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Thread: Playing Pass Defense

  1. #1
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    Playing Pass Defense

    I'm sat at home bored so I thought I'd post this. Now I expect there are many better FOF minds than me in the FFL and they will prove me wrong in one or two areas so please don't take this as gossip, but hopefully it may help one or two. For those greater minds who read this please please please add your knowledge as well, i think the game is so much better with a more equal playing field.

    Pass Defense
    As Jim has hinted many times before all three coverage’s (Zone, BnR and Man) are used when you play pass defense. So if you are playing 2deep man I would expect that your DB’s Man skill is used as the primary cover skill but a smaller % of your DB’s Zone and BnR are factored in to the equation.

    Safties.
    The vast majority of the time the Safties will be in deep zone’s, so it seems pretty clear Zone coverage is a very important bar for them. On occasion they will play Man Coverage due to double coverage or due to some other player blitzing which I will explain later.

    The Strong Safety will line up on the Tight Ends side of the field normally and he will also come up and play run defense quite often, so he will require run defense and some decent Man Coverage skills. A nice Interception bar is always a big bonus for any DB.

    The Free Safety is basically your last line of defense. Most of the time he will be in Zone so he needs a high Zone Bar. I also feel he needs a high Interception bar as well as he’s going to be floating around in deep coverage looking for those deep balls to intercept.

    Cornerbacks
    I feel it is very important to have at least three good CB’s. The WR is king in FOF so you need good CB’s to cover them, if you only have 2 good CB’s these guy will come out of the game to rest at times which potentially means the offenses stud WR may be covered by your backup on a few plays. A lot of games are decided by a score or less so one big play to the WR who is being covered by the backup CB can mean defeat for you. I love my CB’s to have Man defense as I believe rightly or wrongly that they are in Man coverage obviously in 1 & 2 deep man but also one or two CB’s are in Man coverage in 3 & 4 deep zone.

    LineBackers
    I believe very strongly that Linebackers start their coverage in Zone. This makes sense especially for the MLB who is very likely to be sat somewhere behind the front 3 or 4 and not up on the line of coverage. The same is likely for the OLB’s as well. They may well then move to BnR or Man cover but commons sense says they start in zone so I like my LB’s to have high zone when I comes to coverage. Like I say this could be wrong.

    Pass Coverage and Blitzing
    I think this is an area quite a few people can screw up. My view is that it is way better to be able to get pressure on the Quarterback from your front 4 in a 4 or front 3 and WLB if you play 34 rather than sending a LB blitzing. So let’s take an example of the offense using Singleback and the defense in Nickle. This would most likely mean the following match ups
    FL1 covered by CB1
    SE1 covered by CB2
    Slot covered by CB3
    TE covered by SLB
    HB covered by MLB
    FS In a deep Zone
    SS In a Zone

    Now let’s say you send the SLB to blitz, that means the SS will now have to cover the TE, that further means the FS is sitting in a deep zone on his own back there more than likely on the SE1’s side of the field. That further means FL1 is in one on one coverage with the CB1. In this instance let’s hope your CB1 is damn good at covering the FL1 who is very likely to be the Stud WR!

    Let’s say you send 2 blitzing in this scenario, for arguments sake we’ll say the SLB and MLB blitz, once again the SS is very likely to now have to pick up the TE. The FS will again stay in that deep zone meaning WR1 has once again got single coverage. Mr Quarterback can go deep to WR1 but he may decide to check down as he does not like the matchup there. If he does check down because the defense sent the SLB and MLB Blitizng the HB has no one covering him so the QB can just dump it off to him for some nice easy yardage.

    The defense may get some help in the fact that the HB, FB or TE may not be running routes dependant on how the offense has set their blocking in the “Miscellaneous Offensive Selections” screen. On each play there are normally two primary receivers, sometimes a third (HB or FB normally). If the FB/HB/TE are not the primary receivers they may block depending on the settings. But the defense cannot count on the fact that 1 of those 3 will be blocking!

    If you have the WLB set to blitz in the 43 and you are in Nickle there is not a WLB on the field so this will send the Nickleback blitzing.

    If you have the WILB set to blitz in a 34 and you are in Nickle here is not a WILB on the field so this will again send the Nickelback blitzing. ( a 34 guru may need to confirm this!)

    So the morale of blitzing is make sure you have enough guys left to cover the receivers or make sure you get to the Quarterback. It really is a huge risk to blitz too much.

    Double Coverage
    First of all you can’t get double cover any receiver if you are in run defense . Secondly you have to have enough players in coverage to get double coverage. So if you send two blitzing and the offense is in a 3WR set and you’re in Nickle you’re very unlikely to be able to get any double coverage. You also can’t double cover the Slot WR although I do believe that depending on the route the WR takes you can sometimes get double coverage.

    Who is the WR1 and WR2?
    WR1 is always the WR with the highest Route Running bar.

    CB Orientation
    In your pass coverage screens you have the choice to have your CB’s in one of two orientations. Orient CB by side of formation means that the CB will stay on one side of the field regardless of where WR1 lines up. If you have it set to “Orient CB by WR Covered” CB1 will follow WR1 along the line of scrimmage whether WR1 lines up on the right or left of the Line of scrimmage. I always use this.

    Pressure from your DL and WLB
    Getting pressure from these guys is key, many of you will have seen Aston (Eagles) join the league over the last 2 seasons and many of you may be sitting there thinking how is he doing so well with his Eagles with not a great deal of talent. First of all Aston is very good at FOF but you will also see all of his teams have DL’s with very high PRT and PRS. Simple put he gets a lot of pressure from the front 4 and this helps to stop the pass a lot. I am also of the opinion you do get coverage sacks in FOF, to get these you will need a lot of pressure from the front 4 or front 3 and WLB dependant if you play 34 or 43. I play a 43 as I am not very good in a 34, if you want to learn how to play a 34 to get pressure and sacks watch Nemissis in Dallas, he is a master at getting sacks and hurries from the 34 in every league he plays in.
    Last edited by Bill Walsh; 11-20-2013 at 10:04 AM.

  2. #2
    Asst Commish Dawgfan19's Avatar
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    Bill,

    I agree with just about everything you wrote, especially the importance of pass rush. I’m not really happy with my defense unless we’re in the top 5 PR%. I’m a little surprised the Jet defense is playing effectively this season with a mediocre pass rush. Most seasons I’ve been in the top 10 PR% ranking.

    Regarding blitzing, I’m in the “don’t blitz as much” camp. When I do blitz, it’s more on 1st and 2nd downs. Getting an offense in a 3rd and long situation is a good way to stop drives. On 3rd down, an incompletion is normally as effective as a sack.

    To add one preference, I play a lot of nickel coverage when expecting a pass. FOF is all about passing and stopping the big plays is key.

    I also prefer to play a 34. Finding a solid WLB is easier and less cap dollars IMO.

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  3. #3
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    I was going to disagree with everything you said...just to wind you up...
    but most of what you said is how many people are playing defense now.
    The one thing i do differently is the pass rush...im not concerned at all with the pass rush%
    Team by Team League ratings and stats dont concern me much either
    Each Player in my 3-4 has a skill set to fit what I want to do
    I let my WLB and LDE provide the pass rush, and I hope to stop the run on early downs
    I dont use much Double Coverage anymore, and I dont blitz much either
    The Old bend but dont break defense...waiting for the Offense to make a mistake that gives us a big play
    At the end of the day the only defensive stat im worried about is points allowed
    To me, stats can be affected by many factors
    If I win the battle for time of possession, or if we have a better average starting field position that puts pressure on the other teams offense to do more...in less time...or to do more and have to drive farther to do it. If we get a lead the clock becomes an even bigger factor, so Offense and special teams can actually help make your defense play better than you would expect them to, based on what you see when you scout them.
    Basically what im saying is...Yardage gained between the 20s doesnt concern me much, if we are winning the games

  4. #4
    yeah, good post Bill. I tend to think of zone as the king of all coverage bars but don't really want to skimp on any. I don't think there's any man under or bump-and-run in a 3-deep zone. Just 3 guys deep and others in shorter zones. And I definitely don't believe in trying to stop the run. If you get some good players you'll have some run stopping ability just incidentally

  5. #5
    I have to disagree about not being able to gameplan for stopping the run. It can be done

    I don't ever REX and I don't do that 'other' thing either

    What I do is build to a particular model of a defense and optimize the player fits for that scheme. My Gunslingers are playing my Red Sky Defense -- a 34 Zone Blitz that's been fused with a Cover 2 scheme; The pass rush comes from the Witch (WLB), NT(Bull), and LB-subs @ DE (Bandits/LEOS) when we want to get sexy. The 43 front is used in a couple of games when I need change it up.


    Last edited by Caldwell; 08-01-2014 at 07:14 AM.

  6. #6
    and great post btw!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Sharkn20's Avatar
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    I want to disagree in one thing due my own experience, in the OSFL I have one stud CB who since I learned how to use him properly has made 2 consecutive pro-bowls and in that 3rd season is already in 95.6 PDpct, if you mark your Defensive plays in "Oriented by side of the formation" the CB1 always will go with the WR1 (In the depth Chart) because in this game the FL sign the direction of the formation and the TE is ALWAYS aligned in the same side. Unless there is no TE in which that case the FL marks the side of the formation anyway.

    So if your rivalīs best WR is on the WR1 --> Flanker spot. You can align your best Cover man in him (M2M) and play Cover-2, Bump and run or Cover 3 all the day (You will suffer penalties for repeatting the formation but this WR will not see too much targets or not will catch too much balls I promise you. Unless of course you align a 50 rated bar M2M with a stud 81/81 WR... Obviusly Calvin Johnson can beat easy any Detroit CB, but not so easy players like Sherman, Peterson or McCourty for example.

    I use double cover when I have to cover a stud WR and donīt have any stud CB available, using diferent tactic, because the double cover is always for the best RR of the team, in that case I put my best M2M cover with the "worst" WR in RR and double cover with my 2nd best CB and the Safeties in the best RR... You just need to play and give up two or three games to see how it really works...

    As always I know my english is not perfect, but I do my best in every long Post that I write...

    I hope to help with that words and of course San Diego have a trio of pass catchers and a stud RB, like usually my teams are, to avoid to eat my own medicine!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Marv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharkn20 View Post
    I want to disagree in one thing due my own experience, in the OSFL I have one stud CB who since I learned how to use him properly has made 2 consecutive pro-bowls and in that 3rd season is already in 95.6 PDpct, if you mark your Defensive plays in "Oriented by side of the formation" the CB1 always will go with the WR1 (In the depth Chart) because in this game the FL sign the direction of the formation and the TE is ALWAYS aligned in the same side. Unless there is no TE in which that case the FL marks the side of the formation anyway.

    So if your rivalīs best WR is on the WR1 --> Flanker spot. You can align your best Cover man in him (M2M) and play Cover-2, Bump and run or Cover 3 all the day (You will suffer penalties for repeatting the formation but this WR will not see too much targets or not will catch too much balls I promise you. Unless of course you align a 50 rated bar M2M with a stud 81/81 WR... Obviusly Calvin Johnson can beat easy any Detroit CB, but not so easy players like Sherman, Peterson or McCourty for example.

    I use double cover when I have to cover a stud WR and donīt have any stud CB available, using diferent tactic, because the double cover is always for the best RR of the team, in that case I put my best M2M cover with the "worst" WR in RR and double cover with my 2nd best CB and the Safeties in the best RR... You just need to play and give up two or three games to see how it really works...

    As always I know my english is not perfect, but I do my best in every long Post that I write...

    I hope to help with that words and of course San Diego have a trio of pass catchers and a stud RB, like usually my teams are, to avoid to eat my own medicine!
    Interesting view but will it stop ZBUCK??? thats all I care about..lol

    Very nice insight like the info


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  9. #9
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    Be Careful with side of formation
    a smart GM...insert name here...might put his best WR at SE and really burn you
    especially in a playoff game or in a divisional showdown

  10. #10
    Senior Member Sharkn20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Zone View Post
    Be Careful with side of formation
    a smart GM...insert name here...might put his best WR at SE and really burn you
    especially in a playoff game or in a divisional showdown
    Yeah, I know this, but as every tactic is not 100% effective, if not every manager will use it and the game will be very boring...

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