- QB: passing attempts (PA), completions (P), yards (PY), and TDs (PTD);
rushing attempts and scrambles (R), yards (RY), and TDs (RTD);
interceptions (Int); sacks (Sck); run blocks made (Blk) and attempted (BA). A
quarterback's Avg rating is his efficiency, defined as follows. For pro,
there are four factors:
All four factors are restricted to a range of 0.0 to 2.375, then are added,
divided by six, and multiplied by 100 to produce the QB rating. If none
of the limits (0.0 - 2.375) come into play, the rating is given simply
- 5 * ( Completions per Pass Attempt - 0.3 )
- 20 * ( Touchdowns per Pass Attempt )
- 0.25 * ( Yards per Pass Attempt - 3 )
- 25 * ( 0.095 - Interceptions per Pass Attempt)
For college quarterbacks, a different formula is used:
- 2.08 + ( 83.3*Comp + 333*TDs + 4.17*Yards - 417*Ints) / Attempts
The college rating will nearly always give a higher number.
- ( 100*Comp + 330*TDs + 4.84*Yards - 200*Ints) / Attempts
- Other offensive players: receiving attempts (PA), completions (P),
yards (PY), and TDs (PTD); rushing attempts (R), yards (RY), and TDs (RTD);
fumbles (Int); sacks allowed (Sck); blocks made (Blk) and attempted (BA).
A lineman's Avg is his block percentage; other players have total yards per
play (rushing and receiving).
- Defense: tackles attempted (TA) and made (Tck); fumbles caused (Fmb);
sacks (Sck); times thrown at (PA) passes batted but not intercepted (Bat);
interceptions (Int). Average is tackling average. Note that it is
low for linemen because they are interfered with by the offensive line.
- Kickers: punts (Pnt), solid punts (SPn), punt yards (PY), punts inside
the 20 (I20), and punts for touchbacks (TB); field goals attempted (FGA)
and made (FGM); kickoffs (KO), kickoff yards (KOY), and kickoff touchbacks
(TB). Average is yards per punt or kickoff.
- Num, Name: Player's ID number and name
- Ps: Position
- Ag/Yr: Player's age (pro) or year in school (college)
- Sp: Speed
This refers to the raw speed of a player, similar to a 40 yard time. The
fast player will better make/avoid open-field blocks and tackles, will
run/defend medium and long passes better, and will win footraces to the
end zone. For long passes, speed can be even more important than passing.
Speed will be crucial for CB and SF on defense, and WR on offense.
It will also be important for DT, OLB, TB, TE, and QB. For a kicker, the
number listed here is the leg strength - how far he kicks the ball.
- Wt: Weight
The weight ability tells not just the weight of a player, but how strong
he is. The high weight player will make better blocks and tackles in line
situations. The ability is slightly less important than the blocking
abilities in blocking situations, but less important than the rushing
ability in tackling. All linemen should have high weight, as well as TE
and FB. Defensive players who plan to blitz should also have high weight.
For a kicker, the number listed here is the kicking accuracy, which affects
field goals, kicking to the #2 kick returner, and punting inside the 20.
- Rs: Rushing (off) or tackling (def)
This is essentially the ability to make/avoid a tackle. The high rushing
defender will make more tackles, tackle sooner, and cause more fumbles. The
high rushing ball carrier will break more tackles, get an extra yard here
and there, and make fewer fumbles.
- Ps: Passing (QB), receiving (other off), or pass defense (def)
A useful ability of course for QB, WR, and CB; the primary passer,
receiver, and defender. Having a good catching TE or RB can also be
of great use, and the defender needs a good defending SF or OLB to
- PB: Arm strength (QB) or pass blocking (other)
This is the ability to block on passing plays, except for QB. This will
of course be the most critical for linemen. Also it is useful for RBs if
you like to keep them back to pass block. For QB, this is the
distance throwing ability, and is used in long passes. For a defender,
this will help him fight off a block on a passing play (i.e. rush the QB).
- RB: Run blocking
This is the ability to block on rushing plays, except for QB. This will
of course be the most critical for linemen. Also it is useful for FBs and
TEs, who can lead block on plays if you wish. (PB+RB) is also a general
blocking measure which is added into the blocking equations for both pass
and run blocking. For defense, this is the ability to fight off a block
on a running play.
- In: Intelligence
Intelligence is an all-around useful ability. It doesn't actually make
a player any more talented, it just makes him play better. The first place
is that intelligent players create fewer penalties of all types. On defense,
an intelligent player will be able to see through a trick play and make a
good play. Especially on things like reverses, this can mean the difference
between a 3 yard loss and a 15 yard gain. A smart offensive lineman will
pick up a blitz better. A smart QB will find the open receiver. A smart
receiver will pick apart a zone or negate a defender's speed. A smart
rusher will find the most open hole to run through.
- St: Stamina
Stamina is an ability that helps your team remain rested. This is useful
in two situations. One is if your WR or TB makes a long play, he will
get tired. If his stamina is high enough, he may be able to remain in the
game instead of sitting out a play. The other situation is the slow tiring
of all players (especially linemen) over the course of a game. Both cases
are magnified in cases of hot or cold weather.
- Tr: Training level
A player's training level is shown on a scale from 0-25, and shows a
player's level of development. The 0-25 scale spans the whole scale from
pee-wees up through the NBA. A solid college player should be at or
above 10, while a seasoned NBA veteran should be over 20. Note that the
level shown here is only a composite of the player's level of training
at the different abilities.
- Injury: estimated number of games for healing; XX is a career-ending
- Spec: Specialty (S=short yardage, L=long yardage, R=red zone, G=goal
- R: Redshirt status (R=current redshirt, *=past redshirt, X=neither, but
has played, -=none of the above; college only)
- S: Scholarship status (S=on scholarship; -=not on scholarship; college only) For incoming recruits, "S" means that the player will want playing time
- Rank: Player ranking (A through F) and preferred position. These use
the ranking system used by computer teams, so given the lack of success
of those teams these should really only be used by rookie coaches to get
a general idea of who's good and who isn't, and what positions they may
be best suited for. No differentiation is made between the different
positions on the offensive and defensive lines; players who are
recommended to play offensive line will have OL and those for defensive
Player Salaries (pro only)
- Num, Name: Player's ID number and name
- Ps: Position
- Salry: Salary per season under current contract
- Bonus: Bonus per season under current contract and type (PR=pro-rated
bonus paid with each game; UF=up-front bonus paid at time of signing).
- Value-Yr: Value and remaining years of current contract. If between
seasons, the remaining years does not count the just-ended season.
- Reneg-Yr-PerY: Renegotiation demand, maximum years he will sign for,
and minimum salary per year for long contracts. ----- under reneg means
the player will not sign at all; - under years means he will sign for any
length of time.
- If a player qualifies for a minor league contract for next season, it
is noted, as well as the number of seasons remaining. If he is not signed
for next season, this is noted. If he cannot be traded (because he is no
longer under contract or he was signed as a free agent), this is noted.
Finally, franchise players are listed here.
There are two sets of team stats: offense and defense. For stats are what
your players have done; against stats are what you opponent has done.
The stats listed are passing attempts/completions, yards, and TDs; rushing
attempts, yards, and TDs; sacks; interceptions; and fumbles. Note that a QB
sack or scramble counts in the QBs rushing stats, but on the team's passing
DEL Cup leagues have additional categories at the beginning of the line:
number of tournaments played, number of championships won, series won and
lost, and games won and lost (which equals series won and lost because the
"series" in football are best-of-one).
The analysis page breaks down a team's stats by position, giving raw values
(ie, completion percentage) and a comparison with other teams in the league
on a scale from 0 to 10. Offensive stats shown are pass completion average,
yards per pass attempt, yards per rush, and block average. Offensive
linemen are rated by block average and sack average. Defensive stats are
tackling, pass defense, interceptions, sacks, and fumbles. Kicking stats
are punt and kickoff distances and field goal averages.
Once training camps are completed, your job will switch from being a team's general manager (getting players) to being the coach (preparing for games). This section covers your options for pre-game preparations.
Before each game, you get the option to train your team. The training options are passing and rushing offense and defense, conditioning, and films. You may use up to 10 total points of training for both offense and defense (conditioning and films count against both totals), but do not need to use them all. In fact, the more you train, the more fatigued your team will start the game. Training selections are made from the preferences menu of the coaching screen.
Select "O Lines" or "D Lines" for offensive lineups or defensive lineups, respectively. The first player listed will be your first string, the second player your second string, etc. The number of players from each position who will play depends on your formation choices. Also, backups will play whenever a starter is injured or takes a play off to rest.
Keep in mind that players who are on the field will, at random times, get permanent bonuses added to their abilities whenever they make a good play. Players who sit on the bench all season, on the other hand, have their skills deteriorate. Also keep in mind that the number of starters in many positions is not always the same. Only QB (1), C (1), OG (2), and OT (2) have a fixed number of starters.
There are three sets of coaching preferences you can set to change how your team is run during the game. The first set is offensive preferences. The formation choices are wishbone, I, pro set, run & shoot, shotgun, and spread, and will influence the formations chosen in the auto playbook creator. The remaining choices are all 1-5, with 1 low and 5 high. Aggression helps performance but causes penalties. Formation and risky play settings influence the auto playbook creator, and are otherwise unused. The remaining four -- kneel on ball, 4th down attempts, 2-point conversions, and spiking the ball -- are used if you are not using game control. The risky play setting will decide how often your team will run draws, reverses, and other sorts of risky plays. In general, you want to be risky when you're playing a team better than yours and safe when playing a team worse than yours. Note that if you are trailing by 2 after a TD, the team will go for a 2-point conversion regardless of your 2-point setting; if you are down 1 you will always kick a PAT.
For defense, formation and aggression work the same as offense. Choices for formation (4-3, 4-4, 3-4, and nickel) and zone and blitz settings affect only the auto defensive playbook generator, while aggression is always used. The "pull starters in blowout" options will effectively set your bench usage to maximum if the game is in a blowout.
For zone coverage, a higher number means more zone. In Man-to-man, your corners and linebackers will stick to one specific receiver, giving them a slightly better chance to break up the play. However, it means that if they miss the tackle, help is further away. The negatives usually outweigh the positives, so zone normally is preferred against passing teams. However, man-to-man coverage means that you usually have one or more linebackers free to blitz. In a zone, each linebacker and defensive back is assigned a specific part of the field to cover. This means that you don't rely on speed as much, and that help will be one zone away.
A blitz is when a linebacker or defensive back (usually a linebacker) will leave his position and join the defensive line for a play. This can only happen in a man coverage situation, since it would leave a gaping hole in any sort of zone coverage. The advantage of blitzing is that it gives your team a chance to stop the play early, either by tackling the QB in a pass play, or stopping a running play right away. The disadvantage of course is that whatever that player normally does defensively is now not being done. So if the play makes it past the line of scrimmage, the defense is worse off.
The select key WR option also needs some explanation. For most positions, what is important is if you are on the strong or weak side. But for CB, what is important is who you are matched up on. So the key WR option allows you to define the strong side as one a certain receiver is on. Either you can select the receiver higher on the depth chart as the strong receiver, or you can select a specific receiver. For a general coaching set, key on the receiver highest on the depth chart and set your CB side setting to #1 strong or effecitive strong. If you are coaching for a specific game, you would want to key the best receiver.
Finally are the special teams preferences. "Long FG" is a relative term, depending on the strength and accuracy of your kicker. All are 1-5 settings, again with 1 low and 5 high. You can use the various options to control the likelihood of using onside kicks, or faking punts, field goals, or PATs. "Run on fake" sets the liklihood of running as opposed to passing on a fake. Setting it to 5 means you always run, 1 will always pass. The returners option allows you to designate your punt returner and two kickoff returners. Kickoff returner #1 should be the better of the two.
This set of options allows you to choose how you use your players. The first two options are bench usage, namely how much you want the reserves to be used when the starters get tired. Each position except kickers gets a setting from 1 to 5, with 5 meaning the reserve gets nearly equal time.
The second set chooses how you line up your players, on strong or weak sides, with five choices at each position. The first is no preference, meaning that the top players will be put randomly at strong or weak sides. The second two are #1 strong and #1 weak. This means that the #1 player on the roster or his replacement will be put on the chosen side. Finally, there are rested strong and rested weak, meaning that the most effective player (decided by roster position, bench use, and fatigue level) is put on the chosen side. RBs have no strong or weak side; instead they have runner and blocker.
The last set of options allows you to set specialists and players to play if hurt. In college, you can also set redshirts here. The specialist setting allows you to designate a player to be moved up to the top of the depth chart in situations of your choice: short, long, catchup, and protect a lead. Whenever that playbook is used, he will be moved up on the depth chart.
To set a player as a specialist, go to the specialist menu and choose the player and the situation you want him to play in. To unset a player, do the same thing a second time. Place kickers can be given long or short specialist settings as well. A "long" PK specialist will be preferentially used for kickoffs, while a "short" specialist will be used for field goal attempts.
Finally, college coaches can set redshirts here. A redshirted player does not play for that year, and in return is allowed to remain in college an extra year.
The last aspect of coaching is creating your own playbook. The amount of time you spend doing this can range from almost none to being the most time-consuming part of the game. There are three levels of managing playbooks that are available.
For those who are more interested in the GM aspects of the game, the computer can create a playbook automatically. Simply select "plays" from the coaching menu, "edit playbook", and "auto", and the computer will design an offensive playbook for your team, taking into account the key players, your offensive formation choice, and your risky play choice. You can also create defensive playbooks with the same option in the "DPlays" menu, using your formation, blitz, zone, and risky play options into account.
The second option is to manually edit the playbook yourself. There are six areas of the playbook, for different situations: normal, short yardage, long yardage, red zone, goal-line, and hurry-up. In each of these areas, you must choose between five and fifteen plays that can be run if and when the given situation arises. Each play has a liklihood of use, ranging from one to five. A play with usage 5 is used 5 times as much as one with usage 1. In addition, each play has a use in catch-up situations, which can be 1 to 5. A high number means to increase the play's usage when you need to score quickly (and of course decrease when you are ahead); setting to 3 uses the play the same amount throughout, and a low number means to decrease the play's usage when ahead.
The options in the playbook editing menu are adding a play, erasing a play, changing the weight (liklihood of use) of a play already in the playbook, and changing its catch-up use.
Finally, you can design your own plays for use in your playbook. To enter the play design menu, select "plays" from the coach menu. The options for play creation are to design a new play, remove a play, or alter a play. You may not remove a play that is in use.
When creating a play, you are asked whether the play is a run or pass, and the backfield that you wish to use. This will set the player assignments to something close to what you want, and you will then be placed in the play editing screen.
The following options are available while editing a rushing play:
The following options are available while editing a rushing play:
- Play name: what you want to call the play
- Formation. Alteration: how free the runner is in picking his hole; Backfield: no backs, 1 TB, 1 FB, split backs, I, wishbone, power I; WR alignment: balanced, extra on strong side, extra on weak side; TE number: none, strongside TE only, two TEs. There are certain restrictions on formations, and the game will "fix" any formation that fails to meet them. The primary restriction is that it there must be three eligible receivers to the strong side (including backs).
- Play type: normal, draw, trap/misdirection, reverse, option
- Runner(s) and holes: for a reverse, two runners, with runner 1 being the initial carrier and runner 2 the final. For an option, two or three, with the QB always runner 1. All runners in an option must go generally the same direction; a reverse must start as a sweep to the side of the second runner, who then must run the other direction.
- Play name: what you want to call the play
- Formation. Alteration: how free the runner is in picking his hole; Backfield: no backs, 1 TB, 1 FB, split backs, I, wishbone, power I; WR alignment: balanced, extra on strong side, extra on weak side; TE number: none, strongside TE only, two TEs. The formation restrictions above are also enforced here.
- Pass type: normal, play-action, screen. A screen gives weaker blocking, but allows the receiver to get downfield blockers.
- QB drop: 3-step, 5-step, roll to strong or weak. 3- and 5-step drops should be timed to the length of the routes (3-step for short and 5-step for long).
- Receivers: Up to 3 receivers (1 for a screen) can be defined, each with an individual pattern.
Defensive playbooks work exactly the same as offensive playbooks, except that only one play is required in a defensive playbook.
Finally, you can create defensive plays similar to the offensive plays. The options here are as follows:
- Play name: what you want to call the play
- Formation: the cumber of players from each position in formation. Certain restrictions apply. The difference between the number of SF and CB in a formation cannot exceed two. Likewise with ILB and OLB. The difference between DT and DE cannot exceed one. The number of ILB and OLB can be 0-3, the number of CB 1-4, and the number of SF, DT, and DE 1-3. You can also set whether the play will be used against 0 WR, 1 WR, 2 WR, 3 WR, 4 WR, and/or 5 WR sets.
- Coverage: 0-deep man, 1-deep man, 2-deep man, 3-deep man, 2-deep zone, 3-deep zone, and 4-deep zone
- Rush: expect run, pass, or neither
- Blitz: select up to three linebackers and backs to join the rush, and up to one lineman to fall back into coverage (zone blitz).
This is a good tool if you have players who are ineffective in their given position, but would be much better in a different one. The drawback is that the players switched will suffer a diminished effectiveness for a few games (while they learn the new positions.) There are some limitations to switching players. QB, PK, and PN may never have their positions changed. In addition, offense and defense players may not be swapped.
If you selected play-by-play control, you will call each play and defensive set during the course of a game. For the most part, the only part of the coaching menu that really matters is depth charts and playbooks. Everything else you will do yourself.
Before each offensive play, you will choose a formation, play, and clock option. The formation choices are the same as in the coaching menu, plus punt and field goal. The play will be chosen from the appropriate playbook. The clock options are normal, out of bounds, or timeout. Normal will run the play normally. Out of bounds will sacrifice yards in an attempt to get out of bounds. Note that this does not always work though, and if a defensive lineman makes the stop, the clock will continue to run. If you want to be absolutely certain of stopping the clock, select timeout. A timout will be called if the player does not get out of bounds.
Before each defensive play, you will choose a defensive play from your playbook. Defensive options are never asked for if the offense is punting or attempting a field goal (even in case of a fake).
The above options are also used for point after touchdown attempts, although the punt option is not available.
- Quarterback (QB). This is the player that runs the offense. On a running play, he normally hands to ball off to a running back (but occasionally runs it himself). On a passing play, he throws the ball.
- Running back. Running backs normally are used in running plays, although they are eligible to receive passes. As receivers, they usually are involved in short plays. A second running back will always act as an extra blocker. There are two types or runners: tailbacks (TB) and fullbacks (FB). A tailback is usually smaller and faster, and does best running outside. A fullback is usually bigger and a better blocker, and does best blocking or running up the middle.
- Wide receiver (WR). These are the ones who make the spectacular plays you see on highlight films. Their only job is to try to catch the ball. Although they are most noted for their long plays, they go medium most of the time.
- Tight end (TE). This a linemen eligible to receive a pass. A tight end must also protect the quarterback if the defense is blitzing.
- Offensive Line. There are five linemen, who protect the QB on passing plays and make holes in the defense for runners to run through on running plays. The center (C) is in the middle, an offensive guard (OG) on either side, and an offensive tackle (OT) on the ends.
- Safety (SF). Usually not assigned to defend any player, rather is the last defensive player between an offensive player and the end zone in case a linebacker or cornerback misses a tackle. Can rush the quarterback on a somewhat rare safety blitz.
- Cornerback (CB). Defends against the wide receivers. Can rush the quarterback on a rare cornerback blitz.
- Linebackers. Defend the tight ends, wingbacks, and running backs on a pass play. They are also supposed to stop and running backs that make it beyond the line of scrimmage. Can rush the quarterback on a linebacker blitz. They are divided into inside linebackers (ILB) and outside linebackers (OLB).
- Defensive ends (DE). Line up on the offensive guards. They try to sack the QB and stop running plays early.
- Defensive tackles (DT). Line up on the offensive tackles and the center.
- Punter (PN). The player who kicks the ball downfield on fourth down. The kickoff after a safety is also a punt.
- Place Kicker (PK). The player who kicks field goals and extra points. He is also the player who kicks the ball to the other team at the beginning of a half or after a score.
Due to the extra blocking backs, the 3 back sets run with more power than the 1 back sets. But the defense can put extra defenders between the tackles when you use one of these sets, while they are forced to spread out more against a 1 back set, so the gain is minimal.
A steady ground game will score points consistently, and will eat up the clock. If you're up be 5 points with 3 minutes to go, a run up the middle will take about 30 seconds off the clock, while an incomplete pass will take about 5. Also a ground game is less likely to have 3 straight bad downs, while a passing game can easily have 3 incomplete passes, forcing you to punt.
On the other hand, passing is the quickest way of getting the ball down the field. You tend to get more long passes than long runs. Also, an incomplete pass stops the clock. Therefore, if you are down by 5 points with 1:30 to go in the game, the computer will tend to pass more often than otherwise. The conclusions are therefore: (1) if you want to score 50 points per game, you want to draft some wonderful quarterbacks and wide receivers, and use a spread and (2) even if you want a balanced attack (or a running attack), you need some good passing players in case you need a come-from-behind win.
A note about tailbacks - they ususally run more sweep plays (around the sides of the linemen as opposed to between them, so they are capable of gaining more yards than are fullbacks. On the other hand, if they are stopped in the backfield while running a sweep, they are running sideways, and tend to lose more yards. Therefore, a good tailback is normally better than a good fullback, while a bad tailback is worse than a bad fullback.
The pro set gives you the best mix of passing and rushing, and gives very good results. For a novice, I would recommend using that. You can use the I if the opponent's defense seems to be weak against the run, or if you have an incredible running attack. The run & shoot or shotgun are good if the opposite is true. You are really going out on a limb by using the spread. If your opponent happens to have a good pass defense, you're out of luck. (The same is true with the wishbone and rushing defense.)
A note about designing your own plays - don't get too creative in how you line up. If you give away your intentions by lining up a certain way, all element of surprise is lost. However, if you use the identical lineup for every play, the defense will be kept guessing until the play is in progress.
The man-to-man defenses have a harder time covering the pass. This is because each receiver has one player on him. In a zone, the safeties are available to double-team the receiver. (This is true in man-to-man as well, but to a lesser degree.) The 3-4 defenses seem to have trouble covering the rush. This is because there are fewer men on the line to try to stop the rusher. Obvoiusly, 4 men can do a better job than 3. The 4-4 defense has more men up front, but no strong safety. Thus, you have a better chance of stopping a play early, but a lower chance of stopping it later. The nickel is a 4-2 I guess, but with only a few people in the middle of the field. The nickel and dime are generally only used when you're trying to keep a team from scoring quickly. They allow short passes and medium passes up the middle, but try to take away sideline passes (the clock stops if the ball carrier runs out of bounds) and long passes.
With all this in mind, I would recommend a 4-3 mix for the novice. The best reason to use a 3-4 is if your second tackle is really bad and your second inside linebacker is really good. A zone is good if the opposing team passes a lot or is very bad at rushing, because of the improvement in the passing defense. As far as going man-to-man, I would only do that if my corners and linebackers were outstanding at pass defense. The man-to-man defense is a gamble. Your defenders have a better chance of breaking up the pass on man-to-man, but a harder time tackling the defender if the ball is caught. Since about 60% of passes are complete, this gamble usually fails. With sufficiently good defenders, it could work out.
The same advice about designing offensive plays is useful here. You should have very few lineups that your team uses, and you should use a mix of man and zone defense from each. A smart QB or receiver can beat a zone much easier if he knows it is coming ahead of time.
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