Carrying the ball is an essential part of Madden NFL 23. Almost every play features a player running the ball at some point. The classic ball carrier system provides an array of options to evade tacklers and fight for extra yards.
The ball carrier system is used in numerous gameplay scenarios. Common situations include:
- Designed run plays
- WRs running after the catch
- QB runs past the line of scrimmage
- Kickoff and punt returns
- Returns following defensive takeaways (interceptions, fumbles, etc.)
This guide will go over everything you need to know about carrying the ball in Madden 23. We’ll highlight controls as well as tips on how and when to use different moves, such as jukes and stiff arms.
Basic Ball Carrying Controls
By default, your player will run at a normal pace. Increase their speed by sprinting with R2. A player’s ability to sprint is limited and is affected by stamina. Holding R2 at all times will tire your team out and leave them winded at the end of games.
Changing speeds while running the ball is also very important. For example, it is best to normally run behind your blockers and wait for them to open up a hole. Once they create some space, sprint through the gap into the second level and past the defense.
Holding R1 protects the football and helps to prevent fumbling. The runner will secure the ball with both hands. Try to hold R1 whenever you are being wrapped up or brought to the ground. Make sure to always hold R1 when being gang tackled or when a defender is trying to strip the ball away.
Press Square to dive forward. Use this to lunge for the goal line or first down markers. Certain players can even dive over defensive lines and into the endzone for highlight-reel touchdowns.
Though rarely used, you can pitch the ball with L1. The runner will lateral the ball backwards to a teammate behind them. Even if there is no teammate nearby, the runner will still pitch the ball and it will be ruled a fumble. Laterals should only be used in times of absolute desperation.
Jukes, Spins, and Hurdles
Madden’s analog juke controls have been among its most popular features for years. They are not only fun to pull off but are also the most effective ball carrying move in space. Simply flick the RS in the direction you want the player to make a move.
Timing is everything when it comes to a successful juke. Flicking the RS at the precise moment will leave a defender in the dust looking silly. However, a poorly-timed juke will often lead to an awkward tackle and potential fumble. As your experience and skill level increase, so will your natural feel for this timing.
Flick the RS down to perform a dead leg. This works like a hesitation and will make the player stop for a moment before continuing their move. It’s a great way to avoid defenders coming from sideways angles. You can either dead leg into a cut or come to a complete stop and change directions.
Press Circle to perform a spin move. Hold the LS in the direction you want the player to rotate. Spin moves are flashier and more explosive than jukes, but are much harder to direct. Some players are more comfortable using pure analog controls. Fortunately, you can also rotate the RS in a quarter-circle motion for spin moves.
Hurdle over defenders by pressing Triangle. If timed correctly, the runner will jump over diving tacklers. Make sure to hurdle over any fallen players to avoid tripping. Some of the game’s most athletic players have the ability to completely leap over smaller defenders.
All of these elusive ball carrier moves come with some risk. Players are prone to fumbling if they are hit during a juke, spin, or hurdle. Use discretion when performing these moves and try to use them near the sidelines to avoid costly turnovers.
Trucking and Stiff Arms
Sometimes it's better to go with power over finesse.
Certain runners thrive on being more physical than their opponents. Many years ago, this led to the creation of one of Madden’s most iconic mechanics: the truck system.
Trucking functions like an offensive version of the hit stick. Flick the RS up to truck a defender as they make contact. The runner will lower their shoulder and try to break through the tackle. Even if they can’t stay on their feet, there is a high chance of the ball carrier ploughing over the defender and falling forward for extra yards.
Press and hold X to stiff arm. The runner will extend their arm out and try to push defenders away from them. The strongest players are able to literally throw opponents to the ground and maintain their balance. For most players, stiff arms aren’t as efficient at breaking tackles. However, they are a fantastic way to carry tacklers for big chunks of extra yardage before going down.
Like jukes and spins, players are highly susceptible to fumbles during trucks and stiff arms. However, it is easier to protect the ball while performing power moves. Make sure to always hold R1 simultaneously when running defenders over.
Quarterbacks have slightly different controls when they’re running the ball. They have the option to go down on their own by sliding. By giving themselves up, QBs avoid taking hits. This is important as most QBs are likely to fumble if they are tackled in the open field.
While running with a QB, tap Square to perform a slide and end the play. It is very important to TAP the Square button and not press or hold it. Doing so will make the QB dive instead of slide. Diving is much riskier as the QB can still take hits and fumble the ball.
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