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Offensive Line Pass Blocking Improvements Part I

Posted 07-24-2009 at 06:33 PM by LBzrule
Pass Blocking Video

I will not get too much into offense in these blogs except for a couple of areas, namely pass blocking and route running. In this particular blog I will focus on double teams, chips and one pull protection scheme. So letís look at the video.

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The key point in the first frame is we see the FB Lorenzo Neal step up and assist in blocking Steelers NT Casey Hampton. So we get a double here. You can also see McClain help the OT chip the DE as he makes his way out of the backfield and into the passing game.

On the next play if we look at the top of the screen/right side we will see a Double by Grubbs and Gaither on the DE. The defense sent three rushers on this play.

On the next play Ngata gets doubled, but watch him spin out of it and hauls *** to make the play. The key here is the double team but also a dominant defensive linemanís ability to break that double and get to the football.

Next we have the Right Guard Chris Chester chip help on Woodley. Grubbs also provides chip help on Harrison at the top of screen. The defense sent three rushers on this play.

In the next frame, the Bills Chip with the HB and double with the Tackle and the Guard on the Jets DE/OLB. The defense rushed three on this play.

Now I want to switch to a particular protection scheme. The Saints deploy a Pull protection scheme to off set Bears Defensive End Alex Brown as he is lined up in a wide seven technique. Brown already got a sack in this game from that alignment and was in Breesí face on the next pass play so the Saints turned to a chip by the back and pull protection scheme to slow Brown down. On this play the Center, LG and LT all step to the right. The RG pulls to the left to pick up Brown. The RT steps to the left. The TE opens up with his hips and anticipates riding the DE on the arc. But also notice we have a strong slot formation and the slot WR chips the DE and passes him to the TE as he runs his route. The defense sent four rushers here.

The last frame of the video is a still frame from the Ravens vs Dolphins and notice we have two double team blocks here. The TE and HB lined up left will take care of the DE from that side. The HB will chip while the TE blocks. The RT is one on one with the DE. The RG and Center double the DT and the LG and LT double the other DT. The defense sends four rushers on this play.

What is important here is that when possible offensive linemen should help each other with chips and doubles. When the defense only sends three rushers against five blockers, someone should get double-teamed. If the defense sends four rushers against six blockers two defenders should get double-teamed. And if a back has a chip assignment he should chip the DE to his side. FBís from the I-Formation that are staying in to block need to take initiative and step up and help on someone.


Now, what are some possible ways of implementing these things? Let me do the perhaps easy one first. I think the pull protection with the HB chipping is the easiest of these to implement and can simply be attached to our existing protection schemes. This protection was deployed by the Saints because Brown lined up wide, so that means when I talk about fronts we will see this wide alignment as an option.

Double Teams and Chip helps by Olinemen

Idea 1: Automatic and Invisible

The first thing I am thinking with respect to double teams and chips is to simply rip out and replace the OL code, but thatís going to take a hell of a long time and something I donít think is achievable in one cycle. As I have posted on the boards several times, it took 2k quite awhile to get 2k8ís protections down and they still were not done when the game shipped. So with that in mind Iím thinking we can turn to 2k8 and look at their game plan menu and think about their focus system for a moment.

The focus system in 2k8 pulled zone defenders towards the WRís that were checked in the game plan. You could only check two receivers for your defense to focus on. Now, Iím thinking that perhaps EA can build something similar to the focus system in the backend of the game for offensive lines. But instead of it randomly shifting, the Oline focuses on the top defensive lineman in two situations, namely, a three man pass rush and a four man pass rush.

The system would work the following way:

5-man pass protection vs 3 man pass rush Ė double the two highest rated pass rushers
5-man pass protection vs 4 man pass rush Ė double the highest rated defensive lineman
5-man pass protection with HB Chip Ė back helps tackle to his side by chipping; on the opposite side the highest rated defensive lineman is doubled.
6-man pass protection vs 3 man pass rush Ė double the two highest rated pass rushers
6-man pass protection vs 4 man pass rush Ė double team the two highest rated defensive linemen.


Now of course this could get disrupted especially if the defense starts stunting their best-rated players on jet stunts, DE loops and what not.

The benefit of this way of implementation is that it is something that the pick up and play player does not need to worry about and they can still be protected. Letís talk about the downfalls as a community.

Idea 2: User Controlled via On the Field Offensive Game Plan

NCAA has given us a blue print for a on the fly game plan that is not obstructive to the user. Madden can adopt such a plan but change the options. One of the options could be to select who you want doubled on the defense. You can double up to two defenders. You can also tell your back who you want chipped on any given play. This way chips do not have to be assigned to plays but you can game plan them. The back will keep his original route on a given play if he has one, but in the game plan you can tell him to chip and he will chip the nearest defender as he makes his way out of the backfield. If he swings out of the backfield or goes on the circle route for instance he will chip the DE to the side he releases. If he curls up the middle then he will chip the NT (3-4 defense) or one of the DTís (4-3 defense).

Critical Note: Calling a pass protection scheme can alter assigned double teams. For instance, if you tell your line to slide protect right, but then also game plan them to double against a 4 man rush then it should not be possible to double say the back side defensive end since the line is sliding to the right. Or letís say the new pull protection is in the game and you call that, you would not be able to double the DE on the strong side. The line would need to stay in base pass protection to double anyone in both cases.

The advantage of this implementation is that the user gets to determine who is double-teamed. The payoff here comes in handy against defensive lines that have three or four highly rated players. You can take chances of doubling whoever you want rather than the A.I simply choosing the two highest rated every time. Perhaps that third highest rated lineman is starting to cause a problem and you might need to switch over.

Idea 3: Me and You Call + Game Plan Doubles

This one comes from Adembroski and I think is an excellent idea given that Madden only has BOB (Big on Big or Man on Man) and Slide Protections. Now of course in this blog I have advocated for a Pull Protection although it is non-traditionary. But letís talk a little bit about what the ME and YOU would consist of within the framework of BOB protection. The user has the ability to make the call ME or YOU.

Now generally in BOB protection the Center or weak side Guard will be a bubble player Ė that is uncovered by a defensive lineman. If there is a rush threat outside of the Tackle on the backside, the Center will make a ME or YOU call to determine who will block the backside rush threat. ďMEĒ for the Center and ďYOUĒ for the Guard.

Now the me and you call does not set up double teams. With this system we would need something external to the game, namely, a game plan to set who we want to double in certain situations. I think we should get a few situations in the game plan screen. Those situations should be as follows:

1) 5 Man Protection vs 3 man Rush
2) 5 Man Protection vs 4 man Rush
3) 6 Man Protection vs 4 man rush
4) 6 Man protection vs 5 man rush
5) Defensive Line stunts
6) HB Chip help and release on

Now with this in mind we should be able to save this in a profile and use it on and offline. Scenario five is for when the defensive line stunts. What should the options be here? One option can be to auto go to zone protection.
Total Comments 5


Great job on the blogs man, plenty of great and insightful stuff here.
Posted 07-26-2009 at 08:33 PM by tonynyy tonynyy is offline
All these blogs are great. As for this one, I would love to see Idea 2 mostly, and if left on default without picking who to double the AI would obviously do what you had in Idea 1.

They need to get the straight man to man blocking down and then work on zone blocking, but that pull scheme the Saints used was sweet and if I saw that in Madden (and it actually worked right) it would be awesome.
Posted 07-27-2009 at 04:41 PM by steelers1 steelers1 is offline
Great job man.
Posted 07-27-2009 at 08:57 PM by Pandemic Pandemic is offline
good stuff. I like idea 2 the best being able to game plan and control what you want to do. Idea 2 is a great idea for those who are hardcore NFL fans
Posted 07-30-2009 at 06:19 PM by HolyCrap HolyCrap is offline
catcatch22's Avatar
Nice, I wish this was a reality but I am afraid this may be far too technical for the average gamer. Great read.
Posted 12-18-2009 at 08:23 AM by catcatch22 catcatch22 is offline

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