Profile Design Help

So what makes the difference between a good coach and a great coach?

The key is definitely how effective your playbook is at calling your plays. You might have the best plays in the world but if your profile will never select the right play then you are in for a long day. Now with that said it is nearly impossible to have the exact play called every time unless you set the percent at 100 and call a specific play. To do this in every situation would require too much time and many leagues prohibit the percentages over 50% and even specific plays out since they can be abused too much. Hopefully, some of these tips will help in maximizing the possibility that your play will be called.

Sorry but I have added some comments regarding leagues that have really strict profile rules - I am sure these comments will offend those that advocate such rules to achieve league parity. But in my opinion these rules favor the better owners who have more GOOD unique plays. The best way to raise league competition is to teach others and show them good plays! Well, here's an attempt to do just that.

The Game of Probabilities

First off you want to maximize the probability that a successful play will be called at all times. So the first key to a winning profile is to remove a bad play. Now I know you are saying what's a bad play? Hey, all my plays work against stock defenses in the practice editor. A good tool at finding your good plays is logmate. Use this on all your logs from your games against a variety of opponents. If you have plays that consistently lose yards against all your opponents - IMMEDIATLEY REMOVE THESE!!! Nothing will hurt you more than a play that consistently stinks. Here's an example - say you have 5 run rights in your profile well 3 of the 5 are good but the other two are bad. This means that every time you have a run right selected in your profile you have a 40% chance of calling that bad play. This might not seem that bad but let's take a look at when you have these plays called - maybe 3rd and less than 5. Well this would mean that on average if you have your run right play weighted at 50% that 20% of the time you might have a bad play called. That's way too often to sustain drives.

Now the opposite can be true also. If you have a play that works like a clock and you don't want to name it a specific play type such as razzle dazzle pass, then simply put it in your game plan several time. If you have play1 (short pass right) in the plan twice and you have 10 short pass rights you now have a 20% chance that this play will be called when a short pass right is selected. I will even put a play in 3 or 4 times to ensure that it might be called. This is especially useful since many of you have probably noticed that the game is sometime very repetitive in what it picks. I have seen games where the plan will pick the same play 4 or 5 times in a span of 10 plays. Only problem with duplicating plays is that if it sticks on a couple of them then you are really in a rut. (Sorry but some leagues have now outlawed this technique because it was that effective!!! Can't have people scoring now can we!)

Should you fill all 64 play slots? Well this depends on how many GOOD plays you have. IF you are just sticking plays in to fill a slot - STOP!!! Really, do not put a play in just to fill a slot. Remember this breaks rule 1 - no bad plays!

Wait - our league requires us to have so many plays? What can I do and why do they have such a rule?

I know many leagues now have rules that require you to have 32+ Unique plays and no more than one duplicate in a profile… While these leagues are attempting to make owners diversify their attacks this contradicts one of my rules of profile design - DO NOT PUT IN A BAD PLAY!!!! Simply put a rule of 32 unique plays makes newer owners and those with less time place in a possibly weak play. Thus, the rule is not always achieving what the leagues want - owner parity and competive games!!! Believe me the rule favors better owners regardless of what people try to tell you.

So how can you overcome this rule if you are new - simply name your best plays a certain play type such as pass short right, pass medium right and pass long right. Now when you want to test new plays enter them in as middle play types. Then DO NOT weight these play types that heavily in anyone situation. You will learn if they work - while you don't rest every hope in your profile on it. Finally, you still use your best plays the most if you use the designation for proven plays!

(Sorry for soap boxing on this point but the rule attempts to solve the problem of owner disparity by not addressing the real problem…. Bad plays! And the best owners simply have the most plays to fill these 32 unique play rules… Go ahead and send me any nasty comments but I will be glad to put my 32 best plays up against anyone elses 32 plays)

Saving Plays

The second key to being a successful coach is how you save your plays. Far too often I see a coach call a 5 yard pass route on 3rd and greater than 10. How many times have you read your logs to think why did that play come up then? To avoid this, adopt the following rules on saving plays (or something similar).0-5 yards = Pass Goal Line6 -10 yards = Pass short11-20 yards = Pass Medium20+ yards = Pass long

(For those in the leagues that require 8 play types simply call left or right on the play types you have the most of so that you can meet the absurd rule that you have 5 plays of each type… )

With this method, you can ensure that the proper play is called in certain situations. For example.. On third and 6, I can call either a short pass, medium pass, or long pass and be assured that a completion will not fall short of the First down. On 3rd and greater than 10, I make sure that a pass medium or pass long is called.

To name runs plays simply use the right, middle and left designation. The goal line and razzle dazzle designation are not worth the time or effort.

Making Profiles in half the timeNow if you have adopted the above technique to naming your plays you should be able to make profiles and plug game plans in to them without having any major problems. Simply design your profiles so that you will maximize the chance that you will have the proper length play called in the correct situation. When you make new plays you will now ensure that they will have a chance of being called if you consistently name your plays. IF you have named your plays based on the side of the field that they go to simply put the random play type in (below I talk about how you can ensure that your plays go to a certain side of the field but for now let's worry about down and distance.) By doing this you should be able to use the same profiles across leagues. I know it's saved me time in sending in profiles to several leagues.

For those leagues that require several different play types - say 8 or 10 different categories - simply use the pass short random or pass medium random or pass long random in your profile! This gives all the play types a shot at being called and still allows you to get the down and distance need for a first! (Once again a useless rule put into place to attempt to solve problems without really helping owners improve!!)

Now you say I want to call some specific plays. Well, a good rule (if you have space on your hard drive) is to save the generic profile and then rename it and work on the renamed profile until you get your specific plays in. Then you still have a good generic profile that can be used across leagues without having to worry about all the different directories that your plays are stored in.

(Sorry if you are in a league that doesn't allow specifics you are out of luck - Well, here's a way to beat it - simply name your 4 best or however many unique plays they require per category one play type such as razzle dazzle pass… Then when you need the yardage simply call on the razzle dazzle play designation… This can be more effective than the specific play actually since it gives you a random chance at calling anyone of 4 plays that might work on a specific defense.

What good is the copy function?

Should I use the copy function? Why not if what you have done so far is successful - keep doing it. Also, if you are only behind by 7 points it's not time to abandon your game plan. So as a guideline my up by 8 to down by 7 is pretty much the same thing. Now I do change the down by 8 - this means that your opponent has been able to score twice on you or your offense has sputtered. Now does this mean you should become pass happy? I would say not really in the first half and especially not against the good owners who put in pass defense just for these situations.

Inside the red zoneHave you ever noticed that some play just don't work the same down inside the 20 - especially your 20+ yard timing pass or your fade patterns.. (for this game the 35 since this is the cut point I use for my fg attempts.) I've noticed lots of teams being able to move between the 20's but stall inside the red zone because they have a play that is trying pick up more yards than needed. If you have used the profile copy function make sure you edit the inside the 35 yard situations to take out those long passes. Additionally, on offense make sure that you don't have any plays that will possibly have your qb sacked. There's nothing that hurts more in scoring position than having your qb dropped for negative yards. So don't go for a play that take 2.0 seconds to develop. Simply go for plays that will give you 3-5 yards a play. If you do this more than likely you will make it into the endzone.

How about defense inside the 35. Well, you can take two options. Either try and drop the team for a loss and risk the big play. Or you can drop all but your defensive line into coverage. So you have a few zones and tight man to man coverage. Try a mix of the two approaches.

How to effectively run the ballNow have you wondered how you can run to the strong side of the field almost every time? TO do this requires that you name your runs to the outside according to the side that they go to (simple enough). Now the tricky part is how you have these runs selected in your profile. There's no way to ensure that you will run to the strong side on first down but I can guarantee the strong side on 2nd and 3rd. Simply run to the right on first, left on 2nd , and right again on 3rd . Just simply alternate the direction that you go on each run. Now I know you can't simply put run (direction) in the profile without 2 other play types but you can weight the run the higher amounts or mix it in with a pass to that side or a middle run. (The same technique can be used to achieve passing to the strong side - which I might add is a key to rolling the qb out.)

Another key to running is knowing when to run the ball. So you want to keep the ball on the ground. Here's a quick way to make a run profile. Weight your runs on 1st and 10 so that it will be selected. Now, here's the trick. If you pick up 4 or 5 yards then you have a successful running game. Now the problem is that Sierra made a really stupid profile editor - by this I mean the cut points are at less than 1, 3-5, 6-10 and greater than 10 yds. Say your first run puts you in the 6-10 yard situation on 2nd down - well this presents a problem since your first play might have only gained a single yard or it might have gained 4 Well, to overcome this on 2nd and 6-10 try and weight the run-pass about 50-50. If you make it to the 3-5 yard mark keep running on 2nd down. Now the defense might be designed to stop your running in short yardage and a pass might be better. So if you do not make it to the less than 1 yard mark by 3rd I recommend passing the ball. Now if you have tried to run on 2nd and less than 1 (which I would recommend passing in this situation to begin with) and were unsuccessful then I would definitely recommend changing to a different play type since the defense will be very similar on your 3rd and 1 attempt. Remember the key to winning is having your plays called when the proper defense is not on the field.

CoachingNow with all the tips above you still have to know what you want to do and this is predicated by your upcoming opponent. So , the key to good coaching is scouting. There are a number of good utilities out there to assist you in scouting - logmate, blank, etc.. If you need assistance obtaining them check the fbpro utilities page.

For the same reason, if you play a good coach that you know scouts well, don't do the same thing you have been doing all year long. The best way to keep everyone guessing is to mix it up Change your gameplan from week to week to keep them guessing. Never rely on a single play too often - ask the FPFL owners if two that wrote this broke the rule a few times postred (a timed pass play that forced a defense to be designed by all owners to prevent the play from being called on 3rd down) and a10 (Barry up the gut for 2,000 yards in a 10 game season).