The Madden franchise has always featured a dynamic gameplay system with fairly standard controls that have evolved over the three and a half decades since the franchise began releasing titles.

This guide breaks down the controls for Madden 24.

Recent Madden titles have built upon the intuitive design of the previous games, adding numerous subtle gameplay elements and controls through the introduction of the FieldSENSE system in Madden 23. 

This guide breaks down both the simple base controls that Madden is famous for, as well as the relatively new advanced controls that can give you the edge against your friends.

Offense

Photo credit: EA Sports

Pre-Play Offense

On offense before the snap the most important control is clicking in on the right stick to bring up the pre-play menu.

The pre-play menu shows you a list of pre-play options and the corresponding buttons assigned to them.

Here are all of the controls and options available to you before the snap on offense. Some of these are listed in the pre-play menu, some are not.

ActionController InputDescription
Pre play menuR3opens a menu of pre-play options
X factor visionright trigger (R2/RT)view Superstar and X-factor skills for players on the field
Show play artleft trigger (L2/LT)shows play design on the field (receiving routes, pass protections, and other play details)
Call an audiblesquare/Xchange the play call in the pre-play menu
Hot routetriangle/Ychange specific receiver’s routes into one of your choosing in the pre-play menu
Pass protectionleft bumper (L1/LB)check and change blocking protections in the pre-play menu
Switch highlighted playercircle/Bhighlight to the nearest player
Select specific playerhold circle/B + move left stickhighlight a specific player
Lock on a specific playerclick in on the left stick twicelock on to a specific non-QB player for the duration of the play
Motion a playerpress and hold left stick in desired direction when highlighted on a player, you can motion them to other side of the offensive line
Flip a run playflick right stick in desired direction of runchange a run direction/protections to other side of the offensive line
Control camera zoomup or down on D-padchange the zoom of the camera to a number of default settings
Fake snapright bumperattempt to draw the defense offsides with a fake snap
Call a timeouttouchpad/windows buttoncall a timeout
Snap ballX/Astart the play

Passing

photo credit: EA Sports

Madden’s passing system has been a staple of the game and a key to its success for generations. Based on an intuitive button design that is incredibly simple. 

The key to successfully executing passes is by utilizing the advanced throw location controls. 

Just pressing the button of the most open receiver isn’t enough to avoid incompletions, batted balls, and interceptions. You need to utilize different button pressures to impact the type of pass you make. You should also use the left trigger and bumper to impact the height of the pass. It’s also important to lead your passes as well with the left stick.

ActionController InputDescription
QB movementleft stickmove the QB in or around the pocket 
QB scrambleleft stick + right triggertuck the ball down and sprint as the QB
Receiver buttonsX, square, circle, triangle, R1(PlayStation)/ A, X, Y, B, RB (Xbox)each eligible receiver will have a designated button
Lob passtap receiver buttonput some air under your throw to get the pass over defenders 
Bullet passhold receiver buttonthrow the ball hard into small windows
Touch passpress and release receiver buttonin-between a lob and a bullet pass
Pump fakedouble tap receiver buttonfake a throw to a receiver in order to trick defenders
High passleft bumper (L1/LB) while throwingthrow the ball high above defenders’ heads for receivers to go up a grab tall passes
Low passleft trigger (L2/LT)throw ball close to the ground so the receiver can dive forward and grab it low to the turf
Lead passmove left stick in desired direction after throwlead the pass in a certain direction 
Throw ball awayclick in on the right stick (R3)when in danger of getting sacked simply throw the ball away (be sure to be outside of the pocket to avoid intentional grounding penalties)

Receiving While the Ball is in the Air

photo credit: EA Sports

Once thrown, you have the option to quickly switch over to your intended receiver (using the B or circle button), and then you have a new set of controls in order to make a perfect catch.

There are only three different types of catches.

ActionController InputDescription
RAC catchsquare/Xcatch the ball while running and keeping the receivers momentum moving forward (best chance at being able to gain yards after the catch)
Possession catchX/Amake a standard attempt to catch the ball (best chance of simply catching the ball)
Aggressive catchtriangle/Ymake an attempt to catch a contested pass (best chance of making a catch with a defender in close coverage)

Running

photo credit: EA Sports

Perhaps the most important controls to learn if you want to have success in Madden.

Regardless of if you are controlling an RB, QB, WR, TE, or even a defensive player; if the player has the ball, you can utilize a number of different combinations of jukes and movements to break tackles and gain yards.

The most important running controls are going to be sprint (right trigger), spin move (B or circle button), and juke (flick left or right on the right stick)

ActionController InputDescription
Player movement left stickmove the ball carrier
Sprinthold right trigger (L2/LT)run at max speed
Jukeflick right stick in desired directionmake a fake move in a direction to force missed tackles by defenders
Spincircle/B or rotate right stickspin out of would-be tackle attempts or around defenders
Truckup on the right stickpower through defenders
Stiff armX/Apush away defenders attempting to make tackles from the side 
Hurdletriangle/Yjump over a defender
Jurdletriangle/Y + flick left stick left or righta mix between a juke and a hurdle
Dead legflick down on the right stickmake a subtle leg juke to fake out defenders
Slidetap square/Xslide to the ground to give yourself up
Divehold square/Xdive forward 
Protect ballright bumper (R1/RB)hold the right bumper while running to prioritize preventing fumbles. This will lower the ball carrier’s speed and elusiveness but nearly eliminate the potential for fumbles.
Pitch ballleft bumper (L1/LB)pitch the ball behind you, it will automatically attempt to pitch the ball in the direction of the nearest teammate
Celebration runleft trigger (L2/LT)taunt your opponents with a celebratory running animation. (Make sure you don’t get tackled while using this celebration, as the chance for a fumble is very high!)

Defense

photo credit: EA Sports

Pre-Play Defense

The Pre-Play defense has similar controls to pre-play offense, with only a few noticeable differences.

The key to know on defense is that you can shift coverages and defensive assignments by either changing the entire play, or by using position specific commands within the pre-play menu

Here are the main pre play controls on defense.

ActionController InputDescription
Pre play menuin on the right stick (R3)opens a menu of pre-play options
X factor visionright trigger (R2/RT)view Superstar and X-factor skills for players on the field
Show play artleft trigger (L2/LT)shows play design on the field (coverage and blitzing assignments)
Call an audiblesquare/Xchange play call in the pre-play menu
Switch highlighted playercircle/Bchange the player you are controlling (automatically goes to the next guy over)
Select specific playerhold circle/B + move left stickchange the player you are controlling (specifically pick a player with the left stick)
Coverage audiblestriangle/Ychange the coverage assignments of certain players in the pre-play menu
Linebacker audiblesright on D-padchange the assignments for linebackers in the pre-play menu
Defensive line shiftleft on D-padshift the defensive line
Control camera zoomup or down on D-padchange the zoom of the camera to a number of default settings
Call a timeouttouchpad/windows buttoncall a timeout

Pass Rushing

photo credit: EA Sports

A main element of defensive play, especially for beginners, Madden 24 offers a mix of pass-rushing moves and animations to help players effectively beat offensive linemen and rush opposing quarterbacks.

The main controls for rushing the passer are based on using the right stick.

Using all the directions on the right stick in a combination that takes into account the attributes of your defender will make you an effective pass rusher in Madden 24

ActionController InputDescription
Player movementleft stickmove defender around
Switch playercircle/Btake control of nearest defender
Speed rushright trigger (R2/RT)rush the QB with speed (attempt to run quickly around blockers) 
Containleft trigger (L2/LT)instead of directly blitzing the QB, your defender will wait on the outside and contain outside runs and scrambles
Rip moveflick up on the right sticka rush move that rips past blockers and resets your pass-rushing engagement 
Bull rushflick down on the right stickrush the QB with power (attempt to overpower blockers)
Club/swim moveflick left or right on the right stickswim and club pass rush moves are both lateral moving animations that use the same input. The difference between the two is subtle and situational.
Swat passtriangleattempt to time a swat at the line of scrimmage to knock the ball down

Pursuit and Tackling

Photo credit: EA Sports

Whether you want to play on the Defensive-line and rush the passer, as a versatile linebacker, or as a coverage defensive back, you will undoubtedly be focused on pursuing ball carriers and tackling them to the ground.

There are many different tackling types, each with different pros and cons. From the aggressive hit-stick tackle to the aptly named conservative tackle, now known as a ‘breakdown’ tackle, there are a lot of different ways to bring your opponents to the turf.

Madden 24 in particular, is focused on tackling, with over 1,700 tackle animations and a whole new tackle formula.

ActionController InputDescription
Player movement left stickmove defender towards the ball carrier
Sprintright trigger (R2/RT)run at max speed
Switch playercircle/Btake control of nearest defender
Defensive assistleft bumper (L1/LB)signal nearby defenders to help make a tackle
Strafeleft trigger (L2/LT)square your defender’s hips towards the line of scrimmage, keeping them facing forward ready to make a play
Conservative tackle / Breakdown tackleX/Aattempt a safe tackle (high chance of succeeding, low chance of creating a turnover)
Dive tacklesquare/Xdive to make a shoestring tackle on defender just out of normal tackle range
Hit stick tackleflick up on the right stickattempt to make an aggressive tackle (lower chance of succeeding, higher chance of creating a turnover)
Cut stick tackleflick down on the right stickattempt a tackle at the legs of a ball carrier
Strip ballright bumper (R1/RB)aggressively attempt to force a fumble, can lead to turnovers but also missed tackles and penalties

Pass Coverage

photo credit: EA Sports

Similar to receiving the ball in the air, defending while the ball is in the air is also overly simple.

With only a few options for how to defend against passes, the pass coverage system doesn’t have much nuance or detail. Basically, you have the choice to either try and pick the ball off or break up the pass by hitting the receiver.

ActionController InputDescription
Player movementleft stickmove defender around
Switch playercircle/Btake control of the nearest defender
Swat ball square/Xattempt to swat the ball away 
Play the receiverX/Adefend against the receiver trying to catch the ball (force an incompletion or make an immediate tackle once caught)
Play the ball (ball hawk)triangle/Yattempt to make an interception 
Press a receiver X/A + in on the left stickmanually play physical press coverage on a receiver

How to Dive

By pressing and holding the square/X (PlayStation/Xbox) button you can leap forward and dive with your ball carrier.

This can help you get those extra few yards right before you get tackled or as you get tackled.

The best times to use the dive button is when you close to a first down marker or the goal post, but you are about to get tackled and you need a last ditch effort to get over the finish line.

The danger to diving in Madden 24 is that first and foremost, you end your run, because you are diving onto the ground, ending your forward momentum. The biggest danger however, is that when you dive you increase the chance of fumbling the football.

How to Scramble

With the NFL becoming more and more focused on mobile QBs and spread offenses, QB scrambling has become a primary offensive gameplan.

Scrambling in Madden is extremely simple and straightforward. 

You can move around with your QB in the pocket with the left stick, but if you want to fully scramble you need to hold down the right trigger.

You can even scramble in the pocket, and escape forward, to the left, to the right, and even backwards in order to give you more time to throw.

How to QB Slide

The QB slide is a critical aspect to the quarterback run game. 

By tapping the square/X button while running with the ball you will effectively give yourself up by sliding to the ground, avoiding a potentially devastating tackle.

You can do this with any position, but it is most effective for QBs in order to avoid unnecessary tackles that could put them at risk of injury. QBs typically have lower injury ratings than the rest of the skill position players on your team, so it is important to protect your QB.

The main times you will want to tap the square/X buttons outside of running with your QB is going to be when time is running out in the game or in a half and you need to end a play quickly in order to call a timeout. You can tap the square/X button to fall down and end a play quickly at any point when you ar controlling a ball carrier.

How to Lateral

The lateral in Madden 24, can be a very fun, but a very dangerous option. It is a process of pitching the ball back to the nearest offensive player behind the ball carrier.

By pressing the left bumper while controlling the ball carrier you can pitch the ball backwards. The Madden AI will attempt to get the ball to the nearest offensive player, but it’s not perfect.

You also can’t guarantee that the pitch will be perfectly accurate, that there won’t be a defender ready to intercept or knock down the pitch, or that your offensive player will be actually able to catch the pitch.

The lateral may be more for when you are goofing around with your friends rather than when you are actually trying to win Competitive games.

How to Hit Stick

The hit stick allows you to lay out an opposing ball carrier with a huge hit. It is one of the most satisfying moves in Madden 24 when executed successfully and can lead to important tackles and forced fumbles.

The hit stick is a very simple thing to in Madden 24, but can be an impactful weapon for you on defense.

The hit stick tackle process is completely based on the right stick. 

When you are are approaching a ball carrier with your defender, simply flick the right stick up to flatten that ball carrier with a huge hit high on the runner.

You can also flick the right stick down to perform what is known a “cut stick”.

This is a hit stick low on the runners lower half that takes their legs out from under them and is extremely effective, especially against power runners like Derrick Henry.

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