The role of running backs has changed drastically in the last 20 years. Passing has become increasingly popular with offensive coordinators, and this has led to fewer rushing attempts on average. Having a potent backfield remains essential to a balanced offense.
Use the best abilities that Madden 23 has to offer to get the best out of your running backs. The running back position has become very versatile, with these players being asked to do more than just run and block these days, and assigning abilities that enhance a back’s default skillset is essential to your team’s fortunes.
5. Backfield Master
Over the course of a game, your opponent will start to pick up on your habits. Favorite plays and formations will become easily identifiable, and what worked in the first quarter or half will be irrelevant in the second half.
Backfield Raster gives your running back four additional hot routes, as well as increased route-running and catching skills against linebackers and linemen. One of the routes they add is Texas, which is a Cover 2 killer. If the defense is smothering your slot and outside receivers, this route will make them pay for leaving the mid-zone wide open. There is also an option for a flat route which you can use if they are filling up the box and you want to force them into a zone.
4. Balance Beam
The best running backs recover well from being hit and gain extra yards after contact on a regular basis. Shorter running backs have a low center of gravity to make it harder to take them to the ground, but the taller ones have a harder time staying upright. Madden does allow you to recover from a stumble, but it takes time to master that skill
The Balance Beam ability takes things an extra step and decreases the chances of stumbling when carrying the ball in the first place. You can assign it to any running back since elusive and power backs are typically going to experience the same amount of contact one across the line of scrimmage
The instinct of any Madden veteran carrying the ball and facing a defender would be to use the Hit Stick, but the NFL has a ton of heavy-hitting linebackers and safeties that make it hard to gain yards. As a result, flicking the Hit Stick is not guaranteed to have any significant effect.
The Tank ability will break almost any Hit Stick tackle attempt. Be sure to use this ability on a power running back to gain maximum effectiveness. It can be of great benefit for goal-line and short-yardage situations. Inside Zone and Dive runs are great 1st and 2nd down options when using the Tank ability.
Running backs take a lot of punishment from the defense. Once the ball is handed off, there are 11 defenders eager to rip their head off. A solid offensive line can help by blocking, but as a running back, contact is almost guaranteed. A running back with brute strength can sway advantage in your favor in one on one situations.
The Bruiser ability combines the Arm Bar and Bulldozer abilities. It gives the ball carrier extra power during truck stick and armbar animations. This ability is extremely effective on stretch and toss plays – plays which usually push you towards the sidelines where you are more likely to be in one on one situations. Use running backs like Nick Chubb or Derrick Henry to get the most out of this ability.
1. Reach For It
It can never be stressed enough that football is a game of inches. Nothing is more likely to have you throwing your controller than a turnover on downs after getting stuffed at the line of scrimmage. Sometimes, relying on the hope of a successful flick of the analog stick or perfectly timing a stiff arm is not enough for a new set of downs.
The Reach For It ability allows ball carriers to gain extra yards while being tackled more frequently. It is very effective when running dive and zone plays directly at the defensive line as the back will fall forward in the direction you are moving. Passes to your running back out of the backfield are usually ten yards or less, so this ability can help to get you across the line on passes that fall just short of the sticks.
Madden 23 did a great job providing abilities that reflect the current skill sets of today’s running backs. Use Backfield Master on a great receiving back like Christian McCaffrey. Staying upright is pivotal for players in this position, so you cannot go wrong with Balance Beam either, while Tank and Bruiser can take power backs and turn them into Derrick Henry. Stacking some of these abilities can pay dividends for you as well. You can stack Tank and Reach For It to create a back that will bulldoze through the line and also have a tendency to stumble forward rather than being stopped on a dime, and these kind of combinations demonstrate just how valuable these abilities can be.
Want to improve? Have a look at our guide to the best O Line Abilities in Madden 23.
Looking for more Madden 23 guides?
Madden 23 Money Plays: Best Unstoppable Offensive & Defensive Plays to Use in MUT and Franchise Mode
Madden 23 Best Playbooks: Top Offensive & Defensive Plays to Win on Franchise Mode, MUT, and Online
Madden 23: Best Offensive Playbooks
Madden 23: Best Defensive Playbooks
Madden 23: Best Playbooks for Running QBs
Madden 23: Best Playbooks for 3-4 Defenses
Madden 23: Best Playbooks for 4-3 Defenses
Madden 23 Sliders: Realistic Gameplay Settings for Injuries and All-Pro Franchise Mode
Madden 23 Relocation Guide: All Team Uniforms, Teams, Logos, Cities and Stadiums
Madden 23: Best (and Worst) Teams to Rebuild
Madden 23 Defense: Interceptions, Controls, and Tips and Tricks to Crush Opposing Offenses
Madden 23 Running Tips: How to Hurdle, Jurdle, Juke, Spin, Truck, Sprint, Slide, Dead Leg and Tips
Madden 23 Stiff Arm Controls, Tips, Tricks, and Top Stiff Arm Players
Madden 23 Controls Guide (360 Cut Controls, Pass Rush, Free Form Pass, Offense, Defense, Running, Catching, and Intercept) for PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X & Xbox One
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