Front Office Football Central  

Go Back   Front Office Football Central > Main Forums > Dynasty Reports
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Mark Forums Read Statistics

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 06-15-2020, 03:40 PM   #301
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2020, 11:01 AM   #302
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2020, 05:07 PM   #303
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2020, 12:30 PM   #304
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2020, 03:03 PM   #305
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
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...
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-2020, 05:35 AM   #306
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
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...
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2020, 05:43 PM   #307
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
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.
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2020, 01:02 PM   #308
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
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.
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 01:11 PM   #309
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
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.
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2020, 04:03 PM   #310
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
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?
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2020, 05:58 PM   #311
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
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.
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2020, 11:22 PM   #312
tzach
H.S. Freshman Team
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
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.
tzach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2020, 05:10 AM   #313
QuikSand
lolzcat
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
+1
QuikSand is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 01:50 PM   #314
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
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...
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 02:16 PM   #315
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
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.
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2020, 12:58 PM   #316
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
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...
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2020, 05:13 PM   #317
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
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.
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2020, 07:55 AM   #318
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
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.
__________________
* 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 : 07-04-2020 at 07:56 AM.
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2020, 08:23 AM   #319
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
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...
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2020, 10:24 AM   #320
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
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).
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2020, 04:39 PM   #321
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
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...
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2020, 10:56 AM   #322
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
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.
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2020, 11:18 AM   #323
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Pre-Season giveth and taketh...
And per usual, it was a bit of both.

We're down a starter. Safety Alexander Marty is no longer suitable to be on our team. After our tremendous 42-6 pre-season victory over the Brooklyn Fightin' Bums, he must have done something stupid, because the staff told me he looked out of shape and has become a lost cause, pretty much. A bummer, I had hoped to have him and Riddick Newsome alternate downs, with rookie Devon Farrell playing continuously. It probably means we're going to throw Chuck Murray out there as the running downs strong safety. It would be wise to throw Ted Frias in the mix as well, to boost cohesion and keep Jackie Richardson fresher on passing downs, but Richardson and Kirk Hitchcock is the kind of duo you simply don't take apart. In theory, this is one of the best CB tandems in league history, we have to put them on the field. Hitchcock himself looks like he lost a step, but only the length of a toe or somesuch.

Regardless, the decision has already been made: Marty is out of Maassluis before the last two pre-season games. We kept him on the bench in his rookie season (2083) and off the defense in his second season, but slowly he grew into a starting role, with 2088 his peak season with 4 interceptions and 92 tackles. 106 regular season games and 4 more in the playoffs. That's his resume in Maassluis.

Wide receiver Tracy Arntt was another casualty before the final cut down moment. Still a quality special teamer and backup caliber kickoff returner, his receiving skills have diminished into near useless at the IHOF level. He was active in all 48 games in the last three season for us.

Theodore Bondy also lost some of his speed, agility and power, but he reamins to be a top10 wide receiver. Behind him, I'm really struggling to decide who our WR2, WR3 and keepable backups should be. Santiago Messenger is locked into a WR4/5 role as our premier kickoff returner. Rickey Lyle will be that at minimum as well, his return skills are sufficient to keep him active and we really want to see him develop his very good route running skills as quickly as possible. It's not unthinkable we'll throw him out there as our WR3 or even WR2. Branden Sandlin is far too obvious to not remain as our WR2 or at minimum WR3. That makes the debate between the three other youngsters: Trey Samuels, George Stuckey and Harris Wilkerson. That last guy is our second best special teamer after Bondy in this group. Stuckey has route running potential and getting downfield skills. Samuels is more of a complete good guy, albeit lacking endurance. We'll put the young guns out there in the last two pre-season games.

Bert Martin and Brandon Bell will be our quarterbacks in the last two pre-season games. Bell started the first two games, but Moe Sheldon took the lion share of snaps and did a fine job. Bell was near flawless in his limited action. I'm still stuck in the same dilemma: Bell isn't developing fast enough and his potential is below how good Sheldon is. We know Sheldon is better at avoiding interceptions, but he does take more sacks and consequently more fumbles. Martin has to impress to stick around as our QB3 or 4. Francisco Farley will go this pre-season without any action. We know what he can and can't do, kind of. He remains as a respecatabe QB3 option, but it's really all on Martin's throwing arm and shoulders to make us decide between these two.

The backfield has one more situation to settle. Asher Ford took a hit, but remains to be a solid special teamer and we'll need two from our backfield. Reggie Thongchanh is the other one and he'll be our RB2 behind Francisco Patter in our time share for now. Trey Beyer and Patrick Joseph will get the last two pre-season games to show which one of them is our potential future RB2. Joseph took a hit, while Beyer took a slightly smaller hit and remains to look slightly better all things considered. Neither will be an all downs back. If we keep one of them, it will be a future RB2 project, simple as that it is.

Our tight end project Clarence Gore made a big jump in the positive direction, meaning we've potentially got a solid receiving tight end. Top10 route running and top2 big-play ability. Endurance and pass blocking skills to boost, we need to find time for this guy to develop fast. Which is bad news for our 1st round pick in 2091 Clay Gaynor, as he looks like more of a more all around receiver and decent blocker. This might actually mean the end of one of our two run blocking tight ends (Jeffery Blake and Renaldo Crawford) as keeping mentor Sherman Bridges all of a sudden makes even more sense.

On the offensive line, we've already made the decision to release rookie Brady Burke. There's no reason to believe he'll be good enough to play ball. The sad thing is that Jared Labbe took yet another hit, which probably means we'll want our backup guard Marvin Silvan to become our backup center. The O-Line will otherwise remain unchanged.

The D-Line saw a hit to Gene Kondosvki, turning him from an exceptional pass rusher into a very solid one. We've already signed him to a new three-year deal, which he was willing to sign cheaper now. It likely means we won't have a roster spot for rookie Trent Donovan, despite his promising potential. But with all those cohesive guys in front of him, can we really use a 9th defensive linemen? I doubt it.

The linebackers unit looks set in stone now. Six guys is usually the number I prefer to have for the regular season and that's the number we have on contract. Brandon Brady is the piece of art there now, good to see him make a leap forward, especially compared to last off-season's signal into the other direction. This is the exact reason why you don't give up on young players too quickly, they can go all over the place from camp to camp and pre-season to pre-season.

Oh, we actually won both those first two pre-season games. The 42-6 victory over Brooklyn was a weird one with 7 field goals and 2 defensive touchdowns, while the 17-13 win at Capital City was a result of Moe Sheldon passing to Theodore Bondy very regularly. But field goals, we're still struggling to get into the end zone once we reach the red zone.

Two more pre-season games with mostly the youngsters in action, supported by a couple of starters on the O-Line, fullback Clay Brosseau, and several starters on the defense. And that's where we basically stand now.
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2020, 06:00 PM   #324
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The cohesion, it's slowly returning
Finally.

It used to be our thing: drafting players and sticking with them for a long time. We've had that season where we had to release about a third of our players, but we're a couple of seasons away from that now and I think we're back into the upper echelon of teams, if not team, in terms of cohesion. And by no surprise. Let's run the team down somewhat quickly.

Running backs and offensive line
RB1 Patter and RB2 Thong' are in their 5th and 7th seasons with us. The O-Line has LT Hadinger (9th season), LG Szott (8th), C Pearson (12th), RG Watson (6th) and RT Humphrey (7th). That should be huge.

Receivers and quarterback
WR1 Bondy (10th season with us) and WR2 Sandlin (5th) have become a loyal group. They are the rare ones on this group though. Our options at quarterback Sheldon (4th) and QB Bell (3rd) are no cohesion boosts, while Farley (5th) is barely that either, hence making him not more than a QB3.

Defensive line and linebackers
This unit is getting rock solid. We're likely to rotate all 8 guys on our D-Line and all but one of them have been around for their 4 seasons now: DE Russell (10th), DE Whiting (6th), DE Kondosvki (6th), DE Exner (5th), DT Ritt (8th), DT Ackerman (4th) and DT Mojica (4th). The best of the bunch, DT Fletcher (3rd) is the newest guy. The linebackers are a mixed bag with Brady (2nd) fresh on the team, but Jackson (5th) and Espino (6th) will be good.

The secondary is another mixed bag, which makes the loss of S Marty hurt quite a bit. CB Hitchcock (11th) and S Newsome (7th) are the clear long standing members. This is why re-signing CB McNeil (5th) could be so crucial. We also have CB Frias (4th), but the rest are very new: CB Richardson, S Murray, F Brotzman and CB Harmon are second year players on our team, rookie S Farrell is obviously brand new. It means we'll have to make room for McNeil or Frias in formation where we don't want to exhaust Newsome too much. Richardson and Farrell should be able to compensate with their skills and talent, but we'll be forced to throw Murray or Brotzman in some formation as the safety opposite Farrell, which could make Frias a not so obvious, but plausible play over even Richardson on obvious running downs.

We'll have to look at our special teams unit in this department as well for a bit. CB Hitchcock, WR Bondy and DT Ritt all have been no-brainers for years. RB Thong', DE Kondovski, but even LB Palmer and TE Blake are now becoming boosters for this unit. The O-Line has already been mentioned as being good for it here.

To be fair, it's not exactly by design, but I'm loyal to players, don't throw them away for a potential improvement of 5 or so overall skill points, which does make these players more expensive, but always hope to get return of investment through their familiarity with the team. The staff has had a season together as well now, most notably the OC now here for his second season. Let's hope that bodes well for our offense that was quite possibly bottom 5 last season. (Okay, we were probably better than bottom 5, but having such high standards here, having one of the worst seasons in team history automatically feels like it must have been terrible on a leaguewide scale, which it actually wasn't. Aside from our 5th worst giveaways and turnover margin...

I'm still a terrible game planner on offense though. We once had that Blazewicz special play that worked about half the time to take a quick 7-0 lead in many games, but Ellis McAlister actually had the arm to make it work. Our current group of quarterbacks quite simply won't be able to play that kind of trick play. But, in this fashion, it will be interesting to see what we can achieve with our guys behind Bondy as he will draw double coverage and possibly open up room for guys like TE Gore, TE Gaynor, WR Stuckey, WR Wilkerson and WR Sandlin and even KR/WR Messenger and rookie WR Lyle to make plays. And over time, maybe WR Lyle will become that diversion, without the utopian expectations of him making 10 catches for 120 yards per game.

Tomorrow we'll pull the plug on which WR will be traded, if any. We have an excess of 4 players, which with the given depth at QB (4 signed), RB (5 signed), TE (5 signed) and DE (5 signed) means we do have the roster spots available for 7 WR. In the end, that 53rd slot will most likely go to a special teamer, which would heavily favor RB Ford as our RB3, with RB Beyer or Joseph as a future RB2, which would favor keeping WR Wilkerson on the team. 4 quarterbacks does feel like overkill, Martin and Farley are the obvious candidates to decide between. And at the tight ends group, mentor Bridges could still be the odd man out, despite the desire to groom 2nd year Gaynor and especially rookie Gore quickly.

Enough for now, more tomorrow after the second couple of pre-season games...
__________________
* 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 : 07-09-2020 at 06:00 PM.
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2020, 11:09 AM   #325
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen trade Stuckey, release three others
The Maassluis Merchantmen have announced their 53-men roster for the 2091 regular season. Biggest decision is the trade of their 2090 second round pick George Stuckey to the Moontown Darksiders. But the journey also ends for quarterback Bert Martin, running back Patrick Joseph and wide receiver Trey Samuels. At the other side of the ball, Trent Donovan surprisingly did make the cut.

George Stuckey and the Merchantmen, it hasn't been a fruitful partnership. At the time of the selection of Stuckey, the Merchantmen felt it was a good move, grabbing one of the best players left in the pool of rookies at a need position. The result has been the opposite as Stuckey was kept inactive all season long. The outlook for the 2091 wasn't great for him again with the arrival of a new second round pick in rookie Rickey Lyle. The Moontown Darksiders had shown interest in Stuckey throughout the off-season and a move back to a team based in the USA seems to be the best for all involved.

Fellow wide receiver and 2090 draft pick Trey Samuels also left Maassluis, but he'll be released. The Merchantmen thought they saw upside in the former running back by moving him to a wide receiver, but despite his receiving skills and potential, he never convinced management and the staff to make the active roster. As a result, Samuels sat out the 2090 season inactive and was a prime suspect to get axed come cutdown.

Joining Samuels to the free agent market are sixth and seventh round picks running back Patrick Joseph and quarterback Bert Martin. Both had a shot at making the team as the fourth running back and third quarterback respectively, but Martin lost to fifth year veteran Francisco Farley and Joseph to fellow rookie Trey Beyer. The rookie running backs were supposed to split carries in the last two pre-season games, but the Merchantmen coaching staff decided to keep them off the field as much as possible. The same basically applied to Martin, who was on the field for just 11 pass attempts combined over 2 games.
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2020, 11:37 AM   #326
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Disobeying staff members

I keep forgetting my coordinator make weird decisions in the pre-season. The plan was to throw Bert Martin out there to see what he can do with 40 or so snaps and additionally put the two rookie running backs out there to see what they can do. Instead, the staff pulled Martin early twice and actually threw our pathetic special teamer Asher Ford out there to carry the ball 15 times in each game. Hairpulling stuff, I tell you!

So, we're down to 53 players. I've put the axe on offensive players, and only offensive players. Yeah, we'll actually be reverting back to the same group of players, pretty much. Rookie tight end Clarence Gore will be the only big change, while I'll also do my best to make room and snaps available for Rickey Lyle as our WR3. And Trey Beyer made the roster as our fourth RB, basically our inactive backup RB2.

Quarterback Brandon Bell stunk again in pre-season and once again made zero, I repeat, zero progress. What's up with this kid, why can't he improve? Maybe, just maybe, I should have kicked his ass off the team. But, y'know, he was actually pretty good in the majority of his rookie campaign...

So, back to Moe Sheldon one more time? Gosh, if only I hadn't pissed that #9 overall pick away and actually traded up to like the #4 or #5 slot to grab WR Bryson Zimmerman or QB Trey Hansen, or actually not get stuck and grab one of two kids we wanted to pick at the #9 slot: WR Tristan Powell or QB Terrence Joyner. Maybe next season. For now, it's back to the Bell and Sheldon flipflopping.

The defense will also feature 3 new faces. Devon Farrell will hopefully make the most impact as our new safety, playing strong safety on passing downs and free safety on running downs. Trenton Prescott has made the team as our sixth linebacker. He'll be inactive as he'll have no added value to the special teams unit with guys like Palmer and Rayburn also in front of him there. Trent Donovan is the guy I wouldn't expect to make the roster, but look who made it after all! Yes, action will be limited to non-existing for him, but he's a promising project as a defensive end and maybe we need a new kid in the rotation as early as next season. It's always a good thing to have a kid with a season on our roster on his resume.

Other role changes? With Alexander Marty's departure, it's up to second-year Chuck Murray to prove us he can step in Marty's role as a running downs strong safety. Cornerback Adam Harmon will be a bit of a casualty, as it means we'll want to see more of Jessie McNeil in the nickel or dime role to increase cohesion across the secondary. Harmon's time will come, although his superb potential has somewhat turned him from an excellent prospect into a very good one.

Defensive tackle Kurt Ackerman will also get more playing time as we'll be throwing all four defensive tackles on the field this season. I think giving Jumbo Mojica and Darien Fletcher some breathing time will be good for the entire D-Line. At linebacker will increase Clayton Jackson's role as the replacement of Moe Iveans, it will be interesting to see whether Jackson can play ball on running downs.

It's quite the contrast with last season as we'll be returning 11 players that were new to us in 2090, excluding those that have already left the facilities.

I'm still far from excited about the upcoming season. Havin so little turnover in personnel after a train wreck of a season has got to be a bad sign...
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2020, 11:41 AM   #327
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: And then things changed
Like when a trade offer gets withdrawn at the 11th hour.

George Stuckey won't be moving to the Moontown Darksiders. What seemed to be a done deal has gone off the table as the Darksiders have diverted to the Orlando Talons and their your WR Billy Schwartz.

It leaves us with a new situation in which George Stuckey will still be a Merchantman for a day, with one big question mark hanging over the team: will this mean Stuckey stays in Maassluis and which player will be the casualty of this change of events?
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2020, 04:00 PM   #328
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen release DE Donovan
The Maassluis Merchantmen have announced their 53 men roster for the 2091 season. Indeed, they announced it before a day earlier, but that was under the assumption wide receiver George Stuckey would be traded. With that trade annulled, undrafted rookie Trent Donovan became the last player released, meaning Stuckey will stay in Maassluis for another season.

Donovan made good strides, accounting for the only sack in a brutal loss against at home in pre-season week 4. But stuck behind an elite group, it wasn't meant to be for him.

Stuckey is expected to sit out the season in an inactive role again, while rookie Rickey Lyle has been penciled in as the WR2, with Branden Sandlin as the WR3. But as flipflopping as the Merchantmen have been at quarterback for the past season, they might be as unpredictable with wide receivers this season.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2020, 03:00 PM   #329
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Off to a good start
Opening day victory!

2091 was here and albeit feeling shaky about our chances, we had a chance to prove that 2090 was an outlier, one season for the ages in the wrong direction. The Paris Musketeers came to town and boy were they in for a beating.

The game started terribly, as our starting quarterback Moe Sheldon was sacked on the first play from scrimmage. But on Paris' ensuing drive, a sack from Clayton Jackson was followed up with a pick by Jackie Richardson and returned from midfield to inside Paris' red zone. Moe Sheldon tossed a short pass to Reggie Thongchanh and Thong' ran it in for a 15-yard touchdown catch. The bad news came right away: center Butch Pearson left the field injured and it turned out to be a a nasty shoulder injury that likely will sindeline him for the remainder of the regular season. On Paris next drive, it was Darien Fletcher making the sack that lead to another three and out. Things went bak and forth for a bit, without much success and on our fourth possession, Thong' ran for 21 yards, later followed by Sheldon finding Branden Sandlin for 32 yards and Thong' pounding it in for 3 yards out for a 14-0 lead.

Paris struck back earlier in the second quarter through rookie running back Bob Yanez. A rookie of our own then came to the spotlight in fifth round pick Clarence Gore. Our receiving tight end made catches for 19 yards, 13 yards, 9 yards and then a 36-yarder for the touchdown and 21-7 lead. Our defense kept them short again, and on our next possession, we moved fast, but the big one came at the end as Francisco Patter ran it in from 21 yards out. At 28-7, it wasn't quite over yet in the first half as Darien Fletcher picked off a pass in Paris' half and returned it into their red zone. We settled for a 33-yard field goal and a 31-7 half time lead. Or so we thought, as suddenly the Musketeers woke up and marched down field, just quick enough to score their second touchdown of the day for a 31-14 half time score.

The third quarter turned into a defensive festivity, bend but don't break style, punting on and off, until our offense finally broke the sequence. Slowly, but smoothly we moved into Paris' territory and eventually saw Francisco Patter pound it in from 3 yards out for a 38-14 lead.

The fourth quarter was all defense again. Paris eventually reached our half of the field, but eventually they had to go for it on fourth and 10 to have a shot at it, Tony Whiting got through and sacked their quarterback to change possession. Rookie Trey Beyer was thrown on the field in place of injured Francisco Patter and by his feet and the blocking of our linemen the clock got drained efficiently enough to give Francisco Farley the opportunity to knee drop to victory.

A couple of things went wrong today though. Apparently not telling the staff who to give the punt returning duties will make them fool around with which players to activate and deactivate. At quarterback Francisco Farley all of a sudden got Brandon Bell's QB2 role, while rooke Trey Beyer took over special teamer Asher Ford's RB3 role, mentor Sherman Bridges received run blocker Renaldo Crawford's active spot, but most importantly backup center Jared Labbe was activated in favor of our starting free safety Riddick Newsome.

The damage eventually was manageable. Labbe was forced into action, replacing Butch Pearson, while second-year Jon Brotzman isn't a huge stepback from Newsome. We got the job done and then some, we clearly outmatched the Musketeers today. Elsewhere in Europe, the Gothenburg Giants beat the Bordeaux Vineyards 26-14, holding #6 overall rookie quarterback Walt Czech to 124 yards passing with 2 interceptions, but with that score meaning we jump into the early division lead once again.

Standings:
1. Maassluis 1-0
2. Gothenburg 1-0
3. Bordeaux 0-1
4. Paris 0-1

Next up we will visit the reigning IHOF champion Kansas Creationists. An all pass offense (most likely) which isn't something we like to see, but with our talent and depth on defense, something we can actually cope with. I have no idea how good we can be on offense though. Yes, I've decided this is once again Moe Sheldon's offense, but by now it should be clear that I'm not hesitant to pull him in favor of Brandon Bell, although Bell's continuous lack of improvement has been a cause for concern.

Not more to say for now, we made a good start, outgained Paris by 158 yards, won the turnover battle 2-0 and had several other bright lights. Rookie tight end Clarence Gore actually lead the offense with 90 yards from scrimmage, he's off to a great start. As are we as a team for this season. Let's keep it going, 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2020, 05:27 PM   #330
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Facing the reigning champions
And we put up a fight in their place.

Going into today's game, the Kansas Creationists were obviously favored to beat our Merchantmen. But any given Tuesday and what not other clichés, there's always a chance. And we got some chances to make it happen.

First quarter, first possession. We got the best we have on the field on defense, but it wasn't to be, Hugh Gaines threw a short pass to his receiver Ryan Blalock, who ended up promoting the catch to a 63-yard touchdown. 35 second into the game, 7-0 down. Welcome to Kansas.

But, we had no intentions to just hand that W to them. We brought a game plan that almost worked against them in the past, plus, we should have a bunch of players that actually can play defense. Really, just look at them and tell me they aren't suitable for the job, because they are. But y'know, this is football, something silly and crazy unexpected things can happen.

Our first drive got cut short, but at least we gained enough ground to pin them at their own 1-yard line. It paid as one of their tight ends fumbled the ball after a pretty long catch and had to see our linebacker Daquan Espino run it all 45 yards back to tied the score 7-7. That guy Blalock then torches us again, this time for a 48-yard gain, but an illegal block penalty a couple of plays later takes their touchdown away and we have a moral victory by just giving up a 35-yard field goal.

Moe Sheldon is slowly growing into his role as our quarterback and found George Stuckey and Branden Sandlin for first down catches, then rookie Clarence Gore for a huge 26-yard catch to not just convert third down, but move into field goal range. Then rookie running back Trey Beyer runs for 12 yards and we're on the move. Three plays later, Moe Sheldon find Stuckey for a short touchdown pass and a 14-10 lead. On Kansas' next drive our pass rush finally woke up and apparently went back te bed right after, but at least we stalled them at midfield and we had the ball back at the end of the first quarter.

Moe Sheldon started connected passes with Theodore Bondy: 16 yards just before the second quarter and 14 yards on the second play into it. Then 12 yards to Bondy to march deeper into Kansas territory and then out of nowhere our special teamer Asher Ford gets a carry and turns it into a mindboggling 25 yard gain. Three plays later, Sheldon sees Braden Sandlin wide open in the end zone and all of a sudden we're leading 21-10 at the league champions. How about that?

On Kansas next drive, we get torched for a 30-yarder on third and long, but luckily it gets called back for holding and they fail to make much ground on third and twice as long. On their next drive, we play well on first and second downs, but two long third down conversions start to break us up. Hugh Gaines then finds the fumbling tight end for 28 yards and then another tight end for a 12-yard touchdown and a 21-17 score, still barely halfway into the second quarter.

We gain enough ground on our next possession to get more than 3 minutes off the clock and put Kansas back at their 20-yard line, Of course they throw and throw and throw and no matter what we try, we get either a penalty or see them gain 22 yards on a screen pass, or 14 yards on third and 11. And as Kansas efficiently throws their way into our red zone, what seems to become the go ahead touchdown, ends up in a fumble just 4 yards away from our end zone to stop their drive and give us a knee drop into a 21-17 half time lead.

Momentum shifted quickly though, as our first possession in the second half starts with our own shouldn't be trying to make catches tight end fumbles the ball on our very first play. 20 yards on a short pass later and we're just extremely happy to hold them to a 29-yard field goal and hold on to the lead by the slimmest of margins: 21-20. Moe Sheldon rediscovers his starting caliber throwing skills, finding George Stuckey on a crucial third down and then the rookie Clarence Gore to move past midfield. Eventually a throw to the rookie running back falls incomplete (why would you even make that throw, Moe?) and all our efferts go without results. We actually manage to stop Kansas on their next drive, but their punt pins us at our own 1-yard line. For a couple of seconds they thought they got a safety, but our rookie Trey Beyer was stuffed inches away from the end zone, but eventually we have to punt anyway. Our defense finally returns the favor with three and out, but our running game falls flat on the next possession with back to back no gainers on 1 yard to go situations. The pass machine then wakes up on a fourth and one situation, in which they manage to force our defense to play in some absurd fantasy formation and obviously torches us for 35 yards. One play later, the 6-yard pass puts Kansas 27-21 up. That too is football, apparently.

No worries, we return the favor of sort by seeing our run blocker and nothing bu a run blocker fullback make a run for it and gain 21 yards to start the fourth quarter. Moe Sheldon then finds Theo Bondy for 14 yards, but on third down we do the opposite from what Kansas would do: our screen pass ends up in a catch far behind the line of scrimmage. Two plays later Kansas' tight end makes a deep catch for a 38-yard gain and we're eventually thrilled to hold it to a 40-yard field goal, yet going down 30-21. We continue to make silly calls on offense, but the defense wakes up again and actually gives us another chance. We don't grab it, but instead pin them at their 7-yard line. Eventually we stop them, but we have to burn all our time outs and find ourselves pinned even deeper at our 5-yard line. By then, the immobile Hugh Gaines has started racking up the rushing yards as well. On our own possession, Moe Sheldon becomes unable to get the ball to Theo Bondy on four straight pass attempts. It was one of those games again, the post 2087 Bondy is curiously unable to win games for us.

So it goes, we lose 30-21 at the league champions, somewhat helped by fumbles to gain a lead and maintain it, but we return the favor with a fumble on our own and should never have happened fourth down non-sense. We lose the one game we were most likely to lose in the regular season and we actually were in the game for a majority of it. Yes, our defense got exposed, we struggled more than we should have, but maybe Kansas deserves some credit for the talent that they have been able to collect on their wide receivers group. As a GM, you wish other teams in the league would do what you've been doing: not trading your best player to them, but some owners overestimate their ability to turn picks and less talented players into a league championships winning team, while the rich get richer. But that's just one of the obstacles to overcome as well.

Speaking of obstacles, the Gothenburg Giants stumbled at the Iowa Cobbers, but instead the two French division rivals had somewhat solid victories, which gives us a near deadlock in the division:

Standings
1. Maassluis 1-1
2. Gothenburg 1-1
3. Bordeaux 1-1
4. Paris 1-1

Hilariously, the NAC Midwest, the teams we faced today, are in a similar four 1-1 teams situation. It makes for a weird who beat who carousel.

So, we gave up 575 yards of offense, but realistically that's what we were likely to do today anyway. We got quite a bit out of our own more realistic 322 yards. Should we have tried to go all guns galore deep throwing to our gazelles? Probably not, our gazelles aren't as spectacular as theirs. In return, our lions just failed to put up a consistent fight and at the end of the day, you're not supposed to win a game when you give up that much yardage.

The season is still young and we continue our back-to-back on the road at the Rochester Razorbacks. They're coming off a 27-0 clobbering, so they're probably overly motivated to play their first home game and prove they have no intentions of going winless this season. Well, we'll get there with the intentions to make it three in a row for them.
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2020, 04:13 PM   #331
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Four games in and we're in good shape
Now, let's see if we can not choke this season like 2 seasons ago...

Okay, two more games and two more wins! We continued in week 3 with a weird 12-7 victory at the Rochester Razorbacks and followed up with a smooth 24-17 victory over the San Antonio Tidal Force. No time to go over the full games, but a short summary per game should be doable.

So, week 3 at Rochester. They go up 7-0 on their second play from scrimmage as their quarterback T.J. Devine decides to scramble for the second play in a row and we fail to stop him from a 72-yard touchdown run. But wait, didn't we win this game 12-7? Why yes, we did. On their next drive Devine fumbled the ball and lost it on our half. Until half time it was a three and out fest for our defense. In the second half they went for it on fourth down in field goal range and failed to convert and late in the fourth quarter when they finally got past midfield, Andy Russell sacked Devine, who fumbled the ball and saw our A.J. Ritt recover it. In the final minutes they got into our turf once again, but back to back sacks from Gene Kondovski and Tony Whiting forced them into a fourth and 22 situation where they had to go for it (by then trailing 12-7).

How did we collect our 12 points then? A 20-yard field goal early in the second quarter, then a 52-yarder in the dying seconds of the first half. In the second half we fumbled our first drive that went into field goal range. Half way through the fourth quarter, we pushed them back deep inside their territory on a third down sack and after a short punt and decent return, we started our drive at their 36-yard line. So, although already in field goal range, we saw Moe Sheldon throw a short pass on third and pretty long to Theodore Bondy, who turned it into a magnificent 39-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, but with a 5-point lead, all I wrote about the defense was sufficient to post a sweet road victory.

It wasn't all pretty, as you may assume from the previous text, we were outgained 311 to 241 yards, but by winning the position battle very strongly and overcoming our 2 turnovers with pulling 2 back, it wasn't a stolen victory, we just were too strong in keeping them far away from our red zone, aside from that 72-yard run early in the game.

The home game against San Antonio started with them pushing us deep inside our own turf. After Moe Sheldon completed a 28-yard pass to rookie Clarence Gore, Sheldon fumbled after a sack on the very next play to set up San Antonio's 34-yard field goal. Reggie Thongchanh added to the fumble fest and losing possession later on in the first quarter, but the defense did just enough to maintain holding them between midfield and our 35-yard line to force them to punt after all.

And then our offense finally woke up after 7 quarters of barely doing anything. Sheldon to Theodore Bondy for 16 yards, a third down conversion to rookie Trey Beyer, a 16-yard and 11-yard run from Thongchanh and finally a smooth third down short touchdown pass from Sheldon to Beyer. After three and out, our offense continued, anchored by Bondy's 23-yard reception, the drive ended in seeing Sheldon find Gore for a short touchdown pass. San Antonio's receiver Gus Burns responded by having the key play on their drive and the touchdown catch to trim our lead to 14-10. They tried and came close to putting some more on the board, but they missed a 44-yard field goal attempt.

Gus Burns torched us a couple of times on San Antonio's first drive in the second half, to set up a short touchdown run for their 17-14 lead. Both teams followed up with decent but not close enough drives. The fourth quarter started with three and out on both ends, but we got the ball back close to midfield to have a shot at doing something about that deficit. Thongchanh ran for 11 yards and Bondy made 11-yard, 14-yard and 16-yard catches to get closer and closer and eventually Branden Sandlin caught a short pass from Sheldon in the end zone for the 21-17 lead. After forcing three and out, we had another strong drive, with a key screen pass from Sheldon to Bondy that turned into a 24-yard gain. A sack on second down pushed us back, but after scoring a 41-yard field goal, the touchdown lead of 24-17 was there. On fourth and nine they felt they had to go for it from well within their half, being down to two time outs and after Trey Beyer ran for 10 yards, victory formation was there.

With a mixed bag of results of our division rivals, we're actually at the lead after four game days. But, as the standings already show, it's a tight division so far. In fact, all four teams have a points differential of +14 or better.

Standings
1. Maassluis 3-1
2. Bordeaux 2-1
3. Gothenburg 2-2
4. Paris 2-2

Other things to mention? Center Butch Pearson is still out and unlikely to be back before the playoffs. Guard Michael Szott has been playing center for the last three games, as we gave backup left tackle Myron Hamilton the two road games with mixed results and against San Antonio young backup guard Marvin Silvan had a solid performance.

Running back Francisco Patter sat out the Kansas game with a knee injury, then returned in Rochester with 3 fumbles, which made me inactivate him again to keep him off the field until the knee injury is over. Against San Antonio, Theodore Bondy had his first 100-yard game of the season. Sheldon has taken advantage of it, despite getting sacked a bit too much, he's having a strong passing stat line with 60% completed for 215 yards per game with 8 touchdowns and 1 interception.

The defense still has room to improve, but we've actually been quite okay. A game like the one against Kansas will always throw the numbers around, but we're not getting pummeled. We're giving up 364 yards per game and gain only 338 yards, but that too is in part a result of that 574-yard game against Kansas' offense and also the effect of winning the field position battle in most games.

"Most games", yeah, we're just 4 games in. Let's not get carried away. We've got our bye upcoming and then continue with a home game against the Atlanta Vipers. After a 1-15 campaign last season, they've somehow found ways to win by 3 or less points in all three games. They host the Bordeaux Vineyards next, but that still means we'll be facing a 3-1 or better team while sporting a 3-1 record of our own. That's close to game of the week material. Not bad for two teams that will each on their own claim to have had one of their worst seasons ever in franchise history...

Yes, things can change that quickly. All the more reason to continue to be hopeful for things to get better...
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-17-2020, 12:35 PM   #332
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Bye week blues
Or more like a lucky day.

While we enjoyed our usual early in the season bye, getting a chance to see RB Francisco Patter and G Michael Szott get back to 100%, the rest of the division visited the Deep South division. The Gothenburg Giants had their chances to win at the Fort Wayne Fury, but they failed to stop them on 4th and 2 when the game was up for grabs there, then gave up a touchdown to go down 17-16 and missed a 51-yard game winning field goal in the dying seconds. The Bordeaux Vineyards saw their efforts to tie up a close game at the Atlanta Vipers end in rookie Walt Czech's 6th interception of the season, making it 20-17 for Atlanta. The Paris Musketeers stood little to no chance at the San Antonio Tidal Force ni a 27-13 loss.

Standings:
1. Maassluis 3-1
2. Bordeaux 2-2
3. Gothenburg 2-3
4. Paris 2-3

What's in it for us up next? Well, the inevitable game of the week hosting the 4-0 Atlanta Vipers. Both of us gave up 68 points in 4 games, but where they outscored opponents by 10 points, we are at +27. Do we have a chance? Why yes, we do. We should be a mismatch for their quarterback Zachery Arcenaux, as we have proven 3 seasons ago when Tony Whiting had his breakout game with a 3-sack game as we sacked him 5 times, hurried him 9 times, blocked 2 more passes and all that in 46 pass plays. To be honest, anything less than that would be disappointing from our defense. There, I said it. He's all yours, D-line, go get him!
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2020, 11:37 AM   #333
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Game of the Week!
And boy, was it a game...

The Merchantmen fanbase was ready for it, a sold out Oranje Haven (not unusual, we did that three times last season, but it was a first this season) was exploding from joy. A 4-0 Atlanta Vipers team was visiting and people were actually thinking we were standing a chance to win and improve to the virtual #1 seed of the conference. And all that in spite of the previous century rainy weather.

Atlanta won the coin toss and elected to receive. Mark Giles kicked deep enough to make the Vipers start at their 25-yard line. First play, hand off to their running back and Darien Fletcher was all over him behind the line of scrimmage. On third down their quarterback Arcenaux completed a 14-yard pas to his tight end, but the very next play Oranje Haven screamed of joy again as Clayton Jackson sacked the quarterback. The linebackers were all over them to disrupt the next two plays as well and the following punt wasn't just short, Reggie Thongchanh returned it to our 43-yard line. But as wel got three-and-outted, the turmoil toned down a bit, although the punt from our end was downed at their 6-yard line. A quick three and out got us the ball back and this time we thought we got things going. Moe Sheldon started the drive with an 18-yard pass to Branden Sandlin, but it quickly slowed down and after he got sacked on third and long, we were pushed outside of field goal range. The punt was hardly worth noticing, but the next drive started with Gene Kondovski sacking Arcenaux. The quarterback saved face on the next play with a 20-yarder to one of his receivers, but our defense dominated, Darien Fletcher had another tackle for a loss, and we got the ball back halfway our half. And then things did get going. Moe Sheldon found Theodore Bondy for a 38-yard gain and then fullback Clay Brosseau for a 26-yarder. He then almost went the distance running, but on second and goal found Sandlin for a short touchdown pass and the 7-0 lead right at the end of the first quarter.

Atlanta ball and things went all over the place. Gene Kondovski made his second sack of the game and right after Arcenaux threw for 15 yards to his running back, Clayton Jackson made his second sack of the game. Again, Arcenaux converted with a pass on third down, but when they got just past midfield, they were forced to punt after all and Reggie Thongchanh returned it 27 yards. Moe Sheldon then found Theodore Bondy for 18 yards, but on the following play Francisco Patter was hit hard and fumbled the ball, resulting in loss of possession. Arcenaux followed up with a 31-yard pass to get into field goal range and that's what they ended up doing after Tony Whiting notched sack number five of the day: settling for a 38-yard field goal and a 7-3 score in our favor. By then it was clear this was going to be a defense dominated game and we ended up punting on our next drive, pinning them at their 5-yard line. Our defense struggled to keep them short, but shortly before the end of the half, we finally halted them to settle for a 45-yard field goal. Our former kicker Thomas Robertson made it 7-6. Our attempt to take double advantage (score right before and after half time) failed as we couldn't get in their half before the clock showed all zeroes.

Our first drive of the second half was similar to how Atlanta started in the first half: two short runs and a sacked quarterback to force a punt. The defensive dominance continued, but a special teams play then changed momentum as Jon Brotzman blocked the punt. Clay Brosseau got the ball on a trick play and ran for 12 yards, putting us 3 shy of the end zone. Their defense stood strong and we settled for an 18-yard field goal, extending the lead to just 10-6. Our defense then stood up again, as Archie Exner added to the sacks and on third and long it was Jessie McNeil (good thing we re-signed him) made the interception pretty deep inside their territory. Conservative play ended up in just a 40-yard field goal attempt, but the 13-6 lead was at least back up to a touchdown difference. Hoping to bring that lead to the end of the quarter, the defense all of a sudden crumbled. With 16-yard and 12-yard runs and 9-yard and 18-yard passes, the Vipers marched into our half of the field and as the clock started blinking all zeroes, Arcenaux found a wide open receiver for a short pass turned into a 12-yard touchdown to tie it to 13-13.

Conservative play continued against the stingy Atlanta defense, but rookie Clarence Gore made a nice 15-yard third down catch to move the chains. The Atlanta pass rush was strong and we ended up punting once again. After three and outs back and forth, we got the ball back in their half, where Sheldon brushed away a sack with a 20-yard pass to Gore. The conservative play did end up in just going for a 39-yard field goal and Mark Giles nailed it for the 16-13 lead. We forced them to punt once again and with time starting to be a thing for Atlanta, penalties became a problem for us. Unsportsmanlike conduct put us into 3rd and 22, resulting in Moe Sheldon going for a scramble, getting tackled when he was miles away from converting, fumbling the ball and all of a sudden Atlanta was in possession in our half of the field. One 10-yard pass was just enough to get into field goal range and the 44-yarder tied it up 16-16. We hardly made a real effort to get into field goal range, while Atlanta did try with half a minute remaining. Our pass rush was just good enough to disrupt their passing attempts and force overtime with the 16-16 score at the end of regulation.

And boy, did we get a change to end it right there on our first possession. Santiago Messenger made the exceptional 39-yard kickoff return into their turf and a 25-yard pass from Moe Sheldon to Theodore Bondy got us into field goal range. Mark Giles got his shot at it with a 40-yarder, but he missed wide to the left. Still 16-16 and Oranje Haven made a collective face palm. The defense then stood just strong enough to let them not get closer than our 39-yard line and force them to punt. Moe Sheldon marched us back to midfield, but we were halted there. We stopped them after 6 plays, but as we completely forgot to call for a time out, we got the ball back with just 19 seconds remaining. We didn't even try to make a throw for getting into field goal range and just like that, the clock was done, as was the game: 16-16 tie.

A missed opportunity to improve to 4-1, thankfully avoid falling to 3-2, but ties can leave behind an unsatisfactory feeling and this one was clearly a game that we should have won. Should, as Atlanta does deserve credits for disrupting our running game: Francisco Patter ran for 33 yards, Reggie Thongchanh for 22 yards, that's clearly unacceptable from this offense. Moe Sheldon threw for 246 yards, including the overtime, but did struggle a bit. Still, the Merchantmen defense gave the offense every opportunity to make the best of this game, having basically just one really weak drive which resulted in their only touchdown, and a shaky one that ended in a field goal.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Gothenburg Giants beat the Paris Musketeers 34-21, while the Bordeaux Vineyards fell 20-14 to the Fort Wayne Fury.

Standings
1. Maassluis 3-1-1
2. Gothenburg 3-3
3. Bordeaux 2-3
4. Paris 2-4

Our season continues in Fort Wayne, as we'll be facing the Fury in their playing next week. They're standing 4-2 for now, which suggests we'll be in for another close battle again. That kind of record is currently good enough for last place in the Southeast division, will this be that kind of season in the AOC where an 11-5 team misses the playoffs and the European champions stumbled in with a 10-6 kind of record? The Fury have been pretty strong against the pass, which probably means we'll have to rely on our running game, which was missing in action today. It is what it is, we'll have to play better, simple as that, and have to win against these type of opponents to realistically think about playoffs and going places. So, let's do that, Merchantmen, make it happen.
__________________
* 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 : 07-18-2020 at 11:37 AM.
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2020, 01:51 PM   #334
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Don't get our hopes up...
We're only 6 games in.

But, with the solid start to this season and ditto continuation today, it's hard to not get excited. The Fort Wayne Fury were next on our schedule and with a road game, anything can happen, right? It turned out to be a very solid victory for us with a convincing 33-13 score line. So, how did we get that job done?

First quarter we followed up an impressive 3 and out with a strong drive, halted by a sack, to settle for a 42-yard field goal. We followed up with another smooth drive, anchored by Moe Sheldon finding rookie Clarence Gore's for a 27-yard gain, shortly after followed by a 1-yard touchdown pass from Sheldon to Gre for the 10-0 lead.

The second quarter was defense heavy, but our continuing improvement of field position eventually resulted in 17-yard punt return from Reggie Thongchanh to get a short field and it was Moe Sheldon finding Clay Gaynor, our other young tight end, for 18 yards and a 17-0 lead. The Fury finally found some room and their first visit to our half of the field put them in a 36-yard field goal situation to make it 17-3. Short drives followed, until the two-minute warning came and Moe Sheldon missed Theodore Bondy, instead tossing pick that got returned 60-yards for a touchdown and a 17-10 score. Anchored by a 33-yard Sheldon to Bondy pass, we eventually got into field goal range and Mark Giles kicked the 44-yarder for a 20-10 half time score as the clock ran out.

The Fury's second strong drive gave them a 41-yard field goal to bring it back to a one-score lead for us (20-13). But Sheldon kept finding his tight ends for big plays, this time Clay Gaynor for 34 yards soon after followed by Reggie Thongchanh' pounding it in for the 27-13 lead. Bend but don't break was up next for our defense and Francisco Patter responded with a 19-yard run to set up a punt that got marked out of bounds at their 2-yard line.

Our defense kept winning the field position battle for us, although Reggie Thongchanh's 16-yard punt return was crucial to start a drive in field goal range. Francisco Patter's 10-yard run was sufficient to make it a shorter kick and Mark Giles converted the 42-yarder for a 30-13 lead. With the Fury feeling the need to go for it, they turned into a very one-sided game plan, throwing every single ball to Sammy de la Rosa. It worked initially as he made 18-yard and 37-yard receptions, but once deep inside our red zone, they decided to go for it on fourth down and as Brandon Brady deflected a pass intended for De la Rosa, We got the ball back without giving up points. Moe Sheldon found Theodore Bondy for a massive third down conversion for 17 yards, then the running backs Thongchanh and Patter alternated solid runs to move the chains. After burning their time outs, we kicked a 39-yard field goal for a 33-13 lead. The Fury brushed away Tony Whiting's 15-yard sack with a bonkers 31-yard pass on third and 20, but time ran out to do anything about our 33-13 lead anymore.

All things considered, a solid victory. We outgained them 411-277, lost the turnover battle 1-0 (their only touchdown), clearly dominating them. Sheldon threw for 264 yards, having 5 receivers with 40+ yards, with Bondy leading them with 66 yards. Patter (74 yards) and Thongchanh (62 yards) were back as a decent tandem. Pass rush was decent (3 sacks, 7 hurries, 2 blocked passes), pass defense quite solid (7 defended passes).

Standings:
1. Maassluis 4-1-1
2. Gothenburg 3-3
3. Paris 2-4
4. Bordeaux 2-4

I honestly can't explain why Paris has tie-breakers over Bordeaux, I suppose it's common games one way or another. Paris will be our next opponent and it will be yet another big test to see how for real we are. We're currently sitting in the virtual #2 spot. The Southeast division has collectively improved to 5-2 or better, the Northeast division leader has dropped to 2-4. This continues to be an awkward season in the AOC.
__________________
* 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 : 07-20-2020 at 02:10 PM.
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2020, 04:54 PM   #335
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Tempering expectations...
But it's hard not to get overly optimistic.

A road trip to Paris, that was the next order of business. And boy, did we manage to continue our good streak with a closer than it should have been victory.

First quarter, first drive. Paris has the ball first, small gain, no gain, sack by Tony Whiting. Haven't we seen this before this season? First play from our offense: Moe Sheldon to Theodore Bondy for 44 yards, welcome back! Three plays later, they do it again on third and long for a 15-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Defense holds them really short again and our second drive goes slower, but again smoothly. Sheldon finds George Stuckey (promoted to WR2 with Branden Sandlin out) for 17 yards, then finds Francisco Patter for 11 yards and the same Patter converts on third and one. It all ends in a 1-yard touchdown pass to rookie Clarence Gore to make it 14-0, this kid is becoming a phenomenon.

Paris scores back early in the second quarter, set up by most notably a short pass that turned into a 33-yard gain. On their next drive after we get stopped after three runs, they close in, but miss the 54-yard field goal to maintain at a 14-7 lead for is. Moe Sheldon responds with a 17-yard pass to Theodore Bondy and a face mask penalty puts us into field goal range, which we settle for after a sack: Mark Giles for 45 yards and a 17-7 lead. We then give up a couple of 11-yard passes, then a 17-yarder to their rookie running back and eventually can't avoid a short touchdown pass to make it 17-14 shortly before half time. But it isn't just yet over as Santiago Messenger returns the kickoff for 33 yards, Moe Sheldon finds George Stuckey for 13 yards, then Theodore Bondy for 18 yards and Giles converts the 51-yarder for a 20-14 half time lead in a hostile environment.

Second half, we think we continue how we ended the first half, but on the third play, Moe Sheldon's pass gets picked off and returned for 55 yards and a touchdown. Just like that, we're trailing 21-20 in a game that we thought we were dominating. Sheldon respons with a 27-yarder to Theodore Bondy, but we settle with a punt towards their 7-yard line. We can't stop their rookie for a 23-yard run, but still stop them far away from midfield and on our next drive see Sheldon connect with Bondy for 35 yards and Clarence Gore for 21 yards. We close in on retaking the lead, until Reggie Thongchanh fumbles at their 5-yard line: possession lost and momentum as well? Not quite, they go into run heavy mode and fail to get much further than just outside their own red zone. Their defense keeps it short, but then our defense steps up by stripping the ball from that rookie running back and getting possession close to field goal range.

Four quarter, first play. Moe Sheldon finds our rookie Clarence Gore for 16 yards and then George Stuckey for 18 yards. We get our chances from 2 yards away, but all three plays are stopped short and we decide to settle for a 23-21 lead through the 18-yard field goal. Their rookie then runs for 19 yards, but we stop them near midfield. Pinned deep inside our half, we see Howard Humphrey recover a crucial fumble, then see Reggie Thongchanh lift off for a 45-yard run to burst into their half. Thong' then converts on third and one, but after short sack, we decide to punt from their 32-yard line and not kick the 49-yard field goal (contrary to our game plan). Three and out runs some time off the clock and we take some more with strong runs from our running back tandem Francisco Patter and Thongchanh. Arrived at their 31-yard line, we punt with 17 seconds remaining. A dropped and a blocked pass are all that is left and we come away victorious after all: Merchantmen 23, Musketeers 21!

A fine day, as Theodore Bondy makes 7 catches for 164 yards, as Moe Sheldon completed 20 of 30 for 280 yards, with 2 touchdowns and another pick six. Clarence Gore made 6 catches for 51 yards. The running backs ran for 97 and 60 yards, this time with Thong' being the leader. Yes, we relied a bit on big plays, but were overall effective enough to actually have two turnovers in scoring position and twice punt in field goal range.

Elsewhere, the Gothenburg Giants beat San Antonio 31-24 to stay on our tail, while the Bordeaux Vineyards dropped their fourth straight: 34-31 loss at the Houston Mustangs, incidentally our next opponent.

Standings:
1. Maassluis 5-1-1
2. Gothenburg 4-3
3. Paris 2-5
4. Bordeaux 2-5

Whatever the tie-breakers may be, If all remaining game end in a 0-0 tie, the Vineyards will jump ahead of Paris. We're more solidly in the #2 slot, still 1 1/2 wins behind the Tucker Tigers (with 1 game more played) and 1 win and tie-breakers ahead of Atlanta.

Not much I'd like to add for now, it's just a good sign that we continue to win games, as our only loss so far came at the Kansas Creationists, the reigning league champions. Our schedule is slowing improving from easiest to easier than average, as we faced teams that went 20-24 against their other opponents.

But despite all that, it's technically still possible that we'll end up losing all our remaining games and finish the season with a worse record than last season's 6-10 campaign. The road game at Houston will bring us at our mid-season point though, we should have a better feel then about where we stand. So I hope...
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-2020, 03:50 PM   #336
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Still on cloud nine...
Still going strong.

Everything that went wrong last season, well, the coin flip apparently is going the other way this season. There probably are many reasons why things are clicking this season, but the night and day difference with pretty much the same bunch of guys is unusual.

No time for long game recaps this time, but we had a strong couple in Houston and at home against Bordeaux.

In Houston we posted a 24-10 win. The defense sacked their quarterback 7 times and with 2 pick sixes to open the score, we really dominated until they finally pulled their quarterback and made a late game surge to, well, still come 2 touchdowns short.

Against Bordeaux it was a 38-10 win. Moe Sheldon and Theodore Bondy connected on a 92-yard touchdown early on and supported by a defense that silence their running game and held them to 234 total yards, it was smooth sailing. Sheldon finished the day with 319 yards and 5 touchdown passing, earning Solecismic Player of the Week honors. Bondy gained 204 yards and scored 2 touchdowns on 8 catches, as a result receiving DogBytes player of the week.

The connection between all the units of the team is working wonders. The defense and special teams unit so far are playing top of the league level. The offense is getting by, flipflopping from decent, to efficient, to more recently two big games from Theo. Old times reliving?

As a result, Moe Sheldon's position as our starting quarterback is more secure than ever. This was only his second 300-yard performance in his 3 and a half seasons with us, previous one in a losing effort even, but I'm feeling more confident that he'll keep getting the job done. And all that without our anchorman of the O-Line Butch Pearson.

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

No looking back, the next game will be an early chance for an all or nothing. Yes, we're going to Gothenburg.

Their third year quarterback Mercury Pierce sees his team struggling with getting the wins, but his throwing numbers are hardly worse than last season, you could even say he's even improved. Their running game is struggling as Jack Crane has been held to 3.4 yards per carry, opposed to his 4.4 of last season, while running for less than 80 yards per game, whereas last season was over 100 yards per game. But, we know very well that we are perhaps Crane's favorite opponent.

So yes, we're much improved compared to last season, but it's perhaps just little things that's making it happen. First of all, by keeping the roster together for the most part, cohesion has slowly returned to the levels we've been used to. It takes quite some time to recover from mass departure like we had three seasons ago. The changes otherwise are very small.

At tight end we've made rookie Clarence Gore our second most targeted player, while George Stuckey (almost dumped on roster cut day) has grown into the WR3 spot and is basically our WR2 now ahead of Branden Sandlin. On the O-Line we're actually downgraded from Butch Pearson to Mark Silvan, with Michael Szott moved inside from guard to center.

On the D-Line we're giving Darien Fletcher and Jumbo Mojica less playing time, but apparently it's working for them and we can't say Kurt Ackerman and A.J. Ritt are horribly change of pace replacements. In the secondary it's Devon Farrell who's stepped in in place of Alexander Marty, while Chuck Murray took over from Salvador Harper.

But it's all pretty much pointless to talk about if we somehow falter in the second half of the season. We're only 9 games in, our goal is to play 19 games, with 20 being acceptable if we manage to choke the bye week slot that we currently virtually hold. Road game in Gothenburg, I'm sure the Giants are up to it and have something special planned for tomorrow's blockbuster game. I'm confident we can win this one, but realistically this is one of the games you'd pencil as a loss before the season start. But it's still a game to be played, we have what it takes, at least this season... If this reborn THeodore Bondy can keep it up, we'll have a serious shot at it.
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2020, 04:14 PM   #337
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Game of the season in week 11?
It sounds weird, but that's close to how it was.

Gothenburg Giants, on the road. It has become a returning matchup in our schedules to play there in week 11 of the season. Week 17 of 2087 was the last time we won in their place, while week 1 of 2089 was the last time we beat them at home. At the same time, the last time we were 7-1-1 or better going into week 11 was before we won our first IHOF Bowl: in 2065 we started the season with an 11-1 record, then chocked not just the #1 seed, but even missed a bye at 12-4 and crashed out in Houston in the conference semi finals. A season later we made it all okay with our first and so far only IHOF Bowl victory. That was in 2066, we also played in Gothenburg in week 11 and after a 28-23 victory there we were feeling quite good about our 7-2-1 record. Today, we had a chance to do even better than that.

For a game of the season, it would be neat to go over all that happened, but looking over how the game evolved, it wasn't a barnburner, it was a defensive struggle, or a festivity if you like. We held them to a 39-yard field goal on their first drive, to a 52-yard field goal on their second drive and before the first quarter was over they had driven for a touchdown and a 13-0 lead. At that point, our defense woke up and started playing like how they have all season long, matching the stingy defense that Gothenburg was putting on the field.

19 minutes into the game, we finally got on the scoreboard on a 34-yard field goal after starting the drive at the Giants' 47-yard line. They responded with a 40-yard field goal and on our next drive a 34-yard pass from Moe Sheldon to Clarence Gore (this kid deserves to be in the talks for rookie of the year) was the key play on our touchdown drive to a 16-9 deficit, the extra point was missed.

The second half was even more defense heavy. The first drive, ours', ended in a 48-yard field goal (so, we do at times follow instructions!) and made it 16-12. Shortly before the end of the third quarter, Gothenburg reached our red zone, saw Archie Exner make a crucial sack and the 29-yard field goal made it 19-12 for them.

The fourth quarter was a rough start for us as we got pinned as deep as you can be: at our own 1-yard line. Moe Sheldon used his receivers well: 13 yards to Theodore Bondy, 10 yards to Branden Sandlin (yes, back in action!), 13 yards to George Stuckey and 12 yards to Sandlin to reach midfield, at which point Bondy dropped a third down pass that forced us to punt after all. We had hoped to be winning the field position battle, but Sheldon took a sack on third down as our green left guard failed to hold ground. The Giants orchestrated a strong time and time outs draining drive, giving us little chance to do anything in the final minute to do about the unavoidable 19-12 loss. And so it went, somehow we fucked up with a 2-yard gain on what was supposed to be a long throw and when we had time left for two more plays, Moe Sheldon went for a scramble, didn't go out of bounds, leaving no time left for a hail mary.

On the day, we gave up 330 total yards, Jack Crane once again ran for 100 yards on us. In return, Moe Sheldon threw for only 147 yards, Theo Bondy gained only 48 yards, Clarence Gore 47, Branden Sandlin 38. Reggie Thongchanh lead our running game missing in action with 56 yards. The punters had a fun game though. Our pass rush was to our standards, disrupting 15 of 41 pass plays, while the secondary and Clayton Jackson defended 6 passes.

Standings:
1. Maassluis 7-2-1
2. Gothenburg 6-4
3. Paris 4-6
4. Bordeaux 3-7

Our season continues with no less than 4 straight home games, three of these opponents are currently 6-4, one of them is 2-8. If we don't do anything remotely stupid, week 15 will be a rematch with the Giants in Oranje Haven and a win should secure the division title and most likely the #2 seed. But yeah, that's getting way, way, way ahead of things. We should take it game by game. The Chicago Norsemen are up next. It seems the current management has finally fixed their former #2 overall pick quarterback Brady Ladner, while their running game is somewhat starting to look like what people were used to see from that franchise. Their defense is solid, this is no cakewalk, no matter what Vegas says: Maassluis by 8, seriously!?

Well, we'll find out this weekend whether we can rebound quickly and continue what so far has been a strong season. Keep it up, 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 : 07-24-2020 at 04:14 PM.
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2020, 06:33 AM   #338
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Not this again...
Has the choking began?

First give some credits where due. Week 12 featured a game against the Chicago Norsemen, as I mentioned before the game, a team with a talented defense and ditto quarterback. But with that out of the way, we were finally back at home after all those road games so far this season, the games where we actually should be favored to win. And then this happens, the defense plays okay, but the offense goes completely missing in action. And we actually still had chances to win this game, virtue of the defense, but a couple of missed field goals from, what so far has been a reliable kicker, made our small chances vanish. Gosh, what an awful performance.

First play of the game, for whatever dubious reasons the play collapses, Moe Sheldon goes for a run and basically goes nowhere. Two plays later, the line collapses and Sheldon looks just happy to throw it away. We get the ball back after our own defense forces three and out, but on the next drive, Sheldon doesn't throw the ball away in time and as he gets bowled over, he fumbles the ball and gives Chicago takes full advantage with a 19-yard run to set up their touchdown for a 7-0 lead. Next drive, Sheldon starts running again and on third down he throws backward to a far from open Theodore Bondy. But on the following drive, Kirk Hitchcock shifts momentum with an interception near midfield. We drive downfield, but Mark Giles shanks a 43-yard field goal, this is usually just a walk in the park for him (sigh).

Defenses continue to dominate and we get the ball at our 4-yard line to start the second quarter. We get a semi-decent drive going, but eventually it's just enough to shift field position to have Chicago pinned at their 4-yard line. Despite their efficient third down play, to get within field goal range, a holding penalty sabotages their drive and we are lucky to force them to punt. Moe Sheldon continues to be unable to connect with Theodore Bondy, as Theo drops a pass (seriously, Theo!?) and then a cornerback blitzing out of a linebacker role blocks the pass on third down. A 45-yard punt return (yay, our special teams unit has fallen apart all of a sudden as well) gives them a really short field and we're lucky to come away with allowing a 27-yard field goal for a 10-0 deficit. A nice kickoff return and a 33-yard reception then seem to get us quickly into scoring position, but the catch is called back for a holding penalty and the first half ends there, with Chicago leading 10-0.

Second half, Chicago has first possession. Despite solid play on first and second downs, we give up four straight third down conversions. Their fifth attempt finally gets halted, but a 46-yard field goal does give them a 13-0 lead after 9 minutes of play. Our offense continues to not know how to make plays, but Jackie Richardson accounts for the second interception of the game on Chicago's next offensive play, returning it all the way to their 12-yard line. Of course we continue to play hilariously bad on offense and a 21-yard field goal is all we can get. Our defense then makes a strong statement on the next drive, making back to back sacks to pin the Norsemen deep and after a smooth punt return we're already in their half.

Fourth quarter, still trailing 13-3. We're still struggling, but a face mask penalty on one of their linebackers saves the drive. Inside their red zone, Moe Sheldon actually finds Theodore Bondy for a third down conversion and two plays later, Reggie Thongchanh runs it in from 6 yards out to make it 13-10, still in Chicago's advantage. They continue their clock draining game plan, but once they get close, we actually stuff their running back on second down and as their kicker shanks a 38-yard field goal, we've got about 4 minutes left to do something to avoid back to back losses. A third down failure gets called back as the player that batted down the ball was offsides, but three plays later, we're still far from moving the chains and we punt. A third takeaway almost appears, but they recover the ball on their dropped punt return. We're forced to put all our time outs into stopping them from eating the clock, but we get the ball back at our 19-yard line. Moe Sheldon quickly finds Theodore Bondy for a long pass turning into a 38-yard gain and before he can spike the ball to set up for a (probably not even called) hail mary attempt, encroachment is called on one of their players. We end up with a 55-yard field goal opportunity, but Mark Giles' kicking leg is too wimpy, so it appears, and as the ball falls short, so do we as a team: the 13-10 loss at home becomes reality.

In a defensive slugfest, we managed to gain 162 total yards. It's actually credits to our defense and Chicago's ill timed penalties to give us a chance to even try to tie it up that late in the game. Moe Sheldon actually completed 14 of 26 passes, but for only 119 yards. As if the receivers all decided to run backwards when they were supposed to go long... Theodore Bondy's late game reception actually made him the receiving leader of the game with 68 yards. Our running game was for the second straight game missing in action. Francisco Patter gained a grand total of 7 yards, Thong' at least got 45 yards on the ground.

Mark Giles' 55-yard field goal miss is, well, we can forgive him, but that earlier miss really made things so much harder on us. We got lucky that Chicago returned the favor to even get into that 55-yard opportunity.

Looking around the league, other teams in the AOC apparently also really struggled today. Turnovers made the Tucker Tigers throw away a win that could have pretty much secured the #1 seed, falling 27-24 at home to the Williamsburg Colonials. The Houston Mustangs fell 36-21 at the Outer Banks Ospreys, as did teh Fort Wayne Fury 27-14 at the Texas Sharks. It means the deep south division leaders continue to sit 1.5 wins behind us with tie-breakers obviously in our advantage. The Gothenburg Giants fell 22-17 at the now 3-8 Arizona Miners, in a remarkable fashion as they gained 550 yards and allowed 356 yards. Yes, football can be cruel at times, today it apparently was for a lot of teams that felt like they were cruising. The Southeast teams that all started so well behind Tucker have all gone 1-2 in their last three games, meaning that sweep of the wild cards has suddenly become much less of being a given, although still likely to happen.

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

Our journey continues with a home game against the Snapfinger Jazz. They're sitting 7-4 and are coming off an impressive 27-10 victory at the Brooklyn Fightin' Bums to snap a two-game losing streak. They rank #1 in the league in takeaways, by a very wide margin. We'll have to return to our A or at least B game, as we've done before this current 2-game losing streak. We should be able to do that, but after these last two games, I don't think we can write in any more remaining games as a clear cut victory, especially not against a 7-4 team that's seriously fighting for their chances to make the post season as a wild card team. Their running game is below average, their passing game very efficient. Their pass defense on par with ours as being amongst the better 20%, their run defense is beatable.

One game at a time, I know that's what we should do, but I'm weak at that. Thankfully I have no influence on my players, as far as I know, they're really treating it on a one game at a time basis. So, Merchantmen, do your thing. Stop that pass and run and let the offense score just enough points to get a close win here. We got this, just do it.
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2020, 03:36 PM   #339
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: that 2090 rookie class...
Nah, I'm not going to call them the Brady Bunch.

Yes, we've still got 9 guys on roster, with Brandon Brady the most promising of them all. It still means 6 guys haven't survived the roster cut waves that we've gone through after picking and signing them. Two of them are already out of football (pick 7.17 C Dwayne Gullett, undrafted LB Ruben Caminiti), two are backups elsewhere in the league (pick 4.20 WR Griffin Iafigliola, pick 5.17 WR Trey Samuels) and two are without a team (pick 5.19 DT Tyrone Hansen, pick 6.18 QB Carlton Mathews).

I'm going to compare the players' current scouting report with the reports that we had for the draft. This is after interviews of Gaynor (hard to read) and Brady (hard to read), as both were potential first round targets for us going into the draft.

1.17 TE Clay Gaynor
For now, Gaynor appears to be topping out slightly below the top end of what he was scouted at.
Code:
rn bl XXXXX+____ 45/55 (60-70) ps bl XXXXXXX___ 75/75 (80-90) bl sl XXXX______ 35 (35-45) av dr XX________ 20 (35-45) gt dw XXXXXX____ 55/55 (65-75) rt rn XXXXX+____ 50/60 (60-75) 3d ct XXXXXXXX__ 80 (85-100) bg pl XXXX______ 40 (40-50) coura XXXXXX____ 60/60 (65-80) ad bl XXXXX_____ 50/50 (55-65) endur XXXXXXXX__ 75 (80-90) sp tm XXXXXXX+__ 75/80 (80-95)

1.19 SLB Brandon Brady
Brady seems to sit pretty much amidst what he was supposed to become. He's amongst the top 10 players of this class in raw talent.
Code:
run d XXXXXXXXXX 95 (75-85) pr tc XXXX______ 40 (35-45) pr st XXX_______ 35 (20-35) mtm d XXXXXXX___ 65 (60-70) zon d XXXXXX____ 60 (55-65) bnr d XXXXXXXX__ 80 (85-95) ply d XXXXXXXXXX 95 (85-100) p hit XXXX______ 35 (35-45) endur XXXXXXXX__ 85 (80-95) sp tm XXXXXXXXX_ 85 (75-90)

2.18 WR George Stuckey
Still an enigma to me, can this kid play football? Other GMs say this skill set is what a modern WR needs, I guess I'm still stuck (ha!) with grading big-play receivers ahead of those that can get downfield. Both is obviously even better, but Stuckey isn't the guy that can run the 40 under 4.50. (Actually, he clocked a 4.49 before training camp.)
Code:
av dr XX+_______ 20/35 (30-60) gt dw XXXXX+____ 55/65 (60-85) rt rn XXXX+++___ 40/75 (65-90) 3d ct XX+_______ 25/25 (25-50) bg pl XXX_______ 25 (15-40) coura XXXXXXXX++ 80/100 (75-100) ad bl XXX+______ 25/45 (30-60) pnt r __________ 0 (0-25) kck r __________ 0 (0-25) endur XXXXXX++__ 65/75 (75-100) sp tm XXXX+_____ 40/50 (35-60)

2.20 K Mark Giles
Giles seems to be less than we hoped for, despite being in the top10 in raw talent of this class.
Code:
k acc XXXXXXXXX_ 85 (75-100) k pwr XXXXXX____ 55 (50-75) ko di XXXXXXX___ 70 (65-90) ko ht XXXXXXXX__ 75 (70-95)

undrafted RG Marvin Silvan
Clearly was overrated, but this season he's actually starting for us with Butch Pearson out.
Code:
rn bl XXX++_____ 30/45 (50-75) ps bl XXXX+_____ 35/50 (60-85) bl st X_________ 10 (0-25) endur XXXXXX+___ 60/70 (60-85)

undrafted MLB Brant Rayburn
Special teamer and this season he's actually playing on that unit.
Code:
run d XXX_______ 25/35 (10-35) pr tc XXXXX+____ 55/60 (35-65) pr st XXX_______ 30 (25-55) mtm d XXXXX_____ 45/50 (15-40) zon d XXXX______ 40/45 (35-65) bnr d XXXXXX____ 55/60 (45-75) ply d XX________ 15/15 (10-35) p hit XXXXXXX___ 65 (55-85) endur XXXX+_____ 45/50 (20-50) sp tm XXXXXXXXX_ 85 (65-90)

undrafted CB Adam Harmon
Spent most of this season inactive, but lately I gave him the 46th active slot to gain some experience.
Code:
run d X+________ 10/20 (5-30) mtm d XXXXX++___ 50/65 (65-90) zon d XXXXXXX++_ 70/85 (70-100) bnr d __________ 0 (0-30) ply d __________ 0 (0-30) p hit __________ 0 (0-30) inter XXXX______ 40/40 (55-85) pnt r __________ 0 (0-30) kck r XXXXX_____ 45/55 (50-80) endur XXX_______ 25 (20-45) sp tm XXXXXX____ 55/60 (65-95)

undrafted SS Chuck Murray
Turning out to be close to as advertised, he's replacing our starting free safety on downs where the opponent plays with few wide receivers.
Code:
run d XXXXX_____ 50 (35-65) mtm d XX+______ 25/25 (11-40) zon d XXXXXX+___ 65/65 (40-70) bnr d X_________ 10 (0-30) ply d XXXX______ 40/40 (30-60) p hit XXXXX_____ 50 (35-65) inter XXXXXXXXX_ 85 (55-80) pnt r __________ 0 (0-30) kck r __________ 0 (0-30) endur X_________ 10/10 (0-30) sp tm XX________ 15/15 (5-30)

undrafted FS Jon Brotzman
Mostly a special teamer, but is growing into being a suitable dime or nickelback. We might need him there next season when cap hell breaks loose.
Code:
run d __________ 0 (0-30) mtm d XXXX______ 40/45 (35-60) zon d XXXXXXX+__ 65/85 (60-85) bnr d __________ 0 (0-30) ply d XXXXX+____ 50/60 (55-85) p hit XXX_______ 30 (15-45) inter XXXXX_____ 50 (60-85) pnt r __________ 0 (0-30) kck r __________ 0 (0-30) endur XXXX______ 35/40 (25-55) sp tm XXXXXXXXX_ 95 (70-100)


A fine class, still. But the actually plan was to compare Gaynor with Clarence Gore, our 5th round rookie. So let's get onto that now:
Code:
2090 1.17 TE Gaynor vs 2091 5.23 TE Gore rn bl XXXXX+____ 45/55 rn bl XX+_______ 20/30 ps bl XXXXXXX___ 75/75 ps bl XXXXX++___ 55/70 bl sl XXXX______ 35___ bl sl XXXXXXXX__ 75 av dr XX________ 20___ av dr __________ 5/5 gt dw XXXXXX____ 55/55 gt dw X_________ 10/10 rt rn XXXXX+____ 50/60 rt rn XXXXXX++__ 65/80 3d ct XXXXXXXX__ 80___ 3d ct XXX+______ 35/35 bg pl XXXX______ 40___ bg pl XXXXXXXX__ 80 coura XXXXXX____ 60/60 coura __________ 0/0 ad bl XXXXX_____ 50/50 ad bl XXXXXXXX++ 80/100 endur XXXXXXXX__ 75___ endur XXXXXX+___ 55/65 sp tm XXXXXXX+__ 75/80 sp tm XXX+______ 30/35
Gaynor made enough progress in the blocking department to make him play on running packages with 2 tight ends. Gore looked promising enough to make him our premier receiving tight end and has very steadily improved his route running skills to already being in the 60 range. In the end, I suppose we'll have to see what we can do with playing a lot more 2TE formations and put them both on the field. It can't hurt to have two guys that can catch the ball, compared to having none since Monty Elliott retired in the 2085 off-season.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

Last edited by MIJB#19 : 07-25-2020 at 03:39 PM.
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2020, 05:20 PM   #340
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Sometimes the scoreboard is too flattering
And this Clarence Gore kid, I think he's pretty good.

Smooth sailing, that's what we did today in Oranje Haven. The Snapfinger Jazz were coming to Maassluis, hoping to improve to 8-5 and make the Southeast division hold the four best win-loss records in the conference. We were just hoping to snap a two-game losing streak, an unfamiliar feeling after a stretch of 8 weeks without a loss.

Snapfinger had the ball first, but our defense played it well, with Kirk Hitchcock making a crucial pass deflection on third and short to force three and out. Reggie Thongchanh made a nice 17-yard punt return and Clay Gaynor followed it up with a 31-yard catch from Moe Sheldon's first pass for the day. Three plays later, Sheldon found his other young tight end Clarence Gore for a 25-yard touchdown. Welcome back offense for the 7-0 lead. The Jazz replied with a strong drive, but as they were about to break into our red zone, Hitchcock made a well timed interception. The offense was held short, but momentum was clearly broken. Snapfinger didn't play all that bad on their next drive, but three penalties did them in. Moe Sheldon responded with a 32-yard pass to Clarence Gore, but as that was all we gained, we punted to maintain the 7-0 lead.

Early in the second quarter, the defense held the Jazz short and Reggie Thongchanh responded with a 26-yard punt return to quickly march into their half of the field. Unamused about the lack of targets, Theodore Bondy made the best of his first, making it a 28-yard gain to burst in the red zone, two plays later followed by having Moe Sheldon find George Stuckey for the 14-0 lead. The defense was supreme again, while Thongchanh added a 17-yard punt return to start yet another drive in their territory. Bondy made a third down conversion (yes, he can, he still can!), while Stuckey made a 13-yard catch to get into field goal range. Mark Giles converted the 21-yard attempt to make it a 17-0 lead. But the Jazz weren't quite there yet in terms of misfortune (or our fortune was on goinig) as Brandon Brady made in interception in our red zone and brought it back 25 yards. A penalty seemingly was going to hurt our last drive before half time, but Clarence Gore made a 13-yard catch, followed by Bondy's 14-yarder to move the chains. As time expired, Giles successfully kicked a 47-yard field goal for a 20-0 lead.

Second half, we returned it and as the kick didn't fly deep enough, Santiago Messenger got the opportunity to show his skills and moves it 58 yards to get quickly into scoring position. Clarence Gore then made a chains moving catch and followed up with a sweet 23-yarder, coming just short of his second touchdown. Due to penalty, we got no less than 5 opportunities from inside their 3-yard line and Francisco Patter converted that fifth one for a 27-0 lead. The defense then continued with a solid three and out, while Reggie Thongchanh's punt returning skills resulted in a 25-yard gain and another drive started past midfield. Clarence Gore made a 23-yard catch on third and not so easy to get into field goal range and Mark Giles eventually converted the 33-yard kick for a 30-0 lead. The Jazz had already replaced their quarterback at half time, but on their second drive they thought it was going to make a difference. It didn't and punting was their faith once again, this time saved by a touchback. Theodore Bondy made a big 18-yard catch on third and long shortly before the end of the quarter to keep the ball and the 30-0 lead.

Moe Sheldon showed a more efficient run than he did in recent games, to march into Snapfinger field on the first play of the fourth quarter. But that was just that and punting was were it ended this time around. With an on fire Jessie O'Neal at quarterback, the Jazz all of a sudden started to play better and with several chains moving passes, they reached and succeeded a 37-yard field goal. We tried to respond with a clock draining drive, but after six runs, we were forced to punt after all. With O'Neal trying to move the visitors quickly, he missed one of his tight ends and saw Kirk Hitchcock grab the ball instead, making it his second interception of the game. With the score still 30-3, we simply went into run up the middle mode, while the Jazz responded with two decente throws, but left the time outs unused o see the game come to an end.

As we outgained the Jazz by only 30 yards today, there wasn't much more the offense could have done. By starting our drives on average at our 41-yard line, we simply didn't need to gain a lot of yards to get into scoring position. In return, their five visits to our half of the field resulted in 3 interceptions, 1 scored field goal and time expiring.

Moe Sheldon received player of the game accolades with 254 yards and 2 touchdowns passing, but rookie tight end Clarence Gore was clearly his favorite target today with 7 catches for 123 yards and a score. Reggie Thongchanh's punt returning was outstanding today, while the 3 interceptions pretty much made the lack of pass rush pressure today nearly go by unnoticed. Nearly, as I certainly did see how we failed to make a single sack and had just 5 hurries on 31 pass plays.

With the Gothenburg Giants dropping 33-28 at the Tucker Tigers (they saw their first three possessions all end in interception), our division title chances moved back up. Of course, the Tigers' win also means our chances for home field advantage dropped, but with these matchups, it's always one team we hope to see stumble will have to win.

Division standings:
1. Maassluis 8-3-1
2. Gothenburg 6-6
3. Paris 6-6
4. Bordeaux 4-8

We're back into the winning ways, but we can't start thinking we're already there. We'll be facing a reborn Arizona Miners, 4-8 but on a 2-game winning streak. But as Gothenburg will be visiting the 8-4 Chicago Norsemen and Paris hosting the 6-6 Iowa Cobbers, it's technically possible we'll lock up the division in week 14.

4-8 or what not, the Miners started the season by upsetting the reigning champions, the Kansas Creationists, and two weeks ago beat the Gothenburg Giants. We can't go out there and think it's an easy victory, there's quite simply no such thing in the IHOF. We have to work hard, make plays, have our guys do their thing and that's the way to make this winning season become more than just that. This looks like it's on a mission, so keep it up guys!
__________________
* 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 : 07-27-2020 at 05:21 PM.
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2020, 03:37 PM   #341
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: One week closer to the division title
We can clinch in our last home game.

That's the scenario for tomorrow, but first, let's recap why we're closing in on that division title. We were playing our seventh home game of the season, facing the visiting Arizona Miners, on paper one of the least impressive opponents on our regular season schedule. The recently completely baffled all in and around the league with an unlikely win against the Gothenburg Giants. But that was in their house.

The tone of the game was set within just over three minutes. Miners had first possession, first urn stopped at the line, second run was tackle by our free safety Riddick Newsome for a 7 yard loss, with a fumble and our strong safety Devon Farrell recovered it inside their red zone. Four plays later, Reggie Thongchanh bulldozed it in from a yard out: 7-0 Maassluis. After three and out, Thongchanh tried to make it his show with a 26-yard punt return to burst inside their half and an 11-yard run to get into field goal range, but it was Francisco Patter with a 27-yard run to double the score to 14-0. Three and out by our defense helped us get into their half quickly again, but a sack on third and short held us short and forced us to punt. The Miners thought they had found life, but we returned the favor with a sack on third down to halt them near midfield and Thongchanh replied with another strong punt return.

Second play of the second quarter, Moe Sheldon finds Theodore Bondy for a 24-yard gain on a screen pass, but on his next three passes all to Clarence Gore, Sheldon goes 1 of 3 for just 4 yards But no worries, after a solid punt and an ill timed penalty, the Miners had to start at their 2-yard line. Three and out fall on a holding penalty, but another third down sack forced them to punt from their 4-yard line. The Reggie Thongchanh show continued with a 16-yard punt return and a 15-yard run, but George Stuckey got the 21-0 lead on the board with a 28-yard catch. The same story continued as our defense kept them short, Thong' had a nice punt return, alternated chains moving runs with Francisco Patter, but this time Clarence Gore made the key play with a 29-yard catch, but Thong' had the final word with hes second short touchdown run of the game: 28-0 Maassluis. And then we still got another chance to put points on the scoreboard after a quick three and out. Theodore Bondy made a 29-yard catch, but a couple of penalties hurt us just enough to stop the drive from being a success and after a punt and a short run the half time break was there, with us leading 28-0.

The Miners thought they were going to score first in the second half, Making a 31-yard pass play to set up a 23-yard field goal attempt from Emmett Wells (the kid we released in favor of our current second year kicker Mark Giles), but star cornerback Jackie Richardson blocked the kick, keeping the chances for a shutout victory going. We got stopped quickly on our next drive, but so were they on another crucial third down sack, this time a co-operation of our defensive tackles Kurt Ackerman and Darien Fletcher. A defensive battle followed and neither offense could make much, if any progress in the next bunch of drives, meaning our 28-0 lead was maintained.

The fourth quarter continued the short drives, until we pinned Arizona at their 5-yard line, only to see them make 18-yard and 27-yard pass plays to reach midfield. With a 43-yard gain on a long throw, they reached our 7-yard line and they sealed the deal with a touchdown pass on third down. Trailing 28-7, the Miners opted to go for the onside kick, but possession was ours with 8 minutes to go. Francisco Patter quickly got us into field goal range with an 18-yard run, while Moe Sheldon found Theodore Bondy for an 11-yard gain to set up their 6-yard connection for the touchdown and a 35-7 lead. In the final four minutes, neither offense could move the chains, all that was left was Reggie Thongchanh improving on his punt return production with 16-yard and 24-yard gains to make it 172 yards for the day, apparently breaking a 42-year old franchise record by 2 yards.

More importantly, the victory was there, in a very smooth fashion. Sheldon completed 19 of 32 for 211 yards and 2 touchdowns, with his top receivers Theo Bondy (7 for 81 yards and a td), George Stuckey (5 for 59 yards and a td) and Clarence Gore (3 for 50 yards). The running backs Thongchanh (81 yards, 4.1 per carry, 2 td) and Patter (65 yards, 5.4 per carry, 1 td) both had a strong game.

Elsewhere in the league, the Gohenburg Giants tied 27-27 at the Chicago Norsemen, despite basically outplaying them, but a missed field goal and a pick six turned the score somewhat around and neither team scored in overtime. The Paris Musketeers leaned heavily on turnovers to beat the Iowa Cobbers 34-17 and consequently jumped past the Giants in the division.

Division standings:
1. Maassluis 9-3-1
2. Paris 7-6
3. Gothenburg 6-6-1
4. Bordeaux 4-9

With 3 games to go, this means a win or a tie against Gothenburg in our next game, our final regular season home game, will lock up the division. A loss will keep Gothenburg alive and subsequently Paris as well. The wild card hunt is getting pretty crowded as well, as the Southeast teams continue to play .500 ball after their collective strong starts.

Conference standings:
1. Tucker 11-2
2. Maassluis 9-3-1
3. Houston 7-6
4. North Plainfield 5-8
5. Augusta 8-5
6. Orlando 8-5
7. Snapfinger 7-6
8. Fort Wayne 7-6
9. Paris 7-6
10. Gothenburg 6-6-1
11. San Antonio 6-7
12. Atlanta 5-7-1

Augusta and Orlando will play head to head in Orlando in week 15. Snapfinger will visit Orlando in week 17. Paris will host Gothenburg in week 17. Fort Wayne hosts Houston in week 15 and Houston hosts San Antonio in week 17. Atlanta is mathematically still alive, but it's an incredible longshot.

For us, this situation means that if we secure the division with 1 more win or tie in any of our last three games, the #2 seed is also locked up, as we've got tie-breakers over Houston and Fort Wayne clinch by beating both head-to-head. The #1 seed is 1.5 wins ahead of us, it's really nothing we can even hope for. But if we somehow catch up, if just by matching Tucker's record, we'll likely have the tie-breakers as well.

But uhm, let's forget about the #1 seed. Beating Gothenburg will be the thing to do in week 15. That's where the focus should be. It will be a rare matchuo between the #1 defense in total yards allowed (Gothenburg) and #1 defense in points allowed (Maassluis). The way we've been playing, I think we've been the more impressive defense, so far, but they certainly taught us a lesson in their place. Winning this game will be key.

Speaking of key, we've got a tough decision to make as center Butch Pearson has been cleared to be ready to play, albeit still listed as questionable and most likely not back to 100% until the divisional round, which is hopefully the round where we play our first playoffs game after missing it entirely the last 3 seasons. Comes to show how spoiled we've gotten. Our last 4-season drought was in the 2049-'52 period, where we actually had no losing seasons and even missed the playoffs with a 11-5 record in 2051 and followed up by missing in with a 9-6-1 record the season after. A record that we can still end up having if everything falls apart and which quite possibly will mean missing the playoffs again.

Side stories wil be fun again if we win tomorrow. Gothenburg, in our place. We know we can beat them, go out there and make it happen, 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2020, 05:54 PM   #342
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Yes!
Back on top: division title secured!

Remember the 2078 season? You know the one, if you're a true fan, that season where we signed quarterback Bennett Morris for a season (I'm still disappointed he bailed on us after that one season) and picked Walt Blair (a running back of all positions, a kid that missed 6 games due to injuries and we let walk away after 4 seasons) in the first round. It was a fun season, because the offense was clicking (we were 2nd in scoring) and the defense was doing just enough to get us to an 11-5 record, our season ended in the conference championship game. Technically, we improved in 2079, Ellis McAlister's first season as a starter, with a 12-4 record, but it didn't feel as special.

It's early, but this season is starting to feel similar. Sure, we've got a great bunch of guys, that state of the art wide receiver in Theodore Bondy, a ditto future hall of fame cornerback in Kirk Hitchcock, perhaps our most talented offensive line ever, but more specifically a defense that's playing top of the league defense. It will take two serious beatings in the last two games to drop from the status of #1 in least points allowed.

Stop, wait, why are we looking to the big picture? Wasn't today, week 15, the game of the season? Why yes, it was supposed to be and it turned it to be the game where we secured the division title and a bye week as a bonus. The Gothenburg Giants came to Maassluis, a stingy defense, with an offense that in recent seasons somehow always plays above their standards against us, especially running back Jack Crane.

First quarter, first possession for Gothenburg. We manage to hold Jack Crane short and despite that they managed to reach midfield, we forced them to punt. Our first possession and things went, well, different from what we're used to. First, Moe Sheldon runs for 15 yards on third and long to move the chains, then he completes a 19-yard pass to run blocker Jeffery Blake and then on third and one Francisco Patter gets the ball and breaks out for 18 yards. George Stuckey then makes a 13-yard catch and although a sack forces us to kick the 31-yard field goal, the first signal was there: we were ready to beat that defense. Gothenburg reaches midfield again on their second drive, but Reggie Thongchanh does his punt return magic again with a 26-yarder to even things a bit. We're forced to punt quickly though, and then, when we least expect it, Mercury Pierece sees an opening in our defense, makes a deep throw to one of his receivers and he breaks away for a 61-yard touchdown. Gothenburg's 7-3 lead was there. Our reply? Moe Sheldon to rookie Clarence Gore for 43 yards to quickly move into their half of the field. Thongchang then runs for 16 yards, Patter for 15 yards, but a sack by Heath Oliver of all people (oh boy, was it a sad day when we had to let him go) breaks our stellar drive.

We get forced to settle for a 25-yard field goal and trailing 7-6, is this going to be another one of those games where we kick too much? The Giants first play in the second quarter: a 23-yard pass. later on in their drive, they convert on third and seven and then Jack Crane breaks away for a 31-yard reception. A tremendous goal line stand pushes them back, Gene Kondovski finally made a crucial sack, the man of $5M per sack, we're happy to see them kick the 30-yard field goal. Moe Sheldon then finds Theo Bondy on a triplet of short gains, while the Patter-Thongchanh tandem keeps the drive alive, all setting up Clarence Gore's drive anchoring 19-yard reception. Again, we settle for three points, but at 10-9 down, it's all still a game. No three and out on Gothenburg's next drive, it becomes three and picked off as free safety Riddick Newsome (so glad we kept this old guy around!) on a very deep throw. A couple of three and outs come next, but as we get one more possession before half time, our rookie revelation Clarence Gore makes a triple of big catches to reach their half and helped by a holding penalty, we get to see Mark Giles do the unthinkable: convert a 54-yard field goal to take a 12-10 lead.

The second half begins not so great for our offense as Moe Sheldon goes on a typical short scramble and Theodore Bondy let yet another third down catch slip through his fingers. But after three and out by our defense, the Clarence Gore show continues with a 14-yard catch to eventually see us punt, but at least start winning the field position battle. The start feeding it to Jack Crane more and more, but as we stuff him on second down, on third and pretty short we can afford to let him gain just half the distance to the first down. Theodore Bondy then does make a crucial third down catch and two plays later, Clarence Gore turns a screen pass into a 20-yard gain. Branden Sandlin makes a key third down catch, Bondy a 15-yard catch to reach the red zone and finally it's Sheldon to Gore for the touchdown and a 19-10 lead. The defense continues to get stronger, stuffing Crane for a 4-yard loss and then Andy Russell sacks Mercury Pierce on third and long to end the third quarter.

Our offense starts getting better and better, with Reggie Thongchanh and Francisco Patter splitting the good carries and Thongchanh also accounting for a 21-yard catch to burst into Gothenburg turf. George Stuckey then makes a nice 12-yard catch to help set up a 35-yard field goal for a 22-10 lead. Gothenburg responds with one of their stronger drives of the game, having their backup running back run for 27 yards, then seeing Mercury Pierce complete a 23-yard pass. A couple of penalties doesn't seem to hurt them, but on fourth down from our 40-yard line they go for it and Andy Russell blocks the pass to change possession. As we try to consolidate the 22-10 lead, we run on third and short, but see Patter fumble the ball and Heath Oliver recovers it at their 47-yard line. On the very next play, Archie Exner makes a strip sack, but the Giants recover the ball to avoid back to back turnovers. With a couple of 19-yard darts and an 11-yarder, they then quickly steamroll into our red zone. The touchdown becomes a reality 3 plays later, meaning we're still leading, but now 22-17 and Gothenburg will have roughly 3 minutes, which could be plenty if they can get the ball back quickly. An 8-yard pass to Stuckey to move the chains burns their second time out and around that play two runs take away the other ones. After the two-minute warning, Francisco Patter gets the ball one more time on a third and short situation and with a smooth 7-yard run he secures the 22-17 victory and the division title!

Division Standings
1. Maassluis 10-3-1
2. Paris 8-6
3. Gothenburg 6-7-1
4. Bordeaux 4-10

The Tucker Tigers secured the Southeast division, improving to 12-4, which means we're technically still in the race for the #1 seed, but will need to see them drop both of their remaining games, while we need to win both remaining road games. The other two division leaders in the AOC are more than 2 wins behind us, which means we've claimed a bye week already.

Moe Sheldon threw for 315 yards, with 1 touchdown and thankfully stayed away from the turnovers. Clarence Gore made 8 catches for 145 yards and 1 touchdown. Who would have thought we'd find our new WR2 at the tight end position with a fifth round pick? I bet nobody did, not even the miracle drafter running the Hanalei Dragons franchise.

Securing not just the division title, but also the bye week, means it's very tempting to make some changes to the starting lineups. The obvious changes will be made for sure: dinged up players like Butch Pearson, Howard Humphrey and Brandon Brady will be benched or even made inactive. These are the no-brainers.

Second in line will be a consideration to give an additional 2 weeks off (they better not get rusty!) to our old cornerback duo of Hitchcock and Richardson, our all-time receiving leader Theodore Bondy, our main ball carrier Thongchanh (sorry for then missing the chance to break the single season punt return yard record) and most notably inactivating Moe Sheldon, our breakout quarterback. In his tenth season in the league, he's finally living up to his "one of the most careful quarterbacks" reputation, with 24 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in 14 games for 457 pass attempts.

A couple of guys will definitely not get benched, we're going to give our rookies all the playing time they could use and although we have no really intentions or desire to boost any individual statistics and honors, it will give Clarence Gore a chance to show all those fancy first round wide receivers from his draft class that it's not always about being a high first round pick.

#2 pick Samuel Mustard bombed for Chicago, he's been inactive all season
#3 pick Norm Clements already has 93 catches for 1,010 yards for Arizona
#4 pick Bryson Zimmerman played in only 7 games so far, gaining just 305 yards
#7 pick Julian Franklin so far has 25 catches for 216 yards for Rochester
#10 pick Alan Kingsley has 51 catches for 454 yards for Atlanta
#12 pick Tristan Powell has 64 catches for 718 yards for Hanalei
#16 pick Elijah Sabol has 59 catches for 511 yards for Orlando
#27 pick Bryant Lake has 9 catches for 79 yards for San Antonio
#31 pick Nicholas Robinson is starting for Tucker, but has 1 catch for 18 yards

Yes, our own second round wide receiver Rickey Lyle has been active in only 6 games and has gotten 0 looks so far. But fifth round pick Clarence Gore has been a surprise, being the second most productive rookie with 68 catches for 796 yards, sitting just ahead of Powell and only behind Clements. His 7 receiving touchdowns are actually the highest amongst all rookies. He does trail Paris' running back Bob Yanez in total touchdowns though.

But most of all, Gore has made tremendous progress and has proven to be the alternate to Bondy that he's been missing for so long. It hasn't just helped Bondy improve to a career high 8.75 yards per target, but at the same time has made Moe Sheldon turn from 'just a starter' to a potential pro bowler.

So, what's next? Two more games in Iowa and Paris. Surely we hope to win, we hope to see very eager youngsters gel with healthy veterans. Finishing the regular season with a 12-3-1 record would be nice, but 10-5-1 would, given the situation now, be acceptable. Once before have we finished a season 10-5-1 before. It was the season Shaun "The Behemoth" Hartman lifted our first IHOF Bowl trophy. We hope to repeat history...
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2020, 12:50 PM   #343
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: No new injuries
One more game to hope the key players stay healthy.

Nah, we didn't go fully into pre-season mode, but I went through with the plan to rest many key players. I had hoped the defense could get by without Brady, Hitchcock and Richardson, while expecting the offense to not fall apart without Sheldon, Thongchanh, Bondy and Humphrey. So, Brandon Bell got his chance to show what he can do, while the defense (with the entire D-Line playing) had a chance to break the Iowa Cobbers' sack magnet. But hey, it's still football, sometimes freaky stuff happens. So, Brandon Bell got sacked 4 times (Francisco Farley once as well), while Iowa's sack magnet was sacked once and hurried three times. Yeah, so much for that working as one would expect.

So, we ended up losing 26-3, with two fumbles and one interception from Bell becoming crucial. Okay, I think we can now safely say he's never going to get any better than he was in his rookie season, it was all a fluke. Unless this game and all those last season were...

Standings:
1. Maassluis 10-4-1
2. Paris 8-6-1
3. Gothenburg 6-8-1
4. Bordeaux 5-10

We're now locked into the #2 seed. We still would have with a victory today as the Tucker Tigers crushed the Brooklyn Fightin' Bums 42-17. Paris somehow has made a miracle comeback in the wild card race, despite a freaky 13-13 tie today, they have jumped ahead of the third and fourth placed teams in the Southeast, it's quite possibly they get into the post-season by not losing at home against Gothenburg in week 17.

Oh yeah, we'll be visiting the Bordeaux Vineyards. I hope we win, but not picking up new injuries will be more important. And then off to week 19, to host one of the wild card round winners.
__________________
* 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 : 07-30-2020 at 02:05 PM.
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2020, 11:07 AM   #344
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: One minor injury
That's pretty much all we could hope for.

No, it's actually too early to start cheering, because you never know what happens to our players over the bye week, viral infections, depressions, substance abuse withdrawal, impaired vision and other out of the blue injuries can still pop up.

We lost the last regular season game 27-10 in Bordeaux. The defense was horrendous, there's simply no excuse for what they did (1 sack, 2 hurried passes, 6.15 yards per carry allowed, 428 total yards allowed). It's terrifying, because I can't believe Brady, Hitchcock and Richardson make such a great difference for that unit, those three were the only ones left off the field. The offense wasn't up to par either. With Francisco Farley under center, we threw for 151 yards, with rookie Rickey Lyle catching 7 passes for 67 yards, George Stuckey 3 for 29 yards and Clarence Gore only 3 for 23 yards. Gore still finished second in receiving yards amongst rookies and first in receiving touchdowns. The offensive line with left tackle Nathan Hadinger and right guard Andre Watson in action allowed 3 sacks and let our starting running back Francisco Patter run for 21 yards on 9 carries. Change of pace rookie Trey Beyer gained 43 yards on 8 carries.

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

Indeed, Paris joins us into the playoffs, while defending #1 seed Gothenburg misses the playoffs, as did last season's #2 seed San Antonio. The playoffs field in the AOC:
Paris (9-6-1) at Houston (9-7)
Orlando (11-5) at North Plainfield (6-10)

If Paris wins, they will visit Tucker (14-2) in the divisional round, if Houston wins, they will come and visit us. Where Orlando or North Plainfield will go, depends on that #3 vs #6 matchup. Yup, we have a worse record than the #5 seed. More incredibly, the #4 seed won only 6 games.
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2020, 03:34 PM   #345
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: A couple of observation about the 2091 regular season
Cuz, you know, we're stats geeks, right?

Moe Sheldon completed 59.7% of his passes for 3,163 yards, 24 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. That's right, a 6:1 td:int ratio, best in the league. His passer rating as a result is 94.6, 3rd best in the league amongst qualifiers. Brandon Bell sucked in the 15 games he was active in (he got under center just once), Francisco Farley played, well, so-so. Farley must have been really happy to get a chance to play again after 60 games on the bench or even inactive.

Reggie Thongchanh ran for 801 yards with a 4.17 average, scoring 5 touchdowns. Francisco Patter ran for 669 yards (3.66 per carry) and 5 touchdowns. Rookie Trey Beyer ran for 202 yards (4.49 per carry) in relief when either half of the starting tandem was missing. We finished 8th in the league with 1,996 rushing yards (124.8 per game), but had no 100-yard rushers. Apparently not a first time occurrence, in 2077 our peak was 92 yards.

Theodore Bondy had 89 catches for 1,242 yards and 6 touchdowns, contrary to popular belief, he had only 6 dropped passes. Sure, that's a career low in yardage and touchdowns for Bondy, but he did have a career best 8.75 yards per target. Rookie TE Clarence Gore had 75 catches for 863 yards and 7 touchdowns. George Stuckey had 41 catches for 417 yards and 4 touchdowns, [b]Branden Sandlin[/i] had 32 catches for 356 yards and 1 touchdown.

G Michael Szott had 36 key run blocks, tying a career high, helped by playing at center in 14 games. RT Howard Humphrey had 33 key run blocks, G Andre Watson had 32 key run blocks, LT Nathan Hadinger had 21 key run blocks. Fill-in G Marvin Silvan had 21 key run blocks. C Butch Pearson was active in only two games: the first one and the division title clincher. FB Clay Brosseau had a career-high 11 key run blocks, which makes him 1st in the league amongst non-linemen.

The defensive line slowed down in the last bunch of games, combined with the team effort being key here, our team leader in sacks had a figure of 6.5. Our defensive ends were more than ever dividing it all: Tony Whiting 6.5, Gene Kondovski 6.0, Archie Exner 6.0, Andy Russell 6.0. DT Darien Fletcher had 4.5 sacks and led the linemen with 65 tackles. DT Jumbo Mojica was the other starter on the inside. We actually let Kurt Ackerman and A.J. Ritt play quite a bit on passing downs, which actually improved our pass rush threat on those down.

LB Brandon Brady will probably miss out on All-League honors due to missing the last two games, as with 104 tackles, 33 assists, 11 defended passes, 2 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles he was on pace for it. We increased Clayton Jackson's activity this season, while Daquan Espino got slightly more action than last season, but still much less than before his endurance drastically changed.

CB Kirk Hitchcock had 4 interceptions and 11 defended passes, CB Jackie Richardson had 2 interceptions and 10 defended passes. Rookie S Devon Farrell led the team with 12 defended passes, but hasn't made an interception yet. Maybe in the playoffs? As a team, we had just 11 interceptions, tied for 4th least in the league. It's interesting as we also rank tied for 4th least fumbles recovered.

Our special teams unit was far above average: we ranked 5th in punt return yards average, 4ht in kickoff return yards average, 10th in punt return yards allowed and 1st in kickoff return yards allowed. I may have cursed at K Mark Giles at times, but he missed 5 kicks all season, being 29/33 on field goals, 36/37 on extra points.

In the end, we're going to grade this season not just based on what we did during the regular season, but a season like this one will be a complete failure if we don't make it to the conference championship game at the very least. Going all the way is the dream, obviously, but realistically we'll be losing at the Tucker Tigers in the AOC Championship game, while the NAC has a couple of tough opponents as well from Kansas and Oakland. Speaking of which, it means we traded rookie T Douglas Grosz for S Devon Farrell and likely the 1.30 pick or so. Grosz is, by our staff, considered the best player in Oakland already. Sadly for them, he's out with a knee injury for the duration of the playoffs. A major reason why we rested a bunch of key players.

I dunno what else to report on. Many numbers are somewhat skewed due to the last two games. We still outscored our opponents 351-250 over 16 games. It still makes us 2nd in least points allowed, 14th in points scored (6th in the conference). Our margin of points is 2nd in the conference and 7th in the league. Would have, could have, it is what it is, you can't claim credits for what didn't happen.

Now, a week of much needed rest and then on to the new game of the season, whomever it will be we're going to face.
__________________
* 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 : 07-31-2020 at 03:35 PM.
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2020, 09:51 AM   #346
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
What if Osborne was given the start?
Football journalists can sometimes get caught philosophizing about what if situations. Football fans are much less blunt, they know what would have happened. Maassluis Merchantmen fans are no different, back in the 2040 playoffs, they knew one thing for sure: their team wouldn't have crashed out in the playoffs one and done after a 13-3 regular season had the team just stuck with their winning quarterback. This is the story of Harry Osborne.

The IHOF part of the story begins in the 2033 off-season. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Russell "Rusty" Harrison returned to the Maassluis Merchantmen. The 2020 #1 overall pick by the Merchantmen had been traded in the 2030 off-season to the Rochester Lake Monsters over salary cap woes and team management felt that, despite Harrison's talent, his injury proneness was a major concern and his backups had somewhat proven the team could still win games without "Rusty". But in the 2033 off-season Harrison was traded by the Lake Monsters to their nemesis Syracuse Mohawks, who in turn just used him as trade ware, moving him on back to Maassluis. Back home, Harrison played 2 more seasons in the IHOF, missing 12 regular season games and more importantly failing to guide his team to the playoffs.

The Merchantmen already had their replacement in the house in quarterback Jay McGee, a trade acquisition in that 2030 off-season to replace Harrison. But in an era where quarterbacks would get hurt often, top teams in the IHOF made sure they had a reliable backup to step in. McGee had actually been a reliable starter, missing not a single game in his first three seasons in Maassluis, replacing an injured Harrison in those 12 games and during several games. The Merchantmen still had Kerry Lewis on roster, primarily the kick holder in Maassluis.

In that 2035 off-season, the Merchantmen signed a former 2030 second round pick Craig Porter, who came off missing the entire 2034 season after being released by his original team, the Iowa Cobbers, as new management had no faith in him. Still, Merchantmen management felt that the league was evolving and expecting the see running quarterbacks become a thing in the 2040s. One particular player in the draft class had, aside from scoring the mirage number 28 on the Solecismic Score, a 7.42 agility score and for a quarterback those days clocked an impressive 4.56 on the 40-yard dash. More over, he was coming from Michigan, the school of quarterback, or so was popular belief in those days. Despite that scouts saw little passing skills at the IHOF level in him, he still somehow graded 61st overall of the entire draft class. By the middle of the third round, general manager M.IJ.B. couldn't help himself and with the #84 overall pick, the Merchantmen selected the 6'4" 233 pounds 23-year old Harry Osborne.

As he arrived in Maassluis, people in and around the club were still skeptic: could this guy be a future replacement for Jay McGee, the successor of Louie Flannery and "Rusty" Harrison, or the very least a reliable backup? The Merchantmen scouting staff graded Osborne 7/17 out of 100 in current ability and future potential. But it was just training camp, there's no risk in brining a rookie into it as the fourth option, maybe he turns out to be much better than advertised? Still, spending a third round pick was probably a bit too much, but the general manager was optimistic and to his peers was clear: "Harry Osborne is a quarterback project. Looks insanly lowly rated, but had the combine scores of the best QB in the class. Solecismic score and bench press numbers were somewhat disappointing, but otherwise all the signals of being becoming a [starting caliber] quarterback." And rightfully so, back in those days, the Merchantmen had a nose for raw talent.

Osborne had a fine training camp, was amongst the five most improved players of camp, but in that area was in the shadows of fellow rookies guard Julio Ferich and defensive tackle Dwight Hutton. At the same time, the Merchantmen staff was unimpressed by the veteran signing Craig Porter. As a result, Merchantmen management decided that Osborn would be the starting quarterback in the first two pre-season games, back then used to make the younger players accustomed to the team and give them a chance to prove their skills. Osborne threw for 174 and 162 yards and didn't quite show flashes of his supposed running skills.

Although he didn't win the QB2 spot, with the division title locked up and a bye week no longer a possibility, in the last two regular season games of the 2035 season against Iowa and Paris, Osborne got to start both games. In his Oranje Haven debut, he guided the Merchantmen to a 34-17 victory, completing 16 of 25 passes for 181 yards, with 1 touchdown and no turnovers, while running just 4 times for 13 yards. In another run heavy game, he completed 9 of 19 passes for 122 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception at Paris, while also showing his legs with a 17-yard run.

2036, Training camp number two. Story of the off-season was the trade up to pick wide receiver Terry Haskell. A kid that for a long, long time was underrated by the league scouts, but the Merchantmen knew what they were doing, traded a future first round pick to pick him and make the centerpiece of the offense for the next decade and a bit. With Jay McGee just turned 31, there was no real need to think about replacing him, the cohesion boosting Kerry Lewis would be the actual QB2 and Osborne would continue to be seen as the project of the future. Craig Porter didn't make the cut, it was clear that Osborne was given confidence. He had a fine training camp. His pre-season numbers were once again underwhelming, but patience is important with projects. In the regular season, it was Jay McGee's team. Except in week 3, when Osborne was shockingly throw in front of the Tucker Tigers in a loaded Oranje Haven. Osborne completed 20 of 37 passes for 231 yards, with 1 interception, while scrambling 4 times for 26 yards, without getting any first downs.

2037, third training camp. The scouting staff was convinced that Osborne had fully developed and should be considered to be a 18 out of 100 player. Merchantmen management was unimpressed by those reports, claiming to have seen this all before with other promising young players, including the hot up and coming wide receiver Terry Haskell, that the staff had claimed to have reached his potential by then, which he may have, but his statistics were clearly telling that he was much more than a 39 out of 100 graded player. Still, Kerry Lewis was promoted to the pre-season starting role, Osborne's chances to prove himself were limited. By the end of the season, he was still on team, but it was hard to believe he would ever become even the sought after QB2. The foresight for running quarterbacks to become a thing wasn't coming to life either. Patience was crucial.

2038, fourth training camp. The Merchantmen didn't even bother to bring a fourth quarterback to training camp, they were sticking with the threesome of the previous seasons. Osborne was back in action during the first two pre-season games, but once again was held under 200 yards passing. The Merchantmen continued to be the second best team in the conference, behind Jackie Collier and the Tucker Tigers, despite seeing Jay McGee lead them to beating them in week 5 that season, later on crashing at the Tigers in the playoffs. Osborne didn't see the field.

2039, fifth training camp. The Merchantmen brought in two undrafted rookies to challenge Osborne for the third slot in the quarterback group, was this the end? Earl Gretzky was dropped before pre-season, but Marshall Terry did make the pre-season roster. But instead, Kerry Lewis was the pre-season starter. By roster cut day, it was a tough decision, but the Merchantmen went with Osborne over Terry, despite that the latter was considered even more of a possible diamond in the rough project with tremendous upside. The Merchantmen cruised that season, becoming AOC Champions, but losing 23-10 in the IHOF Bowl.

2040, off-season. For the second time in franchise history, team management was struggling with contract negotiations with the starting quarterback, this time Jay McGee. The defending conference champions decided that quarterback was a plug and play position, the management was confident any quarterback could thrive with Terry Haskell and Donald Terry as his sidekicks, leaning on a traditionally strong defense. A former sixth round pick in his 11th season in the league, Stanley Bissel, a backup in Gothenburg the 5 prior seasons, was signed. Rickey McElrath was picked in the fifth round, a quarterback battle was about to emerge. Training camp came and Osborne looked even worse than he did before. But still hoping his less could one day become a thing, he made the pre-season roster, while rookie McElrath was cut. Bissel played with the starters in the first two pre-season games, while Kerry Lewis played with the backups in the second pair of games.

2040, opening week. Stanley Bissel got announced as the new starting quarterback for the Maassluis Merchantmen. Carried by a superior defense, a 20-3 victory in Paris was a welcome confidence booster. Stanley Bissel completed 22 of 34 passes for 235 yards, with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Week two, Bissel's offense still. Or not. Bissel got hurt on the first drive and all of a sudden, Harry Osborne was back in action after almost 4 full years of not playing a single down in a real game. With the support cast being all so familiar to him from the training sessions, Osborne completed 30 of 37 passes for 291 yards and a touchdown, guiding his team to a 36-3 victory.

2040, somewhere between week 2 and week 3. The awkward part of things was elsewhere. The Merchantmen had been working on a trade to acquire quarterback Harvey Corbett from the Snapfinger Jazz, their 2037 first round pick. The plan was to make Corbett the starter for week one, but apparently faith determined that it would have to be delayed until the win in Outer Banks. Merchantmen management made no secret of the intentions to release Osborne, but he wasn't to be informed until after completing the trade. The trade was finalized after all, but instead of releasing Osborne, it was the recently injured Stanley Bissel who would go to the injured reserve list. Going with the hot hand, Osborne got the start in the first home game of the season. After a perfect game, completing 24 of 31 passes for 388 yards and 6 touchdowns, Osborne was the new lucky charm, the fans were in love, Jay McGee was already forgotten.

2040, week 9. The Maassluis Merchantmen were red hot, showing a 7-0 record with 165 points scored and just 62 allowed. It was obvious that the Merchantmen weren't exactly winning because of Osborne, though, and the 3 turnovers in the home game against Paris made management decide that despite the winning streak, it was time to bring in the trade acquisition Corbett. In a road game against the 1-6 Houston Mustangs, Corbett lead the Merchantmen to a 38-3 victory, with 5 touchdown passes in his debut game. A week later, Corbett was still the starter, this time in a road game at a struggling Bordeaux, after a 24-17 loss, despite Corbett's decent play. Osborne was brought back in though and after two close home victories, the game of the regular season was dawning.

2040, week 13. Game of the week, if not of the whole regular season was on the schedule: A clash of the titans between the 10-1 Merchantmen and 11-0 Tucker Tigers in Tucker. While Osborne was struggling to connect with Terry Haskell, the Merchantmen defense that had been so impressive so far, had no answer to Jackie Collier and his deep throws. Although he completed only 9 passes to his two main targets, Earl Howard and Wes Banks turned those 9 catches into 261 yards and 4 touchdowns. Osborne still threw for 231 yards, but a career high 3 interceptions were quite the problem. A week later, after the hot hand had finally ran into a loss, it was another switch to Harvey Corbett and this time it resulted in a 38-7 victory over Texas. After a 34-30 loss in Gothenburg, the fans expected to see Osborne return, but Corbett continued to be the starter in the last two regular season games as well. The week 17 game against Bordeaux was kind of meaningless, as the #2 seed was guaranteed behind the 15-0 Tucker Tigers and ahead of the 11-4 Atlanta Vipers, so as the backups played in that final game, seeing Corbett play was seen as a signal that Osborne would be back in action in the playoffs.

2040, divisional round. The #3 seeded Vicksburg Vipers came to Maassluis' Oranje Haven and the home team had decided to make Harvey Corbett their quarterback. It turned into a downright disaster. The Merchantmen defense felt somewhat okay by letting the league best wide receiver Rickey Summers make 6 catches for 91 yards, but the key number of the game and talking point for the fans as well was Corbett's touchdowns and interceptions: 0 versus 4.

2041, off-season. The Merchantmen signed quarterback Skip Perron, but it was actually just to make some fog. The Iowa Cobbers had decided to let Perry Coleman walk into free agency and the Merchantmen snagged him up for a flat 3-year $26M contract. Back then, that was considered a lot of money. The controversy between Corbett and Osborne was over. Although, not entirely as both made the 53-men roster for the regular season. On opening weekend, it became immediately clear that Coleman was the man the Merchantmen had been waiting for as he guided the team to a 55-7 crushing of the Gothenburg Giants. Minor victory was for Osborne as he was the guy thrown in for the fourth quarter and as he threw for 110 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, it was clear that Corbett was effectively out of the picture. In week 16, Coleman and many starters were rested as by then it was already clear that the week 17 game against the Paris Musketeers would be the division championship game. Coleman was picked off 3 times, Paris won 24-5 and ended the European domination of the Merchantmen. In the wild card round, Coleman was stuck in a barnburner and saw his defense not come through. With a 35-34 loss at the Toronto Lake Monsters, the 2041 season ended long before the conference championship game.

2042, week 1. The Merchantmen cut back from 4 to 3 quarterbacks. Despite Corbett's display of superior passing skills, on the training field and in scouting reports, he was the one released, meaning Osborne would make the regular season for the 8th season in succession. And he was needed as well as Perry Coleman got hurt against Bordeaux in the first quarter of that week 1 game. Osborne came in to complete 17 of 20 passes for 177 yards and 3 touchdowns, also running for 54 yards. Despite the solid 27-6 win, Osborne's magic wasn't all that obvious anymore. With Coleman out, Osborne started the next three games and the Merchantmen lost all three.

2042, week 7. After Coleman's return, the Merchantmen tried to recover, but as he got injured again, the Merchantmen needed Osborne to close out the home game at the Toronto Lake Monsters. Both teams wasted opportunities to claim victory late in the game, but lo and behold, trailing by 4 points, a hail mary was required to save the game and Osborne completed the 32-yard pass to tight end Irving Clark to bring the Merchantmen back to 3-3. A week later, he would pull a Corbett, throwing 4 interceptions without a touchdown, but in a 20-7 win over the Harlem Apollos, Osborne played better and handed the team back to Coleman with a 4-4 record. After a 5-game winning streak, Coleman got his team to the top of the division, but a 21-15 loss at home to Gothenburg flipped things around, meaning for the second season in a row the Merchantmen lost a division championship deciding week 17 clash. A rematch in the wild card round in Gothenburg saw the Merchantmen fall 20-13.

2043, off-season. The Merchantmen realized that Perry Coleman was as brittle as Rusty Harrison once was and still thinking the '40s will become a running quarterbacks era, they made undrafted rookie Malik Weaver their 4th quarterback for the regular season. Part of it being the expectation to see Coleman get hurt again and actually needing that 4th quarterback to get through the season. Osborne held on to the QB2 role, but as Coleman for a change went through a full season without issues, nobody else threw a pass all season.

2044, training camp. Harry Osborne was reported amongst the players losing a step. But despite all that, the Merchantmen management decided to keep on to him, but also the other three quarterbacks: fragile veteran Perry Coleman, young Malik Weaver and cohesion bomb emergency quarterback Kerry Lewis.

2044, regular season. The inevitable happened: Perry Coleman got hurt in week 3 and Osborne was forced into action to salvage a victory against the Fort Wayne Fury. A week later, Osborne was the starter at home against the Tucker Tigers and as per usual struggled to get the ball into the end zone against the toughest team to beat in the league. Apparently the 38-3 manhandling was enough is enough. In week 4 against the Augusta Greenjackets, Malik Weaver got thrown out there. It wasn't all bad, but 3 interceptions and 1 fumble, while getting sacked 6 times, he wasn't able to overcome the 26-20 loss. Osborne was back in action in week 7, throwing for 219 yards and a touchdown without interception, but unable to avoid 31-27 loss in Paris. A week later, Osborne struggled, despite leading the team to a 19-3 victory at home. In week 9, Weaver was back in action, completing 18 of 25 passes for 335 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, leaning heavily on Terry Haskell's 9 catches for 238 yards in a 27-14 win at Bordeaux. Osborne was not to return to action anymore. But neither was Coleman, the Merchantmen were riding on Weaver for the rest of the season. The Merchantmen flipflopped from solid victories to close losses, resulting in a very positive points margin, but being eliminated from the playoffs before the last game of the season. Weaver got the start and Perry Coleman actually saw some garbage time action in a big loss at Paris.

2045, off-season. The Merchantmen traded up for the #1 overall pick and selected quarterback Bryson Chow. Shortly after that decision, Osborne was released, long before training camp. He did go to training camp with the Oakland Black Panthers and made the team as a mentoring veteran to the young third round project quarterback Mel Briggs. The Merchantmen decided that Perry Coleman could fill that role to Bryson Chow.

2046 and beyond. Perry Coleman retired after seeing action for the Merchantmen in 4 more games to fill-in for an injured Chow. Malik Weaver wasn't re-signed in the 2046 off-season and out of football by the 2047 off-season. As was Kerry Lewis, he retired in the 2047 off-season after 18 seasons and 287 games played. Osborne retired in the 2048 off-season. Bryson Chow ended up being the best running quarterback in Merchantmen history, going into the Hall of Fame, like his mentor Coleman and the only other Merchantmen #1 overall pick Russell Harrison, but not becoming the phenomenal records breaking passer everybody expected him to become based on his rookie profile. Chow would live up to the expectations that the 2040s would see the rise of a running quarterback in Maassluis. Although, Chow turned out to be ahead of his time, as the real rise in the IHOF for running quarterbacks wouldn't really come until the 2060s. Chow ran for 4,872 yards and 25 touchdowns, with 5.6 yards per carry. Osborne ran for 413 yards and 5 touchdowns, with 3.8 yards per carry.

So, back to the original question: what would have happened had Harry Osborne given the start in week 19 of the 2040 season? It's impossible to tell. In the end he never even went on the field for the Merchantmen during a playoffs game to prove what he can do under that kind of pressure. But popular belief is still that he would have done a better job than Harvey Corbett and had given the Vipers a run for their money. But if somehow he would have guided the Merchantmen to victory, they would have still been second-best of the Jackie Collier era, having ran into his Tucker Tigers. In 2040 Collier and his team were on a mission, losing only their week 17 game when backups filled in after having already secured home field advantage. The Tigers crushed the Vipers 36-10 in the 2040 AOC Championship game and went on to a classic bowl game, as the Tigers won IHOF Bowl XXXVII against the Chicago Norsemen in overtime: 43-37.
__________________
* 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 : 08-02-2020 at 05:36 PM. Reason: nothing major, just a tiny typo
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2020, 05:05 PM   #347
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Sheldon joins ranks of division winning Merchantmen quarterbacks
In the recently finished 2091 regular season, Moe Sheldon posted better passing numbers than many of his predecessors. It was back in 2078 when a previous Merchantmen starting quarterback had a better passer rating than Sheldon's 94.6 figure. With a 10-3-1 record as a starter this season, improving it to 22-19-1 in four seasons for the Merchantmen, Sheldon can claim to be the division winning quarterback this season. With that, he joins an illustrious list, lead by Lester Lowe, the winningest quarterback in Merchantmen history.

titlesnamediv title yearsW-L recordother
5Lester Lowe2057-'6189-40 (6-5)Bowl loser '57, '60
5Alfred Hickman2065-'68, '7183-41-1 (7-6)Bowl winner '66
4Russell "Rusty" Harrison2023*, '25, '27-'2885-71-1 (3-5)
4Jay McGee2035, '37-'3991-54 (5-5)Bowl loser '39
4Bryson Chow2046-'48, '53116-86-1 (6-5)
4Ellis McAlister2079, '85-8786-67 (4-6)
3Louie Flannery2007-'08, '11115-102 (2-4)
1Patrick McDonnell2024*14-6 (0-1)
1Harry Osborne2040*10-10 (n/a)
1Robbie Rhoades207011-6 (0-1)
1Bennett Morris207813-6 (2-1)
1Moe Sheldon209122-19-1 (n/a)still active
Win-loss records including playoffs, in brackets record just in the playoffs.
* Harrison started 9 games in 2023, McDonnell 7.
McDonnell started 8 games in 2024, Guthrie 5, South 2, Harrison 1.
Osborne started 8 games in 2040, Corbett 6, Bissel 2.


Quarterbacks with 8 or more starts without division titles.
titlesnamesW-L recordother
0Perry Coleman35-18 (1-3)
0Erick Loera17-16 (0-1)
0Winston Buckner10-6 (n/a)
0Brandon Bell9-9 (n/a)still active
0Robbie Howe8-8 (n/a)
0Harvey Corbett4-3 (0-1)*
0Sammy Erickson7-9 (n/a)
0Malik Weaver4-6 (n/a)
0Leonard Lyon3-6 (n/a)
0Everett "Going" South2-7 (n/a)
0"Fumblin'" Justin McDavid6-18 (n/a)
Win-loss records including playoffs games, in brackets record just in the playoffs.
* Harrison started 9 games in 2023, McDonnell 7.
McDonnell started 8 games in 2024, Guthrie 5, South 2, Harrison 1.
Osborne started 8 games in 2040, Corbett 6, Bissel 2.


Records for quarterbacks with less than 8 starts: Stanley Bissel 2-0, Marc Sherman 3-2, Jermaine Guthrie 3-2, Kerry Lewis 1-0, Hardy Banks 1-0, Brett Robins 1-0, Ernest Andrews 1-0, Richard Bell 1-2, Craig Porter 0-1, Calvin Snider 0-1, Donovan Johnstone 0-2, Thad Pilkington 0-3, Francisco Farley (still active) 0-4.
__________________
* 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 : 08-06-2020 at 05:08 PM.
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2020, 05:12 PM   #348
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Tomorrow...
Tomorrow...

We'll continue, tomorrow. And we'll be facing the Orlando Talons. Unsurprisingly, it would have been unrewarding had they lost at the North Plainfield Plague though. Elsewhere in the conference, the Paris Musketeers also made the best of their wild card and as a result we'll see crossed matchups between the European and Southeast division champions and runners up. In the other conference, the four remaining teams are the four division champions.

Orlando lost in Gothenburg last season in the conference semi finals, in 2089 they won the IHOF Bowl out of the #2 seed, in 2088 they lost in Gothenburg and in 2087 they lost the conference final after beating us in our most recent playoffs game. We also met them in 2085, that time we upset #1 seeded Orlando in their place in the conference semifinals.

Other things that sports journalists love to dig up, but that have basically zero effect on tomorrow's game? We won the last three home games in the playoffs, our last loss at home was in 2079, then we we're the #2 seeds and lost against the #3 seeded Toronto Lake Monsters. All-time we're 19-17 in playoffs games in Oranje Haven, but we're actually 3-6 as #2 seeds in the conference semifinals, we've got quite the reputation of going one and done out of this slot.

Yeah, we've had plenty of that kind of bad luck in the past. Let's go out there and make things happen, team. Clarence Gore for team MVP? You can do this, kid!
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2020, 12:18 PM   #349
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen reach Conference Final
The Maassluis Merchantmen have reached the AOC Championship game. The #2 seeded Merchantmen beat the wild card Orlando Talons 27-20 in Oranje Haven to set up for a classic matchup with the Tucker Tigers.

The Maassluis Merchantmen have regrouped well. After losing their week 16 and 17 regular season games, fear was they had fallen into a losing streak. But with the return of many key starters, including quarterback Moe Sheldon, the team was clicking again. With the Orlando Talons being a tough wild card opponent with their 11-5 regular season record, the Merchantmen knew this could be a coin flip game. And it turned out to be as such.

The first quarter saw Orlando kick field goals twice, while the Merchantmen did finish their best drive with a touchdown from Francisco Patter for a 7-6 lead. After Maassluis had taken a 10-6 lead through, Orlando finally got the ball in the end zone. But the Merchantmen responded with an efficiently timed drive, scoring the go ahead touchdown with 11 seconds to go as Moe Sheldon found George Stuckey for the 17-13 half time lead.

The third quarter saw Maassluis increase their lead to 20-13, then both defense pull of three and out, then Orlando tying the score after a 66-yard drive. Leaning heavily on rookie tight end Clarence Gore as the top receiver and the sublime running tandem Patter and Thongchanh, the Merchantmen drove downfield late in the third quarter and took a 27-20 lead on another Moe Sheldon to George Stuckey pass. Orlando was stopped quickly, Maassluis near midfield and Orlando then pinned deep. With a strong drive, the Talons drove into the Merchantmen red zone, but a touchdown got called back for holding and two plays later, Brandon Brady made a key pass defense action to turn the ball over after a fourth down attempt. With less than 3 minutes to go, the Merchantmen offense went into clock draining mode and gave Orlando the ball back with 65 seconds to go and no more time outs. The Merchantmen pass rush then finally woke up and with three straight hurried passes, it was up to Moe Sheldon to knee drop to the 27-20 victory.

A quality game of football, where both offenses had the edge on their opponents, but the Merchantmen made the key stops when it really counted. But perhaps more crucial was Maassluis' much more efficient running game, as Francisco Patter and Reggie Thongchanh combined for 156 yards with a 5.4 average per carry. Moe Sheldon completed 19 of 27 passes for 195 yards, with 2 touchdown passes to George Stuckey. Rookie Clarence Gore had a team high 6 catches for 67 yards.

Next stop for the Merchantmen: Venable Stadium, home of the Tucker Tigers. Albeit a classic matchup, it was back in 2057 these two teams met in the AOC Championship game. Back then, the Merchantmen upset the #1 seeded Tigers. Back in 2039, the previous conference final before that, the #2 seeded Merchantmen also won on the road. Both times, the Merchantmen eventually lost in the IHOF Bowl. Back in 2068 was the last time these two met in the playoffs, the Tigers then won in the wild card round in Oranje Haven. The Tigers also won in Maassluis in 2061 in the conference semifinals, while the Merchantmen won in Tucker in 2060. The last time the home team in this matchup won in the playoffs was all the way back in 2038, when the #2 seeded Merchantmen visited the #1 seeded Tigers in the AOC Championship game. All in all, one way or another, history will have to repeat.
__________________
* 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
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2020, 11:32 AM   #350
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: It wasn't meant to be
Unfortunately.

The choice of word is peculiar here. My grandfather's last name translates to "fortune", but literally translating "unfortunately" back from English to Dutch, it doesn't feel like the words are the same. Despite that, I feel like today I didn't have the fortune my grandmother ones told me he had. To win her over, he had to try really hard, she turned him down, but he didn't give up. She told me about that during a period of heartbrokenness, it was more than a decade after he died, and about decade before they were reunited. She then was the one person in the world most strongly believing in me to be able to get things right, just like she had done before during my darkest years. Grandmothers can be like that, give their grandchildren a feeling they are special, in this case it helped me restore faith, or the very least, in rough times I think of her wise words. Was I really special to her? I bet all nine of her children, kids-in-law, dozens of grandchildren and significant others and their children, all had a special place in her hart.

Surely, this doesn't mean anything about today's AOC Championship game, because in the end, I'm not the one on the field, it's the 46 players that were drafted or signed as a free agent. Freaky enough, there are no players on roster that were technically acquired through trade, although several of those taken in the draft were the actual outcome of a trade. It does matter for what happened a couple hours after the game, but sometimes you have to realize that although the universe keeps giving signals that are too absurd to not have an underlying meaning, they can turn out to not mean fortune is written in the stars.

Back to the game, perhaps not an instaclassic, but at the same time the Merchantmen today put up a fight at the Tucker Tigers and showed the resilience to not give up when trailing 27-3 shortly before half time. But, the 30-23 final score wasn't going to be changed in the last drive that could have given us, the Merchantmen, a chance to ty it up and force overtime. We only have ourselves to blame for throwing short when we need 65 yards to go from the end zone. We didn't show the courage for a hail mary pass. Our fourth down attempt with 12 seconds to go was half-assed, too wimpy to get anything achieved.

So, after a strong season, with the discovery of a fifth round rookie tight end, the reward for keeping faith in a veteran quarterback that just needed a couple of seasons to get accustomed to the environment (4 interceptions in 16 games remains to be impressive). It also made clear that after three years of hope, it was time to give up on Brandon Bell and move on. Sure, we won't show him the door right away next off-season, we still need a kick holder, preferable one that knows the franchise inside out, but franchise quarterback, apparently he's not. At least Bell has that. And we'll have a chance to build on this better than expected comeback to the elite season, hope to find the cap space to keep this core together for another season and see where a cohesive team can go.

Heartbroken? I think I am, but not willing to admit yet. I've played this part in this kind of movie before, except this wasn't a movie, it was real life, no nightmare to wake up from, just "it's not going to happen". Time to get this ship back on the ocean and set sail for new opportunities, learn from the experiences, or try to make note of what may have gone differently. But sometimes the stars appear to be aligning, but the most important one appears to be slightly off, but far enough to have things fail.

Some day, or more, in the future I'll look back on this day and remember that sometimes taking the efforts isn't enough, but I can't say there was no attempt to go for it. The other side of the story remains true: after bad luck in the past, it's good to come close and feel alive, knowing dreams can almost happen. Apparently not today. But tomorrow it's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life, for me, and I'm feeling good.
__________________
* 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 : 08-12-2020 at 11:34 AM.
MIJB#19 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:28 PM.



Powered by vBulletin Version 3.6.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.