Name - Player name
Ht - Height, in feet and inches
Wt - Weight, in pounds
Yrs - Number of years of NFL experience. Players with fewer years are likely to see their abilities improve more dramatically during the offseason and preseason play.
Age - Self-explanatory. Younger players will likely see their physical attributes improve, older players can expect to see slight decreases.
Salary - Annual salary per current contract, which counts against your salary cap.
YL - Years left on current contract.
Player Ability Rating DefinitionsOvr - Overall player ability rating, which takes into account the major ability areas for that particular position.
Spd - Speed.
Str - Strength.
Cth - Catching ability.
Car - Carrying ability, or ability to avoid fumbling.
Agi - Agility.
Acc - Acceleration.
Awr - Awareness.
Jmp - Jumping.
Tkl - Tackling ability.
Btk - Ability to break tackles.
Thp - Throwing power, or arm strength.
Tha - Throwing accuracy.
Inj - Ability to avoid injury.
Rbk - Run blocking skill.
Pbk - Pass blocking skill.
Kpw - Kicking power.
Kac - Kicking accuracy.
Attributes as They Apply to Various Positions
These are special points you'll want to consider when evaluating the abilities of your position players.
Throwing power and accuracy are self-explanatory.
Awr is vital. A smart QB will throw the ball into places where only the receiver can catch it, so it works hand-in-hand with throwing accuracy to a degree.
Car is vital, since you don't want your quarterback to fumble every time he gets hit.
Injury is important to this position, since you don't want a starter who will spend a lot of time on injured reserve. Make sure you have a decent backup anyway.
Str and Btk can come in very handy. QBs with high attributes can escape sacks.
Spd, Acc, and Agi are all prime attributes, for obvious reasons. So is Car, since nobody on the team will get more touches, and thus more opportunities to fumble, than the primary halfback. Inj is also important, for the same reason.
Cth is another prime attribute if you want to be able to use your HB as a receiver out of the backfield.
Good Str, Agi, Pbk, and Awr attributes will make your halfback a good blocker on pass plays. Poor Awr will mean he will fail to recognize the danger and miss the block. Poor Agi will mean he won't be able to get in front of the pass rusher.
Good Str and Btk will allow your HB to break tackles.
Same as above, only with different importance levels. It's a flexible position, so you can figure out how best to utilize the fullback based on his abilities. For example, if he's a poor blocker, you can run from single-back sets. If he's a better receiver than your HB, throw to him instead of the HB from 2-back sets.
Str, Acc, and Rbk are prime attributes for run blocking.
Spd, Agi, Acc, Jmp, and Cth are prime attributes for receiving.
Good Awr means crisp routes and good adjustments when the play breaks down. It also means the player will look for and execute blocks downfield for other receivers.
As with all ball carriers, good Str and Btk will help you break tackles, and good Car will prevent fumbles.
Same as above.
Str, Acc, and Rbk are prime attributes for run blocking.
Str, Agi, and Pbk are prime attributes for pass blocking. Agi becomes more important further from the center... a tackle with poor Agi will fail to stay in front of a quick pass rusher.
Linemen with poor Awr will commit holding and false start penalties. They may also fail to recognize and pick up blitzes.
Str, Acc, Agi, and Tkl are prime attributes for a defensive tackle. Add speed for a defensive end.
Defensive linemen with poor Awr will commit neutral zone infractions and illegal contact, like roughing the passer or facemasking. They'll also fall easy victims to misdirection, like a counter or play-action pass.
Str, Spd, Agi, Acc, Tkl, and Awr are all prime attributes for a linebacker.
Linebackers with high Awr read the play well and manage to get into the pile every play. It's also essential for pass coverage.
Good Spd, Agi, and Acc will also help in pass coverage, and in pursuit.
Str and Tkl ensure good tacking skill.
Str, Spd, Agi, Acc, Tkl, Awr, Jmp, and Cth are all prime attributes for a defensive back.
Good Awr means the DB stays with the receiver on the route, and makes sound judgements on playing the ball. Safeties will make better decisions on helping with coverage or jumping in to play a run.
Spd, Agi, and Acc enable the DB to keep up with the receiver physically.
Good Str allows the corners to jam receivers at the line and break up timing plays. It also combines with Tkl to provide good tacking skill, which is more important to safeties... however, good tackling corners are a treasure.
Jmp allows the defender to compete with the receiver to get balls in the air, and, combined with a good Cth, make the interceptions.
Kicker and Punter
Don't waste time thinking you'll need an athlete in case you need him to make a tackle on a breakaway punt or kick return. Kpw and Kac are the only attributes you'll really care about. Kpw is self-explanatory. High Kac means the cursor will move slower, allowing you to have finer control over the direction of the ball. If both of these skills aren't above 80, shop around.
You'll need to decide on the right mix of running attributes... Spd, Acc, Agi, Str, and Btk.
Under no circumstances should you consider anyone with poor Car for these positions... special teams fumbles can cost you games. Set a minimum of 65 or 70 at least.
Punt returners should have a decent Awr to make decisions on whether to let the ball drop or to field it... but the human player has some control over that, so don't worry too much about it.
Player attributes will be updated twice, at the conclusion of the regular season, and at the conclusion of the preseason. The updates consider the age and experience level of the player, as well as the playing time and statistical accomplishments of the player during either the season or preseason.
During the regular season, young players who receive a lot of playing time have the potential to make dramatic improvements for next season. This potential varies from player to player, to simulate real life experiences. There is no way to discover this potential without giving the player opportunities to improve.
Older, more experienced players will likely see small changes to their abilities from season to season. While they may see Awr continue to improve, they may start losing a bit of Spd, Str, Agi, and/or Acc in their 30's.
Preseason games are a great opportunity to evaluate young players. You can field young players at every position without worrying about the outcome, get them a lot of touches, and see who makes dramatic strides at the end of preseason. Those might be the players with great potential, so you'll want to work them into your regular season game plans as much as possible to accelerate their development. For instance, a developing WR who isn't good enough to start for you could still come in on 4-WR sets and return kickoffs and punts.