Special Teams

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Madden players might not punt much, but when they do, it's we need to know what to do.  Your punt returner's job is to field the punt, but there's nothing special about mishandling a punt.  A muffed or fumbled punt is dangerous.  Not only is the kicking team likely to regain possession, but a fumbled punt gives the kicking team the ability to advance the ball while the return man is laying on his back.  It's enough to get a punt returner demoted to the bench, never to return another kick.  Fortunately, the fair catch rule allows a return man an opportunity to field the punt cleanly without getting hit. 

It's typically a bad idea to field a punt inside the 10 yard line because it's likely to go in the end zone for a touchback that awards the ball on the 20.  But if there is room to field the ball cleanly and run at least to the 20, fielding the punt might be wise. 

Calling a fair catch is a split second decision based on the location of the punt coverage team, the spot the punt will land, and the effectiveness of upfield blocking to name a few.  If any of these factors is unfavorable, the return man should either call a fair catch or get out of the way.  The risk of a muff or a fumble is higher when the coverage team closes in.  Whatever decision the returner makes directly effects the offense, or worst case, the defense if he chooses poorly. 

It may be necessary to switch to the return man before giving the fair catch signal.  Calling a fair catch is as simple as pressing the Triangle button on PS4 or the Y button on XBox.  Signified by waving one hand clearly over the returner's head, the fair catch denies the returner of a showstopping return, but also denies the coverage team from laying down a massive hit.  But the ability to call for a fair catch is time sensitive.  Wait to late and the fair catch button doesn't work because the returner won't have time to give the signal.

When in doubt, call fair catch early.  You can still get out of the way. 

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