2016-07-08 11:57

Chapter 03 - Rework the initial roster
Version 1.2.0 - 02.07.2018

Here you are, with a fresh team and a bunch of no-good-players with no-good skills and an overall team rating of somewhat around 35-40% while the big shot teams do have 75%+ rating.
How will you ever get to that point?

Honestly: You will need seasons to accomplish that, lots of seasons.
There were several teams with fast developments, crashing into the scene and some were even cheating, but even those did need around 5 seasons to get to the top.
Many did need more and some did never make it all the way, or they made it and had a hard time to stay there. There are teams out there which do play since season 1 and never were an Elite team and never won a level 1 championship game.

A crucial step is right in front of you and you can lay the foundation of your team right there.

The initial roster needs your attention, some kind of.

There are some strategies you can use here.

In general you should always start with training PC and a needed non-physical skill on that position.
Since most of the time the future position is not clear, you can train POS or VIS at first, those are needed for basically all positions, some do need the former more, others the latter.
Overall the combination PC with VIS/POS will help to avoid throwing away trainings the best way.
After PC trained to 90%+ you should switch to STR and/or SPE training.
Finding the physical caps on you players is the most important issue for their future positions.
But don’t rush to switch all players trainings now, first read some of your options.

Handling the bunch of losers:
If you boil the strategies down to their essential core there are not many ways to deal with the set of players you have at the moment.

Ignore them
Here is the truth: You will sell or fire 50% to 90% of your initial team in the next 3 or 4 seasons.
Most of them suck, they have bad physicals and when you have them ready on the physical side, you already got several players out of the draft and maybe from the transfer market which are way better or at least more promising.
So it might save you a lot of time, money and head scratching by just ignoring the initial players the most or completely, cut most of them or let them find their physical caps and cut the worst of them THEN and start planning the real team setup.
I'm not saying this is the best way to do this, it's just a possibility.
If you like to go that way, I suggest only to train PC for those which are destined to build the playing core of your team. The rest which are not sold or cut should focus on the physicals. PC does come by the season rollover automatically as long as their TW is high enough (roughly >= 35, but also players with lesser TW values can get a PC boost on rollover, but could also get a decrease). You should consider a value of 35 as a basic must have skill value on TW for this strategy. You just don’t want a slow training player on your small team. But sometimes lower TW is OK, if the other skills are just too good to pass.

Work them as a whole
Another take is to accept them as what they are and try to make them the best players they can become, as long as they are on the roster. That means you do sort them all based on the tips I did write down a few lines below and you train them as starters, backups and prospect and you do try to improve your team over the coming weeks and seasons. You will lose most them anyway when you do hit the transfer market, the draft and the Youth Academy, but for a few seasons a good amount of those players might stay as starters and backups on your roster, so why not treat them as that.
This does bring as catch only the work itself you do invest into them, which might be some sort of wrong investment, if you judge it from the outside. Still, this can be a quite satisfying work.

Start with the young ones
Here is another truth: Every player with age 24+ will not become a long time starter. With no coaches, with training PC and STR and SPE first until you have a good picture on your roster, not only one season might pass, it might be even more seasons, until the last of your players has only red caps on his physicals.
THEN you will start with serious skill training and you might have now coaches, but with a wild mix on TW you might get 8 to 12 skill points a season and with 3 to 4 skills to train per position and a retirement starting with 30+, it's unlikely your older players will get past a value of 35+ in all needed skills. With the adjusted training speed this might now become not that unrealistic, but still most of the old guys will not become stars with top skills.
Yes, some of the older players might still be your best players on the roster, but not for long.
So why not scratch that and start with a good bunch of young players and have those around the next 10 to 15 seasons?
But there is a catch to that path.
You do need a YA to get youth players regularly and you need a good scout to find the good youth players.
Or you need some money to buy young players for a few thousand bucks per player.
And once you have that system rolling, you will have to deal with selling (if possible, sometime you can only cut them) some of your loved players in the future to create roster spots for the next generation and that might become a quite hard decision at that time. Managers tend to get found of their long cared players. No kidding.
Still, this does work.

Best of all worlds
And another truth: There is no fun in extreme approaches.
Think about it:
Is it fun to cut your roster to 38 players and ignoring the rest, building slowly piece by piece an under stuffed and outmatched roster only to get the reward in 5 to 6 seasons?
Is it fun to bring a prospect to a certain level, only to realize that the new draftee is not only as good as him, but also 8 years younger, you just need a roster spot and you have to cut the prospect before he ever played a single meaningful game?
Is it fun to cut your roster to 38 players and just building on young guys which do need 5 to 6 seasons to become competitive and then you have to cut every season a few of them, because you need roster space for the next generation and you punch holes in your great depth?
Not really, at least not for me.
So why not set some limits and caps on skills and parameters you want or need and improve you crappy team step by step and when the time comes to cut some players it's easy to find them, because you kept a few of your crappy players?
But there is also a catch in this approach: Some players will become good ones, even starters in terms of RZA overall, and then they won't be easy to cut, because cutting them will make your team worse!
I had a center which was not really good in physicals, STR and SPE under 40 each, but had the best skills on BLO, VIS, POS, AGI and FOO and was until retirement good enough to be a starter. He was from my initial roster and was one of those players who I never was able to replace until he left on his own. This can happen.
There are managers who don’t allow such stuff, but it’s up to you how you like to manage your team.

General, the second:
Regardless of the strategy, you may want to optimize your initial team to get the most out of your roster.

Step 1 - look for physicals:
Look at the following skills: STR, SPE, INT and TW. All other skills are not important at the moment.
In best case, you have the caps on STR and SPE or do have at least some of them high enough (40+) to know they make a difference.

Step 2 - look for combinations STR/SPE and INT:
I do value STR higher than SPE regarding sorting criteria, because it's quite likely you will get more fast players than strong players and you are free to decide otherwise.
So I suggest starting with the strong players (STR > 40) and fast players (SPE > 40). Players which would fit into both categories, I would put into the strong group at first.
Now start sorting the strong and the fast ones into sub categories.

Strong and smart
Just strong
Fast and smart
Just fast
In this context you can make the cut for being smart at INT >40, but you can also decide to lower that requirement.

Step 3 - Try to sort the players into positions:
Strong and smart: QB, OL, LB
Just strong: DL, RB, TE, K, P
Fast and smart: QB, SF, LB
Just fast: RB, TE, WR, CB

Positions with good physicals which you could use in both categories (so STR and SPE > 40) are LB, RB and if you can effort it DL, QB, TE and SF.
Some do see QB as SPE driven, not STR driven, since most passes are short anyway and SPE does help to avoid sacks. It’s up to you.
This rough sorting is not meant to be black or white it is just made that way to illustrate the concept. More of everything is always a good thing and if some players just don’t look like they would fit into several positions, s e l e c t the position based on your demands.

Of course for every position a STR = 50 and SPE = 50 skilling would be optimal, but you won't find those guys very often, if ever.

Don't bother with G and KR positions, use your best or fastest LB, CB or SF as G on the depth chart and your best of fastest RB or FB as KR.
This way you do save some roster spots and they do need the same skills anyway.

Step 4 - Use TW as a guideline:
I did mention TW as another skill and you should think about the TW-value of each player the following way:
The more TW, the faster the training.
In addition, TW does help in line play.

So the TW-value should be a factor for your sorting the following way:
High TW: OL, DL or players with lots of trainable skills
Low TW: Rest.
Which players do need more trainable skills you can find in Chapter 04 - Training your players, but in general those are Liners , FBs and TEs.
Which level of TW you s e l e c t at being high is up to you, but TW >40 is a good one as first value, you might have to adjust this to a lower value to have a complete set of liners playing.

Be aware that a TW-value below 35 is not really helpful in the long run, but don’t judge that value in a way that TW = 34- is bad and TW = 35+ is good. It’s only that way that from around 35+ the results do get fast enough to support most strategies.
For the first roster it's OK to keep players until you can substitute them with better ones, but in the long run, try to avoid players below TW < 35. Sometime you will get some in the draft and it’s up to you if you like to keep them, but in general they have two major setbacks.
They don’t get training fast enough compared to higher TW valued players and they will likely not gain much or no PC training at all during season rollover, their PC do even decrease the lower the TW value is.
I will explain this later under Chapter 04 - training your players.

Step 5 – You might use the other skills now:
At the end of you rearranging process, when you have sorted all the players into those groups of players, you might THEN look for the other skills and take an already trained RB (means high CAR skills) as RB, but only then.
If that guy is better off as OL, use him as lineman. The skills will come, slowly, but they will come and you will exchange most of them anyhow in the near future.

Minimum Roster Requirements:
What's left to know is, how many players should you sort to the positions?

You need


The P and K can be identical, but then you need that player to have higher TW.
That’s list is a minimum. It’s more than the roster minimum of 38, but realistic.
Some might argue about the 2 QBs, but a single QB gets tired at the end of the game.
Try it and then decide for yourself.

If you have still some players left, add players to the player heavy positions, like liner and backs and as last you should consider a 3rd QB, a 2nd K or 2nd Punter.

That's it. Almost.

Later Rework:
I highly recommend doing it as I described and play with that roster a few games, get a feeling for the game and all aspects, train your players and get them to the physical caps, at least for some skills.
Then, before the free switching period ends (check on one of your initial players detail page, near the position marker), do the evaluation AGAIN.
Some players might need to switch position and that is the last moment to do so for free.
After that period you can still switch a players’ position, but it will cost you team chemistry and moral.
Both do come back, but it will take some time and some games to do so.

By the way, don't bother too much with the switching tool in the players list, since it does not really switch players always the best way. It’s better to do that with your bare hands, since you get then a feeling for your team and players.
The tool does even suggest switching good build QBs to lineman because of some parameters. It happened to me on a test. I did not perform the switch ….

A better way to rearrange the players with some help is using the RZA Management Studio.
It’s a tool written by Peter himself and with your free supporter period you can use it the first few updates the best. I have to admit I never used it by myself, I did more like to create my own version on an excel sheet, but I heard a lot of good reviews from other managers, so give it a try. You can value some skills with your own weights and by that the tool will give you a hint for the best positions for your players, according to your weights.

Now you should have a quite OK sorted team, so it's time for (initial) training.

forward to Chapter 04 - Training your players
back to Chapter 02 - Build a stadium

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Tags: Jack6s RZA Guide

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