Aggressive Vertical Offense - Guide for NFL Head Coach
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*********************************************************** AGGRESSIVE VERTICAL OFFENSE STRATEGY GUIDE by: XOCOACH2009 NFL HEAD COACH - PS2 *********************************************************** by: S. Lewis [email protected] 06-20-09 (Corrections made 07-28-09) Version 0.99 Intro/Background: Hello and welcome to my strategy guide/walkthrough of NFL Head Coach for PS2. I have always been a big fan of 'Franchise/Owner' mode of the EA Sports Madden games. I have played numerous games of Madden as numerous teams for the entire 20 seasons allowed. I liked NFL HC from the first time I saw it in the store and bought it. The first time that I played it, like most people, I set it down in frustration. It was later that I decided that I was going to figure out a way to be competitive. After more frustration, I decided to search the internet for help. I did find some good information but just not what I was looking for. I used all of the information I could find and a lot of experimentation (and huge amounts of time) and came up with the techniques included in this guide. If you are a fan of Madden Franchise/Owner Mode, this game is for you. I hope that you take something from this guide that will help you achieve more in the game. Please understand that this is an open-ended game and anything can happen. PLEASE NOTE: This guide is just that - a guide. This guide outlines what I call an aggressive vertical offense. You may choose to do things differently. It is completely up to you. You're the head coach of your team. I use this strategy because the quarters are short (five minutes). If you spend a lot of your time running the ball, you will burn through game time like there's no tomorrow and your players will end up with stats that are so-so at best. If you follow this guide, your players should score more points and win more games which makes you look better as a coach. My team has won two Super Bowls in a row (2006 & 2007 seasons) and working on a third! If you decide to use another strategy, that's up to you. Maybe you can incorporate some of these ideas into your game plan with your favorite team. I hope that you find a few tips in here that will help you score more points and win more games. Heck, maybe this will convince you to blow the dust off of your copy and give it another try! SO... THAT SAID, HERE WE GO: For starters, this game is a little long-winded at the first. Lots of time L-O-A-D-I-N-G... SO BE PATIENT! This is a very cool game when you finally get to the season. The game starts out at the first of the off-season and it takes a while to get to the first game. The hardest part of this game is knowing when to sim. That will come to you in time. A good rule of thumb: When the game tells you that you have completed the assigned task and asks if you want to sim to the next task always choose 'no' and go into your computer and then to the 'Calendar'. You can then sim to the next important task on your calendar. You need to learn how the calendar works. This will save you tons of time. There is some good info on the web and there is some bad info, too. For example, using the name 'Robert Vapor' will not make other coaches accept any trade that you offer, so use your own name so you can enjoy the glory of winning and creating your own legacy. You are going to have plenty of time invested. Don't do it as someone else. Be sure and read through this guide before starting. There are some tips at the end that may be helpful. I will probably add an update or two after I have progressed further in the game. These updates will appear at the end of this guide. *CHOOSE OFF/DEF PHILOSOPHY: The game starts by asking you what kind of background that you have. You should choose 'offensive'. You will then create your coach. Make him 30 years old and whatever else that you want. You then choose your offensive and defensive philosophy. Go with a vertical offense and 3-4 defense. The rest of this guide will assume that you have chosen these philosophies. Once finished you will be in your home office. Use the phone and call the Texans to let them know that you are interested in being their coach. They will make you an offer soon after. (They have first pick in the draft.) The game will ask you a series of questions that will build your personal attributes depending on how you answer the questions. Be sure to answer them with your vertical offense in mind. Take the job with the Texans. The owner will show you how to do different things with the 'quick nav' tool. You will have to do what he asks and then come back to him. He will eventually cut you loose to hire coaches. *SIGN COACHES: You will have to fill all of your coaching positions. Trust your gut on this and fill all positions. To look at your coaching staff go to your computer then click 'Coach Roster'. Look at each coach. The box below their info tells their contract length. If it is red and the contract length is '0', you will need to either resign the coach or fire him and hire a new one. During a 'Manage Staff' task, you can either go to the coach as described above and press 'circle' to set up a meeting to discuss a contract or you can leave the computer and go to the phone and look at available coaches and set up an interview with one of them. You can do three tasks per 'Manage Staff' session on your calendar. Your scouting director will send you emails about perspective coaches, but it seems like he seldom looks at the right type of coach. He's a moron- more on him later... If you have chosen to be the Texans I would consider replacing the following coaches: Off. Coord, OL, DL, LB, DB. You will have to fire the OL, LB and DB coaches because they still have contract left. To fire a coach go to the coach, as outlined above, and press 'square'. This whole process does take some time because you can only do three tasks per session. Remember that you can change any session on the calendar that doesn't have a lock to the left by highlighting the session, press 'X' and change it to whatever you want. After signing all of the coaches that you need, go to the calendar and sim to the 'Management Meeting' right before the 'Sign Players' phase and save. If you don't have all of your coaching positions filled by the end of the 'Manage Staff' time, don't sweat it. Remember you can change any task on your calendar that does not have a padlock to the left of it. You can reassign a 'Sign Players' or 'Re-sign Players' task to a 'Manage Staff' task and hire more coaches if you are in a bind. (Do be sure and go to the management meeting and weekly staff meeting.) *MANAGEMENT MEETING: Move your cursor over to the owner on your left. He will tell you that during the next weekly staff meeting your coaches will recommend players with an expiring contact that they think that you should keep on the team. If you agree, the player will be put on your 'Keys to Victory' list and become a goal. He also talks about RFAs (restricted free agents). A quick note on RFAs- this game does not make this task very easy at all. As a rule of thumb, I don't even mess with RFAs unless I am in a DIRE situation. There is more on this later in this guide. OK, back to the recommendations coming from your coaches. You will need to be ready when you go into that weekly staff meeting. You will probably need a notepad if you don't already have one handy. Your first season will go much easier if you keep notes. If you are playing as the Texans, you will want to keep the following players at all cost: Davis (HB), Johnson (WR), Gaffney (WR), Robinson (CB), Buchanon (CB) and Earl (SS). Before going to the weekly staff meeting, go to the computer and choose 'Roster' then 'Salary Cap'. Sort your players by 'Contract Length' and hit 'X'. Players that are red have an expiring contract. Look at the red players and decide if you want to keep them. I make a list of players whose contract is up and I want to keep for sure. I then make another list of 'hold outs' that I want to keep. You will have to go through the players one by one to find the hold outs. Note at this point that I only listed who I want to keep. If they are not on one of the lists- they're gone. Now you have the information that you will need at the staff meeting. Sim to the first weekly staff meeting. *WEEKLY STAFF MEETING: Go around the table and talk to each coach that has a blue triangle above him. He will either name a player that he wants to keep (look at your list and decide) or he will name a rookie that he wants to watch in the combine. Always agree with his combine choice because this will increase his trust in you. The same is true with the player(s) that he recommends for you to keep. Only agree on keeping players that are on your list of 'keepers' because the player's rehire will become a goal if you agree. If you don't agree, just say no. When done, go to your computer, pick 'Calendar', highlight the next 'Re-sign Players' task and hit 'X' to sim to it and save. *SIGN/RESIGN PLAYERS: Jeeez this is taking forever.. hang in there.. this game is awesome once you get past this first off-season! Now you need to re-sign your good players that have no time left on their contract. You can see this in your computer in 'Roster' then 'Salary Cap'. You can sort your players by 'Contract Length'. The red ones and the hold outs need your attention. To sign a player- highlight the player and hit 'X' to call their agent to make a deal. Make an offer or tell him you want to cut the player. If you need the player, I would just accept the deal that the agent offers. This game makes it difficult to haggle. I would wait until later off seasons to haggle with these guys and just get deals done for now. You can do three players in a 'Re-Sign Players' session. Do the three and then sim to the next 'Re-sign Players' session. Keep doing this until you have everyone signed that you want. Remember you are going to have draft picks coming in the draft. If you picked the Texans and have stayed within the outlines of this guide, expect to get the following positions filled by the 2006 draft that is coming up soon: QB, WR, MLB, LE and FB. Be sure to read all of the way through this guide before signing any players. You can also use any left over 'Re-sign Players' session to cut players that still have a contract. If you took the Texans, I would cut one of each of the following: QB, FB, TE, and MLB. This will create some room on your roster. You are allowed 55 players total. You want to make sure that you leave room for your draft picks. The way to count your team members is to go to 'Roster' then 'Player Roster' and count the rows and multiply that by 8 and add the total of the last row. Some things this game does not make easy.. (Note: you can see your total on the screen while you are making a trade with another team.) Anyways... when you have re-signed everyone that you want to keep go to the calendar and sim to 'Scout Players'. (There will be some players left with no contract. This is OK. They will automatically be cut at a certain point in the pre-season. There may also be some holes in your line-up but the draft is coming and you can also fill holes with free agents at the last minute, after the draft, if needed.) *SCOUT PLAYERS: Now is the time to scout some of the 2006 draft class. You will talk to your scouting director. You have to choose if you want to pick who to scout or if he should pick who to scout. You should tell him thanks but no thanks and do it yourself. He's an idiot.. It will take you to the list of rookies. If not, you can go into 'Roster' then 'Player Roster' and change the team to 'Draft Class'. Highlight a player and hit 'X' to scout him. You may have to scout a player multiple times to see his true ability spectrum. Be sure and completely scout Reggie Bush HB, Matt Leinart QB, Troy McCoy MLB, Chris Craig LE and BJ Dean FB of the draft class. Once you have scouted the maximum number of players that you can, go to the calendar and change the next available task to 'Trade Players' and then sim to it. *TRADE PLAYERS: During the first 'Trade Players' task, make a deal with the Saints. Trade your 2nd and 3rd round picks and FS Marcus Coleman for the second pick in the draft. (Try to get their 4th or 5th round pick if possible, but you HAVE to get that 2nd overall pick) I know Coleman is one of your best players but you have to do it. You can pick a different player to trade but be careful not to trade any of your stud players. In the off-season, players numbers are at the bottom of their ability spectrum. Always look at a players 'high number' because this is what he should be at after practicing. The numbers that you see at the first of the game are a little deceiving. There is a list of my 2008 (season #3) roster towards the end of this guide that might help you decide if you should keep a player. Now you should have the first and second pick in the draft! OK, this part of the game is a bit tedious. (Imagine that) You can sim through most of it. If you are comfortable at this point, sim to right before the draft and save. *THE DRAFT: (This assumes that you chose the Texans and made the trade with the Saints to get the 2nd overall pick.) In the draft, move the cursor to the notebook on the left and pick HB Reggie Bush and then QB Matt Leinart (in that order) in the first round. Hit 'circle' to sim to your next pick. This will finish the first day of the draft because your next pick is in the 4th round. You will have to go into your computer and to the calendar and sim to the next day if it doesn't offer to do it automatically. You should be able to pick up MLB Troy McCoy in the 4th and LE Chris Craig in the 5th. These guys are 'sleeper picks' and you really need them! Use your 6th round pick to get (FB) BJ Dean. Pick whoever that you want in the 7th round or ask your scouting director's opinion. Remember to hit 'circle' to sim to your next pick. If not, you will have to wait for the computer to pick every single one until your next pick comes up. You might prefer to watch the draft but it is very time-consuming. When done go into your computer then sim to the next 'Management Meeting' task on the calendar and save. After talking to the owner, go into computer and sim to first 'Sign Players'. (You can skip this particular weekly staff meeting). *SIGN PLAYERS: Sign your draft picks. You sign them the same way as you did current players whose contracts had expired. During this first season I would take whatever contract that their agent offers. Remember that you can only do three signings in a session so sim to the next 'Sign Players' on the calendar until you get everyone signed. Cut anyone that seems to be making a lot of money and isn't that good. (I wouldn't cut too many players the first season, it's confusing enough.) You cut players by calling their agent during the 'Sign Players' task and telling them that you do not want them anymore. If a poor player is making big bucks, it is better to cut them and pay their bonus than to keep them for millions a year. Note, at this point, your players haven't practiced and they are at the lower end of their ability spectrum so don't sweat it. *PLAYER CONTRACTS: Player contracts are a little complicated to handle in this game if you change the contract length or dollar amount at all. If you change it and submit it to the agent, there is a possibly long and somewhat tedious procedure to go through to finally sign the player. You have to wait for a call back or email from the agent. If he takes the deal (doesn't seem to happen often for me) then great, but if he doesn't, then you have to go through the process again. Of course, this wouldn't be too bad if you didn't have 10 or so players to sign and the fact that you can only do 2 or 3 actions in a session! In the beginning of the game, the agents just don't have much trust in you so you are sort of at their mercy. On thing to note here: As time progresses in the game, you will build up a trust level with the different agents. If the agent has trust in you, his first offer will be the best deal he is willing to make. So a trusting agent is your best friend. He can save you a lot of time, money and headaches. You should make notes about which agents trust you before starting the 'Sign Players' and 'Re-sign Players' tasks in later seasons. *RFAs and UFAs: This game has made free agency quite the pain for the most part. (Maybe it is in real life.) It is easy enough to sign a player from the 'Free Agents' pool in the 'Roster' Menu. When it comes to RFAs that are on another team, this game makes it difficult. As far as I know, you have to manually go through every player on every team to get the list that you might need. My policy is as follows: I get my talent from two places: (1) the draft and (2) the 'Free Agents' pool in the 'Roster' Menu. It is up to you if you want to spend the time looking through the possibilities. Also remember that the RFA system is a little complicated. You can and probably will lose a draft pick to the team that you get the player from. *HERE COMES THE BEGINNING OF YOUR AGGRESSIVE VERTICAL OFFENSE: You have a good running back in D. Davis. So you ask: Why did I pick Reggie Bush? Well you need to now change him into a WR. Yes, a WR! He is short but I am telling you he is as fast as they come, he can catch very well and can be uncontainable after the catch. He is absolutely awesome! To change him into a WR, sim to next 'Office Hours'. Go to the computer and pick 'Roster' then 'Player Roster'. Highlight the player and hit 'X'. It will ask you if you want to change the player's position. Pick 'Yes' and then change the position. Once you get him switched over, set Reggie Bush as your 2nd WR position in the depth chart. (Go to 'Roster' then 'Depth Chart'. Pick 'Offense' then move cursor to 'WR' and hit 'X'. Highlight the first stringer (Reggie Bush) and hit 'X'. Now highlight his replacement (Andre Johnson) and hit 'X'.) This will switch them. I have found that if you leave Bush as your 1st string WR, he will end up in double coverage all of the time and will not put up the numbers that he deserves. Also make Reggie Bush your PR guy in the depth chart under 'Other'. You can only make so many changes per session (usually 2 or 3), so you may have to go to the next 'Office Hours' to make more depth chart changes or to the next 'Sign Players' task on the calendar to sign more players. *ON TO THE PRESEASON: Once you have your roster full (look under 'Roster' then 'Roster Breakdown' and see that you have the required number of players at each position. If not, you will have to put a 'Sign Players' task on your calendar (if there's not one already), sim to it. Go to 'Roster' - 'Salary Cap' - change team to 'Free Agents' - find the player that you want, highlight him and hit 'X' to contact his agent and sign a contract. When you have the required number at all positions go ahead and sim to the first 'Management Meeting' after all of your days off (about 7 weeks) and save. After the meeting, sim to 'Weekly Staff Meeting'. The coaches will make recommendations on changes that should be made to the depth chart. Go ahead and agree with them so you will get the trust increase. If you are really against the change you can change it back later during office hours before the game. When done, sim to the next 'Scout Players' task. Now you can see next year's draft picks! Start scouting them now. When you have chosen the 8 players to scout, sim to the next 'Scout Players' if there is one before the pre-season games start. Always do the 'Scout Players' tasks. Your scouting director will usually want to scout players on other teams. You should scout next year's rookies instead of the current players that he wants to scout, but that's up to you. Go ahead and sim all but the last pre-season game. Check your injury roster. hope for the best. (fingers crossed) Before the last pre-season game, check your depth chart and make any changes that you need to and sim the last pre-season game. You could also choose to replace your starters with 2nd stringers through the pre-season to lower the risk of injuries to your key players. It will take some time to switch to 2nd stringers and then switch back to 1st stringers because you can only make three changes to the depth chart per session. It's a pretty good insurance policy but it is also very time-consuming. You make the call on that. I've been known to use my starters out of laziness and to get them closer to the top of their ability spectrum... I've had a FEW injuries in pre-season. I take a lot of risks as a coach and it has paid off big for me but... again... that's up to you. (You can also actually play the pre-season games...) *ON TO THE SEASON: Sim to the 'Management Meeting' and then the 'Weekly Staff Meeting'. After finishing business in the staff meeting go into your computer and pick 'Calendar'. Look at the last three practices before game day. They need to be OFF VS DEF CON - OFF VS DEF CON - PASS SKELETON CON (in that order). Do these three practices, in that order, before all of your regular season games. If they need changed, just highlight the session on the calendar that you want to change and hit 'X'. Choose 'Swap Task' and change it to the above practice types. These practices are important because (1) they prepare your players for the game by raising their stats and (2) you get money plays for every play (offense and defense) that you run 5 times (make 100%) in practice. These money plays have a better chance of working well on game day. They are key to winning in this game. Practice offensive and defensive plays that you are going to use during the game. In time you will become accustom to what good plays your OC and DC usually call in and make the most common ones money plays. Run each play 5 times so it will become a money play. After the first game, your money plays will still be close to being money plays (usually 46% or so) and you will only have to do them three times to make them money plays for the next game. I would go with at least one first down pass play (WR Option), a first down run play, a 2nd and long passing play (X Clown) and another play of your liking (preferably a WR passing play that has Reggie Bush as the primary receiver). Use your first string offense and defense most of the time. I go with 1st string vs. 1st string about 8 times out of the ten and 2nd vs. 2nd the other two. I've never had a major injury in one of these practices (knock on wood) that I actually played. That's not to say that it can't happen. Always check the injury list after all practices and games to check for an injury that you may have missed. After doing the last (2) OFF VS DEF CON practices and then the (1) PASS SKELETON CON, check you depth chart then sim to game day and save. I should note here that some of the time my players are not ALL at the top of their ability spectrum at the start of the game. (For example: my QB is a 79-94. It varies but he sometimes starts the game as an 88 or so. I check my depth chart in the two minute break at the end of the 1st quarter and he is usually at 94. Your players rating can and probably will increase during the game.) *GAME DAY: Alright coach, you have made your choices and all the hard decisions to get to this point and now here you are at the best part of this game: GAME DAY! To start, you have the coin toss. Make your choice. I always choose to kick but you can decide. After the coin toss, you have 2 minutes to work with before the game starts. This is VERY important. Hold left on the directional pad (Talk to players) and hit 'X'. Now push right on the directional pad until you get to the WR/TE group, pick 'All', then 'Strategy' and tell them to 'Fake-Use their speed to get open' and do it for the 'Entire Game'. Push 'Triangle' to back out. Now push right until you get to the LB group. Choose 'All' then 'Strategy'. Tell them to 'Hit-Force a turnover with a hard hit' and then to do it for the 'Entire Game'. Push 'Triangle' to back out. Now push right to the DB group. Choose 'All' then 'Strategy'. Choose 'Pic' then tell them to 'Jump the route and go for the interception' and then to do it for the 'Entire Game'. Push 'Triangle' to back out. Finally, push right to the DL group and Choose 'All' then 'Strategy'. Tell them to 'Hit-Just don't let anyone by you' and then to do it for the 'Entire Game'. Push 'Triangle' to get out of that mode and now it's time for kick-off. (That will get easier once you have done it a few times.) Press 'Square' to go to the kick off. Once you pick how you want to kick off or receive, press L1 to change camera view. I prefer to push it once to get 'Classic View' but you may like another camera view better. *KICK OFF: On game day the quarters are 5 minutes long. If you keep the game moving, it seems to work out well. KEEP THE GAME MOVING! KNOW YOUR PLAYBOOK! Go with the play that your defensive coordinator calls in 95% of the time. Go with the play that your offensive coordinator calls in about 10% of the time. Your OC will tend to lean toward conservative running plays. I tend to play somewhat conservatively, but still pass a lot, in the first part of the game until I have a comfortable lead. In your first season your goal is to win. Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart will probably not put up spectacular numbers until 2007. You may have to play a little more conservative in your first year but do take some chances. Throw the ball a lot. The keys to this strategy in the long term are very fast and talented wide receivers, a solid QB and lots of defensive interceptions and sacks. Interceptions and sacks are KEY. Your defense needs to get interceptions to make up for the interceptions that your QB is gonna throw - and he's gonna throw 'em. Trust me. The key players to this strategy are QB, WR, MLB, FS and CB. (Yes, I know. You traded off your good FS... Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do in the game of football. Be sure to scout for a FS in the 2007 draft. But for now- life gives you lemons-make lemonade.) Once you have a good lead (about 21 points), you can have some fun offensively! You will almost always overrule your OC's play choice with passing plays to Reggie Bush and the other WRs unless he calls a good passing play himself. The AI will almost always play conservatively until after the 2 minute warning in the 4th quarter. You can be on top by 35 points with 3 minutes left in the 4th quarter, and the AI will usually punt on 4th down. If you have a nice lead, don't be afraid to go for it on 4th down (unless you are in your own territory). There are some tips for game day listed at the end of this guide. *BETWEEN GAMES: Between games I usually go directly to my computer, go to 'Roster' then 'Injury Report' to see if I missed any injuries or to check how long someone will be out with an injury. You should then sim to the first 'Office Hours' after the 'Management Meeting' and save. (You can skip this meeting, especially if you have been winning.) Later in the game, you will have trust problems with your RB coach. This is because you will only use your RB to get short gains for a 1st down or a touchdown. You should get into the habit of taking this time to go into the 'Depth Chart' and change your starting HB. This will lead to the RB coach recommending a change of the roster and, when you agree, you will get a trust boost for him. Now go to the weekly staff meeting. Don't be afraid to grill your staff members that had a bad game. This is how their stats increase but you will have to give up some of their trust. Praise them if their squad did well. They may make recommendations for depth chart changes. I usually agree to get the trust increase. If I don't agree I will still OK it for the trust boost and then just go into the depth chart before the next game and change it back. A quick note here: I have found that it doesn't help to grill a coach who has a 99 rating. He doesn't get any better and loses more trust than if you didn't. You should keep track of which of your coaches are maxed out later in the game. When done with this meeting, go to the next office hours. Go to the computer and then 'Calendar'. Look at the last three practices before game day. They need to be OFF VS DEF CON - OFF VS DEF CON - PASS SKELETON CON (in that order). Do these three practices, in that order, before your regular season games. If they need changed, just highlight the session on the calendar that you want to change and hit 'X'. Choose 'Swap Task' and change it to the above practice types. Once the practices are set, sim to 'Scout Players' and scout from the incoming draft class. I usually sort the players by speed or strength-depending on what position it is. (Remember that players will not improve much in these two categories.) After scouting the 8 players of your choice, sim to the second from last OFF VS DEF CON practice. Use the two practices to develop your 'money plays' for the next game. It is best to do the (2) OFF VS DEF CON practices so you will have at least 4 offensive and 4 defensive money plays. You sometimes get one more offensive and defensive money play from the PASS SKELETON CON practice. Now, check your depth chart and make sure that it is the way that you want it for game day and then sim to 'Game Day' and save. *OVERVIEW: If you are a die-hard fan of the Madden game's Owner/Franchise mode and have lots of patience, you will make it through the first season. The second season will be much easier and gratifying. Don't sweat it if you lose some games the first year. You will be honing your coaching skills to take the league by storm in 2007! Using these guidelines, I took the Texans from being a 2-14 team in 2005 to a 12-4 team in 2006 with a Super Bowl win. The Texan's 2007 season was absolutely phenomenal. You can hear the crowd: REGGIE - REGGIE - REGGIE. Sorry, got a little carried away there! In 2007, my Texans had a perfect season (16-0) including another Super Bowl win (19-0). In the final game of the season we played the Bills at their stadium. The final score was 91-10! (personal high score) Matt Leinart had 631 passing yards with a whopping 11 TDs! For the season the numbers were phenomenal. Reggie Bush had 3116 yards and 22 touchdowns. Matt Leinart had 6226 yards passing and 64 touchdowns for the 2007 season. The Texans also lead the NFL in defensive interceptions, having the top 4 players on the list for the year. I should note that Matt Leinart also lead the NFL in interceptions in 2007. This is just the 'cost of doing business' in an aggressive vertical offense. All of the interceptions and forced punts that my defense racks up more than make up for the interceptions thrown by my QB. I am just now starting the 2008 season and I am confident that we will take it all again this year. I also got the 'Coach of the Year' award for 2007. I am now the 14th greatest coach of all-time. I will be #1 some day... COMPLAINT DEPARTMENT: OK there's a few things that I have to get off of my chest about the short-comings of this game. Just skip this part if you don't want to hear me whine... 1) Good players make a good coach. This game lacks proper respect for the players and their achievements. There is no game, season or career record list. What? There is no Hall of Fame for the players. I realize this is a game about coaching but what about the players that you, as a coach, hand-picked and shaped into super star legends? They made you. 2) I don't have control of the stadium upgrades and renovations like in Madden. This tied the game together because it forced me to make a profit and made the game more realistic. In Madden, if my team lost money for three consecutive years, I lost my job/team. 3) There are no college stats for the players available in the draft. What? 4) There is no 'meter' during the trade process that lets you know if the trade is likely to go through like in Madden. You just have to poke at it and hope for the best. 5) You can only trade draft picks to and from other teams between the first of the off-season and the draft. You should be able to trade the following year's picks up until week six of the regular season. If there is a player that you want from another team, you should be able to sweeten the deal with a future draft pick. Come on guys... 6) The replay system in NFL HC sucks. If the clock is running, forget it. If the clock is stopped, the replay usually only includes the final few seconds of the play. Geeeeez. 7) The scouting director is a joke. You should be able to tell him what to do and who to scout. During the season, he wants to scout the team you are about to play and not the coming draft class. If there is a player on another team that I am interested in, I will scout that player. Otherwise, I will scout the draft class. He's hard-wired to be a moron. 8) This game makes it hard to look through your players to get information. I've learned to cope but I still don't like it. (The depth chart is about the best place) 9) Lineage. Lineage is your ranking for coaches that have worked under you and have gone on to be a head coach themselves. The better that they do, the more lineage points that you receive. OK, these are hard points to get. I keep my great coaches because it took quite some time to make them great and I don't want to start over again. When you compare the time that it takes to work up these points to the average lifespan of a human, you see that it's an up-hill battle. Lineage should also include great players that you have developed from rookies. Players make or break a coach. That's just my opinion. 10) Loading times. Oh, loading times. Patience is a virtue with this game. Lucky for me, I have a passion for football and this helps to dull the pain. I bet that the PC version is much faster, but I don't know. The first few times that I played a 'Game Day', I thought that the game had locked up afterwards. It is actually simming other games in the league and this just takes a while. OK- I'm done complaining. Every game has it's short-comings. I do, however, truly love this game. *************** *MISCELLANEOUS: *************** (These plays may or may not be available to you.) LIST OF MY FAVORITE OFFENSIVE MONEY PLAYS (Vertical Offense): 1st Down: WR Option 1st Down: WR Option 1st Down: HB Lead 2nd & Long: X-Clown 3rd & Long: WR Option Goal Line: PA Boot Slide (Other possibility: 2 Minute Drill: Hail Mary) LIST OF MY FAVORITE DEFENSIVE MONEY PLAYS (3-4 Defense): Under Smoke, SS Gut Blitz, Engage Eight, MLB Cross Fire HERE'S A LIST OF MY COACHING STAFF FOR THE 2008 SEASON: OC: Marv Olive (99) DC: Richard Smith (99) SD: Brandon Billows (50) (I would fire him if I could...) SP: Joe Marciano (72) QB: Tank Cleary (99) RB: Jacob Johnson (99) WR: Matthew McCarter (99) TE: Brian Pariani (99) OL: Bill Laveroni (99) DL: Shawn Jackson (79) LB: Bob Babich (97) DB: Brett Maxie (90) HERE'S A LIST OF MY KEY PLAYERS IN THE 2008 SEASON (3rd Season). THE LIST INCLUDES POSITION, NAME AND TOP OVERALL RATING. THIS MIGHT HELP YOU DECIDE WHO TO KEEP/LET GO EARLY IN THE GAME IF YOU CHOSE THE TEXANS: QB: M. Leinart (94) (Drafted in 2006) HB: D. Davis (99) FB: B.J. Dean (99) (Drafted 2006) TE: T. Johnson: (99) WR1: D. Branch (99) WR2: R. Bush (99) (Drafted in 2006) WR3: A. Johnson (98) WR4: J. Gaffney (95) WR5: J. Mathis (88) LG: L. Walker (90) C: N. Mangold (85) RG: B. Moore (92) RT: T. Wade (92) LE: C. Craig (99) (Drafted in 2006) LE: T. Johnson (98) CB: D. Robinson (96) CB: D. Anderson (94) (Drafted in 2007) CB: P. Buchanon (90) LOLB: N. Wayne (95) MLB: T. McCoy (95) (Drafted in 2006) ROLB: A. Peek (90) SS: G. Earl (95) FS: G. Gray (99) (Drafted in 2007) ************************************************** *Here's some random tips that should help you win: ************************************************** #1: Very Important: During the off-season and between games, use the calendar in your computer to sim to the next task that you need to do. When the message comes up that says 'you have completed the current task- do you want to sim to the next task?' answer 'no' and go to the calendar and sim from there. Big time-saver. #2 Set and actually do (2) OFF VS DEF CON and then (1) PASS SKELETON CON practice right before game day. This will give you at least 4 offensive and 4 defensive money plays. This will also help you win more during your first season. The practices take about five minutes each to run once you get them down. I usually sim the other practices of the week. You may want to do them to help develop your players faster and possibly avoid injuries. #3: Do the above practices during your bye week and any week that you have off in the post-season. You will get a pleasant surprise. The money plays that you earn on your week off will carry over to the week before the game and then into game day. You will have lots of money plays. #4: On game day, KEEP THE GAME MOVING-know your play book-take some chances! #5: Use another team of your choosing, but I do recommend that you make whatever trade that you must to get the first pick in the 2006 draft and get Reggie Bush and make him a WR. #6: Don't let it get you down if you fall behind. My team has come back from a 28 point deficit against the Tom Brady and the Patriots. #7: Don't be afraid to create a play or two during the 'create play' sessions in the off-season. I have created a few passing plays (with the far left receiver as the primary). After you have created and saved one, don't forget to add it to the playbook during the 'Game Plan Meeting' task. You can only create plays in the off-season. #8: Scouting the draft class: When you have selected the position that you are looking to fill, sort them by ï¿½Overallï¿½ then hit R1 a few times to see the toughness and injury rating for the player. Go through them and only scout the players that have a good toughness and injury rating. A player can be good but if he gets hurt a lot, he will frustrate you and cost you wins. Also look for speed. Speed and toughness are a great combination in this game. #9: Before your very first game of the season, you should try to do (3) OFF VS DEF CON and (1) PASS SKELETON CON. This is because all of your plays are at 0% to start. After the first game, your money plays from the previous game will still be at 46% so you only have to do each three times to regain it as a money play for the next game. #10: Although hard to find in the early drafts, a very fast tight end can pay big dividends in this game. If you want one early in the game you will probably have to make a trade with another team. Having a very fast TE will make your 'TE Option' plays lethal to the opposing defense. #11: There seems to be higher likelihood of small injuries when you sim practices but seldom major long-term injuries. #12: Having an extra WR, CB and LB is not a bad idea in case of injuries mid-season. You can change a player's position if you have to. Sometimes you find a hidden gem! #13: If your team is winning most of the games in your season, you don't have to worry a lot about the goals that the owner set. He'll get over it. #14: Never run the clock unless it is a VERY close game. GO FOR IT! #15: EVERY second counts! Snap the ball as soon as it will allow you to if the clock is running! The AI doesn't manage the clock well. You may have to call timeout when he has the ball late in the 2nd and 4th quarters. Use the time-out. It's worth it! Always plan on your key players getting an interception or forcing the punt. A lot can happen in that final 30 seconds. The AI will run the clock even when he's way behind. STOP THE CLOCK! STOP THE CLOCK! STOP THE CLOCK! #16: Your scouting director (SD) will not like you much if you don't let him pick who to scout (and you should pick them yourself). He is under the control of the owner and you can't fire him so who cares what he thinks! The owner will eventually replace him with another sock puppet for you to totally ignore. #17: If you have a BIG LEAD late in the 2nd or 4th quarter, watch out for the onside kick. Your coach may not tell you to call it but always change to the 'Onside Recover' play, especially in the 4th quarter with a lead. The AI has done this to me in the beginning of the 4th quarter and I only had a 14 point lead. #18: Pass 90% of the time. My team's average per game is 300-500 passing yards and about 30-50 rushing yards (2nd season). My RB always leads the NFL in Touchdowns but not yards. I use him for 3rd & short, 4th & short and goal line touch down plays. #19: To change Reggie Bush into a WR- During 'Office Hours' - Go to 'Roster' - 'Player Roster'- Pick him- Push 'X'- Change to WR. #20: To challenge a call on the field- At play call screen- Push 'square' and then watch the replay and hit 'X' to challenge the call. You only have so long to do this. Don't waste much time watching the replay if you know that you want to challenge it. Push 'X' to challenge it. If the call stands then it will cost you a timeout and a challenge. If it is overturned, it will cost you one challenge (you get 2 per game). If the play looks close and could be a game-changer - challenge it! (Especially sideline calls and fumbles) The AI is superb at calling challenges and the call is usually overturned. This can be a game changer. Note that you cannot challenge a play in the last two minutes of each half. During this time, the 'officials' will decide if a play needs challenged. #21: I chose Matt Leinart over Vince Young in the 2006 draft. At this point, in the 2008 Season, Young doesn't hold a candle to Leinart. (But I haven't coached Young) #22: With all of the talk about an aggressive vertical offense, I have neglected to talk much about defense. Troy McCoy and Chris Craig are going to help a lot but you will still have to focus on having a great defense. Of course, every time that you score, the AI will get the ball. You need to possess a defense that will either get an interception or force the punt on 4th down most of the time if you want to truly dominate your opponents. Try to atleast force them to settle for a field goal. #23: The game gets even better after a couple of seasons. You get to know your players and keep/cut decisions become much easier. You will also become much more proficient in managing your time. #24: When considering a new player, always look at age, speed, strength, awareness, toughness and injury rating. Remember- speed and strength will not increase much during a player's career. #25: Just because it is 2nd & short, you don't have to call a 2nd & short play. Use a 1st & 10 money play or whatever play you want. Most of my money plays are 1st and 10 plays. #26: As WR2, Reggie Bush will be the WR on the far left of the play. The orange arrow is the primary receiver. Sometimes you can flip the play to make him your primary if he's not. #27: Always remember- you cannot teach a player speed and strength but he can improve in other areas over time, especially awareness. Consider this and injury rating when drafting and hiring players. #28: If I'm ahead by a good margin and there is :20 on the clock in the fourth, I will sometimes do an onside kick myself. If I recover it, I go with a Hail Mary and go for it! #29: You will have to be patient with you team during the first year. Your goal the first year is to simply win as many games as you can. The stats are probably just not going to be there. Focus on doing the best that you can and getting your team ready for the 2007 season. #30: During the off-season, before the draft, you can hire a good free agent with no signing bonus and then trade him for a draft pick. This works but takes a lot of patience. Be sure that there is no signing bonus because there is a salary cap penalty if so. #31: During the game, you can push down on the directional pad and then 'X' to enter the roster menu. I only do this during the two minute breaks between quarters. It can be a real time-burner if you use it while the clock is running. #32: I never make substitutions (from the roster menu) during the game. This can burn a lot of time. If you are going to make substitutions during game play, you should do it during the two minute breaks between quarters. I have never made a substitution on game day. #33: Make sure that you use your 'Scout Players' task between games and during the off-season to check out the incoming draft class. Scout the key players that can replace weak or aging players on your roster. #34: Take notes! This is especially true during your first season. I know - I hate it too. You will always have to take notes, but the first year requires much more note-taking then the years to follow. #35: Know when to accept and when to decline a penalty. You only have a few seconds to decide. If you don't decline it, you will be forced to accept it. Choose wisely and quickly, Grasshopper. Seriously, pay attention to this. It can be big. #36: Kickers in this game suck. It's a fact. There are no practices for them that I have found so they are usually close to the bottom of their ability spectrum. Find the best ones you can and go with it. The 60-75 kickers seem to do a fairly good job. #37: You can change a player's position during the season (between games) or during the off-season if it does not make that player's original position go below the minimum number of players. (He has to be an extra) Lots of positions are interchangeable. You can check what a player's stats at a different position would be by going to the 'Depth Chart' and then highlight the current player in that position and hit 'X'. Now you can go through possible replacements for that particular player by pushing right on the directional pad. This will show you a certain player's ability spectrum for that position. CB can be a good FS. MLB can be a good ROLB. The right extra players can become lifesavers mid-season after the injury of a key player. #38: You will notice that after the first game of the season, your money plays will not diminish completely. They are usually at about 46% or so. This means that you only have to run them three times during the OFF VS DEF CON practices and they are a money plays for game day again. You can have quite a few money plays if you work it right. #39: If you want the most fun and best stats, do not sim the games. Play them like your job and reputation are on the line. Watch your draft picks develop into legends. Live the dream. Make Don Shula become your right hand man at the NFL Coaches Hall of Fame after you have dominated the league for years to become the best coach of all time. #40: If this were the real NFL, the wizard offensive and defensive coordinators of your competitors would probably dissect your offense and feed it back to you, but luckily it's not. You can play with them like a cat does a mouse. BWAH HA HA HA HA! Well, there you go! I hope you found some helpful info to inch you towards the ultimate goal: Becoming the #1 coach in the history of the game... Good Luck! Courtesy of: S. Lewis XOCOACH2009 *********************************************************************** Credits: I would like to take this chance to thank Johnny LaRue for writing a great FAQ for weekly prep of the team. His guide gave me some great insight on how the game works between games and how important practices are to the development of players. Some of his ideas were incorporated in this strategy guide. *********************************************************************** *********************************************************************** Copyright: Copyright 2009 S. Lewis This guide may not be reproduced except for personal/private use. It may not be placed on any web site or other medium without the expressed written permission of the writer. Use of this guide on any web site or any use for public display is prohibitted and is a violation of this copyright. *********************************************************************** *********************************************************************** UPDATE (07-06-09): *********************************************************************** The numbers from the Texan's 2008 (16-0) regular season are in: Matt Leinart: 7245 yards, 76 touchdowns, 63 interceptions (I told you that he had a lot of interceptions!) (P. Manning was 2nd in 2008 with 3651 yards and 27 touchdowns) Reggie Bush: 3525 yards, 36 touchdowns, 20.0 yard average (Reggie won every award under the sun-again.He needs a bigger trophy case!) Domanick Davis (HB): 27 touchdowns (most in the NFL by far) and 601 yards. Team Stats: 120 Total touchdowns and 66 defensive interceptions (9 taken in for a TD) Got '2008 Coach of the Year' again and the Texans won '2008 Offensive Team of the Year'! ON TO THE PLAY OFFS! (Watch for other updates in the future. I plan to do an update after a few more seasons... Hopefully, I will have some more tips on game play. Thanks for checking out the guide! Hope it helps.) ************************************************************************** UPDATE 07-28-09 ************************************************************************** Time for another update! At this point in the game I am playing my 6th season. For the first five seasons the Texans are 76-4 with 5 Super Bowl wins in a row. We have not lost a game since the first season. My goal for the 2010 season was to win Offensive Team of the Year AND Defensive team of the Year. I got the OTOTY (as always) and got edged out of DTOTY by the Eagles. They allowed 200 less yards than we did but we allowed the least points in the league. We beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl (63-10). Life goes on... As a coach, I am #6 on the all-time list. I broke the record with the 5th Super Bowl win. I won the 'Comeback Coach of the Year' award my first season and have won 'Coach of the Year' all four years since. The Texans have won Offensive Team of the Year every year. Reggie Bush had to build a new room onto his mansion to hold his trophies... Here's a few more tips: *PRE-SNAP CONTROL: During the game, you can use this function by pushing 'Up' on the directional pad and then hitting 'X'. ONLY USE THIS IF THE CLOCK IS STOPPED. The choices in this mode include: WR PROGRESSION CALL AUDIBLE QB STRATEGY FORMATION SHIFT HOT ROUTE MOTION I encourage you to experiment with this so long as the clock is stopped. You can exploit a weakness in your opponent's defense. I don't have any advice on this because I am still experimenting with it myself. *SALARY CAP: Staying under the salary cap can be tricky. All teams are different. With the Texans, I have not had problems but some teams are going to be challenging to say the least. When you take over a team, you are also inheriting all of the decisions made by the last coach and maybe even the one before him. My advice is to look closely at your roster under 'Salary Cap' and try to identify problems. Look for older players that are losing their edge and make a ton of money. This is especially true if there is a young player behind them that can develop into a great player over time. A big factor is the player's signing bonus. You will get a salary cap penalty if you release or trade him. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to get your player's salaries in line. A good example (if you picked the Texans) is QB David Carr. In 2006 he is a 54-69 (or something like that) and makes like 6 million a year. I chose to keep him on staff the first year, as insurance, and then traded him off for a draft pick in 2007. If my team was in a bind, I would have released or traded him in 2006. This part of the game is not easy. This is the tough part of being a head coach in the NFL. *DRAFT PICKS IN FUTURE DRAFTS: The original version of this strategy guide listed some draft picks from the 2007 draft. I was curious so I restarted the game (without saving) and went with the Texans and picked vertical offense and 3-4 defense. I went through all of the orientation and then simmed to where I could see the next season's draft picks. I found that they were not the same as they were on my saved game. They are not predetermined. *PRACTICES: During an OFF VS DEF CON practice, you will get 20% closer to making the play a money play. During a PASS SKELETON CON practice, you will get 6-7% closer to getting a money play. The PASS SKELETON CON practice will raise the readiness of your QB and WRs. Be sure and do these practices if you want to be competitive. Do not sim them. Another thing to note here is that the 'One on One-Contact' drills will help to develop your players long-term by shifting their range (ability spectrum). If you really want to get the most for your players long-term, you might consider doing these type of practices between games. I would atleast put them on the calendar and sim them. *POST-SEASON PLAY: Play to win post-season games. If you have a firm lead, run the clock when you can. The stats don't actually matter. The numbers will not show up for your players' career stats. You just want a 'W'. I do, however, sometimes go for the blow-out. *MISSED OPPORTUNITY: In the original guide, I did not give proper respect to a couple of players that are a core part of the Texans. These players are WR Andre Johnson and CB Dunta Robinson. These guys are both keys to the Texans' success. Johnson usually has the 2nd most yards in the NFL (next to Reggie Bush). Robinson is my top CB. He reels in interceptions like they are going out of style. I have another CB (Doc Anderson) that is very impressive himself. I picked him up in the 2007 draft. The available draft picks are randomly generated so you won't see him in your draft. Look to pick up a great CB in the 2007 draft. *SOME MORE RANDOM TIPS: 1) When re-signing players in the off-season, consider re-signing good players that only have 1 year left on their contract. You may be able to avoid a free agency bidding war the following year. 2) Have faith in MLB Troy McCoy and LE Chris Craig. They are both a bit injury-prone but they seem to get a little better over time. Chris Craig's injury rating is much better than McCoy's. 3) If you have an opposing team's CB that keeps intercepting your QB, make a note. You might want to scout him and possibly sign or trade for him later. You can stumble on some exceptional talent this way. This is the kind of talent that keeps the ball in the hands of your aggressive vertical offense. 4) When looking at the incoming draft class, find the postion you are looking for and sort by 'Overall'. Now hit 'X' and then hit R1 a few times to look at the players' toughness and injury attributes. DO NOT scout players that have a low score in these two attributes. They will become a headache later. Players that are very fast and have a high toughness and injury rating rule this game. (The exception to this is, of course, linemen that are somewhat slow. You probably won't find fast ones.) 5) If you choose to play as the Texans, consider trading off RT Zach Wiegert and MLB Morlon Greenwood for draft picks in 2006. You want an extra pick so that you can draft C Nick Mangold in the 3rd or 4th round. Be sure and follow the draft order that is outlined in the strategy guide above. You really need the players listed in the guide. Use the pick that you trade for the two players above to get Mangold if you can. He will develop into a great center for your team and he's tough. 6) After my fifth season of coaching, I received a 'Continuous Service Award - Five Years'. Starting in the sixth season, I got eleven reps in my practices (instead of ten) and I also got to scout ten players (instead of eight)in the 'Scout Players' task. I'm not sure if this has to do with staying with the same team for five years or if it has to do with my coaching attributes increasing. Well that's about all that I have for now. Anything can happen in this game, and usually does. Remember, nothing is guaranteed. Stay focused on the win and keeping your players healthy and well-practiced. Your job depends on it. Good luck! XOCOACH2009