Falcons have to get pressure. The Falcons sacked Jameis 4 times last week and had him under duress all game. The Raiders offensive line is one of the best in football, so the Falcons have a tall task. Next, Desmond Trufant has to have a great game. I'd expect Dan Quinn to have Desmond Trufant in single coverage for a good portion of the game against Amari Cooper. We'll have to wait and see how the young corner holds up.
It never fails to have someone hate on others success. I can assure that Julio Jones is not using stickum. Julio has developed into one of the best receivers in the league due to hard work and dedication, he doesn't need to use illegal substances for a competitive advantage. Thanks for the question.
Some key matchups to look out for. Let's start with the two QB's. Derek Carr and Matt Ryan are both coming off of great week 1's and will look to continue that success in week 2. Next one I would look out for is the Raiders front seven against the Falcons rushing attack. I doubt the Falcons have the same success as they did last week with the Falcons facing the likes of Khalil Mack, and Dan Williams. Lastly I would watch the Falcons secondary against the Raiders passing attack. The Falcons corners were torched by Jameis Winston in the 2nd half, and will need a bounce back game. Thanks for the question Aaerios!
That's going to do it for this installment of Falcons Nest. Check in next time as we recap week 2, and look towards week 3 vs the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. If you want to see the actual games, and keep up with the action as it happens, follow me on Twitch! If you want to keep up to date with all things Falcons franchise related, follow me on Twitter @Texashomeboy1.