The Big Red Machine's Coaching Clinic Series

In this installment of the Big Red Machine's Coaching Clinic Series, let's take a look at the effects of Endurance in the game.

During a game, a players ER (Energy Rating) goes down every play that they are in, and goes up every play that they sit out. The ER is a number between 0 and 100, and is used as a percentage multiplier for all ratings except IN and DI.  For example, if a WR has a SP of 90, and an ER of 80, then their actual SP at that moment in the game is only 72 (80% times 90).  How much a players ER goes up or down each play is determined by their EN (Endurance).  The higher their EN, the less their ER drops when they are in, and the faster is climbs when they are out.

Let's look at an example of the importance of ER.  Here are two HBs a the start of the game (ER=100)...

HB Hare 90 90 90 50 80 60 60 60 100
HB Tortoise 80 80 80 60 80 85 60 60 100

Most Coaches would consider HB Hare the better player, and would use him as HB1.   However, if both players are used throughout the game, the ER of Hare will eventually drop below that of Tortoise.  When that happens, the ratings of Tortoise can actually surpass those of Hare.

Let's now imagine that both players have been playing most of the game, and we're in the fourth quarter. The ER ratings here are estimates, and are not the result of any calculation...

HB Hare 68 68 68 38 60 45 60 60 75
HB Tortoise 72 72 72 54 72 77 60 60 90

You can see that HB Tortoise is a much better HB by the fourth quarter, simply because he had the superior EN, which allowed him to better preserve (and recover) his ER during the game.  There is another major advantage to EN... when a player's ER drops, they are much more susceptible to injuries.

So, how much can a player play during a game without dropping to a very low ER?   Well there's no exact answer to this question, but here are some guidelines that I use. This table shows the approximate percentage of plays that I will include this player in when designing my plays.

Endurance % of plays
85 or above 80%-100%
75-85 70%-80%
65-75 60%-70%
55-65 50-60%
under 55 not on my team!

OK, now think about this for a minute.  If you have too many guys on your team that are under 70 EN, you won't have enough active spots on your roster to keep rotating fresh guys into the game.  In addition, you're going to end up having your scrubs playing significant amounts of the game. It is critical that your starters have high EN.

On offense it is much easier to protect a player with low EN, by only designing him into some of your plays.  So you can get away with having a couple of skill players (RB, WR) with EN around 50-70.  But you don't want starting OL below 70, unless you have great back-ups, since they are used in every play.

On defense, EN is even more critical, since you basically want to use your starters for just about every play (since you don't know if you are going to be facing a run or a pass).  Having defensive starters with EN below 70 is a recipe for disaster, unless you have very good depth and skilled backups.

So EN is most important for the positions that you do the least substituting for: DB, LB, OL, QB, and DL.  You can rotate your RBs and your WRs/TEs to keep them protected.   Keep that in mind when building your roster, making trades, and preparing for training camp.

Another key is how you set your substitution percentages in your coaching profiles.   These are used to sub your players if they fall below certain ER thresh-holds, and them put them back in when they get high enough.  The lower you set these substitution percentages, the longer your players will stay in the game, and the sooner they will start to fatigue. There are different strategies for how to use these substitution percentages. Let's look at some examples...

Suppose a team has a very strong defense with excellent EN, and a quick-strike offense with poor EN. This team might be best off to set their offensive substitution ratings low, and their defense high. This would allow them to score early in the game, while their offense is fresh, and then rely on their defense to be able to last and stay strong, to protect the lead.

Suppose another team has a strong, deep, ball-control offense, and an average defense. This team would probably want to set their substitution patterns fairly high, to conserve their offensive players for the fourth quarter. By that time, they should have higher ER ratings than their opponents defense, and can take over the game. They protect their defense from fatigue by controlling the ball on offense. If their defense is deep, they should set their sub percentages high, rotating their players, to be strong in the 2nd half. If they are not deep, they should set them low, and rely on the offense to give the defense a lot of rest.

Another thing to consider... in FBPro, the visiting team automatically loses 5 ER points from all players at the start of the game (and can never recover them back).   This is how the game simulates "home-field advantage".  So you should always set your substitution percentages a little lower for road games, and a little higher for home games.

The Chiefs are a ball-control team with a lot of depth and good EN.  My strategy is to conserve energy for the 2nd half, and then take over the game during the 3rd and 4th quarters.  Here's the substitution percentages I use to accomplish this strategy with my roster (you should adjust to fit your specific roster)...

Home Games

1st Half OUT: 91, IN: 94
2nd Half OUT: 88, IN: 92

Away Games

1st Half OUT: 88, IN: 92
2nd Half OUT: 85, IN: 90

Well, that should give you some things to think about as your build your team, design your plays, assign your starting positions, and set up your profiles.

Good luck on the field,

Mike Hatam - KC Chiefs