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ImSkyKid's Guide to the 3-4/4-3 Debacle

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Old 09-07-2011, 04:42 PM   #1
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ImSkyKid's Guide to the 3-4/4-3 Debacle

As many hardcore football fans know, the way EA handles the differences between 3-4/4-3 defenses in franchise is flawed. I'm not talking about gameplay, where there are certainly some fallacies, but more in the arena of personnel decisions by CPU teams. I will attempt to show you how I make sure front 7 player acquisition is realistic and legitimate and also lay out the direction I think EA should head in the future. (Yes, I have had similar writes ups like this in year's past, but nothing has been addressed despite the community's constant clamoring.)

Remember, this is for offline franchise player acquisition, NOT gameplay.

First off, we need to point out what's wrong.

CPU teams don't consider scheme when acquiring players. They will try to pick up the best player. If Dwight Freeney (6'1" 268lbs) hits free agency and the Steelers (who run a 3-4) has a whole at DE, they will target him to improve their team. This would never happen in real life, unless they had plans to convert him to OLB, a la Mario Williams with the Texans. They sign him, and plug him in to a position (5 technique) where he does not fit and he rides his pass rush career into obscurity. They do not go through the list of free agent DEs and find a prototypical athlete for their scheme (around 6'4" 290+lbs) OR go through the DT list and find the same type of player a move him to DE.

Also, 3-4 teams with a need at OLB pick up whatever OLB they can, regardless of whether or not they fit in the 3-4. Brian Cushing began his career with the Texans as an OLB in a 4-3 defense, but once they switched to a 3-4 he moved inside to MLB. Keith Brooking played OLB for the Falcons, but moved inside when signed by the Cowboys. On the other hand, John Abraham began his career as a 3-4 OLB with the Jets, but was moved to DE when he signed with the Falcons who run a 4-3. Madden does not see a difference. A change in defensive scheme or a player joining a team with a different defense does not result in the appropriate position changes that would take place in the NFL.

The same thing happens in the draft. Teams will take a player who does not fit their scheme just to fill a hole. 6'0" 235lb coverage linebackers will be taken by 3-4 teams and be expected to rush the passer like 6'4" 262lb Demarcus Ware. They will take a 6'5" 295lb DT and expect him to be a Nose Tackle like 6'2" 325lb Vince Wilfork, when he should be moved to DE to play the 5 technique. Aldon Smith is the most recent example of a college DE who was taken in the first round by a 3-4 team and converted to OLB. It happens in the NFL, but not in Madden.

Also, when taking your stud pass rushing DE and moving him to OLB to be the next DWare, you will experience a HUGE ratings drop. Vice versa, if a 4-3 team signs a 78 OVR 3-4 OLB and you convert him to DE, his ratings will jump up into the 90s. Thankfully, EA added the option to edit player's ratings!!! This way you can go in and adjust any huge ratings fluctuations when switching player's positions.

Now that we've highlighted what's wrong, here's how I attempt to make Madden more realistic.

First: You must control all 32 teams As mentioned in Actinguy1's thread, controlling one team and switching in the offseason results in a bug that wont let you adjust team's coaching schemes/priority sliders. In year one, you need to decide whether or not you want the Patriots to run a 4-3 or 3-4. With the current roster, the player's positions reflect what they would be in a 4-3, but their coaching scheme is default to 3-4. You need to either switch their coaching scheme to 4-3 or switch their players around to their 3-4 positions. The latter will be good practice for the future.

In the past, Madden did a horrible job reflecting the scheme teams ran in the NFL. Tampa would be defaulted to 3-4 when they're 4-3 and the Jets would be 4-3 when everyone knows Fat Rex runs a 3-4. This year, besides NE, all the teams are correct. In fact, even their priority sliders are set to the proper position (IE 3-4 teams have their slider on Run Stopping for DE... unfortunately, this plays little to no role in player acquisition).

Right now, there is nothing else you need to do unless you want to monitor each team's injuries and make sure they sign players that fit their scheme. I don't typically do this because, once the season starts, I'm focused on my own team.

Second: Check coaching changes in staffing Some people like to take control of all the coaching changes in the offseason. I just let the CPU fill all vacancies and go check their scheme afterwards. I look for the teams that hired new Head Coaches and see if they have changes defensive schemes.

You have two options: Keep the new coach's scheme and switch all the player's positions, or just change the coach's scheme to match the team's original scheme. I opt to keep the team's original scheme. This cuts down in the amount of players I have to switch position and ratings adjustments. Also, when you play against teams in franchise, they default to whatever playbook they started with. So if the Seahawks sign Mike Tomlin to be their HC and you go in and switch all their players so they fit in a 3-4, when you play against them in a game they will still take the field with their 4-3 playbook. While it's not very realistic that all 32 teams will keep the same scheme for 10-20-30 years, it's even less realistic that they would switch schemes, move and acquire players to fit that scheme, and then not use that scheme in a game.

Third: Complete the offseason however you see fit.

If you want to be meticulous and make every team's moves for them, go ahead. I don't have the time or patience. I take my one team that I care about and go from there. (For tips on how to ensure realistic moves by teams w/o babysitting them see Actinguy1's thread.) Go about your offseason and improve your team.

Fourth: Advance to the preseason and be ready to work

This is where the busy work comes in, but it's not as hard as in year's past. There are a lot of annoyances that come along with the UDFAs and expanded rosters, but when it comes to switching player's positions, it's a godsend. In order to change a player's position you had to have an overage of the required number of players at that position. Thanks to all the new players, you can do this with ease.

What you need to do is go one by one for each team and check their personnel. If the Steelers signed Dwight Freeney, move him to OLB. If the Titans signed Mario Williams, move him back to DE. If the Giants signed Kendall Langford, move him to DT. If the Redskins signed Ernie Sims, move him to ILB (Or release him). Don't forget the draft picks too! Did the Cowboys take a 6'3" 253lb DE? Move him to OLB. Did the Panthers take a 6'5" 305lb DE? Move him to DT. Did the Raiders draft a 6'10" 476lb punter who runs a 4.3? Shake your head and say "Oh, Al!"

Doing this will add realism. Doing this will make sure that, when looking over end of season stats, that 3-4 DEs aren't leading the league in sacks. 4-3 OLBs will be 3-4 MLBs. Dwight Freeney wont have to play the 5 technique!

Fifth: Repeat

Unfortunately, you will have to do this every year. It is tedious, but well worth it for me. One side effect is that you get to become semi-familiar with other team's rosters and aids in the immersion so much of us crave in franchise mode.

...UP NEXT: How EA should approach this issue in the future!
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Old 09-07-2011, 05:15 PM   #2
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Re: ImSkyKid's Guide to the 3-4/4-3 Debacle

My Remedy to fix the 3-4/4-3 Debacle

There are two things that I think are necessary AND realistic:

Unique 3-4 and 4-3 depth charts
New positions (Stay with me...)


DEPTH CHARTS

In Madden, teams go off of a hybrid 4-3/3-4 depth chart. The other starting 3-4 MLB/ILB is listed as a backup. Same with the other starting 4-3 DT. There needs to be a depth chart for the 4-3 where there are TWO spots for DT and one for the 3-4 where there are TWO spots for MLB.

Here's a rough outline of what I'm talking about:

4-3 Depth Chart
LE DT/5T* NT RE LOLB MLB ROLB

3-4 Depth Chart
DT/5T* NT DT/5T* LOLB/DE MLB1 MLB2 ROLB/DE

New position of Nose Tackle
*New position of Defensive Tackle (4-3)/5 Technique (3-4)
New position of Hybrid Outside Linebacker/Defensive End

Having these separate depth charts will make so that player's ratings adjust appropriately for whatever scheme they are in. In other words, the OLBs in the 4-3 depth chart will have different attributes that make them successful than OLB/DE in the 3-4. If you try to put a 4-3 OLB at 3-4 OLB/DE, he will take a ratings hit based off his lack of pass rush skills. This also means that DE wont drop 15 points OVR when he moves to a 3-4 to play OLB.

New Positions

What if Madden switched players for you? What if you never had to worry about players playing out of scheme? These new positions make that possible.

NT - Nose Tackle

Nose Tackles are what make the 3-4 work. You need a big fatty in the middle, around 6'2" 320+lbs. Shoot 4-3 teams need them too. That's why there is a spot for NT on both depth charts. These run stuffers are not very sexy, but are hot commodities on the gridiron. It's about time they got their own position.

This also GUARANTEES that you wont have any smaller DTs trying to plug up the middle in your 3-4 (Jay Ratliff is the exception, not the rule).

DT/5T - Defensive Tackle/5 technique

Again, these fellas make their living in both 3-4 and 4-3 defenses, but play entirely different role. In the 4-3, the DT lines up at the 3 technique between the offensive guard and offensive tackle, while the 5T lines up head up or on the outside shade of the offensive tackle. Both have around the same build, 6'2"-6'6" 285-310lbs.

This GUARANTEES that if a 4-3 team signs one of these guys, they will line up inside next to the NT, and if a 3-4 team signs him he will like up at the 5 technique.

HYBRID OLB/DE

Demarcus Ware. Lamarr Woodley. Mario Williams. These are your athletic pass rushing nightmares. In the 4-3, they put their hand in the dirt, and in the 3-4 they stand up and confuse offenses on whether they're rushing or dropping back in coverage. In order to succeed on defense, you must get pressure on the quarterback.

This new position will allow these players to move freely between schemes and play where they are supposed to play. That stud 6'4" 262lb pass rusher that you plan to take in the first round will now default into whatever position is most appropriate for whatever scheme you run. Even more important, if a team trades their entire draft to jump up ahed of you and snag him before you can, he will default into whatever position he should play on that team!

With all these new positions, these players would default into their appropriate positions based on that team's depth chart. It would make for realistic movement in free agency and even more fun/logic on draft day.
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Old 09-08-2011, 01:02 AM   #3
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Re: ImSkyKid's Guide to the 3-4/4-3 Debacle

More people should be commenting on the awesomeness of ImSkyKid.



Sorry. My tomato slipped.



Seriously though, this is really good stuff.
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Old 09-08-2011, 01:52 AM   #4
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Re: ImSkyKid's Guide to the 3-4/4-3 Debacle

Completly awesome! Can't wait to start my Chise tomorrow! Thanks you guys for making Franchise great really appreciate it!
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:55 AM   #5
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Re: ImSkyKid's Guide to the 3-4/4-3 Debacle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Actinguy1
More people should be commenting on the awesomeness of ImSkyKid.



Sorry. My tomato slipped.



Seriously though, this is really good stuff.
I know... approaching 400 views and only two additional comments. It's either too long to read or it is such a perfectly sound idea/solution that it leaves everyone speechless and has no nay-sayers. Though it's most likely the former, I'm going to pretend it's the latter.
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Old 09-08-2011, 01:47 PM   #6
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Re: ImSkyKid's Guide to the 3-4/4-3 Debacle

great points...couldn't agree more. This issue and the long laundry list of unpolished functionality is a direct result of the lack of madden not having any competition. Code development cost time and monies. Polished football game Madden is not, in fact Im not sure it is even very functional as a representation of football. I for one would love to see a development team like the one that works and continually improves ea NHL series. Truly a awesome team and awesome work they have done. they should be proud of the work they have achieved.

I'm not basing Madden, in fact I actually bought a copy this year...only because I came to terms with this being something way less then what other sports series strive for.

Your player system/ roles that you outlined are very common place in other deliveries of sports game in these present days. So how do we get these implemented...hope and pray a customer value, business decision wins in the end.

I think this is part the reason so many views, so little comments...hope and prays have been ingoing and withered.

Last edited by ruskoz; 09-08-2011 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 09-08-2011, 01:59 PM   #7
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Re: ImSkyKid's Guide to the 3-4/4-3 Debacle

Ea sports need to hire you heck even espn can use you
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:56 PM   #8
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Re: ImSkyKid's Guide to the 3-4/4-3 Debacle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricanlegend
Ea sports need to hire you heck even espn can use you
I'm sure there are more qualifications required than just being a football nerd (or are there?)

And ask Actinguy... My looks are more suited for radio.
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