Pass Protection Pointers

by Bill Turner - Atlanta

In the spirit of competitiveness, I believe that the better teams (i.e. the teams with the better records) should share some of their
FPSFB Pro knowledge and techniques. So, I thought I would get this started by submitting my thoughts on one of the most important aspects of the game: pass protection. By understanding some of the key elements of how pass protection in the game does and does not work teams should be able to reduce the number of sacks they allow and, of course, inflict more pain on the opposing QBs!

First off, the pass protection AI in the game really sux. For example, load the offensive pass medium medium middle play
FSHTPN04 and the defensive pass short play 43SHRTBL. Run these plays against each other 5 to 10 times in practice and you should see your QB getting pummeled quite badly by the defensive tackles. If you don't see this, you might try this using my team (Atlanta) and then you should see what I see... [Many teams will see completed passes over the middle if the WR3 is wide open, but they should also see the same potential problem with the pass protection if he hadn't been.]

Why, you ask, is the QB getting pummeled. If you look at some of the plays in "super slow-motion", you should notice that the
left offensive tackle, T2, spreads out really wide when the play begins. He is attempting to block LB1 - who is still a great
distance from the QB. This, among other reasons (the QB is in the shotgun and the game does it sometimes for no apparent reason) causes the offensive guards to block the defensive tackles - ouch! At this point the offense is in trouble. The two defensive tackles have a clear shot at the QB. In many cases, the center can get one of them, and if you are really lucky, the FB will get the other one.

On this particular play, the center has problems because the QB is in the shotgun and the defensive tackles take less of an angle
in their approach. (Teams with particularly quick defensive tackles can really exploit this weakness in pass protection).

Ok, so we just don't call this play right? Well, this problem is more like an infection, so we need a cure - or, at least, something
to make the patient feel "real good" for a little while. Edit the play before the snap and carefully move both offensive guards in
as close to the center as they will go. Try not to adjust their horizontal alignment when you do this. Now, edit their logic boxes
(just the offensive guards). Delete the "pass protection" command and add the command "stop and wait for 0.2 seconds". Then, add the "pass protection" command back after the new one. Now, try the plays some more. The improvement that you see will depend on the specific talents of your players. At the very least, you should see the inside of your offensive line blocking the two defensive tackles - yeah! This is good. Basically you have said "look you 320 pound bags of stupidity, before jumping outside see if someone is coming from the inside - you dodo brains" in the nicest possible way.

At this point, you may see DE1 killing your QB from the left side. This is because the offensive tackle, for some unknown reason,
considers the outside LB a bigger threat - dodo brain. If you add the same kind of thing as above - I would suggest a stop and
wait of only 0.1 seconds - this problem should be fixed. Another thing you might do instead is to flip the play. For my team, when
I flip the play, the tackle still jumps out to block the LB, but the FB is there to pick up the DE. In general, I would suggest
putting a delay of 0.1 on the OTs unless you want them to jump outside (for example, if you have a RB ready to block).

If you experiment with this for a while, you will notice that the position of the QB affects how the OLs move also; so that should
certainly be taken into consideration when adding delays.

In conclusion, if you plan to design or modify plays, consider the above things I've mentioned. Personally, I've found 43SHRTBL,
43SHMAN, and 43SHZN1 GREAT plays to test offenses against. If an offensive play works against all 3 of these plays, use it. If it fails miserably (basically, this means sacks not incompletions) against any one of these plays, skip it or fix it. Don't forget
that the talent level of your team (OLs better than DLs, Etc.) greatly affects the results you get... Finally, of course, these
ideas are all inverted when dealing with the defensive side of things.