The awareness rating for offensive line in Madden 18 will finally make a significant difference in how they pickup complicated blitzes.
In previous Madden games, most people did not notice much of a difference between an offensive lineman with 80 awareness and an offensive lineman with 95 awareness. EA Sports is fixing that in this year’s game.
Here is the information direct from EA Sports’ website:
In addition to new pass protection tools, another common ask is about offensive line chemistry and awareness as a unit. In Madden 18, the aggregate awareness of the whole O-line will now impact their ability to recognize and pick up blitzes. The higher the average awareness rating of the offensive line as a unit, the better they will be at recognizing and reacting to blitzes that come up over the course of a game, including the always tough zone blitz schemes our players like to create by dropping defensive linemen into coverage while bringing heat off the edge.
This feature starts to activate when the average awareness score of the five offensive linemen reaches 80. The ability to recognize blitzes scales. An 80-rated O-line will be able recognize heat about five percent of the time, whereas an O-line averaging 97 or higher in awareness will recognize the pressure on almost every single pass play.
But there’s a catch. Any offensive lineman will tell you that the unit is only as good as it’s center. Thus, the Center’s awareness rating counts 2X relative to everybody else, and his rating will modify the total average up or down by replacing the AWR rating of the lowest rated lineman in the unit. If you want your O-line to play together and recognize those heaters in protection, you’re going to want to make sure you have that critical cog in the middle who can get his linemates on the same page.
In a follow up Twitter conversation, Clint Oldenburg, a former NFL offensive lineman who is in charge of the blocking in Madden 18 confirmed that it will work is as follows:
Each team has 5 offensive lineman playing at one time. You take your 4 offensive lineman with the highest awareness rating (dropping the 1 OL with the lowest AWR) and then you count your center’s awareness rating twice and then you take the average of that to get your blitz pickup score.
If it is above 80 then your team will pick up complicated zone blitzes about 5 percent of the time. If it gets to 97, then they will pick up just about every zone blitz thrown at them.
Here is an example:
LT: 84 AWR, LG: 80 AWR, C: 90 AWR, RG: 78 AWR, RT: 68 AWR
So in this example, the 4 highest rated OL awareness ratings are: 84, 80, 90, 78. The center counts twice though (his awareness replaces the lowest rated awareness OL) so the final equation is as follows:
(84 + 80 + 90 + 78 + 90)/5 = 84.4
So for the example team we used above, they would have an 84.4 which would allow them to pick up some complicated blitzes but not all of them.
One potential loophole we have already found is to substitute your highest rated awareness offensive lineman in at center which will give some teams a huge bump and allow you to pick up a lot more blitzes than you normally would be able to in Madden 18.
Some teams like the Texans would get a huge bump from moving their offensive lineman with the highest awareness rating to center while it doesn’t impact other teams at all (because their center already has the highest awareness rating).
As we continue to get more Madden 18 news, we will be sure to continue passing it along to you.