National Football League
--Zone Blitz Cookbook--

FBPro users have long wished that they could drop defensive linemen into pass coverage. After all, this has been going on in real football for years, and teams like Pittsburgh, Carolina, Cincinnati and even Green Bay and New England have made it a feature of their defensive schemes.

Well, guess what? It turns out you can do it after all. The method was independently discovered by FCivish and others who reported their findings on the Sierra FBPro discussion board. What follows is




How to Drop DL Into Real Pass Coverage


The following assumes a DE will cover a short zone. If you assign Read and If Pass . . . logic to a DL be sure to put the If Pass . . . instruction at the beginning of his logic set, before Read or Move To commands. Otherwise you may crash the practice editor and quite possibly a game too.

  1. Load your formation of choice.
  2. Set the play editor to After Snap logic. Figure out where you want the DL's zone to be. Assume it is DE1 you want to drop into coverage.
  3. Assign that zone to the nearest linebacker to your DL. Assume it's LB1.
  4. Right-click on DE1 and choose Substitute.
  5. On the Substitution Screen, choose LB1. You will get the warning, Logic for this player will be erased. Be brave.
  6. After the substitution, LB1 is where DE1 was and vice verse. LB1 has no logic. BUT
  7. Click on DE1 in his new position and he does have logic, the zone defense logic you assigned to LB1! Logic for the position you click is erased, logic for the unclicked position is left intact. Cool, huh?
  8. Now set the play editor to Before Snap.
  9. Slide LB1 and DE1 back to their appropriate places.
  10. Return to After Snap logic.
  11. Assign whatever logic you want LB1 to have, presumably some kind of pass rush.
  12. Assign logic to the rest of your defenders.

What makes the whole thing work is the fact that Sierra now allows you to "swap" players on the field in the play editor without first having to bench one of them, as you did in FB96. Fortunately for us, they didn't "fix" the fact that this provides a way to get linemen into pass coverage.


Is It Worth It?

This is a very good question. NFL teams use zone blitzes to mess up the offense's "hot read." If there is a blitz from one side, a receiver on that side is supposed to break off his route and run to the spot the blitzers would normally be covering. The QB is supposed to read the blitz and hit the hot read, who has generally adjusted his pattern to a slant or turn-in. The DL zone isn't even a "real" zone -- it's just to get a body in the path of the hot receiver.

Needless to say, there are no hot receivers in FBPro.

Actually, the Dark Side still hopes to find a way to create hot reads, but we haven't yet. So it's an open question what good a zone blitz scheme is in FBPro, aside from novelty value and the chance to make some plays look more like what an NFL team would run. Here's what we have seen and what we conjecture: