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114 | SimFBA | Scheme Changes: Part 4 (New Defensive Plays)


Rocketcan

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Hello Coaches!

Welcome to another Dev Diary for NewSim on SimFBA! We are continuing our series on the upcoming changes to the simulation engine regarding schemes. This dev diary will focus on the new defensive plays being added to the engine.

Defaults

Before I go into this any further, I do want to mention that if gameplanning isn't your thing, and you really couldn't care less about setting your gameplan (or it is a bit daunting), that is ok! Several of us have worked very hard to select "default" settings for each scheme (offense and defense) that you can use to make your life easier. Thus, you can still just set your gameplan at the beginning of the season and forget about it if you really wanted to. 

Formation/Personnel Matching

One of the biggest issues with how the sim handled defense before was that the formation selection for the defense was random, and all that the user could do was weight how much they wanted to defense the pass or run overall and blitz overall.

Now, the sim will be able to handle users (and AI) choosing which of their defensive formations will be deployed depending on the offensive personnel. Each week before games are run, the gameplan page will update showing the offense that the opposing teams run. You will then be able to choose any of your five formations to match against each of the five possible opposing formations. You will also then be able to set your run-to-pass ratio, blitz weight, and blitz aggressiveness (up to how many blitzers you may blitz at a time) for each formation match-up, rather than as one overarching setting.

Now what happens if your opponent changes their offense (and thus the opposing formations and your carefully crafted gameplan!) and games are run before you can make a change? Well, first, the opposing team would get a massive scheme change penalty like last season. But also, we have come up with "default" settings that the AI will use to gameplan for opponents, thus you won't be entirely out to dry.

Option Defense

With the addition of option runs on the offensive side of the ball, we needed to add something to allow the defense to react and change things to help them succeed as well. Thus, we added two new overall defensive settings: Dive Focus and Pitch Focus.

If you remember back to the previous Dev Diary (#109 | SimFBA | Scheme Changes: Part 3 (New Offensive Plays)), there are essentially three possible ballcarriers on any one option play that the defense will ever have to worry about: Some sort of "Dive" player (or outside run if it is a WR coming in motion, for example), the QB keeping, or the "Pitch" player. Some option plays are only concerned about two of these players (Read and Inverted Option only have Dive and QB, while Speed option only has QB and Pitch), but Triple Option has all three available (hence the "triple"). Defensively, you will now be able to set your gameplan to tell you defense how to defend an option play.

Specifically, Dive Focus will allow you to set how often you want your defense to take away the Dive player (in other words making the QB keep the ball), or to take away the QB run (forcing the QB to give the ball). By extension, the Pitch Focus setting sets how often you want to take away the Pitch (forcing a QB keep if the QB reads correctly), or take away the QB (forcing the pitch if the correct read is made).

This gives the defense a few options (lol) for how to defend the option run. For example, if an offense runs the option with a decent RB, but an amazing QB, the defense might be inclined to move the Dive Focus slider closer to the QB Focus side, forcing the QB to hand the ball off if he makes the correct read. This would inherently reduce the number of carries the QB gets, and therefore the fewer opportunities he has to make a play. This whole strategy would depend on the rest of your defense's ability to shut down runs by the RB. Another scenario is where a team runs both read option (RB runs inside) and speed option (RB runs outside). Now if, in this case, the RB is a good outside running but not a good inside runner (maybe he's a receiving archetype), then maybe you would be perfectly fine if he got the handoff (so you focus more on the QB for a Dive read), but definitely don't want him getting the ball on the edge (so you focus on him instead on a Pitch read). There are also scenarios where you might want to be balanced. For example, if the opposing QB has low FBIQ, then he might just make poor reads very often and so you don't want to commit one way or another.

Focus Plays

One of my favorite additions to defenses is Focus Plays. These are plays that you can select that you will get a bonus to all of your players to defend against. The catch is: there are only so many plays you can focus on each week.

You will be able to focus on anywhere from zero to three plays on any give game week:

  • Zero: Don't even do this. You should always focus on at least one play.
  • One: You will gain a significant bonus to all of your defenders abilities (at least those on the field) whenever defending against this play.
  • Two: You will get a less significant, but still meaningful bonus to all of your defenders (on the field) abilities when defending against these two plays.
  • Three: You will gain that same less significant, but meaningful bonus against these three plays. However, you will suffer a similar-magnitude malus to all of your defenders anytime they are defending against anything other than those three plays you chose. EXCEPTION: If your team is coming off of a BYE week, you can choose three focus plays WITHOUT PENALTY.

I really like this feature because I think it gives coaches even more options to choose from with how they run their defense, which is hard to do when offenses get all the bells and whistles! Also, I think this helps simulate how real defensive gameplanning works: You watch film and find the opponent's biggest plays, and then work during the week to take those plays away.

The following list is how plays will be broken down to choose from:

  • Outside Run
  • Inside Run
  • Power Run
  • Draw
  • Read Option
  • Speed Option
  • Inverted Option
  • Triple Option
  • Quick Pass
  • Short Pass
  • Long Pass
  • Screen Pass
  • Play Action Short
  • Play Action Long
  • Choice Outside
  • Choice Inside
  • Choice Power
  • Peek Outside
  • Peek Inside
  • Peak Power

As you can see, that is a significant list, so you will need to choose the plays you focus on wisely when you gameplan.

Speaking of that, the next Dev Diary in this series will deal a little bit with how users can make use of the new features to do a little gameplanning... That is it for this dev diary.

Until next time,

Rocketcan

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