Everything you need to know about Madden 21 Defense skill stick – Features, controls and tips

Your guide to the new defense-based skill stick in Madden 21.

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Using defensive lineman became a lot easier in Madden 21, as one of the more positive changes made to the franchise was the expansion of the skill stick. Traditionally reserved for ball carriers, defensive lineman and linebackers who line up for the pass rush can now use a defense-based skill stick to jar free from opposing offensive lineman.

Traditionally, players needed to hit A/X or Square/Triangle to execute a move on an offensive lineman in Madden. However, this method was not used much among Madden players, especially top-tiered players. Most Madden users ignored using with defensive lineman and traditionally opted to use either a linebacker or a safety. That, however, might change with this new addition.


To use the new skill stick, you’ll first need to learn the controls. The right stick for both Xbox and PlayStation is used for the defense skill stick. During the play, when you are attempting to beat an offensive lineman, you will have many options at your disposal. You can attempt a rip on an offensive lineman, and to do this, shift the right stick up. To perform a bull rush, shift the right stick down. You can also attempt either a club or a swim on an offensive lineman. Typically, power pass rushers with club, swim, and bull rush moves. On the other hand, Finesse players perform well with rips and spin moves, which can be performed by rotating the right stick in either clockwise or counterclockwise movements. To know which players are power or finesse players, look at their Power Move and Finesse Move ratings.

A look at the controls for the defense skill stick in Madden 21.

The success of using the skill stick also depends on these two factors: the pass rush budget and offensive blocker and resistance bars. The pass rush budget is a series of bars that you will see above a pass rusher. The more bars filled, the better chance the rusher has at blowing past the offensive lineman. Once the bars are empty, you won’t be able to break through until the bars refill. As for the resistance bars, these are the orange bars that you will see by an offensive lineman’s feet. You see two bars: one for the left side of the lineman, and one for the right side. The more orange bars that are by the lineman, the tougher he will be to beat in said direction.

Here, you can see both the pass rush budget lines (above the defensive lineman), as well as the orange blocker and resistance bars (below the offensive lineman).


Our recommendations for using the skill stick are to follow a couple of guidelines. First, don’t continuously use the skill stick during a game. If a player sees that you continue to use with the defensive line, the more he will attempt to beat you with passes, since it will appear that you are playing for a sack, rather than an incompletion or an interception. While this could backfire on the opposition, if you are smart, it will blow up in your face if you constantly use the stick. Use some variety when playing defense: on some plays, user with your linebackers or safeties. On other occasions, use a defensive lineman. If you do this, you can try to catch the opponent off guard by making yourself unpredictable.

Second, it’s important to use variety when using the skill stick. If you use a certain move, such as a club or a swim, over and over again, the lineman will begin to build memory and expect this move. In order to avoid this, use different moves. Try using a club one play, and a rip on another play. And be sure to keep an eye on the orange bars. That way, you will see which side the opposing lineman is weak, and take advantage.