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Old 02-26-2022, 09:16 PM   #651
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
100 Years of the Merchantmen: The 10 biggest busts

With the 100th season of the IHOF behind us, thus of the Maassluis Merchantmen as well, it's interesting to look back on some interesting moments, players, or what not. This off-season the 100th amateur draft in the history of the IHOF finished. Today, we take a look at a list of players that didn't quite live up to the hype of being a highly picked rookie prospect.

Ask the Merchantmen owner and he'll claim he's an underrated drafter. He can back it up with the selection of several Hall of Fame worthy wide receivers, having found the right spot to trade up and grab that one guy that's overlooked by others. Recently the likes of Calvin Maxwell and Vinny Buysse joined the tradition, which was just a follow up on the likes of Theodore Bondy, J.R. Mills, Riddick Stanley, Terry Haskell and Gabe Springer. And who can't forget the Class of 2064, which formed the extraordinary support cast, if not backbone, of that 2066 IHOF Bowl victory? Masters of trading, sure, but they stand out in making these kind of moves during the draft to pick top talent and win with home grown elite players, joined by the many hidden gems that were picked in later rounds.

But, to put the Merchantmen management back on their feet every now and then, it's good to remind everybody that drafting isn't risk free. We're going to take a look at the 10 most prolific rookies that never panned out. The science behind this list was far from rocket science. Every player taken with a pick in the top100 was taken into consideration and the number of games played for the Merchantmen was the only other factor. The result is a list of 46 players that by this definition could be considered busts. In this story, we'll take a look at the top 10 of them.

Spoiler alert: running backs Walt Blair (12th) and Ken "The Lost Cause" Torphy (14th) barely missed out. The same applies to punter Doug James, who's career was cut short after just 18 games, but being the 59th overall pick of his class, he ranked 21st on the bust list. Last, but not least, defensive end Jorge Marone, a 87th overall pick that never played for the Merchantmen, yet has had a fine career with the Chesapeake Chitterlings, complete with a championship ring. For the Merchantmen franchise, Marone was a bust. So much for a teaser of good stories. Or are they yet to come?



Number 10: RB Scottie Buckner (2058 pick 64)
The Merchantmen were still hungover from the 34-27 IHOF Bowl loss by the hands of the Williamsburg Colonials. It became apparent that their management spent less time on their draft preparations than usual and was still living in 2057, kind of. The Merchantmen actually had a very viable running duo in speedy RB Fernando Scott and power runner FB Zach Galloway. Both would end up running for over 1,000 yards in the 2058 season.

But what about Buckner? THe Merchantmen thought they had found a worth RB2 option and spent their second of back-to-back second round picks on Buckner. With excellent hole recognition and kickoff return skills, Buckner fit the RB2 picture extremely well.

And then he reported for training camp and Buckner was quickly downgraded to being worse than veterans Deron Cobb and Dakota Giles, as well as all three fullbacks on roster. The management was ruthless, there was no roster spot for Buckner in Maassluis. Already half way through pre-season the decision was made to release Buckner before ever playing a down for the Merchantmen in an official game. Or any other team in the IHOF, he never got a chance anywhere else and retired disillusioned before a second chance in the 2059 off-season.


The kind of ruthlessness with Buckner's situation has been rare, but not unique. 14 players taken in the first three rounds never played in a game for the Merchantmen. The next player did play, but never in the intended role.


Number 9: LT Geoff Vaughn (2055 pick 49)
Back in the early '50s, the Merchantmen had acquired eventual all-time great RB Norbert Talley. To make him become the all-time IHOF leader in rushing attempts, he needed a good offensive line to help him make plays. The Merchantmen back then were exceptionally well in taking linemen with a 4th, 5th and 7th round picks starting for them, next to a couple of 2nd round picks.

In 2055, Vaughn was taken with very good promise as a pass blocking left tackle, in hopes to make him the successor to 32-year old Scott Null. In his rookie season, Vaughn was obviously not going to play, being fourth in line at that moment, but that wasn't unusual in the Merchantmen philosophy to groom linemen for a season or two by only putting them on special teams duties.

During Vaughn's second training camp it became apparent that the promise of becoming an elite pass blocker wasn't quite there in the eyes of the Merchantmen staff. Stuck behind no less than 7 quality linemen and a couple of much appreciated mentors, the Merchantmen decided that Vaughn wasn't the left tackle of the future. His hopes to ever block for Talley had already vanished because of Talley's retirement. Vaughn didn't survive mid-pre-season cuts and a second chance didn't come elsewhere either.


From here on this list will get more lopsided into two particular position groups. Quarterback in particular is a position where IHOF franchises spend a high pick in a flash in the pan more often than they wish to admit. The Merchantmen have made their fair share of them and we'll dive into one of them.


Number 8: QB Josh Webb (2009 pick 53)
Back in the early days, draft classes weren't graded and unraveled the way they are scouted nowadays. During the 2009 draft, there actually was no good reason for the Merchantmen to even worry about looking for a new franchise quarterback as Louie Flannery was coming off back-to-back division titles. But back then a 2nd round pick was considered a luxury as the Merchantmen back in those days were swapping and trading their draft picks left and right. The 53rd overall pick was their highest pick that draft.

And then they selected Josh Webb, putting a kid in an impossible situation. Webb was asked to fend off the two-time division champion or find at minimum a way to improve enough to become a viable QB2 ahead of a couple of cult figures in Thad Pilkington and Fumblin' Justin McDavid.

Webb never stood a chance. Well, not entirely, in his second season he was given some playing time in a blowout loss, but completing 5 of 13 passes for 35 yards and a pick were quite underwhelming. It was mind of a miracle he got to play as Flannery, Pilkington and McDavid were all better, plain and simple. In 2011 Pilkington retired, but the arrival of veteran Richard Bell and 5th round pick Harvey Nimmons demoted Webb to 5th best and an obvious release for the 53-men roster cut day.


Bell... Bell... Haven't we heard of a quarterback named Bell more recently?


Number 7: QB Brandon Bell (2089 pick 13)
Cap hell broke loose during the 2088 off-season in Maassluis and quarterback Ellis "Who the fuck is Ellis" McAlister was sadly victimized. Journeyman Moe Sheldon was signed during the opening weekend and became the starter in week 5. But the 6-7 campaign wasn't convincing and the Merchantmen clearly felt the need to make a bold move and go grab a rookie in the next draft.

They may have landed him in the second round, but after already having grabbed their new franchise defensive tackle in Darien Fletcher, they felt that they could afford a gamble. The staff was extremely positive about Brandon Bell, calling him "very underrated". There was a lot to like too as Bell was scouted to be great in sensing the rush, with the legs to make plays and a strong arm to hit receivers downfield.

The first reports from camp were underwhelming, but Merchantmen management learned from the McAlister fairytale and made clear that Bell would get at least throughout his rookie contract worth of training camps.

Bell had a tremendous start to his career, showing a 6-2 win-loss record and 12 touchdowns vs 3 interceptions. Moe Sheldon had to step in for a couple of games and after returning, Bell's stats somewhat dropped. Still, there was no reason to write him off, Bell posted a winning record with a 2:1 touchdown:interception ratio.

But in 2090, Merchantmen management was won over by Moe Sheldon, whilst Bell must have felt little to no love, despite his promising statistics. Management kept hoping for a recovery in potential, but it didn't come. Bell's story wasn't going to be a repeat of McAlister. Bell got 5 more starts in the next two seasons, but was basically demoted to kick holder slash QB2. He played that role in two playoffs games in 2091, shortly before he was cut at the start of the 2092 off-season, never to visit an IHOF training facility as a player again.


Okay, enough quarterback failures, let's move on to a player that almost was a teammate of Bell. If only he hung around a little bit longer in Maassluis.


Number 6: S Renaldo Upshaw (2087 pick 58)
When the Merchantmen let the name of Renaldo Upshaw get called, they were convinced they got a steal in the late second round by grabbing their new elite safety. Or did they? 4 picks earlier they had grabbed cornerback Marc Armstrong and quickly traded him for future picks.

Fact was, the Merchantmen were battling cap hell and didn't want to afford the second round pick salaries. Upshaw was considered to be a best player available pick and as such not much of a risk if he was forced to stick with the team. And that's what happened.

Upshaw underwhelmed in training camp and pre-season. The Merchantmen felt giving up on a rookie was too much, but Upshaw was not going to see any action that rookie season. In his second season, the lack of progress shown in training camp and pre-season, combined with a salary higher than the rookie minimum, made Upshaw one of many cap casualties. But even in better times, he would have not made the 2088 roster.


Marc Armstrong also turned out to be an overrated rookie, but for him the decline didn't become so visible until after a couple of seasons. He played 6 seasons with the Capital City Blues, mostly as their third cornerback, and a little bit after with the Rochester Razorbacks. Speaking of overrated cornerbacks...


Number 5: CB Kendrick Stewart (2064 pick 44)
Okay, here's one of those stories that are easily forgotten. Was Kendrick Stewart part of the Class of 2064? Yes, he was. Although technically selected as a safety, the Merchantmen saw enough promise to switch Stewart to a cornerback role.

But stories of young promising players that look so great in training camp and then fall flat during pre-season are too common to claim they never happen. Stewart was one of those stories. The Merchantmen felt they still had to commit to him and he was active in 13 games as a rookie, including the late season winning streak that showed the first glimpses of the rise of the Class of 2064.

But Stewart was not destined to be one of them. Midway through pre-season 2065, Stewart was released. The Bordeaux Vineyards threw him a lifeline during the 2065 playoffs, signing him with the idea of getting dibs on him during the 2066 off-season. He made it through training camp in Bordeaux, but pre-season was once again the end of things. Days after the Class of 2064 guided the Merchantmen to their (so far) only IHOF Bowl victory, Stewart signed his retirement papers.


Short-lived stints in Maassluis are of all ages. The very first IHOF rookie draft saw the very first highly picked rookie that was diminished after just one season in Maassluis.


Number 4: QB Leonard Lyon (2005 pick 31)
We're coming time short to wade through all the trades that the Merchantmen made during the 2005 draft, but the gust of things: they began it with the #1 overall and ended it with 4 1st round picks.

The selection of Leonard Lyon came as a bit of a surprise. First of all, the Merchantmen were perceived to have fallen just enough in love with quarterback Fumblin' Justin McDavid to see no need to push him aside in his second season. Second of all, many felt that the draft class was lacking franchise quarterback material. The #18 overall pick Ron Lyle proved those wrong, but #31 overall Lyon did not.

The Merchantmen were not unconvinced about Lyon, but struggled with the decision between McDavid and Lyon. Eventually injuries made the decision easy as Lyon got hurt in his first start, while McDavid suffered a career altering knee injury at mid-season that would sideline him through the 2007 season.

But Lyon wasn't around to see McDavid's return to the field at all, as his stint in Maassluis ended after that rookie campaign. The Merchantmen traded Lyon to the Springfield Isotopes for Mel Atkins and soon after made their big trade to select Louie Flannery as their franchise quarterback.

Lyon started for the Isotopes in 2006, lost his job in 2007, but returned to being a starter in 2008. In 2009 he was moved along to the Williamsburg Colonials, but he never became their starter. In 2016 he played his final and shockingly best season as he won 8 straight games with the Vicksburg Vipers en route to a 12-4 record and being 2nd seeds in the playoffs. He retired shortly after their overwhelming 41-17 loss in the divisional round.


And we'll quickly move on to another quarterback story.


Number 3: QB Ernest Andrews (2085 pick 40)
It hasn't been that long ago, but I bet a lot of people have already forgotten about Ernest Andrews. Not being a first round pick might be a big factor here, but back then the Merchantmen were convinced they had scooped up their successor to Ellis McAlister.

But as with many rookie quarterbacks, the story of Andrews is yet another of promising stories that are downgraded in training camp and hopes shattered midway through pre-season. What remained was an image of a quarterback with very good sens rush ability, scramble frequency and the ability to hit receivers on screen routes, but nothing further downfield.

Then, in week 16 of the regular season, Andrews got his chance. With McAlister nursing a minor knee injury and the division title locked up after a week 15 win over the Gothenburg Giants, it was Andrews' time. And he made the best of it, completing 22 of 36 passes for 265 yards, 1 touchdown and despite 2 interceptions, a victory.

In season two it was back to the bench, stuck behind kick holder and disputed QB2 Karsten Muchnick. Playing time he didn't get. So when Andrews was inevitably cut during the 2087 pre-season, his stay in Maassluis ended after 2 seasons, with just 1 active game. A victorious one.


Okay, two more to go and you may have got enough of the quarterback failures already, but there's one more that deserves to make this top 10.


Number 2: QB Robbie Howe (2071 pick 19)
Oh boy, oh boy, was the 2071 off-season a hefty one in Maassluis. It all started with the loss of quarterback Robbie Rhoades, who had guided the Merchantmen to an 11-5 record and a silly 19-16 loss in the wild card round. And soon after followed up by the signing of quarterback Alfred Hickman to a five-year deal, returning the passer of the 2066 IHOF Bowl victory.

And then the Merchantmen did something we've talked about earlier, but here in 2071 might have been the most excessive one. Shortly after spending the #14 overall pick on eventual Hall of Fame offensive tackle Oscar Meadows, the Merchantmen felt they had the luxury to take a gamble on a future franchise quarterback project.

And a future project it became as Howe spend his first two season on the sidelines. His first season saw some decline in scouted potential, but his second season saw no decline, albeit no progress either. In 2073 Hickman was shown the door over contract disputes once again, but rather than giving Howe the keys, the Merchantmen traded for veteran Winston Buckner of the Oakland Black Panthers.

Buckner turned out to be a one-year rental, making 2074 Howe's opportunity to win the job. And for weeks, he was holding on to it, despite the high number of interceptions, he kept connecting with J.R. Mills. But in a winner takes the wild card game at home against the Paris Musketeers, Howe's worst nightmare came true. Howe completed just 5 of 23 passes for 51 yards and a humiliating 3.4 passer rating. Despite all that, the Merchantmen lost by just 4 points, but it was enough to miss the playoffs.

The 2075 off-season turned into a disaster. Howe's player agent decided that it was payday time, whilst the Merchantmen were not impressed. Howe missed training camp and pre-season, eventually resulting in the Merchantmen cutting Howe right before opening day.

Against all odds, Howe got another chance in Maassluis in 2076 after having spent all of 2075 without a team. Except that this time it was much shorter, ending during the pre-season cut wave. The first ever Merchantmen player to wear the #19 jersey and to be picked at the #19 slot saw his career end after, you guessed it, 19 games for the Merchantmen.


Which brings us to the end of the list, the biggest bust in the history of the Maassluis Merchantmen. Okay, a little caveat is in place, players taken in the last 5 drafts were excluded, because it's too early to tell whether they will end up not playing enough games to not make this list. But that seems very unlikely, so this list is likely going to be complete. For the first 100 drafts that is.

Enough already! Who's number one?



Number 1: CB Dylan Small (2075 pick 15)
Dylan who? Indeed. Dylan Small. Given that Small was taken in the 2075 draft, he flew under the radar easily as that was the off-season where the #2 of this list Robbie Howe held out for a better contract and failed in his efforts. That combined with that the Merchantmen acquired defensive tackle Glen Stiegler, accidentally taken at #16 overall by the Rochester Razorbacks, in exchange for the #20 overall pick.

But what happened to Small to make him the biggest bust? Upon arrival at the Oranje Haven training facilities, Small looked like an okay defensive back, but somewhat lacking the man-to-man skills to play CB1 and to be the successor to Class of 2064 legend Peter Tucker. The hopes were there to make him a zone defending CB2 or CB3, but that vanished after the staff saw him in action during pre-season.

Stuck in a crowded unit and lacking special teams skills, Small had to spent the 2075 season inactive. But in the 2076 training camp and early pre-season action, Small showed no clear signs of progress. Even the retirement of Peter Tucker was too little for Small to win a roster spot.

Dylan Small may have deserved a second chance, but, just like most of the names on this list, second chances are rare for draft busts. The end result being that Dylan Small has achieved something unique in Maassluis Merchantmen history: be picked in the first round of the draft (and not be traded before the draft was over), yet to never play a game for them. And the dubious honor of being the biggest bust in 100 seasons of drafting.
__________________
* 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 : 03-01-2022 at 06:17 PM. Reason: just some cleanup of spelling mistakes
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Old 03-01-2022, 06:09 PM   #652
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Quote:
Originally Posted by claystone View Post
Good stuff, MIJB. Love these write ups.

Oh remember, there is no such thing as jinx. Its just a made up superstition boogey man. Think of all the times when you never mentioned something and you still lost.

Mathematics and probability is what is the cause...��

Keep up the great write ups.
I forgot to reply earlier: it's always a pleasure to find out people are still reading along.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 03-02-2022, 10:08 AM   #653
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Close, but not there yet
We can still miss the playoffs with a 10-6 record...

Okay, last time I reported on our progress, we were sitting 7-4 and a top the division. Where are we now?

European Division
1. Maassluis 9-5
2. Gothenburg 8-6
3. Paris 4-10
4. Bordeaux 4-10

The bad news first: the Gothenburg Giants appear to have everything on track again. After a quarterback change, they have gone 5-1 in the last 6 games. And more bad news, we lost 24-18 in week 13 at the North Plainfield Plague, at that moment in time the only team eliminated for the playoffs. Our defense posted a (then) season worst of 377 total yards allowed, while our running game was pretty much nullified and WR Calvin Maxwell kept in check.

We rebounded by beating the reigning North American Conference champions, the Texas Sharks, 19-17 at their place. The defense was stale, "improving" the season worst to 394 total yards allowed, but the unit did bounce back after a dreadful first quarter by giving up only 3 more points. We managed to dominate the field position battle (we had a 17-yard advantage per drive), which made the difference between punting and kicking field goals. Oscar Harrington put his foot where his mouth is (wait, that didn't come out right) and scored 4 for 4, with a crucial 52-yard game winner with 74 seconds remaining in the game. WR Calvin Maxwell was kept in check again, but once again QB Evan Drake punished them by connecting with WR Vinny Buysse on 6 catches for 125 yards.

And today we defended the division lead by beating the outgoing European champions, the Bordeaux Vineyards, with a closer than it should have been 27-25 victory. We raced to a 24-6 half time lead, then the Bordeaux defense woke up (or our offense fell asleep?) and on 3 drives started at our half of the field, the Vineyards got back within a touchdown. After we thought we kicked for the game winning field goal, our special teams unit went missing in action and after an 88-yard kickoff return touchdown, the just needed a two-point conversion to tie it. They failed, then recovered the onside kickoff and found out our front seven can be a game winning unit.

So, here we are now, 2 games to be played and a winning record already secured. Winning in week 17 vs Paris will guarantee the division title, but we know that no single game is a gimme. Winning in week 16 will still make us division champions if Gothenburg fails to beat the Texas Sharks, which isn't impossible. There's also a modest chance we'll get into the post-season as a wild card team, but that would rely on an implosion of the Tucker Tigers (10-4), the Snapfinger Jazz returning to their first half of the season form (they have gone from 8-1 to 9-5).

So, let's stick with our one game at a time approach and prepare well for the upcoming home game against the Moontown Darksiders. Despite their 4-10 record, we can't think this will be a walkover, they're the last team that has beaten the Gothenburg Giants.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 03-03-2022, 03:56 PM   #654
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: One more to go...
And we can still miss the playoffs at 10-6.

Some of us (well, me at least) didn't check the weather forecasts well, today turned out to be a snow game. We didn't really adjust our game plan to it at all, so there we went, trying to long bomb our way into victory like usual. Except that this is 2104 and Evan Drake's offense, no longer Earnest Ashley's. Visiting a nearly frozen Oranje Haven were the Moontown Darksiders.

First quarter we took the lead rather quickly. QB Evan Drake found TE Garrett Alcala for 20 yards, RB Van Goodwin ran for 14 yards and on third and long Drake found WR Vinny Buysse for 29 yards and 2 yards shy of a touchdown. It came on a dump pass to dump pass specialist TE Darnell KcKie. The defense returned the ball quickly to us after a 5-play drive, but after good throws to QB Calvin Maxwell and Buysse for 19 and 11 yards respectively, Drake went on a scramble and fumbled the ball after a 19-yard gain. Big plays went back and forth, eventually resulting in a 34-yard field goal. A 20-yard dart from Drake to Maxwell got us downfield and into kicking range to end the first quarter leading 7-3.

The score remained as Oscar Harrington missed a 46-yarder after a botched hold (we will blame the weather). The Darksiders saved their drive with a 21-yard pass to their running back on a 3rd and short and eventually kicked a 44-yarder to trim the deficit to 7-6. After three and out, our defense was quickly back on the field and as Moontown was moving into our territory, Micah Halvorson came down with a neat fumble recovery after Donnie Dogins stripped the running back of the ball. Another third down specialist on our offense, RB Van Goodwin caught QB Evan Drake's pass for a 26-yard gain on 3rd and long. WR Calvin Maxwell caught a 16-yarder, but after a holding penalty appeared to stall the drive, Drake found FB Damien Wanamaker wide open on 3rd and 20 from the goal line to promote it to a touchdown and a 14-6 lead. After another quickly forced punt, our offense returned for the final tow minutes, but instead of making it a two score game, Drake's pass got picked of at our 34-yard line and returned all the way for the touchdown. Moontown decided to kick it and brought the 14-13 half time score on the big screens. Not by lack of trying, as Moontown didget one more chance after a quick defensive stand, but their 50-yard kick in the dying seconds went wide.

In the second half, the fumbling troubles continued for Moontown on their first play from scrimmage. Despite our inability to do anything on offense, the 35-yard field goal was unmissable for Oscar Harrington: 17-13. The defense stood ground after just one solid run, while our offense followed up with a slow but steady drive. A 16-yard toss from QB Evan Drake to WR Vinny Buysse got us across midfield, shortly after followed by the same duo to convert on 3rd and 8. Well within field goal range, Drake found TE Garrett Alcala for 10 yards on 3rd and 8, but intentional grounding on his next pass attempt pushed us back enough to have to settle for a 24-yard field goal and a 20-13 lead. Moontown's drive to end the third quarter was another one of one decent run and then nothing.

The fourth quarter started with both offenses unable to move the chains, with the sixth drive finally ending the trend. It didn't end that well for the Moontown offense though as Robbie Dobreski was on the spot for a strip-sack and giving us the ball back close to scoring range. QB Evan Drake found RB Rondell Robertson for quick 11-yard gain, then a wide open WR Ed Schulz on third and 10 to set up RB Van Goodwin's 10-yard run over the middle for the 27-13 lead. Two scores down, Moontown went for it on fourth down on their next drive and saw their quarterback scramble successfully. Their second fourth down attempt was a completed pass and as Myles Martin
kept making plays, they got deep inside our red zone. The Darksiders dropped the pass twice, and following an incomplete pass, fourth and goal was the do or die play. Deon Rosas broke through the pass protection and after the pass was forced into a hurry, it wasn't all over yet, as Moontown had 3 time outs to burn. But with time short to make anything happen, the game ended there. Final score: Maassluis 27, Moontown 13.

With the victory of the Gothenburg Giants over the Texas Sharks, there was no division title to celebrate yet. Neither for Texas (they would have gotten it with a win), nor for Maassluis, which needed Gothenburg to not win today. Which brings us to these standings:

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

Week 17: Paris at Maassluis and Bordeaux at Gothenburg. The latter have the tie-breakers over us, which means we will lose the division if we lose and Gothenburg wins. Even worse, it would knock us out of the playoffs as there already are 5 teams with a better than 10-6 record and the only one we can end up tied with (at 10-6), has beaten us head-to-head. Interestingly enough, if we win, there's a slim chance that if Toronto and Harlem both lose an neither of Tucker or Snapfinger wins, we'll sneak past all of them into a #2 seed and a bye for the wild card round. But, to be honest, I'm more fearful for our team to collaps in the final game. I shouldn't be, but these crazy things happen every now or then. We've been on the spoiler end of things before as well. Ending this playoffs drought would be quite good already.

So, win is in. And if we lose, it's all hoping for Bordeaux to save us.
What will it be? We'll find out very soon.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 03-04-2022, 05:20 PM   #655
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: We did it!
Playoffs? Playoffs? Yes, playoffs!

Despite that the team looked shaky from the nerves, having to end the longest stretch of seasons without a division title, the 2104 team has completed the turnaround from the mess we have been the last decade and a bit, especially the bunch of recent seasons. Although the Paris Musketeers were expected to sit pretty and roll over on command, they turned up to play a nasty spoiler role. In fact, their defense gave us quite the brain cramps and left the fans hunkering for moments of joy.

Our first drive set the tone, as we had numerous good plays, but eventually had to settle for a 48-yard field goal. The defense was fantastic in response, forcing three and out, shortly after followed by a banger of a play and eruption of noise by the fans as Rondell Robertson returned the punt for 62 yards and a touchdown. With the 10-0 lead in the bag, it was smooth sailing from there on to avoid choking this opportunity to win the European Division and subsequently qualify for the playoffs.

In the second quarter, the Musketeers put down a nice long drive to get into the end zone, but we then were already up 13-0 and trimming it to 13-7 proved to do little to the outcome of this game. Whilst the defense kept coming up strong on both sides, we snuck a 31-yard field goal in there shortly after the two-minute warning to give us a neat 16-7 lead at half time.

The suspense was immense as the crowd kept wanting to see an offensive touchdown to pull this game away, but they were in for more and more of the same. Paris was stopped by the Merchantmen defense, at times with excellently timed turnovers, while QB Evan Drake and his offense did just enough to add a 24-yard field goal for a 19-7 lead at the end of the third quarter.

As the fourth quarter progressed, an early 27-yard field goal made it a solid, but not undoable gap. Big plays came after all, but a pick in Paris' red zone ended the search for a touchdown. With the time ticking away, Paris felt the need to go for it on fourth downs, as they had that spoiler tole to play, but they failed on 4th and 10, setting us up for a 43-yard field goal and a 25-7 lead with 4 minutes to go. Hesitantly, the crowd started to believe in a victory today. Oranje Haven exploded with a minute to go when Wesley Cabrera intercepted a pass near our red zone and managed to return it 41 yards. One more short run for a first down was enough to burn the Paris time outs and send out the victory formation.

Final European Division standings:
1. Maassluis 11-5
2. Gothenburg 10-6
3. Paris 5-11
4. Bordeaux 4-12

The Gothenburg Giants miss out on the playoffs, sitting half a win behind the 10-5-1 Harlem Apollos. Despite our 11-5 record, it was worse than the three other division champions in the AOC (in the NAC the best record was 11-5), putting us in the 4th seed slot. It will give us a perfect opportunity for vengeance as it will bring the Snapfinger Jazz back to Maassluis, they were the only team to beat us in Oranje Haven. At it's likely to stay that way, unless we reach the AOC Championship game and face Harlem in it.

A quick look over the individual stats? QB Evan Drake ranked 3rd in the league with 4,416 passing yards and 4th with 7.20 yards per attempt. He was also 5th in completion percentage (62.0) an 6th with 25 passing touchdowns. He did get intercepted 16 times, which is a bit of a concern going into the post-season.

RB Bennett Holmes ran for 935 yards, but did it with the tied 6th best yard per carry (5.08). The main run blocker was C Elijah Cyr with 35 key run blocks. WR Vinny Buysse and WR Calvin Maxwell fell a bit in the last couple of games, meaning we didn't end up with both in the top10 in receiving yards, but both ended up between 1,100 and 1,200 receiving yards, combined for only 14 touchdowns, yet they were strong in the yards per target category, finishing 4th (Buysse) and 7th (Maxwell). With TE Garrett Alcala they were a trio of players with 70+ receptions, something only 45 players in the league achieved this season.

RB Rondell Robertson was the 6th best punt returner, WR Calvin Maxwell 3rd best kickoff returner. Oscar Harrington scored the 2nd most field goals, which is kind of bad news as well, as we should prefer touchdowns over him excelling, no?

LB Gus Coleman was 3rd in tackles, LB Abraham Desimone also had 100+. DE Robbie Dobreski was our sacks leader with only 6.0, he did rank 10th in pass rush percentage, whilst Stephen Rhodes ranked 14th, which was not bad at all for an undersized undrafted rookie linebacker playing defensive end. CB Wesley Cabrera lead with 4 interceptions, CB Logan Wallace had 15 defended passes, LB Gus Coleman had one more (16).

That wraps up the regular season, let's move on to week 18, the wild card round! Oranje Haven is sold out, the team has pretty much injury free and has something to prove. They're not here for a participation trophy, they fell like they're destined for better things to come. Well, 'men, go make it happen. One game at a time.
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Old 03-07-2022, 05:18 PM   #656
MIJB#19
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The journey continues...
We're through to the conference semifinals!

Oranje Haven, week 18 of the 2104 season. A sold out stadium with 92 nervous football players playing their first post-season game for their IHOF team. The Snapfinger Jazz ended a 36-season stretch outside the playoffs. In comparison, the just ended longest drought in Merchantmen history of 12 seasons is a blip on the timeline, but the crowd wasn't anything less nervous and excited. The last time Oranje Haven was the host of a playoffs game was in week 19 of the 2091 season. The Merchantmen then beat the Orlando Talons 27-20, QB Moe Sheldon was the ball tosser of the night, RB Reggie Thongchanh the leading rusher and TE Clarence Gore the leading receiver.

One player that day was a rookie for the Talons, but missed out on the action after losing his starting role mid-season. This past week, C Elijah Cyr was a vocal figure on the training grounds to get his younger, inexperienced teammates ready for the second season. Thankfully, he wasn't alone in that, helped by fellow veterans, all grizzled by their experiences in pre-Merchantmen times: RB George Shackleford, S Pete Weaver, LS Bennett Brock, LT Andres Blair, but in particular DT Ben Courcy, LB Luke Thompson and the face of the turnaround season: QB Evan Drake. The latter 3 have had their fair share of playoff runs and disappointments with the Colorado Cutthroats.

Despite the presence of the experienced veterans, the Merchantmen looked nervous. Penalties and a pick thrown by Evan Drake himself, appeared to hurt the home team. But after 60 minutes of football, it was clear that the visitors from Snapfinger had it even worse today. Heled by that, the Merchantmen defense dominated the first half and it was only by the lack of red zone efficiency of the Merchantmen offense that the half time score was 13-0.

The second half start with a bang. On the second play from scrimmage, Vinny Buysse promoted a short pass into a 77-yard touchdown. Oranje Haven exploded, 20-0, a 3-score lead, could this really be happening? Snapfinger responded with a field goal drive, then with the second interception of Evan Drake, but the Merchantmen defense bailed out their quarterback with a three and out to force the Jazz to punt. Another field goal followed and 23-3 up, the Merchantmen were not going to choke this game, right?

The Jazz finally got their touchdown after a long drive and after the Merchantmen got 5 more minutes off the clock, the Jazz were stuck in a must go for it situation. They managed to slowly, yet steadily drive downfield, but shortly before the 2-minute warning, the Merchantmen defense put just enough pressure on the Snapfinger quarterback to let it turnover on downs inside the red zone. The Jazz got the ball back one more time, but this time the drive ended in LB Gus Coleman intercepting the pass (his second of the game) to lock it up. Evan Drake knee dropped and the 23-10 victory was there.

Just a week after the division title, Oranje Haven erupted again: the Merchantmen are amongst the elite eight and still in the race for IHOF Bowl CI. But the journey won't be easy. Next stop: the Fort Wayne Fury, 14-2 AOC top seeds. The top scoring offense and top scoring defense united in one. Their pass all day long approach combined with an exceptionally talented defense makes for one of, if not the, toughest opponents the Merchantmen ever faced in the playoffs. The taste of victory is still there as the Merchantmen have the second longest winning streak in the league at 5 straight. Too bad the Fury's is twice as long.

But it's just one game, anything can happen. Even the biggest of favorites, deemed unbeatable can fail. Just go and ask the 2059 Merchantmen...
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Old 03-09-2022, 10:51 AM   #657
MIJB#19
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: We played so well...
But not good enough.

The 2104 season has ended for the Maassluis Merchantmen. We showed up, playing exceptionally well for one quarter at the championship favorite Fort Wayne Fury. But as the game progressed, our defense was unable to stop their passing game, we failed to get our ground game working, got penalized too often and a couple of turnovers were too much for us to overcome. A 21-7 lead eventually piled up into a 42-21 loss.

Missed opportunities? Sure. Unable to keep pace with the best of the best? That too. We tried to adapt our game plan to find a way too stop the phenomenal passing game of the Fury. And it failed, big time, giving up their second biggest passing yards figure of the season. At the same time, they needed most of it to win. In particular, our inability to stop their short passing (they completed 21 of 23 passes for 325 yards) was a disgraceful showing. No way around it: we clearly made the wrong calls. Now, if only I knew what the mistakes were...

The way our offense put up a fight with the most talented defense in the league was encouraging. QB Evan Drake threw for 355 yards, this addition to the offense has brought new life to our offense. The running game is still lacking two pieces: a short yardage power back (Van Goodwin isn't the answer) and the traditional Merchantmen melange: cohesion on the offensive line. That last part will take some time, especially if our centerpiece Elijah Cyr will turn out to be a one-year rental.

Still, the revival season ended as we were quite clearly not good enough yet to seriously compete with the best of the best. Or, to be more specific, with the Fort Wayne Fury in their home. Our 11-5 record and reaching the elite eight were well within how good this team is. The roster is young (bar a handful of veterans) and our cap situation is wealthy.

2014 was good, but we're not good enough.
At least, not yet.
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Old 03-10-2022, 03:44 PM   #658
MIJB#19
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Earnest Ashley retires from football
Quarterback Earnest "Coinflip" Ashley today announced his retirement from football. The 34-year old played 11 seasons for the Maassluis Merchantmen in the IHOF. Within the franchise, Ashley ranks 4th all-time in passing yards and 8th in passing touchdowns.

A 2nd round pick for the Merchantmen in 2094, Ashley immediately became the starting quarterback for the Merchantmen. Starting all 16 regular season games, posting an 8-8 record as a starter, he threw for 4,009 yards and 25 touchdowns, but also 27 interceptions. And that where the hopeful signs started and kept the Merchantmen management hoping he could one day become a division winning quarterback.

In the next three seasons, Ashley guided the Merchantmen to 8-8, 7-9 and 10-6, keeping the hope alive. But even the acquisition of high profile wide receivers Vinny Buysse and Calvin Maxwell proved to be insufficient to improve Ashley's passing game. His tendency to complete 50 percent of his passes gave him the dubious nicknames "Mr 50-50" and "Coinflip" amongst skeptic Merchantmen fans.

Ashley remained the starting quarterback through the 2102 season, but unable to guide his team to a winning record, let alone the playoffs, the call for change kept coming back. The Merchantmen tried to trade up to acquire Terrence Levingston (the Toronto Lake Monsters won the bidding war) in the 2099 draft and in 2101 lost out on Angel Henson's services (the Tucker Tigers won the free agency bidding war).

In the 2103 off-season the Merchantmen traded for Winfred England and after his retirement, the 2104 off-season saw the acquisition of Evan Drake. After one and a half season on the bench, Ashley started demanding a trade. The Merchantmen tried, but failed in the 2104 off-season and when Ashley's demand came, the trade deadline had already passed.

Ashley retires after 144 games for the Merchantmen, all regular season games, with a 59-81-1 record as a starter. By virtue of his participation, he ranks 4th all-time with 34,171 passing yards and 8th with 197 passing touchdowns. Or to quote another IHOF general manager* "Top 12 QB? Hell no. His production, or lack there of speaks for itself. His career QB rating is in the low 70s. That's not top 12. Sorry, not sorry."


* source: IHOF Forums - View Single Post - 2104 Regular Season Week 7 Complete
Special thanks to Juggernaut for this spot on summary. I hope you don't mind that I repost it here.
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Old 03-10-2022, 04:44 PM   #659
Kodos
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Ashley was no Louie Flannery. More of a Justin 'Fumblin' McDavid!
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Old 03-10-2022, 06:08 PM   #660
MIJB#19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kodos View Post
Ashley was no Louie Flannery. More of a Justin 'Fumblin' McDavid!
Although Flannery hardly wowed, unlike Ashley, he did get the team places. And like most quarterbacks in Maassluis, he had to lean heavily on defense and special teams. Especially Flannery, who never got a stud WR, other than over the hill Alfredo Bass for a couple of seasons.

McDavid's career was over midway through his second season. Without the gruesome knee injury, I might have flipped back to him for the 2006 season and never traded up for Flannery. I was already convinced that Leonard Lyon would never be good enough to get us to the playoffs consistently. In a way, it lead to the choice to go for Flannery.

101 seasons in the books. Despite that Ashley was our starter for 9 seasons, it's possible I wouldn't even rank him in my personal top 10 of quarterbacks.

Lester Lowe is my number one. Alfred Hickman my love-hate relationship, but has to be second for winning a bowl game. Bryson Chow and Rusty Harrison have to be third and fourth, they were 1.1 picks that turned out to be game managers. Harrison's opportunities were hurt by the old fashioned black and blue injuries riddled ages of IHOF football. Chow overcame the VSOD.

Flannery number 5, I think. probably still ahead of Jay McGee, despite that McGee was the first to get us into the IHOF Bowl.

Bennett Morris was a one-season rental, but went out after a sensational season. Winfred England will also go into the HOF, but I hurt his last season with my awful game plan. Winston Buckner was great, but we missed the playoffs somehow. Robbie Rhoades turned into his playoffs collapsing self after a fine regular season.

Harry Osborne had one awesome season that I derailed by benching him.

Journeymen Moe Sheldon and Perry Coleman were okay, I guess. Coleman was exceptionally good, but also extremely brittle. Sheldon had one fine season, but was basically the kind of guy you want as your QB2. But Patrick McDonnell was the ultimate QB2 for us (not my fault he didn't live up to 1.1 status.)

And then there's this Ashley guy, that had 1 winning season in 9 tries with the best WR duo to ever play for this team. I sold the franchise for a RB, kept together the OL until the cap hell broke loose. And all we got was .500 ball at best.

Evan Drake already jumps ahead of Ashley on my all-time QB list after the past season.

Where does he land compared to short term stop gaps like gun slingers Erick Loera and Sammy Erickson?

Even draft busts Robbie Howe and Brandon Brady finished their short lived careers with a .500 winning record.

So yeah, after mentioning every quarterback that started at least 16 games or was a 1st round pick, I don't see how I can put Ashley anywhere but close to the bottom of my list, despite longevity numbers. 59 wins in 9 seasons as a starter is abominable.

End rant?
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Old 03-12-2022, 06:51 AM   #661
MIJB#19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MIJB#19 View Post
End rant?
Oh my, how did I forget about Ellis "Who the fuck is Ellis" McAlister?
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Old 03-12-2022, 07:18 AM   #662
MIJB#19
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General Manager Notes: Here comes the 2105 off-season!

We're $67M under the cap. I repeat: we're $67M under the cap. How about that? With 43 players signed, it means we still have 8 roster spots to fill that will count against the cap and with the veteran minimum salary being $2.44M, it means that we've basically got $47M to work with.

We lost 3 players to retirement: QB Earnest Ashley, LT Andres Blair and OLB Luke Thompson. Ashley was our QB2, and quite frankly, I'm not sure he'll be missed. Blair was our OT mentor, a spot we'll likely fill with a backup C or G as the young OTs are fully developed or will be come opening day. Thompson was a member of our special teams unit and it's likely we'll have to invest in a new special teams LB. The departure of Ashley means we're back down to 3 QBs and will get to the point where we have to make a decision on QB Randy Walters whether he's going to be good enough and quickly enough to become our QB2 or even future starting QB. The latter isn't very likely, unless he makes an Ellis McAlister kind of progress.

If you kept counting, you know know this means 7 players are free agents. 5 of them are restricted: RB Van Goodwin, TE Darnell McKie, MLB Mo Fausel, SLB Stephen Rhodes and S Craig Clancy. Clearly we're going to offer Rhodes and Clancy a contract, if their agent's (they have the same) demands are fair. Interestingly enough, the requests are identical, I think these two misfit toys are well worth a $3.7M cap figure. McKie's agent's demands are better, he's request just under $3M. I'll take it for what he can do and has done as a third down receiver for us. Fausel's demands are quite far from what he's worth, $5.4M for a special teamer is quite expensive, but he's probably our best guy and a serviceable running downs backup. Goodwin wants $5.7M, which is defensible for him, but I will have to think about this one as the short yardage and change of pace roles aren't as clear cut his.

SLB Micah Halvorson and G Corwin Driver are unrestricted free agents. Halvorson is a starter in our front seven and his demands now (just under $10M) are much more sane than last season's (much more than $20M). There might come a bidding war on him, so we'll have to see whether we can afford upping the bid. I'm not yet sure where to go with Driver. He's a fine run blocker and has cohesion going for him, but I'm not sure he'll be a starter for us going forward. $7M for a backup role is a bit too much, especially if he can't mentor (he can't and likely won't).

But... There's a big but here: we have a large group of players going into their fourth and final season of their rookie contracts. Of the class of 2101 many are starters and all are contributors (otherwise they wouldn't be around still). Apparently I addressed a good chunk of it last off-season by extended some of them a season ahead of time (well done, MIJB, well done). But still, TE Garrett Alcala, CB Logan Wallace, K Oscar Harrington, G Brett Stickney and LT Harold Gruenwalder will want to get paid roughly $63M more (combined).

I also might want to think about locking up QB Evan Drake for 5 seasons (he's still signed for 2 season), to make his contract renegotiations friendly.

And then there's a truck load of draft picks, picks 3.3, 3.9 and 3.20 are our top three. I traded our 1st rounder to the Colorado Cutthroats for Evan Drake, which now feels like it was well spent. Even more so if he can continue to be a solid starter for another season or 4. I will want to trade our quintet of 4th through 6th round picks and probably keep the triplet of 7th rounders to grab some players before the undrafted rookie free agency period.

And that's basically where we are as of now. I'm not going to share more plans. Quite simply, I haven't given it much thought yet. But I will in the next couple of days.
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Old 03-14-2022, 09:59 AM   #663
MIJB#19
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General Manager Notes: New staff members and players!
The 2105 off-season is underway!

Today we had the pleasure to have 5 players sign a contract with us. 3 of them were restricted free agents, but 2 of them will be veterans joining us to bolster the defense.

DE Andres Harmon is our big fish. We signed the 30-year old to an expensive 3-year deal, counting $25M towards the cap each season. He had been with the Paris Musketeers for 8 seasons, being picked by them in the late 2nd round in 2097. Harmon has the pass rush technique to improve our pass rush, but it's likely his endurance will force us to limit him to play on run heavy and the no idea what's coming situations. His run defense skills will be an upgrade to our front seven. He can also improve our special teams unit.

S Daniel Shapiro was a surprise signing. He didn't state a preference of when to sign, so I decided to send him a decent offer. The 26-year old is an excellent zone defender, a good run defender, very good in intercepting passes, has enough endurance to play about 2/3rd of the team and could be used on special teams. We signed him for 3 years to a $8.3M per season contract. This will put some pressure on our older safeties and last year's 1st round pick Lincoln Taylor. But it wouldn't be a bad idea to go into the season with 9 defensive backs.

To get to 9 defensive backs, we'll still need to lock up last season's undrafted rookie S Craig Clancy. His agent turned down our first very generous offer, but we'll take a second stab at it. The same applies to OLB Stephen Rhodes. We're getting thin in linebackers (in quantity), we'll decide on OLB Micah Halvorson later on this off-season.

Restricted free agent ILB Mo Fausel signed a 3-year deal, meaning we invested a bit in talent and cohesion on our special teams unit and our depth at linebacker. With him, RB Van Goodwin and TE Darnell McKie were signed to a 3-year deal. I'm honestly not yet convinced Goodwin will make our 53-men roster, but his all around decentness combined with years of service make him a useful guy in our rotation. McKie is an unsung hero, being a reliable third down receiver. Can you believe that this threesome joined us as undrafted rookies?

Last, but not least, I hadn't reported yet on our two big changes in our group of staff members. 53-year old Bradley Knight is our new Head Coach. His resume doesn't look at that spectacular (in 11 seasons with Rochester and North Plainfield never won more than 8 games), but we believe in his skills. We also switched Defensive Coordinator, hiring Wyatt Sirmon who recently was the Head Coach of the San Antonio Tidal Force (they ironically replaced him with our former Head Coach Camden Rives). Sirmon has a great resume as a defensive coordinator, with IHOF Bowl victories with Oakland and Gothenburg. He was with the Giants for 13 seasons from 2083 through 2095.

Back to the roster situation: we're now up to 48 players signed, with 2 restricted free agents (S Clancy and LB Rhodes) and 2 unrestricted free agents (LB Halvorson and G Corwin Driver). We also still have 11 draft picks as i haven't struck a deal with any team yet. It's still most likely we'll mostly trade out of all these picks. Our cap space has trimmed down to $20.2M, which is plenty if we keep the three 3rd round picks as they cost us $7.8M combined.

Am I happy with where we are now? Not quite, because we still have holes on our offense that weren't addressed with the signings and plans mentioned. What I still have to look into:
* QB2 situation (Walters, Manning or a new guy?)
* Third down back situation (Goodwin or a new guy?)
* Planning ahead for the WR situation (Schulz is 33yo, Buysse 29yo and Maxwell 28yo)
* Getting to 8 O-Linemen on roster
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Old 03-15-2022, 06:27 AM   #664
MIJB#19
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 50 signed
3 more to have a full roster.

LB Stephen Rhodes and S Craig Clancy signed 3-year deals with us today. With that, we've brought back all our 2014 defensive players, aside from LB Micah Halvorson (we'll look into that in a day or two) and the retirement of LB Luke Thompson.

My attempts to have WR Vinny Buysse and DT Ben Courcy to sign a new long-term deal that would also free up some cap space, both failed. As per usual, their player agents were unavailable for feedback, they just said "no" and hung up the phone. So rude. But that's life in the IHOF, that's how player agents work. We'll make a second attempt, because we could use some of that cap space to have one more look at the free agents pool.

We could also use some space later on for the renegotiations with upcoming free agents after 2105, but it makes no sense to renegotiate for that reason before mid-pre-season. The only time during the season it makes sense to extend contracts is between pre-season week 3 and opening day.
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Old 03-16-2022, 05:20 PM   #665
MIJB#19
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Tradeaholic at work!
4 new players, 1 departing and 1 rookie selected.

It was a very busy day in the draft war room today, I was working the metaphorical phones quite a bit and it ended up in missing out on some trade possibilities, yet striking three deals anyway.

The first deal is a straight up swap of cornerbacks with the Fort Wayne Fury and their freshly new owner/general manager. CB Donnie Dogins will leave us after 5 seasons of service, having been a starter the last 3 season after 2 seasons of waiting in the wings. Coming back is the one year younger, yet coming from the same draft class, CB Otis Hane. Where Dogins is primarily a zone defender, Hane is a more classic man to man and bump and run specialist, with outstanding interception skills and could be an improvement to our special teams unit as well. Sad to see Dogins go, I tried to hold off quite a bit, but I got persuaded after all.

The third deal was a swap of the 3.9 pick to the Orlando Talons for their 3rd round pick in 2106 and the 7.19 pick this draft. This will give 4 7th round picks this draft. Wait, isn't that against the plan to trim down on picks?

It got worse as we failed to get a trade of the 3.3 pick worked out in time, so with roughly 1 minute on the clock we selected P Mack Nelson. Yup, old fashioned reaching for a special teamer that might be potentially the best kid at his position. It worked out well recently with K Oscar Harrington. Nelson will have to impress in camp as just 2 seasons ago we picked Dana Louis late in the 6th round and that was already a choice to replace a punter on team.

Now on to the big bang, kind of, as we made a very uncharacteristic trade, sending no less than 6 draft picks in this class to the Atlanta Vipers for 3 veteran players. We'll be acquiring RB Broderick Levine, G Kenyon Helm and LB Damian Fletcher.

The least surprising one should be G Kenyon Helm as we had only 1 guard on roster and even if G Corwin Driver signs the offer we made him, Helm would likely be the better player and have to fight it out with our backup C Lincoln Stonge for a starting role.

LB Damian Fletcher is a 31-year old pass rusher. We might consider a swap to DE, but if not, he could be an upgrade to our front seven. Sure, at his age, it will be short term, but it felt like an opportunity we had to take.

RB Broderick Levine will be a challenge for the entire group of running backs. He's got what it takes to be a RB1 (power, speed, endurance, receiving hands, hole recognition). Levine failed for the Tucker Tigers, but as a 26-year old with 456 carries in his backpack, he should still be in his prime.

All this wheeling and dealing yanks our roster up to 53 players signed and 5 draft picks incoming. This doesn't yet include to potential signings of free agents that we offered contracts to. G Corwin Driver would be much desired, OLB Micah Halvorson a luxury. WLB Cody Ross of formerly Toronto is on our pursue list, as is QB Drew Daniels from Williamsburg. That would add things up to 62, which is a tad too much. But, we'll see how things will work out.
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Old 03-17-2022, 05:05 PM   #666
MIJB#19
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: More trades!
Just kidding! Made you look!

The real news is the signing of G Corwin Driver and LB Cody Ross. Driver should be a familiar name for the loyal readers. I mentioned him a couple of times already this off-season and as a home grown 6th round run blocker, he's welcome to stay. As a backup, most likely. Ross was released this off-season by the Toronto Lake Monsters. He's a run stopper, okay zone defender, special teamer. He becomes our 15th front seven player, 24th defensive player. Tough decisions will be here in mid-pre-season.

It will mean the departure of Micah Halvorson. The bidding war is on for him, best one right now is $48M over 4 years. Can somebody remember him what kind of very generous offer his agent turned down last season? Yeah, kid, you missed your chance.

We lost the bidding war of sorts on QB Drew Daniels, he will stay in Williamsburg.

We're now up to 55 signed and 5 draft picks. I've sent one offer to a free agent, we'll find out sooner or later whether he's interested to join us.
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Old 03-18-2022, 12:00 PM   #667
MIJB#19
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Rookies report
And a hold out, guess who?

The 2105 draft has finished. Our draft class consists of 5 young prospects, all without a guarantee to make the 53 men roster for the upcoming season.

P Mack Nelson was our 3rd round pick. Trade talks abruptly halted and I was unable to pick them back up before we were sitting with 1 minute remaining on the clock. I went with the best player at the top of our list here. I haven't been unhappy with P Dana Louis (50/50ish), but Nelson is pretty close in current ability and has a higher potential ceiling (45/60ish). Nelson interviewed as "very underrated", I'm optimistic that there's room for improvement. But Louis might also improve in pre-season. It's quite possible I'll bring both into our pre-season roster.

QB Evan Kelley was our first of four 7th round picks. His sense rush looks a tad lower than anticipated, but then, we didn't interview him. We'll see after camp as we have that Randy Walters kid still around. We actually signed a mentor/kick holding specialist in QB Derek Bishop, which could result in a change of personnel in our QB group. Even Malachi Mannings spot isn't safe, Bishop and Manning are on par in it.

FB Tony Rosebrock was our second 7th round pick. He'll go into the mix with FB Damien Wanamaker and FB Randy Julian. It's quite possible that by the end of pre-season, only one of them is still on the team.

WR Kendrick LaMarche was our third 7th round pick. Upon arrival, his route running and special teams potentials both look less impressive than we hoped for. If he does develop, then it would be an ideal combination to be a WR3/4 and special teamer.

S Dennis Finley was our last 7th round pick. He might be swapped to CB, because he's more of a man to man and bump and run defender. The real treasure here is his punt returning ability. If his potential is true, this might be the end of Rondell Robertson in that specific role. If that happens, we'll put Robertson on the trading block, I'm sure there's a market for a player with his skill set.

Unrelated to the draft, S Blaine Wright has decided to hold out, again. His demands are exorbitant. And frankly, by signing Derek Shapiro this off-season and picking Craig Clancy and Lincoln Taylor last off-season, we anticipated on an upcoming departure. It's best to put him on the market and he'll find out that no other team is going to offer him $14M per season. It would be another blow to our cohesion though, after having traded CB Donnie Dogins.

Lastly, it's unlikely I'm going to go out there and make a lot of offers to undrafted rookie free agents. Despite our success with S Craig Clancy and LB Stephen Rhodes last season, I just don't see how and where we would be able to find a player that can make the 60-men pre-season roster, let alone survive the cutdown to 53. But never say "never."..
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Old 03-19-2022, 01:26 PM   #668
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 4 undrafted rookies...
... and 2 position switches.

That's our pre-training camp report. We signed RB Lincoln Poole, WR Micah Henderson, WR Teddy Butler and WR Herman Jeffries as undrafted rookie free agents. Poole could be the powerful third down we're looking for, Henderson, Butler and Jeffries the just another backup with a special teams role. Jeffries might bring along kickoff return ability, while Butler actually has very good big-play receiving skills. But will they make the 53 men roster? They might not even make the 60-men pre-season roster.

Two position switches took place in preparation for training camp and the upcoming season. We switched WLB Damien Fletcher to his original and better suited DE position. We switched S Dennis Finley to CB, but if he makes the team, it will mostly for his punt return skills anyway.

What I didn't mention last time is that, contrary to my policy to avoid renegotiations with veterans before mid-pre-season, we capped out the deal of QB Evan Drake. The goal was simple: avoid that he goes into hold out mode. He's now on team for a $32M cap figure and next season for $63M. He will be demanding in the range of $220M over 3 years, so, we know he'll be expensive next season.

For now, it's training camp preparation.
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Old 03-21-2022, 10:34 AM   #669
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Training Camp 2105

Here we go, here we go! Except, that it's just training camp and we're not yet at mid-pre-season. Still, training camp progress of young players can give us some insight on their potential. Let's run down the roster by position group and with my usual rounding down to the nearest 5's, to still keep the rest of the league somewhat guessing on how good we are.

Quarterbacks
55/55 Drake (nc)
40/40 Bishop (+4/+1) = new
25/50 Walters (+6/nc)
30/35 Manning (+3/nc)
15/30 Kelley (+2/+3) = rookie
Walters continues to improve in training camps: +5, +6 and +6. And yet I have too little faith in him to be the successor to Drake. Kelley's lack of improvement isn't a good sign that he's capable of being our new project. Bishop and Manning are equal in kick holding, but Bishop is also a mentor. Both are too skilled to let any of our youngest become the QB2, because the staff will always give preference to Bishop or Manning over Walters or Kelley. I have to mull over that. Maybe I feel fine with Bishop and Manning for this season and look for a project next off-season and then go with one kick holder?

Running Backs
50/50 Levine (nc) = new
40/40 Holmes (nc)
40/40 Goodwin (nc)
35/35 Shackleford (nc)
35/35 Robertson (nc)
30/35 Poole (+1/+1) = rookie
I really have no idea what to do just yet. Shackleford looked like a good investment last off-season, but if his hole recognition goes down once more, he's no longer a RB2 alternative. He might still be a worthy KR2. Robertson is our PR guy and did well last season, so it depends on what the rookie CB Finley will do in pre-season. Holmes was solid last season, he should stick as our RB2. Levine, Goodwin and Poole are receiving and short yardage options. We don't need 3 of them, 2 would already be a luxury.

Fullbacks
35/35 Julian (nc)
30/30 Wanamaker (nc)
20/40 Rosebrock (+3/nc) = rookie
I'm leaning heavily to going with just Julian here for the new season. Rosebrock's improvement wasn't wowing. Wanamaker is the slightly better run blocker, but I think we can safely switch to Julian without losing too much cohesion and actually improving the pass protection and not spend 2 active roster spots at this position group.

Tight Ends
60/60 Alcala (nc)
40/55 Heath (+4/nc)
45/45 Martin (nc)
40/40 McKie (+3/+1)
This group is set. We'll just have to dodge that pre-season unpredictability.

Wide Receivers
65/65 Buysse (nc)
40/40 Schulz (nc)
35/35 Emerson (nc)
25/35 Butler (+1/nc) = rookie
25/25 Hancock (nc)
20/30 Henderson (+3/-2) = rookie
20/35 LaMarche (+3/nc) = rookie
15/25 Jeffries (+2/nc) = rookie
15/20 Greer (+2/nc)
We took a flyer on a bunch of rookies, but I doubt any are keepers. Still, they have some upside: Jeffries is a solid special teamer and has kickoff return potential, Butler is a big-play receiver and LaMarche has route running potential. Henderson won't make the pre-season roster. Maybe it's time to let Greer go too, despite his special teams ability finally reaching his excellent potential.

Offensive Line
80/80 C Cyr (nc)
60/70 RT Dole (+7/nc)
65/65 G Stickney (nc)
55/55 C Stonge (nc)
45/45 LT McCormick (nc)
45/45 LT Gruenwalder (nc)
45/45 G Helm (+4/nc) = new
40/40 G Driver (nc)
This group is set, bar pre-season misery. Stonge, Helm or Driver will become our RG, McCormick or Gruenwalder the LT.

Punters/Kickers/Long Snappers
95/95 K Harrington (nc)
50/55 P Nelson (+2/-3) = rookie
50/50 P Louis (nc)
20/20 LS Brock (nc)
Tricky situation with Nelson, the first signs are discouraging.

Defensive Linemen
80/80 DT Morris (nc)
65/65 DT Courcy (nc)
55/55 DE Harmon (nc) = new
55/55 DE Fletcher (nc) = new
45/45 DE Dobreski (nc)
40/40 DT Potchynok (nc)
35/35 DE Rosas (nc)
25/40 DE Preston (+5/nc)
25/25 DE Crawford (nc)
Solid group. Harmon and Fletcher improve this group. Last season LB Rhodes and LB Halvorson also played on the D-Line. This might force me to release DE Preston (still very good potential), DE Crawford (special teamer) or DT Potchynok (pass rusher).

Linebackers
75/75 Coleman (nc)
55/55 Desimone (nc)
50/50 Burks (nc)
45/45 Fausel (nc)
45/45 Ross (nc) = new
20/20 Rhodes (nc)
Good group with Coleman the All-League potential star. I'm likely to go with 6 LB into the season, so Rhodes might be safe, even if he loses his active role to DE Fletcher. LB Halvorson's spot will likely be filled with DE Harmon.

Secondary
55/55 CB Hane (nc) = new
55/55 CB Wallace (nc)
45/45 S Clancy (+5/nc)
45/45 S Shapiro (nc) = new
40/40 S Wright (nc), holding out
40/40 CB Cowdrick (nc)
40/40 CB Cabrera (nc)
40/40 S Weaver (nc)
30/45 S Taylor (+4/nc)
25/45 CB Finley (+4/+1) = rookie
Hane could be an upgrade over departed CB Dogins and S Shapiro an upgrade over hold out Wright. Taylor is a guy to be on the fench about, Clancy is clearly ahead of him. I'll likely trim down to 9 guys in pre-season.

So, with 65 players signed, I actually have to removed 5 of them before we can play our first 2 pre-season games. I'm undecided at the moment, but there's little time to dillydally on it...
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Old 03-21-2022, 02:22 PM   #670
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
FB Wanamaker and S Wright amongst Merchantmen cuts
The Maassluis Merchantmen today released 5 players to set their pre-season roster for the upcoming IHOF Season. Fullback Damien Wanamaker and Safety Blaine Wright were the most prominent names. Quarterback Evan Kelley and wide receivers Gage Greer and Micah Henderson were also released.

Damien Wanamaker was selected in the 4th round of the 2097 draft by the Merchantmen. In 2098 and then from 2100 through last season he was the starting fullback for the Merchantmen. His primary goal was to support the offensive line on running plays. He's been released after 8 seasons on roster, having played in 96 regular season games and 2 playoffs games last season.

Safety Blaine Wright was a seventh round pick for the Merchantmen in 2098. After 2 seasons of waiting in the wings, He became a member of the active roster in 2100 and the last 3 seasons was a starter. Last off-season Wright held out for a better contract, but retracted his desire before pre-season began. After not getting an improved deal in the more recent off-season, Wright decided to hold out again and this time the Merchantmen prefer to go with the other players on roster and cut Wright. His action for the Merchantmen thereby ends after 80 regular season games and both playoffs games last season.

Wide receiver Gage Greer was an undrafted rookie signing in 2102, but in 3 seasons has bene activated only once. With the recent arrival of 4 rookie wide receivers, Greer's odds to make the roster again were slim and the Merchantmen have decided to not wait until mid-pre-season to make a decision on Greer.

Quarterback Evan Kelley was one of four 7th round draft picks in the recently finished 2105 draft, while wide receiver Micah Henderson joined the Merchantmen as an undrafted rookie free agent. Neither of them made a good impression in training camp and being stuck in the two deepest groups on the team, they were the first players cut.
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Old 03-23-2022, 06:50 PM   #671
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Unpredictable pre-season
The 2105 regular season is 2 exhibition games away...

Two pre-season games under our belt and after them, our staff members reported some sudden changes in several players' ability to play football.

In that pre-season action, we rolled up the Arizona Miners in Oranje Haven. The final score of 22-7 barely represented how we outgained them 438 to 193 total yards. We followed up by outgaining the Oakland Black Panthers 487 to 356 total yards, but after an unlikely go ahead touchdown (77-yard catch and run from Vinny Buysse), there 3 seconds left, just enough to see our hosts return a kickoff return for a 34-31 victory.

After returning home in Maassluis after that second game, 15 players were reported as having lost quite some of their speed, strength or whatever it is that used to make them good at their position. Of those 15, the ones that don't bother me much are QB Evan Drake, RB George Shackleford, WR Vinny Buysse, C Lincoln Stonge, DE Robbie Dobreski, DE Andres Harmon and LB Cody Ross. Most of them won't see a huge effect (or so I hope), while Ross was hired just for his special teams skills and Shackleford wasn't likely to make the 53-men roster anyway.

For 8 guys, I was mildly disappointed. QB Malachi Manning shouldn't matter much at all, since we only used his kick holding skills, but now there's just no reason to keep him over off-season signing QB Drake Bishop. For TE Darnell McKie it was disappointing, but I suspect he'll still be an awesome third down receiver. In our battle for the WR4 and WR5 spots, WR Rick Emerson and WR Calvin Hancock were reported as on the decline and are now in danger of dropping off our 46-men active list for the 2105 season. But, we have a couple of rookies that might step in.

The real drama happened with G Corwin Driver and G Kenyon Helm. Both had a big enough drop to make it pointless to see them as starting material. This paves the way for C Lincoln Stonge to lock up the 5th starting spot. Unless there another option... But I'll come back to that later.

For DE Spencer Crawford the decline will likely result in his departure after 6 loyal seasons as a deep down the depth chart backup and primarily a special teamer. LB Mo Fausel will still make the team, but all the improvement from last off-season vanished as if it was never there. His agent made great use of it, we locked Fausel up as a restricted free agent.

Next stop will be some cap management to find enough room to extend the contracts of most of the 18 players that have their contract run out after the season. We're currently at $32M under the cap, but these players together want roughly $84M added to their cap figures for this season. So, 3 things to do: Make our cuts down to 53 to figure out what cap room we'll have available. Negotiate with several longer term signed players that will push some cap cost to next season, but stay within a manageable figure next season. And then there will be some guys where we will have to be creative with our offers.

Once the key players are locked up, we'll look at the remaining cap space and look at two more things. Will we lock up the backups as well or will we look at the free agent market or the recycle bin of soon to be released players to look for a better option at offensive guard?
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* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

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Old 03-24-2022, 09:44 AM   #672
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: And then there were 53
With 2 punters, still...

The mid-season roster cut day was here. I could have stalled and tried to trade some players, but I decided against it. No dillydallying, get it over with. And apparently I got overenthusiastic and released 7 players when 6 was the desired number for now.

DE Spencer Crawford leaves Maassluis after 6 seasons. A 4th round pick in 2099, he never reached the pass rush potential we thought he had. He compensated with special teams skills and excellent play diagnosis, making him a suitable backup for the rotation. In 4 of 6 seasons, he was active in all games, adding up to 64 regular season games and 2 recent playoffs games.

QB Malachi Manning leaves us after 5 seasons, 79 regular season games and 2 playoffs appearance. That's a lot, but it makes sense as he's been considered an elite kick holder. And nothing but that, basically. Except that my staff always felt that he was better than (for example) Randy Walters, making it impossible to let Walters pick up playing time in garbage situations. Effectively, Manning actually played quarterback 3 times for us.

WR Calvin Hancock leaves us after 3 seasons. As an undrafted rookie he broke into the team as our WR4 and a special teams member. The second and third season he was mostly the latter, but still our WR5 also. He rounded out 50 appearances for us in last season's playoffs, but whatever it is that degenerated him, we were forced to let him go.

RB George Shackleford leaves us after just 1 season. Initially we expected him to challenge our younger guys, but a decline in speed already made us make him an inactive mentor on our team. This off-season, despite that the decline hardly continued, the arrival of Broderick Levine made it pointless to keep Shackleford around.

RB Lincoln Poole was a recent undrafted rookie signing, but by lack of decline from veterans Van Goodwin and Broderick Levine, we decided to not try out Poole as a short yardage and third down back. Levine should be good to take that role from Goodwin.

We also released two of our 7th round picks from last draft. FB Tony Rosebrock and WR Kendrick LaMarche didn't wow enough to make the team. At fullback we'll go with just Randy Julian. At wide receiver, undrafted rookies Teddy Butler and Herman Jeffries made the cut.

We're down to 53 signed and still have both punters on roster. I didn't make a decision yet between Dana Louis and Mack Nelson. Quantitively, I don't have to yet, but I likely will before opening day. And keep my eyes open on what to do with that 53rd slot.

I made a start with the renegotiations and 11 players signed a new deal already. Contracts of LS Bennett Brock, WR Rick Emerson, G Brett Stickney, CB Logan Wallace and C Elijah Cyr have been extended. Contracts of 6 other guys were restructured to give us close to $38M of cap room to work with still. We'll need it, TE Garrett Alcala and K Oscar Harrington declined our first offer. And I still would like to extended the deals of WR Ed Schulz, C Lincoln Stonge, LT Harold Gruenwalder, DE Damien Fletcher, DE Robbie Dobreski, CB Eduardo Cowdrick, CB Wesley Cabrera and S Pete Weaver.

And then, if there's some cap space left, who knows what we can do?
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Old 03-27-2022, 12:42 PM   #673
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: No more excuses
The 2105 team is set, almost.

With new contracts for LB Abraham Desimone (to make some cap room available) and DE Damian Fletcher, the 2105 roster isn't just set, but also locked up for 2106. We're projected $96M over the cap that off-season, but we'll figure that out then. From here on, the focus is on 2105. Last season was an 11-5 conference semi finals campaign. We should demand improvement from this team, no excuses, this team should be ready for it. So, let's take a look at the team for 2105 and how good we are comparted to last season in week 1.

Quarterbacks
50/50 Evan Drake
40/40 Drake Bishop (also kick holder)
25/50 Randy Walters
New: Bishop
Left: Ashley, Manning
Evan Drake is slowly declining, but being a 2nd season on team should somewhat compensate for it. Bishop replaced both Ashley (who was overall more talented) and kick holder Manning. Walters improved this off-season, but will need to improve to ever become ready to be a starter in this league. But basically we're all in on Drake to make the offense do the things he made it do last season.

Running Backs
50/50 Broderick Levine
35/35 FB Randy Julian (and special teamer)
40/40 Bennett Holmes
40/40 Van Goodwin (and special teamer)
35/35 Rondell Robertson (and backup punt returner)
New: Levine
Left: FB Wanamaker, RB Shackelford
Levine should be an improvement over Goodwin as a short yardage and pass catching back, while Holmes remains as our speedy RB2. Robertson is a valid alternative for Holmes, if needed, but he will have to live with a spot lower on the depth chart. Julian improved to the fullback role, he's better suited for what we expect from that position than the declining Wanamaker could have been.

Tight ends
60/60 Garrett Alcala
45/45 Wesley Martin (and special teamer)
35/40 Darnell McKie (and special teamer)
40/55 Nicholas Heath
New: none
Left: none
The same group means they all improved and will improve cohesion. Alcala is more solidly our third best receiver now. It's likely he'll even take over the third down and goal line targets from McKie. Martin is still ahead of Heath, although the latter is catching up. If Alcala indeed successfully takes over McKie's clutch catches role, it's possible I'll put Heath on the active roster and McKie goes to the inactive seven.

Wide Receivers
80/80 Calvin Maxwell (and kick off returner and special teamer)
60/60 Vinny Buysse
40/40 Ed Schulz
30/30 Rick Emerson (and special teamer)
15/30 Herman Jeffries (and special teamer and third kickoff returner)
30/35 Teddy Butler
New: Jeffries, Butler
Left: Hancock, Greer
The same top 3 guys, with Buysse some decline. Butler is promising, but his lack of special teams skills will put him behind Jeffries and Emerson for now.

Offensive Line
80/80 C Elija Cyr
60/70 RT Ivan Dole
65/65 G Brett Stickney
45/45 C Lincoln Stonge (starting RG)
45/45 LT Harold Gruenwalder
40/40 LT Carson McCormick
35/35 G Corwin Driver
30/30 G Kenyon Helm
New: Helm
Left: RT Blair
Something can be said for both Gruenwalder and McCormick to play the LT role. McCormick is the better run blocker, Gruenwalder the pass blocker. The decline of Driver and Helm forces Stonge into the RG role, which I'm confident he can play. It should be an improvement over LT McCormick playing LG. More importantly, all starters are returning players (cohesion!).

Defensive Line
80/80 DT Gabriel Morris (and special teamer)
65/65 DT Ben Courcy (and special teamer)
55/55 DE Damian Fletcher
50/50 DE Andres Holmes (and special teamer)
40/40 DT Mitch Potchynok (and special teamer)
35/35 DE Robbie Dobreski
35/35 DE Deon Rosas
25/40 DE Aiden Preston
New: Fletcher, Holmes
Left: DE Crawford
Morris and Courcy can now focus fully on plugging the middle, while we have Harmon to boost the run defense up and Fletcher to improve the pass rush. Dobreski, Rosas and Potchynok will get their playing time in the pass rushing roles they are familiar with. Preston will have to wait in the wings for another season, as will 2104 revelation LB Stephen Rhodes.

Linebackers
75/75 Gus Coleman
55/55 Abraham Desimone
50/50 Tony Burks
40/40 Mo Fausel (and special teamer)
40/40 Cody Ross (and special teamer)
20/20 Stephen Rhodes
New: Ross
Left: Halvorson, Thompson
We anticipated the departure of Halvorson by signing DE Harmon. The trade for DE Fletcher means Rhodes will drop hard on the depth chart after a fine rookie campaign. Ross is our new special teamer to fill the gap of retired Thompson. Fausel has declined, but continues to be a prominent special teamer.

Secondary
55/55 CB Otis Hane (and special teamer)
55/55 CB Logan Wallace
45/45 S Craig Clancy (and special teamer)
45/45 S Daniel Shapiro (and special teamer)
35/35 S Pete Weaver
40/40 CB Eduardo Cowdrick (and special teamer)
40/40 CB Wesley Cabrera (and backup kickoff returner and special teamer)
25/40 CB Dennis Finley (and punt returner)
30/45 S Lincoln Taylor
New: S Shapiro, CB Hane
Left: S Wright, CB Dogins
Shapiro should be on par with Wright, being more talented, but brand new which means no cohesive value. Somewhat the same applies to Hane over Dogins, except that Hane is a better man to man defender. Taylor isn't quite ready yet, which means he's our 46th man for now and I might make him sit inactive if I feel that activating a player at another position is more important. Finley for now gets the punt returning skills over RB Robertson. As I writing this, I'm actually second guessing it: Finley is more talented, but Robertson was elite last season and deserves credits for it.

Special Teamers
90/90 K Oscar Harrington
50/50 P Dana Louis
50/55 P Mack Nelson
20/20 LS Bennett Brock
Harrington is the best in business. Brock is elite. Louis or Nelson will be a game day decision for opening day. Releasing either of them is a negative cap result, so for now I will stick with two punters, with the second one inactive. This can't last a full season, I presume, for now I have to trust in Louis after a fine 2105 season and Nelson having been a pre-season disappointment.

With little cap room left now, we can't lock up LT Harold Gruenwalder anymore. It means he'll likely be the only unrestricted free agent next off-season. Unless I re-do WR Calvin Maxwell's contract into something even less flexible next off-season, which is a bad idea. So, that's where we stand in that regard. Undrafted rookie wide receivers Butler and Jeffries will be restricted free agents next off-season.

And with that, again, the focus goes to the 2105 season now. Coming up first: a road game at the Bordeaux Vineyards. It's the 2104 European champions visiting the 2103 European champions. Bordeaux is so much better than their 4-12 record from last season assumes. And starting on the road, we can't take anything for granted. But we won there last season, kept our offense together and improved our defense. I'm optimistic about our chances and think we're supposed to defend the division title successfully.
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* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

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Old 03-31-2022, 09:01 AM   #674
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Lonely at the top?
Or the lesser of four so-so teams?

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

The European Division teams have had a far from stellar start of the 2105 season. So far, the collective has posted 1 win and 1 tie in 11 games outside the division. And that win was ours.

We started the season in week 1 with a 19-17 loss at Bordeaux. It was a bizarre game, almost impossibly to summarize. We played "meh"-ish, but still overcame an early 10-0 deficit, and whilst driving for the game winning field goal, QB Evan Drake's interception thrown well within K Oscar Harrington's range ended the game.

We bounced back with a sophisticated 31-21 victory at home against the Frederick Red Menace. This time we won the turnover battle, dominated the field position battle and had the liberty to give up 131 total yards in the fourth quarter by virtue of a big enough lead after 3 quarters. QB Evan Drake bounced back with 3 touchdown passes.

In week 3 we lost a bit of a shootout at the Tucker Tigers with a 35-28 score. When we thought the have leveled it 14-14 right before half time, the Tigers hit on a miracle hail mary pass and that play came back to haunt us for the rest of the game. We gave up over 400 total yards on defense for the second straight game, which is concerning. QB Evan Drake threw for 309 yards and 4 touchdowns, the lionshare to TE Garrett Alcala. The latter is getting the Darnell McKie targets now and is making the best of it with 5 touchdowns in 3 games.

Our season continues with 3 games against the 3 winning teams in the AOC Northeast division, starting with a visit to the North Plainfield Plague. Last season we lost at them, which kickstarted a late season 4-game winning streak for the Plague to end up with a 6-10 record. It means they've lost only 2 of their last 8 regular season games. But this sounds fancier than it is. Maybe a more accurate representation is they won their last 7 home games and lost their last 8 road games.

All in all, losing 2 of the first 3 games doesn't bode well for the 12-4 record I predicted this team has in it. The stupid loss in Bordeaux might end up being the difference maker. The defense is not living up to ability, but 3 games is too small a sample size to draw conclusions. Mathematically, we can still end up anywhere between 1-15 and 14-2.
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Old 04-04-2022, 08:49 AM   #675
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: So far so good?

The 2105 regular season continues to be an up and down ride. We lost the division lead after losing 27-20 at North Plainfield, but took it back after beating Rochester 26-23 and Toronto 33-21.

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

On to the next games!

...

Wait, hold on, that's way too easy going just by the scoreboard. Isn't there anything interesting to report about these three games?

There is, actually. The road game at the North Plainfield Plague felt uncharacteristic compared to previous clashes in this matchups. Remember how we lost at their place last season. This time around, we actually didn't play all that bad, except that our defense wasn't quite playing up to its potential. In return, our offense had the usual troubles against neon-green, but a couple of lost fumbles by veteran WR Ed Schulz hurt our chances to take a big enough lead to actually to not let the Plague come back from behind to beat us, wasting a 3-pick performance by our defense.

The home game against the Rochester Razorbacks saw us play dreadful on defense throughout the first half, yet in our own red zone, we did just enough to actually lead 14-13 at half time. In the second half our team woke up and overcame all 3 turnover we committed, albeit it took us a last minute touchdown to come back from behind to win it. TE Garrett Alcala had his first 100-yard game.

Today we continued with a big test against the Toronto Lake Monsters. Once again, we had our struggles and despite some game plan changes, we still haven't figured out why we're not living up to our potential on defense. LB Gus Coleman did however, having a couple of late game interceptions, the second one a fantastic 61-yard pick six. On the other side of the ball, Evan Drake continues to find WR Calvin Maxwell (79-yard touchdown today), WR Vinny Buysse and TE Garrett Alcala (made his 8th touchdown of the season already). RB Bennett Holmes struggled again, continuing to be very hot or miss as our RB2 (so fare he ran for 106, 67, 27, 12, 91 and 22 yards).

So, 6 games in, we've won all our home games and lost all our road games. Now is the moment to stop that trend as we'll continue with a road trip, visiting Paris and Harlem (on the other side of the pond, not Haarlem on the northern side of Holland) in weeks 8 and 9.
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Old 04-10-2022, 11:19 AM   #676
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Too good to be true
Or: how to piss away a potential great season.

For a day or two, we thought we had arrived. The Solecismic Power Ratings report was convincing: the Maassluis Merchantmen are the #1 team in the league. Our record wasn't the top of the mountain, but flip around the loss at the Tucker Tigers and, in fact, we'd have been tied at the top at 7-2 each, together with the North Plainfield Plague.

To get there, we beat the Paris Musketeers 38-10 on the road, a sound and solid victory, completely in line with where we are as a team and where Paris is at the moment. We followed up with a very encouraging 23-17 at the Harlem Apollos, making it 3-1 against the tough Northeast division (they combined for a 26-18 record). We didn't play all that well on offense against Harlem, but we still got the job done. And the winning streak continued with a solid 27-19 beating of the Bordeaux Vineyards.

All looked well going into the crucial home clash with the Gothenburg Giants, everything setting up for us to win the game we should win against a rebuilding rival. The outcome was a train wreck of a game. It felt like the Gothenburg Giants knew every call we were making on offense. We didn't just play bad, it was a shameful performance. The running game was held to 43 yards on 22 carries, while WR Calvin Maxwell, WR Vinny Buysse and TE Garrett Alcala combined for 7 catches on 25 targets. QB Evan Drake was held to 138 yards passing, a performance I thought impossible of this personnel. Amazingly, the defense for a change actually played up to their talent and we actually were a 54-yard field goal away from a dirty victory. K Oscar Harrington shared in the misery, the kick fell short, the most talented kicker to ever play for orange-white-and-blue failed to make himself the game winner that we are paying him to be for us.

The pathetic display of can-we-still-call-this-football continued on our trip to the Brooklyn Fightin' Bums. The 23-15 final score makes it sound like we had a change to tie it up, but the reality is that we actually lost the field position battle and got outgained by 130 total yards. QB Evan Drake was held below 200 yards again, the running backs combined for 41 yards rushing and the defense couldn't keep a mediocre quarterback from throwing for 339 yards.

Ugh.

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

As of now, we're actually outside the playoffs spots, as the Northeast and Southeast divisions both have a 7-4 second place team. Gothenburg has a much better divisional record now, which means winning in their house in week 17 will not give us the edge either. It's painful to conclude that as high as we were on this team, in 5 of 11 games, we pissed away our chances to win. The loss at Tucker was to be expected, a close loss by a single score, decided by a once in a million play. The losses at Brooklyn and North Plainfield fair, but the lack of defensive and offensive performance in both games was depressing. The losses against Bordeaux and Gothenburg were both unnecessary, despite our lackluster and sloppy play in both games, we should have converted game winning field goals in both games. I mean, sitting at 8-3 makes things so much easier to go into the final stretch, which will involve two more games against the tough NAC Mid-Atlantic division (a combined 26-17-1 record) in football at the moment.

Our journey continues with a home game against the fallen apart Fort Wayne Fury. But it's fair to say that they are much better than their 3-8 record would make you believe. Reality is that as talented as this team is, we're just not living up to it consistently. This passing game has no business being held under 200 yards in 5 of 11 games, that's just way below the quality of the quarterback and receivers involved. The running game is too hit or miss, despite that it's an improved group of players. And the defense, oh boy, I have no clue why they just can't deliver. This unit is talented, Merchantmen worthy.

I thought we got rid of all the players with their overpaid attitude. I'm starting to think we haven't fixed that mentality problem at all... Well, guys, stop looking good on paper and start being good on grass from here on! The season isn't lost yet, a lot can still happen, but we have to stop the lunacy here and now. Merchantmen, go out there and play good football!
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* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

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Old 04-12-2022, 10:15 AM   #677
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The worst behind us? Nope, far from...
2105 is turning into a disaster...

European Division:
1. Gothenburg 8-5
2. Maassluis 6-7
3. Bordeaux 3-10
4. Paris 1-11-1

The losing streak has extended to 4 games now, 3 of them in Oranje Haven. Disgraceful!

The performance on the field was a disgrace as well. After a hectic first quarter of going 21-0 down to the Fort Wayne Fury, the defense rebounded by giving up 225 total yards for the game and no more points after that first quarter, but the damage was already done: a 21-13 loss at the end of the day. The bad news was the offense crumbling into pieces, unable to mimic the impressiveness we displayed last season and moreover early on this season. QB Evan Drake had an Earnest Ashley like stat line, completing 18 of 39 passes for 207 yards, with 3 interceptions and a fumble. Face, palm, meet.

The demise continued against the Chesapeake Chitterlings. Their quarterback was held to 131 yards passing on 42 passing plays, but our offense did too little to make up for the pick six and 3 field goals allowed. We lost 16-10 in a game that we could have, should have, would have won.

Had my hair been long enough, I could have attempted to pull it out. After weeks of seeing the defense not living up to their potential, now they finally do, the offense is falling flat. It's almost like Coinflip Ashley and the Lost Cause Torphy returned to Maassluis to shoot ourselves in the feet.

Are we mathematically, technically, you-name-it-ly still in the playoffs race? Yes, we are, but we're behind 8-5 teams both in terms of the division title race and the wild card race. We have everything in this team to sit at 10-3 and calculating the options on what we need to happen to be the #1 or #2 seed, but the reality is that that ship has sailed. Our last home game is on the horizon and the way we've been [insert the curse word of your choice here]-ing away things, what rights do we have to expect to steamroll them with a 50-6 kind of score? Exactly, we should demolish them, but I don't trust this team anymore.

After that must-win game, we'll get two must-win games on the road, but preparation for those games is pointless for now. Paris first. Merchantmen, wake up! It's going to be too little too late. Play football!
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

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Old 04-12-2022, 10:38 AM   #678
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Quote:
Absurdle 7/∞ (hard mode) Absurdle @ Things Of Interest

⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜
⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜
🟨⬜⬜🟨⬜
⬜🟨⬜🟨🟨
🟨🟨⬜🟨⬜
⬜🟩🟩⬜🟩
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩
The solution was "Drake".
Yup, it's undeniable, winning with Drake is currently absurd.
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Old 04-15-2022, 07:39 AM   #679
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 2105, what a disaster
Pedestrianity it was after all...

The season is over. With still week 17 to be played, out last tiny chances to make the playoffs vanished. In week 15 we already had to congratulate the Gothenburg Giants on the division title. Our 6-3 start was just a big bag of sand and the last couple of games rubbed it deep into our eye sockets. We have the players to play well, but we can't make them play up to their ability.

European Division:
1. Gothenburg 11-5
2. Maassluis 7-9
3. Bordeaux 4-12
4. Paris 3-12-1

Our stretch of the last 3 games started with a pummeling of the Paris Musketeers. Except that we almost choked a huge lead and saw them come 7 yards short of potentially sending it to overtime. We won 23-15, but the defense gave up 400 total yards, including 4.88 yards to The Lost Cause. Embarrassment and a glimp of hope at the same time. This being the last home game of the season, meant we had to win the last two on the road and needed quite some help to get back into the wild card race.

Our playoffs dreams shattered on the road at the Williamsburg Colonials. The tenure of most games this season continued. The defense gave up 394 total yards, while our running game was non-existent. In this game, the glass-half-full QB Evan Drake showed up, connecting with WR Calvin Maxwell and WR Vinny Buysse for 66 yards each, while TE Garrett Alcala had his second 100-yard game of the season and ended the touchdown drought after 5 games without any. All was far too little. We lost 22-16, but the last minute field goal was the only thing that kept this from being our first 2-score loss of the season.

The 2-score loss came in week 17, as we choked a 14-0 lead at the Gothenburg Giants. After decent football in the first 1/3rd of the game, the wheels came off and the Giants played with us like a cat with an unconscious pray. Rookie QB Burt Kiluk, one of the worst quarterbacks to ever face us, lead his offense to 5 straight scoring drives, with all but the second one ending in a touchdown, that single field goal was the result of time running out in the first half. In this 34-24 loss, QB Evan Drake was held to 188 yards passing, RB Broderick Levine was held to 1.69 yards per carry and the defense played their most pathetic game of the season, giving up 5.68 yards per carry to the Giants and 310 passing yards to aforementioned quarterback.

And thus comes a season to an end that saw us won 2/3rd of our games, until we ended things with a disgraceful 1-6 season ending series. The depressing part is that this is quite simply one of the best Merchantmen rosters ever assembled. Losing a game here or there is acceptable, but not by throwing for less than 200 yards and also giving up 400+ total yards on defense. This group of players is far too good to play that terribly.

We do need to figure out why it seems like some teams have figured us out. Our clashes with the Gothenburg Giants this season have been dreadful. I mean, aside from their playing way above his ability quarterback, their team is pretty solid, but it's a team we should play a 50-50 kind of game against, we're not supposed to get fleeced. And sometimes, one missed field goal late in the game can make a difference. Had Oscar Harrington converted that late game kick in our house against the Giants, we would have gone into today's game with the division title on the line in a winner-takes-all clash. For a second ignoring how we choked at Bordeaux in week 1 (throwing an interception when about to kick the game winning field goal) and how some games are decided by a one in a million hail mary pass. That just shows how thin the line can be between victory and defeat.

Still, the inconsistency displayed by both our offense and defense has been a pain to watch. We were not the 12-4 team I thought we could be. The off-season will be tricky, as we'll be in an old fashioned cap hell, estimated at roughly $95M over the cap to start. You know me, we're not the kind of team that will do our best to suck for a season, draft some quarterback in the top3 and after 2 seasons of mediocrity throw the towel again. That's not what the IHOF is built on and we've got too much pride to even consider tanking even a single game.

2106 can't start soon enough 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

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Old 04-27-2022, 12:55 PM   #680
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 2106, the off-season has begun

A new off-season, new opportunities to leave behind the mistakes from the past and work on improvement of the team.

We start the off-season down three players. WR Ed Schulz, C Elijah Cyr and S Pete Weaver retired from football. Cyr played 2 seasons with us, playing in all 32 regular season and 2 playoffs games in 2104. A rock solid interior lineman, it's too bad he felt that it was time to pursue the life after football, I hoped to see him anchor our line for a little bit longer. Weaver played three seasons with us, also having joined as a veteran free agent signing. Weaver was our fifth or sixth defensive back, never missing a game.

Ed Schulz received Legend of the Game honors as he bowed out. Our 2093 first round pick was taken to become the successor of Theodore Bondy, but after a five good seasons, it turned out he would never reach his potential. Although settling for being "good" rather than "very good", he made a smooth transition from underperforming WR1 to a decent WR3 behind the most talented receiver duo in Merchantmen history of Calvin Maxwell and Vinny Buysse. His resume includes 3 seasons of over 1,000 yards receiving, peaking in 2097 with 1,399 yards and 11 touchdowns. Although coming short of the 10K mark, he steps away ranking 8th in yardage and 9th in receptions all-time amongst Merchantmen players. The highlight of his career came as late as his 12th season as the Merchantmen ended the longest playoffs drought with the 2104 European Division title and a victory in the wild card round. Schulz missed the last games of the 2105 season due to injury, meaning he didn't have the opportunity to help avoid the late season collaps.

The replacement for Schulz has already been acquired as we spent the 1.27 draft pick on WR Alfredo Samuels. The pick came from a trade down from the 1.13 slot, the spot we already contemplated picking Samuels. We picked up the 2107 2nd round pick of the North Plainfield Plague in the process. In the second round we picked G Andres Uwaezuoke, a direct result of the retirement of Cyr. This paves the way for Lincoln Stonge to return to playing center, while Uwaezuoke gets a change to play at his natural positon.

Other activity in the off-season included a truck load of renegotiations to get under the cap. This included contract extensions to key players TE Garrett Alcala and DT Gabriel Morris. We also re-signed LT Harold Gruenwalder as an unrestricted free agent and brought back restricted free agents WR Teddy Butler and WR Herman Jeffries. My first offers to QB Evan Drake and LB Gus Coleman got turned down, which is probably the start of a long series of negotiation meetings, hopefully absent of either of them announcing a hold out.

Last but not least, presumably, we go into the 2106 season with the same staff members as last season. That means another season of Clarence Byrd as our smashmouth offensive coordinator, despite that fellow general managers in the IHOF have advised me to replace him. It will be Byrd's 10th season with us. We also hung onto Bradley Knight as our head coach, despite that we declined from 11-5 to 7-9 in his first season. Shockingly the team he left, the North Plainfield Plague, improved from 6-10 to 12-4 under the command of debuting head coach Todd Clinton. Yes, the same Clinton that played defensive end for us from 2076 through 2079.
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Old 04-27-2022, 02:51 PM   #681
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
The 19 of 2102 - start of the 2106 off-season
After a bunch of trades, made during the 2102 draft and several in the off-seasons prior, the Maassluis Merchantmen finished that draft with 19 picks. A long list of young men hoping to win a job in the international house of football. Joining the Merchantmen is, usually, one of the best chances to stick around in the league, at least on the same team. But with 18 others from the same class, will those odds still be the same? On the other end of things, the Merchantmen swept through their roster throughout that same pre-season and were in dire need of fresh meat. Hence, incoming the 19 of 2102. Let's see whether tracking down where these kids end up over time will be an interesting side story in the long history of the IHOF?

The list of 19 could arguably be considered to be slightly longer (like 33 names long) after including undrafted rookies. Which is fair, because they're still from the same draft class. So, let's list them by pick and after that in order of signing. In this first installment, we mentioned whether these guys made the 2102 regular season roster or not and mentioned any possible position switches. In this second installment, we'll go over where they are now going into the 2106 off-season and how likely they are to make the regular season roster this time around.

1.24 ILB Tony Burks - switched to SLB in 2103
Burks continues to be a 50/50 linebacker. He's a 55 run defender, 65 zone defender and has 75 play diagnosis, but lacks endurance (25). So, he can play, but isn't 1st round worthy and needs to be outside some formations to make up for his lack of stamina. The LB3 role is his still.

2.6 TE Garrett Alcala
Alcala has landed, coming off a season where he lead the league in receiving touchdowns and received All IHOF Second Team honors. He's scouted at 60/60, being a 85 run blocker, with 65 endurance. He has clearly exceeded the prior "receiving skills are somewhat lacking" assessment. He goes into the off-season as a 75 getting downfield, 60 big-play receiver and 90 third-down receiver, with 40 route running. He exceeded the start of 2104 expectations, proving he can be a 90-catch guy.

2.13 CB Logan Wallace
Wallace has developed into a 55/55 cornerback. He's an elite 95 man-to-man defender, with 90 bump-and-run, 40 interceptions and 50 endurance. His zone defense (35), run defense (0) and play diagnosis (30) make him one of those defenders that needs to be slotted in the right places to be effective. He's a reliable starting cornerback.

2.24 K Oscar Harrington
He's the elite of kicking, scouted at 90/90 overall. His kicking accuracy (95) and kicking power (100) speak for themselves. His kickoff skills have improved enough to think he can win games for the Merchantmen. Although bitter fans might point to his miss last season against the Gothenburg Giants...

2.28 CB Zachary Centers - switched to SS
Centers has retired, making him the only one of the 2102 draft's top two rounds. He played in 5 games as a rookie and was cut mid-pre-season in 2103. He never got a job elsewhere in the league.

3.5 CB Wesley Cabrera
This 40/40 cornerback is still on the team, despite being on the bubble several times. His 30 man-to-man and 25 bump-and-run defense are too little to play as a true CB1 or CB2. His zone defense (55) and interceptions (70) are okay enough to have taken the nickel back role. He's also a decent special teamer (60) and the alternate kickoff returner (60).

3.18 RB Rondell Robertson
This 35/35 running back is mostly known for his 65 punt returning. His running skills are mostly geared towards his 55 breakaway speed and 55 hole recognition, making him a serviceable RB3. His route running (50) and third down receiving (55) support that as well. Last season was only used as a punt returner, which could be his faith in 2106 as well, if he can hold off second-year pro CB Dennis Finlay.

4.3 OT Harold Gruenwalder - switched to LT
Has become a 45/45 left tackle. With 65 pass blocking and 75 blocking strength he is our fine blind side protector, but his 15 run blocking and 30 endurance mean that he's not a complete lineman. Was recently re-signed to stick around for the 2106 and 2017 seasons, with the plan to remain as the starting left tackle.

4.7 G Brett Stickney
He has topped at being scouted at 65/65. With his 65 run blocking, 75 pass blocking, 50 blocking strength and 70 endurance, he's the most talented Merchantmen offensive lineman. But there are still doubt about him being too short, maybe...

4.23 S Daryl Heath - released in pre-season
Currently Heath plays for the Capital City Blues. Our scouts see him as a 40/40 safety with mostly run defense and play diagnosis. The Blues see him as a starter.

5.2 C Lincoln Stonge
Having peaked at 55/55, he dropped back to 45/45 last off-season. His 55 run blocking is too low to be a dependable starting center, but with his cohesion boost, it's unlikely the Merchantmen will find better on the free market or in this draft class. After 2 seasons as a backup, was brought back as a starting guard last season.

5.6 LT Salvador Horton
Horton is out of football. He was released after 8 games of inactivity in the 2102 season and retired in the 2103 off-season.

5.13 DT Mitch Potchynok
Turned into a 40/40 defensive tackle. Spent all of last season inactive. His 70 pass rush technique, 65 play diagnosis and 60 special teams make him a suitable passing downs option. He has no endurance (0) and his 35 run defense also make for that decision.

5.23 G Floyd Graham
Is a 45/45 backup for the Rochester Razorbacks. He was released in the 2103 off-season and Rochester signed him week 1 to make him a starter. He missed the 2105 season after he picked up a very serious groin injury late in the 2104 season.

5.24 OLB Marco Nichols
Is a 30/35 backup with the Iowa Cobbers. Nichols was cut in pre-season 2103 after a full season of inactivity in Maassluis, then was signed and cut for week 1 by the Toronto Lake Monsters and during the 2103 post-season signed a contract in San Antonio, which had been extended in 2104. In 2105 he was picked up by Iowa as a free agent and got his first playing time in the IHOF.

6.5 S Eduardo Cowdrick - switched to CB
Fully developed, Cowdrick has become a 40/40 cornerback. His 55 man-to-man and 50 zone defense are fine, His 70 interceptions make him a reasonable play on passing downs. His 100 endurance could make him a potential all downs player, but his 5 run defense and 40 play diagnosis are lacking for that. He's getting some playing time on defense, mostly in a dime back kind of role, and on the special teams unit.

6.31 TE Raul Milliken - released in pre-season
Milliken has retired after being released after 8 games of inactivity in 2102 by and with the Merchantmen.

7.7 WR Rick Emerson
Is a 30/30 wide receiver, mostly on roster for his 80 special teams ability. With 50 route running and 35 third-down receiving, he's a viable WR5 option.

7.31 CB Steven Van Pelt
He was released by Maassluis after 8 weeks of inactivity in the 2102 season. He kept hoping for a second chance, but it never came and he retired in the 2105 off-season.

undrafted QB Wendell DeMeester - released in pre-season
Failed to make the 2102 team, is out of football.

undrafted TE Antoine Springer
Failed to make the 2103 team, is out of football.

undrafted TE Tanner Sweeney - released after training camp
Failed to make the 2102 team, is out of football.

undrafted QB Jay Bates
Failed to make the 2103 team, is out of football.

undrafted RB Rod Eafon - released in pre-season
Failed to make 2102 team, but is still in the league, without having played a single game. In 2102 released in pre-season by Maassluis, signed by Fort Wayne Fury that opost-season. In 2103 signed and released by Rochester Razorbacks in pre-season, then signed by Augusta Greenjackets in post-season. In 2104 played in 15 games for Augusta, but was released on roster cut day 2105. He retired this off-season.

undrafted TE Darnell McKie
Arrived and then had a bit of a drop back in the 2105 off-season. He's now now scouted as a 35/40 tight end. Lacks blocking skills (15/20 run blocking), but besides being a 70 special teamer has proven to be a reliable key downs receiver with his 90 third-down receiving, 65/70 route running and 40 big-play ability. Currently unhappy after a downgrade in playing time last season.

undrafted WR Gage Greer
Kept waiting in the wings to one day become a WR5/special teamer, but in 3 seasons on roster his activity was limited to just 1 game in 2102. In 2105 was released in the off-season and he retired subsequently this off-season.

undrafted C Stan Cloude - released in pre-season
Failed to make the 2102 team, is out of football.

undrafted OT Carson McCormick - switched to LT
Has grown into a 40/40 left tackle. Has played right tackle at times, but his 75 pass blocking is much better than his 40 run blocking. Lacks blocking strength (0) and endurance (30). Lost his starting role in 2105 and is currently demanding a trade. He's signed for the 2106 season, so unless he starts a hold out, he'll most likely be the backup tackle for the upcoming season.

undrafted ILB Mo Fausel
At 40/40 not really impressive, but as a 90 special teamer is clearly an important member of that part of the team. A 65 punishing hitter, but overall lacks other defensive skills to be considered to play on defense.

undrafted CB Kendall Boone - released in pre-season
Failed to make the 2102 team, is out of football.

undrafted RB Van Goodwin
As a 40/40 running back has enough to be a RB2. Except that last season he got demoted to a RB3 role. Has 70 breakaway speed, 55 third-down running, but only 40 hole recognition, 0 route running and 30 endurance. Is a 70 special teamer, so still got his share of action on the special teams unit. Is locked up through the 2108 season at a very reasonable salary.

undrafted WR Calvin Hancock
Peaked at 35/35, but last off-season degraded to a 20/20. As a result, after 3 seasons on special teams, was released in the 2105 off-season. He's a free agent going into the 2106 off-season.

undrafted C Gustavo Hartman
Hartman has retired after being released after 8 games of inactivity in 2102 by and with the Merchantmen.


So, out of the long list of 19 drafted and 14 undrafted players, the Merchantmen still have 16 of this class still on team and 4 others are still around in other places or the free agents pool.

For the 2106 season, it's likely that TE Alcala, G Stickney, LT Gruenwalder and CB Wallace will be undisputed starters, while K Harrington could reasonably be lumped into that group. C Stonge will likely start as well. DT Potchynok and LB Burks will likely see playing time on specific downs. RB Robertson, RB Goodwin, TE McKie, WR Emerson, LB Fausel, CB Cabrera and CB Cowdrick will likely stick on the special teams unit. LT McCormick is a suitable backup. But, as always, training camp and pre-season can throw things into a wrinkle.
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* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 04-30-2022, 08:54 AM   #682
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The class of 2106 has arrived

After some wheeling and dealing (did you expect anything else from us?) we ended the draft with 6 selections. We added a 2nd, 3rd and 4th round pick for the next draft (2107) and a 3rd round pick in the 2108 draft. This draft, we finished with a 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th and a pair of 7th round picks.

WR Alfredo Samuels (pick 1.27)
Scouted at 25/55 upon arrival. He's very green, but that doesn't really matter. To be 1st round pick worthy, he'll have to boost up a bit anyway. He's very low on route running and avoiding drops. He's high on courage, endurance and special teams ability. The latter means he'll increase his odds to make the active roster.

G Andres Uwaezouke (pick 2.12)
Scouted at 35/65 upon arrival. His run blocking potential is estimated at 80, which is something we're willing to settle for. He's green, but with a good training camp, he'll have a shot at making the starting lineup. Which isn't easy, given that we can rely on the trade demanding LT Carson McCormick to play at LG for another season, like he did in our division winning season 2104.

C Zane Chaplain (pick 5.13)
Scouted at 40/55 upon arrival. Has the looks of an underrated player, with excellent blocking strength. His run blocking is somewhat lacking (25/55), but if he booms, he's going to threaten Lincoln Stonge sooner or later. We needed a backup anyway, although he does come on as the 9th lineman, which likely means we'll have to cut somebody after pre-season.

QB Monty Truitt (pick 6.12)
Scouted at 10/35 upon arrival. This kids loves to scramble (100) but his timing (55/70) and sense rush ability (60) are decent enough to take a shot
here. Will he make us release QB Randy Walters? Maybe...

S John Aponte (pick 7.13)
Scouted at 20/35 upon arrival. We were down a safety after the retirement of Peter Weaver and Aponte at the very least will be good for the quantity. That said, he's probably the second best zone defender of this entire class of safeties and is already a very good special teamer (75/90) as well, which bodes well for his chances to make the 53-men roster. He don't be much of a run stopper, but he's got good enough interception skills and endurance to jump into the dime back role.

DT Conrad Colombo (pick 7.30)
Scouted at 20/30 upon arrival. A fast, smart defensive lineman with endurance and the ability to force fumbles. What more to ask for here? I hope his potential holds up and his experience is true as well, it would make for a serious threat for the front seven players to see this kid make the final 53 men roster.


With these kids on team, we'll head into the post draft free agency period with 56 players signed and roughly $33M in cap space. That number of players will likely yank up to somewhere between 60 and 65 with undrafted rookies and hopefully some veteran free agents that I offered a contract to. Without the later, the roster cut decisions would be at quarterback (4 signed), punter (2 signed), offensive line (9 signed) and defensive line (9 signed).
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Old 04-30-2022, 03:10 PM   #683
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: training camp bodies, or?

We're up to 66 players signed. No less than 10 players signed with us post-draft, with 3 of them veterans and 7 undrafted rookies.

P Jimmy Summers might be the biggest fish here. Ironically, we talked with him before the draft, but when we found out the Toronto Lake Monsters were willing to pay him double, we backed out. Until the Lake Monsters picked the top punter prospect in the draft and also backup out of the negotiations. As a result, Summers was still without a team. And that's where we jumped back in, offering a somewhat cheap contract to the third best punter, according to my staff. This obviously boosts our special teams unit into being more awesome than it already was. And undoubtfully ending the stints of Dana Louis and Mack Nelson with our team. Summers is 29, he surely has at least half a decade of football still in his leg. Our staff assesses him as a 75/75 overall punter.

We also signed G Nathaniel Robbins and CB Sherman Barnes. Robbins has been a backup in Kansas for 5 seasons. To be fair, we mostly wanted Robbins to mentor rookie G Andres Uwaezuoke, but he'll jump ahead of Corwin Driver and Kenyon Helm in the depth chart as well.
Barnes restores piece in the locker room, after CB Logan Wallace had become our secondary leader. Barnes has his fair share of intercepting skills and zone defense skills, run defense skills and could be an emergency special teamer. Robbins is scouted as a 45/45 guard, Barnes as a 45/45 cornerback.

Undrafted QB Dalton Burin (5/30) is green, with very good sense rush ability (75) and good timing (45/65), but as is won't beat 6th round pick QB Monty Truitt or 4th year QB Randy Walters.

Undrafted RB Rufus McDonald (30/40) needs to show progress in camp, but he's got a shot with his breakaway speed (65) and hole recognition (45/55).

Undrafted FB Carlos Wiggins (20/40) was signed with the promise of being a viable passing downs guy, particularly with his ability to pickup the blitz (45/95), but his pass blocking (20/40), route running (20/55) and in particular his lack of run blocking and endurance make it unlikely he'll make the team.

Undrafted WR Cory Mattox (20/35) will be a longshot to make the team. His route running (40/80) is note worthy, but he lacks anything else to make you think he can make the 53 men roster.

Undrafted DE Lester Simmons (20/35) was the coin flip decision with late 7th round pick DT Conrad Colombo. Simmons' pass rush technique (25/70) is less polish and promising than Colombo's.

Undrafted CB Herb Duffy (25/40) has an interesting skill set, with good run defense (30/55) and in particular very promising zone defense (60/85) and interceptions (65/75) skills. He's not good enough for our special teams unit, lacks endurance to be an all downs back and at 5'7" and 185 pounds looks like he might be too small to play football.

Undrafted CB Joel Delgado (35/45) looks like another rough diamond. He might be a solid alternative as a man to man (50/85) or bump and run (60/65) pass defender, with intercepting skills (70/75). His low endurance, lack of zone defense ability and run defense, make him an interesting alternative for CB Logan Wiggins or CB Otis Hane on the outside.

And with that, we go into training camp, $24M under the cap, which we'll need to extend contracts of at minimum LB Gus Coleman and QB Evan Drake. With these 66 players, there's quite some decision making to come, as early as right after camp, when we'll have to trim down to 60.
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Old 05-03-2022, 04:10 PM   #684
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Six out for the 2106 pre-season roster

The position battles are slowly taking shape. To get our roster pre-season ready, we had to release 6 of the 66 players on team. At five positions we trimmed down. Undrafted rookies QB Dalton Burin, RB Rufus McDonald and WR Cory Mattox were the easiest cuts. It means our QB roster spot battle isn't over yet, but has one candidate less. At RB the battle could be over, unless one of the returning players falls apart in pre-season. Mattox was the a longshot to make the team already, despite his promising route running skills.

P Dana Louis and P Mack Nelson both are victims of the signing of two-time All IHOF second teamer Jimmy Summers. Louis played admirably well the last two seasons, while Nelson was our 3rd round pick and I held out hopes he could improve this off-season.

G Kenyon Helm was the first, and probably not last, cut on the offensive line. A trade acquisition in the 2105 off-season, he showed up completely out of shape after our first pre-season game then. This off-season initially we extended through 2107, but then we drafted G Anders Uwaezuoke and picked up G Nathaniel Robbins to at minimum mentor the rookie.

We're now back up to $25M in cap space, which we're going to need if we decide that we want to extend the contracts of QB Evan Drake, MLB Gus Coleman and CB Otis Hane, amongst others. But, that's something to investigate after the first couple of pre-season games...
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Old 05-05-2022, 06:48 AM   #685
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: My Merchantmen looking good in pre-season?

Pre-season action has arrived and the first two games we played well. Or did we really get tested, facing the two worst teams of last season?

We kicked off with a 24-14 win over the Fairbanks Northstars, gaining 409 yards and giving up 134 yards. Their first touchdown was a 99-yard interception return. QB Evan Drake completed 19 of 34 passes for 278 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception. RB Broderick Levine ran for 86 yards and 1 touchdown. WR Calvin Maxwell had 8 catches for 162 yards and 2 touchdowns. Rookie WR Alfredo Samuels had 1 catch for 8 yards. Fellow rookies C Zane Chaplain and G Andres Uwaezuoke traditionally were benched in the third quarter, I hate it that my staff keeps doing that to rookie linemen. S John Aponte and CB Herb Duffy, sadly, barely played. QB Monty Truitt and CB Joel Delgado were inactive, as were on the fence about FB Carlos Wiggins, DE Lester Simmons and DT Conrad Columbo.

We continued with a 24-10 victory at the Arizona Miners. We gained 329 yards and gave up 198 yards. QB Evan Drake completed 6 of 14 passes for 84 yards, with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. That last part is becoming a concern. RB Broderick Levine ran for 73 yards and 2 touchdowns, once again stealing a lot of RB Bennett Holmes' carries. TE Garrett Alcala is ready for the season, notching his first touchdown of the pre-season. Rookie WR Alfredo Samuels had 1 catch for 20 yards. The staff once again fucked up, taking rookies C Zane Chaplain and G Andres Uwaezuoke off the field long before the game was over. S John Aponte and CB Herb Duffy got a bit more plays, but still far too little to be able to get ready for the season. The same rookies were inactive as in the first pre-season game.

Between these games, our coordinators re-evaluated the roster and came to the conclusion some players are not what they used to be or that we hoped they'd be. The main casualties, if you can call them that:

* QB Evan Drake, went -8/-8, not quite obvious where he went down in ability, which makes it even scarier that it will be in his ability to avoid interceptions. His sense rush is still off the charts (100) and timing good enough (55).

* RB Van Goodwin went -11/-11, but by virtue of being our best special teamer in the backfield, he's going to make the 53-men roster anyway. Still sad to see a player aged 27 decline so hard. His hole recognition (20) in particular vanished.

* RB Rondell Robertson went -10/-10 and by that is going to not make our regular season roster. In fact, he'll be released mid-pre-season. That's too bad as he was our punt returner for the past 4 season, an area in which he also regressed.

* TE Darnell McKie went -9/-9. It marks his second straight pre-season with a big decline. He will still make the team though, his special teams skills are still good, but in particular his route running (50) took a hit.

* WR Alfredo Samuels went -2/-8, which is a terrible sign for a rookie. His trainnig camp was already underwhelming (+3/-2), but this makes for a horrible forecast about his future in Maassluis. His route running (5/30) went from acceptable to a looping hole in his abilities. His special teams skill will keep him active and could be high enough hang on to him long enough to see where he'll be in 2 or 3 seasons.

* G Corwin Driver went -6/-6 and will be off the team before pre-season is over.

* DT Ben Courcy went -6/-6 and DT Gabriel Morris went -10/-10, yet they continue to overall be one of the best duos in the league at their position.

* LB Mo Fausel went -8/-8 and moved even more into the direction of being just a special teamer. Same can be said about the unhappy LB Cody Ross, he went -9/-9.


On the bright side of things is QB Monty Truitt, as he went +3/+2 in training camp and more spectacularly n.c./+6 in pre-season. If he keeps this up, he might be for real and an improvement over QB Randy Walters (still 30/50 overall), who will be cut. Truitt will be active in the last 2 pre-season games. RT Ivan Dole went +4+4 and grew even more into being an elite run blocker. Undrafted rookie Joel Delgado went +4/n.c. in training camp and +1/+5 in pre-season, which means we're going to find a way to make him make our 53-men roster. He'll be our alternate to the starting CBs, but with lack of zone defense skills, he'll have to wait for their injuries to come into play. Delgado will get action in the final pre-season games.
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* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

Last edited by MIJB#19 : 05-05-2022 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 05-06-2022, 04:53 PM   #686
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Pre-Season 2106 action finished
And the 7 casualties from 60 to 53 are known.

The sad news first today, we released 7 players to trim down from 60 to the maximum of 53 for the regular season. 6 cuts were made before the last two pre-season games, the last one came after these games.

QB Randy Walters was a high 2nd round pick for us in 2103, but for 3 straight season we saw no place for him in the line up, or barely even on the bench as the 3rd active quarterback. This off-season, I came to the conclusion that he's never going to be our guy. My staff still sees him as a top20 quarterback in potential, but I just don't see how a player with his (lack of) sense rush ability will ever work for us. The intangibles just aren't there. He's already moved on to the Fort Wayne Fury.

RB Rondell Robertson leaves us after 4 seasons of being our punt returner and RB3. A very good one, with 2 touchdowns and consistently being in the 5th to 10th place range in the league. He was oe of our 3rd round picks in 2102, but rarely got a chance to prove he got the hole recognition and breakaway speed to become a RB2. His sudden decline this pre-season prompted us to move on without him.

FB Carlos Wiggins was an undrafted rookie this off-season and as it looks now, he can do only one thing: pickup on the blitz. A fine skill to have, but with nothing else to add to it, he's a misfit in Maassluis. Maybe a pass heavy/only offense could see use for him.

G Corwin Driver was our 6th round pick in 2100, but despite hanging around for 6 straight seasons, he turned out to be a career backup. His run blocking skills are decent, but his one and a half seasons as a starter in 2102 and '03 showed that he's a huge liability against the pass rush, giving up no less than 30 sacks in 23 starts. His continuing decline and the competition with younger players made the release inevitable.

Undrafted rooie DE Lester Simmons and late 7th round pick DT Conrad Columbo have the promise of becoming decent pass rushers, but in our current group of D-Linemen, they were clearly not amongst the 8 best and not even in potential. If they don't retire or sign elsewhere, we might offer them a return to camp next off-season.

Our 7th and final release was a tough one, I made the tough decision to release CB Herb Duffy. This undrafted rookie is a very promising safety, with the right skills (run defense, zone defense and interceptions), but he just wasn't going to be better this or next season than any of the other 11 defensive backs. He's too short and too light to switch to safety, which if he could have made the switch, would have made him make the roster ahead of with seems to turn out to be a 1st round bust (S Lincoln Taylor).

Does that mean the roster of 53 is set?
Hell no.

The last two pre-season games showed that we're not quite as good as I hoped we are. The Colorado Cutthroats beat us 23-7 in front of our own crowd. We gave up 351 total yards, especially looking bad against a couple of serviceable quarterbacks. At least we held their exceptionally talented WR duo to 11 catches for 94 yards, combined and held their main ball carrier to 1.65 yards per carry. Still, our own offense was clearly lacking, with the struggling rookie QB Monty Truitt completing 12 of 22 passes for 153 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Losing the turnover battle 3-0 didn't help either.

We bounced back with a strange 19-12 victory at the Kansas Creationists. QB Monty Truitt completed 17 of 32 passes for just 125 yards and 1 interception. Truitt was once sacked in the end zone for a safety and despite his perceived mobility, ran only once for a 5-yard gain. Our running game was completely shutdown (RB Broderick Levine gained 28 yards, RB Bennett Holmes 16 yards). Our defensive domination in the first three quarters was phenomenal, keeping the Creationists far away from field goal range throughout and helping us have a huge field position advantage. Oscar Harrington scored 4 field goals, while DT Mitch Potchynok scored our only touchdown on a fumble return.

It means the defense looks in shape. It also means the offense is not ready for a switch from QB Evan Drake to QB Monty Truitt at all.

We extended the contract with QB Evan Drake with a season, he was due to become a free agent after this season. TE Wesley Martin also signed an extension through the 2107 season.

Negotiations with LB Gus Coleman have not yet resulted in a new deal, he turned down our $276M, 5 year deal. Yes, player agents in this business are idiots, but writing that here will not make them chance their absurd inability to do what's best for their clients. We'll continue to talk with them in the coming days.

Talks with other players will come as soon as Coleman is locked up. CB Otis Hane, LB Tony Burks, RB Broderick Levine and RB Bennett Holmes, CB Wesley Cabrera, DE Robbie Dobreski and DE Deon Rosas, DT Mitch Potchynok, FB Randy Julian, WR Rick Emerson and KH/QB Drake Bishop are all on the list of potential free agents. We're currently $22M under the cap, but a lot of that money will go to Coleman.

LT Carson McCormick will be the only guaranteed free agent next off-season. He's demanding a trade and in the final year of contract. I contemplated starting him this season, but it would be silly given his clear desire to leave us after the season, regardless of his playing time this season.
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Old 05-08-2022, 04:27 PM   #687
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The 53 of 2106

Just before opening day, we had our last opportunities to lock up players that are scheduled to be out of contract after the upcoming season. LB Gus Coleman was the top priority, he's now, together with DT Gabriel Morris, signed through the 2110 season. It didn't leave enough cap room to extend the contract of CB Otis Hane and RB Broderick Levine, but we did manage to lock up QB Drake Bishop, FB Randy Julian, DE Aiden Preston, DE Deon Rosas, DE Robbie Dobreski, LB Tony Burks and CB Wesley Cabrera. We should have just enough to extend the deals of RB Bennett Holmes and WR Rick Emerson.

There won't be any last minute signings and releases. Our opening day roster is set.

40/40 QB Evan Drake
35/35 QB/KH Drake Bishop
15/40 QB Monty Truitt (rookie)
We live or die with Drake, no discussion about it. Truitt will be stuck as our QB3 due to Bishop's overall scouted rating being so high for a kick holder/mentor. We'll need to keep Truitt active as much as possible to make progress.

50/50 RB Broderick Levine
40/40 RB Bennett Holmes
35/35 FB Randy Julian
25/25 RB Van Goodwin
Holmes and Levine will continue to share the carries, while Julian will be on the field in 2-back formations and special teams. Goodwin hangs around as a special teamer and as a cohesive back.

60/60 TE Garrett Alcala
45/55 TE Nicholas Heath
45/45 TE Wesley Martin
30/30 TE Darnell McKie
Alcala is an elite tight end, but Martin is good enough to act like our new WR3 of sorts on 1st and 2nd down situations. Heath is a solid blocker, we're quite set at this position. McKie's sad decline wasn't there in his special teams skills and he'll usually float around the 46th active slot this season.

80/80 WR Calvin Maxwell
60/60 WR Vinny Buysse
30/40 WR Teddy Butler
25/45 WR Alfredo Samuels (rookie)
30/30 WR Rick Emerson
20/30 WR Herman Jeffries
Maxwell is the best in business. Buysse's route running is on the decline, but there's no replacement ready. Butler will be our risk/reward WR3, Emerson a special teamer/emergency receiver and Jeffries is one of our best special teamers without any receiving skills whatsoever. Samuels is a bust, but in potential still our 3rd best receiver. He'll be active, playing special teams and learning from Buysse.

75/75 RT Ivan Dole
65/65 G Brett Stickney
45/60 C Zane Chaplain (rookie)
40/60 G Andres Uwaezuoke (rookie)
45/45 C Lincoln Stonge
45/45 LT Carson McCormick
45/45 LT Harold Gruenwalder
40/40 G Nathaniel Robbins (fa acquisition)
Dole is undisputed as an elite run blocker at RT. Gruenwalder won me over again to play LT, ahead of McCormick. Stickney and Uwaezuoke will be our guards. Stonge will be the center for his cohesion value, ahead of Chaplain. Robbins will be inactive and mentor Uwaezuoke.

75/75 P Jimmy Summers (fa acquisition)
90/90 K Oscar Harrington
20/20 LS Bennett Brock
These guys are the best in business. Summers is arguably 3rd best in the league, the others the very best. Combined with the best kick holder in business, there's no room for excuses. None.

70/70 DT Gabriel Morris
55/55 DT Ben Courcy
55/55 DE Darien Fletcher
45/45 DE Andres Harmon
40/40 DT Mitch Potchynok
40/40 DE Robbie Dobreskie
30/45 DE Aiden Preston
35/35 DE Deon Rosas
20/20 LB Stephen Rhodes
Morris and Courcy are the locks in the middle. Their endurance is declining, which will require us to be creative in putting Potchynok more often on the field, which he's good enough to be on passing downs. Harmon is still our best run stopper on the end. Fletcher, Rosas, Dobrieski, Preston and Rhodes are all suitable pass rushers on the end.

75/75 LB Gus Coleman
55/55 LB Abraham Desimone
50/50 LB Tony Burks
30/30 LB Mo Fausel
30/30 LB Cody Ross
Three quality linebackers and two solid special teamers. Coleman is elite. Desimone and Burks are good enough to support him. I listed Rhodes at our DL group, he's just not going to play at LB for us.

55/55 CB Otis Hane
55/55 CB Logan Wallace
45/45 S Daniel Shapiro
45/45 CB Sherman Barnes (fa signing)
40/50 CB Joel Delgado (rookie)
45/45 S Craig Clancy
40/40 CB Wesley Cabrera
40/40 CB Eduardo Cowdrick
35/40 S Lincoln Taylor
30/45 CB Dennis Finley
25/40 S John Aponte (rookie)
This group is solid. Hane, Wallace and Delgado are shutdown corners, with the rookie starting the season inactive. Shapiro, Clancy and Aponte, the latter in potential) are elite zone defenders. Cabrera and Cowdrick are decent nickel and dime backs. Finley is our new punt returner and nothing else. Taylor is a bust, but if injuries run havoc, he'll be activated to jump in. Barnes is a peace keeper and decent enough to jump in for injuries. A huge group in quantity, but despite their from a distance so-so overall ability, one by one they are very good in what we expect them to do.


All in all, this is a solid team, it's on paper the best in the division. The Gothenburg Giants pass rush unit is perhaps the most impressive unit in this division, they're the most fearsome in the league and quite possibly one of the best ever assembled. But everywhere else, we should be considered on par or better. Bordeaux and Paris are rebuilding. There are no excuses, this teams has to step it up and play up to their ability of being 10-6 at minimum and make the playoffs. So, team, prove it.
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Old 05-14-2022, 04:31 AM   #688
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Tic-tac-toe, four in a row!

Wait, that didn't sound right. But it is the truth though: we've started the season with four wins in just as many games.

We kicked off with a 19-13 victory at the Paris Musketeers. The score was closer than it should have been, we clearly were the better team on the field, but with just 1 touchdown in 4 red zone visits, it remained a close game throughout. QB Evan Drake threw for 276 yards, with WR Rick Emerson the main receiver at 9 catches for 97 yards. Emerson jumped in as WR Vinny Buysse dropped out very earl with a separated shoulder. TE Wesley Martin caught our sole touchdown, while Oscar Harrington converted 4 field goals.

We followed up with an exciting game, beating the Hanalei Dragons 33-27 in overtime. Both offenses scored a lot early on, but shortly after we took a 17-14 lead, defensive domination ensued. We yanked it up to 24-14 just before half time, but a 77-yard punt return was crucial in the Dragons' comeback to force overtime with a 45-yard field goal. The defenses dominated the fifth quarter, until CB Dennis Finley returned a punt for 92 yards and the game ending touchdown. QB Evan Drake threw for 276 yards, with touchdowns to TE Garrett Alcala and WR Rick Emerson (still stepping in for the absent Vinny Buysse). RB Broderick Levine added a running touchdown.

We continued strong with a convincing 26-19 victory at the Orlando Talons. Both offenses knew their ways with the opposing defenses, except that we combined for 1 touchdown in 5 red zone visits. A field goal fest was the result, including misses on both sides. We intercepted the Orlando quarterback 3 times, but a couple of lost fumbles almost evened it out. A 55-yard bomb from QB Evan Drake to WR Calvin Maxwell turned out to be the game decider, going up by 10. Orlando kicked a field goal as time expired. Drake threw for 280 yards with touchdown passes to TE Garrett Alcala and aforementioned one to Maxwell. RB Bennett Holmes ran for 122 yards.

Our final game before the inevitable early bye week resulted in a 27-22 victory over the San Antonio Tidal Force. A classic case of scoring touchdowns versus kicking (long-ish) field goals made us slowly gain a decent lead, but also saw that lead come in danger when our offense dried out. San Antonio finished the game inside our red zone, where it finished in style as DE Robbie Dobreski sacked their quarterback to make time run out. It completed a quartet for Dobreski, as he anchored a pass rush that amassed 9 sacks. QB Evan Drake threw for 295 yards with touchdown passes to TE Garrett Alcala and WR Calvin Maxwell, a duo to the latter. Maxwell had a fantastic game, gaining 205 yards on just 6 catches (7 targets), scoring on 75-yard and 60-yard receptions.

So, 5 weeks in the books and things look somewhat as to be expected, with us doing slightly better than we could wish for and the division rivals all doing slightly worse than was to be expected:
1. Maassluis 4-0
2. Gothenburg 3-2
3. Paris 1-4
4. Bordeaux 0-4

We've been here before, as recently as last season at the midway point, thinking we're back on top, but we can't underestimate our opponents, ever. QB Evan Drake is playing well, WR Calvin Maxwell has struggled but bounced back against San Antonio and WR Rick Emerson played like a top10 receiver as the replacement for WR Vinny Buysse. TE Garrett Alcala continues his touchdown scoring. The running game looks sound. The run defense is doing better than we're used to and I'm afraid we'll drop back to mediocrity, despite having a very solid defense in terms of players talent. The pass defense is having a classic case of giving up yardage while forcing opponents to throw long a lot. The pass rush is finally playing up to ability, but 4 games is just too small a sample size to draw sound conclusions.

We go forward to week 6, with a home game against the Atlanta Vipers and welcoming WR Vinny Buysse back. Hopefully he'll improve the offense.
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Old 05-17-2022, 04:06 PM   #689
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Last Men Standing?
One team remains unbeaten...

Week 8 of the 2106 IHOF Season is in the books and of all 32 teams, one has managed to win all their games: the Maassluis Merchantmen. I'll have to check our history books, but I can't really remember the last team we started a season 7-0. I do know for sure we've managed a longer winning streak, because going 15-1 means you have to have won at least 8 straight. Anyway, what did we do in the most recent 3 games?

After the bye we continued with a convincing 38-22 victory over the Atlanta Vipers. Sure, the Vipers gained 405 yards against our 313 yards, but we really didn't get much opportunity to gain much more, starting our drives on average at our 45-yard line. QB Evan Drake threw for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns, both thrown in to the hands of back after injury WR Vinny Buysse. RB Broderick Levine and RB Bennett Holmes shared the touchdown runs 1 each, while WR Calvin Maxwell for a change scored on a kickoff return.

We followed up with an overwhelming 36-6 bashing of the Fort Wayne Fury. We got outgained once again and the main culprit was our lack of ground to gain, starting our drives from our own 45-yard line. QB Evan Drake was held to 196 yards, but did throw a touchdown to TE Wesley Martin, while RB Broderick Levine added a score on the ground. DT Ben Courcy opened the score with a sensational 82 yard fumble return - how's that for our 340 pounds stalwart? CB Dennis Finlay scored his second punt return touchdown of the season.

And today we completed the sweep of the Paris Musketeers with a sound 34-16 win at home. Paris played along in the first half, but after missing a field goal on their first possession in the second half, our defense completely shut them down. We yanked up the score with S Daniel Shapiro's pick six. QB Evan Drake threw for 240 yards with 2 touchdown passes to RB Broderick Levine and 1 to WR Vinny Buysse.

European Division standings
1. Maassluis 7-0
2. Gothenburg 3-4
3. Paris 2-5
4. Bordeaux 2-5

So, how about that. Mind you, without any intent to diss our opponents, we did play the second easiest schedule so far, our opponents went 18-27 against the rest of the league. Interestingly Gothenburg tops the list at 17-29.

Are we doing things right? Sure, Evan Drake is throwing for 250 yards per game, with 14 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Calvin Maxwell isn't living up to the hype of best in business, but he's in the middle of the top10 receivers. Bennett Holmes is high on the yards per carry list. The run defense is second in yards per carry allowed, the pass defense is slightly better than average, the pass rush on par with the league leading Tucker Tigers.

And then, I raise my shoulders. We are level on wins with last season, the wheels can still come falling off. It's way too early to get overexcited. We're playing well and winning games. The people that only look at yards gained and yards given up, let them keep believing in that's what football is about. We know better, we make up 240 yards per game elsewhere, that too is football. Keep this up, team!

Wait! Stop!

Winning streaks and good starts, that was something to look up. In 2097 we started 5-0, but we missed the playoffs with a 10-6 record. In 2072 Houston made us go one-and-done as we lost 27-17 at them after we had a 7-win streak in the middle of the regular season. In 2071 we started the season 6-0, finished it 12-4 and going one and done with a 23-7 loss to Houston in the wild card round. In 2065 we won 9 straight between week 5 and 13, but 12-4 wasn't enough for a bye week and we lost in the conference semi finals at Houston. In 2064 we won the last 7 regular season games, but came tie-breakers to Houston short to make the playoffs. In 2061 Tucker crushed our hopes in the conference semi's after our bye week mostly earned by an 8-win streak from week 4 onwards. In 2058 we started 8-0, finished the season 13-3, but went one-and-done by losing 17-14 at home against San Antonio. In 2040 we started 8-0, finished the regular season 13-3, yet went one-and-done in the divisional round we lost 24-0 at home against Atlanta. In 2037 Atlanta snapped our 9-game winning streak by beating us 38-20 in our own house in the conference semifinals. In 2031 we won 7 straight from week 9 onwards, but that was late in a struggling 9-7 playoffs missing campaign. In 2025 we started the season 9-0-1, with a 7-win streak from week 3 onwards, but we went one-and-done in the wild card round, losing 27-24 at home against Tucker.

Worst of all, in 2059 we started the season with 10 straight wins, but in spite of our 15-1 #1 seed, Atlanta silenced Oranje Haven in the conference semi's with their 31-17 victory.

So yeah, it comes up once again, we have bad memories with winning streaks early in the season or long ones in particular. But sometimes, good things do happen or almost come true. In 2027 we won 7 straight late in the season and reached the conference final. In 2047 we won 11 straight after a 1-4 start and got halted by San Antonio in the conference final. In 2078 we had a memorable season, it included a 7-game winning streak and we eventually saw our season end in the conference final at Toronto. And in 2057 we reached the IHOF Bowl after an 8-win streak late in the regular season.

So, wouldn't it be nice to... No. We're getting way ahead of our selves. We haven't even played our eighth regular season game yet. Get back to me on this curse or whatever it is after the season is over.
__________________
* 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 : 05-17-2022 at 04:07 PM.
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