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Old 07-20-2023, 04:38 AM   #801
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Pre-season 2116, part 1

QB Bart Tanner signed a new 4-year deal with us.

I was about to give up on him and ready to give the keys back to QB Harrison Singleton. But just before the pre-season action commenced, we made our only take it or leave it offer to Tanner. And he took it. A $27M bonus, a $26M salary this season and $40 salaries in the next 3 seasons. It makes Tanner the 4th most expensive cap figure for our team this season, behind the prima donnas WR Jessie Vertelney and WR Rodolfo Lane, and roughly $4.5M behind Singleton. It wasn't a clear cut situation as we still needed to restructure some other contracts to have just enough cap space and the earlier release of WR Preston Gray turned out to be key in getting just enough cap space. We've got less than $0.5M in cap space now.

This will have quite the impact on our final cuts after pre-season action as this makes it much less likely I will keep rookie QB Kent Figures and his mentor QB Blake Stai on the final 53-men roster. I have to go by memory at the moment, but I think I decided that we'd go into the final 2 pre-season games with 55 on roster, not counting CB Kent Wodarz, whom I decided to put on injured reserve as long as his struggles with arthritis will be remain. Rookie K Carter Madison won't make the 53-men roster. Nor will LB Wendell Reynolds, who simply got stuck behind a foursome of also excellent special teamers with - contrary to Reynolds - the skills to play on our defense as well. LB Roy Finch looks promising too, but he won't make the team either, lacking zone defense skills, play diagnosis and enough special teams ability. DE Howie Tucker was our other cut, result of his decline. Still a bit of a surprise, we went 4-1 with him on the active roster last season, but his big drop in ability to rush the passer and what not, his playing career in the IHOF appears over.

If we're going to stick with QB Kent Figures and/or his mentor QB Blake Stai, I'll have to look again at the linebackers and the secondary which of those players is not going to make the team. We're currently at 6 linebackers and 12 defensive backs. That last figure is absurd. I mentioned the on the bubble names earlier, those guys all still are. Or are they?

S Cesar Welch was the biggest pre-season revelation and boosted himself up from a coin flip away from getting cut to being in the rotation as a strong safety. He's still green, but we'll throw him out there anyway to quickly grow. S Britt Schulz didn't make the much anticipated jump that Welch did make, which could be the end of it for him right here already. CB Marquis Wolf is already a very good zone defender, CB Adrian Kornegay by far the best special team on the secondary and first round pick CB Zachary Blair, despite his somewhat expected nosedive in ability, too expensive in dead cap space if released. CB Joel Delgado is the beneficiary of it, his status quo in decline (thus lack thereof) makes him a defensible stick around with his cohesion value and still being the second best man-to-man defender on the entire secondary.

Other pre-season "changes" of note? Several players took a moderately biggish hit (QB Blake Stai, FB Kenneth Holse, WR Maurice Sweeney, WR Kai Cote, C Duane Ondre, K Oscar Harrington, DT Efrain Hutchins and CB Byron Sokol), but none of them warrant a change in their role on the team. Other than S Cesar Welch, we had no guys on the upside.

So, 57 signed, which means 2 more have to go after the last two pre-season games.

Oh yeah, we actually already played 2 pre-season games.

We lost 31-14 at the Brooklyn Fightin' Bums. WR Rodolfo Lane scored on a 76-yard punt return, QB Bart Tanner threw a 53-yard touchdown to WR Jessie Vertelney, both took place in the second half. LB Jorge Mayes had 4 defended passes, money well spent?

We beat the Capital City Blues 30-19. QB Harrison Singleton threw 3 interceptions, but also had a touchdown pass to WR Jessie Vertelney. QB Bart Tanner threw a short touchdown to WR Rodolfo Lane. S Peter Hinsley had a 55-yard interception return touchdown that was crucial in the flip around after Singleton's turnovers.

The pass rush floated at around 25% in both games, which is where we want it to be back at in 2116. With the big men DT Efrain Hutchins and DT Carlos Fisher up front, this defense can be very daunting.
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Old 07-20-2023, 11:08 AM   #802
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
IHOF Dynasties

So, a dynasty, what defines a dynasty? And what does it in professional (american) football?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives two meanings for the word "dynasty":
1. a succession of rulers of the same line of descent
2. a powerful group or family that maintains its position for a considerable time

If we're going by the first definition, there's quite simply only one answer to it in the context of the IHOF: The Tucker Tigers. If they really still need an introduction, in 112 seasons of IHOF football, they made the playoffs 97 times, reached the conference semi finals 89 times, made the AOC Championship game 65 times, made it to the Bowl game 43 times and won the bowl game 22 times. I mean, even the second best, the Chesapeake Chitterlings, who are a landslide ahead of the third best, can be called the rulers of their conference, but are nowhere close to the Tigers: 88 times playoffs, 70 times conference semi finals, 46 times conference finalists, 28 times bowl participants, 14 times bowl winners. It will be embarrassing to the rest of the field to bring up the third best, nor would it be completely technically correct as these two are half of the four IHOF franchises that never went through ownership changes (the others being the Bordeaux Vineyards and yours truly's Maassluis Merchantmen).

In overall regular season wins, there are similar wide gaps. The Tucker Tigers have won 1311 regular season games (9 ties), the Chesapeake Chitterlings are 8.5 undefeated 16-game seasons behind (1174 wins, 4 ties). Third place is arbitrary, based on your definition on whether name changes and ownership changes do or do not make for a new or the same franchise. The protagonists in this particular story could be placed fourth or arguably third in this metric, having 1004 regular season wins (and 8 ties) to show for. How about that, the Merchantmen of 2115 brought the entire history of the franchise into the 1000-win group! Yet we're still almost 11 undefeated seasons behind the Chitterlings.


Okay, so, what's the second definition? It can be interpreted somewhat differently, we could say a "group" here is a group of players. And the up for debate part is: what's a considerable time?

That's where my own arbitrair decisions come in. Without going through all the technicalities, I've decided that it would be fun to make a list of dynasties (or near dynasties) and get a little bit beyond that by allowing also-rans to come ito the picture. I picked 5 seasons of performance at the minimum and put a firm bottom line of 50 wins*. Now, "wins" in the playoffs have been recalibrated, counting for better than 1.0 wins, to show that beating a random playoffs team is a better performance than a random regular season team. That gave a gigantic list of all franchises and all their 5-season stretches. Some franchises deserved stretching that to 6 seasons, to accommodate for an off-season in the middle of it (yes, that too is debatable). Lastly, overlaps were not allowed, and neither were next to each other stretches if those would be worse than prior or later stretches. Only the true peak periods of time deserved to get on this list.

The result, as of the end of the 2115 season is a list of 124 "dynasties". I'm not going to give the full list here, but neither will I go over just the top10, because, well, it'll be a little bit dull once you see the same franchise listed 6 times in the top 11. Let's grab a nice round number: 15.

rerknameperiodowneravg ratenotes
1Tucker Tigers2032-2036Ben E Lou18.1503x IHOF Bowl winners, 2x AOC Championship losers
2Kansas Creationists2087-2092tzach16.6452x IHOF Bowl winners, 2x Bowl losers, 1x NAC Championship losers
3North Plainfield Plague2006-2010cthomer500016.3752x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x Bowl losers, 2x AOC Championship losers
4Tucker Tigers2048-2052Ben E Lou16.2002x IHOF Bowl winners, 2x Bowl losers
5Chesapeake Chitterlings2069-2073QuikSand16.1503x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x Bowl losers
6Tucker Tigers2090-2094Ben E Lou16.0751x IHOF Bowl winners, 3x Bowl losers, 1x AOC Championship losers
7Tucker Tigers2069-2073Ben E Lou16.0501x IHOF Bowl winners, 3x Bowl losers, 1x AOC Championship losers
8Moontown Darksiders2078-2083bomber33bomber16.0412x IHOF Bowl winners, 2x NAC Championship losers
9Tucker Tigers2106-2110Ben E Lou15.9751x IHOF Bowl winners, 2x Bowl losers, 2x AOC Championship losers
10Orlando Knights2016-2020Dutch15.7502x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x AOC Championship losers
11Tucker Tigers2078-2082Ben E Lou15.7252x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x Bowl losers, 1x AOC Championship losers
12Gothenburg Giants2110-2114Julio Riddols15.6252x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x Bowl losers, 1x AOC Championship losers
13Oakland Black Panthers2047-2051Subby15.6001x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x Bowl losers, 2x NAC Championship losers
14Capital City Blues2041-2045MalcPow15.0502x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x Bowl losers
t-15Vicksburg Vipers2033-2037Kozure15.0001x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x Bowl losers, 1x AOC Championship losers
t-15Texas Sharks2046-2050landshark4415.0000x IHOF Bowl winners, 2x Bowl losers, 1x NAC Championship losers


Okay, that's still a lot to grasp. What it already shows that even with these selective criteria there are few franchises that managed to win 2 IHOF Bowls in a short period of time. Even this list already shows some with just 1 IHOF Bowl win and even one without a ring.

What jumps out is the 6 Tucker Tigers teams in the top11. I've double checked, these peak periods were so impressive, you won't find them anywhere further down the list, simply because these peak periods were so impressive, everything in between got lost in the overlap criteria.

Going by these numbers and stopping at that adjusted 15-win average, several two-time winners are not on this shortlist.

So, what's right behind all the way down to 14.000?

rerknameperiodowneravg ratenotes
t-17Toronto Lake Monsters2075-2079tzach14.9501x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x Bowl losers, 2x AOC Championship losers
t-17Oakland Black Panthers2091-2095Juggernaut14.9501x IHOF Bowl winners, 3x NAC Championship losers
19Chesapeake Chitterlings2035-2039QuikSand14.7002x IHOF Bowl winners, 2x Bowl losers, 1x NAC CHampionship losers
20Asheville Axemen2018-2023Eaglesfan2714,6752x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x Bowl losers
21Gothenburg Giants2094-2098Julio Riddols14.6502x Bowl losers, 3x AOC Championship losers
22Toronto Lake Monsters2054-2058corbes14.6001x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x Bowl losers, 1x AOC Championship losers
t-23Fairbanks Northstars2004-2008albionmoonlight14.5502x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x NAC Championship losers
t-23Chesapeake Chitterlings2025-2029QuikSand14.5502x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x Bowl losers, 1x NAC Championship losers
25Frederick Red Menace2009-2013cuervo7214.5252x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x Bowl losers, 1x NAC Championship losers
26Kansas Creationists2045-2049Hollywood14.2501x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x NAC Championship losers
27Chesapeake Chitterlings2058-2062QuikSand14.2251x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x NAC Championship losers
28Williamsburg Colonials2080-2084brothergrim14.2001x IHOF Bowl winners, 2x Bowl losers, 2x NAC Championship losers
29Maassluis Merchantmen2057-2061MIJB1914.1502x Bowl losers
30Williamsburg Colonials2055-2059brothergrim14.1252x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x Bowl losers
31Toronto Lake Monsters2102-2106Kodos14.0001x IHOF Bowl winners, 1x Bowl losers, 2x AOC Championship losers


Well, there you have it, several more 2-time champions and the first Merchantmen sighting.


Okay. That's still a lot of numbers. Let's just take out a select few things.


The Tucker Tigers 2032-2036 won 3 IHOF Bowls. This was the height of the Jackie Collier era. People could debate about this, but helped by a strong group of wide receivers, Collier dominated the league for a decade and a half (2031-2045). The best quarterback of all time has 7 championship rings. His career passer rating is in a whole different milky way. His gross passing numbers have been surpassed by quarterbacks in pass only offenses, but even knowing that, Collier can still claim to have the highest passing yards and touchdowns in all-time playoffs games. And Merchantmen fans are familiar with this dynasty, losing twice in the playoffs in this specific 5-year timespan.

The Tigers were so dominant during and shortly before the Jackie Collier era, we could stretch this time period out to 2026-2043 and they will still rank a top this list in this metric. A stretch of 18 seasons with 9 IHOF Bowl wins, 2 Bowl losses and 7 AOC Championship losses. But even when we take the Jackie Collier active years, that stretch for the Tigers will still top the second best 5-season stretch.



It almost makes it feel weird to even talk about other dynasties, but there were others that deserve getting mentioned.


The Kansas Creationists 2087-2092 may seem unfair to stretch to 6 seasons, but at 5 seasons they'd still rank second and the addition of the 2087 season boosts their average figure per season up from 16.425 to 16.645. This was the peak era of quarterback Hugh Gaines, that guy that threw for 7,680 yards and 84 touchdown passes in a single season (ironically that was 2087, the stretched-in season). Gaines actually missed the 2092 IHOF Bowl victory, which could feed the product of the system debates, but if so, it was a working system.


The 2006-2010 North Plainfield Plague had their own very best quarterback of his era in David Conti. Proponent of the early days of the IHOF, he won't be found in the list of top whatever passers in yardage, but he was the first to surpass 400 passing touchdowns and 50,000 yards. In a time when injuries were much fiercer and more common. The Plague then leaned heavily on their defense, became the first back-to-back champions, even came close to being threepeat champions, which to date has only been matched by the Tucker Tigers 2040-2042.


Let's be so blunt to lump together the other Tucker Tigers dominations, which were lead by quarterbacks Ethan Beyer (2045-2060), Erick Loera (2063-2074), Donovan Muth (2084-2100) and German Terry (2105-2113). None of those teams came close to the dominance of the Jackie Collier era, but proven by the list above, these quarterbacks and their support casts were still amongst the best of the best. The best Tigers wide receiver Wes Banks (2038-2050) and the best running back Shane Thomas (2068-2076) had their part in this story.


Let's move on to quarterback Roderick Carter, unsuccessful in his first 4 seasons with the Toronto Lake Monsters, but after he got traded to the Chesapeake Chitterlings, his new team reached unprecedented new heights. 3 IHOF Bowl victories in a timespan of 5 seasons, something only Jackie Collier's Tigers ever achieved. Carter remained the Chitterlings quarterback through 2078, but the team's success and Carter's performance clearly went hand in hand as Carter's performance in 2069-2073 (and one could argue beginning in his 7 starts in 2068) was exceptional.


The Moontown Darksiders are another team that has to be stretched to 6 seasons. Although this only adds a lost IHOF Bowl in 2083. One might say that the IHOF Bowl win in 2074 fits better with the back-to-back wins in 2078 and 2079. Either way, it will all fall in the middle of reign of Derek Barge (2070-2085), a quarterback that set new heights of dual treat with over 10K rushing yards accompanying his 65K passing yards. Getting "Barged" was an often used term when he used his legs to save the day. He was supported by fellow 10K rusher running back Van Sienkiewicz (2074-2082), who was acquired as a rookie through trade from Bordeaux and ironically lost in the 2083 playoffs to Barge and Moontown with the Kansas Creationists.


Let's wrap up the out of Maassluis stories with a short bit about the Orlando Knights 2016-2020. It may come as no surprise that those Knights had their own all-time great quarterback in Ted Wolf (2009-2024), with his ability to throw 50 touchdown passes in a season and float around 5,000 yards passing. Wolf was the league MVP 5 seasons straight in 2015-2019, also claiming the IHOF Bowl MVP honors in 2016 and 2018. Wolf had a fine duo of workhorse receivers in Mohammad Glenn (2014-2025) and Glen Dodge (2014-2026), unsurprisingly known as Glen and Glenn back then.


So where are the Merchantmen "dynasties"? Well, 29th was the best generation. The 2057-2061 Merchantmen can make the claim to have been the best in their time of the conference, the only to win multiple AOC Championship games. Except then, the traditionally weaker conference dominated as NAC franchises won six straight IHOF Bowls, stretching to 2062. It was the Lester Lowe era, the Merchantmen starter in 2057-2064. It was also the peak period of wide receiver Riddick Stanley, the early years when he was capable of 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns per season. And half a decade before the ultimate achievement (Bowl victory).


The Merchantmen are 4 times on this dynasties list, so 3 more times outside the tables above. The 2036-2040 Merchantmen rank tied 44th. It was the team with quarterback Jay McGee, released after the lost 2039 IHOF Bowl, the team of wide receiver Terry Haskell. The 2065-2069 Merchantmen rank 61st, it was the post-Lowe team, with quarterback Alfred Hickman and the IHOF Bowl victory in 2066, leaning heavily on that incredibly talented defense. And the 2023-2028 Merchantmen rank 72nd, a team quarterbacked by Russell Harrison, with running back Stanley Givens and wide receiver Gabe Springer in their twilight years.


Time and desire to do so are coming short to write about the full list of 124, but unsurprisingly the most dominant teams all made that list. One back-to-back champion was playing so poorly surrounding their championships, they are on that 124 shortlist, but didn't sustain long enough to get above that adjusted 14-win average. Neither did one of the two teams that went 19-0, because their surrounding seasons were underwhelming. But the other 19-0 team did make it. At the top. The 2032 Tucker Tigers.
__________________
* 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 07-20-2023, 02:27 PM   #803
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Little redaction

Yeah, about that roster situation and going into the final pre-season games with 57 players on roster. We're down to 55 already.

My math earlier was wrong, as mentioned there, we released longtimer DE Howie Tucker, as well as rookies LB Roy Finch, LB Wendell Reynolds and K Carter Madison. I did indeed place CB Kent Wodarz on injured reserve. But as I already kind of foreshadowed: we also released S Britt Schulz. Our roster situation now is 54 players on team, hence, 1 more cut to go. Or two, if we do something crazy on the open market or trade for somebody...

We did get our cap situation back up to almost $6M under the cap, which will be used to extend a couple of contracts. DE Ernest Frias, LB Nicolas Giles and CB Skip Horner already turned down our first offer. Veterans WR Kai Cote and G Andres Uwaezuoke did already agree on extending their contract into 2117.
__________________
* 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 07-21-2023, 04:26 PM   #804
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: the 2116 roster?

Another roster breakdown, really? Why yes, because this time we have our opening day roster of 53. Providing there won't make any further transaction.

Quarterbacks
40/40 QB Harrison Singleton -3/-3 pre-season
40/40 QB Bart Tanner +1/-1 pre-season
10/40 QB Kent Figures +2/+1 camp, +1/= pre-season
10/10 QB Blake Stai +1/+1 camp, -5/-5 pre-season
53 Men cuts: Figures
Underwhelming improvement by the rookie Figures, but especially Tanner's re-signing sealed the deal here. Stai is still on, but with nobody to mentor anymore. He's not quite safe, but eventually we're going to need a third quarterback, that's faith. Singleton sucked in pre-season. Tanner was okay and meh. It's tricky, but I think if I somehow finally get some sense of how the bleep play calling should work, I might be able to get Tanner to not play as horrible as he did last season.

Backfield
55/55 RB Rusty Kemp -2/-2 pre-season
45/45 RB Renaldo Billodeaux =/= pre-season
35/35 RB Edwin Erickson +2/= camp
30/30 FB Kenneth Holse -6/-6 pre-season
53 Men cuts: none
I have no reason to doubt these guys. Billodeaux and Kemp are a stud tandem, Erickson is a worth stand-in for Billodeaux and Holse will play on special teams.

Tight Ends
55/55 TE Ted Gordon -1/-1 pre-season
55/55 TE Corwin Robbins +1/+1 pre-season
30/30 TE Arnie Huffman -1/-1 pre-season
25/30 TE Rich Osborne +4/0 camp, =/+1 pre-season
53 Men cuts: none
Nothing new to report here. We'll factor Gordon, Robbins and Huffman all into the rotation.

Wide Receivers
70/70 WR Jessie Vertelney =/= pre-season
65/65 WR Rodolfo Lane =/= pre-season
50/60 WR Rufus Montgomery +5/+0 camp, =/-1 pre-season
35/35 WR Antonio Price =/= pre-season
25/25 WR Maurice Sweeney +2/+0 camp, -3/-5 pre-season
5/5 WR Kai Cote -7/-7 pre-season
53 Men cuts: none
Nothing new to report here. Vertelney, Lane and Montgomery are our guys. I'll do some formation roles checking and from here on, these kids need to stop asking for so much money and start combining for at minimum 200 yards per game. Period. There. So. Make it work. Prima donnas.


Offensive Line
70/70 LT Dan Clancy +7/+1 camp, -2/-2 pre-season
55/60 G Herb Nieves +4/+0 camp, =/+2 pre-season
55/55 C Zane Chaplain =/= pre-season
45/45 G Andres Uwaezuoke =/= pre-season
45/45 RT Edwin Northcutt =/= pre-season
40/45 G Alfred Pearsall +5/+0 camp, +1/-1 pre-season
40/40 RT Clayton Bernstein -4/-4 pre-season
30/30 C Duane Ondre -6/-6 pre-season
53 Men cuts: none
So, Ondre dropped from an excellent to a very good run blocker. But he's not going to be on the active 46 anyway. Nieves or Pearsall, that's the question. And it could even go to a game by game decision on whether we need a pass protector or a run blocker.

Defensive Line
65/65 DT Efrain Hutchins -5/-5 pre-season
50/65 DT Carlos Fisher +6/+0 camp, +2/= pre-season
55/55 DE Lonnie Wynn -1/-1 pre-season
50/50 DE Calvin Buckley =/= pre-season
35/45 DT Bryan Lomax +3/+0 camp, -2/-5 pre-season
45/45 DT Francisco Blades +1/+1 pre-season
40/40 DE Ernest Frias +1/-1 camp, +1/+1 pre-season
35/35 DE Christopher Wrighster -2/-2 pre-season
15/15 DE Howie Tucker -7/-7 pre-season
53 Men cuts: Tucker
We're going to go the 8 active route. Tucker dropped down and out. Bummer.

Linebackers
65/65 LB Jorge Mayes +1/+1 pre-season
45/45 LB Xavier Hoover +1/+1 pre-season
40/40 LB Bobby Diaz =/= pre-season
40/40 LB Nicholas Giles, +2/+2 pre-season
40/45 LB Raymond Casper +3/+0 camp, =/+2 pre-season
35/45 LB Ezekiel O'Neal +5/-3 camp, +1/+1 pre-season
25/45 LB Roy Finch +4/+0 camp, -1/-1 pre-season
25/35 LB Wendell Reynolds +3/+1 camp, +1/+3 pre-season
53 Men cuts: Finch, Reynolds
O'Neal is likely to make it, but Finch and Reynolds did not. O'Neal has enough upside to threaten Hoover or Giles for their role on the defense. All of them are fine special teamers too.

Secondary
45/45 S Dan Peterson +1/+1 pre-season
35/50 CB Zachary Blair +5/+1 camp, -2/-10 pre-season
40/40 S Peter Hinsley +4/-2 camp -1/-1 pre-season
35/40 CB Asher McElroy +4/+0 camp, +1/-1 pre-season
25/50 S Cesar Welch +6/+1 camp, +6/+11 pre-season
35/35 CB Byron Sokol -7/-7 pre-season
35/35 S Noah Matthews -1/-1 pre-season
30/35 CB Marquis Wolf +4/+2 camp, =/-4 pre-season
30/30 CB Skip Horner -3/-3 pre-season
30/30 CB Kent Wodarz =/= pre-season
25/25 CB Joel Delgado -1/-1 pre-season
20/30 CB Adrian Kornegay +2/+2 camp, +1/-4 pre-season
15/25 S Britt Schulz +2/+0 camp =/= pre-season
53 Men cuts: Schulz
injured reserve: Wodarz
Blair is a bust. But he can play bump and run. Ugh. Welch jumped up and will get an active role on the defense. Delgado will stick behind Sokol and I doubt I will start him ahead of Blair, although maybe I should. Wodarz lost it to the other zone defenders and with his arthritis, it felt tricky to let him make the team.

Special teamers
70/70 K Oscar Harrington -7/-7 pre-season
65/65 P Tyrus Johnston +2/+2 pre-season
25/35 K Carter Madison +3/-3 camp, -1/+2 pre-season
20/20 LS Roderick Kaeding =/= pre-season
53 Men cuts: Madison
We could have kept Madison for his kickoff skills, but somehow we're not allowed to put Madison on kickoff duties and also have Harrington on field goals and extra points duty. So, it's all Harrington for another season and in 2117 we'll re-evaluate the situation.


That should be it, right? Kent Figures will be our final cut.


Oh yeah, we played 2 more pre-season games. We struggled, despite having mostly our starters starting. Although we actually beat the Chesapeake Chitterlings 15-10, all our points coming on field goals, with Kent Figures throwing 2 interceptions and getting sacked 4 times. Yet we outgained our opponents 390-259 in total yards and overcame those picks without any takeaways.
We then lost 31-3 at home against the Moontown Darksiders, with Bart Tanner throwing 2 interceptions. We were outgained 471-234 in total yards and didn't have any field position advantage to battle it. We seriously sucked that final exhibition game.

More later? Probably the next will be a recap of our first regular season game. Or two. Or five.
__________________
* 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 07-30-2023, 07:14 AM   #805
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 2116 season has began!

Regular season action in the IHOF is in full galore. Before I recap how our first 5 weeks and the curse of the early bye have worked out for us, I'm going to write a little bit about our quarterback situation. Apparently there are people out there wondering why Bart Tanner has been given a $40M/year contract after his abysmal play during the season between his two hold outs.



Quarterback Situation

Going into the off-season, the plan was to look out for a replacement at quarterback. Going into the draft, I saw QB Zach Christianson that looked moderately capable, but he was taken 1 slot before us at #14 and, fair to say, I was not fully convinced enough in him to go out there and trade up for him. In retrospect, we may have dodged a bullet there, he was one of the biggest training camp and pre-season revelation disappointments.

I was ready to make Harrison Singleton our starter again after his acceptable play in the last regular season games in 2115, in which we went on the road and still clobbered our respective opponents. Bart Tanner's hold out made things even better for Singleton. Then Bart Tanner went for his hold out and started demanding serious money.

Right before the first pre-season games, we scraped the bottom of the barrel of cap space by restructuring some contracts of players that under normal circumstances would not be talked about until mid-pre-season, but it gave us just enough space to make Bart Tanner one now or never offer, with a $35M cap figure this season (which sounds like a lot, and it is, but the total cap figure is $623M and our wide receivers Jessie Vertelney and Rodolfo Lane are at cap figures of $64M and $40 respectively, after cap outs with both of them). It may be silly, but our change of Offensive Coordinator gave me some kind of gut feeling that Tanner would gel better with the new guy, while Singleton gelled with the previous one. Tanner accepted it.

From there on, I was ready to accept that Singleton would become angry and unwilling to talk with me anymore. In pre-season he regressed to being no longer 'better' than Tanner and it appears to have stopped him from thinking he should be the starter. His attitude has remained "unhappy", unlike his "angry"-ness late in the 2115 season, right before his 2 starts. Singelton's on team at $39M (quite expensive for a backup) and $19M next season. Maybe Singleton becomes a mentor then, which would be a better reason to keep him around as the QB2. I doubt we'll be able to restructure Tanner's contract to the $20M/year over 4 or 5 seasons I was hoping to lock him up for during the 2115 off-season. But in this business you never know what happens. Maybe next off-season the kind general managers that trade away theirtop5 quarterback for far too little, will try to see what the market for a top5 quarterback is, having learned from their or others' mistakes.

So, 2116, it's Bart Tanner's team again, unless he stinks again and we'll revert back to Harrison Singleton one more time. Rookie Kent Figures that we tried out got cut, but landed a new gig with the Texas Sharks. The Sharks happen to red hot with a 5-0 start while riding with what could be the worst starting quarterback in the league. One that we would describe as a sack magnet, yet he's winning, so way flip to their 6th year career backup or aforementioned rookie?



Enough about the quarterback situation going in. On to the game recaps of weeks 1 through 6.



Week 1 vs Gothenburg
The reigning AOC Champions were coming to town, which meant we were up for a big test right away. My expectations were simple: we're likely going to lose, but if we put up a fight and end up losing by a single score and are still in it in on our last drive of the game, it's confirmation we're capable of challenging them this season. A close game against the top dog in the conference can only be interpreted as us being really close.
We were off to a bad start, falling behind 13-0 in the first quarter, allowing 78- and 80-yard touchdown drives. We responded with a touchdown on our second possession and at that point, the game was on. It became a closely contested back and forth, as we scored went ahead 17-13, yet fell behind 20-17 by half time.
Both offenses choked an opportunity to score, we failed on a fourth down attempt where we really should have demanded our expensive kicker to attempt that 50-yard field goal, but shortly after they returned the favor by fumbling in our territory when they were about to move into scoring position. We kicked a short field goal to tie it up 27-27 with 5 minutes remaining, but Gothenburg responded with a smooth drive to set up a 55-yard field goal, which was converted and left us with just 31 seconds on the clock. We failed to make anything happen.
We outgained Gothenburg 399-387 in total yards, with the turnover battle 1-1. QB Bart Tanner threw for 272 yards, with touchdowns to TE Corbin Robbins and RB Renaldo Billodeaux. The latter also ran for 127 yards, while RB Rusty Kemp accounted for a rushing touchdown.
Result: 27-30 loss


Week 2 at Outer Banks
Our first road game of the season was a trip to the Ospreys, who like us lost their first game of the season. Unlike week 1, we got stuck in as slugfest, with neither offense able to anything. Yet, our defense turned out to be slightly better, helping us to be up 6-3 going into the last 2 minutes of the game. The Ospreys converted on 3rd and 15, and eventually with 5 seconds to go, scored on a 48-yard field goal to force overtime.
After a quick stop, we got a chance to set things right, but Oscar Harrington missed a 50-yard field goal on our first possession. A sour situation after we saw our red zone reaching play get pulled back for holding. The defense then stopped them at midfield with 5 seconds remaining, but we didn't attempt a hail mary to avoid the tie.
We gout outgained 329-307 in total yards, with a 0-0 turnover battle, which is quite low for an overtime game, especially in a tie. QB Bart Tanner threw for 231 yards.
Result: 6-6 tie

Week 3 at North Plainfield
In recent seasons we met the Plague when they were struggling and ended up shooting ourselves in the feet by losing against them. This time around, we were winless, while they went into this clash with a 2-0 record after high-scoring wins against Harlem and at Chesapeake.
Although the game started with a back and forth of scoring, us leading 13-10 after the first quarter, it evolved into a one-sided affair with the Merchantmen clearly on top, despite that Bart Tanner got picked off 3 times.
We outgained them 379-263 in total yards, whilst losing the turnover battle 1-3. QB Bart Tanner threw for 250 yards without a touchdown. RB Renaldo Billodeaux scored 2 rushing touchdowns, RB Rusty Kemp had 1 of those.
Result: 32-20 win

Week 4 bye
Injuries on the offensive line were piling on at this point, with LT Dan Clancy able to tough it out, but C Zane Chaplain out for 2 months with a dislocated shoulder and G Herb Nieves getting benched with an elbow injury. It prompted me to play G Andres Uwaezuoke at center, while G Alfred Pearsall RT Clayton Bernstein slotted at the guard positions.

Week 5 vs Tucker
Despite that recently the Gothenburg Giants are the dominant team in the AOC in terms of playoffs success, the Tucker Tigers have played up to that level in the regular season and after they were handed the #1 overall draft pick in 2115 for far too little, they picked QB Renaldo Brady, who's shaping up to be the best quarterback to play for the Tigers since the greatest of all time Jackie Collier. This last draft, the Tigers finally hit the jackpot again, spend many picks on wide receivers in the last bunch of draft, but WR Duane Yellope looks like they finally got an elite wide receiver again.
We were unimpressed about the young quarterback and wide receiver, stopping them in our red zone and responding with touchdown drives. After we picked off Brady and extended our lead to 24-6 at half time, this game looked like it was going to be our second win of the season.
On the first drive of the second half, Brady got is team going and found Yellope for their first touchdown of the day. We responded with a touchdown of our own and increased the lead to 31-12. But then the wheels came off on our end. We got penalized on crucial downs, saw our sure handed kick returner fumble and despite that our red zone defense held them to short field goals twice, eventually our inability to score one more time saw us fall behind 32-31 with under 4 minutes remaining. We chickened out on 4th and 1 near midfield on the ensuing drive, forced 3 and out to give us the ball back, but this time we went for it on 4th and 8 and failed. We could have had the ball back one more time, but on 3rd and 14 they somehow converted on an outside run, which accounted for more than half of their 27 rushing yards by their running backs of the game, and that was that.
They outgained us 545-377 in total yards with a 1-1 turnover battle. QB Bart Tanner threw for 313 yards, with touchdown passes to RB Rusty Kemp, TE Corbin Robbins, TE Arnie Huffman and WR Rodolfo Lane.
Result: 31-32 loss

Week 6 at Augusta
No time to get stuck in what if sentiments, we reworked our defensive game plan again, after seeing some success from our tweaks versus Tucker and some of their specific easy to see tricky. We also benched our RT Edwin Northcutt, as I called him responsible of the unacceptable large number of sacks allowed in the first 4 games. The Greenjackets on the road would usually be a game where we're the underdogs, but if we want to prove to be playoffs material, we have to show it here too.
It turned into a sensational game. The first possessions of both offenses were cut short, but ours ended up in a blocked punt that was recovered at our 1-yard line. A run up the middle by their fullback resulted in the first touchdown of the game, but we responded with seeing TE Ted Gordon make a phenomenal play, turning a short catch into a 75-yard touchdown to tie it up 7-7. Both offenses showed their skill again and scored another touchdown in the first quarter.
On our first play from scrimmage in the second quarter, Bart Tanner threw a deep pass, which got picked off and returned 70 yards and putting the Greenjackets 21-14 up. We stumbled on our next drive, while the Greenjackets didn't and they went ahead 28-14. Bart Tanner responded with long throws to his receivers and we managed to get it back to trailing 28-21 at half time.
In the second half the Merchantmen offense was neigh unstoppable, highlighted with a75-yard run by Rusty Kemp on a drive that started at our own 1-yard line and eventually saw Bart Tanner run it in from 5 yards out, followed by a 2-point conversion to Jessie Vertelney to tie the score 35-35 halfway into the fourth quarter. Despite the sensational display of offensive firepower, neither team managed to score anymore, Oscar Harrington missed a potential game winning 54-yard field goal, while Jessie Vertelney was stopped 1 yard short of a hail mary touchdown. But it turned to be three times the charm as in overtime, the Merchantmen offense kept steamrolling and eventually Rusty Kemp pounded a short run in for the game winning touchdown.
We outgained them 668-323 in total yards, losing the turnover battle 0-1. QB Bart Tanner threw for 443 yards and 3 touchdowns, whilst also running for a touchdown. RB Rusty Kemp caught 1 touchdown, also ran for 1 touchdown and 100 yards. WR Jessie Vertelney had 119 yards receiving, TE Corbin Robbins 100 yards and 1 touchdown, while TE Ted Gordon also had a receiving touchdown.
Result: 41-35 win in overtime



So, 5 games in and we've already had a season's worth of sensational wins and losses, with the shootout against Gothenburg, the wasted opportunities silly tie in Outer Banks, a surprisingly easy win at North Plainfield, a once in a 100 seasons choke against Tucker and the potential game of the year victory at Augusta.

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

All in all, we're playing quite okay and I should feel good about our ability to play with the strong teams and be in playoffs caliber shape. We'll have to find ways to close out games with 3-score leads and not piss away games like the one in Outer Banks, to truly be a contender for the conference title. We're not yet in a virtual playoffs position, so let's focus on getting there first, we'll have to take it game by game again.

Next up? We'll visit to the Paris Musketeers. After the display of offense so far, it would be a shocker if we don't win this game, but in IHOF football you really can't be sure. There are no easy wins, even against Paris. Despite the offensive line reshuffle, we still saw Bart Tanner get sacked 4 times in Augusta, which puts the tally at 21 in 5 games so far. We're dead last in pass rush percentage allowed with almost 30% of passing plays disrupted. That's unimaginably bad. We can't even put blame on having faced incredible pass rushes. We have to be cautious in Paris though, they do rank 7th in pass rush pressure (on defense), shortly behind us in 5th.

A couple of familiar faces on Paris' defensive line are playing quite well. DE Frank Bernard left us as a free agent after 4 seasons with us. He never lived up to his 14-sack season again, but he's still a force to reckon with. Former undrafted rookie signing DE Jamie Coffey was cut by us in his rookie pre-season and after Paris picked him up, he has developed into perhaps the most talented in the league in terms of pass rush technique. I bet he'll be more motivated than ever to play against us. Teamed up with blitzbacker Brett Strickland, that's one scary pass rushing front seven. The one weakness on the Paris defense is their inability to play zone defense. I can only hope our best receivers in business and their tight ends can take full advantage of the mismatches.
__________________
* 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 : 07-30-2023 at 07:20 AM.
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Old 08-05-2023, 12:45 PM   #806
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: rising to the top of the division?

With the Gothenburg Giants struggling despite their 4-2 start, we had the chance to catch up and who knows what in this mid-regular season serie of 6 games. SO, how did it go?

Week 7 at Paris
As to be hoped, yet somewhat unexpected, this turned into a mismatch of rare proportions. Even though we struggled to move the ball inside Paris' red zone, our sometimes reliable kicker converted on every attempt given to him, helping us to slowly but steadily increase a lead that came after we saw Paris' quarterback throw into our defense's hands on their first two possessions. We fumbled away the first chance, but after a dink pass on the second attempt, the lead was ours and we never looked back. The defense smooth sailed the remainder of the game and posted our first shutout since week 10 of the 2096 season, ironically also in France, but at Bordeaux.
We outgained Paris 345-225 total yards, winning the turnover battle 3-1. QB Bart Tanner threw for 257 yards and a touchdown, with TE Arnie Huffman on the receiving end. RB Renaldo Billodeaux ran for the score settling touchdown.
Result: 29-0 win

Week 8 vs Snapfinger
The Jazz are notorious for having a talented team, yet struggling to even challenge for second place in a very tough Southeast division with Tucker and Augusta the clear top teams and Orlando every other season also in the mix. They went into this game with a 1-5 record and underdogs to us. For us it turned into an opportunity to legitimately jump ahead of Gothenburg in the division standings as they were 4-3 going into their bye week - at 3-2-1 we were technically division leaders already with a better winning percentage, but with 4.5 wins versus their 4 wins, it would feel more legit.
After a strong continuation of the shutout in Paris by our defense, yet sloppy play by our offense, perhaps supported by the Jazz' strong defensive play, we found ourselves leading 9-0 going into the 4th quarter. Then it finally became a real football game, with missed field goals, more turnovers and finally touchdowns on both ends of the field. But eventually the built up lead proved sufficient to maintain and post our first win in Oranje Haven of this season.
We tied the Jazz in total yards at 289-289, losing the turnover battle 2-1. QB Bart Tanner threw for 180 yards with 2 interceptions, yet a touchdown pass to WR Rodolfo Lane.
Result: 19-10 win

Week 9 at Bordeaux
The struggling Vineyards seem to already have given up their hopes to make something of this season, result of their 2-5 start. Our confidence boosted by our division leading status, we saw ourselves once again kicking for 5 field goals at a French division rival, again struggling inside the red zone to haul it in. A strong 16-0 lead was eventually brushed away by Bordeaux to a tie-game score going into the 4th quarter. And that point, our defense picked it up, making interceptions one after another and as we brought it up to 2 scores again, Bordeaux got into no guts no glory, falling short on 4th down and setting up our victory clinching field goal.
We got outgained 335-372 in total yards, yet won the turnover battle 3-1. QB Bart Tanner threw for 217 yards, with a touchdown pass to WR Rodolfo Lane. RB Rusty Kemp hauled in a rushing touchdown.
The bad news of the day was WR Jessie Vertelney tearing an ankle ligament and ruled out for 6 months, hence, ending the season for him.
Result: 29-16 win

Week 10 at Orlando
Fresh of a gut wrenching 54-17 loss against Tucker, the Talons had something to prove to their fans and themselves about still being competitive, hence, still being in the mix for the wild cards in the AOC. With us missing WR Jessie Vertelney, our confidence was at an all time low, the last time we missed him we played a turd of a playoffs game.
Our defense and special teams certainly did their best to keep us in the game as we ended up trailing 10-9 at half time on a shanked extra point. But with their offense getting anything going in the second half, the slugfest was on and the Talons kicked for a 2-score lead. With nothing but a touchdown to play for, we ended up in another Hail Mary situation: QB Bart Tanner found WR Rufus Montgomery open enough to catch it at the Orlando 25-yard line and make some ground, but was tackled 17 yards shy of the game winning play.
We got outgained 306-388 in total yards, although made up for it by winning the turnover battle 3-0. QB Bart Tanner threw for 210 yards with 1 touchdown to TE Corbin Robbins.
Result: 9-13 loss

Week 11 at Gothenburg
Leading the division by 1.5 wins, visiting the Giants we got a chance to take an even bigger lead by evening the head-to-head and putting ourselves a situation where even tie-breakers were still salvageable. A loss would instantly make that moot with Gothenburg completing the head-to-head sweep.
Albeit finding still struggling Giants in their own home, on our time of possession we completely let ourselves down. One strong 71-yard drive early in the game aside, it was a display of ineptitude, light and day from what kind of team we had proven to be in the week 1 clash with them. Interceptions and a missed field goal kept the Giants from taking a lead, until a rare fumble from RB Rusty Kemp got recovered by the Giants at our 1-yard line, with less than 2 minutes to go, setting them up for an until then unimaginable game winning score. They threw it into their own hands in the end zone and that was that.
We got outgained 185-403 in total yards in a 2-2 turnover battle. QB Bart Tanner threw for just 156 yards with 1 touchdown to WR Rodolfo Lane.
Result: 7-14 loss

Week 12 vs Capital City
Although an opponent to not underestimate, sporting a 5-5 record going in, we felt that this had to be the game to stop the losing streak quickly and hold onto the slim lead in the division title race. Seemingly reborn, we pounded away at will and scored 27 unanswered points in the first half to pull it off quickly. But the 27-7 lead was as safe and sound as it the big lead against Tucker was and in the second half the Blues kept hanging on and by virtue of an 80-yard touchdown pass, they got within 2 scores and a three-and-out later scored another touchdown to make it just a 7-point lead for us. With almost 5 minutes to go, we showed a display of ball control and time management, getting the chains to move when needed and eventually draining their time outs and knee dropping ourselves to the second victory in Maassluis of this season.
We outgained them 500-449 in total yards, winning the turnover battle 2-0. QB Bart Tanner threw for 347 yards with touchdown passes to TE Corbin Robbins and WR Rufus Montgomery. WR Rodolfo Lane gained 120 yards receiving. RB Rusty Kemp and RB Renaldo Billodeaux each ran for a touchdown.
Result: 34-27 win


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

Yes, we're still in the lead after 11 games, but it's a small margin, we can't afford any mishaps from here on if we really want to show the world we're ready to end the Giants' domination of the division. Bordeaux has clawed their way back into almost in the race, while Paris' fluke victory over Gothenburg has them tied in wins with Bordeaux, but not really in the mix here. The wild card race has 6-5 Augusta ahead of Gothenburg on head-to-head tie-breaker, with both behind 7-4 San Antonio.

The San Antonio Tidal Force happen to be our next opponents, which makes it even more crucial to defend Oranje Haven well and get ahead of them with tie-breakers on our side. Sure, we're legitimate playoffs quality this season in the AOC, but we've struggled in close games, yet when outplayed, we still made it close until the very end.

Back to what I said 6 games prior, we have to continue to look at it 1 game at a time. So, San Antonio up next, I will avoid looking past that. Another tough opponent, as there are few pushovers in the AOC. Today (week 12) we showed at last we can play well without WR Jessie Vertelney around. Let's build on that.
__________________
* 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 : 08-05-2023 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 08-12-2023, 05:17 AM   #807
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Go Bordeaux?

Sitting at the top the division, with almost the slimmest of margins possible ahead of the Gothenburg Giants, our regular season campaign continued with two games against teams in the mix for a ticket to the playoffs, followed by 3 home games against teams that after week 12 are already extreme longshots.

Week 13 vs San Antonio
The Tidal Force came to Maassluis, understanding that winning at our place would move them firmly into pole position for a wild card, while a loss could put their aspirations in jeopardy. For the neutral fans, this game was circled for this week and, boy, did it deliver for them.
We scored a quick touchdown on our first drive, setting the tone for our offensive power of the day, while San Antonio responded with a long drive for a field goal and after pushing us back deep on our second possession, they took the lead on a 1-play drive. In the second quarter we took full control, scoring 20 unanswered points into a 27-10 lead.
The second half was even more of a true shootout, with both teams scoring left and right, seeing a mid-fourth quarter short pick six bring the Tidal Force back within a touchdown, trailing 41-34. On their tie-up drive a fumble inside our half kept them off the score board, while their defensive three and out was replied by a game winning pick six on scored by our rookie first round pick Zachary Blair. Trailing by 14, San Antonio came close, on a pseudo Hail Mary throw, but they felt short on yards and time.
We outgained them 439-430 yards, winning the turnover battle 3-1. QB Bart Tanner threw for 365 yards with touchdowns to WR Antonio Price, TE Ted Gordon and TE Corbin Robbins. RB Renaldo Billodeaux and RB Rusty Kemp scored a rushing touchdown each. WR Rodolfo Lane gained 131 yards receiving, while WR Rufus Montgomery gained 124 yards receiving. As already mentioned, rookie CB Zachary Blair scored our 6th touchdown on an interception return.
Result 48-34 win

Week 14 at Texas
Another big test as we were visiting the Atlantic Coast Division leading Texas Sharks. Historically we seem to have their number, the last time a Sharks team beat a Merchantmen team was in 2084.
It proved to be a big test indeed and we passed it. Despite pretty sloppy play throughout the game, struggling to get the chains moving against the Sharks defense, we relied heavily on a triplet of big play touchdowns and on our defense forcing them to kick field goals three times. CB Bryan Sokol opened the score with a 39-yard interception return, QB Bart Tanner connected with WR Rodolfo Lane on an 83-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter and RB Renaldo Billodeaux ran for a 53-yard score late in the third. In between, K Oscar Harrington converted a 51-yard field goal with second remaining to half time on a short drive set up by nailing them at their own 1-yard line on the preceding drive. Texas came back to life offensively really late in the fourth quarter, but by then it was too little too late already.
We got outgained 334-364 in total yards, but won the turnover battle 2-1. QB Bart Tanner threw for 248 yards, with touchdowns to WR Rodolfo Lane and TE Corbin Robbins. Lane racked up 153 yards receiving in the process. As already mentioned, RB Renaldo Billodeaux ran for a touchdown, while CB Byron Sokol returned an interception for a touchdown.
Result 34-24 win

Week 15 vs Bordeaux
And then came the revenge of Preston Gray. Our former wide receiver got a second life in the IHOF with the Bordeaux Vineyards. On a day where we actually could have used his skills, still missing Jessie Vertelney with a season ending injury and also losing WR Rufus Montgomery for the rest of the season with a broken arm. Instead, Gray scored twice on a short pass into our end zone. We struggled all game long against the Vineyards, despite that it went back and forth. When we kicked a field goal to make it 24-21 in their favor, we fully expected to get another shot at winning the game. Instead, Bordeaux played out the clock with an impressive 70-yard drive, lasting 4:27 minutes to play spoiler in our pursuit for the division title.
We were outgained 395-408 total yards, with a level 1-1 turnover battle. QB Bart Tanner threw for 280 yards, with 1 touchdown to TE Corbin Robbins. RB Renaldo Billodeaux ran for our other touchdown.
Result 21-24 loss

With Gothenburg on a winning streak, we fell behind them by 1/2 a win in the division title race. But to our luck, the other AOC wild card hopefuls San Antonio and Augusta both lost at their division title clinching divisional foes Houston and Tucker, respectively.

Week 16 vs Moontown
Against the struggling Darksiders, this turned into a non-contest. They wasted all their strong offensive play mojo on their first two drives, while we managed to keep scoring and scoring and forcing turnovers when our defense and special teams unit were on the field. QB Harrison Singleton got some action in the fourth quarter and despite his 2 interceptions thrown, they scored only 1 field goal to somewhat save face.
We outgained them 358-209 total yards, winning the turnover battle 4-2. QB Bart Tanner threw for 198 yards and 1 touchdown, caught by RB Rusty Kemp. QB Harrison Singleton threw for 38 yards in garbage time. RB Rusty Kemp scored a hattrick of touchdowns, adding 2 rushing ones to the aforementioned receiving touchdown. RB Renaldo Billodeaux also ran for a touchdown. FB Kenneth Holse forced 2 fumbles on punt returns.
Result: 34-10 win

With some help, we ended up clinching a trip to the playoffs, with 1 game still to go. A win combined with a Gothenburg loss to Bordeaux would move us into the division title. A loss and a San Antonio win elsewhere would drop us to sixth seed and make for the only scenario where we would face Houston instead of Gothenburg in the playoffs. Our motto of week 17: Go Bordeaux!

Week 17 vs Paris
Missing 2 of our 3 wide receivers still, we hoped to not stumble on the other French team in our place as well and make an upset from Bordeaux moot to begin with. It turned out to be a game in which we were the clearly better team early, steamrolling to a 28-10 lead barely into the second quarter. But the Musketeers kept clinging on, seeing a 90-yard pick six in their favor bring it back to 28-24 by half time, still in our advantage.
And then came one sloppy second half, in when our offense looked bland, penalties kept hurting us (in particular C Zack Chaplain, freshly back on the team after a nasty injury, being responsible for it 4 times) and our take it away drive ended in another interception. The defense proved strong enough to stop Paris several times on what looked like short field situations that could have tilted this game into a loss. Neither team scored in the second half, quite bizar after the high scoring first half.
We outgained them 366-326 total yards, losing the turnover battle 1-3. QB Bart Tanner threw for 243 yards and a touchdown pass to TE Corbin Robbins. RB Renaldo Billodeaux ran for 2 touchdowns.
Result 28-24 win

Bordeaux didn't complete their road spoiler mission, they instead got crushed in Gothenburg. At the same time, San Antonio tripped over their division rivals Fort Wayne, who posted their first win of the season against a team with a winning record and claim the last wild card. With a 9-7 record, Fort Wayne had the tie-breakers on less worse divisional record than San Antonio and less unimpressive strength of victory than Augusta (who beat 2 teams with a winning record).

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

A bummer, we failed to stop the Giants from yet another division title, in what seemed to be a season where we were the better team over the course of 16 games. The most crucial games, the head-to-head clashes, both went to them. We're the only team in the league that didn't lose a game by more than 1 score. Caveat being, one team didn't lose a single game at all as the Toronto Lake Monsters steamrolled to a 16-0 record and arguably the second best regular season campaign in league history (only behind the 2032 Tucker Tigers - you may have heard from them before, that team is mentioned in the recent dynasty list I wrote about).

In the playoffs, the AOC will be contested by 16-0 Toronto, 14-2 Tucker (they got crushed at home 41-10 by Toronto), 12-4 Houston (lost to Toronto, but beat Tucker), 11-5 Gothenburg (they lost to Toronto and Tucker, but beat Houston), 10-5-1 Maassluis (we lost to Tucker and twice to Gothenburg) and 9-7 Fort Wayne (they got humiliated 55-0 by Toronto and lost big twice to Houston).

The NAC will see a field of 12-4 Hanalei, 11-5 Kansas (they lost 32-22 at home to Hanalei), 10-6 Williamsburg (they lost 28-17 at home to Hanalei), 9-7 Capital City (they lost bit to Hanalei and Kansas), 10-6 Arizona (they split with Kansas, lost at Williamsburg, but won at Capital City) and 10-6 Colorado (they split with Hanalei and beat Williamsburg).


So, the season isn't over and we'll get the ultimate chance to prove we were the better European team as we face the Giants in Gothenburg in week 18. My confidence in the team has taken a hit when we lost WR Jessie Vertelney and even more when WR Rufus Montgomery joined him. We lost a game when DT Efrain Hutchins was out as well. The latter returned versus Paris and unlike the limping offense, our defense should be in full galore.

We can do this team. The Giants are struggling. We have shown more fire power on offense (we scored 429 points, they 378), slightly more stinginess on defense (319 vs 325 points allowed), our running game is superior, our passing game is slightly better, their run defense is slightly better and their pass defense slightly better. We're slightly better in forcing and avoiding turnovers. Our special teams unit was 3rd best in the league, but we're not better by a wide margin over Gothenburg. All things considered, home field advantage factored in, this could be as much of a coinflip as a game can ever be.

We'll have to prepare for this game the best we can, figure out where we floundered at times this season and then go out there and prove that we've truly improved to beat the Giants when it really counts. 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
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Old 08-19-2023, 05:34 AM   #808
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 2116 playoffs!



Week 18 @ Gothenburg

The disappointment of missing out on the division title was shoved aside quickly, as we had a chance to avenge it in a road game at the Giants. I had confidence in our team that we were strong enough to pull off the semi-upset here.

We started strong, seeing QB Bart Tanner completing 19-yard and 26-yard passes to WR Antonio Price and WR Blake Begay. Price was our mentor/WR4 at the start of the season, Begay was a mid-season signing to get our roster back up to 5 wide receivers with 2/3rd of our best trio in the league out with long term injuries. The drive ended in the end zone, but without any points as Tanner's pass was picked off there. Gothenburg responded with a strong drive, but on a 4th and 1 situation at our 34-yard line, they went for it and our defense stood strong. On our next possession, Tanner found Price for 30 yards, but somehow failed to get the ball into the hands of his tight ends in the end zone on goal line situations as we settled for a 21-yard field goal for the 3-0 lead. Gothenburg immediately responded with a 63-yard catch and run, setting up a short run for a touchdown and the 7-3 Giants lead. And things got even better for the Giants on the very next play from scrimmage as Tanner saw another pass picked off, this time returned the full 23 yards for a Giants 14-3 lead.

At the start of the second quarter, QB Bart Tanner succesfully connected with TE Ted Gordon on third and longish, while RB Rusty Kemp moved the chains with a 20-yard run on third and 3. We got as close as the Giants 21yard line, but an unsportsmanlike penalty pushed us back and instead trying to kicking it to a 1-score game, we punted. The Giants had a strong drive in response, until CB Byron Sokol interfered with an interception and got us back into Gothenburg territory. 4 plays later we finally scored our first touchdown of the game, RB Rusty Kemp ran it in from 9 yards out. The Giants' reply was strong, with a couple of 14-yard plays followed by a 47-yard touchdown run to put them into a firm 21-10 lead. RB Renaldo Billodeaux replied with a 31-yard run on our next drive, but once we reach the red zone, we floundered and settled for a 33-yard field goal, making it a 1-score deficit. The final 2 minutes saw both teams play it cautious into a 21-13 half time lead for Gothenburg.

Early in the third quarter, neither team scored on their first two possession, but we did play a stronger field position battle, pinning the Giants at their own 1-yard line. With some luck (the referees caught a Giants' lineman holding one of our guys on a 43-yard pass), we got the ball back quickly and shortly after QB Bart Tanner found TE Corbin Robbins for 26 yards, he found WR Antonio Price for a 19-yard catch and run touchdown. Gothenburg responded with their first strong drive of the second half, pulling off a tricky play on a 44-yard pass directly into the end zone, while we were lining up expecting a running play. It put the Giants up 28-20 by the end of the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, we started with a failed 3rd and short throw and found ourselves somewhat lucky again as the same Giants lineman caused a penalty on long pass. We recovered our own fumble on the first play of our next drive, but QB Bart Tanner quickly set things right with a 18-yard throw to TE Ted Gordon, followed by RB Renaldo Billodeaux' 22-yard run to set up a 42-yard field goal for a 28-23 deficit. Gothenburg responded with a strong drive, but arrived at our 19-yard line, as they were ready to make it a 2-score lead again, LB Bobby Diaz picked off a pass and possibly saved the game. Tanner completed twice on third downs for a new set, but on the third third down, Tanner not only got sacked but also lost the ball and the Giants recovered it near midfield. A crucial 47-yard pass on 3rd and 14 extended the Giants' drive deep into our red zone and after they burnt 2 of our time outs (we actually wasted one to save 7 seconds) they pounded it in for a 35-23 lead. Yes, we responded with a decent drive, but wasted too much time and our potential miracle ending pass ended up in WR Antonio Price getting tackled 2 yards short.

We outgained them 468-457 in total yards, lost the turnover battle 2-3 and had a 12-yard per drive field position advantage. QB Bart Tanner threw for 295 yards, with a touchdown to WR Antonio Price, who also had 107 yards receiving, but Tanner also threw 2 interceptions and lost a fumble. RB Rusty Kemp ran for a touchdown.

Result: 23-35 loss


And with that our season ended with the worst result of the season as all our previous losses were by a single score. We proved that we deserved to win 1 game against the Giants this season, but clearly, we did not, we lost 3 times against our biggest rivals and based on that, it's fair to say they deserved to move on in the playoffs.

The Giants ended up getting beaten 31-14 in the next round, being the first of three teams beaten by the Toronto Lake Monsters on their successful mission of going undefeated. Until this season, 4 teams had gone 16-0 in the regular season and 2 of those actually kept going for a 19-0 season. Up for debate, probably, but the 2116 Lake Monsters are quite possibly the second single season team in league history, behind the 2032 Tucker Tigers. Most certainly they will attempt to do it again in 2117. They'll have to get past us in Oranje Haven in week 7 to make that work though.


On to 2117.

We'll go into the off-season only just under $20M over the cap, with 44 players signed and 6 restricted free agents. mentor QB Blake Stai, K Oscar Harrington, running downs DT Francisco Blades, over the hill CB Joel Delgado and back from arthritis CB Kent Wodarz will be unrestricted free agents. And we have 12 draft picks, with 6 of them lumped together between picks 2.15 and 2.24. As a tiny bit of solace, we ended up earning that 24th pick in every round, by virtue of being the best team that got eliminated in the wild card round. So yeah, we played better than all 5 teams we got their second round picks from. But I'd probably be willing to trade the whole bunch of them if it would have gotten us a victory over the Giants in that wild card round. But that's not how life goes. But we've gotten closer again. Let's regroup quickly and focus on improvement. The division has to become ours again, let them not catch up in all time division titles. Go Merchantmen!
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Old 08-23-2023, 10:37 AM   #809
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Where have the second round picks gone!?

The 2117 off-season rolls on and a couple of things have gone on so far.

First of all, chronologically, we hired a new defensive coordinator. We bring in 57-year old Clyde Beeman, previously the Colorado Cutthroats' head coach and before that 16 seasons of experience as a defensive coordinator with 4 different teams.

Second order of business was the inevitable renegotiations phase. Sure, some players will have to wait for mid-pre-season, but those where there can be money scraped off their salary cap figure, they were talked with and 18 players signed a restructured contract with us. We quickly followed up by re-signing 6 restricted free agents: WR Blake Begay, G Alfred Pearsall, LB Ezekiel O'Neal, CB Adrian Kornegay, CB Marquis Wolf and S Peter Hinsley. We also released last season's signing RT Edwin Northcutt, he proved to be too much of a liability in the pass protection and was a relative cap friendly cut, accounting for $1M in lost cap space in this and next season each.

The result being that we're a comfortable $70M under the $623M salary cap, with 49 players signed. With a truckload of draft picks incoming, especially no less than 6 second round picks, that should put us like $40M closer to the cap. But, there's non Merchantmen offseason without trade, As it is now, I've traded away 10 draft picks, including all 6 second round picks and got 2 seventh round picks in return. And the first round picks from the Fort Wayne Fury and Harlem Apollos. Both should be projected to go worse than 8-8 in the upcoming season, which is, to me, a very good return of value. A third round pick from Chesapeake was also part of the acquisitions.

It means that, upon conclusion of the second round, rather than having 7 names to present, we have just 1 new player. And, lo and behold it is just a kicker.

Our staff is convinced that Jeffery DeGroot - our Dutch speaking fans cringe over the spelling, but they'll have to learn to live with it - is potentially on par with Oscar Harrington as a kicker in terms of field goals and extra points, but with kickoff ability added on. That's a nice improvement to what already was a formidable special teams unit.

The roughly $60M of cap space we'll have remaining after rookies are signed, we'll spend on a handful of veteran free agents, if they look good enough to improve our team. But we'll also have to reserve quite a bit for the pre-season renegotiations (or earlier if some moron player agent advices to hold out), in particular for LT Dan Clancy and TE Corbin Robbins, as both are deservingly demanding to get paid. Clancy wants to improve to a $41M cap figure and Robbins to $30M. They currently combined for roughly $26M, which basically means we need to reserve $45M for them.

We still have 5 unrestricted free agents in QB Blake Stai, K Oscar Harrington, DT Francisco Blades, CB Joel Delgado and CB Kent Wodarz. I'm expecting Stai to sign in Bordeaux to mentor the 1.1 pick they traded up for (QB Hardy Henson). Harrington's tenure will likely end after 15 seasons in Maasssluis, in which he moved to 1st all time in field goals scored (9 more than the previous record holder Charles Anthony) and 2nd all time in points scored (81 behind Anthony, so he would have broken it with another season on team). Blades already got an offer to consider, while Delgado's and Wodarz' demands have to get more reasonable to be worth it.
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Old 08-25-2023, 03:49 PM   #810
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Here come the 2117 hold outs...

Free agency and the draft are in full swing. We finished the draft with three picks in the seventh round with WR Brian Cote, CB Chase Finley and S Phil McCleskey. Cote is a special teamer with route running and decent getting downfield ability. Finley is a 6'3" corner with man to man ability, turnover forcing skills and special teams value. McCleskey is a special teamer with man to man skills, run defense and is a punishing hitter. It's quite possible Finley and McCleskey will challenge CB Joel Delgado for a roster spot. If Delgado actually signs the 2-year deal we've offered him. We did already bring back DT Francisco Blades on a new 3-year deal, but CB Kent Wodarz has not yet signed the 2-year deal we offered him.

The splasher of free agency for us was the signing of C Jim Mayes. Although a year older than C Zane Chaplain, I think the latter should really know he put himself in trouble with all the penalties in week 17 at Gothenburg. I do think Chaplain is more likely to be our backup center than C Duane Ondre. We missed out on a veteran right tackle we were pursuing, which means we're still an offensive tackle short, which is where I think I want to go, rather than keeping 3 centers.

The most intriguing part of the off-season could be what the contract negotiations with LT Dan Clancy and TE Corbin Robbins end up in. We made them both very generous offers, but their boneheads of player agents turned them down, apparently incapable of seeing how those offers included more overall and more guaranteed money than what they were requesting. We'll make a second offer tomorrow and then we'll find out whether one of them is going to be silly and hold out. We still have nearly $40M of cap space to work with after rookie contracts are factored in.

QB Blake Stai has finally signed with the Bordeaux Vineyards. We'll thank him for being our QB3 for a season of not having a young kid to mentor for him. As mentioned before, he'll go there to mentor the top pick of this draft class.

K Oscar Harrington is still without a new team. It seems that no team wants to pay him $12 for a single season. I mean, this isn't some random kicker, he needs one more season to become the 12th all-time to get over 2000 points scored, should jump into the top10 all-time in field goals scored. He's still good enough to do it, that's for sure. Maybe some team will pick him up in time for training camp or pre-season. We'll see. But it won't be us.
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Old 08-26-2023, 06:12 PM   #811
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: home of the kickers

Early free agency concluded and we signed a couple more players. CB Joel Delgado and CB Kent Wodarz re-signed with us for 2 seasons. On the open market we signed LT Lester Money, a 30-year old veteran, huge framework (6'7", 327 pounds), very good run blocker, fair in pass protection. And we signed K Dalton Jackson.

Wait, didn't we just pick a kicker in the first round? We did, but Jackson will be a mentor for this kid, at minimum through pre-season. Surely we're not going into the regular season with 2 kickers, are we? At the same time, it gives us an insurance in case K Jeffery DeGroot tanks in pre-season.

K Oscar Harrington is still unaccounted for, which means he'll still be allowed to walk around at our training facilities until training camp starts.

We sent out about 2 hands full of offers to undrafted rookies, which appears to be the area of the game where we're the best in the league in finding keepers: 21 of the 59 players currently on roster were undrafted rookies. Although CB Kent Wodarz was actually released by us in his second season and late in the regular season brought back after injuries decimated the secondary.

As this is traditionally the hold out stage, we were more than happy to find out that, albeit they turned down an even more generous offer than the one we put on the table earlier, TE Corbin Robbins and LT Dan Clancy seem to be okay with waiting until pre-season for further negotiations and both are willing to report to training camp. We have about $25M in cap space to work something out with them. And I'm also mulling over whether we should lock up WR Rufus Montgomery now, rather than face his final season of the rookie contract negotiations, like we're having with Robbins and Clancy here. But we'll get on that in pre-season.
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Old 08-27-2023, 01:31 PM   #812
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 9 new players, 7 new faces

K Oscar Harrington has officially left the Merchantmen. After 15 seasons of service (247 games), he signed a 1-year contract with the Capital City Blues.

We signed two second-year pro's with familiar names in QB Kent Figures and LB Wendell Reynolds. Figures was a 7th round pick for us in 2116 and after we released him in pre-season, he was picked up by the Texas Sharks on a 1-year deal as their emergency quarterback. Reynolds was an undrafted rookie in 2116, didn't make the final 53-men roster, but kept hope and we'll bring him to training camp 2117 for his second chance.

We also brought in 7 undrafted rookie free agents, all of them on pretty cheap, but not cheapskate contracts. RB Benjamin Reilly has very interesting hole recognition potential, if it holds up, he could challenge RB Edwin Erickson for the RB3 spot, but Reilly's lack of special teams ability limits the odds. FB Ron Carlisle is mainly suited to protect the quarterback from blitzers. TE J.J. Lang has promising route running and special teams potential. P Greg Stephenson is an insurance signing in case P Tyrons Johnston falls apart in pre-season. CB Alexis White is a small (5'7", 185 pounds) special teams ace, with zone defense potential. S Wayne Bridges is potentially a run stopper and zone defender. S Roderick Olivera has some special teams potential, but he'll have to improve on it to even make the pre-season roster.

We'll go into training camp with 68 players signed. Clearly way too many for the actual pre-season limit of 60. Especially the secondary group will need some trimming, we're bringing 17 men into training camp, that's insane.

Evaluating our undrafted rookie score, we managed to get 7 of 9 targets. We missed out on two wide receivers that signed lucrative deals with the two most decorated franchises in the league. WR Irving Stargell received a $4.5M bonus from the Tucker Tiger, where he might turn out to be their new punt returner, or might do nothing but end up on the trade block like half the wide receivers that are picked up by them as rookies. The Chesapeake Chitterlings offered WR Shane Zigler a $3.99M salary, it could make them their new special teams booster with excellent punt return potential.

Another interesting tidbit: the Bordeaux Vineyards made QB Clyde Morris the mr. irrelevant pick. He ran a spectacular 4.32 40-yard dash at the combine, but more importantly, makes for the interesting sandwich of the first and last pick in the same class being both quarterbacks for the exact same team. We actually looked at Morris as our plan B for our last 7th round pick, but with no mentor around, it made it bit less sense to hope the kid could grow to be our future starter after QB Bart Tanner and QB Harrison Singleton. We let QB Blake Stai walk away, he's now in Bordeaux to mentor Morris as well as #1 overall pick QB Hardy Henson.
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Old 09-01-2023, 04:29 PM   #813
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 53 men for 2117 set?

Pre-season action has finished and we're already down to 53 players on roster. I'm still keeping my eyes open at a couple of positions as for some backup roles and players I'm not happy. But I do think we've done a great enough job to stick the 2116 team together. In two waves we trimmed down from 68 through 60 to 53 men.

The first wave saw us release QB Kent Figures, FB Rob Carlisle, C Duane Ondre, K Dalton Jackson, LB Wendell Reynolds, CB Alex White, S Terry Bridges and S Roderick Olivera. Most were undrafted rookies, but Figures and Reynolds were mid-pre-season cuts last season. Jackson became unneeded when it turned out our rookie K Jeffery DeGroot is ready to play. Ondre was the only player with playing time experience on the team, he lost out to the veteran free agent signings.

The second wave saw us part ways with TE Richie Osborne, WR Brian Cote, WR Kai Cote, P Greg Stephenson, CB Chase Finley, CB Joel Delgado and S Phil McCleskey. Stephenson was an undrafted rookie, while Brian Cote, Finlay and McCleskey were our three 7th round picks. The other three were tougher cuts. Osborne spent 2 full seasons on roster, but was never activated and lost the roster spot battle to undrafted rookie TE J.J. Lang. Kai Cote had spent 8 seasons on team with us in which he missed all but 2 games as an undisputed member of the special teams unit, unit now as I chose to stick with last season's mid-season signing WR Blake Begay in that role. Delgado leaves the team after 11 seasons of service, he spent all of last season in the inactive seven after previously being a starter or at minimum in a time-share.

We extended a bunch of contracts with potential 2118 free agents being QB Harrison Singleton, TE Arnie Huffman, C Zane Chaplain, P Tyrus Johnstone, DE Calvin Buckley, LB Xavier Hoover and S Noah Matthews. But the biggest news in that area was the signing of LT Dan Clancy. Eventually he signed a contract of $228M over 5 years, that's quite a bit less than the $248M offer he turned down earlier on. Player agents are so unpredictable... TE Corbin Robbins still hasn't signed a new deal with us, but I'm determined to make it happen. And if there's something left after that, we'll make a big offer to WR Rufus Montgomery, locking him up for 5 years into the 2121 season before he starts asking prima donna money like WR Rodolfo Lane and WR Jessie Vertelney did and are collecting. Just over $30M sounds rich enough to me.

I'll run down the roster later on, because I might make some last minute changes and would like to make that 53-men report accurate for opening day's roster.
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Old 09-03-2023, 05:25 AM   #814
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 53 for 2117!

Okay, I'm still not completely sold on this collective of 53 players, but for now, I'm ready to settle with these men for our sequence of opening games until the bye week. Let's run down the team by position group, with their rough scouted ratings. Spoiler: we have only 5 new players and none of them om our defense, despite the truckload of rookie defensive backs that we brought in for training camp.

Quarterbacks
40/40 QB Bart Tanner
30/30 QB Harrison Singleton
Tanner is our man. He played his best season in 2116 with 263 passing yards per game and 24 touchdowns versus 13 interceptions, while increasing his yards per carry figure to 6.9. Singleton is in decline and is clearly less suited for the offensive style we're playing. We're going into the season without a third stringer. If emergency rises, we'll be forced to cut one of the undrafted rookies at another positon, hoping the injured quarterback doesn't need to go to injured reserve.

Backfield
45/45 RB Rusty Kemp
40/40 RB Renaldo Billodeaux
35/35 RB Edwin Erickson
30/40 RB Benjamin Reilly (rookie)
25/25 FB Kenneth Holse
We'll go by the Kemp and Billodeaux tandem for another season, with Erickson stuck behind Billodeaux. Reilly looked good in training camp, but we sat him in pre-season, while his lack of special teams skills makes him useless as an active backup. Reilly and Erickson are the guys least secure of their roster spot, both will be inactive backups. Holse has slowly turned into mostly a special teamer, at which he's a key member of that unit.

Tight Ends
55/55 TE Corbin Robbins
50/50 TE Ted Gordon
30/30 TE Arnie Huffman
20/35 TE J.J. Lang (rookie)
Robbins and Gordon will both get their share of targets, with Robbins last season having surpassed Gordon at that. Huffman is another reliable receiver, making the 3TE formation a serious threat. Lang has the potential to become the best third down receiver from this bunch. None of these guys are true blockers, which is kind of unusual for a Merchantmen offense.

Wide Receivers
70/70 WR Jessie Vertelney
65/65 WR Rodolfo Lane
60/60 WR Rufus Montgomery
35/35 WR Antonio Price
25/25 WR Blake Begay
25/25 WR Maurice Sweeney
We said goodbye to long-timer Kai Cote, his spot on the special teams unit is taken by 2116 mid-season signing Begay, who has show to be a useful WR4 or WR5. Sweeney is our kickoff returner, Lane our punt returner, both are elite guys. Price proved to be a reliable WR4, but will start the season inactive. But the core of this offense is really the Lane, Montgomery and Vertelney trio. We can no longer claim they're the best trio in the league, the Toronto Lake Monsters' has to be considered the top trio. But last season we finally managed to adjust our threesome's respective roles and routes, making them play more efficiently.

Offensive Line
75/75 LT Dan Clancy
60/60 G Herb Nieves
55/55 C Jim Mayes (veteran FA)
45/45 G Alfred Pearsall
45/45 G Andes Uwaezuoke
45/45 C Zane Chaplain
45/45 RT Lester Money (veteran FA)
40/40 RT Clayton Bernstein
A bit of an overhaul was required in this unit. Despite our tremendous running game, the pass protection was terrible. Mayes boosts that on the inside, while not making the group weaker in the running game. The addition of Money hopefully brings along the run blocker on the right side that I feel we lacked last season (I mean, we still ran for 5.1 yards per carry, so what's the problem?) It means we have plenty of players capable of playing. I'm basically done with Chaplain, but figured he could still be a worthy backup, although we might have thrown cap space away by extending his contract. I think Uwaezuoke will be the run blocking guard for one more season ahead of Pearsall, with Nieves having recovered well from the initial bust tag into an overall good guard. Last but not least, Clancy has got to be the most solid pas blocking left tackle in the league now, so we hope he improves on it.

Defensive Line
65/65 DT Carlos Fischer
55/55 DT Efrain Hutchins
50/50 DE Lonnie Wynn
50/50 DE Calvin Buckley
45/45 DT Francisco Blades
45/45 DT Bryan Lomax
35/35 DE Ernest Frias
35/35 DE Christopher Wrighster
This is the same bunch as last season and we'll try to give them the exact same roles as much as possible. Which means all eight will be on the active roster and into the rotation, even the studs Fischer and Hutchins will take a breather at times.

Linebackers
65/65 LB Jorge Mayes
45/45 LB Xavier Hoover
40/45 LB Ezekiel O'Neal
40/40 LB Bobby Diaz
35/35 LB Raymond Casper
35/35 LB Nicholas Giles
This group is the same as last season, but the sudden decline of Giles means he's become basically unneeded as he's now the worst of this group in terms of pass defense and run defense, while useless for the special teams unit. O'Neal will likely jump into the running downs formations where Giles was playing last season. Mayes remains to be the only all downs guy, with Diaz the pass protection expert and Hoover the running downs support.

Secondary
45/55 CB Zachary Blair
45/45 S Dan Peterson
40/45 CB Asher McElroy
35/50 S Cesar Welch
40/40 S Peter Hinsley
35/35 CB Marquis Wolf
30/30 CB Skip Horner
30/30 CB Byron Sokol
30/30 S Noah Matthews
30/30 CB Kent Wodarz
25/30 CB Adrian Kornegay
A big group with many different specialties. Wodarz will ride the bench again, being one of many zone defense specialist and surpassed by the second-year guys Wolf and Welch. Blair has recovered a bit after the initial first round bust stamp, hopefully growing into the shutdown corner role that we projected him to be capable of playing.

Special Teams
80/85 K Jeffery DeGroot
65/65 P Tyrus Johnstone
20/20 LS Roderick Kaeding
Oh yeah, and then there's this bunch. Kaeding is elite, yet there are 5 guys my staff thinks are even more impressive long snappers. DeGroot is almost everything we can hope for in a kicker. He might have trouble getting the distance on the 50+ field goals, but he's got the outlook of being the best kickoff specialist with excellent accuracy. Johnstone is a decent enough holder, but that's actually an area where we could still improve in...
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Old 09-10-2023, 03:55 PM   #815
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 2117, first six weeks

Let's enjoy the lead while it still lasts?
Okay, little spoiler, let's go over our first 5 games of the 2117 season, all played in the first 6 weeks.


Week 1 at Bordeaux
All eyes were on Bordeaux' rookie QB Hardy Henson, the #1 overall pick. He was in for a tough matchup, kind of stuck in an all pass approach whilst still so much to learn. Our own first round pick K Jeffery DeGroot struggled a bit, missing a long field goal at the end of the first half that could have trimmed the deficit to 10-9 there and then, shortly after aforementioned Henson threw his first career touchdown pass. In the second half, slowly but steady we took control and bended the score into our advantage, starting the new season with a victory.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 281 yards, with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. TE Arnie Huffman caught the touchdown pass, whilst RB Renaldo Billodeaux ran for our other touchdown.
Result: 20-13 win

Week 2 vs Frederick
Our second game of the season saw us outgain our opponents, but with 2 missed field goals and perhaps more crucial the combined 7 catches for 103 yards by our wide receiver trio. All in all, a weird game where we looked stronger, but took too little out of our opportunities, seeing both our sure-handed running backs losing a fumble.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 263 yards, without touchdown or interception.
Result: 6-14 loss

Week 3 vs Fort Wayne
Rarely is a victory good for a team's draft position, but this season we get two opportunities to prove that wrong, starting with this clash against the Ft. Wayne Fury. We're in possession of their first round pick next season, so a win would be great in that aspect.
The offense finally woke up, supported by a stellar special teams performance and hard to beat defense after two early touchdowns allowed. The team really showed how entertaining football can be, eventually piling up on the points.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 223 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. WR Jessie Vertelney caught 2 touchdowns, WR Rufus Montgomery and TE Arnie Huffman 1 each. RB Renaldo Billodeaux ran for a score.
Result: 43-20 win

Week 4
Bye week blues. Always in week 4. Boring.

Week 5 at North Plainfield
Traditionally the Plague are team we struggle against, especially when we're hot and they are not. We struggled once again, but this time around, our own defense put up even more of an impressive showing, aside from one unexpected 63-yard catch and run touchdown from their running back. The team showed it can win ugly games as well.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 259 yards with no touchdown or interception. RB Renaldo Billodeaux ran for our only touchdown.
Result: 13-7 win

Week 6 vs Rochester
Back home, the team decided to entertain their own fans once again. It took a pair of interceptions out of QB Bart Tanner's throwing arm to help the visiting Razorbacks get into our half oft the field, showing how hard to beat our defense is proving to be so far. The defense sacked the opposing quarterback 7 times, whilst also forcing him to run for it 9 times, both career highs for him.
QB Bart Tanner bounced back from his mishaps, throwing for 344 yards and 3 touchdowns, whilst also running for a score. RB Renaldo Billodeaux pounded a touchdown in early in the game. WR Jessie Vertelney, WR Rodolfo Lane and WR Arnie Huffman made the receiving touchdowns.
Result: 38-20 win

An interesting tidbit to mention: our defense consists of 25 players that all were on this team last season already. The actual change of personnel there was the release of veteran CB Joel Delgado and the return of CB Kent Wodarz after his recovery from arthritis. This unit is doing well so far, but 5 games is still a small sample size...

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

Our sole loss came to the Frederick Red Menace, currently sitting pretty at 4-1-1 atop their traditionally tough division, whilst the Gothenburg Giants have lost 26-24 at the still unbeaten Tucker Tigers and lost 26-24 against last season's 19-0 juggernaut Toronto Lake Monsters. That monstrous team will be coming to Maassluis in week 7, making for a big test for our division leading team. I'm not optimistic about this game, but if we're for real, we'll surely put up a fight there. Missing our shutdown CB Zachary Blair won't make things easier against their throw-throw-throw approach. Blair will miss the remainder of the regular season with a concussion. But I think we have enough experience and role players to step in and show we're not hanging on one player that much. Now imagine our prima donna wide receivers actually starting to play up to their ability and maybe we can pull the upset and prove the world that we're not a fluke division leader...
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* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 09-17-2023, 05:16 AM   #816
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 2/3rd-ish 2117 report!

We've gone through a swing of 6 more games and, after quite the rollercoaster we're still a top the division. I won't say "don't ask how", because you know I'm going to tell you here and now anyway.

Week 7 vs Toronto
The defending league champions came to town and didn't didn't just show their all pass attack near perfection, they also taught our quarterback a lesson in ball control. QB Bart Tanner was intercepted 4 times, while he and RB Rusty Kemp also added a lost fumble to the tally and QB Harrison Singleton got his share as well with one more interception. Yup, 7 turnovers against the team that went 19-0 last season, I think you can quickly imagine how such a game would end. Well, it was 14-44 by half time and neither team scored a touchdown in the second half.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 227 yards with touchdowns to TE Arnie Huffman and WR Jessie Vertelney, who also had 102 yards receiving for the day. We gained 439 total yards, which is quite good against this opponent and we lost the field position battle by just 7 yards despite losing the turnover battle 2-7.
Result 14-50 loss

Week 8 at Paris
Despite giving up 378 total yards, the Paris Musketeers needed an early pick six to put points on the score board. Our own offense was underwhelmingly bad, yet they eventually put just enough points on the board to avoid an embarrassing loss.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 237 yards, with a touchdown to WR Rodolfo Lane.
Result: 13-7 win

Week 9 at Harlem
Struggles with our wide receivers not living up to their cap figures, it has helped our quarterback into turning into a pick machine this season and in this game another pair of lost fumbles made for steep hill to climb. We also have to give credit to an opponent that saw their running back run for 141 yards on us. But at the end of the day, when you're losing the turnover battle 0-4, it requires excellence on all the other drives to avoid deficit, which we were not capable of.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 263 yards with a touchdown to WR Rufus Montgomery, while RB Rusty Kemp scored our other touchdown.
Result: 20-31 loss

Week 10 vs Bordeaux
And then, when you thought we had rolled our snake eyes already, Bordeaux got something of a single roll Yahtzee! against us. In what was a very strong showing from our offense and defense, we found ourselves trailing 41-20 with 14 minutes to go in the game. All that most the result of the Vineyards scoring touchdowns on a fumble return, punt return, interception return and a kickoff return. Despite that, we didn't give up and took advantage of a pair of 4th quarter interceptions thrown by their backup quarterback (almost evening out on QB Bart Tanner's 4-interception game).
We almost pulled the unlikely comeback, scoring a pair of touchdowns and a
field goal to set us up for trailing by 4, moving downfield with under a minute remaining and Tanner throwing that 4th interception in the end zone to end the game.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 368 yards, threw 2 touchdowns, ran for 1 as well. RB Rusty Kemp ran for a touchdown, TE Corbin Robbins caught 2 touchdowns. WR Rodolfo Lane for a change lived up to his talent and exorbitant salary with 152 yards receiving.
Result: 37-41 loss

Week 11 vs Gothenburg
Having dropped to second place in the division based on the divisional game loss to Bordeaux, we were fully expecting to see the downfall continue with a near knock out punch by the Giants in our own house.
After a bit of a false start for them, we took the quick lead with a short 35-yrd drive for a touchdown and after both offense put down dominant drives for a 14-7 score in our advantage, everybody was getting ready for a shootout.
Nothing of that came through in the remaining 3 quarters and a bit as the stingy defenses on both sides put quite the display on the field. Especially our pass rush showed up for a change and late in the game saved the day when Gothenburg was driving for would could have been a comeback from behind touchdown as DE Christopher Wrighster had a strip sack complete with recovering the losse ball.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 252 yards with 2 touchdowns. WR Jessie Vertelney and TE Ted Gordon made the touchdown catches.
Result: 20-14 win

Week 12 at Brooklyn
And then a real shootout came to the football field. Helped by 3 interceptions thrown by their quarterback in the first 20 minutes of the game, we took an early lead and even saw it in become a 2-score game late after a tremendous 60-yard touchdown run by RB Renaldo Billodeaux. A fumble by this hero helped the Fightin' Bums set up their touchdown for a 31-30 lead with just over 4 minutes to go. With just over 2 minutes remaining, we decided to punt, nailing them deep inside their own red zone. The gamble proved to be worth it as we trhee-and-outed them, followed by a strong punt return by WR Rodolfo Lane to set up a 45-yard field goal for the 33-31 lead. Our rookie K Jeffery DeGroot succeeded and in the nail biting final 45 seconds, Brooklyn failed to get into field goal range as well.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 265 yards and a touchdown to TE Ted Gordon. RB Renaldo Billodeaux ran for 118 yards and 1 touchdown, RB Rusty Kemp also ran for a touchdown.
Result: 33-31 win

That was quite the rollercoaster of games as we ran into quite the load of of turnovers, in particular QB Bart Tanner's return to his 2115 habits of throwing multiple picks in a game. We thought we fixed that issue last season, but apparently not. The wide receivers also went a huge step back this season, WR Jessie Vertelney has 5.9 yards per target, WR Rodolfo Lane has a 48.9 catch percentage and WR Rufus Montgomery has less than 3 receptions per game. Their combined tally is 127 catches for 1673 yards and 9 touchdowns in 11 games. These guys are just not untalented enough to have these totals.

Despite all that, we're still hanging onto the division lead, for a big part based on a bit of an off season for the Giants and in particular our head-to-head win flipped the division lead into our favor.

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

Our remaining schedule isn't easy at all. We're visiting Augusta Greenjackets (5-6) next, in recent seasons our rivals for the wild card race. Then we'll host the Chesapeake Chitterlings (8-3) in what seems to be a back to 10-win quality season for them. Then we'll host Paris, which has to be the closest thing to a guaranteed win as you can have in the league this season. And we'll close it out with a stretch of road games at Williamsburg (6-5) and at Gothenburg. Both of them are looking more stable than we do, which says quite a bit as they are not playing their best football at the moment. Again, a tough stretch, where under normal circumstances going 2-3 would be mildly acceptable, but given where we are right now, to win the division we'll need to win at least 3 games, preferably the last one, but we'll have to stop doing this forecasting and try to focus on game by game. Augusta is a tough cookie to crack.
__________________
* 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 : 09-17-2023 at 05:30 AM.
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Old 09-23-2023, 04:58 AM   #817
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: late 2117 regular season stretch

The last 5 regular season games are in the books. It was a tough series of games, with potentially 4 playoffs making teams on the schedule and one mismatch in the middle. How did that play out?


Week 13 at Augusta
At the halfway mark of the season, the Augusta Greenjackets were 2-6, but with a small winning streak against teams they're supposed to beat, the were ready for this big test in their own house against us. They've made the playoffs in 3 of the last 4 seasons, always had a winning record and rightfully so as they have an impressive team, in particular their HOF bound quarterback Kaden Banks.
Despite that early on we kind of kept pace in a bit of high scoring game in the first 20 minutes, trailing 17-13, a 96-yard drive from the Greenjackets was a punch in the face moment as it appeared to end the shootout kind of game it was earlier on. We were clearly outmatched and after another long drive from the Greenjackets late in the fourth quarter to put them 14 points up, it was finally over.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 257 yards with 1 interception. RB Renaldo Billodeaux and RB Rusty Kemp scored our touchdowns for the day. We forced no turnovers, had just 2 big plays on special teams (a 70-yard kickoff return and a punt to the August 4-yard line) and allowed a 100-yard rusher for the second time this season.
Result: 20-34 loss

Week 14 vs Chesapeake
Coming in with having won 2/3rd of their games, the Chitterlings were considered red hot, with their career backup out of nowhere starting quarterback somehow getting the job done. Richie DiGiacomo played well in Maassluis as well as he threw for 333 yards and 3 touchdowns, also running for a score, without any turnovers.
After wild first quarter we were already leading 24-14 as the Chitterlings' defense looked incapable of stopping us. The game somewhat settled down from there on, although we kept stuffing their rushers, while smooth sailing offensively and letting our rookie kicker put the points on the board.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 298 yards and 3 touchdowns. TE Corbin Robbins caught 8 passes for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns, while WR Jessie Vertelney accounted for the other receiving touchdown. WR Rodolfo Lane scored a punt return touchdown and RB Rusty Kemp ran for 103 yards.
Result: 40-28 win

Week 15 vs Paris
What should have been a confidence boosting last home game of the regular season against the weakest opponent in the conference, turned out to be a tough nut to crack as the Musketeers achieved to keep our offense from scoring any touchdowns. Luckily, our defense showed up today, keeping them to 241 total yards and just 1 touchdown. A fourth quarter fumble from our sure-handed kickoff returner gifted Paris their second touchdown of the game and put them within a score. We kicked another field goal late and on our final drive we played out the clock convincingly to haul in a narrower than it needed to be victory. QB Bart Tanner threw for 274 yards with 1 touchdown.
Result: 22-16 win

Week 16 at Williamsburg
The Colonials had a shaky start to the season (3-5 halfway in), but they regrouped and with a 5-1 stretch they were ready to host us. Their running back Craig Worcester and quarterback Landon Miceli ran all over us, as they gained 135 and 62 yards respectively. We didn't play much worse or less well, but as we lost the turnover battle 1-3 and chickened out late in the game, punting while down by a touchdown and never got the ball back anymore as the Colonials effectively ran the clock out.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 224 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. TE Arnie Huffman scored our only touchdown of the game.
Result: 13-20 loss



Week 17 at Gothenburg
And then came the all or nothing game to determine the European Division title, knowing the losing team would likely miss the playoffs despite a winning record. Both the Giants and us went into this game with a 9-6 record, but we were still leading the division based on the head-to-head win earlier on. The scenarios were simple: lose and our season would end as we'd always fall behind the Augusta Greenjackets in the final wild card race. Tie and we'd win the division on the head-to-head win earlier on. Win and Gothenburg would still sneak into the playoffs if Augusta would lose in Orlando. Gothenburg's six losses all came down to a single score, while we had little confidence in terms of knowing how to win at their place, our last win their was in 2103, even our most veteran players were still in college when that happened.

We won the toss and saw our kick returner bring us to our 41-yard line for our first drive to start. QB Bart Tanner connected with WR Jessie Vertelney for 15-yard and 22-yard gains to quickly bring us into scoring position and a couple plays later rookie Jeffery DeGroot put us up 3-0. After three and out, our punt returner Rodolfo Lane brought us to the Gothenburg 42-yard line and it was Lane again that hauled in a spectacular 52-yard touchdown after Tanner found him on 3rd and 20 halfway into the Giants' half. Gothenburg responded with a stellar kickoff return, a 25-yard pass and eventually a short touchdown pass to make it 10-7 in our advantage. We kept playing as a team on a mission on our next possession as we overcame another 3rd and long with a 28-yard catch by TE Corbin Robbins and a 21-yarder by him on 2nd and 24. After a 18-yard catch by WR Rufus Montgomery we ended the first quarter at the Giants' 5-yard line and on the first play of the second quarter, Tanner found Robbins for the touchdown and a 17-7 lead.

Gothenburg fought back and it wasn't until DE Christopher Wrighster made his second sack of the game for them to get halted and settle for a field goal. Despite a 30-yard pass from QB Bart Tanner to WR Jessie Vertelney, we were quickly forced to punt, yet nailed them at their own 7-yard line. With several long plays, the Giants marched into our territory, but after we stuffed both their running backs, they chose to punt rather than attempt a 54-yard field goal. RB Rusty Kemp ran for 29 yards to bring us past midfield, eventually setting up a 33-yard field goal which K Jeffery DeGroot converted for a 20-10 lead. Attempting to make it back to 1 score down, S Peter Hensley intercepted a deep throw to end that drive. But our Tanner immediately returned the favour and we needed our defense to stand strong to get toi half time with that 20-10 lead.

The Giants had the ball first in the third quarter, but it ended quickly for them when their running back was stripped of the ball and one of our defensive linemen landed on the ball. QB Bart Tanner shortened the distance with a 12-yard throw and 10-yard run to set up the field goal for the 23-10 lead, which still kept the Giants within 2 touchdowns. The defense forced a quick three and out, followed by our own offense's impressive three play series with Tanner finding FB Kenneth Holse for 15 yards, RB Rusty Kemp running for 21 yards and TE Corbin Robbins catching a Tanner pass for 21 yards. Eventually TE Arnie Huffman made the touchdown catch for a 30-10 lead. The third quarter wasn't even halfway then and the Giants responded with a 49-yard pass to set up an 38-yard field goal and making it 30-13. Our next possession was spoiled by penalties and Gothenburg marched into our territory right before the end of the quarter.

With their first play of the fourth quarter, the Giants scrambled into our red zone, but our defense showed up there and forced them to kick it for a 30-16 lead for us, making the Giants' deficit back down to 2 touchdowns. Our next drive was extended several times, with a 19-yard QB Bart Tanner throw to TE Ted Gordon on third down and a couple of 8-yard runs from RB Renaldo Billodeaux to eventually see the drive end on a 3rd and long turning into a Tanner to WR Rodolfo Lane touchdown pass, making it 37-16 with under 7 minutes remaining. Finally we started to believe that we were going to win this game. Our pass defense showed up on the next drive and eventually the Giants had to go for it on 4th and 4 and saw us tackle their receiver way short of the first down. We ran some time off the clock and after a long sack, the Giants were stuck in 4th and 15 with 2 minutes remaining and forced to go for it. Their pass feel way short and after we burned all their time outs, we saw our rookie K Jeffery DeGroot miss a 46-yard field goal attempt, seeing his perfect streak end after 71 field goals and extra points. Gothenburg marched downfield with their next two plays, but a strip sack by defensive player of the week DE Christopher Wrighster, the game was over as S Noah Matthews recovered the ball. Victory formation was there.

Elsewhere in the league, the San Antonio Tidal Force lost, pushing us up to the #3 seed in the playoffs and thus hosting the last wild card team. The stadium didn't immediately run empty as the Augusta at Orlando was going into overtime and the result there could help the Giants get into the playoffs. The Orlando Talons took a 19-16 lead on their first possession, but the Greenjackets still had their first possession to go. They moved the chains on a crucial 3rd and 9 situation and after a 21-yard catch got them already within field goal range, they kept on going and eventually scored a touchdown to end that game with barely a minute to go.

QB Bart Tanner threw for 353 yards with 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. WR Rodolfo Lane had 2 receiving touchdowns, while TE Arnie Huffman and TE Corbin Robbins accounted for 1 receiving touchdown each. DE Christopher Wrighster had 3.0 sacks, 5 tackles and forced a game winning fumble. The offense gained 469 total yards against the #1 defense in the league (the Giants still finished the season as #1 with 299 yards per game allowed).

Result: 37-16 win



European Division
1. Maassluis 10-6
2. Gothenburg 9-7
3. Bordeaux 3-13
4. Paris 3-13

After a 2116 campaign where I felt like the Merchantmen were stronger than the Giants, but the head-to-head sweep tilted things the other way, this season it feels like it was the other way around. With one caveat, last season the Giants were stronger in two close head-to-head games, this season we swept them with a tight game at home and a big win at their place. So one could say both seasons the stronger team in the head-to-head clashes earned the division title in that subset of games.

The Tucker Tigers (14-2) leads the playoffs field in the AOC, with the defending champions Toronto Lake Monsters (12-4) also getting a bye. the San Antonio Tidal Force (10-6) will host the Harlem Apollos (11-5), the latter are the shocker of the field here, after their 6-10 campaign last season and they actually have a -31 points differential this season. As I mentioned above, we'll get into the playoffs as the #3 seed hosting the Augusta Greenjackets (10-6). Gothenburg misses the playoffs with a +128 points differential. It's not quite unique, but it's weird nevertheless.

In the other conference, the Texas Sharks (12-4), Fairbanks Northstars (12-4), Arizona Miners (10-6), Williamsburg Colonials (10-6), Oakland Black Panthers (10-6) and Capital City Blues (9-7) are the playoffs teams.

Are we worthy? Hard to tell. We lost to all 4 playoffs teams that we faced in the regular season. We lost at Augusta fair and square, which sets up for what could be a coin flip of a game.



A quick rundown of the individual stats of the regular season?

QB Bart Tanner threw for 4,388 yards with 25 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. All three figures are career highs, albeit that interceptions figure should be considered a career low. Tanner threw the most interceptions of all quarterbacks in IHOF.

RB Renaldo Billodeaux ran for 827 yards with 6 touchdowns and 5.07 yards per carry. RB Rusty Kemp ran for 789 yards with 4 touchdowns and 4.67 yards per carry. QB Bart Tanner ran for 446 yards with 2 touchdowns and 6.46 yards per carry.

WR Rodolfo Lane had 66 catches for 965 yards and 4 touchdowns, TE Corbin Robbins had 72 catches for 925 yards and 5 touchdowns, WR Jessie Vertelney had 83 catches for 919 yards and 6 touchdowns, WR Rufus Montgomery had 43 catches for 633 yards and 2 touchdowns, TE Ted Gordon had 49 catches for 535 yards and 2 touchdowns, TE Arnie Huffman had 17 catches for 267 yards and 6 touchdowns.

Selected others:
WR Rodolfo Lane was 2nd in the league with 21.0 yards per punt return, WR Maurice Sawyer was 3rd in the league with 31.7 yards per kickoff return.

K Jeffery DeGroot scored the most field goals (39) which helped him in being 1st in the league with 155 points scored, whilst DeGroot also lead the league in kickoff stats like touchdownback percentage, yards per kickoff and average opponent drive start.

DT Carlos Fisher was 1st at his position in the league with 9 sacks. LB Jorge Mayes was tied 1st in the league with 4 interceptions amongst all linebackers.

Last but not least, LT Dan Clancy allowed 1 sack in 677 passing plays and shockingly lead our team with a career high 28 key run blocks.
__________________
* 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 : 09-24-2023 at 12:55 PM. Reason: "touchdown percentage"? obviously I meant "touchback percentage".
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Old 09-24-2023, 01:17 AM   #818
JonInMiddleGA
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
Quote:
Originally Posted by MIJB#19 View Post


K Jeffery DeGroot scored the most field goals (39) which helped him in being 1st in the league with 155 points scored, whilst DeGroot also lead the league in kickoff stats like touchdown percentage, yards per kickoff and average opponent drive start.

Speaking of which ... did Harrington get the 81 points needed for the 2,000 Point Club?
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Old 09-24-2023, 12:47 PM   #819
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonInMiddleGA View Post
Speaking of which ... did Harrington get the 81 points needed for the 2,000 Point Club?
Wow, good question. I just checked, it appears he scored 22 field goals and 37 extra points for the Capital City Blues, which put him solidly into the 2,000 club, becoming the 12th member of the quantitative elite of kickers. He exceeded Charles Anthony, our kicker from week 10 2026 through his retirement after the 2042 season. Harrington is still behind Shane Shields, our kicker from 2054 through 2065, but Shields also played in Tucker for 4 seasons, so in a Merchantmen uniform, Harrington was already ahead of Shields. Anyway, Harrington moved up to 9th all-time in field goals and 11th in points scored, 2 behind the #10... Few kickers stick around for a 17th season, it will be interesting to see whether Harrington will at the age of 36.
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Old 09-30-2023, 07:28 AM   #820
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 2117 Playoffs!

Still high on the celebration of ending the longest domination of the European Division of consecutive division title, we got the men together to focus on the next task: avenging the loss to the Augusta Greenjackets. For the first time since the wild card round of 2104, Oranje Haven was the location of a playoffs game. As to be expected, the stadium was sold oud. It marked the tied longest time span between playoffs home games, the previous gap was between the 2091 and the 2104 season. Yeah, we had as many as 1 home game in the playoffs from 2092 through 2116. How the once second-best have mightily fallen.


So, the Greenjackets, familiar faces. We were beaten fair and square in week13 at their place, while we beat them in the previous two seasons in the regular season. In particular the overtime 41-35 win at their place in 2116 is still on my memory. So, everybody was getting ready for a shootout, which might turn out to be the overall trend on the AOC side of the playoffs tree.


Week 18 vs Augusta
Augusta started strong on their first drive and anchored by a 37-yard catch and run a lot by their tight end, they scored the first touchdown of the game. After a failed extra point, their lead was only 6-0. We responded with a phenomenal 55-yard pass from QB Bart Tanner to WR Rufus Montgomery, catching the Augusta defense off guard double teaming WR Jessie Vertelney. Tanner himself converted a third down with a scramble and eventually found TE Ted Gordon on a short throw into the end zone for the 7-6 lead. Augusta's next possession ended three and out with DT Carlos Fisher getting credits on a 9-yard sack on third down. A fair of big penalty put us in first and 30, but Tanner craftily connected for 11-yard and 12-yard gains before he scrambled for a first down on third and long. The Greenjackets defense looked still shocked and Tanner found Montgomery wide open again for a 47-yard touchdown. Augusta started their next drive with a 36-yard gain on a scree pass, but our defense halted them at midfield. Tanner now got his chance to show he's got WR Rodolfo Lane at his disposal, finding him 3 times for chains moving gains. On third and long, Vertelney made a big catch and eventually it was Gordon again for a short touchdown catch, shortly into the second quarter for a 21-6 lead.

Hoping to bounce back fast, Augusta got caught off guard again, this time almost literally as DT Carlos Fisher flattened the right guard to get on top of the quarterback for a strip sack, completed with the recovery. Shortly after, K Jeffery DeGroot converted a 47-yard field goal for the 24-6 lead. On the next couple of drives, neither offense got much going, but Augusta was winning the field position battle, to start their next drive near midfield. The third turnover of the game wrecked their drive as their fullback was stripped off the ball after a short catch. It flipped the position battle into our advantage, but neither team managed to gain much ground on their next drive. That changed when QB Bart Tanner found TE Arnie Huffman for an 18-yard catch, eventually followed up by a 33-yard reception by WR Jessie Vertelney to get into the end zone with about a minute before the big break. The defense camp up big and after Augusta was out of time outs, Tanner knee dropped for half time with Maassluis leading 31-6.

The third quarter started with a solid kickoff return by WR Maurice Sweeney, shortly after seeing our P Tyrus Johnston pin our opponents at their own 1-yard line. The Augusta quarterback Kaden Banks responded with 22-yard and 16-yard throws to his sidekicks to set up a successful 49-yard field goal. After the Augusta defense silenced our offense, Banks made 23-yard and 19-yard throws to set up a 33-yard field goal, brining them back to trailing 31-12. Another three and out put our offense quickly off the field and saw the end of the third quarter.

Seemingly about to get really rolling now, Augusta converted was halted again, this time seeing DE Calvin Buckley pick off their quarterback's throw and returning it into their half. A 48-yard field goal by our rookie K Jeffery DeGroot was the follow up of this third takeaway of the game. With 10 minutes to go, we stopped Augusta once again and saw our WR Rodolfo Lane make a solid punt return to help our field position. RB Rusty Kemp ran for 10 yards to earn a new set of downs and QB Bart Tanner found TE Corbin Robbins on third and short for another set. TE Ted Gordon was on the receiving end of a third and long conversion and although the next third and long fell short, DeGroot's 32-yard field goal did not and put us 37-12 up, which by then felt like the knock out blow with under 6 minutes remaining. The Augusta offense now got their engines really going and marched into our red zone, to see things end up in another turnover as S Dan Peterson made the interception in the end zone. As we ran out the clock's last 3 minutes, Augusta waived the white flag, not calling any time outs, seeing the game end on a stuffed inside run by RB Renaldo Billodeaux.

QB Bart Tanner threw for 328 yards with 4 touchdowns and no turnovers. WR Rufus Montgomery gained 107 yards receiving, also contributing on a receiving touchdown. WR Jessie Vertelney also had a receiving touchdown, while TE Ted Gordon had 2 receiving touchdowns. We barely outgained August with 388-369 total yards, but winning the turnover battle 4-0 helped piling on. Tanner won offensive player of the week, while DT Carlos Fisher won defensive player of the week with his 2.0 sacks, 3 hurries, 7 tackles, 1 assist and a recovered fumble that he also forced.

Result: 37-12 win


So, on to Toronto it was for us, for the conference semifinals!

A tough matchup, albeit the second seeds after their 12-4 regular season campaign, the Lake Monsters also are the reigning IHOF champions and clobbered us 50-14 in Oranje Haven during the regular season. Yes, that game was turnover heavy, so if we could stay away from that kind of mess, we were hoping to be able to put up a fight here.


Week 19 at Toronto
We didn't start all that well, seeing QB Bart Tanner get sacked for a 9-yard loss in the first play from scrimmage, but he responded with a 23-yard throw to TE Ted Gordon on third and very long to keep the drive going. On the next third down, Tanner found WR Jessie Vertelney for 14 yards and on the ensuing 3rd and 15, Tanner found WR Rodolfo Lane for 18 yards. A pair of similar throws to TE Corbin Robbins got us into the red zone and as we called out a 4-receiver set, WR Maurice Sweeney ended up wide open in the end zone making the catch for the 7-0 lead after more than 5 minutes of play. Our defense responded with three and out and Lane then returned the punt 16 yards to midfield. Although forced to punt, we pinned them at their own 3-yard line and on the second play, S Dan Peterson not just intercepted a deep throw, he promoted it into a 42-yard touchdown for the 14-0 lead. The Toronto passing game then got going at last and their quarterback Miguel Mock eventually go his offense, resulting in their first touchdown of the game: 14-7. Sweeney then delivered a nice 33-yard kickoff return to give us decent field position.

At the start of the second quarter, RB Rusty Kemp ran wild for a 25-yard gain on third and short, while RB Renaldo Billodeaux and QB Bart Tanner followed up with their own shorter, yet quite useful runs. We kept gaining just enough yards to eventually get into the red zone and witness Billodeaux going for an 18-yard run for the 21-7 lead. On the second play of Toronto's next drive, DT Carlos Fisher ended up covering their young receiver Todd Schweigert seeing a trick play go wrong as Fisher intercepted the pass inside their half of the field. Sadly, our offense failed to gain ground and all we got was pinning them at their own 5-yard line. Toronto quickly responded with a 51-yard catch and several plays later, a 21-yard reception got into our end zone, making it a 21-14 lead for us. We kept on playing strong on offense and although failing to reach the red zone, we saw our reliable rookie K Jeffery DeGroot make it 24-14 on a 44-yard field goal. Hoping to stall them enough to at best force them to kick, we failed with a minute to go when the Lake Monsters saw their quarterback Miguel Mock find one of his receivers for a 44-yard gain and a short touchdown throw on the subsequent play. After 18-yard and 19-yard gains from the arm of Tanner to his prima donna receivers, rather than attempting a 56-yard field goal, we decided to attempt a Hail Mary with 10 seconds to go. It failed, ending a shootout of a first half with us leading 24-21.

Although allowing a 40-yard pass on Toronto's first drive of the second half, we managed to hold ground near our end zone and a 21-yard field goal saw Toronto tie it up 24-24. We responded with our running game, balancing it with a 16-yard throw from QB Bart Tanner to TE Corbin Robbins to set up a 22-yard touchdown run by RB Renaldo Billodeaux. Those points went off the board for a holding penalty and after we moved into their red zone after all, Tanner's throw into the end zone got picked off. Typically, we allowed a 32-yard pass shortly after, seeing Toronto marching down field to take the lead for the first time in the game. Instead, LB Jorge Mayes intervened, picking off a short pass and returning it 82-yards for a touchdown and putting us 31-24 up. Before the third quarter was over, we managed to force them to punt, but getting pinned at our own 1-yard line.

The fourth quarter saw as start at our own 9-yard line, following an 8-yard run by RB Renaldo Billodeaux, but we did get forced to punt right after and it didn't take the Lake Monsters long to find the end zone and tie it up once again: 31-31. We responded with our tremendous third down play again, this time with a 17-yard connection between QB Bart Tanner and WR Rodolfo Lane, but we didn't get close enough to even go for three. We did manage to force three and out for a change and got the ball back at midfield. Tanner was finding players left and right to get down field and eventually even third and 2 was only enough to make us settle for K Jeffery DeGroot converting a 39-yard field goal for the 34-31 lead. Toronto responded with a 6-play 75-yard drive as if our defense didn't exist and with just under 3 minutes to go, for the first time all game we were trailing: 38-34. Down by 4 points, it was pretty clear that we were now in an all or nothing situation, a field goal would be insufficient with too little time remaining to get the ball back. On third and 11, Tanner found WR Rufus Montgomery for 15 yards and for 7 yards on the next drive. TE Corbin Robbins then dropped a ball on third and short that would have moved the chains and on the next play, Tanner had too little time make the retry work. Toronto got the ball back and although we saw it coming, we were unable to stop their quarterback Miguel Mock from taking a run for it, as he slid for the just enough yards to move the chains and burn our first time out, to have no more time left to call two more and force them to punt.

We were outgained 545-422 in total yards, but helped by winning the turnover battle 3-1, we managed to have a slight field position advantage all day long. Our tremendous play on third downs (9 of 17 converted) sounds like it was supreme, but Toronto just rarely was put into a third down situation as they usually move the chains on their first or second play. QB Bart Tanner threw for 341 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. WR Maurice Sweeney scored the receiving touchdown. RB Renaldo Billodeaux still scored 1 rushing touchdown, despite seeing one called back. S Dan Peterson and LB Jorge Mayes contributed with long interception return touchdowns.

Result: 34-38 loss



So ended our 2117 season. A frustrating regular season, which ended with a sensational pounding of the Gothenburg Giants in their own house to claim an unexpected division title. Then followed up with a strong showing against Augusta in the wild card round and then a loss at the reigning champions in a game were it felt like everything was about to fall our way, almost, just that last one coin flip did not.

The Lake Monsters ended up losing the AOC Championship game 45-40 at the Tucker Tigers (14-2 in the regular season), in which Miguel Mock threw for 706 yards, while Tucker's Renaldo Brady threw for just 411 yards, both with 5 touchdowns and 1 interception.

The shootout series ended in IHOF Bowl CXIV as the Texas Sharks were forced to kick for field goals a lot by the Tigers. yet in return, the Tigers were playing once of their least impressive games of the season and Texas ended up winning 26-24. The IHOF Bowl ended on the Tigers a their own 1-yard line, with 21 seconds remaining and after a shockingly short completed pass, not rushing back to the line of scrimmage fast enough to get one Hail Mary play on the field.
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Old 10-01-2023, 02:46 PM   #821
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Welcome to 2118

Most off-season's start with the news of players that say goodbye to the IHOF.

K Oscar Harrington
Let's kickoff, no pun intended, with Harrington. We picked him in the 2nd round of the 2102 draft and because of his excellent kicking ability, we held on to him for 15 seasons. He played in 240 regular season games and 7 playoffs games for us. Including his final season in Capital City, he scored 471 field goals and 2,035 points in total.

G Andres Uwaezuoke
Our 2nd round pick in the 2106 draft was an opening day starter then and remained a starter until his retirement. Although Uwaezuoke wasn't always undisputed, he started in 185 of 186 regular season games he played and in all 7 playoffs games. He was regarded a key to our running game, even played at center for a season to keep the unit working with his cohesion boost.

RT Clayton Bernstein
Having joined the Merchantmen in 2112 as a free agent, hopes were Bernstein Initially we hoped he could play left tackle, but we quickly found out that RT or RG would be the place to go for him. We gave up on him a couple of times, but as injuries and retirements struck, we kept reverting back to Bernstein to fill the gaps. Eventually he played in 95 games for us, including 5 playoffs games. Prior to Maassluis being his football home, he played 7 seasons with the Chesapeake Chitterlings. Winning IHOF Bowl CV victory against the Tucker Tigers was his career highlight.


Staff Changes
A more unusual retirement was our Assistant Coach Marty Crane's. He spent just 3 seasons with us. It kickstarted quite the overhaul in our staff as we proceeded with the hiring of a new Offensive Coordinator, picking Marvin Mariotti and releasing Ryan Whalen, who ended up in Houston as their OC. We hired Everett Shannon as our new Defensive Coordinator, a forced move as our previous DC left us after just 1 season to become Rochester's Head Coach.


We now move on to the actual off-season stuff, sitting at $63M over the $634M salary cap, but we should be able to dig ourselves out of that hole without much trouble. We do have about $45M to reserve for incoming rookies, result of having 3 1st round draft picks. We have the second most expensive draft pick collections, despite that we're picking at slots #12, #25 and #27.

We have 43 players signed, with 2 unrestricted free agents in WR Antonio Price and LB Nicolas Giles. Price is floating around the WR4 slot, but we kept him inactive all season as we went through the season without injuries to our prima donna trio. Speaking of, WR Rufus Montgomery is in his 4th season with us and we failed to sign him to an extension last season. We'll have a helluva job to figure out how to fit Montgomery under the cap as well. (I swore we already had an extended deal worked out with him, but clearly we had not, so it goes). Giles was demoted to an inactive backup role after he severely regressed last pre-season. It's doubtful we'll try to keep either Price or Giles.

In the restricted free agents section, we have to figure out what we want to do with RB Benjamin Reilly, TE J.J. Lang, DT Bryan Lomax, LB Ezekiel O'Neal, CB Asher McElroy and CB Adrian Kornegay. I really hope we can bring back the four defensive players, togehter the want about $20M of cap figures, while I suspect that Lang and Reilly are unlikely to make our 2118 roster.

I've already mentioned WR Rufus Montgomery, the upcoming discussions also apply to G Herb Nieves and DT Carlos Fisher. That's the side effect of having 3 1st round picks in the same draft. So, it's going to be a cap management challenge to be able to afford both the 2115 and the 2118 threesomes.
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Old 10-07-2023, 10:23 AM   #822
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The 2118 Off-season continues

Our 2118 roster is taking shape. Sure, training camp and pre-season can throw a wrench in the engine, but with just the post draft free agency remaining, we're already up to 56 players signed.

A good number of contract renegotiations with the expensive players and some additional ones willing to sign for less, we had little trouble getting making a $100M cap space shift from roughly $63M over the cap to $19M under the cap after the arrival of rookies. There was a rush of draft day trades, which saw us part ways with both the #25 and #27 overall picks for 2119 1st round picks from Orlando and Frederick, as well as our 2nd round pick for a 2nd rounder from Frederick in 2119. Both are the kind of teams that should be considered above .500 land in terms of skilled management, but both are stuck in tough divisions. I mean, as it is, there really are no "easy" division, bar two maybe. The European Division was meh-ish when we were still flirting with a winning record.

We still ended up grabbing 7 rookies in this draft. I prefer to lump this usually together with the undrafted rookie free agents harvest, but as that score is yet to come, we'll mention them anyway. G Greg Brizzolara was our pick at #12 overall. Quite high for an offensive linemen, in particular for a guard with questionable run blocking technique, but this kid is considered to be an exceptionally talented pass blocking guard. We'll stick him to LT Dan Clancy and that part of our blocking duties is taken care of. We picked 6 more offensive players and none from other units.

RB Jackson Powell looks interesting with hole recognition, breakaway speed and plenty of upside in terms of endurance, special teams skills, route running, third down running and excellent blitz pickup potential. This could be our new third down back. FB Ricky Anderson doesn't bring the special teams skills I hoped for, at least, that's the first look talking, but he does bring in the right amount of blocking skills (potentially). We also picked special teamer and route runner TE Kyle Baker and big-play WR Corey Marshall. RT John Gerdes and RT William Wiggins might hope to get a shot at a starting spot, but we already found out Wiggins is a red flag player, that makes it unlikely for him to make the pre-season roster.

Those 7 are our entire acquisition for the off-season so far, we signed zero veteran free agents from other teams (so far), but did bring back all but two free agents. DT Bryan Lomax, LB Ezekiel O'Neal, CB Asher McElroy and CB Adrian Kornegay re-signed as restricted free agents, all to much better contracts than minimum deals and for several seasons. Unrestricted free agents WR Antonio Price and LB Nicolas Giles both signed for 2 years with what was basically a lowball contract offer, but they are likely casualties in pre-season. RB Benjamin Reilly and TE J.J. Lang are now free for all, I doubt we'll see them return to camp in Maassluis.

DT Carlos Fisher and DE Christopher Wrighster announced hold outs. Yes, we'll likely cave, as in, make them a fair offer now and another right before training camp. Fisher already has turned down a very reasonable and rich contract before he decided to hold out. WR Rufus Montgomery also turned down a very reasonable contract.

So, that's where we are. A very conservative off-season so far, with a serious attempt to go into the 2118 season with the same defensive players as 2117 and subsequently 2116 as well. The offense needed a bit of refreshment on the O-Line, so that's where our draft focus was. G Brizzolara fitted in, but the targets for the RT slot all felt either lacking or not worth picking as high as where we sat. In trade talks, I've been kind of open towards some teams that I preferred to trade with out of conference teams. Without naming them, I was offered fair value by some of our clear rivals in the AOC, which to me was something I shouldn't do again. WR Gus Barrymore once was picked by the Gothenburg Giants after we traded with them and that kid had some of his best games against us, scoring a good portion of his 100-yard games against us.

So yeah, that's where we are: we're in anticipation of what our undrafted rookie class of 2118 will be and then go from training camp to pre-season and get ready for the regular season. Hopefully with the roster looking the way it does now, mostly.
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Old 10-08-2023, 05:11 AM   #823
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 2118 Undrafted rookies!

We can today announce the signing of 10 players for our 2118 training camp roster. We signed 8 of the 9 undrafted rookies that we pursued, while we signed 2 veteran free agents. RB Benjamin Reilly is the most familiar name, he hopped on as an undrafted rookie last off-season. S Kennedy Maxwell is a 13th season veteran, he was signed to restore peace in the locker room in our secondary group. He's also capable enough to play some football on the defense and special teams unit. We missed out on rookie OLB Norm Ingram, he got a $4M signing bonus from the Gothenburg Giants.

QB Orlando Garrett was already on are radar during the draft and has a little bit of a Bart Tanner profile. QB Devan Newhart also signed, I honestly can't remember why. FB Rich Hartman looks like he could be a useful passing downs blocker. P Frank Maxey was a rookie combine skipper and we'll give him a chance in camp and maybe a second look in pre-season. LB Scottie Rice is a run stopper and hard hitter, but lacks special teams skills to have a reasonable shot at the 53-men squad. CB Leslie Hancock looks like an interesting man-to-man prospect as does S Marvin Flannery. CB Bob Hudson could challenge for a zone defense role on the team.

DE Christopher Wrighster ended his hold out, we agreed to a new 3-year contract. LS Roderick Kaading signed an extension into the 2119 season. The bad news was WR Rufus Montgomery and DT Carlos Fisher both turning down another very generous contract. Montgomery wants $33M guaranteed, we offered him $40M guaranteed, he wanted $107 over 4 years, we offered $114M instead. Yeah, he's probably got one of those silly mathematically disabled player agents. As does Fisher, who still keeps holding out on top of this. We'll give it another shot before camp, because I really don't want to see Fisher end his hold out and hit the open market in the 2119 off-season. I don't want to see that last part come to life for Montgomery either, but with him we'll have all off pre-season to negotiate and go through the micromanagement back and forth to figure out what the sweet spot of his player agent's stubbornness is.

TE J.J. Lang remains as a free agent on our roster. I have no intentions to make him an offer for a training camp roster spot, despite that we are allowed to carry 4 more players. Which is bad news for him as we've hit the stage of the post-draft free agency where young players are reverted back to restricted free agent status and can only be signed by their previous team.

On to training camp we go. I have a tough decision to make about whether we need some game plan changes on offense. Not like we were so bad last season, but hiring a new Offensive Coordinator means we have to keep an eye on his playing style. "Erhard-Perkins", or whatever that may mean, we're going to play that style this season. From what I'm learning, it means we should emphasize a bit more on short passing and be prepared to see our running game and long passing game become less effective. Which are the aspects we've been leaning on. So yeah, I'm a bit worried this hew OC might hurt us on the field...
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Old 10-11-2023, 02:55 PM   #824
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The Fisher Feud

The hold out has ended, but an agreement was not reached. DT Carlos Fisher's agent has informed us in time for our second pre-season game to report for duty and play out the season under his current contract. It angered me, I'm disappointed, Fisher turned down a very generous offer that was much richer than his demands. The request of under $145M over 5 years turned into a $155M offer from our end, but it was not enough. And that was that. We'll take a look at it next off-season, but I'm sure Fisher will sign somewhere else for $250M over 3 years. His demands after ending the hold out have already yanked up to $257 over 5 years.

Our pre-season roster was trimmed to 60 (including DT Carlos Fisher in that number) as we released QB Devan Newhart, RB Benjamin Reilly, WR Cory Marshall, RT William Wiggins, P Frank Maxey and CB Marvin Flannery. I think none of those names are shockers if you've been reading between the lines, heck, simply paying attention.

We lost both our pre-season games, but we also saw QB Bart Tanner post a 155.8 passer rating, throwing for 287 yards on 18 attempts. WR Jessie Vertelney gained 170 yards receiving and WR Rodolfo Lane 114 yards, that was in that same game, not a combined figure over both.

I've already made the cutdowns to 53 men, from the top of my head, I think we released RB Edwin Erickson, FB Ricky Anderson, LB Nicolas Giles, CB Leslie Hancock, CB Bob Hudson and S Noah Matthews. I'm currently missing the seventh name from memory (you'll have to read up on it later on), I think it was one of our special teams elite guys or CB Kent Wodarz.

Pre-season can giveth and taketh away, we all know by now. We saw no life changing events, but there were big shift for about a dozen players. Let's jump onto the positives with WR Antonio Price making a +9/+9 improvement with a big increase in route running. Rookie LB Scottie Rice (+2/+10) and S Dan Peterson (+7/+7) also made jumps upwards.

On the losing end, QB Harrison Singleton, RB Edwin Erickson, RB Rusty Kemp, WR Blake Begay, WR Jessie Vertelney, OT Lester Money, DT Efrain Hutchins, LB Raymond Casper, LB Nicolas Giles, CB Skip Horner, S Peter Hinsley and S Noah Matthews were all on the veteran decrease list, somewhere between -6/-6 and -9/-9. Bigger falls came for DE Calvin Buckley and DE Chistopher Wrighster into making them even more cohesion based stick around guys. C Zane Chaplain (-15/-15) was the biggest disappointment, become our inactive OL8 for the upcoming season, if we stick with him after the last pre-season action.

Training camp was slightly underwhelming with G Greg Brizzolara making a +5/+2 improvement, which is nice, but slightly less than we hoped for with this potentially best pass blocking prospect in the league. He still was the biggest improvement. In the +4/something group we saw RT John Gerdes, LB Scottie Rice, CB Zachary Blair, CB Bob Hudson and S Cesar Welch. Sure, RT William Wiggins went +5/-1, but this red flag kid was not going to make the team anyway.

But Fisher turning down a bigger bid than requested, that was sad. But at least WR Rufus Montgomery did take our offer and won't go elsewhere next off-season, we dodged having to offer a $200M signing bonus to him...
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Old 10-14-2023, 04:31 PM   #825
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: the 53 for 2118?

Are we ready for 2118? I think we are, we played good football in pre-season with QB Bart Tanner on the field. We struggled with QB Harrison Singleton under center, but he needed to get reps in case we are facing a problem with our franchise quarterback. Yes, I think we can say now that Tanner has established himself as that, whilst Singleton for a short couple of seasons was a worthy caretaker.

Eight new players have made our 53 men roster. I'm not 100% convinced we've got the right combination. I don't see us making transaction anymore for the first 4 games prior to the bye week. So let's go over the roster.

Quarterbacks
40/40 QB Bart Tanner
25/25 QB Harrison Singleton
05/20 QB Orlando Garrett (rookie)
Tanner is the man, no more up for debate. Singleton is on the decline and will go into the history books as a winner. Garrett is the better kick holder on roster, but we'll go into the season with our punter in that role.

Backfield
40/55 RB Jackson Powell (rookie)
35/50 FB Rich Hartman (rookie)
40/40 RB Renaldo Billodeaux
35/35 RB Rusty Kemp
25/25 FB Kenneth Holse
Billodeaux and Kemp will run for another season. Powell will wait in the wings, although he's already useful on special teams and as extra pass protection or a third down receiver. That also applies to Hartman, which almost makes Holse uneccessary, but Holse remains to be elite on a league wide scale as a special teamer, he deserves to remain on the active 46.

Tight Ends
55/55 TE Corbin Robbins
50/50 TE Ted Gordon
30/30 TE Arnie Huffman
20/30 TE Kyle Baker (rookie)
Such a fine group. Robbins and Gordon can catch passes between the 20s and Huffman has proven to be solid on short situations, in particular near the end zone.

Wide Receivers
65/65 WR Rodolfo Lane
65/65 WR Jessie Vertelney
60/60 WR Rufus Montgomery
45/45 WR Antonio Price
25/25 WR Maurice Sweeney
20/20 WR Blake Begay
A fine group, even more so now that Price has improved to being our second best route runner, imagine that. But we'll stick with Lane, Vertelney and Montgomery as the guys splitting the targets. Begay is a special teamer, Sweeney our elite kickoff returner. Lane will continue to be our all-time great punt returner. He's closing in on the all-time punt return touchdowns record.

Offensive Line
75/75 LT Dan Clancy
60/60 G Herb Nieves
50/75 G Greg Brizzolara (rookie)
55/55 C Jim Mayes
45/45 G Alfred Pearsall
30/40 RT John Gerdes (rookie)
35/35 OT Lester Money
25/25 C Zane Chaplain
I'm puzzling again with which the starting five should be. Sure, Clancy is undisputed at left tackle, as is Mayes at center. Brizzolara will be a day one starter, but I'm not sure whether left or right guard would suit him better. Money and Gerdes are run blocking right tackles, but I'm considering Pearsall there with Nieves at guard. Chaplain is no more than a cohesion boosting backup from here on, an emergency play at best.

Defensive Line
65/65 DT Carlos Fisher
45/45 DT Efrain Hutchins
45/45 DE Lonnie Wynn
45/45 DT Bryan Lomax
45/45 DT Francisco Blades
35/35 DE Calvin Buckley
35/35 DE Ernest Frias
20/20 DE Christopher Wrighster
Same group as previous seasons, but with a slower Wrighster and somewhat less powerful Buckley. Fisher is our world beater, we might have to find a replacement for him elsewhere after this season, but more on that after the roster breakdown. This group will once again be split in two groups of four, each playing in about half the packages.

Linebackers
65/65 LB Jorge Mayes
45/45 LB Ezekiel O'Neal
40/40 LB Xavier Hoover
30/40 LB Scottie Rice (rookie)
35/35 LB Bobby Diaz
30/30 LB Raymond Casper
Mayes will once again be the all downs linebacker. Diaz will be the passing downs sidekick, as long as it lasts, he's declining fast. O'Neal and Hoover will be the running downs support, with Rice ready in the wings to step in. Casper is basically an undersized defensive lineman, we'll use him on the special teams unit again.

Secondary
50/50 CB Zachary Blair
50/50 S Dan Peterson
45/45 S Cesar Welch
45/45 CB Asher McElroy
35/35 S Kennedy Maxwell (veteran fa signing)
35/35 CB Marquis Wolf
35/35 S Peter Hinsley
30/30 CB Byron Sokol
30/30 CB Adrian Kornegay
25/25 CB Skip Horner
More or less the same group as last season. Maxwell was signed to restore peace in the locker room. Wodarz was a numbers game loss, we'll go with Welch, Wolf and Kornegay from here on. Same applied to Matthews, who was on the decline. Blair, Kornegay, McElroy and Sokol will be the man-to-man and bump-and-run corner options, the rest of the group are all zone defenders.

Special Teamers
85/85 K Jeffery DeGroot
65/65 P Tyrus Johnston
20/20 LS Roderick Kaeding
Oh yeah, these guys. Kaeding is as good as a long snapper can be, well, second best maybe. DeGroot is de kickoff specialist and already proved to be a reliable points on the board guy as well. Johnston isn't the best in business, but he's good enough in what he does.

So yeah, for the most part the same guys as the last two seasons, with some refreshments. A good portion of our team was still very young two seasons ago, so this isn't an over the hill group. We'll get a challenging schedule this season. Winning the division last season means we'll get Tucker and Toronto as our other division winning opponents. Additionally, the European division is matched up against the NAC West, which was the league's strongest division last season, making it tougher to get a wild card spot this season.

But we'll have to focus on what we can do and attempt to approach it game by game.

Oh yeah, Fisher. We have $12.8M of unused cap space, which is quite the waste as we could really use some cap up front movement to help fix the situation of next off season before hand. But it's basically the money we had ready to give DT Carlos Fisher, which his agent decided he should turn down and keep demanding us to cut other players. So much for being a good team player. But the situation is irreverseable. Enjoy his play and let's see where we'll go with him on the defense.
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Old 10-29-2023, 06:22 AM   #826
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 2118 isn't quite like the last two...

Here's a spoiler: we're not playing well this season. After 11 regular season games, we're pretty close to out of contention. It's not like we're actually deserving it, for whatever reason, some things on this team have simply stopped clicking and worked, despite that we're basically the same bunch of players like the previous two seasons. So, how'd things go in weeks 1 through 12?


Week 1 at Paris
We stormed to a 17-0 lead looked destined to a smooth sailing victory. But in a game of big plays, we got outnumbered by those. Despite that QB Bart Tanner and WR Rodolfo Lane connected on an 81-yard touchdown, Paris responded with a 60-yard interception return, an 81-yard run early in the fourth quarter and an 80-yard pass with 2 minutes remaining to come back from 30-17 behind. We actually got into field goal range, but Jeffery DeGroot missed a 52-yarder with 16 seconds to go.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 407 yards, 3 touchdowns, but also 3 interceptions, while being our leading rusher and scoring a touchdown while doing so. The receiving ends of the passing touchdowns were WR Jessie Vertelney, WR Rodolfo Lane and rookie FB Rich Hartman. Vertelney and Lane had a 100-yard game in the process.
Result: 30-31 loss

Week 2 at Hanalei
For the second game straight, we were facing a rookie quarterback. But Hanalei's 6th round pick by no means looks as talented as Paris' #2 overall pick. It didn't seem to matter, our defense was a disgrace and let the rookie throw for 318 yards, while giving up 142 yards to the Dragons' running back on just 16 carries, highlighted by a 76-yard run. We actually led throughout the first half, but fell completely flat in the second half and our only decent drive turned into a result flipping turnover.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 242 yards, with 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. TE Ted Gordon scored the receiving touchdown, while RB Rusty Kemp scored a pair of touchdowns on the ground.
Result: 21-30 loss

Week 3 vs Toronto
And then the wheels on the defense really came off. We got manhandled at home by the Toronto Lake Monsters in a very unpretty way. Their quarterback through for 510 yards and 6 touchdowns. In return, QB Bart Tanner was once again ridiculously bad. He got sacked 4 times, failed to even get above 200 yards passing and was picked off a couple of times again. Last season's playoffs game. we played along with Toronto, but this game, we were pathetic. RB Rusty Kemp ran for a touchdown, WR Jessie Vertelney caught QB Bart Tanner's only touchdown pass.
Result: 22-54 loss

Week 4 vs San Antonio
The fans were covering their eyes quite often in the fourth quarter of this game, as after we had taken a 24-6 lead early in the second half, a pair of interceptions thrown by QB Bart Tanner turned the game into a close one. We kept hanging onto the lead, but we really needed the final 11-play drive to play out the clock and keep the Tidal Force from getting the ball back one more time.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 239 yards, with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. TE Arnie Huffman scored on both his receptions, while WR Rodolfo Lane caught the other one and RB Rusty Kemp ran for a touchdown.
Result: 31-29 win

Week 5 bye
For the first week this season, QB Bart Tanner didn't throw an interception. Well done!
Result: boredom

Week 6 vs Atlanta
And then, all of a sudden, there were glimpses of the team we had in 2116 and the team that beat Gothenburg last season and put up a fight against Toronto in the playoffs. QB Bart Tanner finally went through a game without a turnover and it resulted in a glorious blowout victory. The defense also showed some signs of life, after having fallen to the bottom of the league in the first four games.
Tanner threw for 332 yards with 4 touchdowns. WR Jessie Vertelney scored twice in his 100-yard game, while TE Ted Gordon and WR Rodolfo Lane each caught 1 touchdown pass. RB Rusty Kemp ran for a touchdown and CB Adrian Kornegay scored on a 46-yard interception return.
Result: 48-9 win

Week 7 at Fort Wayne
And then things were night and day different from the previous game. Despite staying turnover free, the offense was horrendous, playing like the opposing Fury defense knew what was coming on every single play. Our own defense was completely missing in action, allowing 521 total yards to a far from impressive offense, allowing them to scored touchdowns on 5 of their first 6 possessions and allowing a field goal on that other one.
This game also turned into a story of two halves, as for whatever stupidity reasoning, we benched QB Bart Tanner at half time. Curiously, the Fury fell flat as well, as they didn't do anything worth noting anymore, aside maybe a shanked field goal, which resulted in us actually outscoring them 3-0 in the second half. But at that point we had already given up, although we have to admit that QB Harrison Singleton played admirably well, completing 16 of 19 passes for 135 yards without turnovers. TE Corbin Robbins scored our only touchdown, thrown by QB Bart Tanner amidst his 97 yards passing.
Result: 9-38 loss

Week 8 vs Paris
And then it became day again, as the Merchantmen offense turned into the kind of monstrous machine it sometimes can and (basically should) be. In the middle of a comeback attempt, the Paris rookie quarterback presented his share of turnovers and interception and fumble return touchdowns turned it into an even bigger blowout.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 342 yards, with 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. TE Corbin Robbins was excellent, with 11 receptions on 11 targets for 102 yards and 2 touchdowns. TE Arnie Huffman scored on his only catch. RB Rusty Kemp ran for a touchdown. CB Asher McElroy scored on an interception return and DE Lonnie Wynn recovered a fumble in the opponents' end zone.
Result: 47-13 win

Week 9 at Houston
The Merchantmen finally looked ready to roll and we continued with a game at Houston in which both teams looked nervous and had their own ways of keeping themselves from running up the score. QB Bart Tanner saw a turnover free streak end, losing a fumble and throwing an interception, but in return the Houston kicker missed 3 field goals in the kind of game where every 3-pointer can make a difference. We stumbled into the lead in the third quarter and held on to out in the fourth after neither team managed to score anymore.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 299 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. TE Corbin Robbins and WR Jessie Vertelney scored the touchdowns, Vertelney doing so in another 100-yard game.
Result: 20-17 win

At the midpoint of the season, we were sitting at 4-4, actually in the second AOC wild card spot on tie-breakers over two other 4-4 teams with the same conference record.

Bad news was a grueling knee injury to our TE Corbin Robbins, ruling him out for the rest of the season. A major blow to our offense, because as good as TE Ted Gordon and TE Arnie Huffman are in what they can do, they are not wide receiver resembling the way Robbins is.

Week 10 vs Bordeaux
And then we returned home and put down a display of how to lose in a game where we sort of dominated. After Bordeaux' opening drive that resulted in a 28-yard field goal, they never got even close to field goal range anymore. But with a 64-yard punt return and a 98-yard interception return, the Vineyards did have their two big plays to take a 17-3 lead in the first half. In a defense dominated second half, we failed to produce much more than a single field goal and in what should have been the come back from behind last drive of the game, QB Bart Tanner threw his second interception of the game, nullifying the acquired field position. Bordeaux played out the clock and saw their rookie quarterback post a victory in his first game against us.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 268 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. RB Rusty Kemp caught the only touchdown.
Result: 13-17 loss

Week 11 at Gothenburg
With us dropping to below .500 again, this was actually a chance to redeem ourselves and start a comeback to 1 win behind the Giants and mathematically back into the race if we'd complete the sweep and comeback in the second head-to-head clash. But nothing of that came to reality as QB Bart Tanner had quite possibly his worst game of the season. In previous far-to--many interceptions games, he somewhat made up for it with big throws and touchdowns. Today, the offense was just not there. We were kept out of the end zone all game long and it was all on the defense the game didn't escalade into an even bigger deficit than the 3-score loss it still turned into.
Tanner threw for 273 yards with 4 interceptions.
Result: 6-23 loss

Week 12 at Oakland
Dropped to 4-6, we knew that a winning streak was required from here on. But the Black Panthers, although not playing their best season of the 2110's, they are never a pushover. Our running game was once again Merchantmen unworthy bad, while the defense was doing silly things and completely lacking on third downs. Despite all that, QB Bart Tanner's only turnover of the game in our first drive, made for a game where we were behind all the time, but never really out of it. After a fourth quarter touchdown, we were down by just 3 points and in theory still in it. Oakland was fierce and pushed as back to start drives at our own 1- or 2-yard line 3 times. The third time it came as there were 11 seconds remaining in the game. After a stupid short pass that was thankfully not caught, we went into Hail Mary mode with 98 yards still to go. The first attempt fell incomplete, but pass interference was called and we got another shot with 1 second and 50 yards to go. Tanner found WR Jessie Vertelney in the crowd, but he was still 6 yards short of an undeserved touchdown.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 294 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. TE Ted Gordon and WR Rodolfo Lane caught touchdowns, while WR Jessie Vertelney had another 100-yard game.
Result: 17-20 loss


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

The second wild card in the AOC is currently virtually with 6-5 Fort Wayne. To be fair, they didn't just humiliate us this season, but they're actually outscoring their opponents this season and seem to deservingly sit in a playoffs spot. Our remaining schedule is tough, but coming back to a tied situation with Gothenburg with tie-breakers in our favour looks very unlikely. Mathematically, we can still end up 9-7 and Gothenburg at 7-9, but that's almost too silly to even mention it.

But right now, although with this talented team the playoffs should be our goal regardless, we have to once again go back to taking it one game at a time and by week 16 or 17 figure our whether there's still a chance. Our remaining schedule is hard, to resume with a visit to the Tucker Tigers, 9-2 this season and the bowl game upsetted 14-2 juggernauts from last season.

But there's not much to keep our hopes up. The defense is incomprehensibly bad, ranking 28th in rushing yards allowed, 31st in yards per carry, 29th in passing yards allowed and 29th in yards per pass attempt. We're below average in pass rush pressure and we're last in forced turnovers, including last place in interceptions.

Our offense is clearly struggling, we have dropped hard in the yards per carry figure from a top 5 offense to a below average one. We're somewhat okay in the passing game still, but we're also tied for most interceptions thrown, sharing it with 2 offenses that are pass happy, while we are a balanced team.

The special teams unit is still doing exceptionally well and clearly amongst the elite ones in the league. Our kick and punt return game is (combined) clearly the best out there. Our 'defense' of returns is fluky, but acceptable and clearly better than average, especially Jeffery DeGroot is doing his job, as so far we've allowed only 7 kickoffs to get returned.

So yeah, we kind of know what to work on, if only I had even a clue where to begin, because we were doing quite well the previous two seasons with pretty much the same bunch of players. It should be comforting to know that this group is much better than 4-7, despite that that's where we are. We've shown last season that we sometimes can play with the best as well, so it's time to grasp for our counter-Tucker game plan and see whether it will actually work this time around...
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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
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Old 11-04-2023, 09:44 AM   #827
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The incredible comeback?

With 5 games remaining and already having lost 7 regular season games, trailing division leading Gothenburg by 3 and sitting 2 wins and tie-breakers behind the last wild card spot, it was quite the challenge to find a way into the playoffs.

Week 13 at Tucker
We knew what was coming, facing the quite possibly best team in the league this season (or should we call the Toronto Lake Monsters the best?). In what turned out to be a turnover free game where we kind of managed to win the field position battle, the defense put up quite the fight only occasionally, allowing 5 red zone visits. Still, the offense was a bigger letdown, doing nothing worth mentioning once in the Tigers half of the field.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 254 yards, but none of the skill position players around him really stood out as having a good day. It turned out we were one of 4 teams to keep the Tigers under 30 points, but we also scored the second least of all of their opponents, which shot ourselves in both feet.
Result: 9-27 loss

Week 14 at Fairbanks
With the season now pretty much lost, we had nothing but pride to play for. Heck, those that prefer losing once eliminated, we're not amongst them and had the first round picks of two other teams to root for their misfortune anyway. We ended up playing a solid game in Alaska, helped a lot by the the home team's quarterback throwing 5 interceptions. As a result, we bounced around from trailing 10-0 after the first quarter to shutting them down on their third through fifteenth possessions. In return, we struggled in the second half, but piled on just enough in the second half to have a large enough margin to play out the second half.
QB Bart Tanner threw for just 170 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Touchdowns were scored by RB Renaldo Billodeaux and RB Rusty Kemp on the ground, TE Johnathan Alston as a receiver and WR Rodolfo Lane on a punt return.
Result: 28-10 win

Week 15 vs Gothenburg
Although technically a game against the Giants to stay in the division title race, trailing by 3 wins going in, we had no reason to expect anything else put stalling their division title party. We played incredibly sloppy in the first quarter, falling behind 12-0 in what could and should have been a 17-0 deficit. But once the second quarter started, the game flipped around, initially in us getting back in it, scoring unanswered touchdowns on all three of our possessions in the remainder of the first half. With the defense really stepping it up as well, we started the second half with an interception of their struggling quarterback and never looked back. The remainder of the game saw us miss and score a field goal, while the defense had impressive showing in the second half to pull of a large than hoped victory.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 345 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He spread the touchdowns around to TE Ted Gordon, TE Arnie Huffman, WR Rufus Montgomery and WR Jessie Vertelney, the latter on yet another 100-yard game.
Result: 31-12 win

Week 16 vs Colorado
In the final home game of the regular season, the team played strong, but got really hampered by a 5-turnover game of our QB Bart Tanner. It helped the Cutthroats to start 5 drives at our half of the field and they got 20 points out of those possessions. The prima donna receivers were missing in action for most of the game, catching 9 of 20 targeted passes for 115 yards combined, but the rest of the offense made up for it. At the same time, the defense stood up on all the other drives and kept the visitors to just a field goal on their other 11 drives. The last one saw them come really close, but as they were in need of a touchdown, they had to go for it on fourth down and came short.
QB Bart Tanner threw for 341 yards with 3 touchdowns, 4 interceptions and a running touchdown. The receiving ends of the touchdown passes were FB Rich Hartman (on a spectacular 63-yard play), WR Rodolfo Lane and WR Jessie Vertelney.
Result: 30-23 win

Week 17 at Bordeaux
Alas, at this point, we were eliminated from contention for the playoffs tickets. But high on this winning streak, I got a bit cocky and told my fellow Bordeaux owner/general manager Alf that we were going to crush his Vineyards in their place. The team pulled it off, gaining 510 total yards of offense and dominating the field of position by 14 yards per drive. QB Bart Tanner stayed turnover free and showed what he can be capable of with all the talent around him.
Tanner threw for 345 yards with 4 touchdowns, spreading them around to TE Johnathan Alston, TE Ted Gordon, WR Jessie Vertelney and WR Rodolfo Lane, the latter had a 100-yard receiving game as well. RB Renaldo Billodeaux ran for a touchdown, while RB Rusty Kemp was brought back into the rotation and ran for 110 yards on 12 carries.
Result: 44-20 win

European Division
1. Gothenburg 10-6
2. Maassluis 8-8
3. Paris 6-10
4. Bordeaux 5-11

Indeed, Gothenburg reinstalled themselves as the top team in the division and go into the playoffs as the third seeds in the AOC, far behind Tucker (14-2) and Toronto (13-3), the latter scoring 695 points in the proces, including a sensational 81-pointer in week 16 which shattered the single game record by 13 points. Augusta (12-4) joins them as the top wild card team, while the Deep South teams that we beat Houston and Atlanta both get in with a 10-6 campaign. In the other conference, the same thing kind of happened as all 6 teams making it had a winning record and all the teams at 8-8 or worse did not. Arizona (13-3), Chesapeake (13-3) and Texas (12-3-1) look like the cream of the crop, while Oakland (10-6), Kansas (9-6-1) and Williamsburg (8-7-1) closed out the field in a wild week 17 where they were the last three standing of 8 teams still hopeful to sneak in.


So, our season ended with a 4-game winning streak, with a typical .500 record and yet far away from the playoffs. Except that had we somehow won in Gothenburg in week 11, we actually would have won the division on tie-breakers.

QB Bart Tanner threw the most interceptions in the league (26), which was 3 more than the most obvious bust but somehow staff members keep calling him talented, Iowa's quarterback Edwin Anthony. Tanner was 5th in the league with 4,422 yards passing and 6th with 33 passing touchdowns. Which is a testament on what the interceptions have done to hold us back. Well done, OC, well done. Yes, I blame our Offensive Coordinator for those mishaps, I don't blame fully Tanner and his overpaid receivers.

Our running game struggled this season, being the worst showing from our used to be 5.0 per carry level duo. RB Rusty Kemp ran for 670 yards with 4.32 per carry and 7 touchdowns, RB Renaldo Billodeaux for 643 yards with 2 touchdowns and a per carry figure of 3.99, which is out of character. Tanner ran for 578 yards, with 7.05 per carry and 2 touchdowns.

Despite 5 1009-yard games, WR Jessie Vertelney was our leading receiver with just 1,086 yards and 8 touchdowns. TE Ted Gordon had 884 yards and 5 touchdowns, WR Rodolfo Lane 854 yards and 6 touchdowns, WR Rufus Montgomery just 550 yards and 1 touchdown. TE Ted Robbins and TE Arnie Huffman had 4 touchdowns each.

The defense had a strong finish in the final stretch, but we still ended up 30th with 391 yards per game allowed, albeit just above average with 23.3 points per game allowed. But those were improvements over from where we were earlier on during the season...


So, it's on to 2119 for us. With the #2 overall draft pick, a result of trade with the Orlando Talons, as well as the #18 (from Frederick) and #20 overall.
__________________
* 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 : 11-04-2023 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 11-11-2023, 04:59 AM   #828
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The 2119 Off-season preview forecast to-do-list

The 2118 season has ended. The Oakland Black Panthers went through the playoffs as underdogs, but having their quarterback from injury was just enough to take full advantage of the upsets left and right and they claimed their 5th IHOF Bowl victory in the last 20 seasons. Their overall win-loss in the regular season doesn't resemble it (they are just 5th in winning percentage), but they are by far the most successful team in terms of championships, the second best are a bunch of teams with 2 IHOF Bowl wins.


So, on to our own team. The retirement wave saw us lose no less than 6 players.

S Kennedy Maxwell II (I call him the second, because in an era far far in the past we had another safety named Kennedy Maxwell in Maassluis) has left us after just 1 season and 3 games played. He was an off-season signing in 2118 to become our secondary leader and he stepped in a few games due to injuries to others.

C Jim Mayes was our starting center in the last 2 seasons. He extended his career to 14 seasons in the IHOF with it, but enough was enough, apparently. It leaves a big hole in our o-line.

RB Rusty Kemp played 5 seasons with us. He jumped in as a third down back and shared the carries with RB Renaldo Billodeaux throughout his stint with us. He was a reliable rusher, never missing a game and fumbling just 8 times in 84 games with us. He scored 36 touchdowns in 80 regular season games, proff that he was a reliable red zone back.

S Dan Peterson as an undrafted rookie bounced around a bit, but in his third season in the IHOF he arrived in Maassluis as a free agent. He played 9 seasons with the Merchantmen for 135 regular season and 7 playoffs games. An elite zone defender, we made sure to stick him around until his decision this off-season to call it a game.

DT Efrain Hutchins is probably the most established player of this retirement wave. A high second round pick in 2108 for us, he hung around for 11 season, retiring quite young at the age of 32. He played in 174 games for us, including 6 in the playoffs. In 2110 and 2111 his pass rush production and number of tackles were exceptional and got him All-IHOF 1st team honors.

CB Skip Horner retires after 8 seasons with us. Initially an undrafted rookie, he was a day one contributor in the nickelback role as being a solid zone defender. Horner never missed a game, playing in all 160 regular season games and 7 playoffs games in that timespan.


Enough about the past, what more is going on for 2119? In our coaching staff, we replaced our assistent coach as Randy Holliday was seen as an improvement over Kenyon Shepard, ending his stint in Maassluis after just 1 season.

In the player department, our off-season starts with sitting at $88.54M over the salary cap, not yet accounting fot that we have what might look like the most expensive draft in IHOF history accounting for $61.73M... That's our own fault for acquiring a lot of picks, holding picks 1.2, 1.18, 1.20, 2.17, 2.19 and all of our own mid-round 3rd through 7th round picks.

The draft class is very interesting and we're currently in negotiations with the 1.1 pick holding team about what it would require for us to move up that 1 slot to be able to grab who we really want. It's a weird situation as I think there are 2 players out there (the best WR and best QB) that would fit the slot, but I'm just more confident about one of them. Flipping down some slots and picking an exceptionally talented player there isn't totally unacceptable, as I'm seeing some players at the less sexy positions. I mean, just looking over our roster, C, RT, DE, DT, LB, CB and S are all positions where we could use an upgrade. Although in the defensive side, it's a bit more tricky as our defensive coordinator is very good in scouting, but not quite excellent as our offensive coordinator is.

Just going over our roster quickly though, quarterback is clearly a 50-50 situation. QB Bart Tanner is throwing a lot of picks, but it could be a game plan situation and he's also winning games for us. Cohesion is now a strength for him as well. At RB we need a backup, but last season's 3rd round pick RB Jackson Powell could be the desired successor to Rusty Kemp. At tight end, TE Corbin Robbins is a question mark about whether his recovery from ACL surgery is going to wreck his career. We're good at tight end, but not solid. On the offensive line, we clearly need a new center and we'll have to look at right tackle another time.

On the defensive side, we're likely to lose our key player DT Carlos Fisher in free agency. His demands are absurdly lower than what we offered him in 2118 to stick around, but that's the player agent's fault. With DT Efrain Hutchins retired, we're going to need to address the pass rushing part of the defensive line quite a bit this off-season as I don't see DE Christopher Wrighster sticking around either. At linebacker there's no immediate need, but it's likely 'll want a replacement for LB Bobby Diaz as the passing down LB2. At cornerback we're not in dire need of a new player. At safety, we're down to just 2 on roster. It's a very good duo, but they lack the endurance to be all downs players, hence, we'll need at least one more there.

The roster counts 41 contracted, with 4 restricted free agents (of which I want to keep CB Adrian Kornegay, FB Rich Hartman and LB Scottie Rice), while I suspect 2 key unrestricted free agents (DT Carlos Fisher and G Herb Nieves) will all find greener grass elsewhere. TE Johnathan Alston is the other unrestricted free agent and he's kind of a wild card on what will happen.

So, that's pretty much where we are. It will likely be busy trade talks in the next couple of days with all those 1st round picks. Something to look forward to!
__________________
* 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 11-18-2023, 09:20 AM   #829
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: A moving off-season, teaser

No way around it, it's been a moving off-season so far. Training camp is around the corner and with cap hell unexpectedly having broken loose, we're scraping by. The first round of the draft was spectacular with trades all over the place, with the Merchantmen making the headlines quite a lot, ending up with a lot of draft picks in the first round. And at the same time with very few in the later rounds. Amidst that all, contract talks with QB Bart Tanner have been excruciating, with his agent turning every offer down so far, despite that Tanner and agent are completely ignoring the fact that none of the other 31 franchises is going to offer him $25M/year, let alone the $85M cap figure they are desiring. We lost a key player in free agency, sent several veteran starters packing and a day before training camp, we're traded away our best player of the past decade to a rival team for way below his value. And we're likely forced to close out our roster with more than a dozen undrafted rookies.

Indeed, there's a lot to talk about. Which I will do, later. This weekend.

So stay tuned...
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* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 11-19-2023, 07:05 AM   #830
TheseBoots
n00b
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Copenhagen, DK
It's been fun catching up with this dynasty story after mainly following the league via Clay's videos for a while. Looking forward to finding out what you do/did at the top of the draft, and congrats on the division win a couple of seasons back!
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Old 11-19-2023, 07:15 AM   #831
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: A moving off-season

The 2119 off-season has been unusual in Maassluis. As I mentioned in my teaser the other day, a lot has happened. And in retrospect, I've let things get out of hand a little bit more than I anticipated what it would do and could do to our salary cap situation. We ended up starting the off-season with quite a bit more dead cap space than would be healthy. At the end of the 2118 season, we were looking at $4.22M in dead cap for the 2119 season. Right now, on the day before training camp, we're at a dead cap figure of $111M. Yowza. Oh, and for 2120, we're already up to nearly $26M.

How'd we end up here? RB Rusty Kemp retired ($1.5M in 2119), TE Ted Gordon got released ($10.2M in 2119, $1.4M in 2120), TE Corbin Robbins got released ($15.8M in 2119, $22M in 2120), WR Jessie Vertelney got traded ($19.8M in 2119), P Tyrus Johnston was released ($5.6M in 2119), DE Calvin Buckley got released ($4.9M in 2119), DE Ernest Frias got released ($3.5M in 2119), DE Christopher Wrighster got released ($2.5M in 2119 and again in 2120), DT Efrain Hutchins retired ($22.5M in 2119, $7.7M in 2120), LB Bobby Diaz got released ($8.3M in 2119) and S Dan Peterson retired ($1.65M in 2119).

Okay, that was a lot to grasp. But the trade of WR Jessie Vertelney jumped out here. Why would we trade away our best receiver. And on top of that, release both TE Corbin Robbins and TE Ted Gordon?

Was there an alternative? Yes, there was. The alternative was to cut ties with QB Bart Tanner. Which, frankly, still is an option, because releasing him would open up $38M of cap space, which in theory should be enough to sign some random off the street veteran quarterback. But, so far, I tried to talk Tanner and his agent into signing a new deal in Maassluis, which would still make him get way overpaid, but at least open up about $15M to $20M to have kept one of the above, or try not tearing up our defensive line. To no avail, so far. Tanner and his agent are completely unaware that none of the other 31 franchises in the IHOF will ever consider even offering as much as $20M for a 1-year deal. And here we are, having the league leader in turnovers demanding a $83.5M cap figure from the overall $639M salary cap. Tanner is already in the top8 most expensive quarterbacks and completely doesn't understand that he's the misfit in that group. So, Tanner, still, but for how long? If he doesn't sign a new deal with us now, he'll hit free agency in 2120. I could gamble on no other team wanting him, which is quite realistic, but if we decide to ride with him for at least 2120 as well, signing him now will free some cap space now to extend contracts of other free agents.


The Draft
Let's back up a bit to the first round of the draft, because it was a busy couple of days. Remember: we went iunto the 2119 draft with the #2, #18 and #20 overall picks, with a pair of mid-late second round picks as well. Brooklyn held the #1 overall pick and there were two players that looked like the obvious candidates: WR Blake Flowers and QB Charlie Stryzinski. I wanted Blake Flowers, he's the complete package of a receiver and with Vertelney getting up there in age, this was the chance to get an even better replacement. We talked with the Brooklyn management and in the end, I decided to not up my offer too much, while Outer Banks in spot #3 did. Flowers went at #1 to Outer Banks.

With #2 on the clock in our hands, I announced to the league that we'd either pick QB Charlie Stryzinski or trade the pick. We already received a "if Stryzinski is there" feeler from Fairbanks in spot #5 and we struck a quick deal. Right after they picked Stryzinski, Brooklyn came up to me, wondering whether I'd be interested in flipping back up to #3 and we surely did, as WR Roman Randle was now, to me, the obvious next player to pick and would be a suitable alternative for Flowers/Vertelney. We gave up a spare 2nd and grabbed Randle.

The mid-first round went kind of pick by pick and as it came closer to the #18 and #20, it looked like quite a bunch of our potential targets would still be on board. We sent out tentative offers to Chesapeake, they were advertising picks #21 and #27, and in two steps, we acquired them for our 1st round pick in 2120 and the remaining 2nd round picks this draft, as we had acquired the #36 overall from Fairbanks in the #2 for #5 deal. With those four first round picks, we selected TE Francisco Andersen (#18), RT Perry Georgopulos (#20), DT Tim Burton (#21) and LB Sam Hastings (#27). A unique quintet. We continued on with trading away our 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th round picks to league champion Oakland for their 2nd round pick in 2120. And finished the draft by selecting P Andre Marincic at pick 7.20.


Cut Wave
Parallel to all of that, the cap figure of the first round picks piled up and this quintet now accounts for $57.6M. With the rookie minimum being $2.02M, we had to make enough room for 53 players to make sure all the remaining roster spots up to 51 would be affordable at at least $2.02M per player.

DE Christopher Wrighster and LB Bobby Diaz were the first to go. Wrighster was clearly declining and no sure thing to make the 2119 roster anyway. Diaz also declining, was turning into a one-trick pony and seemed easy to replace with a new zone defending linebacker.

P Tyrus Johnston and TE Corbin Robbins were next. Johnston felt like he wasn't living up to his cap figure and I was hoping we'd find a cheaper coffin-corner as the alternative. This was before we picked the 7th round rookie. Robbins was the most painful decision. Our staff made clear that Robbins looks okay right now after surgery, but that he'd have to get re-evaluated in pre-season to be sure. I should have just put him on the trade block and get something in return, but right after the cut, he became the most sought after free agent. Yet, Robbins signed for just a small fraction of his cap figure in Maassluis...

DE Ernest Frias and LB Raymond Casper were the third wave. Casper should have been part of the first wave, demanding a trade whilst basically being no better than our third best special teamer amongst linebackers. Frias was a tough one as well, being a solid run stopper on the end, probably harder to replace than I though when he was cut.

After the draft, TE Ted Gordon and DE Calvin Buckley announced a hold out. We could have avoided the Gordon situation with a cap out earlier, but opted to wait for mid-pre-season. Both requested something unaffordable and I decided that it was a sign for both to get shown the door and go figure out on the open market that no other team will pay them what the were asking for either.

Where are they now? Wrighster is unsigned, while Diaz signed for just $6.4M with Chicago. Robbins signed for $14.5M in Rochester, Johnston signed for $6.1M in Outer Banks. Frias is still unsigned, so is Casper. Gordon and Buckley have only now hit the market and both already saw their agent cut their demands in half; smart move to go hold out...


Undrafted Rookies
After we traded WR Jessie Vertelney to Bordeaux, the only team that actually showed interest in time to make the deal that will give us only a 5th round pick in 2120, we had just enough cap room to try to sign up to 35 undrafted rookies and all offer a little bit more than the rookie minimum as well, to increase the odds of winning the over. 13 turned us down, but 22 others did sign with us. So, here's the full list: QB Noah DeLay, RB Rufus Bates, FB Rusty Garrison, TE Kelley Levine, TE Nicholas St. Pierre, WR Raul Poston, C Tracy Stewart, C Derek Rose, C Clyde Van Lanen, G James Tucker, G Reggie White, G Landon Goodwin, DE Mel Bridges, DE Percy Taylor, DE Phil Wakefield, LB Kurt Bradley, LB Brendan Tatum, CB Todd Weaver, S Kim Fox, S Bert Parker, S Mackenzie Beyer and S Winston Garrett.

We're currently up to 63 players signed, with $940K remaining in cap space. CB Adrian Kornegay has returned to restricted free agent status and we'll try to find cap room, through renegotiations with some players where there's still room to haggle, to get him back for a 4th season. TE Johnathan Alston is also still hanging out with us, as an unrestricted free agent and I don't see how we can or will afford him for anything more than the veteran minimum. Oh, and we will throw around some contract offers to a bunch of other undrafted rookies to close out our training camp roster at 70.



Long story short: we will hang on to QB Bart Tanner, for now, replaced WR Jessie Vertelney with WR Roman Randle, promote TE Arnie Huffman to being our top tight end receiver, added RT Perry Georgopulos to our offensive line and we'll have tryouts for the center spot, unless we shove around a bit on the o-line with the returning veterans.

On defense, we'll have a massive overhaul, in particular on the defensive line, where we'll likely field 5 rookies around three returning veterans. The linebackers group will also see a rookie step in. In the secondary, more rookies will be required to fill out the nickel and dime roles.

Not quite done, we tried to acquire many special teamers expert rookies, but although we got 6 of the top20 rookies in that area, it feels like that's one thing we should re-examine in pre-season. Just like we should do for the defensive line, to see whether we find cap space to get a veteran or two that can do a thing or two.

Finally, the quarterback situation isn't a finished issue just yet. I will keep an eye open for an alternative to Bart Tanner. Not just for the future, but for this season already...
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Old 11-19-2023, 07:29 AM   #832
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Nice, I only had to wait 10 minutes to find out

Quote:
Originally Posted by MIJB#19 View Post
General Manager Notes: A moving off-season
...I could gamble on no other team wanting him, which is quite realistic, but if we decide to ride with him for at least 2120 as well, signing him now will free some cap space now to extend contracts of other free agents.

I did exactly this in IFL recently in a similar situation and it worked out for me, including saving about 25M in salary
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Old 11-19-2023, 10:30 AM   #833
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheseBoots View Post
Nice, I only had to wait 10 minutes to find out

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheseBoots View Post
I did exactly this in IFL recently in a similar situation and it worked out for me, including saving about 25M in salary
Yeah, I'll opt for it, if Tanner turns down the offer I made for the start of training camp.
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Old 11-19-2023, 11:36 AM   #834
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2104 - 2108 Evan Drake period

With no desire to revert back to Earnest Ashley, in the 2104 off-season, Merchantmen management picked up the phone and agreed terms with the Colorado Cutthroats for 32-year old quarterback Evan Drake, sending the Maassluis 2105 first round pick in return. In his time with Colorado he appeared to not live up to his potential, but Merchantmen management felt confident Drake would be able to shine with a support cast of tight end Garrett Alcala and in particular wide receivers Calvin Maxwell and Vinny Buysse.

Drake delivered in his first season, guiding the Merchantmen to their first division title since 2091 and playoffs appearance since 2092. The first playoffs victory since the 2092 was also achieved, making longtime fans call the 2104 season similar to the 2078 campaign. Contrary to then acquired Bennett Morris, Drake hung around for more than just the 1 season. Although Drake didn't manage to throw for the 4,400 yards he did in 2104, he did bring the Merchantmen back into contention.

The 2105 season started a new era in the European Division. After parity ruled with every franchise taking a division crown in 4 seasons time from 2101 through 2104, the Gothenburg Giants reached new highs, lead by their quarterback Burt Kiluk, winning division titles after one another and reaching the AOC Championship game time after time.

Playing second fiddle in the division, Drake played well, quarterbacked the Merchantmen to more wins than losses, but stuck behind the ruling Gothenburg Giants and in a competitive deep conference, the Merchantmen missed the playoffs time and time again. In 2108, Drake's 5th season in Maassluis and the first one after Vinny Buysse retired, an injury side-lined Drake early and as rookie Harrison Singleton impressed, Drake eventually lost the starting role later on in the season. Lead by Singleton, an unlikely 4-game winning streak got the Merchantmen into a week 17 game with Gothenburg. The Giants won and kept the Merchantmen out of the playoffs with it, but after a series of seasons of coming just short, this one felt like it was closer to the 2104 season when Drake arrived and delivered.

Drake's presence helped tight end Garrett Alcala get his first and only 1,000-yard season, marking his first time as an All-IHOF second teamer. The revival was also in part built on the breakthrough of offensive tackles Ivan Dole and
Harold Gruenwalder. Dole was picked in the 1st round of the 2104 draft and quickly became a reliable and key run blocker, on the right side, while 2102 4th round pick Gruenwalder became a more stable left tackle.

2104 11-5 (4th) conference semifinalists
2105 7-9 (9th)
2106 10-6 (7th)
2107 9-7 (9th)
2108 8-8 (9th)
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Old 11-20-2023, 03:21 PM   #835
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General Manager Notes: 5 new faces, 2 departures

CB Adrian Kornegay and TE Johnathan Alston have left Oranje Haven. Alston had been a free agent and we already decided to not make him an offer. Kornegay was offered a new deal, but to make it affordable, one of five other players should have accepted a restructured deal. All five of them showed Kornegay the finger.

We signed 5 more undrafted rookie free agents in RB Gary Buckley, RB George Sachs, FB Avery Cassidy, DE Bubba Fairweather and DT Jeremiah Cortez. Additionally, we asked 3 of our rookies to switch positions, with Mel Bridges becoming a defensive tackle, Kurt Bradley a defensive end and Weston Garrett a cornerback.

With that, we brought 68 players into training camp, including 33 rookies, but also with QB Harrison Singleton and QB Bart Tanner both still on the team. We went into camp with 4 QB, 5 RB, 4 FB, 5 TE, 7 WR, 4 C, 5 G, 4 T, 1 P, 1 K, 5 DE, 5 DT, 6 LB, 6 CB, 5 S and 1 LS. On paper enough to get a 53-men roster out of. Also meaning we have to trim 15 players, with 8 of those not even making the pre-season roster.

And the 8 to be released are already known: QB Noah DeLay, RB Rufus Bates, FB Rusty Garrison, TE Nicholas St. Pierre, C Derek Rose, G Reggie Wright, CB Weston Garrett and S Mackenzie Beyer.

Did any of those 8 make the "good training camp" list? Nope. The guys that made a good were second year FB Rich Hartman, rookie TE Francisco Andersen, rookie C Tracy Stewart, rookie C Clyde Van Lanen, rookie G James Tucker, second-year G Greg Brizzolara, rookie RT Perry Georgopulos, second-year RT John Gerdes, rookie DE Phil Wakefield, rookie DT Neil Burton, second-year LB Scottie Rice, rookie LB Sam Hastings and rookie LB Brendan Tatum. Missing on this list? WR Roman Randle...

I'm moderately not so optimistic. Our offense should be good, but we struggled too often last season and the talent on defense is just not on par with what we had in recent seasons. We failed to address the decline on the special teams unit as well. And I'd like to, but we'll really need that overpaid quarterback of ours to accept to get paid much closer to being the 32nd best quarterback in the league that our staff thinks he is. Well, we'll make him yet another offer that should fit his demands, despite that I know very well that he doesn't deserve it...
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Old 11-23-2023, 02:57 PM   #836
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General Managers Notes: 6 down, 1 to go?

We released 6 more undrafted rookies, trimming down to 54 players on roster. The last cut will be an offensive lineman. The 6 that left Oranje Haven were RB George Sachs, FB Avery Cassidy, WR Raul Poston, G Landon Goodwin, DE Percy Taylor and DT Mel Bridges.

Some sort of good news: we extended the contract with QB Bart Tanner through the 2121 season. It freed upto $14.9M of cap space, with which we'll want to see where we can go with extended some contracts of potential 2120 free agents or to sign some veteran free agents to bolster the roster. We already extended the contract of LS Roderick Kaeding through 2120.


The draft class isn't overwhelmingly strong for us, but all 6 of the drafted players are still on the team.

Pick 1.3 WR Roman Randle is currently scouted at 45/60 with lower route running than hoped (65), but he does bring a neat combination of getting down field (80) and big play (90) skills with third down ability (85).

Pick 1.18 TE Francisco Andersen comes in at 45/65, but route running (30) or lack there of is a serious problem. He does get downfield (95) with courage (75) and on third downs (70), with run blocking technique (85).

Pick 1.20 RT Perry Georgopulos is also a bit of a disappointment, coming in at just 30/55 with very good run blocking (70) and acceptable pass blocking (50).

Pick 1.21 DT Neil Burton is a bigger disappointment at 45/55 with not much of pass rush ability (25) and just very good (75) run defense and underwhelming play diagnosis (40). Undrafted rookie DT Jeremiah Cortez is seemingly headed for getting ahead of Burton at 30/50 overall after a strong pre-season improvement.

Pick 1.27 LB Sam Hastings also falls a bit short at 35/55, with good run defense (65), very good zone defense (75) and poor play diagnosis (20).

Pick 7.20 P Andre Marincic came out quite okay at 40/55, but not quite the kicking power (55) and corner coffin (70) skills that we hoped for.

The undrafted rookies still on team include 30/35 RB Gary Buckley (65 hole recognition), 20/35 TE Kelley Levine (85 run blocker, 65 special teams), 30/45 C Tracy Stewart (50 run blocking), 25/45 C Clyde Van Lanen (60 run blocking), 30/65 G James Tucker (65 run blocking, 70 pass blocking), 25/35 DE Kurt Bradley (50 pass rush technique), 10/15 DE Bubba Fairweather (85 special teams), 30/45 DE Phil Wakefield (75 pass rush technique, 50 strength), 25/40 LB Brendan Tatum (60 run defense, 75 play diagnosis), 20/25 CB Todd Weaver (85 special teams, 60 zone defense), 25/45 S Kim Fox (95 special teams, 50 zone defense), 25/40 S Bert Parker (85 special teams, 55 zone defense). In particular Tucker jumps out as a breakout player in pre-season.

None of our players are "Green Page" material, but our staff does think Andersen, Tucker and Randle are amongst the top25 in potential. Still, I'm not overly optimistic or enthusiastic about this group. But there's no turning back, we'll have to make do with it.
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Old 11-25-2023, 02:23 PM   #837
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General Manager Notes: 3 out, 2 in; 53 here we come?

Every now or then, football players get cut as a rookie and after a cycle through the IHOF, return to their original team as a grizzled veteran. Such happened today in Maassluis. We cut down to 53 players and additionally signed 2 veterans in favor of two undrafted rookies.

RT John Gerdes was the down to 53 casualty, ending the run blocker's stint in Maassluis after just 1 season. We picked him late in the 7th round in the 2118 draft and let him play in some of the harder games. Well, 3 starts in 4 games, with 3 sacks allowed and 2 key run blockers later, I think he wasn't going to make it. We will go with the rookie RT Perry Georgopulos or if needed revert back to backup G Alfred Pearsall.

We signed DE Leslie Kelly and TE Jordan Maxwell. Kelly returns to Maassluis more than 6 seasons after we released him after training camp 2113. He was an undrafted rookie then and we moved him from linebacker to defensive end. Kelly floated around, played 51 games, from Chesapeake to Paris and Colorado, to sitting out the 2118 season as a free agent. Kelly brings in much needed pass rush technique and will likely also join the special teams unit. So might Maxwell, if we are forced to put him on the field. This third down route runner will likely just be an inactive mentor unless injuries strike. 32-year old Maxwell has 11 seasons of service in the IHOF on his resume, 10 of them with Outer Banks and last season with San Antonio. To make room for Kelly and Maxwell, we released C Clyde Van Lanen and TE Kelley Levine.

We'll look around for another veteran or two, but in the meantime we put priority on re-signing some of our soon to be free agents. S Peter Hinsley already signed a new 3-year deal, but CB Zachary Blair and CB Marquis Wolf turned down our offers, which were actually pretty close to their demands. We'll hear back from them tomorrow and will have one more day after that to lock them up.

We'll start the regular season in Gothenburg, which will be the first of our first 5 games of the season all played against teams that made the playoffs in 2118 with 6 or less losses. With just 2 home games in that stretch, don't be shocked if we're sitting at 1-4 going into week 7. But let's not be too pessimistic just yet, let's take it 1 game at a time.
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Old 11-26-2023, 04:17 PM   #838
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General Manager Notes: 53 for 2119 set

Two more roster changes occurred, we signed a couple of veteran pass rushers and released two undrafted rookie defensive ends to make room for them. DE Kurt Bradley and DE Bubba Fairweather showed a bit of promise in training camp, but the prospect of signing two 5th year players with very good pass rush technique made it an easy decision given the state of the defensive line. Craig played 4 seasons at Oakland, the last two quite a bit in their pass defense rotation. Kafka played at Snapfiger for 4 seasons and was on their passing downs personnel in the last 2 seasons.

Our roster this season will consist of the following players.

Quarterbacks
40/40 QB Bart Tanner
20/20 QB Harrison Singleton
5/20 QB Orlando Garrett
Tanner is our undisputed starter, Garrett our kick holder slash if we're down to him, we're doomed anyway. Singleton made the team, but he will start the season inactive.

Backfield
45/55 RB Jackson Powell
40/50 FB Rich Hartman
35/35 RB Renaldo Billodeaux
30/35 RB Gary Buckley (rookie)
15/15 FB Kenneth Holse
Billodeaux and Powell will share the carries. Buckley will start the season inactive. Hartman is now our fullback, Holse will be the leader of the special teams unit.

Tight Ends
45/65 TE Francisco Andersen
35/35 TE Jordan Maxwell (veteran acquisition)
30/40 TE Kyle Baker
30/30 TE Arnie Huffman
Andersen is the kid that can do it all, yet he can't really run routes. The others can, so we'll have to trust on Huffman and Baker to step it up. Maxwell will begin inactive, but we might throw him out there sooner or later ahead of Baker.

Wide Receivers
60/60 WR Rodolfo Lane
60/60 WR Rufus Montgomery
45/60 WR Ramon Randle (rookie)
30/30 WR Antonio Price
20/20 WR Maurice Sweeney
20/20 WR Blake Begay
We have a new threesome that should prove they are on top of the world. Price will be the WR4 again. Sweeney is still our kickoff returner. Begay will go down a step, starting the season inactive.

Offensive Line
75/75 LT Dan Clancy
70/75 G Greg Brizzolara
30/65 G James Tucker (rookie)
45/45 G Alfred Pearsall
30/55 RT Perry Georgopulos (rookie)
30/45 C Tracy Stewart (rookie)
30/30 LT Lester Money
15/15 C Zane Chaplain
It's tricky, we're set to start the season with 3 rookies, with 2nd year pro Brizzolara as one of the more established guys. Clancy is undisputed, Georgopulos will be on the right side at the start. Tucker came out of nowhere and deserves to get the nod. Stewart won the center spot. But all three should know that Pearsall is ready to step in if one of them struggles.

Defensive Line
45/55 DT Neil Burton (rookie)
45/45 DE Lonnie Wynn
45/45 DT Bryan Lomax
45/45 DT Francisco Blades
30/50 DT Jeremiah Cortez (rookie)
30/45 DE Phil Wakefield (rookie)
40/40 DE Leslie Kelly (veteran acquisition)
35/35 DE Glen Kafka (veteran acquisition)
35/35 DT John Craig (veteran acquisition)
On overhauled group, where we'll make once again two groups of four to split it into a passing downs and running downs group. Lomax will be the longtimer on the passing downs group, while Wynn and Blades will carry the running downs group. Wakefield will start the season inactive, but we have faith in this pass rusher to eventually become as good as the 11th hour veterans that will play ahead of him at season start.

Linebackers
60/60 LB Jorge Mayes
40/55 LB Sam Hastings (rookie)
45/45 LB Ezekiel O'Neal
40/40 LB Scottie Rice
35/35 LB Xavier Hoover
25/40 LB Brendan Tatum (rookie)
A minor refreshment, with two rookies, of whom Tatum will start the season inactive. Hastings is a complete linebacker, but will early on just be on the passing downs unit. Mayes is the do it all, Hoover, O'Neal and Rice are the run stoppers, we'll rotate a bit with them.

Secondary
55/55 CB Zachary Blair
50/50 S Cesar Welch
45/45 CB Asher McElroy
25/45 S Kim Fox (rookie)
35/35 CB Marquis Wolf
25/40 S Bert Parker (rookie)
30/30 S Peter Hinsley
25/25 CB Byron Sokol
20/25 CB Todd Weaver (rookie)
Everybody will be active, although Weaver might end up inactive if we feel he's too green for the special teams unit for now. It's not the interceptions excellence from a couple of seasons ago, but Sokol is still around and both Blair and McElroy have the skills.

Special Teamers
85/85 K Jeffery DeGroot
40/55 P Andre Marincic (rookie)
20/20 LS Roderick Kaeding
DeGroot is elite, so is Kaeding. Marincic is a gamble, but we have to believe in his potential to become a corner-coffin punter.


So, that's our group for opening day. Expectiatons are low for week 1, playing at Gothenburg, but we do have a couple of guys that can turn a game around. So, let's go. 2119 can be a fun season.
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Old 12-07-2023, 04:46 PM   #839
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Editor's Note
No, we haven't stopped, we're still playing, albeit it's up for debate whatever the Merchantmen are doing this season can be called "playing football", but that's for another time. Last weekend was unusual with a renovation in my apartment. But... Upcoming weekend I'll try to write an update about weeks 1 through 11 or 12.
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Old 12-10-2023, 05:31 PM   #840
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General Manager Notes: 2119... Not what we expected, at all

Okay, let's break the bad news right away. 2119 has been a very disappointing season. It's not quite over, but saving face is no longer possible, the first half of the 2119 season will go down as the worst half-season in franchise history.

Week 1 at Gothenburg
We played along for a while. Well, more like 5 minutes. Our quick 7-0 lead quickly vanished as QB Bart Tanner threw interceptions on the next two drives and even a pair of interceptions in return could not avoid a big loss.
Result: 14-35 loss

Week 2 vs Kansas
Helped by a forced fumbled, we scored touchdowns on our first two possessions, but the 13-0 lead turned into a deficit before halftime. Despite getting outplayed in yardage, the defense forced field goal attempts a couple of times and late field goal made it almost feel like a 1-score loss.
Result: 19-27 loss

Week 3 at Atlanta
Sometimes a game feels over at half time and it turns out to actually isn't. At the big break we were 27-7 down, but somehow we kept playing and playing and as we settled for short field goals a little bit too often, the home playing Vipers kept holding onto the slowly crumbling lead, but even K Jeffery DeGroot's 53-yard field goal in the dying seconds of the game was far too little too late to really have a chance at victory.
Result: 26-33 loss

Week 4 bye
A much wanted bye for a change as injuries were running havoc more than we have been used to over recent seasonss. Yes, plural of plural. I can't remember the last time we lost 2 starters per game for 5 or so games straight. I bet the last time it happened was in the first 20 or so seasons of IHOF.

Week 5 vs Tucker
We played along in the first half with one of the top two teams this season, going into the break trailing 17-13. But while our own offense got stopped every now or then, our defense was completely overran (overpassed?) as we let the Tucker quarterback throw for 495 yards on us. QB Bart Tanner in return threw for 369 yards without interception.
Result: 20-41 loss

Week 6 at Augusta
WR Maurice Sweeney returned the opening kickoff all the way and on our second possession we managed to take a 14-7 lead. It was short lived, the rest of the game our offense fell flat, while the defense let the Greenjackets have their way with us as well. We got outgained 456 versus 228 total yards, enough said.
Result: 17-39 loss

Week 7 vs Paris
In our first game of the season against a team that didn't make the playoffs in 2118, we had our chances. But a punt return touchdown was the dagger that we didn't expect, even our special teams unit go outplayed. Aside from that freak play, Paris had a field position advantage, which is something we're really not used to, in particular in a game where QB Bart Tanner throws for nearly 300 yards without interception.
Result: 13-31 loss

Week 8 vs Snapfinger
Another game that we wish we never witness. We got outgained 449-250 in total yards and lost the turnover battle 2-0, making it quite the miracle we still had a 5-yard advantage in average drive start. Still, it was a couple of missed field goals that kept the Jazz from completely humiliating.
Result: 17-30 loss

Week 9 at Bordeaux
And then we played a game that we really should have won. We intercepted the Bordeaux quarterback 3 times, while going turnover free on our own end. But our inability to get into the end zone, combined with giving up a punt return touchdown, kept us from getting a real shot at earing a "W".
Result: 16-24 loss

With that, we started the season 0-8. I thought it was unprecedented, but we also were this dreadful in 2098. And with the next 5 games all against teams with a winning record (all started their season 5-2 or better), this season felt done, completely hopeless.

Week 10 at Orlando
With the season basically over, all of a sudden the team started to playing well, in particular the offense. Although both teams settled for field goals more often than they wanted to, it turned into quite the barnburner. When we took a 27-23 lead late in the 4th quarter, it turned into a bend but don't break game. Sadly we did break, allowed a 25-yard pass for touchdown and needed a miracle to reach overtime. We got there after WR Maurice Sweeney returned the kickoff for 55 yards, K Jeffery DeGroot converted a 54-yard field goal and rookie S Kim Fox picked off a pass at the end of regulation. The defense then forced three and out, while we responded with QB Bart Tanner throwing to rookie TE Francisco Anderson for 25 yards to reach midfield and a crucial 18-yard catch by WR Rodolfo Lane on third and long set up the game winning field goal.
Result: 33-30 win in overtime

Week 11 vs Gothenburg
With the losing streak snapped, the Merchantmen looked completely refreshed and all of a sudden we looked like the team I expected us to be. And then some. The visiting Giants had no idea what came to them (and us) as we were clicking on all ends of the ball, turning this into a sensational blowout victory. We outgained Gothenburg 453 to 193 in total yards, including holding their quarterback to just 96 yards passing. We completed the humiliation by throwing our kick holder on the field in our last possession and knee dropping to victory.
Result: 33-6 win

Week 12 at Chicago
And then thinking we were back to the capable teams, the team fell flat again. Our running game was lacking, our defense missing in action (giving up 451 total yards and allowing 11 third down conversions). For the third time this season a final seconds field goal put us within one score, but not really with a shot at tying it up.
Result: 17-25 loss

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

Yeah, mathematically we're still alive for the division title, but it will require something we can't even start to think of. The last wild card spot is held by 6-5 Orlando and will at minimum go to a 6-9-1 team. Second place is feasible, but can we really even think about it now?

The one game at a time approach is warranted. Our goal for now is to redeem ourselves a bit more and get as far away from having gifted a top draft pick to the Chesapeake Chitterlings. We'll be without our 1st round rookie RT Perry Georgopulos, he got severely hurt in Chicago and needs reconstructive knee surgery. CB Zachary Blair broken an arm in Chicago and will miss the rest of the season. LB Ezekiel O'Neal already went to injured reserve with a torn quadriceps muscle. A bunch of others are back from injuries, including 1st round rookie LB Sam Hastings, he returned from injured reserve after an injury in week 3.

So, yeah, can't wait for the 2120 season to get here. But we have 5 more games to show we're capable of good football and I hope we'll do just that.
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Old 12-16-2023, 05:04 PM   #841
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 2119 comes to an end, for us

I think you won't be shocked to read we failed to make the playoffs. But we kind of saved face by rising from the 0-8 season start. The Chesapeake Chitterlings will get the #8 overall pick in the 2120 draft, which is still quite expensive for the rights to our LB Sam Hastings. In return, the Fairbanks Northstars won 3 of their last 5 games to finish the season 4-12 and giving us the #5 overall pick, their rookie QB Charlie Stryzinski is 3-4 as their starter in that final stretch.

But that's 2120, let's recap quickly how we closed out our 2119 regular season.


Week 13 vs Rochester
In spite of outgaining the visiting Razorbacks 456 to 347 total yards, we found a way to look not so bright, losing the turnover battle 0-3. QB Bart Tanner threw for 387 yards and 3 touchdowns, but the turnovers were on him. Rookie TE Francisco Andersen had 9 catches for 119 yards, WR Rodolfo Lane had 137 yards receiving,
Result: 27-37 loss

Week 14 at Arizona
And then we bounced back to upset the NAC #1 seed bound Miners. A strange game in which a pair of interceptions were crucial for them to drop a game in which we were outgained 462 to 355 yards. TE Francisco Andersen had another 100-yard game, this kid is really living up to the 1st round pick status.
Result: 26-20 win

Week 15 vs Bordeaux
And then we rolled on, while the Bordeaux quarterback threw 4 interceptions. There was no punt return touchdown to save the day for Bordeaux and par for the last bunch of clashes, without any of those, we took care of business.
Result: 36-17 win

Week 16 vs Iowa
We raced to a quick 13-0 lead and played well. Except for the 75-yard touchdown that we allowed late in the first quarter. And for the fumble return touchdown that we gave up early in the second half. And for the kickoff return touchdown that we failed to avoid early in the fourth quarter. And then, just like that, you deserve to lose a game that on paper should have been won.
Result: 23-37 loss

Week 17 at Paris
I feared for us to fall flat, but instead we played out the season with a tremendous showing in Paris, crushing the home team. It also means we're now on a 3-game winning streak inside the division, beating all 3 of our rivals in it. Rookie TE Francisco Andersen had another 100-yard game, his 4th in the last 8 games of the season. K Jeffery DeGroot completed his perfect field goals kicking season with another trio, including a 49-yarder (he did miss 2 extra points). QB Bart Tanner threw for 4 touchdowns, but replacing him in the 4th quarter kept him from a chance to have his first game with 5 touchdown passes.
Result: 37-14 win

European Division final standings 2119
1. Gothenburg 11-5
2. Paris 5-10-1
3. Maassluis 5-11
4. Bordeaux 5-11

A horrible season comes to an end with a 5-3 second half of the season. We actually played on par with Gothenburg since week 10.

Gothenburg goes into the playoffs as the 4th seeds in the AOC, behind 14-2 Tucker, 14-2 Toronto, 11-5 Atlanta and in front of wild cards 10-6 Houston and 10-6 Augusta. Also in the other conference, all the 10-win teams made the playoffs, with none of them better than 11-5 and all of them scoring between 417 and 480 points. Houston (in the AOC) is the only playoffs team that scored less than 400 points. No team that missed the playoffs scored more than 387 points.

QB Bart Tanner finished the season with 4,692 yards passing (8th in IHOF) with 27 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

WR Rodolfo Lane had 88 catches for 1,166 yards and only 3 touchdowns. Rookie TE Francisco Andersen had 96 catches for 1,142 yards and 7 touchdowns. WR Rufus Montgomery was a downright disappointment with only 39 catches for 657 yards and 5 touchdowns. Rookie WR Roman Randle had only 49 catches for 633 yards and 2 touchdowns. TE Arnie Huffman was our other top touchdowns scoring player with 7 receiving touchdowns (on 39 catches for 419 yards).

RB Renaldo Billodeaux had an uncharacteristic season with just 3.73 yards per carry, running for 694 yards and 5 touchdowns, while change of pace Jackson Powell ran for 407 yards without touchdown and a 3.70 average.

WR Rodolfo Lane and WR Maurice Sawyer were obviously top5 in the league in their respective punt return and kickoff return skills.

As I already mentioned in the Paris game recap, K Jeffery DeGroot was perfect on field goals, also leading the league with 39 scored. Rookie P Andre Marincic was unimpressive in gross numbers, but his corner coffin kicking was visible with 38 in20s on 89 punts.

Defensively, we sucked. We were 27th in rushing yards allowed, tied 24th in yards per carry, 23rd in passing yards allowed, 28th in yards per pass attempt allowed, 28th in most sacks made, 27th in pass rush percentage, 25th in total yards allowed and 28th in points allowed. I'm not going to name any players as having played well. This unit has been a disappointment, they are too talented to play this horrible and can't blame the turnover prone quarterback on our offense.

The disappointment for the Merchantmen fans of this season is finally seeing the Gothenburg Giants jump ahead in most division titles. We held on to the lead for a long time and were tied after the 2118 season. But we're no longer the historical division dominators.

Is it 2120 yet? No, it's not, the playoffs are around the corner. And then the off-season will start, with us at estimated $100M under the salary cap. With just 32 players signed and 17 restricted free agents. We finished the season with a historical high 5 players on injured reserve. LB Ezekiel O'Neal and rookie RT Perry Georgopulos might miss the start of the next season due to their injuries. G Greg Brizzolara, CB Zachary Blair and LS Roderick Kaeding were clearly no luxury decisions to place on IR either, but they would have been able to return during the playoffs, had we made them.

So, summarizing: the first half of 2119 was horrible, the second half was encouraging.
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Old 12-16-2023, 05:21 PM   #842
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Managers notes: Final 2119 note

As I mentioned in my recap of the season, we finished the season with no less than 5 players on injured reserve. It means we also finished the season with 5 players on the roster that were not part of the team on opening day.

QB Noah DeLay (5/10) spent training camp with us, didn't make our pre-season roster, but once we had a roster spot to spare, I figured: why not bring him in as a prospective restricted free agent for next season.

LT Nathaniel Janke (30/35) was an emergency signing because of the piled on injuries across the offensive line. Originally picked by the Paris Musketeers at the top of the 3rd round of the 2119 draft, he was a mid pre-season casualty after he was considered to be a bust. We'll see what happens next off-season.

DE Bradley Osborne (25/35) was previously playing in Bordeaux, being an undrafted rookie signed in week 13 of the 2117 season. He was without a football job in 2118, but hang around as a free agent, then made training camp with Frederick this off-season and was only cut in week 5. I like his combination of pass rush technique (potential) and his hard hitting.

LB Alonzo Bauer (35/35) is a zone defense specialist, making him a no-brainer signing when both our pass defense linebackers Jorge Mayes and Sam Hastings were out in week 4. Also a decent special teamer, we let him play in 7 games, but he did finish the season inactive.

LS Scottie Burks (15/15) was a must-sign when our elite long snapper was out for the last 2 games. I don't see him returning to our 2120 roster, unless a similar disaster strikes during the season and Burks ends up without a team by then.
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Old 12-23-2023, 07:04 AM   #843
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Retirements, Hall of Fame Inductee and a New Head Coach

Staff changes
After 15 seasons of service, our head coach Bradley Knight decided to retire at the age of 68. It ended a 36-season journey for him as a staff member in the IHOF, which saw him debut as an IHOF Bowl winning assistent coach with the Williamsburg Colonials in 2084, followed with stints as the Arizona defensive coordinator (2085-2091), Tucker assistent coach (2092), Augusta defensive coordinator (2093), Rochester head coach (2094-2097), North Plainfield head coach (2098-2104) and finally as our head coach from 2105 through the 2119 season.

Stepping in is Butch Conway, 55 years old, yet a relative newcomer in the ranks of the staff members. He debuted in 2115 as Brooklyn assistent coach and already in 2116 was hired by the Frederick Red Menace as their head coach. Last season the Commies reached the NAC Championship game under his command, but they didn't extend his contract last off-season, which gave us the opportunity to poach him.

After the rash of injuries last season, we decided to replace our strength coordinator, which meant the exit for Reggie Harding after 10 seasons with us and in return the arrival of Sedrick Eco. Our new guy bounced around a bit, began with Bordeaux in 2102, moved to Harlem in 2105, then Chesapeake in 2108 and Hanalei in 2110. With the last two franchises, he won an IHOF Bowl, which we'd love to help him expand on.


2120 Roster outlook
On to the players, we have a lot of work to do this off season. We're down to 32 players signed, an unusual low number for us. We lost 2 players due to retirement, one of them was TE Jordan Maxwell (joined us last season as a veteran free agent, made 11 receptions in 6 games) and I'll elaborate a bit more on C Zane Chaplain later on.

We're sitting at $105M under the $644M salary cap, but the draft picks that we own are projected at costing nearly $50M in cap space, if all 11 picks that we own will eventually count towards the 51 most expensive players on team. Our pick collection consists of the #5 overall supplemented by picks 2.7, 2.19, 3.8, 3.17, 4.7, 4.29, 5.7, 5.8, 6.7 and 7.8.

The list of unrestricted free agents is a bit longer than usual too, but not that long as it consists of G Alfreed Pearsall, LT Lester Money, DE Lonnie Wynn, DE Glen Kafka, DE Leslie Kelly, DT John Craig, DT Bryan Lomax, LB Alonzo Bauer, LB Ezekiel O'Neal and CB Marques Wolf. From this list, Wolf is the one player that I really feel sad about that his moronic agent turned down contracts better than requested last off-season so he would not have hit the market. O'Neal is still unsure how good he is after a grueling injury. Pearsall was a starter last season, pushed due to the rash of injuries across the o-line. Aside from Money and Bauer, all are guys I'd like to bring back, if their demands aren't exorbitant and we don't get into a bidding war.

The list of restricted free agents is very long, consisting of mostly undrafted rookie signings, here we go: QB Noah DeLay, QB Orlando Garrett (he's nothing but a kick holder!), RB Greg Buckley, C Tracy Stewart, G James Tucker, LT Nathaniel Janke, DE Bradley Osborne, DE Phil Wakefield, DT Jeremiah Cortez, LB Brendan Tatum, CB Todd Weaver, S Kim Fox, S Bert Parker and LS Scottie Burks.

From that list, I think there's three groups to divide them in: the guys that I will certainly re-sign to make the 53-me roster, those that will be offered a low ball deal to make it into training camp and a select few that were roster filler last season and are extremely unlikely to make even a pre-season roster of 60. The must keep list includes last season's starters C Stewart and G Tucker, DE Wakefield, S Fox and S Parker. The second list starts at QB Garrett and with him are RB Buckley, DT Cortez, LB Tatum and CB Weaver. DE Osborne was a late season roster filler, but he's promising enough to promote him to that second group. For QB DeLay, LT Janke and LS Burks it's extremely unlikely they will be on our training camp roster.


Legends from the past
Okay, so, I promised to write a bit about our retired C Zane Chaplain. In recent seasons he was rarely on the field anymore, just 9 plays from scrimmage over the last 3 seasons. Before his decline and me inability to cope with his penalties, He was a reliable run blocker in the middle of our line from 2107 through 2115, which is not bad for this 2106 5th round pick. His number of games played for us stopped at 154 in 14 seasons.

Still, Chaplain was a sidekick to one of the best offensive linemen to put on the Merchantmen uniform. One of seven inducted into the Soleciscmic Hall of Fame in 2120, RT Ivan Dole, played 12 seasons for us and proved to be a stellar run blocker, especially later on, averaging 40 key run blocks per season from 2110 through 2114. The #14 overall pick for us in 2104, he was a bit of a best player available pick. He was a starter from day 1 and in his stretch of 195 games played for us, he missed only 3 games due to injury.
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Last edited by MIJB#19 : 12-23-2023 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 12-24-2023, 05:48 PM   #844
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: we traded down

The IHOF Draft 2120 hasn't officially started yet, but the first names are getting turned in already. We got caught a bit off guard by it, not noticing that after the #1 overall was announced, the #2 through #4 quickly went off the board as well. All of a sudden, we were on deck! And while we were, two trade offers were in our inbox.

I went through the process of going between a trade down inside the top 10, a trade down roughly half a round further and actually picking the top QB/WR as one should at this stage of the draft. The swap down of more than half a round was quickly paused, mentioning the other offer, while I was unconvinced it would be in our best interest to acquire a playoff team's 1st rounder in 2121 and an additional 2nd rounder.

While keeping the contact warm for the swap down inside the top 10, I looked over the draft class and found myself unconvinced that the highest graded QB (Darrin Tucker) and the highest ranked WR on our board would be enough of an upgrade over what we have on team to stick and pick. I went ahead and said that two 1st round picks would be the price, so when the counter offer was 1.5 and 2.7 for 1.10 and a 1st next draft, I wasn't taking too long to think about it and quickly agreed to it.

It's still an option to go QB or WR with the 1.10 pick, the top WR and second QB on our board are still on board, but neither of them screamed "upgrade" to me. I've got my eye on a couple of other players that are in our top5 overall of this draft class and would be impact players. At is stands now, the #6 pick has also been announced and with 3 picks in between, there are 4 names on our list. This should guarantee us to land at least one of them.

The first swing of restricted free agent offers has gone out, some quite richer than these second year undrafted players probably deserve, but we've got some cap space to spare. I've also gone out and made offers to a bunch of veteran free agents, which even could influence the direction we could and should take in the draft. But these luxury problems are tomorrow's problems...
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Old 12-25-2023, 04:02 PM   #845
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The 2120 off-season is in full swing!

We signed our first bunch of players and announced our first draft pick!

LT Roy Wilkerson was our first free agent signing of this off-season. He signed a pretty modest 1-year deal with us, which to me is what we needed to do with RT Perry Georgopulos missing the early part of the season and without knowing how bad the injury to Georgopulos' knee truly is. Wilkerson was a backup in Gothenburg last season, but still interested in playing in the IHOF and will be our starting run blocking RT. We can opt to put Georgopulos on injured reserve and bring him back by the time we know what he's still capable of.

Veteran G Alfred Pearsall re-signed with us, as did second-year C Tracy Stewart. Second-year G James Tucker turned down our first offer, but we'll surely lock him up sooner or later. It would still leave us down a couple of linemen to open the season. We have an offer in the table for veteran free agent C Kennetth Farrell, but right now it looks like we'll be losing the bidding to Chesapeake.

We signed two more restricted free agents in RB Gary Buckley and DE Bradley Osborne, but seven others turned down our extremely close to requested deals. Stubborn agents... One of the rejectees is QB Orlando Garrett, he should be aware that we've already sent out offers to 3 other kick holder slash emergency quarterbacks. We're also in the bidding for DE Glen Kafka, DT John Craig and CB Marques Wolf. In the mean while, LB Ezekiel O'Neal is considering an offer from Gothenburg.

In the draft, we made the decision for the #10 overall pick and chose to select CB Andre McAninch, the fourth highest player on our draft board. The top player is at a position I don't see us selecting a player at in this draft and the second best is the other player I considered at that pick and I'm really hoping I can move into the draft and get that player as well. QB Darrin Tucker is spoken for, he has been selected by Chesapeake with the #8 overall pick, the pick we traded to acquire LB Sam Hastings in 2119. It sounds like their general manager was missing in action and didn't make the choice himself, but Chesapeake did lose their starter to retirement this off-season.

Order of business for the next 24 hours? Try to move back into the draft and get out a second round of free agent offers. I'm going to take a stab at one other top 10 free agent (after LT Roy Wilkerson), because we've got some cap space and could use a player at his position...
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Old 12-25-2023, 05:28 PM   #846
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Draft Day Trade!

We managed to move back into the draft by sacrificing our 2121 1st round pick and the 2.19 pick this draft to be able to select DT Floyd Dillon at the #16 overall pick. Merchantmen fans know I love to see us play with exceptionally talented defensive tackles and this opportunity felt too good to pass on. Dillon was on my coin flip at pick #5 overall and again at #10, but his position is so unfancy, I felt it was a legitimate gamble to try to wait for the middle of the first round.

It's early, obviously, but this seems to land us two of the top 3 prospects of this draft class in raw talent on the defensive side. My staff isn't as optimistic about the top offensive linemen, but it's not unthinkable some of them will end up being higher on the 1-100 scale. But with the likes of LT Dan Clancy and G Greg Brizzolara, we're good to go there. The defense really needed and upgrade and I expect Dillon and McAninch to give us that.

McAninch is an excellent prospect, albeit his man-to-man defense may be a bit below our shutdown corner standards, he'll make up with run defense, ball hawking, fumble forcing and play diagnosis. Dillon's excellent is in run stopping, play diagnosis, hard hitting and will bring enough endurance to also play on most passing downs formations as well where he will use his excellent pass rush technique.
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Old 12-26-2023, 03:15 PM   #847
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: A new DT - yes, another one

We're working on making more cap room and signed a bunch of players to new contracts, some extensions, some restricted free agents. In that last group, G James Tucker, DE Phil Wakefield and LB Brendan Tatum signed a new deal in Maassluis. We needed some renegotiations to stay under the cap and still have enough room for additional picks (after trades we're still due to pay $45M to our draft picks). And to be able to sign DT Rodney Gagliardi, quite easily our biggest free agent signing in quite some time. The 29-year old signed a 3-year deal worth $100M in total, the top free agent of this off-season. I hope to see him become a crucial part to our pass defense with his excellent pass rush technique and strength.
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Old 12-27-2023, 02:20 PM   #848
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The end of the Bart Tanner era?

We have to see it before we believe it, but we just agreed to a trade with the Harlem Apollos, acquiring QB Renaldo Wilson in exchange for three future draft picks in the second and third rounds. We still have to go through the process of training camp and pre-season and all other kinds of random events, but Wilson is amongst the 10 most talented quarterbacks in the league. So, yes, it's a good idea to acquire him!

It will bring an end to the Bart Tanner era, not just as our starter, but we simply lack the cap room to afford two quarterback with a $40M salary. So, expect us to release him the day after the arrival of Wilson.

In the mean time, our talks with other players continue. We still need to find an agreement with LT Dan Clancy and WR Rufus Montgomery to open up cap space for other renegotiations. LB Jorge Mayes and CB Zachary Blair already chipped in. It helped us to have enough rook to re-sign S Bert Parker, DT Jeremiah Cortez and DE Glen Kafka.

Our third round picks are also known now. We went secondary and defensive line again, picking S Max Junker and DE Roger Graf. Junker is a zone defender with play diagnosis, special teams skills and is still solid in interceptions and man-to-man defense. Graf ran the 40-yard dash in 4.57, making him the fastest front seven rookie, proving he's an exceptional pass rusher.
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Old 12-29-2023, 06:10 PM   #849
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Say hello to our new quarterback and our draft class 2120

QB Renaldo Wilson (65/65) has joined the Maassluis Merchantmen. The stubborn player agent of LT Dan Clancy threw a wrench in the engine earlier on, keeping us from getting the required cap room to be able to afford Wilson and QB Bart Tanner (40/40) at the same time. But the decision to release Tanner and get it over with was somewhat easy.

Yes, we played exceptionally well at times with Bart Tanner. At times I really liked him and at times I felt like he couldn't get the job done. His couple of holdouts didn't help either, nor did our 8-game losing streak which also threw him down from a winning quarterback to having just a .500 kind of record as a starter. Truth be told, in the 2119 off-season I already pulled the plug on releasing Tanner, but by seeing the lack of alternatives that would be sufficiently able to at least mimic Tanner's ability to extend drives, we went for him another season.

In off-season 2119, Renaldo Wilson was also on my radar, but by the time I figured it was worth making a shot at sending a trade feeler out, he was already switching to the Harlem Apollos. After a disappointing season there, he found himself on the block and as the Harlem owner already knew that Wilson is a quarterback up my alley, it wasn't hard to come to an agreement quickly. And now we have shared rooting interests against one another as we hold their 1st round pick and they hold our 2nd and 3rd rounders.

There are three risks here. The first one is that Wilson is entering the twilight of his career and albeit he dodged the bullet of reduction in talent so far, sooner or later it will come and it would be something to see it happen in Maassluis. at the same time, on a 1-100 scale, Tanner was roughly a 40 and Wilson a 65, even a -10 would still make Wilson an improvement. Regardless that Tanner is a top 32 quarterback, so it will be interesting whether he'll find a new home before or after training camp. I would not have minded at all to try and find the cap room to make him our backup for a season or two.

The second risk with Wilson is that we'll have to agree terms on a new contract, as he's on the final year of a 2-year deal he signed in Harlem last off-season. As y'all know, I don't want to see players on my team in their final year of contract, especially in key positions. He's likely to cost us more than his current $40M salary.

Third and not ignorable, Wilson is the kind of player that we'd call a red flag. It was a reason to ignore him for a while, but his passing game is good enough and he's never had the luxury of working with players like the awesomeness that we have walking around at wide receiver and tight end.

Our overhaul at quarterback will not stop at the starter. QB Harrison Singleton (20/20) is not likely to make the team as our backup, albeit he's the second best on roster at the moment, factoring in his cohesion bonus. We signed free agents QB Julian Andrews (25/35) and QB Damon Franz (5/35) to cheap 2-year deals, both are basically scrambling kick holders. They'll fight it out for that kind of role. Or perhaps they will be outdone by our 4.29 pick QB Al Schneider (25/40), who is slightly less reliable as a holder.

Ahead of Schneider, we went defense heavy in the draft, with 1st round picks CB Andre McAninch (55/75) and DT Floyd Dillon (45/80) both standing out as exceptionally talented players at their respective positions. But, as I also already mentioned, in the third round we added S Max Junker (15/55), with his excellent potential in zone defense and play diagnosis, and DE Roger Graf (30/55), with his excellent pass rush technique.

Less spectacular were our 5 picks in the fifth through seventh round, but we'll have to mention them naturally. RB Corey Ward (30/35) has a nice breakaway speed and hole recognition combo. TE Wally Stephens (25/40) could be described as a misclick, as the 2 picks later taken TE Wally Stevens was actually our target. C Chester Coffey (25/55) has underwhelmingly low pass blocking technique, hopefully he'll develop enough as a run blocker and in the blocking strength. DE Gage Benson (15/45) gives us more to choose from, coming in with very good pass rush technique and play diagnosis. LB Marco Long (20/45) will lean heavily on his play diagnosis in his efforts to make the team.

We're currently at 58 players signed and, aside from DE Leslie Kelly moving on to Outer Banks, the bunch of free agents is still walking around in Oranje Haven training facilities to keep their condition fair. From this group of QB Noah DeLay (5/10), QB Orlando Garrett (5/20), LT Nathaniel Janke (30/35), LT Lester Money (25/25), DE Lonnie Wynn (45/45), DT John Craig (35/35), DT Bryan Lomax (45/45) LB Alonzo Bauer (35/35), LB Ezekiel O'Neal (45/45), CB Todd Weaver (20/25) and LS Scottie Burks (15/15), there are just a handful, if not less, that I'll offer a lowball contract for training camp. I think for most of them it'll determine whether they'll extend their pro football careers in the IHOF.

Lastly, let's not forget that this off-season we already signed free agents LT Roy Wilkerson (60/60) and DT Rodney Gagliardi (70/70). Together with Wilson, that's quite the improvement we might have acquired here. So let's hope they'll hold up as much as possible.

And tomorrow, we'll take a look at the undrafted rookies we signed, providing some of the kids we approached do indeed sign with us...
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Old 12-30-2023, 08:28 AM   #850
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Training Camp 2120 Roster set

No less than 10 players signed a contract with us just in time to join our training camp roster. Not amongst them is DT Bryan Lomax, despite that we offered him a cheap 2-year deal, he finally got an offer from another team (Chicago) and chose them as his new team. After we picked him up as an undrafted rookie in 2119, he played in 74 games in 5 seasons with us, got into the rotation in his second season and last season was playing the majority of the time.

LB Ezekiel O'Neal (45/45) signed a new 3-year deal with us. He's still recovering from his nasty quadriceps injury, but if he comes back strong, he'll be a reliable guy to have on our running downs and special teams group. DT John Craig (35/35) signed a 2-year deal, he'll get a chance to prove he's good enough to make our team again as a pass rusher up the middle. C Clyde Van Lanen (30/45) returns to Maassluis for a second training camp, he almost made our 2119 roster as an undrafted rookie, but right before opening day we released him. Houston signed Van Lanen in the playoffs last season, but didn't win them over to get a training camp spot and now he gets a second chance with us.

We also signed 7 undrafted rookies, most of them surprisingly went uncontested. RB Diego Kosters (30/35) is a special teamer with route running and some hole recognition. TE Jackson Henselman (15/35) is a special teamer with some route running and big-play ability. WR Tyrone Dillon (20/40) is a route runner with decent courage and avoid drops. CB Billy Cochrane (20/25) is a special teamer with good zone defense and interceptions skills. CB Horace Pratt (15/25) is a special teamer with good man-to-man skills. WR Maurice Hadnot (15/20) is a special teamer and a shockingly old rookie at 26 years old. TE Asher Hodges (20/35) is a special teamer with good run blocking, third down receiving, courage and big-play ability. Only Hodges had to turn down another team. I think the overall trend was quite obvious here: we tried to find diamonds in the rough for our special teams unit, hoping to find a couple that will be skilled enough to be something like a third tight end, fourth wide receiver or a dime back.

It means we head into training camp with 68 players on team: 5 QB, 5 RB, 2 FB, 6 TE, 8 WR, 9 OL (including injured RT Perry Georgopulos), 1 P, 1 K, 5 DE, 6 DT, 7 LB, 7 CB, 5 S and 1 LS. At punter and kicker, it will be wise to sign an insurance policy in time for pre-season action. If we do so, we'll be up to the 70 maximum for training camp.

QB Bart Tanner is still on the free agent pile, despite that his agent tried to undersell him for a 3-year $36M contract. Yes, $36M total, not per year. Yes, I think his agent destroyed Tanner chances to be our long term starter by forcing those holdouts and demanding $70M per year figures. It forced us to let go of players that were solid wide receiver (WR Jessie Vertelney, TE Ted Gordon, TE Corbin Robbins) or key defenders (DT Carlos Fisher). And now, he's likely to be out of a job, despite being amongst the 32 moist talented quarterbacks in football and way too young to even consider retiring. Tanner is in good company, with quite possibly the most overrated quarterback of the past 50 or so seasons in Edwin Anthony. A first round pick for the Tucker Tigers, never to become their starter, after his 4-year rookie contract signed for 1 year on the bench for Moontown and after 2 years as the Iowa starter, he got released this off-season because it's clear that he's not capable of living up to the hype. Maybe some team will give these guys another chance, but it would have to be a team that's not convinced abut their own young prospect and willing enough to try to keep fighting after something like a 1-3 start to their season.

The toughest task for training camp is finding a way to improve our playbook. Our offensive coordinator is an Erhardt-Perkins adept, but there are just so few plays that can be crafted that really fit in that style. We can't play out of the 122 and 131 formations all the time, with just short inside throws to the tight end and running out of the pistol or shotgun formation...
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