======================================================= NFL Head Coach 09’ FAQ Version 0.5 ______________________________________________________ ''''''''''Updates '''''''''' 8/11/08: Started my intro and no I did not get this game at midnight! I can see it now "Nope, not interested in Madden just here to get Head Coach early" 8/12/08: Purchased the game and finished up to the Combine. 8/13/08: Finished the first part of the FAQ up to the start of the draft. 8/14/08: Finished up to the start of the pre-season games. 8/20/08: Still waiting to submit the FAQ as apparently this game has not been released yet. 8/24/08: FAQ on hold until patch is out. Can not continue as all 3 seasons are glitched. 9/3/08: Submitted FAQ (version 0.5) but rejected since I am a idiot when it comes to understanding margins. 9/10/08: Resubmitting FAQ in hopes of the format being correct. 9/12/08: Format incorrect again so resumbitted in hopes third time is a charm. 9/27/08: Patch has been out and now finishing up the rest of the season. 9/29/08: Finished season and submitted FAQ (version 1.0) =============================================================== Contents:(i.e: search for A-4 to jump to Developing your staff) Starting It Up = A-1 Off Season = A-2 Senior Game Scouting = A-3 Develop Staff = A-4 Combine = B-1 RFA = C-1 Pro Days/Private Workouts = C-2 NFL Draft = D-1 Signing Draft Picks = D-2 Pre-Season Games = E-1 Emotional mini game = E-1b Regular Season = F-1 Scouting players = F-1a Developing Staff during the season = F-1b Resigning players = F-1c Playoffs and Beyond = G-1 Staff Signing = H-1 Q&A session = Q-A =============================================================== NFL Head Coach 2009 FAQ Well here I go again. Good to see an upgraded next gen version of this game. The PS2 version I grew tired of, though if you do not have it go get it then look at my FAQ for it! *cheap plug*. You should be able to get a used version for under $10. Or if you are a part of the young and useless crowd ask your parents. If they don't give you permission, just take a baseball bat, sneak up behind them, and BAM!! I kid I kid. Hopefully having this game packaged in with Madden 09' might get a few new fans to this game. Though the joke of an instruction book really grinds my gears and may drive players away from the game. Not to mention the numerous bugs that infest this game. Sadly I had to buy Madden to get this game but oh well. I‘m sure someday I will play Madden. Besides why not spend the extra $30 and get Madden I figure? Yea the extra $30 cuts into my alcohol fund but no big deal. Odds are I will win it back at my weekly Saturday poker game. Ok enough of my rambling, you came here to get answers and game advice not read my random musings. Starting it up (A-1) Ok select new career and chose a team (I chose the Jets since they were labeled a weak team and I wanted a challenge). That and if I can turn around a weak team then this FAQ should be of some value to you. Then you can pick an existing coach or a new coach. I chose new coach and named him after myself. After going through 162 faces that look nothing like me (how hard would it be to have a simple CAP?) I settled with #42 I think. Then you chose your coaching style. Be sure to chose the style based on how you plan to play. I chose Virtuoso. Now I have the option of choosing my skills with my margarita in one hand and the controller in the other. OK I guess I need two hands on the controller. You have 50K points to use and can distribute it between skills and special skills. I chose the following and here is my logic for the choices. Skills: Playcalling X 3, Performance X 2, Chemistry X 4. Special Skills: Charisma (though I guess Charm could be an option too if you wish). Based on the theory that I am going to piss off my staff based on overriding their suggestions. Speed, based on the logic that I wanted a faster team. Yes I left 10K points to spend later. Oh and be looking forward to see what 2nd or 3rd tier skills you want down the road and their cost too. I kept the 10K because I want the 2nd tier special skill after Charisma. 15K to increase all my coaches performance skills by one is a deal. Now you choose your playbook and my default one was weak. I would not recommend changing the playbook if you have a decent one. My logic for changing the playbook was based on the fact that I had a weak playbook and wanted a stronger one. I ended up choosing Holmgrens West Coast. I plan to shape the team into a West Coast team. Off-Season (A-2) Here we go! I chose to start with the off-season since this a FAQ guide and all. Oh my overall skill is 14. Yup not too good at all and have a hole to dig out of it seems. Ok first thing you should do is check the FA market. Make a note of guys you want and fit your system. Hmm, I should mention you should have a notebook and writing utensil handy. Go get one now. I will wait and make another margarita.. Ok now go to the Team Philosophy screen and make sure you have it set to "give up NO control". Now go to your draft board and at the very least set your top ten. Then go to clipboard and advance. Draft Board - Fix accordingly based on your needs if you have not done so already. Franchise Tag - This will pop up on your clipboard. I see no reason to tag anyone but if you feel the need to go ahead. For me I had nobody worth tagging. Victor Hobson? Tuiasosopo? I think not! As years pass in your career I suggest using the tag on disgruntled superstar players or if you are in need of cap space as the player is paid the most at his position. Team Needs - Select this option so you know whom to scout. For me I had RT1, TE1, RG1, ROLB1, LG1, FS1, LOLB1, RE1, QB1 and DT2 as my top ten team needs. I also know I need a RB that can catch the ball as I am running a West Coast system. Senior game Scouting (A-3) Sr. All Stars - Here you get to scout a few quarterbacks in this game. Be honest with yourself. If you do not plan to get a QB in round one pass on Flacco. I chose mid rounders and picked Brennan, Dixon, Woodson and Henne. After you are done go to the draft board and see that the scouting % has increased from 33% to 46%. You should get some data added as well. Just press square to get the info. Oh I just found out you can press left and right as opposed to L1 and R1 on the main screen. Season Goals - You will get 3 goals from the owner. Apparently my owner is a fool thinking I am going to get a RG, TE and a RT rated 85 of higher. No matter I am up for the task and will land some free agents then. Interestingly enough if you play as Green Bay one of the goals says get rid of Favre and try to convince the masses you did the right thing. Actually I am kidding. Or am I? Hmmmm... Sr. Allstar (HB - DB) - Same applies for the others as it did for the QB. I chose Hester, Forte, Hills, Forsett, C. Johnson and Schmidt. I found it odd 2 players were compared to the same NFL player (Brian Leonard in case anyone cared). Oh before I continue I suggest you turn the EA ticker off. I was puzzled for a moment when I saw that Seau was thinking of retiring. I was like in the game or in real life? I will list the other players I scouted below: For WR: Shields, Hawkins, Avery, Jackson, Swann & Davis For OL: Seeing how I need an 85 or higher as per my owner I focused on more high rated players. Williams, Baker, Pollak, Wallace, Rinehart, Radovich, Cousins & Sullivan For DL: Chris Ellis, Jones, Fluellen, Rubin, Langford, B. Jackson For LB: Bell, Dizon, Adabi, Crable For DB: I chose Lee, Porter and Demps For K/P: There were only 3 so I chose all 3. A tip I have for you at no monetary cost to you is to look at the +’s and -’s for the players. Obviously you need players that fit your scheme. If you plan to be a run heavy team why take a look at a guy who has 3 minuses for run blocking? Also if you see a guy that has 2 pluses and it says "none" just stay far away from him. Since I am in a giving mood here is another free tip. Do not be concerned about the rating being a 1 for some of the players. As you scout them more their number will go up. I dunno why they just do not have a ? instead of a 1 since it is a tad bit misleading seeing a projected rating of 1 for the player. This finishes the Sr. Scouting portion of this FAQ. Make sure you update your draft board before moving onto the next task. Also I noticed Adam Schefter (from the NFL channel) said that the QB from Kentucky tossed 3 Tds that game and was the MVP of the game. He also said the QB from USC was awful (ok not in those exact words but you get what I mean). I would make note of this in your notebook you have by your side. I just put an up arrow and down arrow by their names. I also added any extra notes on them I felt necessary. Develop Staff (A-4) Now you will have a chance to see your crack coaching team. You see a nice picture you and your rating too. Yup a whopping 14 points for my skill. As I scrolled through my team I noticed that my DB coach had a rating of 1, my OL coach had a whopping rating of 5 and my Strength and Conditioning coach was a 4. I fully plan to fire them when I get the chance so write down the jabronis who lack talent and practice your best Donald Trump impression. Oh and make note who has special skills. I figure why copy their skills when you upgrade your coach. As in real life have coaches who can make up for what you lack in. But wait you are thinking what should I spend my points on? Well valued reader of this FAQ I shall tell you. Granted it depends on what your coach lacks compared to the other coaches. But I would focus first on these skills for the following coaches. You/HC - Provided you chose Charisma like I said earlier I would save up 15K so you can choose the Leadership special skill thus giving all your coaches a nice upgrade. OC - Focus on what you lack in. I also suggest you focus on a few special skills. For mine I noticed one of the special skills increased the playbook skill by one. Hmm spend 10K for the same thing in skills or spend 4250 in special skills and accomplish the same thing. No brainer. DC- Chose a strong run or strong pass defence and focus on that. All positional coaches - Up to you. I lean towards development skills though. GM- Start with small school scouting. This helps out a lot. Having every small school player starting with 33% scouted is a huge help. Next focus on mid school scouting. Unless your GM is a dope with contract skills then I would boost those stats first. *tip* If you have an inept coach and plan to fire him at years end do not waste your time upgrading him. Why allow another team to benefit? I would not do this with more than 2 coaches though. *tip2* don’t waste your points on the Ambition skill. Do the Math! To lazy to do it? I should preach to you about not relying on others but you probably hear that already at school. Therefore I will help you out. For every 100K worth of points you save a mere 15K. Seeing how the price is 20K for the 15% off! Oh and if you are still hellbent on choosing Ambition make sure it is the FIRST skill you choose as to get the discount for the other skills. Combine (B-1) Ok you are now at the combine! Break out a margarita! Get your notebook ready! I hope you can take decent notes. We start off with the OL. I suggest taking the top guys from each stat category and writing them down. For example the top bench press leaders were Gibson, Adams and Crommey. After taking the notes you advance to the part where you get to interview the players. Note that you can see the projected rating for the players based on the combine workout. I noticed with a few players they had a HUGE gap between Senior game ratings and combine ratings. Wallace was one such example who had a 62 Pass blocking rating in the Senior game and had an 83 pass blocking from the Combine. This reeks of red flags to me. I chose to avoid him based on the theory that he was either dogging it in the game or he had an abnormal workout. Either way I made a note of it and do not feel he is a "safe" pick. Choose your players you want to have a face to face with and choose some you liked at the Senior game. This will increase the % number and you get to have a better idea of their true abilities. Take note of their personality as well. Do you really need a locker room full of Type A’s or egomaniacs? If you see a player who has "Optimistic" make a note since he will be more apt to be flexible in contract talks. Lastly I suggest you take a look at their durability! I had a guy who was in the 80’s. Why would you draft a player that can’t stay healthy and use a high round pick on him? Make a note of those whose stock has dropped for you and then go to the draft board and readjust as necessary. Next up is the K/P and is fairly easy. Same rules apply for the OL but this time choose all the ones from the Senior game plus any others you want. I was able to talk to all but one punter. Once again change the draft board after the interviews. Next up are QBs followed by RBs and WRs. Same rules apply here. Always be looking for mid round steals at these positions. Also pay attention to the ticker below. Make note of who is pissed off at their team. For me it was Lance Briggs. Maybe I can land him in a trade? Before you finish the combine the knowledgeable Adam Schefter mentions who had a good combine workout and who had a poor one. For me I had the WR from LSU have a poor workout. The LT from USC had a monster workout. I made notes of this and figure the results from each player may not be 100% accurate. Though I will keep an eye on those players and adjusted my draft board accordingly. RFA (C-1) Okay by now you should know what positions you need to go after in FA. If not you disappoint me. Go back and look at your owners demands and your team needs. Then go look at your salary cap number. This is IMPORTANT since you have no business going after guys you can not fit under the cap. If you are dead set on getting high priced players time to cut the dead weight. I tried to trade away my dead weight and put them on the trade block in hopes of a team calling me. You go to trade and select trade away if there is a check mark by the name you have successfully put them on the trade block. Lots of things go on during the RFA portion of the game. I suggest putting the speed to slow if you have not done so already. An example of one of the many things that go on was a Mock Draft by the NFL network by some guy whose name I forget. Be sure to make good notes from the mock draft and see where each guy is projected. Compare it to your draft board. If you have some guy going in the top ten of the draft and the mock draft does not have the player in the 1st two rounds you might want to rethink your draft board. Lastly, any player you have an eye on mark down where they are projected to go. Ok I lied the real last thing to do is at least to copy down all the picks up to your draft spot and then 3 more past your draft spot (or more if you are motivated like me and did the whole thing) so you can see who is projected to go where and what each team has for needs. After the Mock Draft you might have two other things going on (refilling your drink does not count though) I had Hanesworth available for talks and a trade offer. I figured the trade offer was more important and looked at it. I was offered a sub par TE (72 rating) for a 4th round pick. You have a list of about 12 offers (no you can not make your own it like in Madden) and there are stars by each one. The more stars the better the offer. I countered with a 5th round pick but the other GM refused and then wanted my 6th and 7th rounders for the upcoming draft. I declined and the negotiations were over. Oh there is a timer so you can not be slow and must make quicker choices during a trade. Unlike the last version where I could go to the mini mart while the game was advancing and get a snack. I quickly went to the Hanesworth option to see what the fuss was all about. The bids were fast and furious and eventually by looking at the upper part of the window you can see the teams dropping out of the bidding. I figured what the hell and ended with 52 million and won the auction beating out his original team. You think it is over? Nyet!! Now you have to hammer out a fair deal with the guy. He wanted a 5 year deal and a lot for a signing bonus (26 mil) plus 3 bonuses (50 tackles, 10 sacks and Pro Bowl) that would add another 5 million. UGH! We went back and forth and I wanted a lower signing bonus. We were unable to agree on a deal and I assume he went to the last team that bid and signed with them. Oh well no big deal. There will be much more players to sign and DT was not even high on my list. I decided to look for a TE in a trade and went to the trade option. Unlike Madden you do not choose who you want to trade away for the player you want. You choose the player you want and the other team makes you an offer. If the player has a check by their name they are more apt to be traded. If they have no check then you are going to have to give up a lot for the player (provided they even want to trade with you). I browsed the players on the trade block (the ones checks next to their names) and figured I would take Jolly (a DT) from Green Bay based on the fact that his salary is dirt cheap and if I can’t have Hanesworth I will get Jolly damn it! Well they wanted a 4th rounder and a 6th rounder from me! To hell with that! I left that trade as well. Disgruntled but moving on I managed to bypass a lot of the other free agents and focused on the ones that were on my list. I learned do NOT get into a bidding war. That is a sure fire way to be over the cap in a hurry. Create a budget for each player/position. If you have 22 million to spend earmark a certain amount for offence and defence. Also remember you need cap space to sign your draft picks later on. Only time I allow you to bid high is to chase away division rivals. For example the Fish wanted Ken Lucas. I outbid them making it a 2 way race between me and another team. I then dropped out of the bidding and let the other team win. Thus preventing the Fish from getting Lucas or being in the last two. Be prepared to go through this a lot. The whole free agent bidding thing that is. You do not have to bid or even look at the bid. Just let the timer tick down or press circle. Though I suggest you do look at the bidding and see what they want . Many times in the later weeks there are players with no bids. I was able to lowball them and they were forced to take my offer. I got Samkon Gado for my backup for under a million. Some other tips are if you plan to sign a star player be sure they have some decent players on their side of the ball or you might get a message that says how they have an attitude change thus decreasing their number. After getting the players I wanted I ended up with my GM giving me a +37 and another +4 for getting the OL the GM wanted. Though I lost quite a few players to free agency and only added 2 so my overall approval from the players went down 2 points. Though my staff gave me a +18. My approval rating is now a 56. This calls for a drink! Pro Days/Private Workouts (C-2) This will go on during the FA portion of the game. You will get 21 schools to visit. At least I got 21. I won’t bore you with the schools I chose but I mixed between large, medium and small schools. I obviously went to the big schools with double digit recruits practicing. I also bypassed a few big schools with 3 for a small school with 1 or 2. It does not hurt to get more info on mid rounders and these players will slip through the cracks in the draft. Be sure to readjust your draft board after you visit the campuses. For the workouts just pick the top guys you want to know more about. I picked the first two on my draft board. Then I picked one mid rounder and the rest were good players I felt could slip in the draft or were players whose stock was rising. You should have an idea of who you want to meet with. Lastly, you will see the preseason schedule and get the goals for the season. Make note of the goals and read them CAREFULLY. One of them says draft a player with potential of 85 or higher in the first round. If you read the fine print below it also says round 2. Just as in real life with used car lots and sub prime loans read the fine print! Consider this a public service announcement. Here is a short list of players with a potential rating greater than 85. Mind you this may NOT be 100% accurate based on what coaching systems you have. QB: Woodson, J. Johnson, Ryan RB: McFadden WR: Avery, E. Bennett OL: Baker, LB: Gooden, Rivers, DT: Okam DB: Stiltz, Jenkins, Kenny Phillips Thanks to digitalnamshub, White_Jaguar, Killmonsternow from the GameFAQ board for some of the ratings. Yes I do give credit where credit is due! Before the Draft starts go over your draft board and take notes of players you interviewed and see if they will truly fit on your team or not. Don’t be swayed by a big name if they do not fit into your system. Make sure you have enough roster space to sign your rookies too. After a FA recap and a quick check of your approval rating (mine is now a 56) take a breath, get a snack, stretch and get ready for the draft. *tip* I have found out having certain players high on your draft board sometimes affects your trade offers. I found out putting Jake Long #1 on your draft board will get you trade offers as opposed to you putting a late 1st or early 2nd rounder as your top pick NFL Draft (D-1) Hey how ironic D1 for division 1 and being the draft and well.. never mind. Your notebook should have your top players you want and your projected round for them. You have 10 minutes per pick in real time. While you are waiting you can do the pick the pick option (or just be impatient and select advance pick) no you are not picking for the other team but making a prediction of who they will draft. By doing so enough times you get a point boost from the GM. Seeing how you are going to piss him off by rejecting his dopey suggestions in the draft I suggest you start predicting. The first few picks are easy (especially if you are doing the 2008 draft) as the first 3 picks are somewhat true to real life. After I did the draft (and saved as a new file) I went back and simmed the draft 14 times and got the following results. Miami - Jake Long (14/14 times) STL - Chris Long (9/14) Gholston (5/14) ATL - Matt Ryan (8/14) McFadden (5/14) Traded down (1/14) OAK - Dorsey (8/14) McFadden (4/14) Chris Long (2/14) KC - Clady (9/14) Ryan (3/14) McFadden (1/14) traded down (1/14) NYJ (is me but my GM kept wanting Gholston if he was on the board) Cincy - Brooks (13/14) NO - Mayo (8/14) Seattle - Dustin Keller (11/14) if they pass on him odds are the Bolts will draft him. I chose McFadden despite the GM wanting Gholston. I was tempted to take a trade with the Panthers as they offered this years 2nd round and next years 1st round and 5th round. I declined and the aftermath was my staff losing 5 respect points for me and an angry GM. Keep predicting the picks unless you are unsure about it. Also watch out for trade offers as a team may want to trade down. Oh if you chose to trade up and lose the bid for it (or run out of time!) be sure to pick the pick as the team who traded up (yes it is a bug) has one player in mind and usually it is easy to predict. The team trades up for a need so if the team needs a TE and if there is a good one left on the board odds are they will chose him. By the time I hit round 2 and picked Brohm as the Packers choice I got a +2 boost from the GM. Oh the Mock Draft I told you to write down earlier should also help you not only with the pick the pick but with seeing who should be going where. You can also trade down but you have to reject the GMs choice which is more negative respect points. The trades are timed so be quick. If you do not like the trade offers you can choose to ask for a better offer. Sometimes the team will and sometimes they won’t. You can try to choose a package but you have to be quick and odds are the team will not accept unless it close to the original offer. Use the stars on the left hand side as your gauge. If the best offer is a 2 star you won’t get a 5 star offer. You are not forced to trade away the pick if you hate all the offers. Though you are forced to pick a player and can no longer trade the pick away. I also found out by sheer dumb luck that picking a popular player that the fans like increases your fan rating. I picked Jackson from Appy St. and got a +7 boost. Wow for the first time in a long time the Jets fans cheer a pick! By the end of day one I had managed to get an overall boost of 1 making my rating a 57. --Draft Day Two-- Before you start go back over your draft board and update as necessary. You can check the news page and get a breakdown of all the trades on the day. For day two you have 5 minutes per pick. Start looking for your mid round and sleeper picks. Don’t be afraid to take a chance on a player. I took Woodson in late round 4 and the NFL network praised my pick (they also praise the Dixon pick). I also got a trade offer for Gado and a pick. I needed to free up cap space and wanted an extra pick so I accepted. I used that pick to get the FB Hester and lost a point on it making me a 56. Even though we had nobody at FB! What I found interesting was the GM wanted a MLB in round 3 and the same one in round 4 until he was drafted in early round 6. I found this strange as the GM must wanted a real reach to get this guy in round 3 if he was passed on by everyone else till round 6. I would not recommend predicting the picks in the later rounds as it is a crapshoot. If you do not see anyone in the late rounds worth drafting feel free to trade the pick away for a pick next year. Or you can draft the GMs recommendation and get a slight boost. I chose to trade away some late round picks and figured I could pick up the players I wanted in round 7 after the draft. I wisely wrote them down in my notebook. When it was all said and done I got the goal of getting the 1st and 2nd round picks with a potential of 85 or greater. I also got the sleeper pick as well. Though I refused to take non need players just to appease the GM. The end result being a negative boost of 12 when it was all said and done. Luckily I balanced it out by picking the pick. I also had a negative boost from the players since I let Gado be traded. What the hell? He never met the team or stepped foot on the field! Thus lowering my rating to a mere 53. After the draft and not worthy of it’s own section is the undrafted rookie bidding. Any player left over you can bid on. Get those names you wrote down earlier and remember you only can bid on 5 max to bring to camp. This is somewhat timed so you have to be fast. Pick the players you want and no mulling it over. Then focus on the top one and stay on him. Watch the timer tick down and if another team bids on the guy increase your bid. Unless the price is too high then choose #6 on your list and go after him. Also quickly switch back and forth between players just to see if your other picks are being bidded on. Though I suggest you focus on your top guy first. Once the timer is done you have the player under contract. Now not every player is going to have the same timeframe. Some you may have 1 minute to make offers. Others have 90 seconds. Obviously if the guy has a long time frame you can move screens but don’t forget to switch back to make sure you have the high bid. Only thing left now is to free up cap space if needed for your draft picks. I had to cut 2 players to make cap space. If you can work a trade for those players great! Just go to trade and select trade away and click on the player you want traded. Choose trade away, select the player and it will say there is no interest or you will get a trade offer. Having cut 2 players this lowered my player rating by 2 points. ** IMPORTANT** Please make sure you are keeping tabs on cap penalties! Cutting players will give you a cap penalty more often than not. Too many and your GM WILL fire you! This happened to me as I was ignorant to this. Ignorance is NOT bliss in this case! I ended up getting a warning from the GM after week 3 of the preseason. I was forced to make more cuts before the regular season and was forced to cut players with no cap penalty. I was short one player and had to cut a player with 30K cap penalty (the lowest cap hit I had left). I was promptly fired before the regular season began!! Don’t let this happen to you! Lastly, do NOT rely upon the cap space screen as it is not accurate. Keep a running tab of your penalties in your notebook. I do not know what the magic number is yet since I think each team might have a different magic number. Signing Draft Picks (D-2) This is not all that hard but you need to budget! Don’t go tossing out mega contracts! Yes your first round pick will demand big bucks and will want the max offer. You should be able to get away with a lesser contract a few spots above the max offer. You will go through each pick and if you can not agree on a deal that is OK. The player will return later to make a new offer. The only downside to this is they might miss the start of training camp. The plus side is there is a chance you may get a new goal that says sign your 1st round draft pick. An easy goal as the second round of talks you should be able to sign him. Also you can not choose the length of the deal. All my picks were set in years and only the money and incentives were different. I did have a backup want a bonus if they started every game. What a fool! I jumped on that offer as a 65 rated player will not start every game (barring an injury in the preseason). The philosophy screen should pop up and make sure you have the control set the way you want. After that you will get new goals from the GM. Damn he is pushy! The GM wanted me to trade with Philly for Darren Howard, trade away Thomas Jones, get some players 50 reps in pre-season (easy!) and also add 10 new plays. ** IMPORTANT** There is an injury glitch in this game! If you enter play creator during a career from the coach clipboard it will turn off injuries (they did not want your players getting hurt in create a play mode I guess). But then after you are done the injuries never get turned back on. So the injury roster becomes frozen, no new injuries will occur and anyone currently on the injured list will never come out of it. You can create plays during a game and from the main menu. You just can't go into play creator off the clipboard. I was too lazy (and nervous) to create plays right now so I went online to get them. Oh you can press R1 to change pages seeing how I thought there was only one page of plays. I was going to gripe about too few plays available then waste time making plays in my semi drunken rage. Though luckily some nice poster named Saintsdamnbirds told me I could press R1. Oh I forgot that my last few goals were to get some players playbook knowledge up to a certain % or higher. If you have to increase playbook knowledge for players on one side of the ball I strongly suggest adding plays from the other side of the ball. I hosed up on the trade as I was unaware I had to do it ASAP. I was looking over my players I wanted to trade to Philly and I get a FAIL message! WTF? Upon further review the Packers made a trade with Philly before I had a chance to act. Green Bay gets the player and I failed my task! I first thought I could trade with Green Bay but they wanted much more than I was willing to give up for the player. Also I noticed the goal said failed and clearly said trade with Philly, not trade with Green Bay because you were too slow to get it right the first time. I drowned my sorrow in another margarita which makes it #6 for those keeping score at home. Next was the training camp invites which is a bunch of drifters, CFL players, AFL players, XFL players and anyone else they found to fill out your roster. Most of them reek of heinousity. No matter, maybe one has the potential to fill a roster spot. Write down in your notebook any players you think have potential. Go to the FA list and grab anyone you want for cheap. I highly suggest you max out your roster if possible. But keep one spot open so the CPU will offer trades. I managed to trade away Jones to Dallas for a 3rd round pick and their 7th round in 2010. Back to the FA’s though, they will be one year deals for the league minimum based on their status (rookie, vet, ..etc). I found one of the guys I cut to free up cap space was still bagging groceries so I signed him for much cheaper than what I was paying him (2.5 million vs. 850K). I also grabbed Ty Law for 1 million. Now take a gander at your roster and set your depth chart. Put anyone on the trade block you want and then check their health. No point giving them reps in camp if they are banged up. I had 3 players at 75% health so I benched them and moved onto the next task which is the start of Training Camp. Training Camp You will see how many days till your first pre-season game. You have from now till then to get your team ready. Seeing how I have a new playbook to teach to the team this could be rough. Before I started I went to roster and changed the numbers of my rookies as having a rookie be #4 on the Jets just seems wrong. Also take a look at some of the stats. I had a QB who had better catching skills than 3 of my current Wrs. You can edit their position and you might want to do so. If not make a note of it for now since you might want to do so later on. Draft Preview - Nothing really to see here. Just make a note of the sleepers if you want. Make note of how deep each position is based on the number of stars. Gameplan Drills - You can choose one from the list so choose wisely. I chose playbook for my top draft pick since I want him familiar with the playbook. Hell seeing how I have a new playbook I need to focus on getting everyone up to speed with the plays. But I chose my top draft pick first. If you are comfortable with the players knowledge of the playbook and kept the system the same then I would focus on a few key plays. Write these plays down in your notebook. Trust me. Practice Recap - After you are done you get a breakdown of the days practice. Hopefully it went well and players increased their knowledge of the playbook. Check the fatigue lost as well with the L2 button. Health and Conditioning - This will pop up after practice. Keep an eye on those who are hurting and rest them if need be. If the team as whole is getting worn out choose the day off option when you get to the next Gameplan Drill. This will also give you a boost from the players (for me it was +7). Draft holdout - If you did not sign everyone you have chances to do so now. The one late round pick I had that held out returned with a reasonable offer. Apparently he came to his senses and realized a 7th round pick has no leverage. I accepted his offer and he was now a part of the team. If you have a first round pick holdout and got the goal of signing him now is the time to do so. Trades - Always check the injury report every day. Make a note of who is hurt long term on what team. If a team has lost it’s backup HB and you have a HB willing to trade away this is to your benefit. *note* You can not trade away for a player whose potential on the other team is not unlocked. I also would keep an eye on the ticker below and see who is holding out of camp. I noticed Lance Briggs was sitting out of camp and I figured now would be a good time to offer a trade. Sadly the cap space is too much for me at the moment for me but I figure the longer he holds out the better chance he will be up for trade. Rookie Progress - A list of who is progressing. Make notes of the numbers. You will be comparing them as the weeks go by. Cuts - You have to get your roster down for the first game so I had to cut 5 players. Notice you can not see their entire ratings from this screen nor can you back out. See why I said write down the numbers? No big deal for me as the ones I cut were rated in the 40’s and low 50’s. I then went to the news option and looked at all who got cut. I made a note of any players I might want and looked at them on the FA list. I compared them to my players and dumped an extra DB I had for another QB who might have potential. *tip* Always have one open spot on the roster for trades. The CPU will not offer you a trade for a player unless you have an open roster spot. *tip 2* Let’s say you are using Grudens West Coast system. I would advise to signing any vet players that team cuts. They will have the playbook mostly learned and I’d rather have a backup that knows the playbook. Develop Staff - Unless you have points to spend it is not worth your time. Come back to this option later. Well, as luck would have it my starting center is out for 7 weeks due to an injury in practice. I now must scout the waiver wire to get a replacement. I also got a boost of +22 from the GM since I did not draft any busts so my approval is now at 57. Before you start the first pre-season game I suggest you look at your playbook and choose 20 plays you like total. It can be 10 offence and 10 defence. Or 9 and 11 or whatever. Write down those plays in your notebook. Along with the ones you practiced in camp for a total of 20. Pre-Season games (E-1) Ok finally you get to actually play a football game! The NFL network made a comment how I was going to be out coached and the team was not prepared. I assume that is based on the playbook knowledge or lack there of. Using the 20 plays you have ONLY use those plays for the game. I see no reason to have my team run a play once or twice. You keep running the same plays ALL game. This will increase their knowledge of the plays much faster. Who cares if you lose since it is only preseason. The whole point here is to get your team masters of the plays you like. Do NOT supersim in the pre-season. Ok I guess if you want to you can but I do not recommend you do so. *note* If you have players that require a certain % of the playbook learned I would do the math from the size of your playbook and every time the player learns a play make note of it (name of play in your notebook). Pay attention to the coaching bars and if they are all low for the play then the success rate of the play may not be all that great. Also pay attention to the side bars between plays and the percentages. If the numbers show a low chance of a successful scenario on the field (i.e: 1st and long) switch to a different play from the 20 you selected. I know I am contradicting myself here but why go 3 and out? You want more reps right? I usually went Unlearned on 1st and 2nd and then picked a learned play for 3rd if need be. I kept my first string out there the full half, mainly to increase knowledge and also to get the 50 downs GM requirement in. I managed to get a nice 2 minute drill (yes there is a bug with that as you have no control over the play and the same play gets run over and over again. Unless you call a timeout. If you have none left you are in as much trouble as Joe Namath after a few drinks on MNF. Wouldn't that make a cool mini game though? in but sadly my joke of a rookie WR (I got in rookie bidding) dropped 3 balls in the end zone. I screamed at him with the emotion option and yes he lost points but I really do not care. He better start packing his bags if he keeps this crap up. Though if you have Tatum Bell on your team I think he steals bags. I kid I kid. I went for it on 4th and goal and yup the same player dropped the ball again. Asinine! I was down 3 to 7 at the half. I put in my 2nd string for both sides for the 3rd quarter though I went into depth chart and kept the players who needed the playbook % up in the game. Now this will mess with your data as it may say unlearned for the play as the backups do not know the play. Stay away from the learned plays you wrote down earlier and call new plays. If this does not apply to you then ignore that advice. As the game went on sure enough my backup C got hurt and is out for 5 months. Son of a @#%$! I had to put a backup 3rd string RG in to replace him. My Defence managed to give up 100 yards on the ground so I kept calm (we were only down by 4) which backfired and decreased their rating. I made a note of this for future reference. Also I accidentally picked a different play from the 20 I had and it really showed as the LB was out of position with the end result being the other team getting a TD and it was 14 to 3. I got a FG to open the 4th and I was now down by 8. I was forced to kick the onside in another defining moment but failed. I lost points from the players but my overall approval went to 65. I then put my 3rd string ers in to close out the game. My 3rd string RB broke a few tackles and went 78 yards for the TD. I used emotion on him and it worked. Looks like I will not be cutting him anytime soon. I went for the two and got it on a PA pass. Tie ballgame. My defence held tight but had given up 150 rushing yards. I used the emotion choice and it worked. I had the option of stealing plays near the end of regulation. Steal a play that fits your scheme! Two missed 50 yard field goals by the other team helped to get the game to OT. In OT I drove down the field and got it to 1st and goal. I ran 3 times and got to the 3 yard line. On 4th down I got that defining moment option to go for it. What a DUMB idea! I kicked the FG and lost points but won the game. For future reference I suggest you kick the GWFG on 3rd before that option pops up. After the game pull out your notebook and write down all the progression numbers from your rookies. You will compare these numbers after every game. You should also have reached your 50 play goals for the players. This gave me a one point boost to 66 overall. Next, check the injury report for the league and make notes of who is hurt long term. You should get a pop up that says how long your player(s) that got injured are out for. You can chose to put them on the IR though I only would do that if the injury is a long term one or the player has a high salary and you desperately need to free up cap space. Since my backup center got injured I had to check the FA pool to get a replacement. This seems to be a weekly occurrence for me. Cut Day #2 - This should be easier than the first cuts as players who did not perform well got the boot from me. You also have your progression notes to use. I cut a few under performing vets and the loser who dropped 3 passes in the end zone. Once again go to the news option and see who else was cut and make note of who you want to get. I also STRONGLY suggest (again!) if you are using a new system like me you should go after players from that old system. I grabbed vets from Seattle that were cut and they have full knowledge of the playbook. I cut a few fringe players and replaced them with Seattle vets. Now I have a TE and LG that know my system. Lastly check your skill points though I doubt you have enough to increase your coaches skills. I won’t give you a play by play of my 2nd preseason game but I did the same as game one with a few slight tweaks. Any mastered plays I backed off on calling and used other plays instead. I still had my original 20 but added 8 more plays. I also found out if you call a regular defence play for the PAT it helps them learn the play so why bother calling a FG block? Also, if one of your goals is to have a certain player know a certain % of the playbook then I would still give that player more reps. Just move him on the depth chart in game at the half. I played the starters the first quarter and then focused on my backups as I needed to find out their potential. I was up 10-0 after the first quarter and it was all downhill from there. On the TD I decided to go for it on 4th and goal since it was another defining moment (now at 73). I scored the TD and my rating increased to 89. My backups were hit or miss but I got a clearer picture of who is getting cut. I had a nice kickoff return for 96 yards but holding brought it back. I had quite a few drops and missed tackles and blown coverage by the backups so I made note of who is screwing up. My 3rd string HB had another great game (162 yards) so he is safe and will make the final roster. Your sole purposes for this game should be talent evaluation and playbook knowledge. Also take risks this game when it comes to defining moments. I had another one on 4th and 2 at the 50 yard line. I went for it (now at 85) but failed (now at 82). Being behind late in the game I went for 2 onsides but missed both but the end result was my rating at 96. This should secure my job for a while (I hope) despite the 42 to 29 loss. I had a drink and was quickly over the loss. Emotional boosts (E-1b) - I was unsure where to put this but I figured it out somewhat. Using your notebook make a list of the players who have certain personality types. The ones that are easy going and laid back you should be calm towards. I also forgot to mention you should look at your coach personality traits as well. If you are a hot head then it seems being emotional is far more greater than a level headed coaches emotional response would be at least on the graphics in the game. I also suggest you get the Charisma special skill (if you ignored my advice earlier) as for me the positive reactions I get are +4 and the negative reactions are -1 more often than not. When I learn more I will add to this later. Preseason games / E-1 continued Trades - check the trade block and see if there are teams in need. I lucked out as Chicago had a QB injury and offered me a draft pick for him. Cuts #3 - Okay you should have a list of players you want gone. I found it hard to part with Kellen Davis since I got him in a later round and thought it would be a steal but he has played poorly. He is at 50 and his potential is 56 and his learning ability is a 40. Do not be afraid to cut players is my advice. I did not want to admit to myself I picked a dud but ended up giving him the boot. Also, if you are on the hot seat I would go with players who can produce now. Why have a SS who is a 61 but has a potential of 88 when you have a SS who is a 77 and has maxed out his potential? The remaining pre-season games - Yes I know there are other events that occur between now and the end of pre-season but I have covered all those events above. Just keep an eye out for FA’s and injuries. For the last pre-season games I suggest the following: Game 3 focus on getting as much as the playbook learned if not mastered for all the starters. You can easily pull up their learning progress with R3 in the roster screen. If they are mastered for say goalline do not bother calling a lot of those plays. If you have to get certain players to a certain % once again leave them in for the second half. Also keep a running tab of plays they have learned or mastered. If players get fatigued go ahead and have them sit. Lastly, I would start calling those downloaded/new/stolen plays to get the starters learning them. By the end of this game you should know who will be on the final roster. Game 4 just take it easy on the starters unless you have a goal to get them to a certain % of the playbook learned. Also if you have not yet met the 50 snaps goal do so now. It is possible the player was injured so you were unable to reach that goal. I had that happen in my other franchise. I also recommend you take risks all the time this game. Now is the game to experiment and try things. Any defining moment I would go for it. Unless you managed to get your approval in the high 80’s and do not feel the need to take a chance. **Tip** I found out if it is 4th and short and the last play of the half you will get a defining moment. I was at my 48 yard line and chose to go for it. I completed the pass but was well short of the end zone and did not get a first down either. Yet the game boosted my approval rating with no penalty for failing. I assume since the half was over and the other team never got the ball. Unsure if this is another glitch or not. Final Cuts - Get rid of the riffraff. I don’t have much else to say except you can cut some high priced players to free up cap space if need be. Check the FA roster to fill in roster spots. As it happens the Cowboys cut Thomas Jones as Ray Rice beat him out. I quickly reacquired Jones for a one year one million dollar deal (far far less than what his current salary was). So in essence Dallas gave me a 3rd rounder and 7th yet have nothing to show for it. I celebrated with a drink and have my final roster set. Although it said the Jones signing affected the players. I found this odd as he used to be on the team and thought they would welcome him back. Gameplan - Ok if you were unable to get the players up to the % required here is a nice way to complete your goal. Notice the date the goal ends. You have 2 practices to get them to that %. I had one player who was short 1% point as he got injured for the last quarter of the game. For practice I chose the learn play option (one the player did not know as I double checked my notebook) and two practices later he reached the goal! Score one for the good guys! Regular Season (F-1) Okay now the games count. You should have new goals from the GM. Mine said to crush the Fins in week one, beat the Bolts on MNF, win 3 of the first 4 games and have McFadden the ROY. But wait! Damn that fine print. It says ANY rookie can win the award. So I do not need to focus only on one rookie. I would also develop your staff if you have not done so. If you are at loss on what to upgrade I would look at the section I have made on this. Before the game you are asked to put 8 players on the inactive list. Injured players are automatically put on this list. Who you chose to put on the list is up to you. Then you can check the CPUs list and fire up the game. Oh as in pre-season if you are dinking around and do not select start game from the clipboard the game will sim. I won’t bore you with what plays I called or what I did to win. Just remember to call the plays you mastered. Use the agenda function in the play calling screen as needed. Activate your gameplan (if you chose one) sparingly. Going into your depth chart does NOT pause the game and your OC or DC will call the play in for you if you are busy. Play to your strengths. If you are a passing team then pass. From here on out I will not go over what to do during gameday. I trust you can call plays. Look at Nick Sabin if he can coach (and I use that word loosely) at Miami why can't you? Fear not fellow readers I will go over the tasks after the game though. After the game the following options appear (I am not repeating them as some like gameplan pop up more than once) Box score - check it if you wish and gloat in your win or cry after your loss Health - check who is hurting or worn out and act accordingly. Rest them for the next practice if need be. College Scouting (F-1a) Choose who you want to look at. Base this on needs. Consult your notebook if need be. For my 1st scouting group I chose big school DL as I am in need of an upgrade in that spot. Now yours should vary from mine but here is what I did and the logic behind it. It does not matter what order you go in. Although if you plan to upgrade your GM in scouting then I suggest you bypass scouting the small schools (or whatever you choose for your GM). Since I upgraded my GM in small schools I had no need to scout the small schools and focused my time on the bigger schools. If you have numerous mid round picks (from trades) I would focus more on medium schools in hopes of finding some hidden talent. Based on your GM's talent (or lack there of) it may take more than just one or two attempts to reach 100% on the position you desire (as seen by the X2 below) Big School positions scouted: MLB (X2), QB, CB, TE Medium School positions scouted: DT, TE, ROLB (X2), QB, CB Small School positions scouted: ALL (due to upgrading the GM special skill) Throughout the season (every month) you will get info about the upcoming draft class. Take good notes in your notebook. For example they hyped Ozzie Jones and AJ Bishop as HBs. They also said JaMarcus Boone was a top 5 pick. When you start scouting I would also make note of your top twenty players you have an eye on in your notebook. Yes you do not have all the info needed on these players but this will give you a base for later on. Weekly Awards - Gloat if you won the award for the week. I noticed on the ticker below that some player is hurt after cutting his hand making a sandwich? I also saw the Steelers have yet to sign the rookie Dre Scott to a deal. I noticed this in my other two franchises as well. I wonder if he is a pain to sign if you draft him? Standings - Check how the other teams fared. When a team secures a playoff spot they have a nice Playoffs logo on the upper right hand corner of the screen. When a team is offically eliminated from playoff contention the ticker at the bottom of the screen tells you. Player status - make a note of who has a contract that is expiring. Check your cap space. Gameplan - choose based on who you are playing (I.e: vs. Colts focus on shutting down Manning) or what you need work on the most. Scouting results - Look at them and start writing down players that interest you. Developing Staff during the season (F-1b) By now you might have enough to start spending points. The way the system works the player will benefit from their position coach first. Then their coordinator and finally the head coach. In other words do NOT waste the points upgrading your Head Coach in positional special skills before you have the positional coach and OC/DC upgraded first. Here is what I did for the first round of upgrades: RBC - Improved Ball Carrier OC - Gameplan Analysis GM - Small School Scouting Special Skill Second round of upgrades: QBC - Quarterback readiness DC - Coverage Analysis LBC - Performance level 2 upgrade Third round of upgrades: HC - Leadership (very good upgrade to have) WRC - WR Discpline & WR Release (this increased his rating from 29 to 58) RBC - Speed Training Fourth round of upgrades: RBC - Gamefilm Analysis OLC - Run blocking discpline Fifth round of upgrades: QBC - Improved QB reads DBC - Coverage Analysis Now I know what I did may not work for you as your coaches may have those skills already. Just refer back to the other developing staff info I gave earlier if need be. Depth Chart - adjust accordingly based on performance, injury and fatigue levels. Inactive roster - same rules as last game applies here. Play game - Off to week 2! Good luck! Box Score - I lost to the Pats and 2 key fumbles and missed FGs cost me. Continue to follow the same format for the following weeks. Resigning Players (F-1c) Ok before you freak out and wonder why you can't resign players right off the bat let it be known you have to wait until week 5. I suggest you do not cave and give in the players first offer. This is going to be a back and forth for a few weeks. The player will ask for the best offer possible I tend to go with the worst offer possible. I also tend to go with no signing bonus as I can cut the player without taking a cap hit. Also, look at the incentives. If some backup is asking for a bonus to get 1000 yards for the season sign him. For example: Offer 6 = 3 years/1 million no bonus Offer 18 = 3 years/900K no bonus (1000 yds rush = 500k) Go with offer 18. I do not recommend ignoring the players request to negoiate as it will cause a decrease in the players attitude. If you do not want the player Just humour him and then let the time run out or just back out. Ok, most of what I have typed Pro Bowl Voting - Can be looked at later in the season. Trade - Up till week 6. Coaches on the hot seat - Mid season they will start talking about coaches that are on the hot seat. Make note of these coaches as odds are they will be available to be hired at the end of the season. I have yet to see a coach get fired mid season though. When a coach does get fired it is noted under the news section. Player roadmap - Check this every so often. Especailly if you forget what incentives you gave to players. NFL Draft News - Just pay attention and take notes when they give the college news. I just put an up arrow or down arrow as it pertains to the player along with some notes. Playoffs and Beyond (G-1) I did not make the playoffs (8-7-1) so I can't really expand on this. I ended up drinking a margarita to drown my sorrow. Staf firing - If you do not fire anyone then the info below on staff hiring is of no value to you. The owner will say "I want you to keep this staff member". you can refuse and get a small decrease as a result. Keeping the staff member resulted in a +4 increase from the owner. Staff signing (H-1) If you fail to make the playoffs (like me) the fired and unemployed (including new free agent college coaches) are ordered by best available coach at that posititon when they start appearing in the clipboard. Each team with a hole to fill will start deciding who they want to go after and what they are willing to give up to get them. *tip* You can go to staff firing recap to see the coaches ratings of who got fired. I had the following teams fire their head coach. Arizona, Atlanta, Washington, Oakland (Hey he lasted longer than in real life!) and Houston. The bidding process is like the Free Agent process with the following tweaks. You will see the coach available in the clipboard. By clicking on him you will see his rating and top three skills. If you are interested in the coach enter the bidding process. You will then see a percentage of interest the coach has in your team. To increase the percentage of interest you must give up some control. Each control has a certain percentage. You are timed so you do not have all day to think about it. It is also quite possible to give up no control as one coach I hired had negative 7 percent interest in the other team. I won with 0 percent! Some teams will gamble and decide to wait until the next round of playoff games is over to see what staff members leave those playoff teams. Jon Gruden quit after Tampa lost in the second round of the playoffs to Philly. I missed out on him since I did not forsee him leaving Tampa. The risk with waiting too long is that the other teams may have signed all of the good free agent staff members. If no staff members leave those playoff teams, you are stuck with a scrub. If you are the last team with a hole to fill and you dismiss all free agents the week after the Super Bowl, you will automatically hire the last guy you dismissed. Pro Bowl game - I was unable to play the game though I assume if you win coach of the year you get to play the game? Unsure in that. Cut Dead Weight - You can choose to cut the dead weight the GM requests or keep them. If you keep them they will be put on the trade block during the off-season. Draft Preview - Take notes if you have not done so yet. Team Philosophy - If you want to change it do so now. This concludes the tasks as you are now only repeating what you did at the start of the game if you continue. Q&A session (Q-A) * How do I challenge? - Move right on the clipboard and it should be next to the timeout option. * When can I resign my players? - When they contact you during the regular season. Beware there is a resigning glitch! See below for more info * One of my players is always at 72% fatigue and has low health. I have rested him all the time and rarely play him. What gives? - Older players like Dilfer for example will max out at those levels. Factors as age and past injuries play a role here. Either cut the cripple or keep him and don’t overwork him. Though it could be the injury glitch that froze the player at that %. * Where is Favre? I downloaded the updated roster! - If you started the game at the off season and not the preseason then you will not have Favre in the game. I dunno why they couldn’t have just put him on Green Bay on the trade block or had Green Bay offer your team Favre. * Do you have a list of the cap space for each team? - Sadly no, I know the Jets have about 22.5 million. * I heard the testers at EA are really chimps due to the bugs in the game. Is this true? - Yes, there are many bugs not sure about the chimp thing though it would not shock me. The injury glitch I touched upon earlier. The resigning bug has to do with scrubs asking for huge contracts mid season. The draft day trade bug also exists as you could offer a trade with each team than back out thus the cpu will eventually trade down and you could feasibly have a CPU controlled team end up trading out of the first round. Yes there are more but since people seem to finding new bugs all the time I would just look at the message boards. Now that the patch is out hopefully the above fixes are fixed. * Hey your formatting sucks. Multiple random spaces, paragraphs just for the sake of having them and 4 spaces after a period! - Yup, I tried to format the FAQ and it took one week and 2 bottles of tequila for the margaritas. In fact this FAQ was rejected 6 times for improper formatting. I decided to outsource it to Mr. Spanky the monkey at the local zoo. Blame him not me. [Credits and 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 not care less what you do with this guide as information should be free. Print it out and use it for birdcage lining, use it as toilet paper or use it to start a fire for all I care. 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 and 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.