Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Soluna

Gameplan Monday #5

6 posts in this topic

What is your opinion on special teams? Do you just try to get the best at each position or do you actually adjust based on performance?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I adjust based on performance. I think its been undervalued some but outside of a kicker its hard to put resources into special teams sometimes. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kickers are the clear example that should be adjusted based on performance. As the most prominent and influential (in terms of what we see), it feels really important to keep on top of them and challenge them each year in the Preseason. For example, we at Houston decided to test out an UDFA out of the FCS--someone we had zero knowledge on--to try out in the preseason. Our original kicker doinked a PAT the first week, so we trotted the kid out for the last 3. In the end we kept the rookie and the vet has been one of the worst kickers in the entire league this year. So keeping on top of them is very important if you don't have a stud.

 

Punters and returners are harder to quantify. I think you just get the best punter you can OVR wise and hope for the best. Over 16 games you might see he's drastically under-performing and replace him, but it's a lot harder to judge.

 

Returners are even harder to judge negatively, but you can see the great ones. Denver has a truly electrifying return man. 13 teams have recorded a return TD, but that shows 19 have zero idea if their returner is any good. We only get the great results (TDs), but we don't see the bad results (lost yards, fumbles). We could probably see the fumbles if they're listed (just a small note after the fumble recovery event saying "Muffed Punt" or the like), but a guy who always takes it out 8 yards deep and gets stuffed at the 13 won't show on the stat line. Thus it's really up to each coach to decide when and where to experiment. I personally like guys with a great top speed for KR and great side-to-side agility for PR, but that's my own philosophy and it doesn't necessarily show well on the reports.

 

What WILL help the return game is the position changes. Vaughn Gash, another Texan, changed to PR and saw a huge spike in his OVR. Clearly he's pretty good at it. But he had two returns last year and I only started him on a whim, so it's basically a crap shoot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tend to see Special Teams as an important third leg of the stool. Obviously, an accurate kicker is vital and it helps to have field position in your favor with a solid punter. But return men and how you build your special teams units are, I think, criminally undervalued. 

In CFBHC, I think it's tremendous experience building to put young, high-potential guys on the various teams...usually linebackers and tight ends = big dudes who can run. See my note about this in the game dev/training course. But in the NFLHC, having high-quality depth still get meaningful reps at special teams is a good way to keep starters for getting hurt/tired, and still keeping your young, hungry guys chomping at the bit.

 

Returners are truly exciting to try to find. Quality shows through, so drafting Artemio Ramirez and plugging him in immediately as KR/PR and WR4 was a no-brainer. But at Minnesota, I thought that Jamir Blackburn would have some of the same KR skills that Sean Jenkins may have showed in college and at the Saints, but was completely wrong. What I did get right was Shane Brinkley, CB, as a PR threat. He took 3 punts back for TDs in his four years. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Math-wise, Special Teams is technically a third of the game (offense, defense, special teams). So it is pretty important, I would say.

 

I had a solid Kicker at Illinois early on and then got Aaron George, and Cliff has been a beast in LA; it seems like my Punters are inverse of Kickers though because my only true great Punters (Sochia in Jax and the pipeline at BC now) have come when I haven't enjoyed a solid Kicker. I don't think you can neglect either position, but at minimum you have to have a good one for at least one spot.

 

It is extremely difficult to judge returners in this sim; extrapolating from punting average and TDs doesn't really cut it. I would pretty much only choose a Speed WR, Speed RB, or a CB, to play the role outside of a dedicated RS. The sole reason I drafted Norm Spencer in the 6th Round this year was solely because of his production returning at Maryland. I have half a mind to just convert him to an RS, but haven't really gotten around to it yet. I would (and have) selected a starter to do the role in CFBHC, but I'd never choose one in NFLHC.

 

Long Snapper is another difficult position. Given the positional oddities of conversions in this sim, I usually just choose to use a backup Center at both CFB and NFL and call it a day. I suspect that in the future I would have a dedicated LS for both NFLHC and CFBHC.

 

The same goes for the coverage and return units; it's really hard to judge them. I do, however, have rules for who plays on these rosters. In both sims: backup RBs (2nd or lower), all FBs (including starters), backup WRs (4th or lower), backup TEs (2nd or lower), some DEs (depends on player/need), all LBs (including starters), backup CBs (3rd or lower), backup SS and FS (2nd or lower). In CFBHC I will add starters at a wider variety of positions. Partially because while last year I decided to trot out a dedicated unit in CFBHC, I've decided to split the duties this year. I think this will get more young players a chance to get development/progression ratings, in addition to having top-level quality in the mix too for a chance to have a few seasoned playmakers on a unit - like Andrew Boyd is getting some Special Teams reps for me this year at BC even though he's a 5.0/5.0 Senior. In NFLHC I use a dedicated unit for both purposes, and generally it is too risky to use starters at most positions due to injuries; this is really where your backups have a chance to shine.

 

I think of the hands unit in the same boat as the coverage and return teams, but with the caveat that in both sims I will play starters; it's more about specific positions there. RB, WR, TE, CB, SS, FS... and maybe a DE or LB depending on the player.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always tried to have top kickers and punters in CFBHC. When I got to the Colts we've had garbage kickers until this season, where we grabbed the top rookie and he's working out pretty well (given that he's a rookie) I think Kickers and Punters are undervalued to a certain extent because teams don't want to commit points to them, even though a top punter could make a bad team more mediocre. 

 

I'm not sure about the value of LS and KR/PR yet. I got a 1/5 LS last cycle and I'm putting a redshirt on him. I'm not sure how to quantify his contributions once he starts playing. I think we'll start to see the value of the KR/PR this season with some of the JuCo high skill ones playing. I think their contributions might be easier to see than LS and we'll see if people Test them out at WR. 

 

I agree with Bingo on the special teams hands teams and coverage teams. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

About us

CFBHC.com was founded on December 6th, 2013.

CFBHC Standings

2019 CFBHC Standings

 

NFLHC Standings

2019 NFLHC Standings

Social Network