NFL 2K5 FAQ Written and owned by Chad Cranmer If you want to use this, ask me. I will most likely say yes. contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org Any e-mails pointing out anything I missed are welcome. Please donít e-mail me asking which playbook a certain play is in or without looking in my guide or others. I intentionally didnít go in depth because other people already did and itís redundant for me to write what they wrote. If you spam me, flame me, etc., your address will be blocked. Contents: 1. Basics 2. Passing 3. Rushing 4. Defense 5. Roster management tips 6. Draft 7. General tips (strategy, crib, etc.) 8. Playbooks and formations 9. Credits 1) Basics This game is not something that you can just pick up and play and score 50 points a game, like the game that the fat guy with the bus who shall remain nameless puts out every year. Use the in-game tutorial and practice, practice, practice. Iím not going to put in the controls because Iím assuming that youíre intelligent enough to look in the manual for those, but here are some basic hints. 2) Passing: The biggest keys to passing in this game is timing and reading the coverage. You have to know your routes, when the receiver is going to make a cut, and when and if he will be open. Use your hot routes. If you see all of the DBs backed away from the line, youíll have a harder time completing a deep ball. If a safety comes up to the line, either heís blitzing, creeping up to stop the run, or heís covering a back or TE close, which generally means someone else is blitzing. If you have more receivers on one side than he has DBs, itís most likely a zone defense, and there should be a hole to exploit somewhere. If there is a DB on all of your receivers and they follow them if they are put in motion, itís man coverage. On a pass play, let your QB take his drop back by himself before passing. Heíll get a lot more arm into it and it will be more accurate. If you need to move, pay attention to his scramble rating, as this plays a part in accuracy on the run. Watch the safeties after the ball is snapped. If they both drop back, a deep ball is less likely to be completed. If one or both come up, either blitzing or covering someone, that should leave room for a deep ball. If 2 receivers are going deep and a safety blitzes, the other safety will likely roll to one side of the field, leaving the other open for a deep ball as long as the receiver beats the corner. Hold X for a bullet pass. This is best if a receiver is open and is a few yards down field. If you throw a bullet and a defender is between you and the receiver the ball will probably be going the other way. If you rifle one to a back or a receiver on a short route, he will most likely drop it. Tap X for a lob. Use this for a long pass so that your receiver can adjust to the ball in the air, to throw it over a defender, or to a back in the flat. 3) Rushing Running effectively can be tough. It starts up front. If you donít have a good O-line, forget it. Other than that, patience and finding the holes are the keys. Do NOT automatically start using the speed burst. Sometimes your line needs a second to open the hole, and if you run right at the line all youíll do is get knocked down by your own player. Be patient and wait for a hole to open, then charge through it. Sometimes a hole opens somewhere other than where the play is designed to go. Follow the blocking. If youíre supposed to run outside and they blitz, a hole might open up inside, and vice versa. Iíve gotten some long runs off broken plays. Use the special moves effectively. To so this, you need to know what your back is best at. Jerome Bettis isnít going to dance around anyone, and Warrick Dun wonít run many guys over. Use the stiff arm and shoulder charge more with a power runner and jukes and spins for quicker guys. 4) Defense It doesnít matter if you score 50 points if your opponent scores 51. Defense is the key to winning consistently. To play solid defense, you need to mix up your coverages. Play both man and zone. Blitz, and not just on passing. A good blitz at the right time can blow up a running play for a 5 yard loss. Know your personnel. If your corners arenít great, donít have them play man-to man as much. If your safety is slow, try and avoid having him cover a receiver or be the only man covering deep. If you have slower linebackers that are good against the run but canít effectively blitz, donít blitz with them. Use defensive match-ups to cover the other teamís top receivers. Put your best corner cover Moss, Harrison, Owens, etc, assuming you have a top flight corner. This will keep a nickel or dime back from covering him if he moves into the slot. There are 10 defensive formations in this game; 4-3, 3-4, Nickel, Nickel Odd, Dime, Dime Odd, Bear, 5-2, Goal Line, and Prevent. Each one has strengths and weaknesses. 4-3 This is the basic defense played by most of the teams in the NFL. There are four down linemen, three linebackers, two cornerbacks, and two safeties. It is good against the run and can stop passes if the offense is in a base defense. It should be used primarily when your opponent has 2 or fewer receivers on the field. The linebackers are given assignments based on where they play. Middle linebackers (MLB), also called Mike, are primarily run stoppers, although the top ones are also good in pass coverage too. Without a good Mike, teams will have a hard time stopping the run. Weakside Linebackers, AKA Will, play on the side away from the tight end. Their used as pass rushers and to cover the backs out of the backfield. Strongside, AKA Sam, line up over the tight end. They cover the tight end when they go out for a pass. However, in this game, linebackers are either right of left. Typically, LOLB will be the Sam backer and the ROLB will be Will, unless the offense flips the play. 3-4 This form has three linemen and four linebackers. Typically the defensive ends in the 3-4 are bigger than ends in the 4-3 since there are fewer linemen, so each one needs to be good against the run, as well as occupy blockers to keep the linebackers running free. One of the linebackers usually rushes the QB to help the pass rush. This form is a bit better against the pass since there is the potential to have an extra player in coverage. Also, the offense never know which linebacker or linebackers will be blitzing, so it can be more difficult to block. The following books have the 3-4, either exclusively or with the 4-3. General, Chargers, Jets, Pats, Raiders, Steelers, Texans, West Coast, Ravens, Cowboys Nickel This defense has 5 defensive backs. Itís best against multiple receiver sets and passing situations. Typically there are four linemen and two linebackers. However, Nickel Odd, usually used by teams that play a 3-4 base set. The Odd set has 3 linemen and 3 linebackers. This set is also used by some college teams (BYU, South Carolina) as their base defense since it can be used to stop the pass and run both. Iíve thought about using this as my base defense too, but I havenít yet. If I do Iíll let you know how it works. Dime When you KNOW a team is going to pass, use the dime. There are 6 DBs to cover 4 or 5 receivers. The nickel and dime backs can blitz as well. A lot of times they blow right by the blockers and cream the QB. Dime Odd has three linemen and 2 Ďbackers and is used in the same situations. A lot of times one or both of the LBs blitz, helping the pass rush. Dime Odd is also called 3-2. Bear AKA 46 defense. The strong safety becomes a linebacker. This is good against the run, not so good against the pass. It puts 8 men in ďthe boxĒ to stop the run. this can be beaten to the outside if the SS gets blocked or misses the tackle since only the free safety is playing deep, and if he comes up too, nobody is back to cover the deep pass or run down backs that get to the second level. 5-2 In case you canít guess, this set has 5 linemen and only 2 Ďbackers. Like the bear, itís good against the run. Itís also weak against the pass, but both safeties are backed up off the line, enabling them to cover deep balls and stop the run if the back gets past the linebackers. The Raiders use this defense instead of the Bear, but I havenít found anyone else yet. Prevent 3 linemen, 1 linebacker, 7 DBS. This is used late in the half when you donít care if you give up yards as long as you donít give up a long TD. Goal Line 5 linemen, 3 linebackers. Good ONLY in goal line situations, since it can get beaten deep easily if you use it anytime the offense is farther from the end zone than your 5 or 10 yard line. If you use it at midfield in short yardage situations, you might stuff the play, but you might give up a TD just as easily. 5) Roster management tips First, you have to be willing to cut or trade every player on your roster if that is what is the best for the team. There is no loyalty in the NFL now. If Tom Brady wants more than you want to or can pay him, let him go. If Ray Lewis gets hurt and his rating goes down, donít be afraid to cut him to save money. Donít overpay anyone. If you sign a player for $8 million a year, thatís a large chunk of the cap spent on one player, and youíll have to short change yourself at other positions. If you play with the injuries on, you need to have plenty of depth. It is much better to have a player rated 85 OVR making $3-4 mil than a 99 OVR making $8 mil. The cap penalty: what is it? When you sign a player, any bonus money is prorated over the life of the contract. When you cut, trade, or renegotiate a deal, the entire bonus is paid that year. Example: John Smith signs a 5 year, $10 million balanced contract with a 40% bonus, $4 mil total. That means he makes $2 mil a year, with 800k of it being bonus money. For whatever reason, you decide to trade or cut him. His cap penalty for each year is as follows: year 1 $4 mil year 2 $3.2 mil year 3 $2.4 mil year 4 $1.6 mil year 5 $800 thousand That means that it will cost you more to cut him than to keep him for the first three years, and the 4th year you only save $400 thousand. Be EXTREMELY careful with signing bonuses. It is usually better to pay more and have a smaller bonus, even with a young player youíre sure youíll keep around for awhile. They might get worse as they progress, especially if they get hurt. I signed Charles Woodson to a long term deal with a huge bonus, then he blew out his ACL. Next year, he was significantly slower and his rating dropped 10 points. He dropped again the next year and he ended up being paid $6 mil a year to be my nickel back because his cap penalty was $15 mil, so I couldnít dump him without dumping a ton of salary and gutting my team. I typically limit it to 20% unless Iím signing the player to a one year contract and I know for sure I wonít cut him. Whenever possible, I sign players, particularly backups, to deals with no bonus and ascending pay rates. If a younger player doesnít develop, I cut him when his salary gets too high, and when an older player declines, I cut him. When a player gets to the end of his contract and I know that I wonít have the money to re-sign him, I typically trade him for a player of his caliber with more years left on his contract. When Tom Brady was up for free agency, he wanted an astronomical amount of money, so I traded him for draft picks, including the #1 overall and drafted an 85 OVR QB. 6) Drafting The draft is not easy on this game. To be successful you have to scout a lot, and scout smartly. Look at Kiperís mock draft and pay attention to his draft updates on Sports Center. Pay extra close attention to his sleepers. These are usually quality players that can be taken after the 4th round. Even then itís a guessing game and you WILL have busts, just like in real life. Or you can take the easy way out. Turn ďedit rookiesĒ on, and then scout them that way. You wonít be able to see their OVR rating, but you can see speed, catching, tackling, blocking, etc. Basically, itís a lot of the same info you get at the combine, but youíre not limited to a handful of players. The computer takes HBs, QBs, and offensive and defensive linemen, along with a couple of WRs and CBs in the first round. Once in awhile a TE or safety slips in, but for the most part the first round is heavy on the linemen and half backs. If you need one, either sign a free agent, trade, or get him early. In the later rounds, you can get solid receivers, TEs, FBs, and DBs. In my dynasty with the Lions, both of my starting safeties were taken in the 4th or 5th round and were starting their second years in the league. Later rounds are reserved for specialists and projects. For example, you might find an OLB with blazing speed and a great pass rush but canít cover or stop the run to save his life. He can be a situational player and special teams contributor. 7) General tips (under construction) Mix up your play calling, both on offense and defense. If you run up the middle on first down every time, eventually it wonít be as effective. If you blitz every down, the other team will start calling plays that can beat the blitz. ******** Getting new catalogs for your crib is based on how many milestones you complete. You get a new one for every 5-7% of the milestones you complete. Itís not exact, but by 55% of the total milestones completed you should have everything. Crib points, wins, games played, completing specific milestones, etc, have nothing to do with unlocking catalogs, other than adding to the percentage of the milestones you have completed. If you press the R3 button on the play calling screen, the computer will show you how many times you have run a play and how effective it has been. 8) Playbooks and formations (under construction) If you want to win in football, you need a good playbook. In order to have a good playbook you 1) need to know what the plays are and 2) need to use the right plays (and players) for your style of play. For example, if you use a power running and vertical passing attack like I do, a west coast style offense wouldnít work well for you, and vise versa. Hopefully this guide will give those of you who need a little help in this some pointers. For those of you who already know it, thereís a list of what teams have in their playbooks. What do the letters and numbers in the play names mean? 50= QB takes a 5-step drop before passing 90= QB takes a 3-step drop PA= play action- QB fakes a handoff to a back RO= QB runs to one side of the field before passing Z= the ďflanker,Ē or receiver on the side with the tight end X= the ďsplit endĒ or receiver on the opposite side as the tight end Y= slot receiver in 3 or 4 receiver sets A= the 4th receiver in 4 receiver sets H= Halfback, sometimes split out like a receiver F= Fullback, sometimes split wide or flexed to a tight end position TE/T= both designate tight ends generally, although a couple formations have tackle eligible plays Packages/Formations Pro; HB, FB, TE, 2 WR Twins; HB, FB, TE, 2WR with both WR on the same side of the field, opposite the TE Spread; HB, FB, 3 WR Jacks; HB, FB, 3 TE Jokers; HB, FB, 2 TE, WR Jumbo; 3 backs, 2 TE Ace; HB, 2 TE, 2 WR Trio; 2 TE, 3 WR Kings; HB, TE, 3 WR Queens; HB, FB, 2 WR Straight; TE, 4 WR Flush; HB, 4 WR 5 Wide; 5 WR Empty; HB is split out wide with either 4 WR or 3 WR and a TE or 2 WR/2 TE Formations I= the FB and HB are lined up directly behind the QB, with the FB in front of the HB. Strong I= the FB is offset a little bit to the strong side of the field. Weak I= FB lined up offset to the weak side of the field. Split= FB and HB line up even with each other, both offset Far= FB behind the QB, HB to the weak side (far side of the TE) Near= FB behind the QB, HB next to him on the strong side (near side of the TE) Gun=QB lines up a couple yards behind center in order to get more time to pass the ball. The left or right in the formation names refers to the side the HB lines up on. Quads= 4 WR, 2 on each side Doubles= 3 WR, 1 TE. 2 WR on one side, TE and 1 WR on the other Triple= 3 WR, 1 TE. 1 WR on one side, TE and 2 WR on the other Trips= 4 WR, 1 on one side, 3 on the other Bunch= 4 WR, 1 on one side, the other three on the other lined up close to each other Flex= a TE, HB, or FB, plays out of their normal position, usually as a slot receiver. ďFormation nameĒ Right/Left= the back is off set to the left or right in shotgun or other sets where only one back is in the backfield. e.g. Gun Quads Left the HB is on the QBís left side. There are variations of these, depending on the playbook. For example, the Patriots have a ďBase BunchĒ formation that uses the FB and TE in the ďbunchĒ as receivers, with the HB in the backfield like normal. Because of this, some formations appear to be identical to others, but have differences in which players are lined up where. Remember, Base is same as pro, Ace has 2 TEs even though they may not be lined up in typical places, and F and H are the FB and HB, respectively, in sets where one is flexed, spread, or in the slot. The formations and who has them. By my count, there are 150+ different offensive sets, counting Clock and Hail Mary. Please be nice if I missed one or two. *note: for base formations with a lot of variations like Strong I, I put a Ė instead of writing out ďStrong IĒ every time. Hail Mary: All teams Clock: All teams I -Pro: All teams -Twins: SF, Cin, Buf, Den, Cle, TB, Ari, SD, Ind, Dal, Mia, Phi, Atl, NYG, Jax, Det, Car, NE, Oak, St.L, Was, NO, Pit, Gen, Sea, Hou, Ten, Min, Bal -Spread: WC, SF, Chi, Cin, Buf, Cle, TB, Ari, SD, KC, Dal, Mia, Phi, Atl, NYG, Jax, NYJ, Det, GB, Car, St.L, Was, NO, Pit, Gen, Sea, Hou, Min, Bal -Jacks: Buf, Ari, SD, Ind, Phi, GB, Oak, NO, Pit -Jokers: WC, SF, Chi, Cin, Buf, Den, Cle, TB, Ari, KC, Dal, Mia, Atl, NYG, Jax, NYJ, Det, GB, Car, NE, Oak, St.L, Was, NO, Pit, Gen, Sea, Hou, Ten, Min, Bal -Wing Jokers: Cin, Den, Ari, Mia, Phi, Car, St.L, Was, Sea, Bal -Jokers Pair: Cin, Cle, SD, Phi, NYG, Jax, GB, Car, NO, Ten, Min -Wing: TB, Phi, St.L -TE Flex: Dal -Pro Load: Phi -Load: NYJ -Load Heavy: NYJ -Jokers Flip Pair: GB -Jacks Load: NO -Strong Power I: Dal Strong I -Pro: WC, SF, Chi, Cin, Den, Cle, Ari, KC, Ind, Mia, Atl, NYG, Jax, Car, NE, St.L, Was, NO, Pit, Gen, Sea, Hou, Ten -Twins: WC, Buf, Den, Ari, NYG, Jax, NO, Pit, Gen, Hou -Spread: WC, Cin, TB, Ari, SD, Mia, NYJ, Det, Car, Oak, St.L, Was, Pit, Gen, Sea, Hou -Jokers: Cin, Buf, TB, SD, Dal, NYG, Jax, Car, Oak, Was, Pit, Hou, Ten -Jokers Pair: TB, Car, Oak -Jumbo: Mia -Jacks: Buf, Ari, Ind, Phi -Wing Jokers, St.L, Was Weak I -Pro: WC, SF, Cin, Buf, Den, TB, Ari, SD, Ind, Mia, Atl, NYG, Jax, NYJ, NE, Oak, Was, NO -Twins: WC, Cle, SD, Oak, Was, NO, Pit, Sea, Ten -Spread: WC, SF, Cle, TB, Atl, NYG, Jax, NO, Pit, Sea -Jokers: SF, TB, Mia, Atl, Oak -Flip Pro: Den -Flip Spread: Mia -Jumbo: Mia -Jokers Pair: GB, Gen -Jacks, SD Split -Pro: WC, SF, Cin, Buf, Den, Cle, TB, Ind, Ari, Atl, NYJ, Det, GB, Pit, Gen, Hou, Ten, Bal -Spread: WC, SF, Buf, TB, SD, Ind, Dal, Ari, Atl, NYJ, Det, GB, Car, Pit, Sea, Hou, Ten -Twins: SF, Chi, Cin, Buf, Den, TB, KC, Dal, Atl, Det, GB, Car, St.L. Pit, Sea, Hou, Ten, Bal -Jokers: WC, SF, Chi, Den, KC, Ari, Atl, NYJ, Det, GB, Car, NE, Sea, Hou, Ten, Bal -Flip Pro: WC, SF, Atl -Flip Spread: WC -I Wing Jokers: WC -Wing Jokers: Bal -Jacks, Ind, GB, Pit -Spread Ace: Bal Near -Pro: WC -Twins: WC, Det -Spread: WC Far Pro: WC, TB -Twins: WC, TB, Det -Spread: WC, TB Singleback and Misc. -Quads: WC, SF, Chi, Cin, Buf, Den, Cle, TB, SD, KC, Ind, Dal, Mia, Phi, Atl, NYJ, Det, GB, NE, Oak, StL, NO, Pit, Gen, Sea, Hou, Ten, Min -Quads Right: TB -Doubles: WC, SF, Chi, Cin, Buf, Den, Cle, TB, Ari, SD, KC, Ind, Dal, Phi, Atl, NYG, Jax, NYJ, Det, GB, Car, NE, Oak, StL, Was, NO, Gen, Sea, Hou, Ten, Min, Bal -Doubles Left: StL -Doubles Right: TB, Phi -Trips Tight: Was -Trips: WC, SF, Ind, Mia, Phi, Atl, Jax, NYJ, Det, NE, StL, NO, Pit, Gen, Min -Triple: SF, Chi, Cin, Buf, Den, Cle, TB, Ari, SD, KC, Ind, Dal, Mia -Triple Bunch: Chi, KC -Triple Right: -Triple Left: TB -Tight Triple: WC, Buf, Den, Cle, TB, Ari, SD, KC, Ind, Dal, Mia -Bunch: WC, Chi, Cin, Cle, TB, SD, KC, Dal -Bunch Left: SF -Tight Bunch: -Trey: Chi, Cin, Buf, TB, KC, Ind, Dal -Trey Bunch: Den -Trey Left: TB -Pair Slot: Chi, Cin, Den, Cle, TB, SD, KC, Dal, Mia -Straight Trips: SF, Den -Straight Open: SF, Chi -Queens Stack: -Flip Tight Triple: SF, Chi, Cle, KC -Flip Triple: Den -Flip Pair Slot: -Flip Ace: Ind -Flip I Wing: Ari -Ace: WC, SF, Chi, Cin, Buf, Den, Cle, TB, Ari, SD, KC, Ind, Dal, Mia -Ace Trips: Chi, Cin, Buf, Den, Cle, TB, Ari, SD, KC, Dal, Mia -Ace Doubles: Mia -Ace Quads: -Ace Trips Open: -Ace Bunch: Buf -Ace Flip Trips: -Ace Wing: -Ace Flip: -Ace Right: TB -Straight Trips: Ind -Straight Open: Den, KC, Ind -Empty Spread: Cin -Flip Triple Open: Den -Empty Ace Trips: Cle -Empty Open: Mia -Triple Empty: -Empty Bunch: -Trips Empty: -Empty Tight: Buf -F Wing Jokers: -Twins F Spread: Chi, KC -Triple Load: KC -Ace H Flex: Ind -Base Doubles: -Triple H Slot: -Doubles H Wide: -F Spread: -Pro H Split: -Tight F Triple: -F Split Quads: -F Split Doubles: -H Flex Pro: -Twins H Split: -Quads H Slot: -Pro F Flex: -Base Bunch: NE -Base Doubles: Dal -F Wing Jokers: Den -Triple H Flex: -Doubles H Flex: -I Spread Doubles: -H Flex Spread: -Pair Slot Flex: -Tight F Trips: -Quads H Flex: -Bunch H Flex: Gun -Quads Left: Cin, Buf, SD, KC, Ind, Dal, Mia -Quads Right: -Straight: Buf, KC -Split Spread: Cin, Cle, Ari, SD, KC, Ind, Dal, Mia -Split Twins -Split Pro: Cle -Doubles Right: Cin, Buf, Cle, Ari, SD, KC, Ind -Trips Tight: -Ace Trips: Cle, KC -Ace Right: -Ace Doubles: Mia -Ace Bunch: -Trey Right: Cin, Buf, Ari -Triple Right: Buf -Bunch Left: Cin, Cle -Triple Left: Cin, Cle, Ari, SD, Ind -Trey Left: -Trips Left: SD, Ind, Mia -H Flex: Ind -Straight Trips: Ind -Straight Open: Ind -Empty Open: Dal, Mia -Kings Spread: Dal -Diamonds: -Flip Triple Left: -Pair Slot Left: -Empty Spread: -Stack Open: -Base Open: -Empty Tight: Buf -H Slot: Team Playbooks (formations only) Every team has Hail Mary and Clock in the playbooks, so I did not include them. General I Pro -Twins -Spread -Jokers Strong I Pro -Twins -Spread Weak I Pro -Twins -Spread Split Pro Quads Doubles Trips Triple Tight Triple Bunch Ace Gun Quads Left -Trips Left -Bunch Left -Split Spread West Coast Split Pro Split Flip Pro Split Spread Split Flip Spread Split I Wing Jokers Split Jokers Near Pro Near Twins Near Spread Far Pro Far Twins Far Spread I Pro I Spread I Jokers Strong I Pro Strong I Twins Strong I Spread Weak I Pro Weak I Twins Weak I Spread Quads Trips Doubles Tight Triple Bunch Ace 49ers Bears Bengals Bills Broncos Browns Buccaneers Cardinals Chargers Chiefs Colts Cowboys Dolphins Eagles Falcons Giants Jaguars Jets Lions Packers Panthers Patriots Raiders Rams Ravens Redskins Saints Seahawks Steelers Texans Titans Vikings 9) First, I would like to give credit to Visual Concepts and ESPN for producing this great game. Some of the definitions came from the in-game tutorial and manual. If you are having a hard time finding something I suggest you use it. It has a ton of useful info, including more detailed descriptions of play terms. I have also gotten some information from the message boards. Sorry, but I donít remember specifically what or from whom, but thank you to all of the intelligent people on the boards. Everything else came from the game and my own experience.