Player Stats

Player Abilities

Player Salaries
(pro only)

Team Stats

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 stats.

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).

Analysis Notes

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.
Game Training
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.
Depth Charts
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.

Coaching Preferences
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.

Player Preferences
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:

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:

Position Changes
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.

Game Control

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.

Position Reference

Offensive Positions

Defensive Positions

Kicking Positions

Formation Reference

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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