The First Basic GAME Formations, Circa 1999…Updated 2009-10, Part One

Back in 2000, I slotted, what were then, contemporary players into the various formation modules based on the players’ skill sets and what the positions’ requirements were. I thought it would be fun to revisit the first post about GAME formations by inserting recent players into the formations while detailing the needs of each position some more.

The following depth chart is for the power-speed formation module at the top of the diagram. You may notice that some of the players no longer play on the team listed next their name. Some of the players may not fit their current team as well as they did on their previous team; in these instances we have designated the team and the system that the listed player was more suited to play.


Module #1 power-speed formation depth chart:

SCDeron Williams (G, Utah Jazz), Kak√° (MF, Real Madrid). This module’s position requires a strong decision maker with size, strength, quickness and the ability to distribute the ball precisely. The decisions that the SC make are based on the alignment and/or (expected) degree of penetration by the defense. Reacting to the defensive alignment, the SC will distribute the ball to the ThB’s in the rear, pass or lateral to the outside wings where wing playmakers (W) are aligned within separate wing modules, or keep the ball to achieve forward progress. Next in line: Derrick Rose (G, Chicago Bulls).

ThB: Tim Tebow (QB, University of Florida), Dan LeFevour (QB, Central Michigan University). This position requires a player who has the rare ability to accurately make all throws or kicks, run with elusiveness and run with power. Power is important in this position since the defense is aligned in close proximity. This ThB can either block/guard larger defenders, receive the ball and accurately distribute to ThB’s behind or to playmakers on the wings, or keep the ball to achieve forward progress. Next in line: Cam Newton (QB, Auburn University).

ThB: Terrelle Pryor (QB, Ohio State University), Dan Carter (Fly-half, USA Perpignan and the Crusaders), Juice Williams (QB, University of Illinois), . This position is similar to the ThB previously described, but throwing is not as essential of a requirement. The ability to pass or kick forward at this position is important in order to keep the defense off balance, but the majority of the time these ThB’s will keep the ball or distribute the ball laterally to a teammate. As a result, these ThB’s must have power, elusiveness and speed. Next in line: Jordan Reed (QB, University of Florida).

ThB: Boris Diaw (F/C, Charlotte Bobcats), Pau Gasol (C, Los Angeles Lakers). Diaw and Gasol are considered two of the best passing/outlet passing athletic big men in basketball. The primary physical attribute necessary for this position is size. As ThB’s are positioned further behind the frontline, visualizing the action on the field becomes more challenging. That is why it is necessary to have an excellent passing big man with good decision making skills positioned in the middle of the ThB formation to do the following: read the defensive formation and movement; analyze the progress of the ThB’s in the front (against the defense); adjust the call/play or continue with the planned call/play based on the two main reads; pass to the appropriate playmakers based on the reads. Next in line: Kevin Love (C, Minnesota Timberwolves).

ThB: Pat White (QB, Miami Dolphins), Seneca Wallace (QB, Seattle Seahawks). The next two rows of ThB’s are the best combination of speed, quickness and arm strength (or kicking accuracy with distance). Agile and elusive, these ThB’s can make plays with their game-breaking speed, with their arm strength or with their feet (if they are passing or scoring with kicks at the goal). They can get the ball to playmakers positioned on the wings, launch balls to playmakers in other nodes or dart into/out of nodes by using their speed to slice through zones.

ThB: Michael Vick (QB, Philadelphia Eagles), Denard Robinson (QB, University of Michigan). Next in line: Jonathan Brown (Centre half-forward, Brisbane Lions), Matthew Pavlich (Centre half-forward, Fremantle).

ThB: Donovan McNabb (QB, Philadelphia Eagles), Jay Cutler (QB, Chicago Bears. The next two rows of ThB’s have the best arms. This row has better movement and elusiveness than the following row; speed is not an essential attribute but a plus. The ability to throw the ball into other nodes and across zones is essential. Although these ThB’s may not have speed, they should have good lateral movement in order to laterally mirror the movements of ThB’s in the front rows (in the event ThB’s in front lateral, pass or kick to them) and the ability to laterally track the ThB’s behind them (in order to lateral, pass or kick to them). Next in line: Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford University).

…ThB: Ben Roethlisberger (QB, Pittsburgh Steelers), Joe Flacco (QB, Baltimore Ravens). Also known as “Towers” or “Throwers”, these ThB’s have size, strength and superb arm strength. Their goal is to fire balls to participants in other nodes, across zones or on the wings: to transition play into other nodes and zones; to advance the offense in their own zone of play. They may not exactly mirror the movements of the ThB’s in the front rows, but they must remain in the zone of action in order to receive a lateral, pass or kick. Next in line: Ryan Mallett (QB, University of Arkansas).

Using Release Moves Against a Bump and Run Defender on the Wings

Ron Jenkins explains the various release moves that a receiver has at his disposal when encountering a bump and run defender. Although this video directly applies to football WR play, much of this can and should be applied to GAME W play in the internodal transition zones on the wings.

As the distance between a SC, ThB or QB and his target increases, timing becomes more critical as the ball is thrown to a spot rather than “at the receiver”. The ability of a W to master several of these release moves will allow him to get into his pattern faster and get to his spot faster in order to receive the ball: