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Help for a Football Novice


Graeme
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With ESPN football coming out soon, I'm extremely tempted to pick it up. My concern is that I will play only a couple of games and never touch it again. While I'm sure the online play will help with that somewhat (I played a bit of MP ball with a coworker that was quite a lot of fun), the main reason is that I just don't understand the game of football all that well.

 

Offense I usually find pretty fun, but passing is usually rather frustrating and I know nothing about reading a defense or it's coverage. I'll throw the ball to guy that looks wide open when I hit the button, only to have 3 defensive players jump up and swat it down before it even gets close to the intended receiver. And while I know what a goaline and shotgun formation are for, I really have no clue when I'd use a Pro-Form or I-form under which circumstances.

 

Denfence is even worse. I have a general understanding of what the formations are for, but after that I'm lost. In the old Genesis days I'd just pick what I thought I should, then use the guy at the end of the line and try to get a sack. I obviously can't do that any more. I played a few games of Fever yesterday, and I had more success when I let go of the stick when the ball was snapped then when I tried to take control.

 

Sooo, are there any good resources for someone like me that won't put me to sleep? I suppose just general football knowledge would help, but something that is more specific the the game might be a bit more interesting an immediatly helpful.

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Graeme,

 

I tell you what. Look me up on Live after you get ESPN football and we'll play a couple of games and I'll explain a lot to you. It will be a lot easier to do that then type it here. Plus while we are playing, it will be kind of like a tutorial. :)

 

I've helped out a few people here understand the game of football a bit better. I know Calvin has used my advice and he has gotten a lot better in NFL 2K3. He has even beaten me a couple of times. Anyways, I'll be glad to help you out. More people from LCVG playing ESPN football is always a good thing. :)

 

-Dean-

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Graeme, look me up on Live. I love football and will be picking up ESPN Football today or tomorrow. The best thing is that I'm pretty bad.

 

Resources? As bad as I am, my understanding of the game really improved with a couple things:

 

1. I read Joe Theismann's, Idiots Guide to Football.

2. I watch a lot of football and football shows (like HBO's Inside the NFL).

3. I ask knowledgeable friends a lot of questions.

 

Keep in mind that in my case, this has really improved my understanding of the game of football, but clearly hasn't turned me into a videogame juggernaut.

 

-j

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Oh, and there are two kinds of safeties: the scoring kind and the defensive player kind.

 

The scoring kind is when happens when the defensive team tackles an offensive player in his own end zone. Team on defense scores two points. Pretty rare.

 

The safety (the player kind) lines up 8-10 yards from the line of scrimmage; responsible for providing support in pass coverage (essentially the safety net against a long gain of yardage by the offense); typically two safeties play depending on the defensive and offensive formations. (from nfl.com)

 

-j

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I've got to admit that some of the finer points of football escape me too. I've been a lifelong fan, and I have a firm grasp of all the fundamentals, but playing NFL2k3 has really got me questioning my knowledge of when a different defensive "package" is called for, such as a dime or nickel defense. Sometimes I'm at a loss to pick a good defensive play, that I just take the game's suggested play, and even then I'm not sure why the system thought that was the right play.

 

 

And what is about the duties of a linebacker, a guard, a nose tackle that earns them that title?

 

Here's hoping that this thread will continue for the duration of the season with a discussion of the inner strategy of football.

 

And why the heck is "Tackle" an OFFENSIVE position?

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Guys. Feel free to look me up online regarding football rules and things like that.

 

Carlucci, regarding the Dime and Nickle defenses, they are used in primarily passing situations. Usually a greater that 10 yards situation on first or 2nd down, or greater than 7 or 8 (in today's NFL) on 3rd down. Basically, the Nickle gives you 5 Defensive backs instead of the standard 4 (two cornerbacks and two safeties) you would see in the 4-3 or 3-4 defense. The Dime goes one step beyond that and adds yet another giving you 6 defensive backs.

 

In the Nickle formation, you will usually see defenses go with 4 down linemen, and 2 linebackers. Basically, a team is guessing that the other team will be throwing the ball, so there isn't as much need for run stopping. In the Dime formation, defenses will typically have 4 down linemen, or sometimes 3 in extreme prevent situations, and just go with 1 linebacker. Again, the run isn't as much of a threat, so they forgo linebackers for defensive backs.

 

From the offensive perspective, the draw play becomes much more effective against teams that live in the dime or the nickle. They have so many DB's playing off the line of scrimmage that your OL may be able to contain all of the "under" players and open up a big running lane for your RB.

 

As far as the origin of the names of the Guard, Linebacker, and Nose Tackle? You've got me. I've just known those to be the names of those positions. There must be an answer out there.

 

Here's a website I found at the NFL site regarding all of the rules and info about a ton of different things.

 

I hope it helps.

 

http://www.nfl.com/fans/rules/

 

I'll try to answer other questions that come up over time.

 

Glen

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Graeme,

 

Your post sounds like it could have been written by me. I'm very much in the same boat. I grew up watching football, I know a lot about it, but when it comes to the technical parts and putting together defenses in response to an offensive formation, I'm lost.

 

When I'm watching a game I have a rough idea of what the next play should be (especially on offense), given the down/yardage. I know a decent amount of the terminology. For example I'm familiar with a post pattern (I think it's when you send a receiver straight down the side of the field and then have him cut in sharply), but I'm not exactly sure when you'd want to run one (zone defense?). On the opposite side, I'm not clear at all when you'd set up a zone defense vs man-to-man coverage...

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On the opposite side, I'm not clear at all when you'd set up a zone defense vs man-to-man coverage...

That depends on the speed of you defensive backs. If they are speedy and have good coverage skill, man to man is advantagous. I'm not a huge fan of zone deffenses, because it can lead to holes in the backfield, but it does work better for the run.

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Definately keep this thread going guys. Console football games are about the only game I don't call myself competent at and it drives me nuts. I do so so on offense, but on defense I'm just lost as to how to play. I tend to jsut let the AI run it for me but that kind of seems to take the fun out of it. More tips! :D

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A few more words on man versus zone defenses. As the names imply, man-to-man has each of your DBs (defensive backs, meaning corners and safeties) assigned to a particular receiver. Zone means that each DB is responsible for an area on the field, and they will cover anyone who comes into their "zone". You can usually tell if an opposing defense is in a man or a zone by looking at your receivers at the LOS (line of scrimmage) before the snap. If all of your receivers have someone directly in front of them, it's probably man-to-man. If some of your receivers don't appear to have someone in front of them, it's probably zone. You can especially tell if you send a receiver in motion before the snap--if a DB follows him then it's man (usually) and if no one follows him then it's zone.

 

I don't know how Madden or Fever work, but I have found that in Sega's games, a man defense is vulnerable to crossing routes, where two receivers line up a few yards apart, run straight ahead for a bit, and then the inside guy slants outside and the outside guy slants inside. This can "pick off" one of their cover guys and can often lead to a deep completion if you time it right. Zone defenses I have a little more trouble passing against, but I like the square-out routes (especially by the tight end) against zones, where the TE will dash forward for 10 yards or so and then make a 90 degree turn and head directly for the sideline. If I lead that TE a bit, I find I can usually complete a pass to him against a zone defense.

 

West Coast offenses do really well against zones, just play 2K3 against the Cardinals in a zone defense and you'll be 8-yrd-completioned to death. Short, controlled passes are the key against zones, I've found.

 

Disclaimer--this is all just out of my personal experience with videogames and certainly not because I coach or play football myself! I'm no expert by any means. I'm just trying to share some info that I found helpful.

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Poison Jam is pretty much right on about the West Coast offense being very good against zones. Although, it is a good offense against man to man as well, if you have a good QB and quality receivers that can get by their man.

 

One of the main parts of the west coast offense is to replace your 5 to 6 yard run with a 5 to 6 yard pass with a potential for much more.

 

Regarding what PJ was saying about how to detect zone and man defenses from the offensive end, some games are "simulating" man with the zone defense now. They will have a DB follow your DB across the field, and then when the ball is snapped, they will drop back into a zone and let your WR run by them into the next zone.

 

You can learn alot about defenses and such by setting up yourself in the practice mode and calling offenses and such and watching the other team adjust. Use the replay mode. It can be your friend when you make a mistake. :)

 

Glen

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