Gameplan - Playbook
Just as in real-life, in Gameplan you call all of your plays during a game from a "playbook".
In Gameplan this is split up into five sections, Offensive formations, Running Plays, Passing Plays, Defensive Plays and Special Teams, plus a "Hints and Tips section".
Click on the links below for more details of the various sections of the playbook.
3.1 INTRODUCTION - The table below shows the play call codes and names, the designated receiver, pattern and the typical distance for each passing play available.
3.2 - There are essentially only three basic types of passing patterns. On an "in" pattern the receiver stops and turns on his inside shoulder, facing towards the quarterback to wait for the ball. On an "out" pattern the receiver stops and turns toward the sideline. On "streak" patterns the receiver doesn't stop and turn, but runs downfield and catches the ball whilst running.
Inside patterns tend to produce the highest number of completions, but the receiver is catching the ball in front of the strength of the defence, so his chances of running after the catch are poor and of getting hit after the catch are high. If the pass is misthrown then there is a good chance of an interception.
Out patterns tend to be the safest patterns, as the receiver is usually between the defender and the ball. Completions are more difficult, particularly if the defence is expecting the pass, but against one-on-one coverage then there is a good chance of getting out of bounds or adding yardage after the catch.
Streaks are the most difficult patterns to complete, but are likely to produce significantly more yardage, especially after the catch. If the defence is expecting the run then streaks are fairly safe, but if there are safeties lurking in the deep and looking for the ball, then the chance of an interception is high.
3.3 PASS RECEIVERS - There are three groups of pass receivers on a football team. Wide receivers are the specialists, whose primary responsibility is the passing game. Tight ends are receiver/linemen hybrids, expected to be able to catch like receivers and block like offensive linemen. The third group is the running backs, whose primary responsibility is running the ball, but who are also expected to participate in the passing game.
Avoid calling passing plays in formations where the player concerned is not present. If you call a pass to a wide receiver or tight end when there are none on the field then the QB has no chance of completing the pass. He may still manage to dump the ball off to someone else, but most likely he’ll get buried by the defence while wondering where his receiver is.
3.4 WIDE RECEIVERS - Wide receivers are the fastest players on the offence and are the main deep threat, although they will also catch short passes. They tend to line up near the sidelines, away from the congestion of the line of scrimmage. There are three groups of wide receiver patterns, quick patterns (timing patterns thrown off a three-step quarterback drop) within five yards of the line of scrimmage, short patterns (five to ten yards deep, thrown off a five-step drop) and deep patterns (ten to thirty yards deep, thrown off a seven-step drop).
3.5 QUICK PATTERNS - Quick In (QI) is a quick timing pattern, in which the receiver takes a few steps to the inside, catches a quick pass from the quarterback, and tries to make his yardage after the catch. It is a pattern in which the receiver takes advantage of the "cushion" offered by his defender.
Quick Out (QO) is a similar timing pattern to the Quick In, with the receiver turning outside and trying to run after the catch.
For the Sideline Pass (QL) the ball is thrown over the shoulder of the receiver on a timing pattern. If the receiver is in man coverage, then the chance of completion is good, but against zone coverage the defender will be facing the quarterback and watching the ball, so the chance of completing the pass is poor and the chance of an interception high.
3.6 SHORT PATTERNS - Short In (SI) is a short pattern to a receiver running a cross or hitch pattern five to ten yards deep across the middle of the field. The chances of completion are good, even against pass defences, but there is little prospect of the receiver making yardage after the catch and the receiver has a good chance of taking a big hit for his troubles.
Short Out (SO) is also five to ten yards deep, but the receiver turns towards the sideline. Yardage is likely to be good against run defences or blitzes when the receiver will be in single coverage, but against pass defences the completion chance will be poor.
The Slant (SL) pattern is also a short pattern, with the receiver slanting across the field and taking the reception on the run. If the centre of the field is vacant then there is a good prospect of a long run after the catch. If there are defensive backs lurking in the middle of the field then the chances of the pass being broken up, intercepted, or the receiver being nailed after the catch are high.
The Seam Pass (SM) is similar to a short in pattern, but looks to expose zone defences. The wide receiver “sits” in the seams of a zone defence and completion percentage against zones ought to be good. Poor against bump and run and linebacker drops, where the receiver is likely to be flattened.
3.7 DEEP PATTERNS - The deep patterns are the speciality of the wide receivers, ten to thirty yards downfield away from the linebackers and congestion of the line of scrimmage.
Down & In (DI) is a hook or comeback pattern run ten to twenty yards deep, with the receiver turning back towards the quarterback. The yardage is the least of any deep pattern, but the chance of completion is higher, particularly against pass defences.
Down & Out (DO) is slightly deeper and likely to gain more yardage against run defences or blitzes. Against pass defences the chance of completion is very poor.
Down & Long (DL) is the long bomb. The receiver streaks down field and looks to catch the ball on the run. The chance of completion is poor, especially if the defence is playing for the pass, but if the pass is caught, yardage is likely to be very high.
The Stop & Go (DS) is also a deep pattern, where the receiver breaks in or out before turning upfield again, hoping that the defender has bought the first move. If completed, the yardage is likely to be good, but if the play is used too frequently the defender will take it away. The most likely result of a Stop & Go is that your quarterback gets knocked over while he's waiting for the receiver to get open.
3.8 OPTION PASSES - For the Option Pass (OP) the quarterback rolls out to the strongside with the option to keep the ball or pass to a receiver downfield, according to how he reads the defence. Against man-to-man pass defence the quarterback is likely to keep the ball and his mobility and pass protection are likely to be critical to his success in getting yardage. Against a run defence or blitz the pass is likely and the chance of completion is good. If the defence doesn't commit or drops back into zone coverage then the quarterback is likely to struggle, with no receivers open and no rushing lanes available.
3.9 TIGHT ENDS - The tight end lines up on the line of scrimmage and has to cope with pass catching in traffic. He tends to bear the brunt of short passing in the middle of the field, where the receiver is likely to take a savage hit after catching the ball.
The Look In (LI) pattern is the basic pattern for a tight end, short over the middle "underneath" the pass coverage. The chance of completion is good and this is the safest pattern over the middle. The yardage after the catch is likely to be relatively poor.
Look Out (LO) is a pattern to the tight end turning towards the sideline. Five to ten yards deep, the chance of completion is high, but again the chance of yardage after the catch is relatively small.
Look Long (LL) is a streak pattern to the tight end running downfield. This pattern is the most likely for a tight end to make significant yardage as he catches the ball whilst moving, but is more risky if the defence is expecting the pass.
3.10 RUNNING BACKS - Running backs tend to have similar pass catching responsibilities to the tight end, although their position at the snap, behind the line of scrimmage, means that it takes more time for them to get open for a reception. Running backs often set up close to the line of scrimmage (on the wing of the formation, hence the name "wing back") to make them more effective as pass receivers. Running backs are also used as blockers in the backfield, so teams should be aware that sending running backs into pass patterns reduces the number of potential pass blockers.
The Flare In (FI) is similar to the Look In, with the running back going short over the middle, hooking back towards the quarterback. The chance of completion is good, particularly if the defence is playing for the pass and not keying on the running backs.
Flare Out (FO) is a short pattern to a running back outside into the flat. Not unlike a running play, the pass is most effective if the defence has dropped off into pass coverage. If the defence is playing for the run, then the likelihood is that the running back will be covered and unlikely to make much yardage.
Flare Long (FL) is a swing pass, to a running back slanting inside around five yards deep, streaking down the field. If completed yardage is likely to be good, but if the linebackers have dropped off deep, then the play is likely to be broken up.
3.11 SCREEN PASSES - The Screen (SC) is thrown from a fake pass, with the quarterback and linemen setting up as if for a deep pass, but allowing the pass rushers to penetrate before the ball is dumped off to a running back who has slipped into the flat. The blockers regroup and roll out to block for the running back. Very poor against run defences, when the defence doesn't penetrate, the play is most effective against a blitz when the defence may be caught on the wrong side of the ball, or against zones where the blockers may overpower isolated defenders.
The Option Screen (OS) is a more complicated option play where the QB has the choice of throwing deep to a receiver downfield (the OS play) or dumping off to a back in the flat with a screen of blockers (the DC play). No other dumpoffs are available, as there’s no time to look for secondary receivers.
The Dumpoff Screen (DC) may be used as a play in its own right, when it’s an ordinary screen pass with a downfield fake. There are fewer blockers than for a regular screen pass and success will depend more on the threat of the wide receivers than the ability of your running backs.
3.12 PLAY ACTION - Play action passes are actually variations on regular patterns, with the offensive line and backfield faking as if on a running play and the quarterback faking a handoff before throwing to a wide receiver. These patterns are most effective if the defence is expecting a rushing play, when the secondary are likely to buy the run fake and there will be no pass rush. Against a zone defence the secondary are unlikely to buy the fake, and against a blitz the run fake is superfluous.
Play Action Long (PL) is the longest play action pattern, thrown to a receiver streaking downfield. The chances of completion are poor, but if the pass is caught yardage will be very high.
Play Action In (PI) is a play action pattern to a receiver running a short crossing pattern. Not particularly explosive against run defences, the play is most useful when the defence is expecting the run but a completion is more important than yardage.
Play Action Out (PO) is a quick play action pass, faking a handoff to a running back on a quick hitting play up the middle, setting up a quick out pass to a wide receiver.
Play Action Slant (PS) is a short play action pattern, to a receiver running an inside slant pattern.
Play Action Option (PA) is the option pass run off a play action fake. Against a run defence results will be good, against a pass defence or blitz the play is likely to be disrupted.
3.13 DUMPOFF PATTERNS - Dumpoff patterns are those to secondary receivers, thrown when the primary receiver is covered and the quarterback has time to find an alternative. You should not call dumpoff patterns as primary passes. Calling a dumpoff pass is like telling your quarterback to drop back, look for a receiver downfield and then even if he's open ignore him and look for someone else.
Dumpoff Deep (DP) is a dumpoff to a wide receiver, fifteen to twenty yards deep over the middle.
Dumpoff Short (SP) is a dumpoff to a wide receiver short near to sideline.
Dumpoff Tight End (LP) is the most common dumpoff pattern, to a tight end "sitting" underneath the coverage in the middle of the field.
Dumpoff Back (FP) is a dumpoff pattern to a running back in the flat.