01 February 2006

Video Sports Update

Pat mentioning his Playstation game in the last post gave me an idea for a new post. I want to hear how your video sports seasons are going (if you have them). Here's my update from Madden 06 on the Cube (jacked up to hardest difficulty):

Dante's Falcons team is currently 6-0 going into Week 7. They have far and away the best defense in the NFL only allowing a total of 800 yards in 6 games. Too bad Vick has a tendency to throw more picks than TDs or the Falcons opponents wouldn't even be able to score the 10 points per game they are getting against this stingy defense. The team can't really attribute their defensive success to interceptions or fumble recoveries. In fact, they're slightly below the middle of the pack in both categories. They're just getting it done through straight up coverage. They blitz rarely and typically only on 1st and 2nd downs. The entire scheme is built around stopping the pass and limiting but allowing the run. So far this season, they have only given up one 20+ yard play.

On offense the Falcons rushing game is best in the NFL. Suprisingly, Vick only accounts for about 10% of that figure. The good people at EA Sports have made TJ Duckett a diamond in the rough by giving him a mid-90's Break Tackle ability. Using Duckett up the middle and Dunn to the outsides has given Atlanta more yards rushing than they have given up total this year. Add Vick (both rushing and passing) to that mix, and they're outpacing their opponents total yardage by about 150-200 yards per game.

The passing game is anemic at best. Vick's passer rating is in the mid-50's. He's only getting the ball downfield once or twice per game and spends the rest of his time making 3 to 5 yard passes to Dunn, Duckett, Justin Griffith, and Alge Crumpler. Roddy White is showing promise by getting open on occasion but even when he is open Vick stuggles to get the ball to him in time, often tossing up interceptions. Peerless Price is only good for drawing the best cover man off of the other receivers.

In some shocking news, what I'm sure is Madden Karma for getting 3 INTs for 2TD and 1 FG against a lowly Jets team leading up to a 27-10 halftime score, Vick's shoulder spontaneously combusted on a long 3rd down pass in which he was never even touched. The Falcons manged to finish that game without a change in score but it has left Atlanta scrambling for a QB to fit in their system. Vick will be out for at least 5 weeks.

Schaub is a decent passer but in practice his lack of speed is putting too much pressure on the running game. After evaluating Schaub and many possible free agent QBs (including former Falcons QB Chris Chandler), Altanta went out to the waiver wire and picked up both Kordell Stewart and Quincy Carter. Both are somewhat mobile and both can toss the ball 5 to 10 yards with some proficiency. In practice, all three QBs are taking snaps for the first team, but Quincy is likely to win the starting job in Vick's absence. He's just flat out faster than the other two and that's leading to no-gain plays instead of sacks when the opposing team's coverage holds up.

On special teams, the Falcons are stuggling with Field Goals but are doing decent on kick and punt returns. The Falcons recently re-signed kicker Morten Andersen to help out with the field goal situation but so far Peterson still has the starting job. Andersen is only brought in on 40+ yard kicks. In the coming weeks, I am sure field goals will become far more important.


At 9:46 AM, Blogger Dante said...

Week 9 Update:
Fortunately for Dante's Falcons team, Week 7 was a bye. Week 8 was against a lowly Miami team. Madden Karma worked its magic as the Falcons committed 3 turnovers. Two off of the ground causing a fumble and one from a Miami defender picking a ball up off the ground out of bounds (you could clearly see the football sprite's nose firmly planted in the ground out of bounds). I have reviews saved clearly showing the plays in question and if I can figure out how, I'm going to send them in to EA to ask them about the calls. I HATE it when a computer's AI is not smart enough so they make up for it by allowing them to cheat. I hope that one day the difference between Rookie and All-Madden difficulties is the difference between playing a Jerry Glanville or Dennis Ericson team vs. playing a Tom Landry or Don Shula team.

At least the Falcons didn't need those Challenge time outs as they strolled past Miami 19-7, giving Quincy Carter his first win as a Falcon. Two of the turnovers in question led Miami to a total of 3 yards and no score. The other (an interception that was immedeately fumbled while Hall had his elbow on the ground) led to 7 points.

For Week 9 the Packers are coming down to Atlanta. I hate to see what Madden Karma is going to do to the 8-0 Falcons against a Green Bay team Madden apparently thinks an awful lot of. The Cover 3 and Umbrella are both starting to look pretty darn good defensively. Covering my eyes is starting to look pretty darn good offensively. Duckett is certainly losing steam but Dunn is finding room at the corners as the opposing defenses are starting to jam the middle of the line. Dunn even managed to put on the first 100 yard performance by a Falcon this year (also winning player of the game honors).

There's even a quarterback controversy brewing in Atlanta as Quincy Carter finished his game with a 90 passer rating, passing for 180 yards, 2 TDs, and no INTs. He even put on 24 yards rushing but did have a fumble once out of bounds.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Laddi said...

After playing 5 seasons in francise mode with the Browns and winning 4 of the 5 seasons, I got bored of it, and moved on to Winning Eleven soccer.

Then about a month ago, for the first time in a long while, I played Madden 05 and started my first Tournament in All-Pro diff. I got crushed in a 16-team schedule using various historic teams, finishing 8-7. Oh well. I thought about starting a new franchise on All-Madden difficulty.

My question is: do you use sliders and how long are your quarters? I find that if you play 5 min quarters without touching anything else, it's almost impossible to improve your players without simulating some of the games (to make their stats more like the rest of the league). I could play 16 games, win them all, and be last in total offense with no advance of my players (esp. o-line and defense). Also, do you use your own playbook or a coach's playbook?

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Dante said...

Sliders? Don't know what you're talking about so I guess I never use them. I do use 5 minute quarters though my eternal gripe about NFL games with 5 minute quarters is that the two-minute warning should be a 40 second warning due to the shortened halves. 2 minutes is almost half of a quarter!

I've played single games with 15 minute quarters and the clock speedup on (where the clock automatically advances to 20 seconds after you select a play). That works pretty good but I already started this season before I did that. Next time that's probably what I'll do.

How'd you finish 8-7?

As far as improving players, my entire linebacker corps and my d-line all have at least a +1 modifier after 9 weeks and most of them have +3 or +4. Quincy got a +1 after 3 games with a 2-1 record, but I'm always last in passing offense so I don't know much about improving that. I really don't pay attention to improvements so much. As long as my defense if firing on all its cylinders, I can usually make up for any offensive shortcomings.

I ususally just take advantage of the short quarters to initiate quarter long drives and eat the clock. My longest drive I've had this season was a 7 minute 90 yard drive against the Vikings that took us down just past the two minute warning for the first half. I just couldn't get more than 3 or 4 yards per play. For some reason, the Vikins would either leave Griffith or Dunn wide open on pass plays and cover the tar out of Crumpler and White.

The hardest adjustment to all-Madden is that it forces you to turn on Max Passing (or whatever they call it) and turn off some of the help you get making passes. You really have to set your feet and make good throws to open players to pass effectively.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Laddi said...

Since it was tournament-style round-robin, you played a season of 15 games (each team once). I had no problems running, but I couldn't get a passing game going (similar to what you mentioned in All-Madden). And my pass defense absolutely sucks. I really am terrible at giving up the long ball. It seems the computer's defense is really good at getting inside position on either side of the ball, so either my defender can't make a play or my receiver is shielded and they bat the ball away. In other words, the computer cheats =) Most games I lost were on last minute long ball TDs. Only a couple were blow-outs.

I used my own playbook (which works okay, but there are limitations I don't like with the playbook creation) and ran a 3-4 defense.

Sliders: you can make adjustments on how often certain penalties are called, how easy or difficult it is to make a catch or break a tackle, and lots of other minutia.

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Dante said...

I leave penalties and other stuff where they are by default. 06 is pretty good about only calling penalties you can actually see in replays. I think the 06 All-Madden forces those sliders to their most unfavorable position but I could be wrong.

To avoid giving up tons of yardage on long pass plays, try the Quarter 3-Deep formation. Then pick the Cover 2 man with double coverage and only 3 linemen coming in on the play. There are 3 options, depending on if you want to double cover X, Y or Z. Note that you're giving up 5-7 yards if they run so I wouldn't do this on 3rd and short. Have an audible handy that'll bring a few people in the box if it looks like they're going to run.

On pass defense in All-Madden, you really have to take control of the pass defender, jump in front, and swat (or intercept) it yourself.

On offense, if they have the inside use a tap on the pass button while holding up on the regular stick to lob it over the defenders head. I've broken off a couple of 20+ yard passes that way in all-Madden difficulty. It's about the only long pass I can ever pull off.

Until they give me a Tom Landry playbook, I've just been using Mora Jr's book. It gives me all the defensive schemes I like and has a nice selection of plays from various I formations. I'd like a little better Shotgun selection though but so far I haven't been impressed with anyone's shotgun plays. They all seem to be built around 5-step drops. I might have to design a few of my own shotgun pass plays (especially for exploiting zone defenses).

And would it kill them to not make the historic Cowboys coach look like that? It's not like there are too many historic Dallas coaches. I'd even be happy with someone who looks like Johnson. This guy looks more like a Hispanic Dave Campo.


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