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Old 08-27-2021, 05:24 PM   #551
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: We're back on track!
Or are we not?

Pre-season has concluded and we've finished it with 2 wins and 2 losses. We don't have the box scores and all from our 10-3 victory over the Frederick Red Menace, but we do know that we played atrocious football at the Texas Sharks in a 30-13 loss that probably should have been a 50-13 loss.

The good news? We're playing again and the kids got another chance to play together and work on their cohesion. And we can safely claim that our defense is hopeless on the road when we're without Richie Piotte, Ernie Grant, Devon Farrell and Harold Gough. Especially against a state of the art quarterback as Texas' Keith Vitale.

But more on all of this later, when we have actually received our game day report back from the USA.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 09-04-2021, 05:33 PM   #552
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: And then it all got quiet...
... until the action finally resumed.

And as the league resumed action, the Maassluis Merchantmen players apparently failed to notice. Despite all the god's given talent going around our offense, the Merchantmen have been not just underperforming, we're a downright disappointment. The post pre-season championship favorites that we were, we've played like the worst team in the league and both the DogBytes and Solecismic metrics tell us we're one of the two worst, if not the worst team in the league after 5 weeks of action.

For now, I'm going to spare the details and what not, in part because I've got a humongous writers' block of sort, but also because any attempt to start writing will end up in an endless rant, which is the kind of vibe and emotion I seriously can't use right now, both on and off the field.

We suck, but we've got the talent to flip it around and prove we're good. We have the best wide receiver in football, the best WR2 and the second best running back. We've kept together an elite defense, we've got a solid, cohesive offensive line. There's only one spot that we can blame it all on: Earnest Ashley. And with that, it's the game plan. Our staff got another shot at it and we've not quite improved. Our first win of the season was boosted by a +5 turnover margin, which made it a non-game by halftime. Too little too late, I'm afraid, as we're making water fast.

European Division:
1. Paris 5-1
2. Gothenburg 4-2
3. Maassluis 1-4
4. Bordeaux 0-5

I don't know what kind of juice they're drinking over in Paris and Gothenburg, but whatever it is, they're both still winning most of the time. The Vineyards arguably have the talent to be second behind us (hah!), but clearly our stuff is befuddled with something terrible and we're combining for 1 win in 10 attempt.

So, yeah, 6 weeks into the 17-week season and we've got 1 lousy win, that leaned heavily on a good bit of luck. Our schedule will only get harder form here on, ignoring that we had to play the first three all on the road, as we've played the second easiest schedule (based on the 2100 records of teams).

I'm about to start proclaiming that I've broken the game of football and made the best bunch of Merchantmen skill players ever turn into our worst group ever. A sensational performance, which I never ever expected to achieve. I've learned the hard way that I'm one of the worst game planners in the business. Is there still hope? Sure. Maybe I should start doing what others do: pick up a simulation engine and fool around with what does and doesn't work with a crapload of fantastic football players. You'd think you can't mess up with players like these, right?

Right?

Right.

So let's right the ship and our backs while we're at it. It's time to end what has felt like the worst stretch of season in Merchantmen history and figure out how to play football again. Surely we can do this. It may take a little bit more effort than I've had the energy for, but maybe that's what we'll need now. Apparently getting the players on team was the easy part, making them play up to their talent is next.

The Ghost of Merchantmen Past showed us what we were capable of back in the '20s, and many more times after that. The Solecismic Hall of Fame is packed with orange-white-and-blue players that were more limited than what's walking around in Oranje Haven this season. The Ghost of Merchantmen Yet to Come is showing us now what we've become: a winless bunch of overpaid players. We're better than that. Yes, we're better than that!

Less writing, more datamining. So, yes, indeed: I suggest more testing...
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

Last edited by MIJB#19 : 09-04-2021 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 09-11-2021, 07:53 AM   #553
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: underperforming is an understatement
The 2100 Merchantmen are the most depressing team we ever had. Period.

European division:
1. Gothenburg 7-4
2. Paris 6-5
3. Bordeaux 3-8
4. Maassluis 3-8

Ouch.

I mean, seriously. Ouch.

I think it's unprecedented for any team in the 97-season history of the International House of Football to have such a talented offensive collective and hit the 8-loss mark by week 11. We've stumbled into a victory in week 12, improving to 3-8, but this season looks quite clearly as a lost cause already.

Okay, it's easy to grumble and complain, especially if you have some sort of clue what you're doing wrong. But that's kind of the problem here, we're trying to be unpredictable, which apparently in this world of football means you're actually being predictable by doing the unpredictable. I've tried hard to get us back to a very balanced offensive game plan, but doing so continuously ends up in defenses finding ways to actually understand what we're doing by keeping track of what we're not doing. Or something along those lines. It's weird, but it feels like that's where we are right now.

The defense has also fallen apart. We're giving up more than a full touchdown more per game compared to last season, while allowing over 55 yards more per game, while the league average yardage allowed went up only 13 yards per game. On that end, I'm feeling that the departure of Jerome Shumate as our rock solid defensive tackle has been crucial. That combined with some of our grizzled veterans losing some of their speed and power, their experience isn't enough to overcome that.

Still, we should have the offensive skill players to outscore any team we face. But no. We're 25th in the league with 335 total yards per game on offense. Our running game of 93 yards per game, with 3.97 per carry (over half a year below league average) is mindboggling. The passing game has actually improved a tiny bit this season. Earnest Ashley continues to complete under 55% of his passes, but our yards per pass attempt has improved from 6.1 to 6.7, which means going from below average to above average. Anyway, our second year players are at least showing their names in the gross yardage lists, with Calvin Maxwell sitting 4th in receiving yards and Ken Torphy 5th in rushing yards. And we've actually had the most 100-yard receivers in the league this season, with 10 of such performance and 4 different guys achieving it. Torphy had a rare 100+ in both rushing and receiving, while Maxwell has made 5 centuries and behind him Vinny Buysse and good old Ed Schulz had a pair each.

And yet, glancing at the league standings, I have very little reason to feel even remotely optimistic as a 3-8 record means we're 4 wins behind the teams currently occupying 6th and 7th place in the conference, where only 6 teams go into the playoffs. Our chances at a division title collapsed in a severe choke job against the talentwise inferior Gothenburg Giants. But really, most of our opponents are inferior in talent, it's the wrong argument to use here to proclaim we should be winning. Fact remains, neither my staff members or me are capable of coming up with an offensive game plan that isn't dreadful. Yeah, I'm saying that despite my previous observations. I demand top5 performance from an offense that's on paper that: a top5 offense.

So, we're certainly not going to play out the season as if we don't care, we still have 5 more games to prove that we're as good as we should be. It won't come easy, that appears to be clear, but I've got to trust in the talent of my players, because my staff won't make it happen, nor will I. All I can do is try to fix the mess I made, the ruble my staff is clearly incapable of cleaning up.

A famous phrase in this line of work comes up once again: "I suggest more testing"... Maybe I'll get around to it in the next bunch of days, to get my mind off non-football related things. I mean, seriously, this is no 3-8 team, this bunch of players has 8-3 in them. Ending up at 8-8 would be quite the challenge, but I'm going to accept it, get some of my pride back, we're the Merchantmen, we're still 3rd in most regular season wins in league history by a good margin. Reaching win 900 by next season is still possible. Get that done, team. Go Merchantmen!
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

Last edited by MIJB#19 : 09-11-2021 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 09-14-2021, 02:56 PM   #554
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Too little, too late
A winning streak, but our odds are so tiny...

European Division:
1. Gothenburg 9-4
2. Paris 6-7
3. Maassluis 5-8
4. Bordeaux 4-9

Okay, okay. So, we won the last three games, does that mean we're salvaging the season? The last three games were all at home and were a mixed bag of games. We rolled up the Capital City Blues (23-12) as we should have, semi-upset the North Plainfield Plague (16-12) in a defensive contest and today we beat the Miami Sharks (26-24) in what may sound like a game where we were outmatched, but in reality we just almost choked in what had been a game where we basically had a shorter field all the time. Anyway, we're technically still alive, but still by a thread. "<0.1%" says the Solecismic playoffs probabilities.

"So you're saying there's a chance?" Well, let's not pressure it. I once suffocated (figure of speech here, not physically!) somebody by forcing the negative version of it, at a time she really wasn't ready for giving me a chance, even a slight one, which I still think there was had I played it differently. So yeah, I'm good at forcing my hand the wrong way. But hey, at minimum she kind of inspired me to pick up writing about the team again, by now almost closing in on 22 seasons of writing about the Merchantmen again. Ironically one of our current players' names unintentionally reminds me of her. Maybe I should cut him just for that, but you know how I am about my fifth round pick gems. But we're getting sidetracked big time here...

Football technically, we're going to need a lot of "ifs" and I'm afraid to jinx it by tracking it all down. So, instead, we'll focus just on the next game, on the road at the Gothenburg Giants. They've guaranteed to finish ahead of us, but that doesn't mean we won't stop trying to win one more. We certainly have the talent for it and have already shown that we can piss away, rephrase, fumble a game into the Giants' hands after a 3-score lead.

We know they can play above themselves and we'll have to play up to our own level to have a shot there. I hope I have something up my sleeve, but we'll see how well that goes.

Heck, I'm still letting Earnest Ashley lead this offense, despite that he's yet to seriously wow the football world. Even despite that he's completing only 45% of his passes to the best wide receiver duo in the league, the best the Merchantmen fans ever saw play together. But we're really not going to hand it over to undrafted rookie kick holder Malachi Manning.

A lost season? Most likely, but you know me, you know us. We'll keep up the fight until there's really no point of return anymore and even after all is over, we'll keep our heads up high as we go down fighting.

Know this, even if 2100 turns out to end after week 17, I've started preparations for 2101, we will do more testing before that season kicks off. I'll make that promise to the fans, but especially to myself. If we want to win in the IHOF, there's no half-hearted attempting, you'll have to find and bring your A game. But not just in my strong spots (the roster building), but also in stuff like game planning. So yes, there will be more testing.

But it'll be for 2101, as for 2100 it really has been too little, too late. Only a miracle can save us there...
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

Last edited by MIJB#19 : 09-14-2021 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 09-18-2021, 04:52 AM   #555
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Mea culpa
I broke the team.

The 2100 campaign is over for the Maassluis Merchantmen. In what was supposed to be a breakout season for potentially the best offense in Merchantmen history, leaning on the #1 defense from last season, has turned into the seventh worst season in franchise history. It wasn't on injuries or some such, there's one stand out problem: the game plan.

Yes, it's a repeating story, especially if you're reading along elsewhere on the web about the Merchantmen and what I think of it. For whatever reasons, I tried to come up with a balanced, hard to read offensive game plan, but the end result has been a a disappointment. Sure, Ken Torphy finished the season 3rd in rushing yards and Calvin Maxwell 3rd in receiving yards. But 330 total yards is far below league average, where you'd expend and demand being much closer to 400 per game than to that 351 league average.

The defense was night and day compared to last season, which has been mindboggling as well. We let Jerome Shumate become a free agent, resulting in him taking a better offer from the Paris Musketeers. But I'd expect much better than third worst with 389 yards per game allowed and 401 points against. We were #1 in points allowed last season and to be blunt, we played a cupcake schedule this season, the kind even the Asstoria Heroes founder could take advantage of and get his team into the playoffs.

But we couldn't. There's no discussion about what my staff can or can't do, game planning isn't their thing. But neither is it mine. What about "more testing"? Maybe...

European Division:
1. Gothenburg 11-5
2. Paris 7-9
3. Maassluis 6-10
4. Bordeaux 5-11

So, we actually finished right between the two French teams, with whom we only split the series each, while there's the disappointment of the head to head with Gothenburg, which is the one we really should have split. And on top of that, we managed to be 50% of the victories for the two worst teams in the league, the two teams that will be consolidated with the #1 and #2 overall picks in the 2101 draft. Overall, we had a 3-6 record against losing teams and a 3-4 record against those with an 8-8 or better record, including solid wins against two division champions.

So, is the continuing improvement of Maxwell and Torphy the good news, or were they actually not quite producing the goods either and could they have done even better? Torphy ran for 1,312 yards with a 4.27 average and 11 touchdowns. He was also our co-leader in receiving touchdowns, which fits with his workhorse all down and double-threat skills. And Maxwell gained 1,406 yards on 97 catches, with a 7.03 yards per target average. There's clearly a problem with our quarterback connecting with the wide receivers as Maxwell and Vinny Buysse combined for 172 catches on 361 targets. That's worse than 50% caught. That just can't be on the receivers, it must have been on Earnest Ashley. Are we not making the right play calls for these guys? They're no doubt the most talented skill position group in the league. By a pretty wide margin even.

To rub it in how terrible we've been lately. This is a list of which season was the last time each team made the playoffs:
seasonteam(s)
2077Snapfinger
2090San Antonio
2092Maassluis
2093Moontown
2094Bordeaux
2095North Plainfield
2096Frederick, Kansas
2097Orlando, Capital City, Chicago
2098Harlem, Hanalei, Colorado
2099Toronto, Houston, Paris, Outer Banks, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
2100
Rochester, Tucker, Atlanta, Gothenburg, Augusta, Fort Wayne,
Texas, Chesapeake, Oakland, Arizona, Fairbanks, Iowa


Now, I have to accept that 2100 was a lesson of how not to play football.

Let's flip the page, move on into a new chapter.

We'll go into the 2101 off-season with a challenging, yet manageable, $108M over the cap situation. Awesome! During the draft, we'll be missing the #5 overall draft pick, but remember that we got Ken Torphy in return for it. It would have felt better had it been a pick in the late 20s, preferably even in the 30s, but it is what it is. The pick ended up in the hands of the Colorado Cutthroats, which isn't where we traded that pick to, but apparently the Arizona Miners shipped it to them. We do have our 2nd through 7th round picks still in possession, so that's one way to try to fill the gaps that will possibly come up as 12 players will be out of contract:
QB Malachi Manning
FB Owen Johnston
TE Clarence Gore
TE Wesley Martin
WR Bobby Sutton
LT Malachi Overby
P Manuel Szymanski
DT Harold Gough
LB Bart Hansen
LB Brandon Brady
LB Trey Ford
S Chuck Murray

Of that dozen, Manning, Martin, Sutton, Overby, Szymanski and Ford are restricted free agents. Of the restricted players, Ford and Szymanski saw significant playing time and could be asking for bigger contracts than we can afford in a cap strapped season. We'll see how that goes.

Johnston is no longer our starting fullback, but has been our backfield special teamer, which means keeping him as desirable. Gore is over the hill, I tried to shift him into the team late as a cohesion booster, but that didn't help at all. Gough will ask for a big contract, but I'm afraid we can't give it to him and will have to anticipate on further overhaul of the DT position. Hansen is angry and will ask for a big contract, which just isn't going to happen. Brady has been demanding big bucks since we drafted him, but he might retire and make it all moot. Murray is on the decline, but I think we're going to have to invest in a new pair of safeties anyway, as Devon Farrell and Jon Brotzman also played more than 160 games for us already.

So, plenty to do in the off-season, starting with "more testing".
In the mean time, we'll watch the IHOF playoffs on tv one more time and have to keep faith in that we'll be participating in it next season.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 09-25-2021, 06:56 AM   #556
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Welcome to the Hall of Fame to Theo and Humphrey
And welcome to the 2101 season!

Two all-time greats of the Maassluis Merchantmen have received one of the highest honors a player individually can get. They never won an IHOF Bowl, but the second best thing in a football career could be enshrinement into the Solecismic Hall of Fame. Their election was inevitable, welcome to the hall: Theodore Bondy and Howard Humphrey.

Howard Humphrey, right tackle. The Dallas native graduated from Iowa State and with his big framework (6'7" 333 pounds) was surprisingly fast. In the 2085 draft, he made himself eligible and was selected by the Maassluis Merchantmen with the #9 overall pick. Curiously, he wasn't their player of choice, but the time was ticking away for them and they ended up with a so called "best player available" choice. The verdict isn't out yet, since the #1 overall of his class (quarterback Marty Forland) is still playing football (in Paris, of all places), but Humphrey's ability as a run blocking phenomenon. Already as a rookie he proved his skills with 44 key run blocks and earning all-IHOF First team honors, starting a streak of five straight seasons earning those accolades. Humphrey remained the Merchantmen's starting right tackle through the 2096 season, his 12th and last in the IHOF. He was a starter on the last Merchantmen team to reach a conference championship game (in 2085) and to make the playoffs (in 2092). He played in 178 regular season games and 11 playoffs games for the Merchantmen. He recorded 422 key run blocks in the regular season games, ranking him 2nd all-time for the Merchantmen and 5th overall in the IHOF amongst players registered as offensive tackles.

Theodore "Theo" Bondy is the undisputed best wide receiver in Maassluis Merchantmen history. In the 2082 draft, the Merchantmen traded up from the #20 overall slot to the #8 overall slot held by the Chesapeake Chitterlings, giving up their 2083 first round pick in the process. A hefty price, but it turned out to be a wise decision. Little could the Merchantmen know that, despite their belief that Bondy could be their next star receiver, he would become their most productive and decorated receiver.

There was no doubt about making Bondy their WR1 out of the gates. Bondy's 2082 campaign was fine, but his true greatness came to the horizon in his second season. Bondy made 153 receptions for 2,030 yards and 13 touchdowns, earning him All-IHOF first team honors. He struggled a bit in his third season, but on an improving offense, his best stretch was in 2085 through 2087, as he had phenomenal seasons of 166, 167 and 171 receptions for 2,183, 2,449 and 2,139 yards with 17, 19 and 16 touchdowns. He was an All-IHOF first teamer in all three seasons, while the Merchantmen reached the playoffs in all three, even dodging the dreaded one-and-done at thrice, as Bondy had a 100-yard game in 6 of 7 playoffs games those seasons. In 2088 defenses in general learned to tone down the passing performances many IHOF teams were showing and Bondy's production also reduced consequently. six more 1,000-yard seasons was normal, but he failed to get north of 1,474 yards from there on.

Bondy still enjoyed football in what was thought to be the twilight of his career and stayed with the Merchantmen for 15 seasons until his retirement. His track record, clearly, phenomenal, not just in Merchantmen history but also on a league wide all-time scale. He retired with 1,728 receptions (3rd in IHOF history) for 21,524 yards (3rd in IHOF) and 150 touchdowns (7th in IHOF), with 89 100-yard games (7th in IHOF) in 233 regular season games. All these numbers are franchise records. He played in 13 playoffs games, catching 111 passes for 1,606 yards and 9 touchdowns with 9 100-yard games. His 2,449 yards in 2086 presumably* rank him 4th all-time on the single-season list.

* League data has been corrupted, at minimum the data for 2079 through 2085 are missing in several categories. Notably Christian James' 2,926 receiving yards in 2085 are curiously not recognized as the league's single-season record.



But enough about those heroes of a long lost time period when the Merchantmen were actually still serious contenders. Bondy and Humphrey were the faces of the offense that was still capable of carrying the team into the post-season and actually winning games there.

We decided to pick Camden Rives as our new head coach, a 45-year old who debuted at the age of 35 as an assistent coach for the Tucker Tigers with an IHOF Bowl victory. He worked with our current offensive coordinator Clarence Byrd there and then, reuniting them, although with Rives in a different role. Rives was previously the head coach of the Brooklyn Fightin' Bums, coaching them into the playoffs twice in four seasons there. It means we fired Troy Lynch after just 1 season with us. He found a new job already, becoming defensive coordinator for the Fightin' Bums.

The 2101 off-season also started with the news that none of the 53 players on roster in 2100 have retired. A surprise as we had officially the oldest team in the league. There's no guarantee all 53 will return though, we're going into the off-season $110M over the cap with 41 players signed, with half of the free agents available to other teams on the open market. We're without a first round pick, but as a result of our dreadful 2100 season, we're picking between picks 5 and 9 overall in the 2nd through 7th rounds, with no bonus picks. A tough cap situation, which I'm sure we'll manage to get out of.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 10-04-2021, 02:35 PM   #557
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: I have no words...
I mean, not much is happening, so there's little to report, right?

Right.
We had a far from spectacular draft. I failed to trade our expensive second round pick, but I did manage to move our fifth through seventh round picks. With the second through fourth round picks I selected a couple of defensive tackles and a new linebacker.

Our veteran linebacker Brandon Brady left Maassluis for a very cheap contract with the Williamsburg Colonials. The man was never willing to play for less than $25M for us, but on the open market he was willing to settle for just over $8M. Yeah, I don't understand it either.

We going into training camp with 63 players signed. We added a veteran fifth year quarterback, undrafted rookie running back, several undrafted rookie wide receivers, signed two undrafted rookie punters as well as last year's punter Manuel Szymanski, a couple undrafted rookie linebackers, brought back fifth year linebacker Trey Ford and a veteran zone defender.

It would be neat to bring back Clarence Gore as our fourth tight end, but it's far from a must happen situation.

Our cap space is quickly running out, which quite possibly could mean the release of our 12th year veteran receiver George Stuckey. He had 1 catch in the last two seasons combined, so I can't say he's been involved in our offense recently, but it's always sad to let a player with such a long tenure in Maassluis go...

But more after training camp and the first pre-season activity...
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 10-11-2021, 02:15 PM   #558
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: So, we lost
Week 1 of 2101 is in the books.

We lost at home 24-16 to the Gothenburg Giants, a game that we're supposed to win about 7 out of 10 times. We didn't. Until this frickin' overpaid offense starts playing up to their pre-season bowl winning favorites, I'm not going to waste a lot of words on them. Ken Torphy ran for 22 yards on 16 carries, Calvin Maxwell made 0 catches. Our total offense figure was 143 yards. The offensive line combined for 0 key run blocks. Zero. Zero! Yes, we were disgraceful today. For now, these kids don't deserve my energy.

So stop demanding all that crazy money, start showing the fans why y'all chose to play football professionally. Period.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

Last edited by MIJB#19 : 10-14-2021 at 12:07 PM. Reason: just a misspelled name fix, nothing major. :D
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Old 10-11-2021, 05:15 PM   #559
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The tough decision made
When longtimers don't make the 53 men cut.

This past off-season we've said goodbye to four longtime members of the Merchantmen, all differing in the magnitude of their roles and performances. Sure, we've released 11 men in total, many were undrafted rookies, but 4 of them deserve being mentioned here.

We'll kick off with two special teamers slash linebackers. Jose Meadows joined us as an undrafted rookie in 2093 and played in 111 regular season games. He barely played on defense, but was involved on special teams with 4 forced fumbles and 5 recoveries. Andrew Cochrane joined us in 2094, also undrafted, played in 93 games, but unlike Meadows also had a role on our defense in 2096 and 2097. But mostly a special teamer, Cochrane was, and he'll be coming half a season short of joining our Club of 100. So it goes.

An undisputed member of that Club of 100, wide receiver George Stuckey was a cap casualty during free agency. A second round pick for us in 2090, he became a cherished target, initially as our WR3, but between 2094 and 2098 he was a clear cut starter with more than 100 targets each season. He missed out on a 1000-yard season by just 2 yards, but nevertheless scored 41 touchdowns for us. He's not retired yet, but it seems unlikely that despite his talent, he'll get a chance elsewhere. If that's the case, he'll retire with 142 regular season and 4 playoffs games on his resume for us.

But the biggest name that we said "bye bye" to this off-season has to be Darien Fletcher. Loyal fans and readers know that I can at times get overenthusiastic about a defensive tackle and back in the 2089 draft that happened when we got the opportunity to pick Fletcher at the #9 overall slot. In my eyes the best player of his class. Can we say he lived up to that? Not exactly, but his pass rush ability up the middle was undisputed. I mean, he didn't reach the level of the exceptionally talented all-time greats Shaun "The Behemoth" Hartman and Charles Gomez *, but Fletcher will be in the mix for third best defensive tackle to ever player for the Merchantmen. With 514 tackles, 60.5 sacks, 16 forced fumbles and what not, he's a phenomenon anyway. Fletcher was picked in the Solecismic All-IHOF teams four times, with 2089 being his only first team selection. With 194 games played for us, he's in good company of guys who came a season short of the double century club. Had we've been to the playoffs more than just twice during his tenure, I'm sure he might have topped that 200 mark.

* Yeah, I know Dennis Lucas was picked into the Solecmismic Hall of Fame while Charles Gomez hasn't been, but Lucas racked up the pass rush numbers playing defensive end most of the time and unfairly gets credited for being an up the middle phenomenon. He was great, but I struggle to consider him to be on the same page as Gomez and Hartman and even feel uncomfortable comparing him to the likes of Fletcher, Glen Stiegler or even Heath Oliver, whom we parted ways with after just 5 seasons. So, there's your credits once again, Dennis Lucas. You're still third highest in sacks for us behind the undisputed Daquan "Da Machine" Strugielski and Shaun Hartman.

So, these four veterans left us, but all four can still play some damn good football. But our cap situation ruled here. Sorry guys, we wanted to salvage the offensive starters and, well, you can see how much they're doing with all that money. I hope they prove us wrong after winning 19 or just 18 in a row from here on. But that feels incredibly unlikely...


Oh, speaking of departures, we have two more players to talk about here.

Tight end Clarence Gore, after 10 seasons with us, we decided to not give him the money he wanted and now he's a backup for the Colorado Cutthroats. He played in 145 regular season games for us and 4 playoffs games in his first two seasons as an IHOF pro. He made a splash debut as a fifth round rookie in 2091, making 75 catches for 863 yards and 7 touchdowns. All three are career highs for him. As soon as we downgraded his role on the offense, our team stopped making the playoffs. Although we tried to boost him back in in 2099, but he never got back to being the kind of player he was in his first two seasons.

And then there was Brandon Brady, once a linebacker, next in line to be the next coming of a long tradition of excellent linebackers. He was our #19 overall pick in the 2090 draft and was an undisputed starter on the teams that made the playoffs in '91 and '92. But after 179 games with us, we gambled on signing him late in free agency and before making him an offer, he moved on to the Williamsburg Colonials, where he took on the role of a run stopping defensive end. He had 7 100-tackle seasons with us, while also being active on our pass defense with 14 interceptions and 97 defended passes in regular season action.

Good for you, Gore and Brady, that you found new homes. It can be tough to get another chance in this cutthroat business...
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Old 10-12-2021, 11:54 AM   #560
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Nope, nope, nope
We also lost in week 2.

So, team, start winning and I'll spend time on getting jubilant about y'all. Until then, nope. Losing 20-17 in overtime isn't the way to turn things around. In short though: this is the worst best offense ever, not just in Merchantmen history, or even IHOF history. This is a disgrace to football, either in a fake world or in reality. These guys have to get their act together. Fast, because their window of opportunity to play with such a talented bunch together will end much faster if they keep playing as terrible as they have done so far.

So, nope, I'm not going to complain much more than this. Get your acts together team. Now!
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Old 10-14-2021, 12:05 PM   #561
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Sigh...
These kids depress me...

Another loss added to the mix, we choked another home game, brining us to 0-3 with only 6 home games remaining. This time we lost to a quarterback lacking Toronto Lake Monsters, giving up 431 total yards, while Earnest Ashley played dreadful, completing just 15 of 40 passes. I repeat: 15 of 40 passes. Imagine this quarterback not playing with the best wide receiver duo plus receiving running back in the league (by a landslide), how horrific would that look.

Next up will be another home game, facing the 4-0 defending IHOF champions: the Tucker Tigers. Their quarterback Donovan Muth retired and got replaced by that kid named Angel Henson. At least we can claim to have a perfect 3-0 record against Henson. Hopefully we can keep that up...
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Old 10-16-2021, 05:54 AM   #562
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: We won!
... and lost again as well.

2101 is turning into a trainwreck season. Fresh after our bye week, we managed to upset the defending league champion Tucker Tigers 28-23 and their shiny new quarterback, only to triple in Augusta choking a 21-0 lead with a last chance long throw and ditto play in over time to lose 30-24. I don't want to here the "hardest schedule in the league" excuses, we've played 3 games at home against inferior talent. Play up to your ability, team! We should sit 3-2 here, on the tails of the Gothenburg Giants.

European Division:
1. Gothenburg 6-0
2. Paris 3-2
3. Bordeaux 2-3
4. Maassluis 1-4

Next up a visit to Paris, a team that we should demolish by at least 2 scores difference. We're 4-point dogs by both the Solecismic and Dogbytes metrics. That shows how utterly downright underwhelming we're playing this season. I'm not going to point fingers to individuals anymore, because there's nobody who's actually playing up to his ability. Nobody.

We can blame the game plan, but I'm getting tired of trying to fix it. My staff has no frickin' clue, but neither do I. I want to avoid doing silly things, do sane and diverse things, but that's not how it works. This game demands a team to do silly things to keep the opponent guessing. So, for the next game against Paris, I feel obliged to throw some absurd plays into our game plan, just to make sure we're not going to be too easy to read and hope the most talented offense in the league start [insert your curse words of choice] playing football!
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Old 10-16-2021, 06:37 AM   #563
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: So, how good is this offense really?
I mean, in potential...

Let's take a look at the personnel that we have on the Merchantmen offense. I'll make a rundown of the squad, not going over all 26 offensive players, picking out the starters and those backups that are likely to see some or a lot of action.

nameratedfluff
QB Earnest Ashley
55/55 (16th in IHOF)strengths: 3rd down, 2-minute drill, sense rush; weakness: long passes
RB Ken Torphy
65/65 (4th in IHOF)strengths: 3rd down, receiving skills; weakness: average hole recognition
FB Damien Wanamaker
40/40 (10th in IHOF)strength: best run blocker in IHOF; weakness: nothing but a run blocker
TE Wesley Martin
40/45strengths: run blocking, yards after catch; weakness: pass protection, endurance, running routes
WR Calvin Maxwell
80/80 (1st in IHOF)strength: this guy is elite, seriously, the best in business; weakness: the GM's inability to game plan
WR Vinny Buysse
70/70 (5th in IHOF)strength: seriously, this guy is all-around very good; weakness: none to speak of
WR Ed Schulz
45/45strength: solid for a WR3 in big play ability, getting downfield; weakness: decreased route running, drops passes
C Robbie Zinn
75/75 (4th in IHOF)strength: all-around very good; weakness: endurance
LG Nickolas Toler
65/65 (17th in IHOF)strength: pass blocking; weakness: endurance
RG Roger Staigvil
60/60strength: run blocking; weakness: pass blocking
LT Johnny Houston
55/55strength: okay pass blocker; weakness: okay run blocker
LT/RT Isaac Delgado
70/70 (22nd in IHOF)strengths: okay run blocker, okay pass blocker; weakness: endurance
QB Terrell Sprehe
30/35strength: sense rush; weakness: everything else
RB Dashawn McIntyre
55/55strengths: okay receiver, protect the pass, endurance; weakness: okay hole recognition, nothing extra as a runner
TE Myron Lofton
40/40strength: 3rd down, okay routes runner; weakness: average run blocker, can only catch short passes
TE Riley Bridges
35/35strengths: run blocking, okay big-play ability; weakness: endurance, pass protection, route running
WR Mark Perkins
15/15strength: punt returner; weakness: can't do anything else
C Rickey Mason
35/40strength: run blocking; weakness: everything else


Combined with the best cohesion in O-Line and above average in the passing game, this teams should have enough to do good things. Sure, one could argue we're lacking a solid receiving tight end, but Martin and Lofton should be okay enough. The O-line isn't spectacular, but we've got above average starters in all five slots.

The cream of the team, Maxwell and Buysse is probably close to the top5 of best receiver duos in league history. So, yeah, to call it "mindboggling" or "bizar" still feels like an understatement. I really can't get my head around this, these two guys should be able to provide Ashley with all he needs to complete at least 15 to 20 passes per game for 175 to 200 yards, just to those guys alone and keeping in mind his apparent weakness in throwing long bombs (especially knowing he has proven he can complete those). Schulz, Torphy and the tight ends should be sufficient to improve that to 25 to 30 completions for 275 to 300 yards.

So, have at it. The defense has declined since the 2099 unit that was best in the league by points allowed, but the already declining Richie Piotte and Ernie Grant are incapable of still boosting their sidekicks into topnotchness. We've basically got an unMerchantmenlike team where the offense needs to outscore the opponent to win games. And we've seen they can do it early on in games, until our hard to guess game plan miraculously becomes easy to guess and we can't run for more than 2 yards or complete a pass anymore, while the defense keeps getting back on the field and worn out. This feels like an solvable puzzle, but right now I'm staring blank at it. Roughly a season ago I thought I knew how to turn things around, but I failed to get my mind to it and eventually we fell apart after all, with this season looking even worse than the previous one.

Get a grip, don't give up yet, find the time and motivation to work on a game plan that could work. It's doable, I know it is. The list of players above shows we've got the team for it.
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Old 10-18-2021, 04:46 PM   #564
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Nowhere but to go up?
Yup, apparently so.

We fell 24-0 in Paris. That's right, we got shutout. By the time we reached the second half, it was almost like the Musketeers knew what play we were going to call from there on. So, changing things around, putting other plays in our play book from other formations than our 122 and 113 dominated game plan was not the answer. Another opportunity to make a hard to guess game plan has gone to waste and with that our window of opportunity got slammed closed. It's still squeaking as at 1-5 it's not locked yet, but it feels like we just spilled another season down the drain.

I'm not ready to give up quite yet, but getting humiliated by the hands of the Paris Musketeers was quite the punch in the stomach. I'll revert back to the also easy to guess game plan that got us past the Tucker Tigers, probably, but I'm clearly more puzzled than I even tried to describe I have been.

As I said before this season: until this team actually starts playing decent football, I'm not going to want to waste too much energy on writing about them. Telling them to get their act together though, it hasn't quite helped just yet. So, team: seriously? How about I threaten the team to position switch a non-kicker into a punter after every game lost, one for every point of margin we lost by. That way most of these guys will be out of football by this time next season if they keep this up, shattering their dream to ever win an IHOF Bowl. So, team, what will it be?
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Old 10-21-2021, 05:04 PM   #565
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: hopes restored...
... and shattered again.

Amidst a disaster of a season, we salvaged it with back to back wins with a 46-33 blast past the Snapfinger Jazz, followed up with a 31-26 victory at the Bordeaux Vineyards. But as dominant as Bordeaux was and still lost to us, we had karma pay it back in week 10 as we lost 17-13 at the Orlando Talons despite clearly outplaying them. Yup, that's football when your team is more talented, but the people in charge (me and my staff) are incompetent in making a game plan work. I pushed aside the turn into punter punishment for now (don't tell the players, they're still expecting me to go through with it), but at 4-5 we would have been in much better shape to keep our hopes alive than at 3-6. The second wild card race in the AOC is currently lead by the Augusta Greenjackets with a 5-4 record and a 1-game cushion on the Houston Mustangs, Orlando Talons and the Paris Musketeers. Which are three teams we already lost to, with a chance to also choke a game in Houston in week 13.

European Division standings:
1. Gothenburg 9-0
2. Paris 4-5
3. Maassluis 3-6
4. Bordeaux 3-6

As you see, the progress we thought to have made is all moot, as we'll be facing the Gothenburg Giants next. They have our number: last time we beat them was in week 17 of the 2096, ironically when we had nothing to play for and they lost a bye week over it. They've been pissed ever since and have humiliated us time after time. It's like they exactly know what we'll do on the next play and manage to stop us, despite our efforts to be as close to 50-50 in what we'll do on almost every play and despite that more recently all scouts in the league will tell you they have inferior raw talent.

But really, that would do the Giants' management unjust as they're sitting at the top of the AOC at 9-0, so clearly they're doing something right, no? Sure, sure, we're supposed to beat them,but we've been incompetent enough to feel like the way I do now: Gothenburg on the road is an "L", not pencil marked, but written down with a Sharpie. And the worst part is, every time we play them, I honestly think my team will finally prove to me, and the Giants, that sometimes the better players will beat their inferior counterparts. Solecismic has us as 9-point underdogs, Dogbytes as 13-point underdogs. Everybody in their right mind knows that these figures are complete nonsensical and a last minute field goal is what's supposed to happen here. But, we'll have to prepare for the worst. The 24-0 bullshit in Paris - which didn't felt like the one in a million chance to happen it should be - is still hurting, hence my lack of courage to proclaim we're recovered after a couple of victories. And all of a sudden losing by a touchdown in Gothenburg almost feels like a moral victory. Which it never is, never. We're always in it to win it, down season or not, overpaid most underachieving 53-some our fans ever had to witness or not.

So team, see our next game as another chance to play 11 on 11, or 46 on 46 as you will, with us having a little bit more tiny football gods given talent. So, guys, don't let me down, show the world what you're capable of.
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Old 10-24-2021, 11:10 AM   #566
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: We're broken...
Yup, more moaning.

11 of 16 games into the regular season and our defense is on pace to finish as the second worst defense. Not just of the league this season, but the second worst of 3,136 defenses in 98 seasons of IHOF action. Two seasons ago this defense was #1 in least points allowed. The overpaid players are still the same (DE Richie Piotte and CB Ernie Grant), the only players that we saw depart were then already over his peak LB Brandon Brady, then already on the decline DT Darien Fletcher and DT Jerome Shumate. The loyal Merchantmen fan or reader of my musings will quickly point to that: wasn't the Merchantmen defense always about a solid defensive tackle, supported by one, preferably two, solid linebackers?

The offense is slowly recovering in the last bunch of games. In the 37-27 loss in Gothenburg and 30-27 loss at home against the Brooklyn Fighin' Bums we actually played okay-ish. But when the defense gives up over 500 yards in back to back games, that's usually a bad sign. Sure, it can be a result of dominating the field position battle, which we're actually capable of, sporting an elite special teams unit, but it's still a daunting figure. And we can't use that excuse here at all: we're #31 in yards per carry allowed, #32 in yards per pass attempt allowed. We've got a dreadful defense, the worst in the league.

Despite our depressing 3-8 win-loss record - and I'm not going to use our toughest schedule in the league as an excuse (or is point that out making that excuse anyway?) -, we're actually still technically alive in the hunt for the final wild card in the AOC to the playoffs. And, against knowing better, I think we do have the players to actually belong there. It's just that for for reasons unknown to all that are interested in football and more particularly in the Merchantmen, the 53-somes we punt out there over the last 2 and and half seasons and a bit have been, well, an underperforming bunch.

Forget about comparing these kids to our teams of 2007, the mid '20s, late '30s, 2047, the late '50s, the mid to late '60s, 2078, 2085 and 2091. Most talented? Insert your suggesting hand signal of choice here. We're closer to the #1 overall pick next draft that we are to the playoffs. Which brings me back to my earlier statement this season: a team playing this dreadful doesn't deserve all the attention. Team, start doing what we've hired you for: play football!
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Old 10-25-2021, 05:16 PM   #567
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Slowly recovering...
Stayin' Alive mode now?

The Maassluis Merchantmen are bouncing back after our second 3-game losing streak of the season. We managed to beat the Houston Mustangs in their place 27-21, leaning heavily Calvin Maxwell, at last showing flashes of why league scouts think he's the best wide receiver in football at the moment.

European Division:
1. Gothenburg 12-0
2. Paris 5-6-1
3. Maassluis 4-8
4. Bordeaux 3-9

Yeah, it looks like a lost cause, but with 4 games still to be played, we're actually 2 games and a near hopeless tie-breaker situation behind the rest of the field.

I'm going to back off from my complaints about the offense - didn't I have to do that last season as well? - as we're actually looking at our key players having crawled into top5ish spots in their respective fields of business. Calvin Maxwell is 5th with 1,142 receiving yards, with a 2nd best yards per target figure (9.6) and a league leading yards per catch (17.8). We're probably throwing a bit too deep for Earnest Ashley's liking (he's still completing only 51.6 of his passes), but he's actually 4th in yards per pass attempt and ties for the lead in yards per completion. Ken Torphy rambled for his fourth 100-game of the season, putting him in 6th in the league with 996 yards, although on a far from impressive 3.97 yards per carry figure. This will probably jinx the bunch, but they are doing not too crappy. Plus, they're not showing us they're at the top of the league quite yet (Vinny Buysse is stuck at just 49 receptions for 683 yards).

It's still a longshot to make the playoffs as the current second wild card is held by the Augusta Greenjackets, a team that beat is already and at 6-6 with 3 games remaining against other 4-8 teams, they should be the favorites to make it. The Orlando Talons, also 6-6 and also with a head-to-head tie-breaker over us, will face two of those 4-8 teams as well. Paris is 1.5 wins ahead with tie-breakers locked up already, but we're the only team they're still facing this season that isn't 8-4 or better (read: Gothenburg). And despite that we beat Houston today, the 5-7 Mustangs visit three losing teams and will host the NAC leading Oakland Black Panthers.

But that's just another jinx, the playoffs are just not in our sight unless we actually win in week 14. We're going to visit the Chesapeake Chitterlings next, a team that we last beat in 2081, not to mention that we haven't won in their place (we'll, we visit only once every 8 seasons) since the 2037 season. Back then the Chitterlings and Merchantmen had the best two defenses in the league, with the third best allowing 264 points over 16 games, while the Chitterlings (227) and especially the Merchantmen (188) were the best in business.

The 2101 Chitterlings defense ranks 3rd with 197 points allowed in 12 games. Yours truly's team ranks 31st with 312 points allowed. Only the North Plainfield Plague are doing even worse (how the mighty have fallen, that defense looks far from what their reputation still claims). So, there's little reason to expect the Merchantmen to win two in a row for the second time this season. I'm surely hoping to see it happen, but it's farfetched... But the football can make some weird bounces, and every now or then, a football game can have a weird outcome. Maybe that can happen here?
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Old 10-26-2021, 01:10 PM   #568
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Yup, I jinxed it
Season, over.

Every now or then, the football gods have decided that one team and one team only will win a particular game. Today, they decided it wasn't the Merchantmen's turn, but the Chesapeake Chitterlings'. Earnest Ashley was dropped back to earth, as if he wasn't there already, losing the ball on our first two drives after a sack. Aside from the fact that our O-line shouldn't struggle this terribly, nor should Ashley magnetically pick sacks up, but it happened. We were 13-0 down then and never recovered. We had our chances, were actually winning the field position battle and outgaining them, but a couple of late game interceptions ruined that. In between, both offenses showcases fun bits of football, but at the end of the day, the home team had the 26-19 victory secured.

European Division:
1. Gothenburg 13-0
2. Paris 6-6-1
3. Maassluis 4-9
4. Bordeaux 3-10

We're mathematically still alive, actually. But with the virtual #6 and #7 seeds sitting at 7-6 with a head-to-head win against us, we dropped the ball in those clashes. All that's left for us is doubling up on victories over Bordeaux this season, then spoiling the Williamsburg Colonials' playoffs hopes and finishing the season by rolling up the Paris Musketeers, to deny their playoffs dreams and just because they have it coming after making us look like a high school football team that was playing a game for the first time. At least, that's what we hope for. And should expect from this 53-some. So team, what will it be?
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Old 10-26-2021, 01:42 PM   #569
QuikSand
lolzcat
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Tough luck, Matthijs. Hope the gang pulls it all together soon.
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Old 10-30-2021, 04:10 PM   #570
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: It's over, 4 weeks too early.
If you think 2100 was bad, well... 2101 was even worse.

European Division:
1. Gothenburg 16-0
2. Paris 7-8-1
3. Maassluis 5-11
4. Bordeaux 4-12

This disaster of a season has ended and it was quite simply just as much of a pain to go through as previous season was. Never before have I been so disappointed in this team. I've never felt more sure that we had the right 13 or so players on offense to achieve something. I should have stuck with my traditional fashion: defense first. We were the worst defense in the league. Merchantmen unworthy. Unworthy. Unworthy!

The offense was easily to blame here too, as our defense was on the field more than any other defense has been. That's seriously discouraging when you have the players to put drives out there that last for 10 minutes of playing time. We mightily failed. I'm running out of suitable adjectives, as much as I'm trying to get a grip on the English language, it feels like it doesn't have enough words and synonyms for the complete opposite of what this team should be capable of, it makes no sense at all that my attempts to construct a suitable offensive game plan for them has completely backfired and for dubious reasons turned our defense into the worst we've ever had. That's 98 seasons of sample size right there.

Blech.

2101 is over, for us, on to 2102.

And boy, will the 2102 off-season be a challenge. I'm seriously tempted to put the overpaid 'stars' of the defense on the block, because clearly they were unable to keep their unit up to standards. Ernie Grant and Richie Piotte, yes, I'm looking at you two. And on the offensive side, Earnest Ashley has to understand that he's not untouchable, despite the apparent safety of $56M in bonus money invested in the next three seasons. It's absurd how little he gets done for us, ludicrous.

And while I'm rambling, some of the readers must be thinking: 16-0, is that a first time in the IHOF? It's not the first time, but it's rare, yes. And unprecedented in the European Division. In 2004 Bordeaux took the first division at 9-7, improved to 11-5 in 2005, which we then beat with a 13-3 record in 2007. In 2031 Bordeaux matched that 13-3 all-time best, which we then repeated in 2037, 2038 and 2040. In 2041 Paris joined the 13-3 club. In 2058, it were once again the Merchantmen to hit 13-3 and we finally broke that record with a 15-1 campaign in 2059. Gothenburg recently sniffed at that, posting back to back 14-2 records in 2097 and 2098, but this season finally getting to the top with the best single season record possible: 16-0.

The story of the Giants is like ours in reverse. We clearly have a more potent offense, but where our offense falls asleep after 4 drives and eventually makes our defense get worn out, the Giants thrive by their defense and manage to do what our more talented offense should be able to do: play efficient, time-wasting football.

I'm not too fond to root for our division foes, but I'm one to root for the best regular season team to get to week 20 and win there. But this Giants teams looks similar to the 2059 Merchantmen (albeit we went 15-1), which had an even more impressive points and yardage figures compared to the other 31 teams (in my opinion). Loyal readers might remember that we tripped over the Atlanta Vipers 31-17 in the conference semifinals. From that experience, I know how cold playoffs football can be. So, Giants, win it all, or sit with a scar on your football soul until the end of your time. After a 16-0 season, the pain must be even more intense than after a 15-1 one-and-done... I'm still hurting, the IHOF Bowl we won 7 seasons later felt more like consolation than confirmation, which it basically should have been. But the 2059 and 2066 Merchantmen had just few players in common. So, one final time: do it now, Giants, or you will regret it forever.
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Old 10-30-2021, 07:05 PM   #571
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Blow it up!
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Old 11-06-2021, 06:39 PM   #572
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Quote:
Originally Posted by Izulde View Post
Blow it up!
As much as I dislike it, that's very likely to happen.

Tomorrow, I hope to find energy/motivation to post about the cap situation, how the retirements and stuff went.
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Old 11-10-2021, 10:29 AM   #573
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Quote:
Originally Posted by MIJB#19 View Post
As much as I dislike it, that's very likely to happen.

Tomorrow, I hope to find energy/motivation to post about the cap situation, how the retirements and stuff went.
So, not so much I've written, yet.
Maybe in the next couple of days.
Energy/motivation is still lacking, despite that this team is in the middle of quite possibly the biggest roster overhaul in franchise history. Which should have been a not so fun to write - but interesting to read - story.
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Old 11-11-2021, 10:51 AM   #574
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Quote:
Originally Posted by MIJB#19 View Post
So, not so much I've written, yet.
Maybe in the next couple of days.
Energy/motivation is still lacking, despite that this team is in the middle of quite possibly the biggest roster overhaul in franchise history. Which should have been a not so fun to write - but interesting to read - story.
Yet so much to write about and I'm still not delivering.
Thing is, this is one of those times where it feels weird to share my off season strategy and plan with the world, because the competition in the league is reading along here.
No need to raise hands, I know some of you are.

Anyway, the overhaul is in full galore. We're setting up for adding 19 rookies, through the draft alone. A couple of cornerbacks traded, the entire O-line on the trade block... And tonight a big decision to make: do we want to be under the cap before the start of the free agency between the draft and training camp? If we're not, we'll lose a third round pick in the next draft. Do I feel like it's worth pushing forward the resolution of the cap situation? Decisions, decisions...
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Old 11-11-2021, 04:30 PM   #575
Izulde
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Join Date: Sep 2004
I'd say given the rebuild and the massive influx of rookies, the third round pick is more valuable.
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Old 11-12-2021, 04:14 PM   #576
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The Mega Make Over
It has begun...

Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, the battle against the deepest cap disaster in Maassluis Merchantmen history has begun. The 2102 off-season started with the retirement of Adam Harmon, Chuck Murray and Mark Perkins. Yes, that was quite the list there as they combine for 34 seasons with us, playing in 527 regular season games and 8 playoffs games. Neither of them played elsewhere in the IHOF, all three were undrafted rookies when they joined us. Perkins retired as the IHOF's all-time punt returner. How about that. Yes, usually I would write a lot more about players with such awesome careers with us, but the off-season has been so busy, extremely busy, the odes to the players that left us will have to wait for later on.

The off-season continued with the departure of our cornerback duo Ernie Grant and Omar Leszynski. Grant leaves us after 7 seasons, 105 regular season games (without post-season participation), joining the Orlando Talons. Leszynski left for the Texas Sharks after 6 seasons and 64 regular season games.

Free agency was a net loss of 3 players for us, so far. Backup center Rickey Mason signed with the Chesapeake Chitterlings after 5 seasons as a backup with us. Most of his action in 62 games came on the special teams unit. He will be reunited with kicker Gino Shea, who left us after 4 seasons. Running back Dashawn McIntyre also left us after 4 seasons, he's joining the Outer Banks Ospreys.

The biggest exodus came at the end of the pre-draft free agency as we showed the door to 8 players, and bear with me: center Robbie Zinn, guards Nickolas Toler and Ronald Staigvil, tackles Johnnie Houston and Isaac Delgado, defensive end Richie Piotte, defensive tackle Caleb Domis and linebacker Preston Bradford. No, I don't have want to tally up the number of seasons (5+ for each of them) and games played they add up to. I will add that, unlike the 3 undrafted legends that retired this off-season, this released bunch of overpaid pricks never made us make the playoffs. Never.

We re-hired one restricted free agent: special teamer and linebacker Wally Cooley.

And then the draft, oh boy oh boy. We traded down from pick 1.7 to pick 1.13 and then further down to pick 1.24. We missed out on many decent players because of the swaps down, but combined with the trades of our cornerbacks and several in prior off-seasons, we finished the 2102 draft with - and you'd better sit down for this - a grand total of 19 draft picks. Let's stick with their abbreviated positions and their names, for now: 1.24 LB Tony Burks, 2.6 TE Garrett Alcala, 2.13 CB Logan Wallace, 2.24 K Oscar Harrington, 2.28 CB Zachary Centers, 3.5 CB Wesley Cabrera, 3.18 RB Rondell Robertson, 4.3 OT Harold Gruenwalder, 4.7 G Brett Stickney, 4.23 S Daryl Heath, 5.2 C Lincoln Stonge, 5.6 OT Salvador Horton, 5.13 DT Mitch Potchynok, 5.23 G Floyd Graham, 5.24 LB Marco Nichols, 6.5 S Eduardo Cowdrick, 6.31 TE Raul Milliken, 7.7 WR Rick Emerson and 7.31 CB Steven Van Pelt.

Are we there yet? Not entirely, because, although we avoided a draft pick penalty loss, our cap situation was fixed just temporarily. We're sitting at 46 players on roster and $36M over the cap. Yes, still very deep into trouble. We have a dead cap hit figure of almost $218M for this season, almost $69M next season. Welcome to the Merchantmen of the 22nd century.

is there light at the horizon? We haven't started renegotiating with players at all. But we will, because I do want to bring 53+ players to training camp. Earnest Ashley and Vinny Buysse are first in line, a cap out contract for both would get us in the clear.

And then, there's one more puzzle to solve: how will we manage to extend the contracts of Calvin Maxwell and Ken Torphy? Extention of Maxwell's contract will be, well, a non-issue, it has to be done, despite that his agent wants quarterback money for his client ($316M over 5 years, roughly $60M per season). Torphy's case will be harder, he's done a bit too little from behind an expensive and very talented offensive line to justify his demands. Really, Ken? $160M over 5 seasons?

So, plenty to mull about. And plenty of opportunity for rookies to jump in and get a starting gig, but as it looks now, half of our starters for the 2102 season will be rookies. We went from oldest team to third youngest.

So yeah, Mega Make Over sounds about right to me.
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Old 11-13-2021, 07:53 AM   #577
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: And then there was cap space
But is it enough?

Our tight cap situation got a little bit better. A bunch of renegotiations with players has resulted in opening up about $50M in cap space. Which may sound like a lot, but before those contract restructuring moves, we were $36M over the cap, so we're still only $14M in the positive now. And we're going to need all of that to lock up Calvin Maxwell, I'm sure.

Aside from that cap relief, we improved our roster size to 61 players, which means we're finally over 51, the hard minimum for the salary cap to be able to sign players during the season if required. Getting there was the result of the signing of 14 undrafted rookies. Yes, I mentioned 46 players on roster in my previous report, but that excluded one player that was holding out, which was one of the players to sign a restructured contract.

The new additional names: QB Jay Bates, QB Wendell DeMeester, RB Van Goodwin, RB Rod Eafon, TE Darnell McKie, TE Antoine Springer, TE Tanner Sweeney, WR Gage Greer, WR Calvin Hancock, C Gustavo Hartman, C Stan Cloude, OT Carson McCormick, LB Mo Fausel and CB Kendall Boone. We lost the bidding war on many undrafted rookies, but this time around I felt forced to only offer a minimum salary to these players. Most other years, they would have received a more tempting offer. Which probably would have only made a difference for just 2 of them, both signed in Paris, which in turn helped them in trouble for exceeding the 70-player roster limit, so it basically cost them a 6th round pick to outbid us. Ha! All the others that signed elsewhere got more enticing contracts, figures that I'm rarely willing to offer to undrafted rookies.

All that said, it's both interesting and depressing to see that we're going into training camp with 33 rookies on the team. We do have 8 unsigned players working out in our facilities that are out of contract, for whom I will decided about giving them a one-year minimum contract for training camp and who knows a bit longer if they convince me they're important enough to stick around. The other 31 franchises weren't interested in them, that should be a sign for all of them to not get too cocky and tell their agents to be reasonable.

On the open market, two of our released players found a new home, sadly the Paris Musketeers picked up guard Nickolas Toler. Left tackle Isaac Delgado joined the Atlanta Vipers. Both signed for a lot less than they were scheduled to receive here. The other players that we released all of a sudden have more reasonable contract demands as well. We know how that works, don't we? Player agents are dumbasses and don't always get what's best for their clients. For Preston Bradford and Caleb Domis, I'm convinced this will be the end of their football careers. Well played, agents, well played. But as much as I complain about it, their attitude won't change. We'll just have to deal with it. Maybe some of them will end up signing for a veteran one-year minimum deal as a result of league office mandated signings. But those players' careers are no longer my concern...

My concern is finding a way to get this offense to work, because they've let me down so much the last 3 seasons, despite on paper being an elite unit, the best we ever had. And now, without the veterans on the offensive line, the skill players will have to learn to play from behind a green offensive line. And hope the young defense can get not rolled up week after week.

To make things happen, we replaced our defensive coordinator Ryan Ivans by hiring Rod Shannon, previously the defensive coordinator of the Orlando Talons and better known for being the head coach of the Gothenburg Giants in their losing efforts in IHOF Bowls LXXXIX, XCII and XCIV, and prior to that was the Williamsburg Colonials' defensive coordinator for 13 seasons, including the IHOF Bowl LXXXI victory, after two losing efforts there as well. We also replaced our assistent coach Jeremy Crane by hiring Zack Varitek. He was previous the Paris Musketeers defensive coordinator and earlier on in his career was assistent coach of the Tucker Tigers in IHOF Bowl XC and for the Gothenburg Giants in IHOF Bowl XCII. And we didn't replace our offensive coordinator, contrary to what league pundits advised us (and to be honest we actually planned to do, but there apparently were no suitable candidates on the market).

So, training camp next. And then pre-season, when the Merchantmen will get on the field after the Mega Make Over. Expect to see more than half of our starters to be rookies...
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Old 11-14-2021, 05:04 PM   #578
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Are these rookies any good?
Way too early to tell, but...

I figured it would be interesting to run down the roster of our 61+8 players prior to training camp. The +8 are the unsigned free agents, who - if their dumb agents agree to the contracts we offered them - might still join us in training camp. So, here we go.

posnamecur/futFA?year
QBEarnest Ashley55/559th
QBMalachi Manning15/353rd
QBJay Bates10/30Rookie
QBWendell DeMeester10/20Rookie
RBKen Torphy65/654th
RBRondell Robertson30/40Rookie
RBVan Goodwin30/35Rookie
RBRod Eafon25/40Rookie
RBRonnie VandenBosch25/257th
FBDamien Wanamaker40/406th
FBOwen Johnston25/259th
TEWesley Martin45/453rd
TEGarrett Alcala30/55Rookie
TEMyron Lofton40/40FA6th
TERiley Bridges35/35FA4th
TEDarnel McKie25/40Rookie
TERaul Milliken20/30Rookie
TETanner Sweeney15/30Rookie
TEAntoine Springer20/25Rookie
WRCalvin Maxwell80/804th
WRVinny Buysse70/705th
WREd Schulz45/4510th
WRBobby Sutton30/30FA3rd
WRTony Tanyavutti25/35FA2nd
WRRick Emerson15/40Rookie
WRCalvin Hancock25/30Rookie
WRJimmie Hitt20/25FA2nd
WRGage Greer15/25Rookie
CLincoln Stonge35/50Rookie
CStan Cloude20/40Rookie
CGustavo Hartman20/40Rookie
GBrett Stickney25/65Rookie
GFloyd Graham25/50Rookie
GCorwin Driver30/403rd
LTJohnathan Van Pelt40/454th
LTHarold Gruenwalder30/50Rookie
LTSalvador Horton20/45Rookie
LTCarson McCormick15/45Rookie
PManuel Szymanski56/563rd
KOscar Harrington50/85Rookie
DERobbie Dobreski50/505th
DESpencer Crawford35/354th
DEJ.C. Pike30/304th
DEDeon Rosas25/353rd
DTAlexander May45/452nd
DTHarold Gough45/459th
DTJacob Buckley35/552nd
DTMitch Potchynok25/45Rookie
MLBAbraham Desimone50/503rd
OLBMicah Halvorson35/552nd
ILBTony Burks25/60Rookie
OLBTrey Ford40/405th
OLBMarco Nichols25/50Rookie
OLBWally Cooley30/352nd
MLBCade Reese30/35FA2nd
MLBMo Fausel20/35Rookie
CBZachery Weisz45/459th
CBLogan Wallace30/55Rookie
CBWesley Cabrera20/50Rookie
CBDonnie Dogins30/353rd
CBEduardo Cowdrick20/45Rookie
CBSteven Van Pelt20/40Rookie
CBKendall Boone10/25Rookie
SSBlaine Wright40/405th
SSDevon Farrell35/3512th
SSZachary Centers25/50Rookie
SSDaryl Heath15/45Rookie
FSJon Brotzman15/15FA13th
LSHarris Custer20/205th


We'll still need to trim this down by 9 names before pre-season and then 7 more at the start of the regular season. And you'll never know beforehand what will happen later on in pre-season in terms of other kinds of moves. So, we may end up with much less rookies than the 33 mentioned here. And around that, we'll have to figure out what kind of contracts we can offer to Calvin Maxwell and Ken Torphy to lock them up long term. I bet y'all can't wait to read more about it. So, stay tuned!
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Last edited by MIJB#19 : 11-15-2021 at 06:09 AM. Reason: typo fix
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Old 11-16-2021, 01:49 PM   #579
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: We're down to 60
And are awaiting the day after pre-season game 2...

We offered a one-year contract to all 8 free agents. All their agents turned us down. Morons.

We released tight end Tanner Sweeney to trim to the 60-men pre-season maximum.

Which still gives you no information about how training camp went, doesn't it? Which is very true, so, here we go. I'm listing all players that showed improvement, by position and from most improved to least improved.

Quarterbacks:
+4/+2 Jay Bates, +3 Malachi Manning, +2/+1 Wendell DeMeester

Running backs:
+3 Rod Eafon, +2 Van Goodwin*, +2/-1 Rondell Robertson
* Yeah, this poor kid has no first name.

Tight ends:
+4/-1 Garrett Alcala, +3 Raul Milliken, +2/+1 Darnell McKie, +2/+1 Antoine Springer, +2/-1 Todd Sweeney

Wide receivers:
+3/-1 Rick Emerson, +2/+1 Gage Greer, +1/-1 Calvin Hancock

Centers:
+5/+2 Gustavo Hartman, +4 Stan Cloude, +3/+1 Lincoln Stonge

Guards:
+6/+1 Brett Stickney, +4 Corwin Driver, +3/-1 Floyd Graham

Tackles:
+4/-2 Carson McCormick, +3 Harold Gruenwalder, +2/-1 Salvador Horton

Kicker:
+8/-3 Oscar Harrington

Defensive ends:
+4 Deon Rosas

Defensive tackles:
+5 Jacob Buckey, +3/-1 Mitch Potchynok

Linebackers:
+7 Micah Halvorsen, +6/-1 Tony Burks, +4 Wally Cooley, +3/+1 Mo Fausel, +3/-5 Marco Nichols

Cornerbacks:
+4/-1 Eduardo Cowdrick, +4/-3 Wesley Cabrera, +3 Donnie Dogins, +3/-1 Logan Wallace, +3/-2 Steven Van Pelt, +2/+1 Kendall Boone

Safeties:
+5 Daryl Heath, +4/-4 Zachary Centers


But really, everything can be different tomorrow.
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Old 11-16-2021, 06:54 PM   #580
QuikSand
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Come for the American football...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MIJB#19 View Post
Running backs:
+3 Rod Eafon, +2 Van Goodwin*, +2/-1 Rondell Robertson
* Yeah, this poor kid has no first name.

...stay for the Dutch humor!
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Old 11-17-2021, 04:09 PM   #581
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Pre-season has begun!
We lost. And we won.

But who cares about the scores? Seriously, in the IHOF nobody cares about the scores of games in the pre-season. All people want to hear is how out of shape or in shape the players looked between the second and third round of pre-season games. Well, loyal readers, you'll get the report from Maassluis. And with that a bit of a preview on what might turn into the starting lineups. Let's do this bottom up position group by position group, going out of order by beginning with the special teams specialists. As as you're all used to, we'll round the current and future numbers up or down to the nearest 5 or 10.

Loong Snappers, Kickers, Punters
-6/-6 to 50/50 P Manuel Szymanski
+3/+5 to 60/85 K Oscar Harrington
nc/nc to 20/20 LS Harris Custer
The bad news: Szymanski lost a bit of his power. Or never really was as good as we thought him to be? Either way, it's not a very good sign as this makes him basically just your average punter. Harrington looks promising as a field goals and extra points kicker, in potential, but he's just average-ish in the kickoff stuff, which is something we used to be able to rely on with Gino Shea, our previous kicker. Those are skills that only the truly great GMs in football understand to not underappreciate. Custer is what it is, we need a long snapper, he continues to be roughly average for a starter in the IHOF.

Secondary
nc/-1 to 35/50 CB Logan Wallace
nc/nc to 40/40 S Blaine Wright
-6/-6 to 40/40 CB Zachery Weisz
nc/-6 to 30/40 S Zachary Centers
nc/-5 to 25/40 CB Wesley Cabrera
nc/-1 to 30/35 CB Donnie Dogins
-5/-5 to 30/30 S Devon Farrell
nc/-4 to 25/40 CB Eduardo Cowdrick
-1/-7 to 20/40 S Daryl Heath
-2/-8 to 20/30 CB Steven Van Pelt
nc/-2 to 15/20 CB Kendall Boone
Okay, this is one of those position groups where the overall grade of a player says very little about their true value to the team. Some are less of a liability to the running game than others, but mostly it's about how well they are in zone defense or for the shut down corner his man-to-man coverage skills. And then there's a couple of guys that will be part of the special teams unit. CB Weisz continues to be an elite zone defender, while rookie CB Wallace is a solid man to man and bump and run defender. CB Dogins looks like he'll be the CB2. S Farrell continues to be a quality free safety. S Wright is likely to jump into the SS role. Van Pelt, Cabrera and Centers could be decent enough zone defenders to sit on the active roster. Cowdrick might make the team as a special teamer. Boone is just a run stopper, while Heath isn't looking like a usable player just yet, maybe a run stopper in the future? Realistically, aside from Weisz' zone defending, Farrell's experience and half-decentness and Wallace's promising man-to-man skills, we'll have to accept that this is a very weak secondary for IHOF standards. I'm saying bottom 3, without even looking at any of the other 31 teams.

Linebackers
+1/+1 to 50/50 Abraham Desimone
+1/nc to 45/55 Micah Halvorson
nc/nc to 40/40 Trey Ford
nc/-5 to 30/50 Tony Burks
nc/+1 to 30/40 Wally Cooley
nc/-3 to 30/40 Marco Nichols
nc/+2 to 20/35 Mo Fausel
Yeah, that Burks pick in the first round isn't looking all that great just yet. This might be our worst first round linebacker since, well, did we pick any that weren't 50-ish in potential? With one all around great linebacker added, this would be a fine group, but without one... "Meh"? Halvorson is quite good, I think, this guy could be the best linebacker since Brandon Brady ran into a wall early in his career. Desimone is quite solid as well, Ford is okay-ish. This group could be considered better than the secondary and, dare I say it, an improvement over what we had last season given that Desimone and Halvorson are more experienced now.

Defensive Line
nc/nc to 50/50 DE Robbie Dobreski
nc/nc to 45/45 DT Alexander May
nc/nc to 45/45 DT Harold Gough
-6/-10 to 35/45 DT Jacob Buckey
+1/+1 to 35/35 DE Spencer Crawford
+1/-2 to 30/40 DT Mitch Potchynok
+2/-1 to 30/35 DE Deon Rosas
-8/-8 to 20/20 DE J.C. Pike
Buckey... What a waste of a second round pick last off-season. He's probably going to be on the running downs rotation still, together with May, but still. The other guys are just here for their pass rush speed, or technique as you will. Losing Piotte will hurt, losing Domis as well will not make it any better. All in all, the defense is still a crapshoot. We're going to need an offense to play ball.

Offensive Line
Oh my gosh... Maybe I should just skip talking about this group. It would be unfair to tell these kids they can't play ball, but really, our own staff replaced the five designated starters in the pre-season games with our backup fullback, wide receivers, running backs and even our kick holder played a bunch of downs at right tackle. Oh my gosh! Okay, because it's not these rookies' fault the player agents of our previous guys asked way too much money for what those guys were supposed to be capable of and never delivered. So, the new guys deserve to be mentioned too:
-1/nc to 30/65 G Brett Stickney
nc/-1 to 35/50 C Lincoln Stonge
-1/-4 to 30/45 LT Harold Gruenwalder
nc/nc to 30/45 G Floyd Graham
-1/nc to 35/40 G Corwin Driver
nc/+4 to 25/45 C Stan Cloude
-1/+2 to 20/45 LT Carson McCormick
nc/-5 to 25/40 LT Salvador Horton
-1/-1 to 25/40 C Gustavo Hartman
Stickney, Stonge and McCormick were mentioned on the list of biggest gains according to DogBytes. Maybe it's not all just bad news?

Wide Receivers
The cherry and the cream, after we threw away most of the pie.
nc/nc to 80/80 Calvin Maxwell
+1/+1 to 70/70 Vinny Buysse
-1/-1 to 45/45 Ed Schulz
nc/-5 to 20/35 Rick Emerson
+1/+2 to 25/30 Calvin Hancock
nc/+2 to 15/25 Gage Greer
Yeah, three awesome dudes and set of special teamers without the proper return skills to play double duty. We'll have to find a way to get the ball to Maxwell. And to Buysse. And a bit to Schulz. Without overdoing it.

Tight Ends
+1/+6 to 35/60 Garrett Alcala
nc/nc to 45/45 Wesley Martin
+1/+4 to 25/45 Darnell McKie
nc/-2 to 20/30 Raul Milliken
nc/-2 to 20/25 Antoine Springer
Yay? Alcala looks for real, albeit very green still. Martin can play, we knew that already, but is realistically a TE2. McKie looks promising as a receiver and special teamer. Milliken or Springer will make the team as the emergency backup with special teams skills, or jump ahead of McKie based on those special teams skills.

Backfield
+1/+1 to 65/65 RB Ken Torphy
+1/+1 to 45/45 FB Damien Wanamaker
nc/+1 to 30/40 RB Van Goodwin
nc/nc to 30/35 RB Rondell Robertson
nc/-3 to 30/40 RB Rod Eafon
-6/-6 to 20/20 FB Owen Johnston
-9/-9 to 15/15 RB Ronnie Vanden Bosch
Eafon and VDB I'm on the fence about. Is it time, it is really time to say good buy to the bad memories of what could have been? No, I'm not talking about Torphy just yet, despite that he got stuffed hard and harder in pre-season against the reigning IHOF champions (14 yards on 14 carries, oof). Wanamaker is supposed to be an elite run blocker and we might need him even more now with the young line in front of him. (The cohesion on our line is depressingly dreadful, seriously, Merchantmen unworthy.) Robertson is our new punt returner. Goodwin might make the team as our RB2, or a special teamer from the RB3 slot.

Quarterbacks
nc/nc to 55/55 Earnest Ashley
Yes, he's still here. Season 9 for him, game 126 and onwards. You'd think I would have given up on him by now. Maybe I should have, but we gave him yet another big signing bonus. We'll be in the tank on him for 2 more seasons after this one with $30M of dead cap space still. So, let's give this guy one more chance. The last one?
nc/+2 to 20/35 Malachi Manning
nc/+3 to 10/35 Jay Bates
nc/+2 to 10/25 Wendell DeMeester
Manning is our kick holder and emergency quarterback. Wait, we don't have a legit QB2? At least not right now, no. Bates and DeMeester? Both gained in training camp and pre-season, but is it enough to keep either of them? Unlikely, but if we can't find or afford a QB2, maybe Bates will get a chance to stay through pre-season 2103.

And that's the story, for now.

The next order of business of locking up Calvin Maxwell, offering him franchise quarterback money. And once we achieved that, the decision on Ken Torphy has to be made. A fellow IHOF GM already gave him the nickname "Praticipation" Torphy. I'm not there yet, but "Patriciaption" might work...
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

Last edited by MIJB#19 : 11-17-2021 at 04:10 PM. Reason: cuz i can
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Old 11-18-2021, 04:35 PM   #582
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Game on
Calvin Maxwell's agent is a uncool.

I wanted to say something like "prick" or "douchebag" or "moron", but we still have to sit around the table with him. "Him" here is the player agent of Calvin Maxwell. We got the note: Maxwell wants to be paid. A lot. Imagine that and then double it. He wants $316M over 5 years, including a $47M signing bonus. So, I'm not new to this business, thus we offered him $318M over 5 years, including a $85M bonus.

Offer denied. Double U Tea Eff!

Welcome to the antics of player agents in the IHOF.

We'll get there, but this isn't the most fun part of this job as a general manager/owner of an american football franchise. I think I have other things to do too. Like keeping my diary filled and stuff.

Thing is - and I'll go and quote my fellow IHOF GM QuikSand here - Thing One is making it awfully hard to make us able to hold on to Thing Two then. And these two guys will probably start complaining about the 4 or 5 rookies starting on the offensive line. Well duh, kids, do the math: if all of you want $40M per year in a $554M salary cap, we can only afford to give that to a handful of you and still have some money left for the other 40 roster spots. Maybe it's time for Maxwell and Torphy to play on the offensive line themselves, like, in the next couple of pre-season games? I won't order my staff to do that, but they might as well will...

Anyway, first offer got turned down. But you know me, I won't get turned down once and give up just yet. Attempt number two is in the works. And the good news here is that I know I will get two more opportunities if Maxwell's player agent does the right thing (for us) and make him the most expensive wide receiver in the history of the IHOF.

And then, only then, we'll start wondering who to hire to give him the damn ball.
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Old 11-20-2021, 06:36 AM   #583
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Player Agents are the worst
That's all.

I just have to write the frustration off. We got back to the table with Calvin Maxwell's player agent and, well, you guessed it, we offered more than $12M more than requested, even put more money into the balloon salaries in the future (because apparently that's what they want), but no such luck. His agents continues to refuse guaranteed money over inflated future money.

Just take a look at Robbie Zinn, who's still without a team, despite being a top5 center. Or Richie Piotte, he ended up in Gothenburg, of all places, for a one-year rental. Don't blame the Merchantmen, blame your agents and their absurd backwards thinking. Now you're not playing football or getting less money that we were willing to offer you guaranteed.

So, we're reaching the final chance stage, because for dubious reasons it's not allowed to renegotiate contracts during the season, despite that it makes a lot more sense to up a contract of a player that's doing well. But that's another story. Fact is: we're reaching the point where we'll have to offer Maxwell something outrageously more than he's asking for - this is not how negotiations are supposed to go, we're supposed to bid lower - and will have to decide whether we want to give Ken Torphy a contract he hasn't proven he's worth, in which case we'll have to make cap room available by releasing defensive end J.C. McPike, who also has a moronic player agent, demanding more money, despite that the Merchantmen are the only franchise in the IHOF willing to give him a contract.

Goodness, how obtuse are these agents.

Let's hope they don't read my comments here and never want to speak to me again...
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Old 11-20-2021, 02:58 PM   #584
QuikSand
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
So, as a mild departure from "real world" framing...

I assume that your situation is a cap crunch, and you're offering variations of contracts trying to make the first year affordable. The problem is that the player much prefers money soon to money later. So, your summaries of the total contract value, even once we see the total bonus, are telling part of the story but not all of it, presumably...

Quote:
He wants $316M over 5 years, including a $47M signing bonus. So, I'm not new to this business, thus we offered him $318M over 5 years, including a $85M bonus.

That sounds like it ought to work, but... all i can suggest is more bonus. The default request is usually pretty backloaded in base salary anyway, so presumably you're backloading it even more...not sure what to suggest but if you have the capacity now, adding bonus is way more effective than adding more base salary in, say, year three.

I think you likely know all this and I'm not helping...but just in case, that's likely the path if you can squeeze it short term.
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Old 11-20-2021, 04:05 PM   #585
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuikSand View Post
So, as a mild departure from "real world" framing...

I assume that your situation is a cap crunch, and you're offering variations of contracts trying to make the first year affordable. The problem is that the player much prefers money soon to money later. So, your summaries of the total contract value, even once we see the total bonus, are telling part of the story but not all of it, presumably...



That sounds like it ought to work, but... all i can suggest is more bonus. The default request is usually pretty backloaded in base salary anyway, so presumably you're backloading it even more...not sure what to suggest but if you have the capacity now, adding bonus is way more effective than adding more base salary in, say, year three.

I think you likely know all this and I'm not helping...but just in case, that's likely the path if you can squeeze it short term.
Yeah, I'm aware of this (edited in: I've gotten the hang and feel of what kind of contracts these kind of players will or won't accept), I've been going through the renegotiations drama in almost every single season since IHOF switched to FOF8. The extremely annoying part is that the renegotiation acceptance algorithm in multiplayer is different than the one in single player, as much different that a particular contract structure that is accepted 100% of the time in SP, is denied 100% of the time in MP. And between those two, I still haven't found the sweet spot for what the x's and y's are that flips it from 100% denied to 100% accepted (which would even be realistic or "fun" to figure out).

That combined with that in FOF8 MP we get only 3 or 4 attempts (between pre-season 2 and week 1) to make contract offers to these players, there's very little room for trial and error. I'm convinced that I would have been able to avoid this cap mess in a SP universe, for the most part at least.

It would probably have felt very different had this state of the art roster been coming off back to back to back bowl game reaching seasons. In prior blow up situations, my team was at least dominating the division and playing a conference championship game or two. But the reality is that in the Maxwell+Torphy era, the Merchantmen are a bottom 3 franchise. All these players are demanding salary and bonus figures they haven't earned by playing well on the field at all. Maxwell and Torphy are notorious for being 'bad performance in unexpected places' guys, but so was basically the entire offense in the last 3 seasons. Our window of opportunity to win something never opened, at all.



That, pretty much.



Anyway, I have my plan ready to lock up Maxwell and Torphy. I won't really like it, as the snowballing effect will continue for seasons to come.
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Old 11-22-2021, 03:09 PM   #586
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Stop complaining!
We won! And lost Torphy. Where are the priorities?

The good news first: Calvin Maxwell signed a new contract. And it cost us quite a lot. He signed a 5-year deal worth $333M. Just to compare things: quarterback Earnest Ashley signed a 5-year deal worth $218M as recently as 2 off-seasons ago. So yeah, our wide receivers gets 1.5 times what a franchise quarterback gets. Oh. My. Gosh.

The bad news: Ken Torphy never received the 5-year deal we had ready for him. Despite that we made sure all the contract offers and player releases all went into the right order, apparently there's some machine in between that decided to move the release of J.C. McPike from the second order of business to the last order of business, which should have been the cap space creating move to lock up Torphy. We wrote the league commissioner about this, but I think it's a lost cause already.

Ken "The Lost Cause" Torphy? For almost a century I didn't want to spend too much on running backs, but for this kid I made an exception, thinking he'd be worthy of 2 drafts worthy of picks to be allowed to team up with Maxwell, Vinny Buysse and back then we still had Clarence Gore at tight end, all playing around a solid offensive line. Torphy today ran for 12 yards on 16 carries. The O-Line that we released to be able to afford Torphy, apparently The Lost Cause is hopeless without them.

Calvin Maxwell wasn't a lost cause and Vinny Buysse turned out to be the touchdown machine for the day, complete with a fourth and goal touchdown with 9 seconds remaining to pull of a 24-23 victory over the Bordeaux Vineyards. Woohoo!

European Division
1. Gothenburg 1-0
2. Maassluis 1-0
3. Bordeaux 0-1
4. Paris 0-1

Wait, that's actually pretty good news: we won in week 1! It was quite ugly, but we did it. On to week 2, a trip to the Hanalei Dragons.
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Old 11-22-2021, 05:38 PM   #587
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
The 19 of 2102
After a bunch of trades, made during the 2102 draft and several in the off-seasons prior, the Maassluis Merchantmen finished that draft with 19 picks. A long list of young men hoping to win a job in the international house of football. Joining the Merchantmen is, usually, one of the best chances to stick around in the league, at least on the same team. But with 18 others from the same class, will those odds still be the same? On the other end of things, the Merchantmen swept through their roster throughout that same pre-season and were in dire need of fresh meat. Hence, incoming the 19 of 2102. Let's see whether tracking down where these kids end up over time will be an interesting side story in the long history of the IHOF?

The list of 19 could arguably be considered to be slightly longer (like 33 names long) after including undrafted rookies. Which is fair, because they're still from the same draft class. So, let's list them by pick and after that in order of signing. In this first installment, we'll mention whether these guys made the 2102 regular season roster or not and mention any possible position switches.

1.24 ILB Tony Burks
2.6 TE Garrett Alcala
2.13 CB Logan Wallace
2.24 K Oscar Harrington
2.28 CB Zachary Centers - switched to SS
3.5 CB Wesley Cabrera
3.18 RB Rondell Robertson
4.3 OT Harold Gruenwalder - switched to LT
4.7 G Brett Stickney
4.23 S Daryl Heath - released in pre-season
5.2 C Lincoln Stonge
5.6 LT Salvador Horton
5.13 DT Mitch Potchynok
5.23 G Floyd Graham
5.24 OLB Marco Nichols
6.5 S Eduardo Cowdrick - switched to CB
6.31 TE Raul Milliken - released in pre-season
7.7 WR Rick Emerson
7.31 CB Steven Van Pelt
undrafted QB Wendell DeMeester - released in pre-season
undrafted TE Antoine Springer
undrafted TE Tanner Sweeney - released after training camp
undrafted QB Jay Bates
undrafted RB Rod Eafon - released in pre-season
undrafted TE Darnell McKie
undrafted WR Gage Greer
undrafted C Stan Cloude - released in pre-season
undrafted OT Carson McCormick - switched to LT
undrafted ILB Mo Fausel
undrafted CB Kendall Boone - released in pre-season
undrafted RB Van Goodwin
undrafted WR Calvin Hancock
undrafted C Gustavo Hartman

So, with 7 players released, 26 of them made the 2102 Merchantmen roster for opening week. Including kicker Harrington, 9 of them could be considered starters (for now) and 10 more of them were on the active roster, the other 7 were inactive.

For now, 19 turned into 33 and got reduced to 26. Will all of them make it to the end of the season on team? And what will happened to the 7 kids that got released?


Let's zoom in on those 7 released guys to finish this introduction.

QB DeMeester is amongst the top5 free agents in sense rush ability, the best rookie, but his Solecismic score doesn't bode well to get a second chance.

RB Eafon is in the top10 free agents in hole recognition, the second best rookie. His blitz pickup ability and route running potential could be interesting enough for a second chance, but will it suffice?

TE Sweeney's best asset is his big-play ability. But overall, with his okay run blocking potential, okay route running potential, courage and special teams skills, he's a long shot to find a new home.

TE Milliken hung around a bit longer in Maassluis, because compared to Sweeney, he's got getting downfield ability opposed to Sweeney's courage. Is it enough to get another chance in the IHOF? Probably not.

C Cloude is a decent enough run blocker that he might get a second chance.

CB Boone is a run stopper, but really nothing else. For a cornerback, he's got great potential at it, but without the ability to play any of the pass defense schemes, what kind of role would any team give him? His special teams are good, but not great enough to make it based on that.

S Heath was maybe the most surprising release, but his pass defense skills are lacking. His run defense is okay, his play diagnosis potentially very good and he can hit hard. But that's unlikely good enough to get a second chance.
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Old 11-24-2021, 05:30 PM   #588
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Division leaders!
At least for one week of action.

We've done it, we've reached the spot that Merchantmen fans of the past were used to: the top of the division. After a 20-7 drubbing at the Hanalei Dragons, we beat the Orlando Talons 27-24 in overtime to improve to 2-1. In the meantime, the Gothenburg Giants lost against the Tucker Tigers today and now we're in a three-way lead at the top of the division, with us having the premature tie-breakers.

European Division:
1. Maassluis 2-1
2. Gothenburg 2-1
3. Bordeaux 2-1
4. Paris 1-2

So, first things first, we played dreadful at Hanalei. Earnest Ashley got picked off twice, Ken Torphy ran for 45 yards and Vinny Buysse was held to 2 catches for 10 yards. In return, the defense gave up exactly 400 total yards.

We bounced back at home, with quite possibly the most crucial play being Calvin Maxwell's 60-yard kickoff return to start overtime and set up the game winning field goal. Which means that of Earnest Ashley's 364 yards passing and Maxwell's 182 yards receiving, none of that was boosted by overtime action as all we gained there was a 6-yard run by the Lost Cause. Torphy ran for 56 yards on 20 carries.

And with that, we once again go into our way too early in the season open week to watch what the rest of the division can do to catch up or jump ahead. As per usual, all three are playing on the road, with Gothenburg the only one favored to win, obviously.

Okay, so, how about all those rookies, are they making any impact yet? The true impact guys should be our high round picks, you'd assume. I'm unimpressed by our first round pick LB Tony Burks, as a result, he's fighting for playing time with several other players, mostly the guys that were playing last season already. TE Garrett Alcala made his first two receptions today, including his first touchdown, so: yay. CB Logan Wallace is by lack of veterans our shutdown corner and today he was close to living up to it. K Oscar Harrington missed a 58-yard field goal late in regulation, but he did nail the game winner in over time. S Zachary Centers has been inactive so far. CB Wesley Cabrera had an interception today. And that's where I think I should stop mentioning stats. I'll add that the following rookies are starters as well: 4th round LT Harold Gruenwalder, 4th round G Brett Stickney, 5th round C Lincoln Stonge and undrafted LT Carson McCormick. Some have their roles on the special teams unit and 7 guys have yet to get the chance to dress up for a game.

In other news, G Roger Staigvil, LT Johnnie Houston, RB Ronnie Vanden Bosch, TE Myron Lofton, TE Riley Bridges, WR Bobby Sutton, WR Tony Tanyavutti, WR Jimmie Hitt, LT Johnathan Van Pelt, DT Caleb Domis, DE J.C. McPike, LB Preston Bradford, LB Caden Reese and S Jon Brotzman are all sitting on the free agents market. Some of them were released by us with some heartache (Domis, McPike), but most just didn't understand what their market value was outside of Maassluis. And see there, these guys are sitting at home, waiting for a phone call that likely won't come. They could have been starters on a division leading team...
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Old 11-29-2021, 02:55 PM   #589
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The Thing 1 and Thing 2 era returns to how it has been
No, the Thing 1 and Thing 2 thing won't become a thing here.

Let's start with the divisional standings first:
1. Gothenburg 5-2
2. Bordeaux 3-3
3. Paris 3-3
4. Maassluis 2-4

And that's with 4 home games in the books already. Yeah, the promising young team that we have isn't quite the improvement over the overpaid sons of... No, no, MIJB, the past is the past, stop complaining about the would-have-could-have-should-have team that not just failed to play 12-4 football, they struggled to... Stop it, MIJB, 2102, today's news!

Today's news is that we lost the Futility Bowl game against the Toronto Lake Monsters 31-24 in Oranje Haven - where else? One could say we deserved to win today, but a fourth quarter pick six may have been the game decider. It was Earnest Ashley's second interception of the game, he's up to 11 for the season. It has to be part of our game plan (the other way around, I mean), because he is to be considered one of the top 10 most careful quarterbacks. Are we too demanding of his not so strong arm? Or maybe it's because he's the quarterback under the heaviest pass rush pressure in the league. He already was behind the overpaid... I mean: some things never change.

So, we played the Toronto Lake Monsters close, but we were a bit less close at home against the Rochester Razorbacks in a 27-17 loss. And prior we lost at the North Plainfield Plague 30-11, a game that we always lose if we have a better record going in.

Is there good news? Ken Torphy showed a sign of competence: The Lost Cause ran for 133 yards.

How about them rookies, you know, like half the team? Well... There's always next season. I mean, the second half of the season to see where they stand. Right now, it's certainly not helping that we're fielding many unexperienced players that haven't gelled yet.

Oh, by the way, we actually outgained the Lake Monsters today in yardage while also having superior field position. It's not all bad, worse, dreadful, disastrous. Sometimes, the team with the better stats doesn't win the game. That too is football.
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Old 12-01-2021, 08:42 AM   #590
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 2102, not our year?
Not totally unexpected, but still...

We're dropping hard. An attempt to tweak the offensive game plan has not resulted in progress. Our skill players can't get the job done in 2102 either. We fell 26-17 at home to the Paris Musketeers and 27-10 on the road at the Harlem Apollos.

European division:
1. Paris 5-3
2. Gothenburg 5-4
3. Bordeaux 4-4
4. Maassluis 2-6

So, tweaking the game plan, it's still not making Earnest Ashley become the quarterback that we've been hoping he could be. It's really sad to see his ability go to waste like that. The issue really isn't Calvin Maxwell, he's second in IHOF with 10.46 yards per target. Vinny Buysse though is unexplainably horrific with just 5.54 yards per target. This is the best WR2 in the league, supposed to be anyway. Ed Schulz is doing as he should, although dropping a lot of balls, he's top of the league at 19.28 yards per catch, that's really all we can ask for out of him. Garrett Alcala is still struggling with his underdeveloped route running and fellow third down tight end Darnell McKie has yet to get on the field on those downs where we could really use him.

"We suggest more testing"?

...

Anyway, we'll require more "back to the drawing board" regardless.

My comment from 2 game weeks ago holds up: the Maxwell and Torphy era is shaping up to be the opposite of what one would expect, this looks like it's going to the worst Merchantmen team ever, although their 8-8 rookie season might save them from that honor.

But at the same time, y'all know that we're not going the towel after just 8 games, optimistically we can still finish the season at 10-6, which should be good enough to make the post season. So, more of that drawing and less complaining. Let's go, team!
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Old 12-02-2021, 08:04 AM   #591
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: roster moves at mid-season
Oh, and we lost, again.

It was a busy week in the human resource department of the Merchantmen. No less than 5 players were released after 8 games, as a result of the signing of 5 veterans to inject some experience to the team, hoping those new guys can mentor our starting rookies. Joining the team are cornerback Eric McCool, tackle Junior Karr, long snapper Francisco Griffith, guard Joey Arnold and tight end Clarence Gore. Indeed, a return of our 2091 fifth round pick. Gore left us in the 2101 off-season as I didn't offer him a new contract and eventually he spent the whole season with the Colorado Cutthroats, in a reserve role, but still active in all 16 regular season games.

The bad news of the week went to 5 players that had been on the team this season. Most prominently is the release of Harris Custer, our long snapper. We were happy about his performance, but signing the older and less talented Griffith will boost the experience of our O-Line. We also released 5th round rookie Salvador Horton. He was our backup offensive tackle, but had been inactive in the first 8 games. Also inactive had been 7th round cornerback Steven Van Pelt. Despite his promise as a zone defender, we decided to make room for a mentor. Center Gustavo Hartman and tight end Antoine Springer had been on the team as undrafted rookies. Hartman had been active in the first 8 games, but was the only player in all 8 games to remain on the side line all game long. Springer had been inactive throughout the first half of the season.

It didn't have a great effect on the team performance though. We lost 19-3 in Bordeaux, witnessing the second shutout of Calvin Maxwell in his career. The Lost Cause Ken Torphy was held under 30 yards for the fourth time this season.

European Division:
1. Paris 6-3
2. Bordeaux 5-4
3. Gothenburg 5-4
4. Maassluis 2-7

Yikes.

So, next up, a visit to the Gothenburg Giants, on paper the toughest game of the entire season, including a potential IHOF Bowl, if we somehow make a miracle happen (hey, we're mathematically still alive and kicking, sitting at 3 wins behind the virtual sixth seed with 7 weeks still to go). Realistically though, we have to take this game by game, one at a time. iIseriously fear for something like a 40-0 loss in Gothenburg as they're stuck in a 3-game losing streak and have to bounce back sooner or later. But so do we, as our losing streak (6 now) has to snap at some point. We went back to the drawing board for a brand new offensive game plan, which could either support the fear of getting completely humiliated, or catch the Giants by surprise. We'll have to wait and see which one it will be.
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Old 12-03-2021, 07:47 AM   #592
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Another loss
Experiment failed.

Yup, this was it. No more nonsense. I thought I had a quality staff. So, I let my offensive coordinator make the game plan. What resulted looked like drawing random doodles thrown into a hat and blindfolded getting pulled out. End result: Ken Torphy ran the ball only 12 times for a season low of 22 yards. Calvin Maxwell was targeted 2 times all game. 2 times... He made 1 catch for 3 yards. At least our kick holder had a decent game, at quarterback, completing 6 of 8 passes for 54 yards. Our defense really didn't do much to get the offense back on the field, giving up 521 total yards. Gothenburg had the ball for 41 minutes... We lost 36-10, we saved face as our rookie backup kickoff returner scored on a 100-yard return.

European Division
1. Paris 7-3
2. Gothenburg 6-4
3. Bordeaux 5-5
4. Maassluis 2-8

We're on pace for the most humiliating season in franchise history. Sure, we've already topped the win-loss total of the 2004 season, but I'm talking about the points scored and allowed difference. Our all-time low was a -105 set not too long ago in 2098. We're currently sitting at -113. So, yeah, we're on pace for -181. Mind blowing stuff, no?

Next up a much easier task? Nope, we're actually hosting the reigning IHOF champions: the Oakland Black Panthers. A mismatch for our defense, as our #31 run defense will have to face the #1 rushing offense. So, I suppose saving the season will have to wait for another week.
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Old 12-06-2021, 09:44 AM   #593
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: We're improving?
But we're still losing.

Our losing streak has improved to 9 straight. It's the second longest in franchise history. Loyal fans know when the longest one happened, that was all the way back in 2004, the inaugural IHOF season. Back then after a 1-2 start, we lost 13 straight. We also lost in week 1 of the 2005 season.

So, what did we do the last two games? First of, we faced tough competition with the (currently) 9-3 Oakland Black Panthers and Houston Mustangs. We stacked against the run against Oakland and albeit that didn't quite work out as hoped, we put up a fight and lost 27-24 against the reigning champions. Against Houston our inability to get our star players on offense play like star players showed up once again and we lost 35-21, despite that we got the Houston quarterback on his worst day of the season. Earnest Ashley being the bright light on the offense was, well, encouraging news? Or was it one of his "see, I can play well 3 times per season" kind of performances?

European Division:
1. Paris 9-3
2. Bordeaux 6-6
3. Gothenburg 6-6
4. Maassluis 2-10

How about that, Paris still in the lead with a wide margin. Well, we'll be sure to try and play spoiler at their place in week 15. And then again in week 17 when the Gothenburg Giants come to Maassluis and will waste their last hopes to make the playoffs. Once can dream no? In between we'll try to keep the Colorado Cutthroats from staying in the race for the West division title.

But first, we'll get to face the Fairbanks Northstars, in our place. Soleciscmic Software has us as 5-point underdogs, the Dogbytes metric as 2-point underdogs.

Minus 130 points. That's the figure we're at right now and that's the one we're going to have to work on in those last 4 games, especially with that first one, which realistically is the one where we have the best chance to end the losing streak.

I can't say it in public (hence, why I'm writing this in this secret diary that nobody reads on the team), but have lost all hope that this team can win one more game this season. Which is a lie, because the last two games actually returned some belief that Calvin Maxwell and in particular Ken Torphy aren't just a complete of waste of draft picks... Although, the Lost Cause is pretty much that to me now.
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Old 12-07-2021, 03:22 PM   #594
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: It's over.
I mean: we won!

Yes. Finally. At last. The second longest losing streak in the history of the Maassluis Merchantmen has come to an end. Despite giving up 469 yards in regulation, we managed to hold the Fairbanks Northstars to a 24-24 tie after 60 minutes and then rookie Oscar Harrison scored the game winning field goal on our second possession: 27-24! Vinny Buysse was shutdown, aside from 1 catch, a huge 75-yarder. Ernest Ashley threw for 324 yards, but was quite dizzy after the game, getting sacked 7 times...

European Division
1. Paris 9-4
2. Bordeaux 7-6
3. Gothenburg 7-6
4. Maassluis 3-10

Yeah, we clinched last place, we having nothing to lose anymore the rest of the way. So, we'll do our best to stay away from the #1 overall pick and start that by upsetting the Paris Musketeers in their own house. That would be the awesome, no? In the meantime, we try to improve our young team by giving them more time to grow. And for their and my sake, I hope they turn out to be good enough to remain starters for more than this lost season...
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Last edited by MIJB#19 : 12-07-2021 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 12-08-2021, 12:07 PM   #595
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
So, season 100 of the IHOF is on the horizon. Given that it's December, I'm actually in a nostalgic retro-stories mood. I know that in this kind of medium whatever I want to write about will be written about, but I'll mention this to give any readers interested in particular stories a chance to think along. That and I have a lot of time on my hands this month, so, I could use this as a distraction and booster.

What I'll likely do is making another list of favorite players, still mulling between a top100 or limiting myself to a 53-men all-time roster.

Other ideas, suggestions, requests?
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Old 12-09-2021, 10:04 AM   #596
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Playing spoiler!
Indeed, we beat one of the playoff bound teams.

We're somewhat making the best of it and the end of this season. We failed to stop Chandler Ferguson of the Paris Musketeers (we stacked up on it, but he still ran for 173 yards with 6.9 per carry against us, that's phenomenal for his standards), but we still made them work extremely hard for it in front of their own fans. Eventually we choked a 24-7 lead into a 25-24 loss. We even drove for a game winning field goal, but that ended on an interception. Vinny Buysse finally, finally, finally showed up with 8 catches for 180 yards.

We followed up by upsetting the Colorado Cutthroats 26-13 in their home. We lost Calvin Maxwell to a broken foot, but not until after he yanked up 125 yards receiving. Calvin lite (Hancock) will have to do in the last game of the season against Gothenburg.

European division
1. Paris 11-4
2. Gothenburg 9-6
3. Bordeaux 8-7
4. Maassluis 4-11

That's right, Gothenburg has jumped ahead of Bordeaux (with tie-breakers to boost) and is currently in the driver's seat of the last wild card in the AOC. To cash it, they'll need to avoid losing at our place, or hope for the Southeast's Orlando and Snapfinger to both trip over their respective opponents. As it stands now, we'll end the season with having played 9 games against teams to make the playoffs (on a related note: we're currently 3rd in strongest schedule, but are guaranteed to finish in 1st). Colorado can also still choke it, they'll need to not lose in their last game, or hope for Kansas to lose.

But, you know us, we're at our best when we're at our worst. We're missing our best players on offense and defense, so, inside a likely sold out Oranje Haven, we'll have a chance to take down the Giants with us.
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* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

Last edited by MIJB#19 : 12-09-2021 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 12-09-2021, 02:04 PM   #597
Kodos
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Do it. I don't really want to see the Giants in the playoffs.
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Old 12-10-2021, 01:36 AM   #598
tzach
High School JV
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by MIJB#19 View Post
Other ideas, suggestions, requests?


maybe you already covered that earlier, but it would be cool to see 1) a post with some comments on the top 10 games in MAA's history, and if you have the energy, 2) the top 10 games in IHOF history (matchup between any teams, not only MAA)
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Old 12-10-2021, 06:17 AM   #599
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tzach View Post
maybe you already covered that earlier, but it would be cool to see 1) a post with some comments on the top 10 games in MAA's history, and if you have the energy, 2) the top 10 games in IHOF history (matchup between any teams, not only MAA)
Oh yeah, I hadn't thought of that, I'll give this some thought. It makes me wish I had salvaged more of the older FOF (MP) games, particularly play by plays for the 2004-2061 time periods (box scores all the way back to 2004 are on the IHOF website, yay!). The second part (IHOF wide top 10) would be a lot harder indeed and probably better suited for the IHOF site than the dynasty.
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Old 12-10-2021, 07:08 AM   #600
tzach
High School JV
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Quote:
Originally Posted by MIJB#19 View Post
Oh yeah, I hadn't thought of that, I'll give this some thought. It makes me wish I had salvaged more of the older FOF (MP) games, particularly play by plays for the 2004-2061 time periods (box scores all the way back to 2004 are on the IHOF website, yay!). The second part (IHOF wide top 10) would be a lot harder indeed and probably better suited for the IHOF site than the dynasty.


i haven't realized that the box scores are still in the website -- nice. the sequence of the 2038 and 2039 conf games against jackie collier have to be among the top 10
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