======================================================= NFL Head Coach : Weekly Prep Help FAQ | Final Version | ______________________________________________________/ ''''''''''| Updates | '''''''''' 7/1/06: Update number 1 (or numero uno for my Spanish speaking friends). I added a tips/troubleshooting section, some new advice for the OL vs DL drill and the last Off vs Def non contact drill. 7/9/06: Update number 2 consists of a end of season guide. 7/14/06: Update number 3 consists of the RFA guide and I added a search feature. 7/18/06: Update number 4 consists of the UFA guide & NFL draft guide and I added some new Q & A's. 8/2/06: Got off my lazy ass and finished the Training Camp section. This should be the final update unless I get a slew of questions for the Tips and Troubleshooting guide or someone has something to add to the FAQ. 12/20/06: Making this version Final, no new updates wil be added. ========================================================================= Contents: (search for B-1 to get to the end of season guide) Weekly Prep Guide = A-1 End of season guide = B-1 RFA guide = B-2 UFA guide = B-3 NFL Draft = B-4 Training Camp = B-5 Tips and Troubleshooting = C-1 ========================================================================= If you are reading this guide you need help on the weekly prep functions (either that or you clicked by accident). This is the schedule I have used for the week and am able to get the majority of my players near max for the next game. If there is an (X) before the task it means it is set in stone in the game and not able to be changed. You may need a sheet of paper and writing utensil for this. Don’t worry I will wait…. Okay, ready? Here we go! A-1 Monday : (X) Office Hours: Check who is still in the green and make a note of it. For me it is my starting linemen but for you it may be different. Also press down on the controller to see the weekly goals before you meet with the owner. (X) Management Meeting: Your boss (the owner) will give you the run down on what NEEDS to be done for the week. For me he rarely says anything since everything is in good shape. Make a note of what NEEDS to be done. Lastly, check your email and see if any trades have been offered. (X) Office Hours: Okay you are gonna want to adjust your schedule as follows. The first practice should be RB vs. LB contact. Followed by Inside Drills contact, OL vs. DL contact, WR vs. DB contact (or non contact), OFF vs. DEF contact and then OFF vs. DEF non contact. Got it? (X) Weekly Staff Meeting: This is where you talk to your coaching staff and get to hear them whine about how bad the game was. Though you do get to hear them praise your players depending on how great they did the following week. It makes no difference what order you talk to them in so select a coach and talk to them. If the coach talks about poorly his position did then select the aggressive option below and ream him. More often than not they will get a small bonus in that position. Now the exception here is if their trust level is very low. Then you want to be passive and go with the “small trust drop”. Do NOT let the trust level get too low! Always check it by pressing left on the controller and then press X. Occasionally your crack team of coaches will make some dopey decision like to start jabroni “A” over your stud starter. I am fairly sure it has to do with their current rating in the game. I agree with them which increases the trust level (or negates the trust drop from above). Don’t worry your stud player is not riding the pine on Sunday as you will understand later. Also, I found out a real easy way to increase trust in a positional coach is if you have a hold out. I have Mark Roman the SS holding out and for some odd reason my DB coordinator insists I start him. I agree and his trust level increases. Then at the end of the week (Saturday) in the meeting he does a 180 and suggests the active player starts. Thus doubling the trust level for him that week. Tuesday: (X) Gameplan Meeting: This is where you go over the playbook for the upcoming game. During the preseason is the BEST time to make playbook chances and create plays. It is far better to make all the chances your heart desires in one sitting or you will lose a lot of trust with your OC and DC changing the playbook each week. Just make sure you have a Hail Mary and a goal line formation “Flat Slide” in the playbook! Also know that every change you make to the playbook results in a decrease of trust. Mine got so bad I had the coaches insulting me about using red pens and their trust bar was almost empty. So my advice is to go into the playbook for each coach and back out using triangle and make no changes. Thus increasing the trust bar some. (X) Office Hours: Okay write down or memorize the halfbacks & LB ratings you wish to have start. If you are using a 4-3 like me then you should have a grand total of 5 players. HB, FB, LOLB, MLB, and ROLB. (X) Scouting Report Meeting: Look over the notes for the next team and exit out. (X) Office Hours: No need to bother with this and move on ahead. Go to the bathroom or get a drink while you wait for the load screen. Wednesday: (X) Scout Players: Your scout will recommend you scout the opponent for the following week. Since you can not fire him and you are not his boss (the owner is) treat him like the whipping boy he is and ignore his advice. I see no reason to scout the team when you have a scouting report in your inbox from the previous day. I highly recommend you scout the incoming draft class instead. (X) Office Hours: If you have yet to write down or memorize the halfbacks & LB ratings you wish to have start do it now. If you are using a 4-3 like me then you should have a grand total of 5 players. HB, FB, LOLB, MLB, and ROLB. RB vs. LB contact: You will first select what run you wish to use. If the back is speedy I would go with an outside run play and if he is power then go with a dive play. For Defence if you want your back to get more stats choose a pass defence. If you need more stats for your LB then choose a blitz package. Now for the first 4 reps use your starting HB. On defence I rotate my LB’s for 3 reps a piece throughout the drill. Your HB should be making solid yardage and if not then motivate him aggressively. Everytime I have aggressively motivated after a LB stop the HB gets a TD the next rep. After 4 reps choose the FB and repeat the same procedure. With the last rep choose a weak HB and your best LB to get a mismatch to get that extra bump for him in stats. Or vice versa if you so desire (X) Office Hours: Now check the roster and see how many points your HB and LBs improved. Write it down if you wish for future reference. You should have your HB maxed out and FB maxed out and your LB’s in the yellow range at the very least. Now make note of any HB or LB that is not maxed out and write down how many points they need to be maxed out. Thursday: Inside Drills Contact: I find a play that is at 46% and run that over and over till it is a money play. Same goes with the defence, though I highly suggest you choose a dime formation so your HB’s will get some yardage and break a few. I choose a Prevent or a 3 deep since I will use that play on game day. You want your starters getting most of the reps so here is the formula I use: 1st vs. 1st 1st vs. 2nd 1st, vs. 1st 2nd vs. 1st 2nd vs. 2nd 1st vs. 3rd 1st vs. 2nd 2nd vs. 1st 3rd vs. 1st If the Defence is kicking your butt motivate the entire offense. Sadly you must do this individually. Make a note of who reacts negatively and adjust accordingly the next time. If your defence is STILL kicking your butt select strategy and have all of them defend the pass. (X) Office Hours: Now check the roster and see who needs help for OL and DL and how many points they have. I would focus on the DE’s before the DT’s. You should have a max of 9 players but in my case I have about 6 since some of my OL are maxed out. As the weeks progress you should notice this as well. If you have a few LBs who need a boost I would sub them in as D-linemen in the depth chart so you can use them for the next drill. OL vs. DL Contact: Rotate through the OL starters and pit them vs. your DL starters. If you have a starter or two that is very low focus on them this drill. I use this formula: RG vs. LE RT vs. RE C vs. LE or RE LG vs. DT1 LT vs. DT2 With the remaining reps focus on those who need the boost by pitting them vs. weaker linemen. If your guys are not performing motivate them aggressively. Take note of who reacts positively. (X) Office Hours: Now check the roster to see who improved and by how much for OL and DL. Then check on your WR and DB’s and make note of the ratings. Oh and check the email inbox as well just in case. Friday: WR vs. DB contact or non contact: This should bump up your QB as well so you need to choose 1st string for this drill. Focus on your top two CB’s then your safeties. For WR focus on the #2 & #3 Wrs. I know I know I bet you are thinking what about my #1 WR. No need to drill him much here as you will see later on. The best routes to run to get your WR’s in top notch shape is the goal line quick slant or slant route or the default formation and choose an angle route. The slants with a speedy WR is a surefire way to get Tds. Especially when you go to strategy and choose “use your speed to get open” for the WRs. If you need more help on the DB front then choose streaks since your DB will bat it down or pick it off more often than not. The formula I use is as follows: WR2 vs. SS WR2 vs. FS WR3 vs. CB1 WR3 vs. CB2 WR2 vs. CB1 WR3 vs. CB2 WR4 vs. SS WR5 or TE vs. FS TE vs. (whomever is the lowest DB) (X) Office Hours: Now check the roster to see how many points your WR and DBs increased by. You should have your 2 WRs maxed out along with a few DBs. OFF vs. DEF contact: Okay if your owner wants running plays for money plays then focus on that. You do not have to if you are good with the other requests from him since I have gotten away with doing 3 of 4 or 4 of 5 tasks and still had a boost in trust from him. Just remember that the run plays will affect your HB and LBs more than the WR and DBs. Personally I would focus on the run this time around since it is contact and with non contact it is hard to break one for a TD. You may be able to get 2 or 3 running plays as money plays at the very least. I wont tell you what play to choose but I would recommend using a HB dive just since it sucks to have the game on the line or short yardage only to have your team hose up the dive play. *sigh* OH! Do NOT (I repeat) Do NOT select the Hail Mary or Goal line Flat Slide!!!! Okay here is the formula I use for the strings: 1st vs. 1st 1st vs. 2nd 2nd vs. 2nd 1st vs. 3rd 1st vs. 1st 2nd vs. 1st 3rd vs. 1st 1st vs. 2nd 2nd vs. 1st As always motivate as necessary and make note of it. DO NOT give advice for the HB the whole drill since he will embed that into his brain and do it all the time in the game. Use the advice sparingly if needed. Saturday: (X) Office Hours: Check on who is not quite at max stats or what position needs help. Yes your QB and WR1 is in need of help so we will fix that now with the upcoming OFF vs. DEF non contact drill. OFF vs. DEF non contact: Okay we are gonna focus on pass plays here for the last 5 reps of the drill. For the first 4 reps you should be able to get another run or pass to money status. Now for the last 5 reps you will select Hail Mary for the offense and Goal Line Flat Slide for the Defence. Your QB will air it out to the #1 WR who will be WIDE OPEN for a TD every time (unless the bum drops the ball). If he drops the ball I would motivate him aggressively but I have yet to have him drop the ball. After 5 reps of this your QBs stats should be maxed out as well as your #1 WR (you could gamble and go with 3 or 4 reps if the play is already at 47% for a money play if you need an extra rep to get another play to money status). Also with no down time for them to decrease in stats you will walk into the game with a maxed out QB and #1 WR!!! So the formula is as follows: 1st vs. 1st 2nd vs. 1st 1st vs. 2nd 2nd vs. 2nd Then the last 5 reps should all be 1st string offense so you could go: 1st vs. 3rd 1st vs. 2nd 1st vs. 3rd 1st vs. 3rd 1st vs. 1st (X) Office Hours: Now check the roster one last time and most of your players SHOULD be maxed out. Now there may be some who are not but do NOT worry! You took good notes right? You know how much your player(s) increase in the drills right? So you can adjust accordingly the next week. Every player reacts differently and I roll with the Packers (I heard that laugh coming from you in the blue shirt!) so I can not speak for every other team in the league. If you want to contribute your notes and submit them then maybe I will make a roster guide and give you full credit for it. (X) Weekly Summary Meeting : Ah yes.. Back to the coaches. By now either they will be upset that the positions are not up to par or they will be happy that you did their job for them and the players are maxed out. Feel free to ream the coaches who complain for the positional boost (unless the trust levels are low). Those who are happy praise them and they will receive a nice trust boost. Also some coaches will do a mea culpa and suggest you replace the very same player they recommended you replace earlier in the week. No matter since you will get a trust boost for their incompetence. So that dopey decision earlier about starting some jabroni over the star player will correct itself. If not…. (X) Office Hours: Go to Depth Chart and change it yourself! The coaches trust level does not decrease as far as I know and if it does it is soooo miniscule it has no bearing on the overall trust level. If you have more changes you still have the… Sunday Pre-Game Review: To make any final changes and tweaks. Congrats you made it to game day with a team that is at a decent level! Best of Luck to ya and always pick tails! Okay you don’t have to pick tails I guess….. ___________________ End of season Prep | B-1 ___________________| Okay if you are reading this then you should have finished the season. If you have not why are you reading this? Hopefully you won the Super Bowl. If so press the left ananlog stick to check out your NFC or AFC championship trohpy. Sadly the Lombardi trophy is not in your award case for some odd reason despite you being carried off the field with it. First on the agenda is to check your email and your agent should have some job offers for you. Go to your inbox to check them out. I got 3 offers all from teams that went 11-5 the previous year. I declined and then moved on to the.... [X] End of Year Meeting: Here you will meet with the owner, my convo went like this. Owner: Thanks for all that you have done for the team this season. Me: You're Welcome Owner: Is there anything that you have for me? Me: ( ) No, I think we are all set ( ) Actually, I have decided to leave the team. Thank you for the opportunities. I chose "we are all set" option and it then kicked me back out to the office so I talked to the owner again since he had two more things to say according to the upper right hand corner. Owner: I have one final thing for you. Me: Continue.... Owner: (your name here) we are going to upgrade your office for next year. Me: Continue.... Owner: We really appreciate all the success you've brought to this franchise. Me: Thank you this means a lot to me. It once again kicked me back out to the office so I talked to the owner again since he had one more thing to say according to the upper right hand corner. Owner: That's all I have for you coach. Enjoy your time off and see you next season. Me: You too, thanks. I was hoping he would say I was chosen to coach the Pro Bowl but I guess that is not an option. *sigh* Before you move on make sure you write down any stats or scores you want to keep Also go into roster and choose salary cap. Make a note of who is in their final year of their contract and needs to be resigned for next season. I would also say to check out the NFL.com option but I guess they do not update the webpage for no mention of your Super Bowl win is on it. :( Make sure you do everything you want to do to for there is no turning back one you choose to move on. Oh and don't forget to save the game before moving on. After moving on you will see the Pro Bowl score followed by a message that says "ending the current season..." "Starting the next season. Please wait..." They really mean go to the bathroom or make a snack. [X] Start of Year Meeting: Here you will go over the budget, set new yearly goals and review or change your current philosophies. If you got an new office you will now see it. I have a flat screen TV, wood floors a nicer chair, new paint on the walls, a tree in my office and a nice expanded wooden shelving in the back with various team memrobilla. Oh you now can check out your Lombardi trophy if you so desire. Sadly you can not rotate it like you can in NCAA. Check your email and if you followed my advice for scouting during the season he should say that you have done an excellent job scouting, but we can do better. I managed to scout 149 players during the reg. and post season. You hopefully should be at or above this number. Now talk to the owner who will make changes for the off-season. He will tell you your salary cap number, your staff budget amount and ask you if you want to change your offensive and defensive philosophy. I say if it broke don't fix it but it's up to you. At the end of the convo the owner will have set your goals for the off-season. You will exit out of the convo and now press down on the control pad to check your goals for the off-season. It should involve hiring or resigning your staff. Go back and talk to the owner. The owner should talk about goals for the season. Mine were to maintain last year's level of success and then he expected me to go to the Conference Championship. You can choose for him to elaborate or you can be a yesman and say "sounds reasonable". If you choose elaborate he will say "We did great last year, and go to the Conference Championship this season." Apparently you do not need proper English to be an owner in the NFL. Then he will tell you who you need to draft for the upcoming draft. If you choose please elaborate he will tell you what max overall rating he wants for that position. Write it down so you know for the draft what you need. In my case he wanted a DB with a 75 max rating overall. Sadly there are few in my draft class and odds are they will go in the top 20. If you are lucky the owner will ramble about future goals for the regular season. You will exit out out of the convo and now feel free to check out your coaching ranking. Mine is 34 after going 16-0 and winning the Super Bowl. Go back and talk to the owner again and he will mention this starts the hiring process for your staff. You can do this yourself or you can be lazy and have the owner do it for you. If you choose to do it yourself then.... [X] Office Hours: Now is the time to check which coaches contracts are up for renewal. Make a note of who they are and their stats. I had my QB, RB and DB coach contracts that were up for renewal. My QB was 88 overall, RB was 86 and my DB was a 99. My RB coach (Bennett) I plan to kick to the curb. Also make note of the trust levels. If your coach is super low I suggest dumping him unless his rating is high. Open Time: I guess if you want to make unlimited depth chart changes now is the time to do it. Otherwise I do not see a point in this task. You can not make new plays in the playbook, nor can you make trades or fire staff members. I would sim to the.. [X] Weekly Staff Meeting Here you will get an email from your scouting director giving you advice on various positional coaches and their pros and cons. Provided you have open spots on the coaching staff. I suggest making a note of the names and pros and cons. Now you will back out of the email and talk to the current coaches (I had 12 things they said). Mine went like this: OC: Our agenda today is to pick the coaches you will keep this season. Review the coach roster in your computer to help make this decision. *Seeing how you already have done this no need to do it again.* Now you will talk to every coach and they will plead their case or kiss your ass. My QB coach said "(Your name here), my contract is up. Re-sign me sometime this week." You can have mercy on them and choose ( ) I'll be bringing you back this year. Let me set up a meeting. or you can pull a Donald Trump and say ( ) This organization doesn't need you anymore. Feel free to break out a hairpiece and say "You're FIRED!" if you wish. Then laugh as he slowly leaves the room in tears! Mwahahaha *evil laugh* Obviously if you keep the coach they get a trust increase. So you feasibly could say yes to all of them and then refuse to sign them for the next task which is... [X] Interview Coach My DB coach who I said I would retain and set up a meeting with is now demanding $800K over 2 years. You can try to negociate a better deal or accept his offer. I chose to get a 3 year deal since he is a 99 overall. Sadly he rejected a 1.4 million over 3 years offer and wants the 800K deal. I gave in and accepted. You can choose to pass if you wish and send him packing. It will now automatically send you to... [ ] Manage Staff Here you can set up interviews for new coaches. You made note of the ones your scouting director emailed you right? Contact them if you are interested. I chose the two that my director requested and added one more for the hell of it. Now that you used all 3 of your tasks you can move on which will put you at... [X] Interview Coach Now you can interview the guys you contacted. I suggest getting out the old paper and pen/pencil/crayon to take notes on the coaches answers. For my QB coach hiring I was forced to ask about his philosophy with the first question. Try to see if his repsonse jives with your philosophy in other words if he runs a west coast and you run a balanced it may not be a great fit. For me luckily the first guy runs the same offense as I do. Now you have choices on what to ask. ( ) Let's talk strategy ( ) Let's talk motivation It depends on what you feel is important. I chose strategy since I felt my last QB coach made stupid decisions on the field and I lack in strategy as a coach. His reply was: "When giving the responsibility of offensive play calling, I've never lost with a lead late in the game." I now can choose ( ) Ok, how about player evaluation? ( ) Ok, how about work ethic? I want a strong work ethic in my team so I chose work ethic to which he said: "I feel like if I can spend at least 8 hours gameplanning, I should be ready for any opponent. ( ) What kind of skills do you look for in a QB? ( ) How would you go about improving our run game? I dont give a crap about what my QB coach thinks about the run game so I chose the QB question instead. "A guy that has a lot of mobility, and can run with the ball when needed." ( ) Whats your take on zone blocking schemes for our OL? ( ) How do you get the most out of your corps of recievers on gameday? I chose the OL question. "Zone blocking? Oh that's used on 3rd and long situations. ( ) What skills do you think are important for the TE position? ( ) What type of impact do you think special teams have on a game? I chose the special teams one. "I'll be honest - I think special teams is for guys that aren't good enough to be starters or who can kick the ball. Now you have the option of signing him or letting him go. I chose to sign him and see what he wanted. Now choose to negoiate the contract and you can see his stats. He had a very high SP & ST rating (high 90's), QB rating of 76 and work ethic of 69. I won't bore you with every interview I plan to do but hopefully you get the jist of the interview process. Just make sure you take good notes so when another potential coach says the same thing as a previous coach you have an idea what his rating will be. Also if your scout mentions the coach is a poor TE coach (for example) trust him and don't waste a question about TE's. You will go back and forth between manage staff and interview coach until you have hired enough coaches for a full staff. Oh you can also rehire your old coach back if you want. Just make sure you have a full roster before the RFA period begins or the owner will hire the coaches for you. Oh and check your email constantly to see retirements and new scouting reports on the coaches and save your game before moving on! ___________________ RFA Guide | B-2 ___________________| [X] Management Meeting Now the RFA period begins! Take a gander at all the retirements as you sim to this period. If you have lost any players make a note of it! Also it will show the new coach signings around the league. Oddly Martz is now the HC of the Ravens and Dick Jauron is the new coach of the Patriots in my season. When you are done laughing at the absurd coaching decisions press X to continue. Check your email to confirm the retirements of your players. The owner will say: "Last week your goal was to have all your positional coaches filled." ( ) Continue... "I looked over that roster today and like the staff we have assembled. ( ) Thank you for the update ( ) I made these goals to improve this team not to please you! "Starting this week we need to re-sign our players. Talk to your staff to see who they think we should resign. If you agree with their advice.... I'll put those players in your keys to victory for this period. You may want to view the free agency pool for better players before resigning ours." ( ) I'm on it ( ) I'm going to have one of my coaches do this. The owner will then remind you about the RFA period and suggest you look at the TV screen for any help you need. Since you should know how to do this feel free to move ahead to... [X] Weekly Staff Meeting Now your crack team of coaches will advise you who to resign. I had 4 coaches offer advice. My WR coach wanted me to resign Javon Walker. I agreed and my coach got a trust increase. My OL coach wanted Adrian Klemm resigned and I agreed so his trust increased. I think you get the picture by now. Now go to roster and salary cap to see who has contracts that are due up. Alsosee if you have any holdouts. I have 2 and think I will let my WR holdout since my WR coaches trust level will increase next season due to it. I mentioned this in the weekly prep guide and don't feel like explaining it all over again. Just search for holdout and you should find it. Lastly, go check the NFL rosters to see who is gonna be a FA. Yes I am aware it is time consuming though if you know you need a QB just change "position" to QB and scroll through the teams. If you want to know who else is a holdout in the league change "sort by" to "contract status". Anyone in the green is a holdout. When you are finished move on to the next step. [X] Scout Players Okay this is one of 8 more times you can scout players before the end of the RFA period. By now you should be scouting any position you may need to fill a void in. [X] Resign Players This is the next step and start resigning your players you plan to keep. I would go after the ones on your keys to victory first. Remember you can only sign a certain amount per session. Go to player roster and choose "salary cap" to resign them or if you know who their agent is you can call their agent instead with the phone option. I would ignore the holdouts and deal with them later. You can also "franchise" tag the player if you wish. Sometimes the "franchise tag" is a help as it locks your player in. The downside is the amount of cash you are doling out for him. If negioations are going poorly and he is a top tier player I would just "franchise tag" him. Sometimes it helps to have players sign long term deals as to spread the cash out over numerous years though it may hurt you down the road. Though only UFA's you can do this to. With RFA's I recommend the following: Since you have first dibs to make a qualifying offer (a one year deal at __ amount) you can lowball the offer and hope no other team matches it. Or you can pay a bit more and even if a team matches the offer you will get a draft pick as compensation. Don't worry you can match any offer a team throws at your RFA. Upon making an offer the agent will tell you to wait to see if another team makes an offer. Oh and do NOT forget to budget your cash! Set aside some for FA's and draft picks! Yes that may mean you have to release a few players. [X] Agent Callback If you gave a lowball offer and the agent said he would get back to you about it now is when he gets back to you. Either the agent will say they accept or they do not accept your offer. If they decline you can turn around and give them a new offer when you are in "resign players". Or you can give them the middle finger and end all talks with the agent and player. [X] Management Meeting Okay here is where the owner will scold you for not resigning the players in the "keys to victory". If you did sign all the players needed then you should get a message about how you have completed your goals for the resign period and you will have the option of simming to the UFA period. Choose "cancel", talk to the owner and then manualy go to the UFA period yourself. Though I won't hold it against ya if you sim it.... Really I won't! Though you will miss out on the below.. [X] Weekly Staff Meeting Here your staff will try to find you sleeper picks for the upcoming draft. I assume the higher the player evaluation stat the better the sleeper pick. Look to see what coach will say something. Then I would go to the player roster and check the draft picks of the coaches that have a pick. So if the QB coach has something to say make note of the QBs not are not scouted and then see if your coaches are on the same wavelength. If you agree with your coaches than they will get a trust boost. [X] Pre-Combine Meeting Okay here is where you will get detailed reports on players for the draft. You had 25 reports but after agreeing with your coaching you should have less since those players you agreed to are already chosen for you. Seeing how you have most of the draftees scouted you can key on players you really want to draft. Unless you have a high draft pick I would focus on mid range players. Choose a few top rated players in a position that is deep. Also, for example if you are torn between two players at the same position this is the time to scout both and compare since your scouting numbers may not tell the whole story. [ ] Sign Players Here you can sign FA's. In the RFA period these players will be guys who are out of football (did not play last year). If you have the need to fill open spots go ahead and sign a few. For example if you need 2 QB spots filled and need a low tier guy to be a 3rd string go ahead and sign a QB then. These guys are fairly cheap so it won't put a dent in your cap room. [X] Combine Sadly you can not go to the combine and see the players workout. You have to take your scouting directors word about the draft workouts. -------------------------- Start of RFA offer period -------------------------- [X] Management Meeting You will meet with the owner and check your email as well for trade offers. I got one from Philly asking me to trade Wimberly for Trotter. If you want to make the deal you have to go into calendar and swap out sign players with trade players. The owner will say "Starting this week you can make offers on RFA players from other teams. Try to improve the talent in areas we are lacking." [ ] Sign Players Be careful if you plan to do this! If you value your draft picks you may end up losing them by signing RFA's. If you have low picks in the draft or numerous first and third round picks then you should be okay. If you feel the talent in the RFA pool is greater than the position you need in the draft than I would suggest making the offer. Go to "salary cap" to track down the players who you can make offers on. Yes I know there is no way to sort them and you have to manually go through each team. Or if you need a certain position choose it and scroll through that way. More often than not the player will be coloured red if you have sort by on "salary". For example if I need a QB I am going to look at all of them team by team and write down who I am interested in and their stats. Then I will call them up by clicking on the player I am interested in. This will bring up the agent screen and now you can see if the draft pick you are losing is worth it. You will see this in the offer screen in case you were wondering. In my case I offered Matt Schaub a contract and was out only a 3rd round pick. Not a bad deal since the depth at the QB spot in the draft was weak. If your offer was decent the agent will tell you he will wait for other offers and get back to you. Oh and you only get 3 calls/offers per session. Stupidly, by going to the offer screen wastes an offer/call. I suggest writing down what draft pick you would be losing even if you don't want the guy just so you know for future reference. [X] Post Combine Meeting Here your scout will give you the lowdown on the 25 players you wanted detailed reports about. Select "Let's get to it" and you will see the reports on the players. Read over them and if you are not interested in a certain player than make a note of it. Trust me on this. You need to have a semi organized paper for the draft since time is of the essence and you won't have time to go hunting for this info. That and the reports in the inbox go away eventually before the draft. I have a draft board and here is an example of it using a player I scouted for the upcoming draft: My Projection ~~~~~~~~~ Round 2: (DT) Andrew Blake, 60-84 + speed, strength - awareness, immature Round 3: (CB) Ty Cummings, 65-83 + speed, hands, man - tackling, zone During the draft I cross out the player as he is drafted. Okay now you can scout 8 more players as you see fit. I would scout the players in the detailed reports you are interested in if they are not well scouted yet. The RB my coach recommended was poorly scouted prior to the combine and now he is listed as "scouted". So he is easy to be well scouted only using 1 of the 8 scouting turns now. Feel free to move players up and down your draft board as in real life the more you scout and your needs on your team change throughout the trading and signing process. Oh and if you are whining about how time consuming this process is then I can only say.. HELLO! This is the point of the game!! Stop reading now and go play Madden or something then!!! [ ] Trade Players Here is where you can trade draft picks or players prior to the draft. Check your email for trade offers or if you wrote any down on your paper previously. If I have a holdout I will try to see what I can get for him. Try to make fair trades so the other owners trust level does not drop a lot. Trading is also a good way to dump players you were thinking of getting rid of and getting something in return. If you are unsure if the cpus player they are offering is any good wait until you.... Oh yea you can NOT trade away a draft pick that is already part of a RFA compensation. In other words I could not trade away my 3rd round pick since it was already promised to the Falcons for the Schaub offer. [X] Scout Players Scout more players for the draft. If you want you can also use this time to scout possible players you might trade for to make sure the player you get is not a bum. Also, when I find new draftees I am interested in I move them onto my draft board. [ ] Play Designer If you feel creative and want to make a few new plays for the upcoming season go ahead and make a few. Remember by adding the new plays to the playbook during the gameplan review phase your OC or DC trust levels will decrease so don't get too crazy with the new plays! [ ] Select Coach Clothing If you have ample time to spare and wish to be the fashion icon of the coaching world then swap a sign player or trade player task to this task. This about sums up the RFA period. The 4 above tasks are repeated until you reach the UFA period. You also have the office hour time to look over rosters. The management meeting will consist of the owner mentioning how he has nothing to say to you and how great things are going. I dunno why he couldn't have just emailed you instead... If you want to sim ahead I would recommmend simming past the office hours and sign and trade players tasks until you reach the scouting portion. Just be sure to check your email often for trade offers. ___________________ UFA period | B-3 ___________________| [X] Management Meeting Hooray! You made it to the UFA period! First things first so check your email and see who accepted your RFA offers. Schaub accepted my offer so I am out a 3rd round pick. The RFAs on my team all accepted my lowball offers so I am stuck with them and get no compensation picks for them. Now talk to the owner and in his infinite wisdom will say.... "This week we start signing free agents. Remember our yearly goals and check our roster for weaknesses. After selecting "I've got this covered" he will then say .... "You met the re-sign period goals. The coaches are happy to see their players back." This is provided you did resign those players in the keys to victory section. Your coach trust levels should increase as a result. Choose ( )Thank you for the update (if you want a trust boost) or ( ) I made these goals to improve the team. Not to please you!!! Before you move on ahead I strongly suggest to go to roster and look at the UFAs now available. [X] Weekly Staff Meeting Here you will meet with your staff. I had no issues so my OC said everything was running smoothly. If things are not running smoothly I guess the coaches will complain? Oh check NFL.com and sometimes they have a UFA player and his grade on the front page. It can save you a scouting turn provided you are interested in him. [X] Scout Players This is your last chance to scout players before the draft. You have 3 scouting sessions left before the draft so use them wisely!! You can also scout UFAs if you plan to sign some. Or you can scout players who have been offered to you in a trade. If you check your inbox you should have the scouting reports for your first preseason opponent. [ ] Sign Players Now after re-signing the players you want and can afford to keep you can go after the FA's. You should check your cap room amount and budget wisely. If you have a lot of draft picks or high draft picks I would spend maybe 30% to 40% of my cap room remaining on FA's. Unlike Madden you get no incentive of saving money and being fiscally responsible so spend like a drunken politician I say!!! Remember that some of these guys who are now UFA's are high priced. Don't get caught up in a bidding war or overspend. I would choose one or two needs and focus on them instead of scattershotting offers to everyone. You can also resign your old players if you feel you made a mistake or forgot to resign them in the first place (DOH!) Oh and most importantly check how many players are on your roster! If you fill up your roster with FA's then you have no room on the roster to sign your upcoming draft picks! As for me I saw no attractive & affordable UFAs available to fill the spots I needed so I will take my chances in the draft. I have 10 spots open on my roster so I am well prepared for the draft. [ ] Trade Players This is also your last chance to make any last minute trades prior to the draft. It is also a great way to see if the CPUs roster is full or near full when you do make a trade. If it is full I would not expect to be trading a player to them during the draft. Another way to check the other teams roster is to go to each team and count how many rows and multiply it by 8 then add the last row since it probably won't have 8 players in the row. If you lack multiplication skills I say shame shame shame!! I guess you better break out the calculator or an abbacus or something. Make sure to make note of those teams who have full rosters. ************* NFL DRAFT! * B-4 ************** Okay here is where the fun is IMO. Unlike Madden you are on the clock and have to make quick choices. I enjoy sitting through the whole draft and not simming through it. By now you should have about 181 players scouted. You should now have an idea of who is going where and make any final updates to your draft board. Before you start the draft go to roster breakdown and make note of your needs. Therefore in the later rounds you can grab a need and fill a hole in the roster. Also, if you plan to trade any players write their names down so you do not forget in the heat of the moment and panic trying to beat the clock. Remember when your owner gave you a goal at the end of the season about drafting a certain position? Add that to your draft sheet as well. Do not forget to check the "keys to victory" by pressing down on the control pad. Lastly, I would get a BEvERage of your choice and a snack since this takes a while. Oh go to the bathroom if needed. Though you can press start and pause the game. You have your draft board good to go right? You have a list of positions you need to be filled right? Okay let's begin! Mel will welcome you to the draft. For my 2007 Draft he said it was one of the weakest drafts in recent memory. He then mentioned a few top prospects. Remember them and write them down! He likened a QB named Patrick to Culpepper and said the best prospect was a LT named Henderson and then mentioned that a TE from USC should also be a high pick. On your left hand side you have your draft notebook which is where you will choose your player from and you can see who is already drafted and who you drafted as well. When choosing a player make sure you have it on non drafted players! You can also sort by position so you are not wasting time scrolling through 100's of players. In front of you is the computer which serves no value since you should have all the needed info on your draft paper. To the right is the phone. If you wish to make trades this is where you will do it. Seeing how time is of the essence start negoiating before the team is due up to pick. Have a clear idea of what you want to deal for and for whom. This is not the time to be trying to make lopsided trades in your favor for time is not on your side! After the trade is made you will have little time to make your selection! Keep an eye on the draft ticker in the upper left hand corner to see who is considered the top remaining picks. Or as I like to say the Best Player Available (BPA). Has anyone else noticed it says NFL Draft 2006 on it? Odd.... If you have a top 5 pick you should already know who you are drafting in the first round. If the player you want is gone and you feel the highest player on your draft board will be available then trade down a few spots no more than 4 or 5 spots I feel. I make sure I am on the team I plan to trade with as soon as the player I want is gone so I save time. Always be thinking 5 spots ahead. You do not have enough time to sit around and think. To quote the wrestler Scott Hall "You hesistate you get punked". Or you can throw caution to the wind and ask your dunce of a scouting director on who he would draft. Be warned he gets upset and his trust decreases if you do not pick who he wants. Personally I could care less how upset he gets. Odds are his trust is already is low due to you personally choosing the players to scout. If you have a pick in the top ten keep an eye on who is being drafted and perhaps make a move to acquire a top 5 pick that may have slipped a few spots. Use some common sense and realize if a few players went higher than expected (either according to your projections or what Mel says) then there is a good chance your player could be around by that time. If you have a mid or late first round pick just sit back and relax and you have ample time to shop around players or picks to move up or if the player you want is gone then maybe you should think about trading down. The players asking price being a 2nd rounder will be less than a mid or late first rounder would. After the first pick is made Mel will comment on it. For me he said the player chosen was a stretch and had only one good season in college. Come to think of it I wish they had college stats for these players. Anyways the computer has 45 seconds to pick a player and they usally use less than the alotted time. After the first ten picks check your draft board and examine if you will be able to choose a player you want projected in your first rounder list. I am lucky since only one of my 5 is off the board. Now we are on pick 24 overall and I have pick 32. I know only have 2 players on my board left. I am now calling teams to see about possible trades. I will give up a 4th rounder and hope to swap 1st round picks. Indy (pick # 27) is not interested in my offer so I will wait a few more picks and cross my fingers... As I was about to trade with Seattle to move up the player I wanted was picked. I decided to stay put at #32 and chose the last player on my first round board. I consulted my scouting director who wanted a SS rated as an 84 but I went with the DT rated as an 83 who fills a immediate need. All my projected picks in the first round were selected in the first round. Now we move onto the 2nd round where in a trade with the Saints (my holdout WR Ferguson for an OLB and we swapped 2nd round picks) I have the 18th pick in that round. Starting the 2nd I have about 7 players on my board projected in the 2nd so I should get one of them hopefully. After the first ten picks I still have 4 of my players available. I decided to stay put and then with my pick decided on the BPA. A CB who had a max rating of 87 who had slipped out of the first round. My 3rd CB is rated a 74 so I feel this is a good pick. Though his hands are a 93-99 so maybe I will move him to WR if need be. Also he completes one of the owners requests. With no 3rd round pick (due to the Schaub RFA compensation) I am forced to sit and cross off players on my board. I have a few 2nd rounders I projected still around half way through the 3rd but don't have the means to trade up. Thus ends day 1 of the draft. Now go over your draft board and make sure you did not miss anyone. I have a projected 2nd rounder still around and about five 3rds as well. Make note of position holes you need filled for day two as well. Then look for any sleeper picks available for day two and make note of them. If you want to make a trade now is the time to do it! You can make unlimited trades so don't worry. Oh and be sure to save as well! On day two I have 6 picks. I have two 4th rounders (pick #24 and #32). I plan to package the picks in a trade if need be to move up and grab a few players on my board. I ended up taking a HB with a max rating of 80 and a DT with a max rating of 84. In the 5th I took a DE with max rating of 79 and a QB with a max rating of 71. I grabbed a kicker and punter with my last 2 draft picks (round 6 & 7). While you are waiting during the last round go to calendar and change the trade player session with sign player session. Now that the draft is over SAVE THE GAME! Now you can evaluate your draft. I managed to complete all my goals (draft a QB, draft a kicker and draft a DB with a max rating of 75)! All my picks except two were either projected to go in that round or I projected them to go higher. Also, your scouting director should have no trust left. It took me two drafts and ignoring his advice during the off-season, regular season, post season, (hell I never listened to him once I think) to get him at zero trust. Now you will move on to the..... [X] Management Meeting Here the owner will go over the draft and praise you if you met your goals. If you have holes in your roster remember you are still in the UFA period so you can sign UFA's if need be. Oh check your email too. My convo went like this: Owner: We filled all the positions we neededand picked up some great players this year. ( ) Continue.... Owner: And just as a reminder, you need to sign our draft picks by the start of preseason. ( ) Thanks for the reminder Next convo: Owner: We still have positions to be filled on our roster during this UFA period ( ) Continue Owner: Then our goals for this period will be complete ( ) Thanks for the update ( ) Don't you think I have more important things to do? I'll get to it when I get to it. Next Convo: (By now he is calling me "My favorite coach") Owner: Thanks for bringing in that highly touted DB ( ) Not a problem This should complete this meeting and now go to your next meeting. [ ] Office Hours Go to "Salary Cap" and scroll down to the bottom. You will see the players you drafted. It will say "unsigned" under any player you drafted. Make note of this for you will return here when you get to the "sign players" task and sign your draft picks that way. [X] Weekly Staff Meeting Here you will talk to your staff. For me everything was "running smooth" so did not have to talk to anyone and can move onto the next task which is.... [X] Scout Players Here you can scout any players you wish to trade for if you need holes filled or you can scout UFAs like your scouting director requests if you so desire. When I allowed my scouting director to scout FA's I wonder who he scouted since I saw no new players who were fully scouted. Personally I make note of who is leaving my team next year and start scouting that position on other teams who will be RFAS or UFAS next year if I do not plan to resign my players. You could also scout your draft picks you never scouted prior to the draft to see if they are worth signing. *tip* I found out you can scout a few players and when there is two or one players left to scout, go back and talk to the scouting director and now you can let him scout whomever he wants. Thus giving him a trust boost. [ ] Sign Players Here is where you are gonna sign your draft picks. You can return to the "salary cap" option or go to the phone and choose "agents". Then find your draft picks on the list and start negioating contracts. Most people forget to do this and end up having their draft picks in the UFA pool. You can sign a max of 3 players per session so you will probably end up repeating this task. When you are done signing your draft picks you can sign other UFAs to fill holes. If you lack cap room then you were not following my advice earlier. You can either trade away over priced players for cheap ones or take the cap penalty and release them. Obviously your top picks will demand more $$$ than the later round picks. Also you do NOT have to sign all your draft picks! If the ham and egger you drafted in round 7 stinks after scouting him then either sign him to a long term cheap deal so you have a roster spot filled for the next 5 to 6 years at bargain basement prices or do not sign him and he will go back into the FA pool. If you sign your picks to 3 year deals they will be RFA's at the end of their contract so you amy get compensatory picks for them down the road. I would not sign anyone to a one year deal unless you are low on cap space or have no intentions of keeping them around. I only had one player (DT) who was being a jerk with a contract offer. I wanted a 4 year deal worth 5 million but he wanted a 3 year deal worth 6.74 million. Mind you this player was a 4th round pick! I ended up caving after a few stalled talks. I would have traded him away but you can not trade the rights to the player away if he is not signed by your team. Nor will he sit out all season and enter the draft again next year like in real life. (Stupid EA) You can also sign holdouts here if you wish. Strahan is holding out so after finding out he wants a pay increase from 4.25 million to 5.74 million I told his agent to suck an egg and he will remain a holdout for now. The only purpose he will serve is to increase my DL's trust levels. [X] Office Hours/Other tasks If you have any other tasks to do that I have listed in the UFA portion of the game, now is the time to complete those tasks. Make sure you have a full roster before training camp and make sure you have completed any other owner goals as well. When you complete the goals you will be asked to skip ahead to the training camp portion of the game. Decline this since you might have draft picks still to sign or trades to make. You will also miss who is on the waiver wires. I will sim from meeting to meeting to scouting so I do not miss anything You also might wish to change the depth charts on your roster before training camp as well since you have new faces on the roster. *tip* If you have a positional coach who has a low trust level I suggest putting your backups as starters on the depth chart for that position. Trust me you will understand later. Check your email occasionally since the CPU has been known to dump decent players onto the waiver wire after signing their draft picks since they have cap issues or roster size issues. Some teams may offer you trades as well. Then when ALL is done make sure to SAVE the game and move on to.... ############## Training Camp # B-5 ############## Okay the only real purpose this serves is to get your team ready for the regular season. I am unsure if your players max stats improve during this like Madden. You have ample time to get money plays and get your players stats up before the first pre-season game. I have never had an issue with injuries in training camp (knock on wood) but I would train your backups more than the starters. If you are the paranoid tin foil hat kinda of person than maybe your first stringers should play only non contact drills. Then prior to the last preseason game start practicing them in contact drills [X] Management Meeting You will notice that the draft info is now erased from the NFL.com option The owner will go over anything that needs to be done. My convo went like this: Owner: The team has all the players we need. Speaking for the entire team; well done. ( ) Thank you for the update. ( ) I made these goals to improve this team. Not to please you!!! Owner: Today kicks off the training camp period. Our primary goal during this time is to get the players ready for the preseason. ( ) Continue.... Owner: I don't expect them to be at 100% of their potential, but they should at least be 50% of the way there. ( ) Thank you for the reminder Leave here and sim to [X] Weekly Staff Meeting Talk to your OC who will mention that the staff will go over any backups they feel deserve the start. Remember when you put the backups as starters on the depth chart? Now the coaches will suggest the real starters should start. Accept their advice and they recieve a trust boost. Now after doing that move on to the next step. [X] Scout Players Okay now you should be able to start scouting next years draft picks! You should have wrote down whose contract is up at the end of the season and you also should have an idea who is retiring. I would scout those positions first. Then I would start scouting postions you are weak at. If you have 3 solid HB's do not waste time scouting HB's then! Yes there will be players already scouted. Those are the top picks which everyone already knows about and have projected to be top picks. I would write them down on your new draft board. Remember that players with a "S" are players who are known but not a lot is known about them, the players with "PS" are your sleeper and unknown picks. "PS" players may take 3 to 4 tries to get them fully scouted. "S" players usually take 1 or 2 tries. After scouting the players add them to your draft board. Yes your draft board, like real life, will flucuate up and down as you scout more and more players. [ ] Drills By now you should be familar with the various drills. The training camp drill schedule is similar to the regular season one with a few exceptions. I would focus on your rookies, FA's and backups more than your starters. A base formula would be like this: 1st vs. 1st 2nd vs. 2nd 2nd vs. 3rd 1st vs. 2nd 3rd vs. 2nd 2nd vs. 1st 3rd vs. 3rd 2nd vs. 2nd 3rd vs. 3rd For one on one drills: S = starter 2 = 2nd string B = 3rd string/backups S vs. S 2 vs. 2 S vs. B B vs. B B vs. 2 2 vs. 2 2 vs. S B vs. 2 2 vs. B Like the reg. season make note of who is improving and by how much. Remember! The owner only wanted them at 50%! Why waste time getting everyone to 100%? Also your starters won't be playing the whole game in preseason (unless you sim it) though even then your coaches should have your backups as the starters in the meeting. As far as money plays go I would get your usual plays up to money status but after the 1st preseaon game those money plays are back down to 47% or lower. [X] Weekly Summary Meeting: Just like the regular season the coaches will try to convince you to change starters. It's up to you if you want to do that. Assuming you are actually playing the preseason games it makes little difference as you can sub in the backups after the first series. If you plan to sim the preseason games then I would keep the backups as starters. Though if it is the last preseason game I would play the starters quite a bit so their stats do not drop off that much. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Tips & Troubleshooting C-1 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Q: My starting HB is not in the game all the time! A: Go to depth chart and go to "other", odds are you have someone else as your 3rd down back. Change it to your starter. Also go to substitutions and see if you have your backups in certain formations and change it to your starter Q: I can not find the Hail Mary play. A: I found it under the "Singleback - 4WR Flex " formation Q: How can I tell if my coaches are getting the positional boost? A: Two ways, the first being if you are quick enough to move the arrow over his head to see the - for the trust drop and then a + for the boost. The other is make note of your coaches rating prior to the meeting and then look again after the meeting. Q: My stupid kicker and punters ratings never increase!! A: I decided to go to depth chart and put my kicker as the 3rd string QB and after the weeks practice I saw little overall improvement. I now motivate the holy hell out of them every practice and get an ever so slight boost. I also motivate them prior to kickoff as well. The highest I have seen my kicker(68-78) is a 72 and it was during a game. Q: My game freezes! A: My advice is "Save early and save often". Q: Hey! You are a liar! I don't get as many ______ as you say you do! A: I assume your coach has the same work ethic as myself after a long night of drinking. Don't blame me for your coaches lack of work ethic! Q: What purpose does telling the owner "I made these goals to improve the team. Not to please you!!!" serve? A: I honestly have no clue other than to upset the owner. If someone knows clue me in. Q: Help how do I know if my draft picks signed with my team? A: If they have N/A under them they are not signed. If they have a # they are signed. Q: Can I change the # of my newly acquired players? A: As far as I know you can not. I know it is sacreligious to have a new #4 on the Packers roster but sadly some things are out of your control. As they say in Japan "shikata ga nai".... Q: I found out for my team its better to tweak your guide for the weekly prep and change this to that. A: The weekly prep guide is a base. Feel free to tweak it as you see fit as it can better help your team. The main purpose of the guide is to get you started and win a few games so you do not get upset with the game. Thus preventing you from going to the message board and whining like a 3 year old and saying you will never buy an EA game again with the end result being making an ass of yourself in the process. Q: Why won't my players stats increase in the offseason like Madden? A: I am 90% sure it has more to do with your coaching staff than performance. I had Reggie Bush rush for 1800 yds and 17 tds his rookie year and he did not improve. After year 2 he did improve and I had hired a better RB coach that season. Coincedence? I dunno. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Credits & Stuff ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This should be the part where I talk about how you can not use this without permission and all that junk. Personally I could care less what you do with this guide. Print it out and use it for birdcage lining, use it as toilet paper or use it to start a SAFE fire for all I care. I do not condone arson unless it's to Jack Thompsons house (I KID I KID)!!! All joking aside, if this guide was of any benefit to you then my semi hard work and multiple margaritas was well worth the carpal tunnel I will suffer from. Yes, I am aware the grammar, spacing & language use is far from perfect so if you plan to pass this off as your own at the very least people will think your English is poor and will laugh at you. If you have anything intelligent to add to this guide or to make a comment of value or to share a great margarita recipe then by all means contact me at easyreader2 at the free e-mail service Bill Gates provides that starts with the letter “h”. If you can’t figure that out then I really don’t want you e-mailing me anyways.