Keep CB's lined up outside

theDude47
Pro Bowl
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed May 06, 2015 10:08 pm

Keep CB's lined up outside

Postby theDude47 » Tue May 23, 2017 10:27 am

I have a problem with my custom defenses. I have the corners lined up on the outside for both zone and man, and I'd like for them to stay there regardless of where the receivers are.

Example: if the receivers are lined up close/tight to the offensive line, I would like my corners not to line up over them but to keep their same positioning out wide. This way, they can't be outleveraged on run plays or swing passes to the edge.

Anyone have any suggestions? Help would be much appreciated.

Keep CB's lined up outside

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rahien.din
Pro Bowl
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:08 am

Re: Keep CB's lined up outside

Postby rahien.din » Tue May 30, 2017 10:48 am

There's not a great way to prevent these realignments. For most alignments that are close to normal values, the computer will usually move your secondary players before the snap so they are aligned directly in front of the receiver. You could hand-move every member of the secondary but that's going to suck the fun out of the game.

The first strategy is in formation design. You could alter your alignments so that your corners are deeper prior to the snap, which might give them the ability to react without getting immediately sucked into a blocking animation. I have found, too, that if the CB is sufficiently distant away from the receiver, then the computer will not necessarily change their alignment. Typically, these alignments are more extreme (such as in my bandit defense) and require certain strategic adjustments.

The second strategy is in changing default assignments via PSAL editing. For zone, you could use the "blitz" PSAL with a short travel and slow timing to make them take a step backwards/outside before executing their zone assignment. For man, that might work as well. You could also alter the shading on your man assignments, so that the CB always plays on the outside hip. Either of those solutions will leave you very vulnerable to slants, posts, and in routes, without some kind of rat zone coverage support, and it will also prevent your CB from immediately turning his hips to run with a go route. You might also alter your CB's transition to shuffle or backstep (I am not sure how effective that will be as the coverage transitions are hard to test).

The third strategy is in play design and playcalling. If your opponent is consistently outleveraging you in the alley and the flat, you might have to call more plays with flat zones (horizontal light-blue ovals). The nice thing about flat zones is they are two-stage assignments : in the first stage, the defender moves to the flat zone a few yards deep, and if there is no player to defend, in the second stage the defender moves backward as though playing a hook zone. Thus, you don't necessarily lose much zone coverage. Notably, this two-stage tendency can be exploited by smash/china combinations or by flood patterns. You could get more flats coverage by playing more straight cover-2 zone (in which CB's have run force responsibilities, which typically puts them into the flats), by mixing in sky zones (in which a safety crashes down to the flat, which is a harder assignment to outleverage), or by playing more cover-3 zone (in which a safety has intermediate/box responsibilities and can read/react). Blitzing is another good way to control outside runs and RB behavior. You could send more edge blitzes (LB or safety) in order to discourage outside running, and to encourage your opponent to keep the RB in to block. And, a classic modern adjustment to a heavy dose of outside runs (specifically, the wildcat) is the playside CB blitz.

The fourth strategy is in roster design and defensive packages. You could simply try to find bigger, stronger CB's who are more able to defeat blocks - this is a common strategy for cover-2 teams who, as above, ask CB's to force outside runs. You could design a package in which safeties and CB's switch positions, to be used when you think an outside run is likely.

The fifth strategy is in team AI adjustments. It may be that if you adjust your run/pass slider on defense to favor the pass, then a CB is less likely to immediately crash onto run plays, and may react to them only once the RB has entered their area. Obviously this will have rather widespread effects that may necessitate changing your overall strategy.

The final strategy is in actual gameplay. Identify a player whose assignment puts them into a flexible position, and control them after the snap to specifically address a particular structural issue. You can even design plays in which players have redundant assignments, and change up which one of them you control. This has the advantages of making your defense less predictable and more flexible.

Any or all of these strategies could be combined.

All in all, I would blitz more with safeties and LB's, I would play more odd coverages, I would tailor CB shading/transition to my overall strategy and to each play, and I would add in redundant assignments to add flexibility and unpredictability to my defense by controlling players. If this produced a viable overall strategy, I would start to alter my roster to enhance each player's ability to fulfill their respective role.


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