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Offensive Philosophy

This section of the manual details key concepts for understanding how offense works in Front Office Football.

Player Positions and Skills

In Front Office Football, offensive players are closely tied to their positions. When a player gains experience, he gains experience specific to his position. You can change a player’s primary position, but it might change his ratings significantly. You’ll get an idea of how much the ratings will change when you make the position change.

Offensive players can play out of position and gain experience for that new position, but they generally are more effective when their position matches their assigned position. This is very different from the defensive system, where defensive players can switch positions and play out of position without penalty.

Some positions are closely related. Offensive linemen can play anywhere on the line. Running backs and fullbacks share many attributes, as do flankers and split ends (Z and X receivers). While it’s always best to keep a player in his exact positions, don’t change a player’s primary position unless it’s for the long haul.

Players have physical attributes and they have offensive skills. The following physical attributes can be important when evaluating players:

Weight: this is often the most important attribute for a player. Physics gives us the reason. The force on an object is equal to mass times acceleration. To move an opposing player, a lineman has to create a change in his acceleration. In order to do this, a player needs both mass and what we call explosion. Since everyone is playing on the same field at the same altitude, we can cancel out the role of gravity and substitute weight for mass.

Weight can be controlled, to a small extent. During training camp, you can ask your players to lose or gain weight. Each player is limited as to how much he can weight train and in what direction, so you can’t transform a cornerback into a nose tackle. In Front Office Football, a player’s performance is reduced by the difference between that player’s weight and the ideal weight for the position he is playing on that particular play.

Height: For some positions, height matters. Quarterbacks ideally can see over the rushing defensive linemen. Height matters more for quarterbacks than for any other position, but a quarterback’s weight does not matter. Wide receivers and tight ends can better compete for thrown balls if they’re taller.

Hand Size: For quarterbacks, a larger hand means a better grip on the ball. Quarterbacks with small hands aren't quite as precise with the ball.

Arm Size: For offensive linemen, longer arms mean it's harder for defensive linemen to use their technique to get in and out of range and come off of a block.

This chart shows the ideal weight for each player at each position in the basic offenses. Players closer to the ideal weight for their assigned position will perform better in games. Players who are further from the average height/weight ratio for their position might see a small decline in performance.

Combine Numbers: Explosion creates acceleration, which is the other half of Newton’s second law of motion. A player’s combine numbers, therefore, lead to better performance on the field. Look at the bench press, the broad jump and the 10-yard split on the 40-yard dash to see how much explosion the player creates. There’s more on this topic in the Scouting Combine section – in particular what attributes are most important when evaluating physical skills.

Every year, all players are tested in the combine events. Front Office Football does this because you don’t have actual tape to watch, as real professional coaches have.

The following offensive attributes are also important when evaluating players. Keep in mind that the combine numbers and these attributes are heavily intertwined. Numbers are reported both as a player’s current level in this skill, and what your coaches think this player will be able to do once he has reached his full potential.

Quarterbacks are rated for several skills unique to their position.

  • Passing Touch: their ability to throw accurate screen and short passes.
  • Throw Quality: their ability to throw accurate mid-range passes.
  • Arm Strength: their ability to throw accurate long passes.
  • Likes to Run: their desire to run the ball when unable to find an open receiver.
  • Good Decisions: their ability to make good decisions under pressure, which lowers interceptions and results in better choices on option plays.
  • Throwing Accuracy: their pin-point throwing accuracy, which helps with completing passes.
  • Pass Timing: their ability to throw in front of a runner, resulting in more yards after the catch.
  • Sense the Rush: their ability to sense the pass rush and avoid getting sacked.
  • Read the Defense: their ability to read the defense, resulting in better use of secondary routes and recognition of better choices on option plays.
  • Two-Minute Offense: their ability to effectively run the offense during hurry-up situations, under greater time pressures.
  • Good Footwork: their natural throwing rhythm, which leads to better future development.
  • Confidence: their desire to complete longer throws, which can result in more interceptions, but also fewer missed opportunities.

Skill position players are scouted for the following attributes:

  • Speed : their raw speed in pads, resulting in more breakaway runs and receptions.
  • Strength (RB/FB): their raw strength in pads, resulting in more effective blocking and dealing with block attempts.
  • Hole Recognition (RB/FB): a ball carrier's ability to find the best possible path for gaining rushing yardage.
  • Elusiveness (RB/FB/WR): a ball carrier's ability to avoid tackles, though this might result in moving backward.
  • Blitz Pickup (RB/FB): while in the backfield, a player's ability to detect and block an opposing blitzer.
  • Good Hands: a receiver's ability to secure a catch.
  • Adjust to the Ball: a receiver's ability to make adjustments to his route in order to catch the ball.
  • Route Running: a receiver's ability to effectively run his assigned route.
  • Catch in Traffic: a receiver's ability to make a catch while navigating the middle of the field.
  • Defeat Jammers (RB/TE/WR): a receiver's ability to get past a defensive player in the five-yard contact zone.
  • Secure the Ball: a ball carrier's ability to hold on to the ball after contact.
  • Run Block Technique (FB/TE): a blocker's ability to effectively maintain a block while clearing a path for a runner.
  • Pass Block Technique (FB/TE): a blocker's ability to effectively maintain a block while protecting the quarterback.
  • Punt Returns (WR only): their ability to effectively return punts.
  • Kickoff Returns (WR only): ability to effectively return kickoffs.
  • Endurance: their ability to maintain top performance, play after play.

Offensive linemen are scouted for the following attributes:

  • Run Block Technique: their ability to effectively maintain a block while clearing a path for a runner.
  • Pass Block Technique: their ability to effectively maintain a block while protecting the quarterback.
  • Blocking Strength: their ability to effectively counter a pass rusher's strength.
  • Scheme Acquisition: their ability to adapt to a new team's blocking scheme.
  • Endurance: their ability to maintain top performance, play after play.

Offensive Personnel Charts

Your offensive personnel charts largely determine playing time. Your quarterback and offensive linemen usually play the entire game, except in the preseason. So you don’t need to set up backups. Skill position players are arranged by personnel group. These are the players who take the field for every play involving that personnel group.

There’s one exception: you will designate a running back who plays on third- or fourth-down and three or more yards to go in every personnel group that includes a running back. This should be a back who can both catch passes and handle blitz pickup.

Personnel groups indicate the number of backs, tight ends and wide receivers, however they may line up for the play. For instance, a 113 personnel group (the most commonly used group in professional football, by far) includes a running back, a tight end and three wide receivers.

If you use the personnel charts to try and force a player to remain on the field too long, he will start “economizing” his performance and you will get a generally reduced level of play. If there’s a danger of this happening, you will see the player's name highlighted in red in the depth charts. That player may be less effective in a game as a result, and he will be more likely to become tired and limited in future games.

The same will happen to running backs and receivers if they have too many touches.

While you can use players slightly out of position, unlike on the defense, it’s advisable to use players in their exact position as much as possible. You’ll notice that unlike on defense, player experience is specific to his position. During games, players will accumulate experience not only at the position they play, but at related positions at a lower rate. This will help if you want to slowly transition a player to a new position. Still, regardless of experience, a player will perform better in his primary position.

Offensive Positions

These are the positions on offense. On all plays, you’ll have a quarterback, five skill-position players and five offensive linemen. Seven players always start the play right at the line scrimmage and can’t move before the snap. There are always five eligible receivers on pass plays. The quarterback and three of the eligible receivers line up behind the line of scrimmage, wide receivers often only a couple of steps behind the line of scrimmage.

Your left tackle is the anchor of your pass coverage. He is responsible for protecting the quarterback’s blind side (since all quarterbacks in Front Office Football are right-handed – as are about 99% of professional quarterbacks) and often goes up against the opponent’s best pass rusher.

Your right tackle is usually a little larger and is often your best run blocker. Many teams run more to the right side, which is the strong side of most formations (all formations in Front Office Football).

A personnel package also includes five of the following skill-position players. Two of the five must line up at the line of scrimmage, “covering” the tackles. Either a tight end or a wide receiver can play this role.

  • A – Running back: usually the ball carrier on running plays.
  • B – Fullback: usually serves a blocking role, but can break out and receive passes.
  • X – Split End: often a “possession” receiver, a little bit bigger than most wide receivers, as he usually lines up on the line of scrimmage on the weak side and can face press coverage.
  • Z – Flanker: often a “speed” receiver who can stretch the defense. He can line up on the line of scrimmage and face press coverage, but won't when there's a tight end. He is almost always on the strong side of the offense.
  • R, S, V – Slot Receivers: these are additional receivers used in personnel groups with more than two wide receivers.
  • Y – Tight End: usually lines up on the strong side, next to the right tackle (on the left side in the 014t, 113t and 221 groups). An excellent blocker, though some have good receiving skills.
  • T, U – Additional Tight Ends: for the personnel groups, geared more toward running plays, that feature more than just the primary tight end.

The diagrams below indicate how offensive players line up in the various personnel groups:

offensive_philosophy.txt · Last modified: 2023/05/05 23:57 by solecismic