I see a lot of teams that do not have very well developed starters and young players. While I think the development aspect in Madden was greatly improved this year, I'm not sure everyone fully understands how to maximize it to help their team. This post is going to cover how to optimize your results in game planning, the ideal strategy for spending your XP and how your coach can accelerate the process. Weekly Gameplan This is an area where a lot of users probably go wrong. You should NEVER user a drill that is not gold. You might have to do the drill 10-15 times to get gold but you need to do it. You double your XP for those positions by getting gold and that will play a big role in your player's development over the couse of a season. Once you get gold you can sim it every week after that and still get your gold points. Also, be smart in which drills you chose as you get in game boosts for those scenarios as well as XP for the position groups. It doesn't do you much good to do drive or levels as an offensive drill if you only run those plays 2-3 times per game. Use attacking Cover 2 or Cover 3 or blitz counters or red zone. Choose drills that will get you a boost in at least 1/3 of your plays that week. Knowing your opponent and their tendencies can play a big role in what you choose. Player Development This is the most important aspect of improving your team. Yes, you can improve your team through trades and free agency, but unless you trade away all of your young players and draft picks, you will need to develop them. Each position is a little bit different so let's take a look at each position one-by-one: Quarterback - Obviously accuracy is important for a QB. You should get your short and medium accuracy to at least 85 (ideal 90+) and deep accuracy to at least 70 (ideal 75-80). There's speculation on whether awareness actually impacts a user controlled QB but its generally a good idea to get his AWR to at least 70, preferably 80. Some think it helps cut down on INTs if this is the case. Throws tight spiral is also a good trait to have. If you run play action or have a mobile QB, getting your play action and throw on run ratings above 80 would be ideal as well. Running back - Carrying is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your RBs. If they fumble often, they really do you no good. Also, get your cover ball trait to at least brace vs all. That, along with carry, will greatly reduce your chances of fumbling. Drop open passes no is also ideal if you ever plan to throw to your RB. Having catch of at least 70 and juke and spin (if agile RB) or truck and stiff arm (if power back) at 80 or better is ideal too. Its also not a bad idea to have at least one RB with at least 70 pass block for 3rd downs as well. Fullbacks - These guys are really only focused on blocking. Its not a bad idea to give them drops open passes no and 65-70 CTH, but what you really want is blocking. Run block of 75-80 is ideal but impact blocking plays the biggest role for FBs. Getting that as close to 90 as possible will really help your run game. Strength is a good attribute to pair with them but you should find a FB with 70+ strength. Don't waste that large amount of XP trying to improve it. Wide receivers - Your wideouts primary responsibility is to catch the ball so having 80+ catch and catch in traffic is key. However, if they can't get open, they can't catch the ball. So get your route running for your top 3 WRs over 85 if possible. Also, release is important for your top two WRs as they are likely to get pressed. 85 is ideal there as well. Spectacular catch is nice but probably not worth spending XP on. Awareness and run block can be good secondary traits to work on once you get the core attributes above where they need to be. Tight ends - Your strategy here is going to depend largely on how you use your tight ends. If you are a run heavy team, then having TEs with at least 75 (80+ ideal) run block is necessary. Having impact block over 70 is beneficial as well as occasionally they will look for downfield blocks. However, the higher the better. If you are more of a pass first offense you shouldn't neglect blocking but catch, catch in traffic and route running should be your primary focus. Just follow the rules for wide receivers if possible. Release isn't as important for TEs as they rarely get pressed. Offensive line - Blocking here is obviously key. Your tackles should be at least 85 pass block and probably 80 run block. Your guards and center should be at least 85 run block and as close to 80 pass block as you can get. Impact blocking is also important for guards and centers when they pull on traps and powers. Again, 80+ (85+ is ideal) is key. Awareness also plays a role in blocking so don't forget that. As with most important attributes for each position, you should try to get awareness for your starting OL over 80 as well. The penalty disciplined trait is also a good idea to avoid holding and false start penalties. Defensive tackles - Your DTs are generally run stuffers so you want to focus on block shedding. 85+ is your goal. If they happen to have a power move close to or above 80 that will help your pass rush. But don't force it if it isn't close. Play recognition is important in helping to keep from getting faked out on play action but probably more important for DEs and LBs. Make sure to get the high motor trait as well as that will affect their ability to jump on loose balls. Defensive ends - This can be a little different depending on if you are a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. Typically 3-4 DEs are kind of treated like defensive tackles and you want them to be big, strong run stuffers. 4-3 DEs, however, need to be able to rush the passer. Pick whichever is your DEs higher move (power or finesse) and get it over 85. You only need one so don't wast XP trying to build up both. As mentioned above, high play rec is good to avoid getting faked out on play action. Good block shedding helps on shutting down the run. Its not the primary focus of DEs but it important, especially if you don't have great run stuffing LBs. Inside linebackers - These guys are usually your leading tacklers. Whether 3-4 or 4-3, they're responsibility is primarily to stuff the run. You should try to get these guys to at least 80 block shed. If you user control these guys then play rec and awareness is less important. However, if you don't play as your MLB often then 80+ play rec and awareness is key. Pursuit is also a very important trait for linebackers and DBs that aren't user controlled. It helps those players take better angles on tackles and, some believe, helps them play tighter coverage (or at least react quicker to balls in their area). 85+ is ideal for the pursuit rating for all linebackers and defensive backs. Also, don't forget zone coverage. Not as important if you user control them but 70+ (75+ ideal) is always a good idea here. Outside linebackers - Again, this is dependent on what kind of scheme you are running. If you are in a 3-4 then you should treat your OLBs like 4-3 DEs and focus on pass rush and block shedding. If you are a 4-3 defense then you should focus on man (minimum 65+) and zone coverage (75+), pursuit (85+) and block shedding (75+). High motor is a key trait for them as well as strip ball. Cornerbacks - These guys are your first line of defense against the pass. Dedicate yourself to improving their man and zone coverage (minimum 80+ each for starters). Pursuit, play rec and awareness are all important as well with the goal of 80+ for each. The play ball aggressive trait can help with interceptions as well as disciplined penalty to keep from getting pass interference calls. Safeties - Your free safety is 95% of the time in zone coverage so that's your #1 priority with them. 85+ is key. Pursuit , play rec and awareness at 80+ are very important as well (unless you user them exclusively). Strong safeties play a dual role and need to be part linebacker and part free safety. Strong safeties will be in man coverage on any Cover 1 play so having 75+ MCV is ideal. They will, however, typically be in zone so 80+ ZCV is a necessity. High pursuit, play rec and awareness is very important for them as well. Block shed can be useful for strong safeties once the other abilities are improved as can the strip ball and aggressive play ball traits. Following the guidelines above should really help you improve your player performance on the field. Stick to those abilities and traits and you will notice a big impact in game. Also, be sure not to waste XP on high cost items like speed, strength, etc. They are important but you should try to find players who already have those skills as one speed point can be as much at 10-15 awareness points. Coach Upgrades This is an underutilized aspect of team improvement. ALL of your coach XP should go to player progression until your main areas of need have the boost applied. Typically, this means you will have all but 2-3 of these boosts applied to your coach. If you're successful and winning you will get a considerable amount of coach XP. Spend it on positions boosts where you are youngest and need to develop guys. The extra 150-200 XP you get each week will make a big difference in those players by the end of the year.