Help Needed Learning NFL2K5 (XBox)

So I got NFL 2K5 based on the discussion here, and Shieldwolf’s glowing recommendation. I can see why: it has great graphics, seems pretty strong on gameplay and does a good job of conveying the sense of being at an NFL game.

But I have a problem: I suck. I mean I am really bad. I haven’t played a sports game in about 10 years, and haven’t played any of the current generation of football games. I also haven’t even followed the NFL since I moved to LA 4 years ago so I’m rusty on players, plays, everything.

I watched the little intro movies on offense and defense and did all the tutorial “basic training” scenarios. I have a general idea of how to make my dudes run and tackle and stuff, but I am really crappy.

But the real problem is this: the plays are totally greek to me. I used to know football better and some of the stuff will start coming back to me but for now play calling is total guess work. Also, I can’t tell if each team has a different playbook.

So, whats a good way to learn the game? Should I play random games with a strong team vs a weak team? How do I learn the plays? Do I need to or will picking “coach’s pick” everytime be good enough? Also, how do I view the player info (like to see if my RB is a power back or finesse back)?

All help appreciated. I am even willing to play a learning game online via XBox Live, if you promise not to hurt me :).

I can tell that if I figure it out, I will really like this game. But right now, its like a stagecoach driver being asked to drive a Ferrari: I understand the basic principals but the product has been the result of so much developmental evolution that its way outta my league.


Know your team - if it had a strong running back and a good O-line, work the ground game. If it has a good quarterback and flashy receivers, stick to the air.

Know the playbook for your team - the key to most plays is timing, IMHO. Running plays rely on the timing of your blockers and the holes they open up. Passing plays rely on the timing of your wideouts’ cuts or hooks or slants. Practice so you know when it’s best to lob the ball and when it’s best to bullet-throw the ball to receivers.

On defense, I don’t even bother trying to control the secondary or linebackers - it’s too easy to blow coverage on manual control and give up a 90-yard touchdown pass to the enemy. Pick a good, strong defensive lineman, and just try to stuff the run or smash the quarterback with him every play.

To check a player’s stats, when looking at the stat lists, either scroll the stats to the right to hit each category, or just click the right thumbstick to pull up a highlighted player’s profile/stat card. Powerbacks will have high strength and break tackle stats, while scatbacks will have higher speed and agility.

Single coverage is pretty much a death sentence as well. Try not to overdo the blitzing because it’ll almost always leave someone open or with single coverage.

Seems that a “bend but don’t break” philosophy works for defense. So many players online seem to love going for the big play.

I’m at a more basic level than that for now - I really just want to get a chance to learn what the basic plays do and how to run them. I suppose I’ll try just playing some quick games against a wimpy computer team.


I see.

Offtackle runs and tight end hooks were the easiest things to learn at first. After that, swing out (where the running back runs to the sideline) passes to the running backs.

Dan – I’m up for some screwing around in 2k5 on Live, either shoot me a PM, or we can arrange something next time we bump into each other in PS.

(I’m not a super uber-expert, but I can handle the basics at least, and I need to practice some stuff so I don’t get completely annihilated in the QT3 league)

ESPN did a wonderful job by putting the manual and a beginner’s guide in the front-end. There’s a jargon section in one of the manuals that will familiarize you with some of the abbreviations (e.g. PA = play action) in playcalling. The easiest and quickest way would be to go online with one of us and have us talk you through a game.


I too would be willing to hook up online and show you the ropes. My Live name is the same as my newsgroup name. Shoot me a friends request. I’ll likely be on later tonight and a bit Tues. or Wed., assuming Doom let’s go of me for a while.

Hey, I finally won a game! I played as the 49ers vs the Giants. My first drive was stalling out but on a 3rd and 10, I got lucky with a bullet pass into the right flat to Conway. He zipped past the two defenders near him and it was off to the races. 78 yard touchdown pass. My first big play :).

I then stopped the Giants on D, mostly by picking a lineman and ramming him into the line while my team did all the work. On defense I relied on coach’s pick, but on offense I was picking my own plays.

My second drive stalled out and we punted. The Giants drove a ways and then had to punt. I suck on the punting and returning so we had some issues with field position. On my 3rd drive, we started on our own 9, but had gotten up to our 40 when I screwed up on 3rd down and tried to force a pass into coverage - the receiver fumbled and the Giants recovered.

With position on our 40 I figured even the Giants O would score but no, we held up at the 22 and their kicker muffed the kick.

My next drive stalled out at midfield and we punted. The Giants got the ball with 3 minutes in the half and proceeded to drive us down the field with short passing. The coach kept picking zone defenses and they just shoved us around. I couldn’t keep them out of the endzone so they evened it up 7 to 7.

Then I got the ball with 1:50 and 3 timeouts. I wasted a timeout figuring out how to use one (doh!) but then we started driving. I kept passing and it was hit and miss but we ground down to their 30. Then I had several passes that gained ground but I failed to get to the sideline so I had to use my last 2 timeouts. We ended up with a 2nd and goal on the 6 with 20 seconds left and I went for it, getting down to the 2 yard line. Unfortunately I couldn’t figure out how to call a play fast enough and we ended the half :(. I’ll have to learn how to do a no-huddle I guess. Anyway, due to Noobishness, the half ended 7 to 7.

In the 2nd half it was back and forth but my D was holding them. I even figured out how to use the B button to select a player near the ball carrier and got some tackles.

We had some drives but couldn’t score. Finally, on a 3rd and short I did a toss to K. Barlow to the weak side and he hit a gap in the defense. I went through with a shoulder charge (nice animation, that) and started tapping the A button like mad. Low and behold, Barlow outruns the team and scores it - a 65 yard running play :).

We keep holding em on D and I decide to just run Barlow. It’s been so long since I followed football I hadn’t even heard of Barlow, but hey, he’s pretty good. I kept calling Strong Iso and just rumbling him for 5 or 6 yards over and over. We ate up the clock, held the Giants on a 2 minute drive and then took a knee to run out the clock.

It was beautiful!

It’s funny but the game really makes me feel like I’m both watching a nearly-real NFL game and also playing it. Pretty cool.

Now that I’ve beaten the Giants, who is a good challenge next? And how can I examine my team to see its strengths and weaknesses?


Here is my bread and Butter:
I use the NE Patriots
Quad formation- against the CPU they always read this as a pass play
this formation has a great quick slant play, the 2 inside WR’s are easy to hit, just snap count to 3 mississippi, ignore the rush, thye are not going to get you that quick, and watch they two inside routes. throw to the guy that is leading his DB, and also wath the ILB, if he is breaking that way don’t throw and go for you RB as your safety valve.
Running plays are a good mix- 2 up the middle- again watch the middle LB he is the guy who is going to be unblocked.
the edges, watch how your WR block the DB, you might have to swing wider than you think.
yes the reverses work, for once, but are risky.
I also run out of FWings but that screams RUN. If you are running to the outside, swing one of your TE’s to the side you are running, this creates a mismatch blcked to defender ratio ususally. You can throw out of this formation to mix it up, but stick to the quick strike stuff.
the BIG play- I use double cross as my deep threat play. Watch the safeties. throw to the guy they are not doubling up on. time is a factor- pull back to a 7 step drop and count in your head to 5 mississippi, at 5 the WR’s should cross and screw up the DB. tap throw for a bomb.

Defense- i run the 3-4 and dime all the time. I do use nickel against the big name QB’s like Manning. Stick to a 2 man /3 man for 1st down-ala running down- blitz 2nd and loong, 3rd and long switch to dime if he is putting alot of WR’s on the field, if not (liek a 2tight 2 rb package) go with inside zone out of the 3-4. this seems to be the i’m going to pick you off package.
I ususally do not control my supa star players and grab my nose or other lineman that is not R. seymour. Lean how to shred the line, and you will be a sack machine. I have a 2nd stringer- Green with 25 sacks on the season already , and I’m on game 8. It is all about D line special moves.
If the pass does get off, switch to the DB, but don’t smack buttons wildly, wait…wait…then hit the jump and block pass, or attempt INT button (don’t know what those are on the X-Box), or if the guy looks like he has you beat, wait…hard tackle. the key is the wait…jumping to early will lead to opposing teams TD’s

So I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can sometimes beat the CPU if the teams are even, and mostly beat the CPU if I have a better team. I started a Franchise game as the Raiders and am 2 and 0 so far - I beat the Steelers in Pittsburg 14 to 7, and then I beat the Bills at home 10 to zip. Mostly I just run the ball like a mo-fo, nothing fancy and ground up the clock. On D I completely rely on the coach’s pick, and I’ve stopped controlling my guys - I just let the CPU run my D and toggle a player on if I have to do something specific (like try for the interception). Oakland has a really strong secondary so I’ve had some good luck with the DBs. My D-Line seems stout also, stuffing the run nicely as long as I don’t move my dudes out of position. I am a tad weak vs the pass attack but not sure how to improve that. However, passing in this game is a very high risk proposition - I haven’t seen any CPU use the pass as a bread and butter offense yet, without getting burned eventually.

So now I feel somewhat less clueless - what are some tips from getting up towards intermediate skill?


Here’s a more specific question - what are some good ways to learn the passing game? I figure I should learn just a couple of plays, ideally from a formation that has passing and running options. As the Raiders, I have tons of passing options and I always end up feeling kind of overwhelmed - passing is VERY hit or miss thus far.

Any tips?


I rarely watch football, I don’t know the players, the plays (except for plays like the Hail Mary and stuff), the stats, even the positions.

I started playing with the Pats against random teams who aren’t perfect and who tend to do more running plays than passing plays (the AI seems to make way more passing plays then I can). The AI is also better at picking receivers that aren’t bogged down.

I’ve played enough games with the Pats to learn they’re plays, who makes those incredibe catches, and most of the player’s NAMES and their positions.

Granted, I’ve lost quite a few games, but I learn why at least.

Make sure you learn important controls like how to make the QB dodge (right analogue) and stuff. Tom Brady has no problem shaking someone off. Before learning this I was trying to make passing plays WAY too early. I more confident, without being cocky now.

The game does make it hard to make passing plays, btw, like every player is butterfingers sometimes.

  1. Use practice mode. You can run the same play repeatedly against the cpu defense that calls it’s own plays. You can get your timing down and see what plays out of your playbook seem to work the best or have routes you like to throw.

  2. Remember to stop your QB before you throw the ball. Accuracy is affected a lot if you don’t set up before you throw.

– Xaroc


Take someone up on their offer to play a Live game with them too. Playing with someone that knows the game that can explain it to you as you go will be really helpful.

Some tips

  • as everyone else said, know your teams strengths and weaknesses. If you have a good running back and a good OLine, run that ball to open up the pass plays.
  • Watch what formations the defense is using. They use the same types of formations you do, 3-4, Nickel, Dime, Bear, etc. So if you’re running a pass play, and they are in a dime formation where it looks like you’re to be well covered, do quick looks to the main recievers and try for your second, third or fourth choices… or call a running adible.
  • Use your best receivers as much as possible. Those that can catch the best can REALLY catch in NFL2k5. I’m disappointed in when Marvin Harrison drops the ball when I play Indie becaues it’s so rare.
  • when passing, always keep your running back in my mind. If you can’t find anywhere to pass to, dump it off to him, or if a blitz is forcing you to throw fast, hit him in the flat.
  • if the defense you’re playing against is blitzing a lot, do things to stop them from doing that. spread the field out and hit short, fast slants. Call screens for your running backs, call QB sneaks if they aren’t blitzing up the middle. This applies to both people and the computer.

I’m also on Live if you want some help, wzrd is my Live tag.

Good luck.