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Old 06-15-2020, 03:40 PM   #301
MIJB#19
Grizzled Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: And there goes the season
Just mathematically alive, that's what we're looking at now.

Let's go back to the time between our silly loss against the Oakland Black Panthers and the time before today's game against the Tucker Tigers. It was time for change, okay, not really, but we went to the film room and analyzed the Tigers' 11 games this season. We noticed some interesting things in their trends with formations, run tendencies and such. As a result, we crafted a specific game plan for this particular game.

Game day. They kick off, we receive. Francisco Patter runs for 12 yards, but the third play of the drive, a Brandon Bell pass gets intercepted near midfield and returned to our 26-yard line. We make the right call on their first play, stop them on the second, but then they throw for 14 yards on third down and as we forgot to spy him, their quarterback Donovan Muth runs the ball in for a 7-0 Tucker lead. Santiago Messenger responds with a 35-yard kickoff return and Bell with a 10-yard pass to Patter. Then a backwards pass (why, people, why!?) and two dropped passes. They respond with passes for 18, 8 and 15 yards to break into our end of the field. On third and 10, we lineup to protect the first down, instead they turn a short pass into a 30-yard gain. We stop their two runs, but on third and goal their WR3 is wide open in our end zone: 14-0 Tucker. Another strong kickoff return and a neat third down conversion by Patter bring us into their territory. A penalty on our end gets wiped away by Bell with a 25-yard pass to Theodore Bondy. Patter converts again on third and short, then from their 6-yard line, Reggie Thongchanh runs it in for the 14-7 score. But before the second quarter begins, we allow a 63-yard kickoff return, so much for that momentum shift...

Our run defense stands strong after they have another big catch by their tight end Ron Virgadamo, forcing them to settle for a 22-yard field goal. It's a small victory, but we're still trailing 17-7 early in the game. Reggie Thongchanh runs for 10 yards and Brandon Bell finds Theodore Bondy for 25 yards to march into their turf. Bell then finds Bondy for 19 yards to get into field goal range. Three plays later, Bell finds Bondy open in the end zone: 17-14, we're back in the game. On third and 3 we have no answer to their star wide receiver Lewis Burchfield, who turns a short pass into a 34-yard gain. For a change we allow a couple of decent runs, but after two strong stops of their running backs, we see one of our defensive lineman actually closing in on their quarterback (finally!) and they are forced to kick (and score) the 34-yard field goal. Down 20-14, we're clearly still in the game, but on third and short, Brandon Bell throws his second interception of the game. Starting at our 26-yard line, Tucker has field position and plenty of time to increase the score before half time. A quarterback scramble saves the drive (we should have spied on Donovan Muth a lot more) and two plays later he throws a 10-yard touchdown pass to a 26-14 lead as the kick is missed. We try to go for it, but unlike our own excellent pass rush unit missing in action, their pass rushers do get on top of our quarterback and so the first half ends as they run out the clock.

Five plays into the second half, the stadium falls completely silent, aside from a bunch of flown over Tigers fans. Long pass by Donovan Muth and for whatever dubious reason our corners play well, but still can't stop his receiver from the 57-yard touchdown reception. Tucker goes up 33-14. A nice kickoff return gets partially called back for an illegal block and on third and 12 we somehow see Brandon Bell throw to a player that diverts from his route and fails to get the first down. A penalty pins them inside their red zone, but despite that we fully expect them to throw, we have no answer to their 37-yard pass from Muth to Lewis Burchfield. On third and seven they throw for a 17-yard gain and this time our goal line stand collapses on third and short: Tucker takes a 40-14 lead. And at that point our staff decided to pull Brandon Bell and bring back Moe Sheldon. Obviously he gets sacked on the first play (hey, wasn't that why he got benched?) and obviously his third down pass falls incomplete (wasn't he benched for a reason, staff?). We then stand strong against their running to force three and out (yes, we actually did something right today: stopping their rushing attack. In reply, a typical Sheldon drive starts, with short but steady gains.

Moe Sheldon scrambles on the first play of the fourth quarter. And on third down can't even connect with Theodore Bondy for a short gain (goodness, Moe!). Tucker immediately responds with a 22-yard pass against our nickel formation, but three plays later another rare pass rusher break through their line and forces the incomplete pass and a punt. Obviously we call plays that get us nowhere and three plays later Tucker is actually inside our turf after the punt return. On third and long, we sit back to stop their short pass short of the first down, but instead give up a 26-yard pass to their second tight end (Tucker has a strong duo at this position). On the next third down, they catch us off guard and run for the first down, but three plays later we stuff them (the game log correctly claims "The defense looked extremely familiar with that play") and a 25-yard field goal towards a 43-14 lead is their reward. Santiago Messenger then has a nice kickoff return, but follows up with two meaningless way too short receptions, that are proof that we are too chicken to make anything of this game (sigh). We stuff them on their next drive, but on the punt return Reggie Thongchanh goes all Courtney Blackwell, fumbles the ball and Tucker makes things even worse, returning it the full 42 yards for a 50-14 lead. Moe Sheldon throws a couple of silly passes to should never be on the field tight ends and the game is over.

What a disaster.

Brandon Bell gets pulled, despite that he actually got us places, aside from the two interceptions. Our run defense worked, but our pass rush and pass defense were completely missing in action. Not just a bad day, it was a complete off day. So, game planning, did it work? You can't defensively game plan your offensive turnovers away and we were giving up big plays in spite of what was actually a solid run stopping effort.

Elsewhere in the division there were other results, but this loss basically destroyed our still very reasonable hopes of making the playoffs.

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

Half of our wins came against Bordeaux to keep us out of last place. We had three losses that 9 out of 10 times would have been wins. And then we had not one but two unbelievably depressing results in Gothenburg and today against Tucker.

Four more games, all winnable. Two on the road, but we end it with a home game against Gothenburg (we can play spoiler and possibly throw them from #1 seed to #4 seed), but the season first continues at home against the Fairbanks Northstars. They're sitting at 3-8-1 and are still licking their wounds from picking what everybody thought was a sure thing franchise quarterback at #2 overall, only to see him do incredibly stupid stuff after his first pre-season game (a game against us, in which he was shockingly kept inactive) and become a complete waste of a roster spot. The dead cap hit of cutting his ass for next season would be $51 million, so they're stuck with him for the next season as well, if they want to play it cap technically save.

That doesn't change the fact that we've wasted so many opportunities this season, we're fully capable of pissing away this opportunity to save face. I hope we fail to fail, put a solid performance on the field, entertain the loyal fan base and prove why I'm thinking this collective of players actually would have been capable of making a surprise run in the playoffs.

Mathematically, we're still in the race even, but it'll require some incredibly weird scenarios that are too much to work out for now. We'll check back on that after another game or two, for now, winning the next game is all that matters. We can do this, Merchantmen.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

Last edited by MIJB#19 : 06-16-2020 at 10:16 AM. Reason: just a wrong first name fix, nothing noteworthy
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Old 06-16-2020, 11:01 AM   #302
MIJB#19
Grizzled Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Another win, but...
We're still on pace for one of our 5 worst seasons.

Wait.

One of our 5 worst seasons. Let that come to you. Then look at the 53 players on roster, look at the guys that we actually had to cut before pre-season action started, guys that arguably can contribute in this league and didn't even make our list of 60 pre-season players. Look at the top-notch secondary. Look at the promising Braden Brady, ever improving Clayton Jackson and still solid Daquan Espino as our linebackers. The elite pass rush ensemble around our tremendous defensive tackle duo. The highly talented and cohesive offensive line. That guy that we call Theo and remains to be a top5 skill position player in this league. That running back duo.

And then you realize that despite all that, our quarterbacks have made a mistake or two too many and cost us a bunch of games. But that's not all of it, we somehow completely sucked in those games at Gothenburg and against Tucker. Indescribable how bad we were, despite the talent.

And today, against the Fairbanks Northstars? Our last hopes on a wild card for the playoffs were on the line and we kept them alive. We won 12-9, as the score line already suggests, a game without touchdowns. Our longest drive was a gain of 45 yards. Theirs a gain of 50 yards. Enough said.

Let's give the credits to the defenses, to stay positive. We gave up 16 rushing yards on 20 carries, indeed, a 0.8 yards per carry average. In return, our two running backs and one scrambling quarterback all gained roughly 40 yards to shift the balance into our direction and to overcome Brandon Bell's lowsy 123 yards passing.

Part of the story possibly was the injury to our left tackle Nathan Hadinger. Gets little credit for it in the league, but we see him as an elite left tackle, the type of guy that gives a quarterback the time he needs to avoid the turnovers. (Which makes you wonder even more how on earth we're fourth in most giveaways). Losing Hadinger is actually a case for keeping Moe Sheldon on the bench and stick with Bell or even consider Francisco Farley, as both are more capable in avoiding the pass rushers.

Fair enough, at least we won. Which can't be said about our three division rivals. Which effectively still clinched the division for the Gothenburg Giants as they still needed to win (or tie) today, or see Paris not win, to divert the losing tie-breakers situation if both end up with a 9-7 regular season record. That's settled now.

Standings:
1. Gothenburg 9-3*
2. Paris 5-8
3. Maassluis 5-8
4. Bordeaux 4-9
* division champions

Okay, let's go crazy for a second or 150 and look at the wild card race, excluding the eliminated teams on record.

Wild card race:
1. San Antonio 9-3-1
2. Gothenburg 9-4*
3. Tucker 9-4
4. North Plainfield 8-5*
------------------------
5. Fort Wayne 9-4
6. Orlando 8-5
--------------------
7. Snapfinger 7-6
8. Houston 6-7
9. Paris 5-8
10. Maassluis 5-8
11. Harlem 5-8
* division champion

And then I looked at the tie-breakers and it becomes clear that we won't win a tie-breaker straight up against Orlando as they will have the common games tie-breaker (they'll be 2-3 against Houston, North Plainfield, Paris and Tucker, we'll be 1-4). But there's also Snapfinger to consider and if they end up in second place with an 8-8 record while only winning in week 16, we'll be losing that same common games tie-breaker to them (they'll be 4-1 against Bordeaux, Houston, Harlem and Tucker, we'll be 2-3). Which means we'll need Harlem and or Houston to break the tie in both situations.

We can quickly strike out the situation where Harlem joins Snapfinger and us. As Snapfinger and us swept Harlem, they'll be ignored first. Snapfinger beating Houston and Houston beating us means nothing, because we didn't play Snapfinger, which means common games will be ignored and strength of victory will be up next. Our situation is dire, as the best record of a team we beat is 5-8, while beating Paris, Colorado and Gothenburg up next will add at best 26 wins (which isn't even the best case scenario for us) to our current total of 20.5 for a maximum of 56.5. Houston will be 59.5 at worst, Snapfinger will be 45 at worst and Harlem 44 at worst and Orlando 44.5 at worst. So yeah, Houston, please stay away by going 1-1-1 at best in the last thee games.

So, in essence, we can get there with 3 wins, with 3 losses from Orlando, at most 1 tie for Snapfinger, Houston not winning their remaining 3 games and Harlem's result not making a difference.

The Solecismic Playoffs Probabilities calculator gave us a <0.1% on the first try, nothing on the next few, but clearly it's still better than no chance at all.

What to do next? Try to save face, that's what's next. 3 games remaining to brush away that -67 points differential. -54 is our fifth worst for now, so getting ahead of that is kind of not so terribly bad. The next progress would be at -35, which is already a pretty steep hill, requiring us to win all three remaining games with 11 or more points. For a worst season we need -14 to tie the -81 record. Yeah, that sounds actually more likely...

So it goes. We're alive, but barely kicking. But we'll keep on trying, like we always do.
__________________
* 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 06-17-2020, 05:07 PM   #303
MIJB#19
Grizzled Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: No playoffs once again
... and we still have two games to play.

With a much deserved, but somewhat lucky performance, we've managed to beat the Paris Musketeers 33-27 in their house. We once again struggled to get the ball in the opponents' red zone, settling for 6 field goals and needing a 78-yard interception return touchdown to get back into the game in the fourth quarter. Although, with Paris going with Wesley Elliott at quarterback, they were basically throwing the game away to begin with, his a serious mismatch for our kind of defense.

Division standings
1. Gothenburg 10-4*
2. Maassluis 6-8
3. Paris 5-9
4. Bordeaux 4-10
* division champions

So, we did our job: win. But it was too little too late, the other wild card hopefuls, most specifically the Orlando Talons posted a victory to make this once again a season that ends after week 17. It will mean three seasons without playoffs, the last time we were this bad for so long was in 2062-2064, shortly before we broke out for our first and so far only IHOF Bowl victory.

So, red zone play, we suck at it, apparently. We've got a league worst 3.7 points per visit, scoring just 11 touchdowns on 35 visits. Our inability to get good stuff out of Theodore Bondy is also hurting us. He's second in the league in receptions, but only eighth in receiving yards. That makes no swear word sense to me. It's not my intention to hold him short, but the staff thinks this is how we should do this, I suppose.

Today's win marked the second straight for Brandon Bell as well, second straight with less than 200 yards thrown and actually completing less than 46 percent of his passes. He's actually doing worse than Moe Sheldon now, but with Nathan Hadinger missing, going back to Sheldon was a bad idea. Hadinger will be back in week 16 against the Colorado Cutthroats, which might be an opportunity to bring Sheldon back as well.

Cornerback Ted Frias had the first career interception and he made it count with the 78-yard touchdown return. It's quite the surprise it took him this long, although he was kind of stuck in a fourth choice role until this season.

Two more games and this from bad to worse season is over. I wish we had done something right here, but when we turned into a turnover machine (in a bad way), our season was a lost cause. I hope we recover next season, when we'll be in our usual deep cap trouble to start the off-season. Looking forward to it, but for now a chance to beat Colorado on the road and then finish the season with a face saving victory over Gothenburg, possibly costing them a bye week, but most likely it can only cost them the #1 seed. We'll try though, after we've visited and beaten Colorado. Let's stay confident.
__________________
* 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 06-19-2020, 12:30 PM   #304
MIJB#19
Grizzled Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: It's over
The season of disaster is finally over.

We ended it in style, with a serious 27-10 drubbing in our own house by the hands of the Gothenburg Giants. They spared us in the fourth quarter, otherwise this season would have turned into the worst ever. Now, it ended up being tied for worst. Yeah, I measure this by points scored and allowed margin. -81 over 16 games: disgusting. Previous time we did that was in 2021. Since the 2029 season, we've had 3 seasons with a negative points differential: -24 in 2063, -73 in 2088 and -81 in 2090 (this season).

Division Standings
1. Gothenburg 12-4*
2. Paris 7-9
3. Maassluis 6-10
4. Bordeaux 4-12
* #1 seed

I should be flabbergasted, which I actually am mentally, but that's mostly because of other events in my life. Still, the contrast between what actually felt like a team that was built and ready to make a playoffs run and turns out to be the worst I've ever put on the field, that contrast is surreal. Some day I'll look back on this season and wonder what the bleep went wrong here.

Quarterback situation
Going into the season, I felt very strongly about Moe Sheldon being the guy. One of the "most careful quarterbacks", this should work out well. Yes, he's more prone to get sacked, but we have the OL to protect him. After 10 games and a 4-6 record, I was done with Sheldon. He had just 4 games over 200 yards with 9 interceptions. We had lost 3 games we really shouldn't have.

So, back to Brandon Bell it was. After a 1-2 record, I was ready to write him off, he actually posted another win (I kept him in because I feared Sheldon would not do weel with our left tackle Nathan Hadinger out), but the win did not convince me.

Last two games, back to Sheldon. He sucked, terribly. Gothenburg kept him to 66 yards, while Colorado picked him off 2 more times.

Okay, there are two possibilities: the game plan, initiated by me, but designed by my staff, it sucked. Number two: both quarterbacks just don't gel with the game plan at hand.

I'm throwing the second one away. Looking at our running game, it was good, but far from spectacular. We have a strong expensive line, excellent cohesion, running backs with hole recognition. Francisco Patter got a lot of third down carries, which can be bad for the yards per carry (it was 3.66) figure, he converted 16 of 31 attempts, which is acceptable on an average running game, but not on this team. This personnel should have done better than this. Reggie Thongchanh got few third down carries and managed to average 4.67 yards per carry. It's better than one would want from a change of pace back, but in this setting, it has to be 5.0 at minimum to be considered a success. Moreover, they combined for 4 touchdowns of 43 red zone carries. Perhaps we ran too little once we got downfield?

Now, that offensive line. The running game was not what we hoped and expected for.: 9th in yards per game, 17th in yards per carry. Our pass rush percentage allowed was 2nd best in the league, but once our pocket was invaded, the number of sacks was very high, we were 18th in avoiding sacks. Not sure what to make of that, really. It feels weird to see those two together.

Our passing game overall was abmysal. We were 31st in passing yards, which in a way can be explained by being tied for 27th in pass attempts, but our yards per catch (29th) and yards per attempt (24th with a 5.77 figure) are simply unacceptable with a top five wide receiver on the team. Unacceptable, period. Theodore Bondy tied for 3rd most receptions, was 9th in receiving yards, but medicro in touchdowns. Our WR2 Branden Sandlin had 32 receptions (on 447 pass plays), our rookie tight end Clay Gaynor 37 receptions (531 pass plays), our WR3 Harris Wilkerson 46 receptions (280 pass plays).

The defense? The run defense clearly improved down the stretch of the season and we finished with a near league average 4.17 yards per carry allowed. We tied for 22nd in least rushing yards allowed. Teams ran a lot against us, so that's an acceptable number.

In contrast, teams surprisingly decided to not throw the ball against us, we had a league low of 552 pass attempts against us. Sadly our clearly better than average pass defense personnel played way below league average, allowing 24th best yards per pass attempt. All that despite that we had the 2nd highest pass rush percentage, which generated the 4th highest sack percentage.

Now the crucial downs and ends of the field. We were the worst red zone offense, scoring just 3.8 points per visit. Our third down conversion rate was slightly below league average, but with a 5th best yards to go figure, that's just not good enough, you have to be above average if you're usually in a better spot to get there.

Defensively, the yards to go on third downs was very even across the league, surprisingly. The difference between league average and league worst was marginal (an extreme example: Gothenburg was 3rd in third down conversions, but 32nd in to go yardage). Our red zone defense was close to league worst.

One thing we really excelled in was generating turnovers, and not in a good way. We ranked 5th in most giveaways, most notably with an incredibly uncharacteristic high number of fumbles lost. Thongchanh fumbled 8 times, I thought this guy was extremely steady, his total of 12 in 5 prior seasons was convincing to me, punt return duties can apparently do that to a player? Sheldon fumbled 5 times, which is about on par for him. Patter fumbled 4 times, acceptable numbers to me.


Season in a nutshell? Perhaps. It was for the most part a frustrating season. I think we pissed away (excuse my language, okay, not really, otherwise I would have written something else here) at least 3 games that were lining up to be smooth victories. Combine that with two of the biggest blowouts in 87 seasons of team history, it makes clear that we were very capable of making things go from bad to worse unnecessarily on a very consistent level. Had we improved those 5 games though, we still would have ended up as a 9-7 team with a very negative points differential, but actually sneaking into the playoffs. So it goes? It seems unfair to not at least in part credit the opponents for their efforts, but I'm talking about games where we visibly dominated and purely lost on turnovers.

So, 2091? We're lining up to be in a terrible, but manageable cap situation of roughly $70M over the cap. We've 'earned' the #9 overall draft pick.

What about our rookies and other promising youngester?

TE Clay Gaynor (pick 1.17) had 37 receptions for 335 yards and 1 touchdown, contributing with 3 key run blocks. He was basically on the field for us on all downs, but didn't visibly do much to improve either the passing game or running game. Our staff does say he improved roughly 12 points on the 1-100 scale in overall ability, which is acceptable for a player of his supposed caliber.

WR George Stuckey (2.18) and WR Trey Samuels (5.17) were inactive all season long. Their lack of current ability, combined with lack of special teams skills and lack of a mentor made it seemingly pointless to put them on our active roster. In retrospect, Stuckey might deserve to get another look next season, while Samuels will obviously stick around, because, you know, you can't really know much about a young player until after his third training camp (I should keep on remembering that!).

G Marvin Silvan (undrafted) was activated early in the season to be part of our special teams unit. He actually got some action there in 11 games. He did not improve according to our staff.

K Mark Giles (2.20) converted 35 of 38 field goals and 18 of 19 extra points. (Yes, we had only 19 PAT attempts, how depressing is that!?) The staff claims he improved into being "fully developed" and is a top5 kicker.

LB Brant Rayburn (undrafted) was kept inactive all season long. By the time I felt he deserved to get a spot on the active roster to give him some chance to improve, he picked up a viral infection to side line him for several weeks and as a result he remained inactive.

LB Brandon Brady (1.19) improved to being almost fully developed, getting a +18 by the staff. On the field, he actually lead the team with 101 tackles. He was mostly kept in pass defense short zone coverage, which is probably why he ranked 2nd on the team in most catches allowed. He made 2 interceptions, which shockingly was enough to be top 3 on the team.

CB Adam Harmon (undrafted) was active in the first four games, but after Ted Frias got hurt, we activate Jessie McNeil and when Frias was ready to step back in, I decided to deactivate Harmon, hoping McNeil would help boost the pass defense. Harmon didn't play much on the defense though, he was mainly a special teamer. He didn't make much progress according to the staff.

S Chuck Murray (undrafted) was on our active roster all season long and on the field about 40% of the time. He made little progress, said the staff.

S Jon Brotzman (undrafted) was active all season long, but the staff for dubious reasons felt he wasn't ready to see a lot of action. All that despite that they consider him to be one of our best special teamers. Hard to understand, but that's what your coaching staff can do at times. Consequently, he made little progress.

Other young players:
QB Brandon Bell (2nd year, 1.13 pick) made hardly any progress. A huge bummer, as he got 4 more starts to prove himself and being mentored by Moe Sheldon should have helped him. But no. In limited action, his production was shockingly bad compared to last season's stats.

WR Harris Wilkerson (2nd year, 7.9 pick) became our WR3, somehow got more catches than our WR2 branden Sandlin, but despite his activity didn't make much progress. His production was acceptable.

DT Darien Fletcher (2nd year, 1.9 pick) is the kind of player that from day 1 already presented himself as a grizzled veteran and it feels weird to mention him here. He will probably get All IHOF first team honors for the second time in his short career. With 61 tackles, 23 assists and 7.5 sacks, 18 hurries his numbers were up compared to last season. By fear of exhaustion, we actually toned down his overall activity late in the season, but I think it didn't hurt his productivity at all.

CB Ted Frias (3rd year, undrafted) made some minor progress according to the staff, despite that they told me going into the regular season that he has no room for improvement anymore. He played about half the time, in part because of missing 4 games.


So, what next? We'll watch the playoffs from home and take a look at the bargain bin of free agents to see if we can find some 1st through 3rd year players who are worth a look in pre-season next season, I can think of a couple of players (and the loyal readers of my ramblings must know some of them *caugh* Ruben Caminiti *caugh*). And think hard, really hard about what to do with our complete incompetence in making an in my opinion very good team actually play up to their ability.

We've gotten over the hump of the late '10s to early '20s, but that's so long ago... Football in the IHOF has changed, and apparently we haven't found our position in this new era of football yet. I thought a run heavy offense would work. It doesn't, the staff doesn't even listen to me when I tell them to run it anyway. So yeah, back to the balanced plan, but finding plays that can actually work. yeah, good luck with that...

But, there's still hope. Yes, it's still there. But I really have to go work for it, hopefully figuring out how and when the right moment appears...
__________________
* 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 06-20-2020, 03:03 PM   #305
MIJB#19
Grizzled Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager notes: Roster breakdown
SO, some time on my hands, I decided to look at our roster and what the perspectives are.

playershort term plans (2091,’92)long term plans (2093+)
QB M.SheldonApparently even in his 3rd year cohesion wasn’t sufficient to have him play well enough. I’m not ready to show him the door, but he’s not quite the undisputed QB1.Stick around as the mentor to a new QB project, unless Bell convinced us to be our new franchise quarterback.
QB B.BellToo early to give up on him yet, but the future doesn’t look bright. We’ll give him his 3rd camp and pre-season, to prove he’s worth the salary to stick around and get another shot at QB1.Win the QB1 role or be done. Unless he’s willing to play for less than Farley as our QB2.
QB F.FarleyTaking a pay cut was the thing we needed for him to stick around as our QB3. Should be ok if forced in action.Stick around as our QB2.
RB F.PatterCap space could be an issue, but should be good enough to play another season as our RB1, unless we .Hard to tell with RBs
RB R.ThongchanhCap space is an issue, but if he doesn’t take a ratings reduction, should stick around as our RB2 and possibly as the punt returner and a special teams RB.Hard to tell with RBs
RB A.FordSpecial teams RBDepends on his demands.
FB C.BrosseauPlay for usPlay for us
TE C.GaynorDevelop, will get the time to prove himself.Develop or get lost. First signs were bad, but you have to wait until after that 3rd camp to draw conclusions.
TE R.CrawfordStick around as a run blockerStick around, if the price is right.
TE J.BlakeStick around as a run blockerStick around, if the price is right.
TE S.BridgesMentor Gaynor.retirement
WR T.BondyReturn to All IHOF quality, that would be swell.Don’t retire early.
WR B.SandlinOur WR2 for now, more of a WR3 type, I suspect.Has to give up some of his cap space, or he’ll be unaffordable as a WR3.
WR H.WilkersonSpecial teamer, good enough for a WR3 role.WR3 role? He’ll have to beat some of the other youngsters.
WR S.MessengerI think he was randomly hit when he became a pure kickoff returner. Hope he’s willing to play for less money.Depends on his salary demands and whether he picked up fumblitis last pre-season.
WR T.ArndtSpecial teamer and backup kickoff returner.If the price is right, he can stay.
WR G.StuckeyLet’s wait and see whether he’s going to live up to his route running potential.Let’s wait and see after his 3rd camp.
WR T.SamuelsStill a project, will be tough to remain patient with him.Show me something and you can stay.
LT N.HadingerTake a pay cut and hang around.The same as the short term.
LG M.SzottTake a pay cut and hang around.The same as the short term.
C B.PearsonTake a pay cut and hang around.Don’t retire early.
RG A.WatsonStick around.Stick around.
RT H.HumphreyTake a pay cut and hang around.The same as the short term.
LT M.HamiltonBe our backup OT.Probably elsewhere by lack of willingness to sign a new contract with us.
LG M.SilvanDevelop into a serviceable backup OL.Wait and see.
C J.LabbeStay as our backup center.Stick around as our backup.
DE A.RussellTake a pay cut and stay.I want him to stay, but cap space might become an issue, if he doesn’t retire.
DE T.WhitingTake a pay cut and stay.I want him to stay, but cap space might become an issue.
DE G.KondovskiTake a pay cut and stay.I want him to stay, but cap space might become an issue.
DE A.ExnerTake a pay cut and stay.I want him to stay, but cap space might become an issue.
DT J.MojicaTake a pay cut and stay.I want him to stay, but cap space might become an issue.
DT D.FletcherProve he’s the real deal. No wait, he already has done that.Cap space will be an issue once he starts asking for what he deserves.
DT A.RittSign a new cheap deal.We’ll see after that cheap deal.
DT K.AckermanStick around, be our new DT3.Stop being unhappy first, we’ll see after that.
LB C.JacksonTake a pay cut and stay.Take a pay cut and stay.
LB B.BradyNot fully convinced he’s the real thing, but he’ll get another season or two to prove he is.Wait and see.

LB D.EspinoTook a hit in pre-season, but his contract will force us to keep him for at least another season or two.The random hit is an issue, but our hands are tied for now.
LB M.IveansFree agent, unlikely to get a new deal.See short term.
LB A.PalmerSpecial teamer.Would be nice to keep him, but you know the deal.
LB B.RayburnRestricted free agent, can stay for minimum salary.Special teamer or elsewhere in the league.
CB K.HitchcockTake a paycut and stick around as our CB1.Retired and likely HOF bound.
CB J.RichardsonTake a paycut and stick around.Tough to tell with cornerbacks, they tend to retire early.
CB T.FriasWorth keeping.Hitchcock won’t be around forever, but Frias isn’t a CB1.
CB J.McNeilAlready regretting that I didn’t get to sign him to a new deal.Hopefully here to stay as a nickel or dime.
CB A.HarmonWe’ve got to re-sign this restricted free agent.Really worth keeping, I think.
SS A.MartyCohesion is king. Marty our man.Probably not here anymore.
FS R.NewsomeCohesion is king. Newsome our other man.Probably not here anymore.
SS S.HarperCandidate #1 to not make the team next season.If he hangs around, cohesion will make him worth keeping active.
SS C.MurrayWe’ve got to re-sign this restricted free agent.Really worth keeping, I think.
FS J.BrotzmanWe’ve got to re-sign this restricted free agent.Really worth keeping, I think.
P D.GuynesIt’s not all up to himself, if we get a chance to find a better punter, well…Be good, or be gone?
K M.GilesStick for another season or 3.And then we’ll see what his contract demands will be and where we’ll be in terms of cap hell.
LS B.KarneyStill here, hopefully.Even long snappers will retire someday.


Funny enough, despite this all time worst season, I see very little reason to feel bad about most of the players on roster. I do suspect we need a legitimate WR2 and it's worth looking out for receiving TE options that would be better than Gaynor, but overall, I think this collective isn't really the issue. Cap space will be a thing, big time. And the QB situation won't be solvable without making some other cap saving moves. It'll be an interesting off-season, that's for sure...
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Old 06-21-2020, 05:35 AM   #306
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: One more thing about this past season
Yeah, I'm still not over this.

I'll try to wrap it up, but to be able to make progress, it does help to figure out what the mistakes were that were made. But before looking into that, I wanted to see where this past 2090 season stands for us historically, not just in previously mentioned points differential.

The neat stuff explain in a nutshell. I took all the regular season standings of all 87 seasons into a spreadsheet and went to the points scored and points allowed figures again. Knowing there are some flaws in comparing seasons with another, I've adjusted all figures for all teams by comparing their points scored and points allowed to the league average that season. This in an attempt to adjust era to era differences. Then I calculated the percentage figure over or under league average, and less useful, but still fun, compared to the franchise average.

Jumping out right away is how our 251 points scored is 25% less points than league average. That may not tell you a lot without putting it into perspective, but on average the Maassluis Merchantmen score 9% higher than league average. In fact, this -25% is the worst in team history. In the early days (2004 and 2005) we scored less than 250 points in the first two IHOF seasons, but with those being the upstart seasons, those figures of 238 and 239 were actually -14% and -16%. In 2021 we scored 275 points, which was -23% compared to league average, that was our worst season in scoring, until this just finished 2090 season.

So, where do we rank in points allowed? The figure of 332 is actually slightly above average, a whopping +1%. It's still below Merchantmen standards, as our average is at +8%. We've actually broken through the 400 points allowed barrier 8 times, but the inaugural 2004 season still took the cake as 358 points allowed was actually a -30% compared to league average (to put into perspective: as recently as the 2088 season, two teams scored a +1% with this exact same points allowed figure).

Our total figure for 2090 thus was a cumulative of -24% if you're tallying up both points scored and allowed. I'm guessing you've already figured out that 2004 must have been even worse overal (it was, a -43%), so 2090 comes in as just the second worst season all-time. Go team?

When were the good times then? Well, unshockingly, the 2059 15-1 campaign jumps out way ahead of the rest as we scored 562 points (55% over league average) and allowed 254 points (30% better than league average) combining for a stellar +85%. Of course, we had just as many victories in the playoffs that season as we did this season, so our roster from back in that day has nothing to show for it.

That one season when we won it all and the defense guided us to the second largest margin of victory in IHOF Bowl history? We scored +22% more than league average and were surprisingly at league average (0%) in points allowed. It reiterates that quite often, regular season play does not translate into post-season success either.

After that 2004 campaign, we bounced up to -11%, -6% and then the anomality towards the other end, the 2007 campaign with a 13-3 record and a +41% in this metric. And after our 2021 campaign with a -23%, we rebounded as well, with a -9% the next season and a +50% as early as the 2023 season, continuing to be good for a stretch of 6 seasons, peaking with a +52% in 2028. However, two seasons ago we put down a gruesome -20% in Moe Sheldon's first season as a starter with a -9% in points scored and -11% in points allowed. Last season we bounced back up to +4%, which makes this season's -24% that much harder to explain.

But those are just numbers, at the very least, it's a repeat of earlier conclusions: we can hardly blame the defense, despite that points from turnovers were down, it's really on the offense that has scored way too little touchdowns this past season. Unless we achieve progress, and a lot of it, there, we're going to be in for a series of seasons of unpreceded mediocrity and below...
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Old 06-25-2020, 05:43 PM   #307
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General Manager Notes: the '91 off-season!
Yay, new opportunities!

Will this be the season we really bounce back? Will it?

We got 44 players signed and are $66.9M over the salary cap, with the 6th most expensive draft picks collective of $28.25M. The good thing there is that we've got 9 picks as we have an additional 3rd and 5th round pick. As mentioned before, we'll be picking at 1.9 (and in the following rounds alternating between 10th and 9th). It does mean we'll have to find $95.15M from those 44 signed players, which can be tricky with Theodore Bondy in his final year of contract and Kirk Hitchcock accounting for $53M in bonus money. Still, I'm optimistic we can get enough arrangements with the 10 players that all are projected at $10M+ in their 'save if release' figure.

Three players have become street free agents: TE Renaldo Crawford, LB Moe Iveans and CB Jessie McNeil. Six players are restricted free agents, but I've mentioned that before already as well.

A result of our gigantic bonus money figure of $355M of last season and slightly more expensive staff members, we've had a record highest cost figure of $706M, making us fall to the 11th slot in the staff draft, which is quite the thing here, I can't remember ever drafting that lowly. We still made $1,091M for a profit of $384M, so, we're not exactly doing bad as a business, but drafting lowly isn't quite good for our ability to get new staff members. Perhaps we should save a buck or two next off-season, so we can improve this slot for the '92 off-season.

Another thing to note, I didn't add some potential restricted free agents to our roster during the post-season, contrary to my announcement to do so. It means we didn't save Ruben Caminiti's career, he's off into the wilderness of life after football, before playing a single down in a competitive game in the IHOF. I'm still shocked no other team even tried to sign him. But that too can be life in the IHOF.

Five players that were free agents, but spent time with us during the '80s also called it a game.

CB Tre Poloski was from our 2081 first round duo with Kirk Hitchcock. As the #14 overall pick we had high expectations, but unlike Hitchcock, Poloski never lived up to the status of a first round pick. He did play in 85 regular season games and 7 playoffs games for us, making 11 interceptions in his time as a starter for us, although he did drop to a nickelback role in his last two seasons with us. He spent 3 seasons in Arizona and was without a team in 2090.

CB/PR Courtney Blackwell was one final cut last off-season. In retrospect, he might not have fumbled much more (or less) than Reggie Thongchanh did as a punt returner, but apparently I'm too much focused on how good Gabe Broady was and can't see that after such a legend, every new punt returner will be a step back. Blackwell was a 5th round pick in 2084 for us and after not playing much at all that rookie season, he did see a lot of action from his second season and onwards, until the release. With 81 regular season games and 7 playoffs games, his role wasn't small on our defense and special teams unit, as he was also our primary punt returner in the last 3 seasons.

FB Tristan Cochrane was a 5th round pick for us in the 2081 draft and spent 7 seasons on our roster, the last 5 as a starter. We didn't utilize him enough, as he was an excellent run blocker. He played in 112 regular season games and 9 playoffs games for us, most notably the 2085 AOC Championship game. After w released him, he spent a season in Texas, Harlem and Augusta (each), but decided to not play out the second season of his contract.

TE Tyler Kotz was a 7th round pick in 2085 and didn't get any action until late in the 2087 season. In 2088 he was a fulltime member of our special teams unit, but in 2089 he was back to an inactive role and didn't make our cut in the 2090 off-season. He played in 21 games for us.

S Mason Wilson joined as an an undrafted rookie in the 2087 off-season and was eventually active in 8 regular season games and 2 playoffs games that season. He didn't survive cuts in the 2088 pre-season and played two seasons with the Moontown Darksiders in a marginal role. He was released in the 2090 pre-season after training camp and found no new team.

But enough about the past, the future begins now. I've made big claims that we want to reclaim the division this upcoming season. Well, we'll have to do well this off-season to make that happen. It won't come easy, but we're in for the challenge as well. Stay focused and positive and good things may happen for us.
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Old 06-27-2020, 01:02 PM   #308
MIJB#19
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Cap magic time!
You know the drill, renegotiations will be here again.

The short version once again: we're $67M over the cap, need $28M for draft picks and as a result need to free up roughly $95M to be able to make those draft picks and not get penalized for being under the cap by the start of the draft.

We've talked with all 53 players on roster, which includes the 9 free agents and I made the grand picture of what their demands will do to our cap situation and the ability to get that $95M figure worked out. There's one thing I would like to avoid: overdoing things on players that might be over their peak and give them a new deal before we've seen them in action in pre-season. That said, we need to get that cap space, doing nothing isn't an option.

The bad news first: this bunch is a greedy bunch, or maybe it's just their agents, but their demands are much richer than I would have imagined. I mean, for crying out loud, these guys come off the second worst season in franchise history and they all think they should be rewarded for it. Really, kids? I'll spare the details on the marginal and even the normal starters, let's get to the key players and what we can do here.

CB Kirk Hitchcock is listed at a $79M cap figure: a $26M salary and a $53M bonus figure. He's willing to give up $8M in salary, to receive $26M in bonus money for a new 3-year deal, so in fact he wants more guaranteed money and an even higher cap figure. No can do, Kirk. Our only option is a cap out, which will give him a $22M bonus, which will be spread over the two years of his contract.

WR Theodore Bondy is listed at $60.9M cap, wth a $29.4M salary and a $31.5M bonus figure. After yet another off-season, he wants a $40M bonus for a new 3-year deal (he's in the final year of contract) and is willing to give up $240K in salary. He's asking us to increase his cap figure by nearly $14M. Does he want us to release a couple of offensive linemen to make the odds of him making catches even slimmer? Instead, we'll have to be creative, completely tak away his salary request, turn it into a much higher bonus figure, like $70M and have his new cap figure be roughly $3M below his old figure. He'd better take it...

CB Jackie Richardson is under contract for a $25M salary and a $12.5M bonus figure for a $37.5M cap figure. He's asking for another $38M bonus, for an additional year to his 3-year contract and with an increased salary by $4M, meaning an increase of his cap figure by $17M. D'oh! We'll be forced to make a cap out move here, take about $22M off his salary and give it to him in bonus money.

LT Nathan Hadinger is more than happy with his cap figure of $41M with a $21M salary and a $20M bonus figure. He's willing to renegotiate, but his request will be insufficient to have a meaningful effect. Instead, cap out will be our resort here as well: nearly $18M of salary turned into bonus money.

And that's all symptomatic for the overall attitude across this team. There was little reason to try renegotiating with a lot of players, so as a result no less than 15 players will get a cap out offer. There are 6 players whom we will offer a renegotiated deal: WR Bondy, C Butch Pearson, G Michael Szott, DE Archie Exner, DE Gene Kondovski and KR Santiago Messenger.

If I've done my calculations correctly and all of them sign, we'll have cap relief of about $3.4M, with still 44 players signed and the required cap space for the 9 draft picks.

And we're going to need it, because there are a bunch of restricted free agents that I want to sign before the draft, to avoid losing them to other teams. We can't actually afford all the free agents, so we'll have to make decisions here. LB Moe Iveans looks like he's done, not to return to Maassluis next season. TE Renaldo Crawford and CB Jessie McNeil will be tough to keep, their demands are conform their ability and all, but we can't make everybody happy. Unless we renegotiate with LB Daquan Espino, who understands that he's no longer a clear cut all downs starting MLB and is willing to downgrade his 4-year deal. Generously, but I'm going to wait for it for a bit.

Never say never, but it most likely means we're not going to go onto the open market and try to sign a bunch of free agents from other teams. Interesting to see our former first round picks S Bart Guthrie and LB Craig McCorkle amongst the top25 free agents. We could use them, but can't afford them.

Looking at the draft class, it's a bit early to reveal my plans, but with the 1.9 pick in hand, I think we can be optimistic to get a game changer, or perhaps trade up to get one. We've sent our staff members out to interview 12 rookies and hope to get the reports back in time before the draft kicks in. Will we make a push for the top listed QB Keith Vitale? He's fast, smart, strong and agile, a complete prospect, he should be the 1.1 pick, right? Maybe, maybe not, let's not be that guy that puts his plan on the table for everyone to see. Vitale looks interesting, but he's only 53rd on our draft board...

Two more days until the clock officially starts. It'll be an interesting draft, no doubt.
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Old 06-29-2020, 01:11 PM   #309
MIJB#19
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Merchantmen pick and trade top graded rookie
The Maassluis Merchantmen lived up to their name today. After selecting top graded rookie offensive tackle Douglas Grosz with the 1.9 pick, the Merchantmen made a 180 degree turn and traded him to the Oakland Black Panthers for the 1.28 and Oakland's 2092 first round pick. After missing out on the top three quarterback prospects and the top two wide receiver prospects, the Merchantmen management was missing in action, had some water boy write down and hand in the pick, only to see their actual target get taken with the #12 overall pick.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:03 PM   #310
MIJB#19
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: A busy day at the office...
And that didn't go as planned at all.

We're drafting in IHOF and that means getting yourself ready to make picks or have a list ready. The bad news is that sometimes duty calls and before your scouts return to the war room to give reports on the 12 players worth selecting at the 1.9 overall pick, that pick is no longer available to use: our clock ran out.
The good news was that we ended up getting assigned the highest graded player of this draft class, offensive tackle Douglas Grosz.

I had hoped to have a shot at trading up for one of the three quarterbacks of this class, or for undersized top wide receiver Bryson Zimmerman. After seeing interview results, there actually was one wide receiver still worth picking at the #9 overall slot: wide receiver Tristan Powell, but we ran of luck, not just a little bit, but big time.

Trading down to the 1.28 slot saves some value, because quite frankly, we have no room for an offensive tackle on our roster and tight cap. 1.28 was lower than I had hoped to move down to, if this situation would arise, but with some stellar back and forth trade talks, we managed to end up with an additional first round pick next draft. The cap situation will also get a bit better, as we'll save $4.7M with this trade.

Renegotiations with 18 of 21 players were successful, although most were cap outs. From actually renegotiations, only 3 of 6 were accepted. It was at the very least enough to end up $9.8M under the cap. The draft cost will still require us to get the other renegotiations worked out, but I think we'll manage. I've also started making offers to all the restricted free agents.

But the thing that matters is that we lost our chance to pick a new wide receiver. The window of opportunity closed about 40 minutes before I got my hands on the information needed to make a decision. This was all the bad luck we really needed to make the unusually horrific season we recently finishes, get even worse.

If this was a card game, well, now would be a tremendous time to try my luck at love, I suppose?
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Old 06-30-2020, 05:58 PM   #311
MIJB#19
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General Manager Notes: it's all about timing...
No, not skill we grade quarterback's on.

Trade opportunities come and go. At the top of the first round, we missed our chance to trade up, then missed an opportunity to trade down. Eventually we managed to trade Douglas Grosz to Oakland for the #28 overall pick. Once we got there, we missed an opportunity to trade it as a potential trade partner moved into a pick slightly earlier, but this time I was at the war room just in time to make a pick. I went away from the initial list and selected S Devon Farrell. And with the 2.8 pick, a trade opportunity fell once again as the trade partner had more options going and moved into a slot right in front of us. We kept the pick and selected WR Rickey Lyle. Yes, at last, a new wide receiver. To finish the wheeling and dealing, for now, we moved our couple of third round picks and the fourth round pick for a second round pick next draft, which now gives us an additional 1st and 2nd for that 2092 draft.

Theodore Bondy signed a new 3-year contract, but it barely made a difference for the cap situation. The crucial renegotiations with guard Michael Szott failed for a second time, we'll go around the table again tomorrow.

We did extended the serviced of five restriced free agents: TE Jeffrey Blake, G Marvin Silvan, LB Brent Rayburn, CB Adam Harmon and S Jon Brotzman. Talks with S Chuck Murray failed due to lack of cap room, but we'll get there after the renegotiations. Our cap situation will be better after the draft anyway, because now we'll have more than 53 players signed after the rookies are on board.

It does mean that we're probably going to be without the cap room to re-sign CB Jessie McNeil, which would be a bummer as he's been on team for 4 seasons and has been reliable. The same applies to TE Renaldo Crawford, but his service are slightly less important to extend, although we do need a fourth tight end eventually.

Okay, so, what about these two rookies? We didn't interview either of them, I invested heavily on prospects for that #9 overall pick (I'm over the mix up, I think, or almost at least).

Devon Farrell is the highest grade safety in this class. He had a tremendous position drill score and an excellent 40-yard dash. He's scouted to be at least very good in man to man coverage, zone coverage, interceptions, endurance and probably also in play diagnosis. Run defense should be at least good. That's a decent strong safety or a solid free safety in my opinion. This possibly means the end for Chuck Murray in Maassluis, at the very least for Salvador Harper it's over here. He listed as 21st most useful player on our draft board.

Rickey Lyle is a 6'2", 200 pounds receiver, getting his highest scouted potential in route running and big play ability. Endurance should be sufficient and he's possibly a return specialist as well. I seriously have no idea what to expect here. He's very green and I've got a terrible track record with second round picks.

We're off the clock until the fifth round, so that gives me some room to not worry too much about wasting another pick. ("Wasting", so I still haven't forgotten about other things that may have changed things, like trading up to a higher pick that in retrospect was available for trade after all.)

It is as it is. I really, really, really hope this the last time I'm going to say: maybe next draft, at some point next draft isn't going to work anymore and it's time to go for it, all or nothing, all card on the table. I still hope to make that happen sooner rather than later, hopefully it's just a minor setback that eventually turns out to be a blessing in disguise.

Yes, there's still hope, there sure is.
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Old 06-30-2020, 11:22 PM   #312
tzach
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just a quick note that i'm still following this thread, which is among my favorites here.

you put very nicely in words what we think/feel when managing an ihof team!

Last edited by tzach : 06-30-2020 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 07-01-2020, 05:10 AM   #313
QuikSand
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+1
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Old 07-02-2020, 01:50 PM   #314
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: playing the waiting game...
Patience, grasshopper, patience.

Sometimes you know what you want to achieve, don't know exactly how to get there and ask for advice and the advice is simple: you have to wait for the stars to align and then still wait for half a year and be at the right place at the right time. So maybe, last season was just like that moment when I saw the stars align and forgot about the good advice and thought going all in was a good idea. It showed guts, but it wasn't the right time at all.

That's what it can be like to draft a quarterback. You think you see potential, test the waters, get denied big time, but still feel like there's something there. Brandon Bell, I'm looking at you. As I am to you Moe Sheldon and Francisco Farley. With the Merchantmen, it's all about cohesion, we don't rush into action, we slowly build on getting to know each other and wait for the right time to make things happen. But that's also where the analogy goes wrong, because Bell did need to see some action to build experience, not just test the waters but throwing him out there, possibly getting eaten alive by the opposing defensive linemen trying to bulldoze over those five or six guys in front of him to buy just enough time to release his pass and make things happen.

It's just another draft and I didn't just fail to fall for another quarterback, I've decided to make the best of it, look at the three, cheap, guys still on roster and hope their years of service will bail them out, just like what worked for Ellis McAlister after all those seasons of waiting in the wings.

And to make it all possible, we're doing very little. Redoing contracts left and right, just to make sure all these players that had such a horrible 2090 campaign stick around. We get rid of some drat picks that will costs us more bonus money than I think we can afford if they fail to make the team. We're at 49 players signed and have 6 draft picks incoming, which means only the first three will actually count against the cap. The Solecismic assigned financial department can't really add up, they think the other 3 guys will also cost us cap space, but we're actually still about 600K short of being able to afford the higher of our 5th round picks, so we'll have to find a little bit more cap room.

DE Gene Kondosvki hasn't been the easiest guys to persuiade into signing a new 3-year deal. Aside from the fact that he's asking way too much money, I'm too much focused on keeping the D-Line together and hope they will be that top-notch super duper mega awesome unit that crushes not just the sack magnet quarterbacks in the league, but can also run havoc on a half-decent QB with a better than average pass protection. I bet the $6M earning three guys around him won't exactly feel that way, but to me, Kondosvki's $25 (or there abouts) that we'll need to keep him should be divided in four, we're spending close to $78M of our nearly $500M of cap space on 8 defensive linemen, including the backup defensive tackles that we might put more often out there to give the two monster defensive tackles some chances to take a breath.

Still, it won't be enough, which means, before making some cuts, which will come eventually, I've decided to talk with our once franchise MLB, then after a pre-season of back luck has become our LB3, but still with LB1 cap figure. Cutting Daquan Espino now would save us $11.8M from his salary, but it would give us a $23.5M cap hit next season on bonus money alone, while his 'saved' salary figure would be $13.3M. That's a no go for me, we don't cut (or trade) players anymore that will make such a cap hit in the next off-season. In return, Espino wants a 7M bonus figure to save us about $7.5M in salary in each of the 4 years on his contract. I think it's profitable for us in the long run and better than a cap out that will make him even cheaper this season, but escalades it into future seasons. We're going to take up on Espino's offer, either tomorrow or after the draft, if he's not willing to take our slightly lowered counter offer.

It's crazy how saving about $7M in cap space can make such a difference in the next few days, when we'll try to sign undrafted rookies and have to think about some contract extensions at mid-pre-season. 11 players will be unrestricted free agents next off-season (including Kondovski). TE Sherman Bridges won't make our roster in 2092 anyway, if he's going to hang around, it will be to mentor that Clay Gaynor kid that we drafted last off-season. Yes, I'm going to stick with my at least 3 training camps and pre-season out of the blue randomness hoopla that can make or break careers. We have to remember the Ellis McAlister story, the guy that we miracleously kept on team as our 4th quarterback and turned out to be a franchise quarterback, or at least the kind of guy that is good enough to stick around for 9 seasons as a starter.

So, long story short:
* renegotiations, Espino getting a crucial new deal
* draft picks, still looking for 4 late round gems
* close to no free agency action

Hold on, "close to no free agency action"? Indeed, if Espino signs, we'll have some unforseen cap space and I plan on offering it to one free agent on a bonus light offer. It won't be Moe Iveans, who seems to be Kansas bound. Good for him. He bombed in his first pre-season with us and now gets a chance to join the reigning league champions. Good for you, Moe.

But other than that, the waiting game continues. I told myself to never get into this situation ever again, step it up, go for it. But every once in a while, you have no other options, because the other side will have to make the first move for things to work out in the long run. Fingers crossed. And that's not just on landing our late round gems and having a solid pre-season...
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Old 07-02-2020, 02:16 PM   #315
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tzach View Post
just a quick note that i'm still following this thread, which is among my favorites here.

you put very nicely in words what we think/feel when managing an ihof team!
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuikSand View Post
+1
Always good to know there (still) are readers.
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Old 07-03-2020, 12:58 PM   #316
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General Manager Notes: Fifth round magic!
Myth or reality?

It goes all the way back to the 2007 draft. Perhaps initiated by boredom or an overall addiction to making trades, I accumulated a bunch of fifth round picks that were consecutive. After a lot of wheelin' and dealin', we kept five of them. Two of those players hung around for four seasons, one spent one season with us, the other two didn't even make the final 53-name roster, but did find a home elsewhere in the league. This quintet eventually combined for 55 regular season games for the Merchantmen, 193 more for other franchises. All was forgotten at the end of the season, a 13-3 regular season campaign and a trip to the AOC championship game blew away the mockery from the off-season.

The Merchantmen and fifth round picks have been a thing ever since. Over the years, there've actually been a bunch of players that didn't just make our roster, but actually had a fine career in Maassluis. Browsing the roster of the 2005 through 2090 seasons, there's been only one season where there wasn't at least one home grown 5th round pick on roster. We went 11-5 that 2072 season, but crashed out in the wild card round as the #5 seeds.

A quick road down memory lane?
2008 pick LB Bernie Surry, dubbed a boomer, perhaps deserved defensive rookie of the year honors, hung around through the 2017 season for 147 regular season games, really excelled in the all zone defense.
2017 picks S Brian Campbell, LB Alonzo Sales and RB Tom Bone. They all hung around for at least 8 seasons, Campbell as a regular starter, T-Bone had to share carries, Sales was mostly a special teamer.
2018 pick DE Broderick Amadro overcame our traditional rotation of defensie ends, hung around for 8 seasons.
2020 pick TE Rondell Bowers, a blocking tight end.
2027 pick RB Mark McConnell, once ran for 277 yards against the Tucker Tigers and we still lost 38-12.
2030 pick S Perry Walker, the underdog of the best safety duo in Merchantmen history (Hopper and Walker wasn't just a comedy duo).
2036 pick CB moved to S Bernie Gordon, still a starter in his 12th season.
2037 pick RB Donald Terry, league leading rusher in our 2039 IHOF Bowl campaign, phenomenal rusher for 2 more seasons after that.
2040 pick G Vinny O'Neill, 2044 pick G Bryant Huffman and 2046 pick T Mitchell Glover, all three long time starters, the last two the key blockers for hall of fame RB Norbert Talley.
2057 pick DE Jordan St. Pierre, late in his career a starter on the exceptional '60s defense, side kick of IHOF Bowl MVP "The Behemoth" Shaun Hartman and two-time defensive player of the year "Da Machine" Daquan Strugielski.
2062 pick S Cornelius Dionne, also a starter on the mid/late '60s exceptional bowl winning defense.
2075 pick S Maurice Harkleroad, 2080 pick DE Gino Kemp, 2081 pick FB Tristan Cochrane...
And more recently 2082 pick DE Andy Russell, 2083 pick S Alexander Marty, 2087 pick CB Jessie McNeil and 2088 pick DT Kurt Ackerman. If we re-sign McNeil, guys that should be members of our 2091 defense.

But back to today, we had two 5th round picks in this ongoing 2091 draft and we made our selections. RB Trey Beyer was our pick at 5.9, TE Clarence Gore our 5.23 pick. Beyer has the hole recognition and breakaway speed combination that we like for our running backs. Gore has route running, endurance and some blocking skills. I mean, if they live up to potential, obviously.

We'll see what happens this time around. In all those years, 23 of 354 fifth round picks didn't make the regular season roster. There's no guarantee for these picks to make the team. Just ask our 5th round pick from last season DT Tyrone Hanson, who is smart enough to not have retired just yet, that kid does have the potential to be a solid pass rusher somewhere, someday...
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Old 07-03-2020, 05:13 PM   #317
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Merchantmen wrap up draft with QB Martin, RB Joseph
The Maassluis Merchantmen have finished their 2091 IHOF draft. With the selection of quarterback Bert Martin with the 7.9 pick, they turned in the last of their six draft picks. This came shortly after they selected running back Patrick Joseph at the 6.8 slot.

The 6'4" 237 pounds Bert Martin is widely regarded as the best quarterback of the class in sensing the pass rush. He combines it with a strong arm.

The 5'11" 214 pounds Patrick Joseph is the second running back taken by the Merchantmen. Just like the 5.9 pick Trey Beyer, Joseph combines hole recognition with breakaway speed, but unlike Beyer can play on special teams and doesn't have the receiving skills Beyer does have.

It concludes a draft in which the Merchantmen selected safety Devon Farrell at the 1.28 slot, wide receiver Rickey Lyle at the 2.8 slot, running back Trey Beyer and tight end Clarence Gore in the fifth round, and running back Patrick Joseph and quarterback Bert Martin in the last two rounds.
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Old 07-04-2020, 07:55 AM   #318
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Merchantmen re-sign CB McNeil
Jessie McNeil extended his contract with the Maassluis Merchantmen. The 27-year old cornerback was out of contract, but the player's agent and the team's management agreed to a new two-year deal worth $8.3M. McNeil started the 2090 season inactive as the fifth cornerback on roster, but due to injury to Ted Frias was activated mid-season and was kept active for the last 10 games of the season. Merchantmen management said they want to bring at least 5 cornerbacks into pre-season and McNeil's experience on the team made him the best option at this salary level on the market.
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Old 07-04-2020, 08:23 AM   #319
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General Manager Notes: drafted rookies first look
It's early, but you know how it goes.

The six rookies that we selected in the 2091 draft have reported to the team facilities. Not an overwhelming class, but neither a sign that we completely butchered our chances to do well in what other GM's claimed to be a deep class. Rounding to the nearest '5s or '10s, here's what these guys overall are scouted at by our staff:
10/30 QB Bert Martin
35/45 RB Trey Beyer
30/40 RB Patrick Joseph
30/45 TE Clarence Gore
20/50 WR Rickey Lyle
35/65 S Devon Farrell

Martin is an interesting case. He's green, but first look has him as a 90-ish sense rush guy, 60-ish long passing, perhaps an alternate option as a kick holder.
Beyer and Joseph are more similar than I expected. Both breakaway speed in the 60-65 range and hole recognition in the 70-75 range. Joseph a special teamer and more elusive, Beyer potentially an okay receiver (50-ish route running), neither has the endurance to be a full time starter.
Gore comes in as being roughly 30/60 in route running with 60-ish big play ability and okay pass blocking skills. He won't be very useful on run blocking duties though (10/25-ish).
Lyle comes in with a 70-ish big play ability and an enigmatic 5/85ish route running ability and potential. Yes, he's extremely green. 40/60 and 45/70 in return skills makes him a viable option, possibly even the new #1 punt returner.
Farrell is obviously the make or break player of this draft. Developed enough to already jump into a starting role and has the endurance to be an all downs player. 70-ish intercepting potential, 90-ish zone defense, 55-ish run defending, 50-ish play diagnosis, this kid can play ball.

But these are just the first looks at them. We have to understand that a lot can happen between now and opening day. One thing that will happen is that we'll make offers to 14 free agents to add up to the 70-player maximum for training camp. Still mulling over whether Chuck Murray is worth getting a signing bonus as this second year kid has become less likely to make the final 53-men roster after the arrival of Devon Farrell. I'll probably still see him as more useful on the defense than Salvador Harper.

Same applies to tight end Renaldo Crawford, a quality run blocker and starter in the 2089 season. Thing is: he wants more money that we realistically can afford right now. We're under the cap now, by $4.4M, but that's really all that we have left.

Another team showed interest for one of our young wide receivers. I'm open to dealing him, as I'm personally not yet convinced he fits on our system, but he's got talent nevertheless and if used well could be a serious WR2 or WR3 option for many teams. I'm stalling things until at least after training camp, to give us another chance to look at this kid.

Linebacker Moe Iveans has left the team, he signed with the Kansas Creationists, as was to be expected. No other teams showed interest, including us. An unlucky situation for all involved, we traded for him with the Hanalei Dragons, initially just to have a quality LB3 on team, but after Daquan Espino and Iveans both had a horrific 2089 pre-season, we grabbed Branden Brady with our 2090 first round pick and there really was no room for Iveans anymore behind Brady, Espino and the emerging Clayton Jackson.

Speaking of Espino, we indeed agreed terms to a new contract, in which he receives much less salary, but in return got a signing bonus to make the chances much more solid for him to make our team in the next two seasons as well.

Negotiations with defensive end Gene Kondovski failed once again. We'll re-evaluate the situation after early pre-season action, as we're under the cap now and no longer need to rush into getting a deal done. His current deal is rich enough for him to not consider taking a stand. As did none of our other players: we're not confronted with any holdouts this off-season.

Looking over the undrafted rookies collective, I've noticed 10 guys that actually may be an upgrade to one of our depth backups. Half of them were on the radar during the draft, but the other half have come to my attention after the scouting staff has made some more thorough observations and reports. We're going to lowball most of them, lacking the cap space to offer hefty singing boni, but we'll see what the competition will do.

More on that tomorrow...
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Old 07-05-2020, 10:24 AM   #320
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Merchantmen sign 8 free agents to training camp roster
Following the 2091 IHOF Draft, the Maassluis Merchantmen have signed 8 players that were free agents. They re-sign tight end Renaldo Crawford and safety Chuck Murray, signed veteran safety Thomas Lucas and signed five undrafted rookies: fullback Tracy Rhodes, center Brady Burke and linebackers Van Bertolone, Trent Donovan and Trenton Prescott.

The re-signing of Crawford and Murray weren't much of a surprise. Merchantmen management already publicly stated they were willing to bring them back, at the very least for training camp to give them a chance to reclaim their roster spot after the drafting of respective replacements Clarence Gore and Devon Farrell. Both signed a new three-year deal, which should indicate the team actually thinks they are in their plans for the upcoming season and beyond. Especially given that both received a $500K signing bonus, which is very unusual for the Merchantmen to hand out to free agents post draft.

Safety Thomas Lucas signed a one-year veteran minimum contract. In a crowded secondary, it's most likely he'll be asked to mentor the youngsters for a while, meaning there's a modest chance he'll have a shot at making the 53-men roster.

Rookie fullback Tracy Rhodes was already on the Merchantmen radar during the draft. He's an underdeveloped run blocker, could possibly contribute to special teams, but isn't regarded as a talented runner or receiver. Most likely he'll get a chance to gain some experience and show he's an IHOF worthy player.

Center Brady Burke wasn't on the Merchantmen radar during the draft, but going onto the market to fill the roster up, the team decided to give a look at a couple of linemen, of whom Burke decided to sign in Maassluis. Team management thinks he's got a reasonable chance to unseat the unhappy Jared Labbe, who's been with the Merchantmen for 5 seasons, without seeing much playing time behind Butch Pearson, aside from special teams action in the 2088 season and a little bit last season.

The signing of the three linebackers doesn't come as a surprise, as the Merchantmen had only five on roster after the departure of Moe Iveans. Pass rusher Van Bertolone appears to be undersized to make a transition to defensive end, but the Merchantmen management feel they still wanted to give him a look in training camp. Trent Donovan might be slightly undersized, but he does seem to have the framework to make such a transition, or to stick as a blitzbacker. Lack of pass defense skills means the Merchantmen are seriously considering that switch, special teams experience is in Donovan's favor. Trenton Prescott is (also) too short to play defensive end, but has blitzbacker potential and like Donovan has special teams experience and is actually considered to have great potential there.

Merchantmen management also made a statement on losing out on the services of undrafted rookie longsnapper Keith Borders. General Manager M.IJ.B. stated "We knew there would be more interest, in particular from the usual suspects," hinting to the North Plainfield Plague who offered Borders a $1.6M sining bonus, "which in retrospect means we should have done the right thing and make Borders a market value offer". A bold statement to make, as the Merchantmen only signed their current longsnapper Bryce Karney last off-season and released their younger snapper Thomas Biegen to make the roster spot available, claiming Karney was the best guy in business available. Likewise, the Plague might consider to release their 34-year old longsnapper Dustin Cooksey, who is currently considered the best in business by the league's scouting department, as the Plague signed no less than 3 more undrafted rookies for tryouts in training camp for the longsnapper roster spot.

The Merchantmen also lost the bidding wars on rookie running back Matthew Reed (signed a $4M deal with Orlando), linebacker Salvador Moye (did get a $500K singing bonus from Williamsburg), veteran wide receiver Junior Filby (did get a $250K bonus from Oakland) and interior linemen Steve Myers (got a $370K bonus from Moontown) and Ian Cady (got a $4.57M deal from Rochester).
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Old 07-06-2020, 04:39 PM   #321
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General Manager Notes: Training Camp 2091
Hopefully pre-season will bring better news...

Training camp 2091 wasn't something to get all excited about. It was a chance for all the young guys on the team to show and make progress, proving us they can live up to their potential. 12 guys got reported with good progress, 11 others with okay improvement. The roster, as we enter pre-season:

Quarterbacks
40/40 Moe Sheldon (-1/-1)
35/35 Francisco Farley (+2/-2)
20/35 Brandon Bell (+2/n.c.)
15/30 Bert Martin (+3/+1)
Sheldon the best guy in overall talent. Farley seems to have reached his potential, Bell once again an unimpressive camp, time to give up on him? But what about his stats? Martin with the least unimpressive camp. This reaks of another transition season...

Running backs
55/55 Francisco Patter
35/45 Trey Beyer (+1/n.c.)
35/40 Patrick Joseph (+2/n.c.)
35/35 Reggie Thongchanh
25/25 Asher Ford
Beyer and Joseph look nice, but training camp was very underwhelming. Most of the time, that doesn't bode well for the future. It'll be tough to make up my mind on them, pre-season will possibly be the deciding factor. Patter and Thong' will remain our tandem. Ford will only make the team if we have enough roster spots for special teamers.

Fullbacks
45/45 Clay Brosseau
20/40 Tracy Rhodes (+4/-1)
So, Rhodes could be for real, but we already have Brosseau. Two fullback will be a bit too much. I could have decided to keep Rhodes around as an insurance policy in case pre-season has a disaster up it's sleeve, but I'm taking the gamble here. Sorry kid, maybe another team will give you a chance, or report back for camp in 2092.

Tight ends
45/55 Clay Gaynor (+4/n.c.)
35/45 Clarence Gore (+3/+1)
35/40 Jeffery Blake (+4/n.c.)
35/35 Sherman Bridges
30/30 Renaldo Crawford
Misleading information this is. Gaynor and Gore are receivers, Blake and Crawford run blockers. Those are their roles, with Gore still a longshot to make the 53-men roster. Bridges is a mentor, but I'm not yet convinced we'll keep a roster spot for him available this season.

Wide receivers
75/75 Theodore Bondy
35/50 Trey Samuels (+4/n.c.)
40/40 Branden Sandlin
35/40 Harris Wilkerson (+2/n.c.)
30/45 George Stuckey (+2/n.c.)
25/50 Rickey Lyle (+3/-1)
30/30 Santiago Messenger
20/20 Tracy Arntt
It's early, pre-season and all, but behind Bondy, I'm really struggling to determine what to do here. Sandlin has the route running and big-play ability to bounce back as a viable WR2. Stuckey still pretty green, but route running and downfield ability make him another WR2 candidate. Wilkerson can play special teams, lacks route running, but still had 46 catches as a WR3 last season, Lyle is similar to Sandlin, but a ton greener and with return potential, he could be our punt returner this season. Samuels still an enigma, overall a good receiver, (lack of) endurance is his only real weakness. Messenger is our kickoff returner, Arntt the backup and special teamer. Decisions, decisions.

Offensive Line
70/70 G Michael Szott
70/70 C Butch Pearson
65/65 RT Howard Humphrey
60/60 LT Nathan Hadinger
45/45 G Andre Watson
30/40 G Marvin Silvan (+4/n.c.)
20/40 C Brady Burke (+4/-2)
30/30 LT Myron Hamilton
30/30 C Jared Labbe
Bar disaster, the starting five will remain. Silvan has solidly claimed the OL6 slot. Hamilton will be the backup LT. Burke or Labbe is the race for slot 8.

Defensive Line
65/65 DT Darien Fletcher
60/60 DE Gene Kondovski
55/55 DT Jumbo Mojica
45/45 DE Archie Exner
40/40 DE Andy Russell
35/35 DT A.J. Ritt
35/35 DE Tony Whiting
30/30 DT Kurt Ackerman
20/30 DE Trent Donovan (+3/+1)
Yes, Donovan was moved from OLB to DE. But he won't make the 53-men roster, unless something unexpected happens. The plan is to have all eight active during the regular season, rotate them, keep the guys fresh. This bunch is state of the art in rushing the passer. The guys that can defend the run will have to be spared a bit, four guys will be exclusive on obvious passing downs.

Linebackers
75/75 Brandon Brady (+5/+4)
55/55 Daquan Espino
45/45 Clayton Jackson
35/40 Brant Rayburn (+4/n.c.)
20/35 Van Bertolone (+3/-2)
20/35 Trenton Prescott (+4/-3)
25/25 Alex Palmer
Brady, you sneaky kid, you're better than we anticipated? Espino will be a running downs 'backer. Jackson a passing downs guy, but we might put him in the formations with 3 linebackers as well. Rayburn is improving, but reamins to be a pass rusher at best and a special teamer at worst. Palmer and Prescott are also special teamers. Bertolone won't make the pre-season roster.

Secondary
70/70 CB Kirk Hitchcock
70/70 CB Jackie Richardson
35/60 S Devon Farrell (+4/-3)
45/45 CB Ted Frias
45/45 S Alexander Marty
35/40 S Chuck Murray (+4/n.c.)
35/35 S Thomas Lucas
35/35 CB Jessie McNeil
35/35 S Salvador Harper
25/40 CB Adam Harmon (+4/n.c.)
30/30 S Riddick Newsome
25/30 S Jon Brotzman (+3/n.c.)
So much not to dislike here. First of all, Lucas and Harper won't make the pre-season roster. Farrell will be our all downs safety, Marty the running downs guy, Newsome the passing downs guy. Murray is too new to be a starter, but he'll be ready some day, as will be Brotzman, who already took over Harper's special teams slot. Hitchcock and Richardson is the clear cut CB duo. Frias and McNeil will battle for the nickelback role, Harmon is going to be a starter soon enough, but for now, it's all about gaining experience.

Special teamers
60/60 P Doug Gouynes
75/75 K Mark Giles
20/20 LS Bryce Karney
Just still healthy, guys.

Yeah, it's too early to claim this is how it will be: pre-season, oh pre-season. The starters will get action in the first two pre-season games. That will be with Brandon Bell at quarterback. Moe Sheldon will get the back end of the exhibition action. Or Martin. Or both. Pre-season's unpredictability will make the difference...
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Old Yesterday, 10:56 AM   #322
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Merchantmen release safety Harper
The Maassluis Merchantmen announced their pre-season roster of 60 players. They made no room for safety Salvador Harper, who was released after 4 seasons with the team. The Merchantmen also released undrafted rookies fullback Tracy Rhodes and linebacker Van Bertolone, and veteran safety Thomas Lucas, a recent free agent signing.

The release of Harper wasn't a complete surprise as the Merchantmen recently selected Devon Farrell in the first round of the draft and the re-signing of second-year pro Chuck Murray. Harper was signed as an undrafted rookie in the 2087 off-season. The plan was to integrate him in the special teams unit, but as a rookie rarely played and in the following three seasons was less often used than planned. He did slowly find his way into run defense packages, but that wasn't enough to extend his stint in Maassluis. It ends after 50 regular season games.
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