guys, sorry itís been since forever that IĎve written one of these. I
know I promised this a while back, but recruiting has been a pain.
Anyways, enough about me. Iíve very well noticed that most teams are
trying to find an efficient way of stopping the ball carrier, or
stopping the running game. Although not simple, it is possible. The
process itself takes a while too, because you canít expect for
overnight sensation success. Just doesnít work like that. A lot of
times we question are capability to of DCing. Well, donít worry. I
often find myself questioning my own decisions like ďI shouldíve done
thisĒ and stuff like that. Truth is, everyone makes mistakes. You learn
better from mistakes to, so you can be optimistic.
Step One: Your Roster and Game Planning
the most overlooked aspect of the game for coordinators, no joke. Iíve
seen teams with amazing AI, awesome tactics, great game planning. All
the stuff you can think of, but they couldnít stop the run. Why? Well,
that was my job, to find out why. I checked the AI, game tapes, plans,
etc. I couldnít find anything honestly. Then, just to make sure the
players were good, I went and checked out the builds. Honestly, Iíve
seen it from every team. Every team has at least one or two players
with questionable builds. Itís great to make your player ďdifferentĒ,
but honestly you donít want to add equipment points in catching for
And like I said, itís happened on more than
one team. Pure raw talent, thatís what I say. Back in season 1-3, we
didnít have a defensive AI. We had basic percentage tactics, and our
depth chart. Just because you can add an Input and give it three
outputs doesnít mean youíre automatically going to go 16-0 and win the
championship. What makes you different from the other coordinators?
Your roster, of course! So what are some good ways of making sure your
roster is prepared for a high power offensive team?
Research Your Team
over your players build. Easy enough, right? But do you know which
attributes are important for each position? Do you want a NT with 70
agility and 40 strength? No, of course not. Common sense people, itís a
gift, itís free, so use it! NT need to be strong and is the anchor of
the defense. Canít be too hard to know that your NT should put points
So look over your defense and see what
each man should work on, good build or bad build. I usually look at
these main things for every position:
∑ Where should he put points (Boost and Level Ups)
∑ Where should he train
∑ Is stamina low? (Starter Only)
∑ Is Equipment placement good?
LB only: Should he play somewhere else besides original spot, and who
can I switch him with to make sure itís a good move?
are the main things I look at. The first two are very important and can
be monitored easily without having to PM anyone. I make a thread in the
Team forum and usually call it ďDefensive Build ThreadĒ or something
like that and ask people from defense to post their build. Hereís the
thing, I also ask them to let me see what they think they should do.
This gives you an idea of what the player is aiming for. If a player
who owns a SS says ďIím going to put more points in speed and train
catching and agilityĒ, heís aiming to be a coverage SS. Thus, this
allows you to know where to go with this player and make him happy.
Give him a goal like ďAim for 70 speed and 60 agility, while training
jumping and catching on intense until its 30Ē. Work with your players.
Stamina is a huge factor for starters,
especially teams with lack of depth, which is pretty common. You may
have great backups and numerous players at the LB position, but little
at the CB position. So, you obviously want to work on keeping your CBís
in the game without killing their energy. Although slow builders may
ignore this one until level 21 or so, stamina is still important and
under rated. Also, I like to have a player who isnít balanced to put
his points into one or two attributes, and only his primary attributes.
No one position should have equipment points in stamina, sorry. Thatís
my personal opinion. If you have a player with equipment all over, get
the owner to give him allowance to start over, immediately! If a DT has
equipment in jumping and possibly blocking, something is very wrong.
Advise him to move his equipment to a better spot, mainly focusing on
And another thing that I do is when I look at
LBís, I try to decide which position best suits him. You donít want to
randomly pile up a LB at any spot. Some LBís builds are more for a MLB
spot, or an OLB spot. Make sure you study your own players. Know them
Research Your Opponent
everyone enjoys doing it, but scouting effectively is very important,
especially with the offense getting the new AI, which is most likely
going to be a pain in the ass. So study hard your opponent, or you will
probably going to end up getting ran over all day. Back when the
offense didnít have so much power, we could get by with setting up our
AI by blitzing all day. These things will most likely change with the
new TE shifts, screen passes, lead blocking and RB substitution. So
review your opponents game film, it will help with your game and adjust
Also, since you want to stop the running game,
see which formation they run out the most. Keep a list possibly. Go by
formation, number of times they ran and which direction. Donít go to
overboard to where itís too time consuming and could hurt yourself in
the process, but make sure you get a decent amount of information while
scouting your opponent.
one of the most important things to do is to make sure you game plan
for each game, correctly and neatly. If you scout the other team, the
information youíve gathered means nothing if you donít game plan with
your team. This is an important part to making sure to stop the run. I
like to set my DTís to ďrunĒ focus at all times on a run heavy team. If
I have an opponent who likes to run and is a power back, I usually set
my SS, MLB and ROLB to ďrunĒ focus as well, my and my LOLB, DEís and FS
on balanced, and the occasional CB set on ďpassĒ focus. Only for a ďUp
the gutĒ runner. When I play against a run heavy team with an elusive
back, I usually set my OLBís, SS, and DEís to ďrunĒ focus, switch my
MLB, FS and CB to balanced. That is usually my preference honestly, no
Short explanation as to why, power runner
are great at running the middle, so I make sure my men in the box are
set to ďrunĒ except LOLB, who may be man up on TE. Everyone else is
balanced except CB, whoís set on pass to make sure they donít give
anything up down the field. The elusive back is a pain, as you have to
make sure your OLBís are set to run, MLB to balanced and CBís on
balanced. My SS is usually set on ďrunĒ focus when playing against a
great running offense, especially when I have a hard hitting SS. My FS
should always be set to balance just in case of pass plays when he
might be the last man to beat for a WR on a pass play.
are just my preferences though, of course. Some have weakness, and some
have strong points. It just depends on what youíre comfortable with and
your defense. Also, game planning goes along with your AI. If most of
your plays are pass focus and you are setting your players on run focus
against a run heavy team, somethingís got to give. Match your AI with
the defense. Try doing this. Make an AI with balanced setting, some run
focus, some pass, most balanced. Save it, and then switch most to run
focus and less to balance with few to pass. Call this your run stopping
defensive AI and save it. Same thing with pass focus. You now have
three potentially effective AIís to choose from when playing any type
Your AI is
pretty much your system. Your players wonít be as effective as they
could be without a good AI. But what makes a good AI? Really, thereís
no such thing as a perfect AI because the QB, WRs, and RBs all have a
chance of luck and will sooner or later get a yard. Thatís all it takes
to make a defense imperfect is one yard. So there is no such thing as a
perfect defense throughout the season. So hereís what I think makes a
First off, a good AI is generally started off
with a basic template, such as first by organizing your inputs by
different formations, then by downs, by distance, etc. I like to make
sure every formation is covered first, but thatís only my preference.
You generally want to make sure every hole is filled up in your AI to
make sure that an offense canít exploit it. The great thing about
scrimmages is that you can find where you are weak at. You can tell
your weakness by how players perform, which plays are the offense is
running effectively and so on.
Another thing I look for
in my AI is that I at least get decent blitzing and pressure while
ensuring every possible prime receiver is covered. To be honest, Iím
not worried about a FB catching a ball at the line of scrimmage because
I put trust in my defense that my players will be able to bring him
down before he gets any extra yardage.
Also, with these
new screens, donít worry about it too much, as most of the screens seem
to be broken because of the HBís desire to outrun the OTs and not
follow the blocks, so the screens arenít as effective as everyone
thought they were.
And since the QB scramble has pretty
much been implemented, Iíve seen some big plays by a speed demon QB.
Remember though that these QBs have almost all points in speed and
agility, so they are fast, but there is no such thing as a slide of
dive for QBís so that means that your LBís or safeties should have a
great shot at forcing a fumble. What I would like to do for a team that
may scramble a bit is to make sure my LBs is able to get to the QB.
Since there is no such thing as QB spy or DE protect, this may be a
problem that you canít fix with your AI. A thing you can do is blitz
less so your LB thatís blitzing wonít be left in the backfield. As of
now, there is no clear cut way to stopping the QB scramble as itís only
been a day since itís been started.
One thing that I do
though for a running team is force the MLB to blitz up the middle.
Since most outside runs are ineffective for power backs and balanced
backs, if youíre facing a power running team, get your MLB to blitz the
middle, no shift in the Output. This will allow your MLB to plug up the
middle and stop the RB from gaining speed up the middle where he is
dangerous. You want the RB to stop and change direction, something heís
not very good at and get your OLBís to get to him before he gets
When facing a good running team to, make
sure you have a decent amount of defensive line in your formation.
Donít run a 3-3-5 and expect you to stop the run like that. A better
way to run the nickel defense against a run team is to run a 4-2-5, no
shift for LBs. Thatís of course if you donít want to blitz. If you do
want to blitz, usually shift to the side you are blitzing on. But the
extra defensive linemen are needed to plug in the holes and gaps the RB
wants to shoot through. Get your DT in those gaps!