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Old 02-07-2020, 02:54 PM   #201
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen release Ellis McAlister
The Cinderella story is over. Ellis McAlister, the 36-year old former sixth round draft pick, was today announced to be released by the Maassluis Merchantmen after 14 seasons of service. The decision comes after McAlister's statistically worst season, for the first time throwing more interceptions than touchdowns and seeing his quarterback rating plummet to below 75 for the first time.

The franchise quarterback played in 144 regular season games and 10 playoff games. His regular season tally ends at exactly 35,000 passing yards with 218 touchdowns and 152 interceptions. McAlister ranks third all-time amongst all Merchantmen quarterbacks in passing yards and sixth in touchdown passes.

The Merchantmen are stuck in a deep salary cap situation, projected to be $230 million over the cap if they don't make any roster moves, renegotiations and use their current 8 draft picks. Releasing McAlister opens up just $34 million of cap space, as this is just the beginning of an unavoidable domino effect of roster cuts, trades and heavily negotiated contract restructures.

Along with McAlister, nine other long time veteran players will be released come next Monday. The players and their various player agents have already been informed, but McAlister's departure stands out far above the others. The off-season will be busy in Maassluis, the 2088 roster will see many changes for the last three seasons' conference semifinalist.
__________________
* 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 : 02-07-2020 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 02-08-2020, 10:03 AM   #202
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Welcome to Cap Hell 2088
We've been here before and somehow crawled our way out of the deep hole we dug. This time around, it's a deeper hole than ever before. Let me take you through how deep it is.

The basics:
* the salary cap is $483.8M and the 51 most expensive players will count towards that cap (player 52, 53 and during the pre-season 54 and up don't count towards the cap)
* we have $13.87M of dead cap space, leaving $469.3M to work with
* we have 8 draft picks (which combine for $19.82M of cap costs), which means after using those picks, we have $449.48M left
* we have 44 players signed, which means all but the least expensive one will count towards the cap [FOF's in game calculations are misleading in this area and will actually add the draft costs on top of whatever number of players that are signed, even if that number is already 51]
* the 44 players signed are already counting $291.65M in bonus money, this means we have $157.83M available for the base salary for these 44 players
* the 44 players on roster are due $389.43M in base salary, this means we're $231.6M over budget and need to free up that much of cap space by roster cuts or by renegotiations

So there we have it, we're $231.6M over a $483.8M cap. Yes, we're spending roughly 1.5 times what we are allowed to.

* breath in, breath out *

Some considerations:
* if we trade all 8 draft picks, we clear that $19.80M of cap space, but would still need to sign 7+ undrafted rookies at $1.61M a piece to a full roster (remember, only the first seven count towards the cap, the last two will be the cheapest 2 players on roster), which actually saves only $6.91M
* we've talked with all 52 players on roster to find out their contract demands, which gives us a picture of 5 options for each player (excluding the 8 free agents): do nothing, give what he wants, offer what we want to pay (alteration of the request), cap out (available for only 12 players) or release the player.
* after applying the optimal cap number (without any releases) and removing all draft picks, we'll still be $88.44M short, which means we'll have to release a number of players and will save their base salary minus the rookie minimum in cap space. As it appears to me, we'll have to release 4 of our 5 most expensive players and will still come short. Those five are DT Heath Oliver, CB Kirk Hitchcock, WR Theo Bondy, QB Ellis McAlister and MLB Craig McCorkle. Cutting them all would give us a positive figure of $10.4M.
* all this taken into consideration, we'll have several underpaid players desiring a very large increase in their cap figure (RB Reggie Thong', WR Tucker Gaylor, S Bart Farrell and RT Howard Humphrey). Combined, they want $33.78M more. Money we don't have, which means there's a big risk of them going into holdout mode, in which case we'll be forced to trade or even cut most of them. Especially Tucker Gaylor and his 51 catches for 720 yards and 2 touchdowns looks very likely to be off roster come opening day 2088.

I thought I had made up my mind yesterday and had everything under control, but that was far from the truth. After a truckload of moves and potential renegotiations, we would be $970K under the cap, but with only 34 players signed and thus still needing to find room for 17 minimum salary rookies (which is $27.37M) and no cap room for any of our draft picks. Early reports of McAlister leaving Maassluis look like it's a done deal, no way around it. The "nine other long term veteran players" to be released would get us to that $970K situation, but still far away from what we need to do.

So, that pretty much sums up our cap situation.

Is there a door number two? Theoretically, we could use the picks, as such get up to 52 players signed and see what the league office will do about us being $230M over the cap. Quite simply, we wouldn't get away with it, as league rules are pretty clear: "Each team must be under the league salary cap when Regular Season Week 1 is [played]. Failure to do so will result in league mandated cuts and a possible loss of draft pick(s)."

So there you have it.

It's time to announce a big trade block to the rest of the league's general managers...
__________________
* 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 02-09-2020, 04:57 AM   #203
tzach
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Join Date: Mar 2015
just checking in again to say that i really enjoy this thread, mijb.

the financial module of fof is not perfect, but it simulates pretty well these kind of situations with the salary cap. it's one of my favorite aspects of the sim.

regarding your last point about trying to go into the season over the cap with a legal roster, my understanding is that this has been attempted in the past in other leagues, and the language from ben's rule is exactly to prevent this possibility (which can occur is SP, since the AI will not put a team under the cap with automatic cuts if the roster is legal wrt min position numbers).

Last edited by tzach : 02-09-2020 at 04:57 AM.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:59 AM   #204
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Quote:
Originally Posted by tzach View Post
regarding your last point about trying to go into the season over the cap with a legal roster, my understanding is that this has been attempted in the past in other leagues, and the language from ben's rule is exactly to prevent this possibility (which can occur is SP, since the AI will not put a team under the cap with automatic cuts if the roster is legal wrt min position numbers).
I'm aware of that, even pointed it out.

Thanks for being a loyal reader!
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* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 02-09-2020, 12:07 PM   #205
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Goodbye guys
Hold on, don't panic, I'm not going anywhere!

We will say goodbye to 11 players that have been with us for many seasons. One of them retired, ten others were today told we'll release them. Yes, Ellis McAlister is one of them.

Guard Harvey Hank retired during the off-season. Rarely have we used a first round pick on guards, but Hank has been an exception and with good reason. Since opening day in 2076, he's been a starter on our offensive line all the way through our playoff loss last season. In 12 seasons he played in 202 games (191 regular season, 11 playoffs), missing just 1 game in that time span.

Running back Leonard Belin played 6 seasons with us. A sixth round pick in 2082, he barely played that rookie season. Things drastically changed in the next season when he went into our rotation as the main ball carrier. Over the past five seasons, we flipflopped between him and Reggie Thongchanh. Belin ran for 1,247 yards or more in 3 of those seasons, coming 15 yards short of the 5,000-yard mark, with a 4.5 yards per carry average and 33 total touchdowns. His tally ends at 97 games played for us, unless we re-hire him later on...

Wide receiver Artie Blazewicz turned from a sixth round pick into our WR2. In his 2080 rookie campaign, he was exclusively a special teamer, but in his second season he was our premier kickoff return man, the alternate punt returner and most prominently notches his first (and so far only) 1,000-yard receiving season. Playing behind Theodore Bondy, he was rarely getting a lot of targets, but at 15.2 yards per catch he's clearly been a deep threat receiver for us. He scored 23 total touchdowns for us.

Linebacker Glenn Brewer was considered a complete defender. Our late 2077 first round pick was a day one starter, his role has been a full time starter until last season, when he moved down in the depth chart to the third linebacker role. He topped 100 tackles four times, but also accumulated 43.0 sacks, 10 interceptions and 84 defended passes. His number of games played for the Merchantmen will likely stop at 187.

Defensive end Ezekiel Wylie went from an undrafted rookie to special teamer, then a loyal member of our d-line rotation and a much appreciated mentor last season. It's been only 7 seasons, but that's plenty enough to rack up to 112 regular season games and 9 playoffs games of activity.

Tight end Jessie Taylor will leave the Merchantmen after just 3 full seasons. He was a free agent signing in the 2085 off-season. The plan was to make him a key run blocker, but due to our game plan decisions, it hasn't worked out well and he became even more of a third or fourth choice receiving target. He's made 111 catches for 1,064 yards and 5 touchdowns in 48 regular season games, while playing on all 7 playoffs games in those 3 seasons.

Fullback Tristan Cochrane joined us as a fifth round pick in 2081 and as such spent 7 seasons on roster. We had hoped to turn him into an elite blocker, which he has all the skills for, but reality is that our game plan hasn't been in his favor. 10 carries, 81 receptions, 13 key run blocks, that's his tally in 112 regular season games. We might have found a new role for him with a different game plan in the future, but we're going to promote Clay Brosseau to the role.

Tight end Miles Barker has been another supposedly run blocker, but in reality he's made a grand total of 1 key run block in 64 regular season games and 7 playoffs games. He was an undrafted rookie signing back in 2084, but we just haven't found a way to get him to play much in our game plan.

Defensive end Gino Kemp joined us as a fifth round pick in the 2080 draft. His rookie campaign was silent, but his second season we put him into a leading pass rush role. His tally ran up to 39.5 sacks in 115 regular season games, while also playing in 9 playoffs games during his tenure with us. With a 7.1 pass rush percentage, he's been our most threatening rusher in that time span.

Defensive tackle Erik Shrader was our fourth round pick in 2080. He's been in an active role as a rookie, although his role to a fulltime starter had to wait until his fourth season. He played in 127 regular season and 9 playoffs games for us, scoring 2 fumble return touchdowns.


And then there's Ellis McAlister. A 2074 sixth round pick afterthought at first, but from his first training camp and onwards, we knew this guy had more into him than all the scouts in the league realized. He had to ride the bench for 5 long seasons. And then the 2079 season rolled around. With McAlister at quarterback, we had a 12-4 campaign, with him throwing for 4,193 yards and 27 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. All in all, it might have been his best regular season. That season came to a painful halt in a 43-17 drubbing in which hew threw for 5 interceptions, a rarity even for McAlister. Long story short, he's been our starting quarterback for the last 9 seasons, with that last one being his worst in passing numbers. His contract demands are no longer in line with what he has done for us. So, sadly, it was time to move on.

Wait… Isn't kick holder Karsten Muchnick the only "quarterback" on roster? Why yes, indeed. We hope to re-sign Francisco Farley before the draft is over, because after that he'll go into the open market. Why would we want Farley back? Well, frankly, I have good hopes that he's our new hidden gem, that needs some polishing, but could be much better than all the scouts in the league think he is. We may dream, no?

So, that's where we're at. Basically quarterback-less and still $151 million short of getting under the cap with 53 players signed. Of course, we could just find a way to get out of the $135 million gap. Yes, all these cuts have saved us close to $100 million already.


Still, we're going to have to trade 2 or 3 players from our elite four: Theo Bondy, Kirk Hitchcock, Oliver Heath and Craig McCorkle. I'm hoping to salvage Bondy most prominently, but as you can imagine, he's currently the hottest player in negotiations. A tough situation.

And then there's the situation with all those potential hold outs, primarily our running sensation Reggie Thongchanh. It's getting less and less likely we'll be able to hold onto him, even despite the aforementioned release of Leo Belin.

Fun times for troubleshooter general managers. Not so much for those that restock through the draft season after season. My drafting skills have taken their toll now, combined with the stubbornness and stupidity of the player agents that keep on turning down better contracts than what their players want. So be it, this is where we're at.

I once said: Maassluis doesn't rebuild, we reload. "Restock" might have been better suited, but that's where I'm at. We'll get over this hump, fast.
__________________
* 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 02-11-2020, 11:43 AM   #206
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Stubborn Player Agents!
Oh for four. Bullocks.

We tried to offer our four best and most expensive players a restructured contract. Kirk Hitchcock, Theodore Bondy and Keith Oliver currently have the three biggest cap figures in the league. Craig McCorkle is eighth behind a foursome of quarterbacks. So, as such, we offered them insane contracts ($252M over 5 years for Oliver, $235M over 5 years for Hitchcock, $215M over 5 years for Bondy, $135M over 4 years for McCorkle), but their agents made the unsurprising, yet very disappointing decision to turn down contracts that would give these guys enormous new signing boni.

Alas, Player agents in the IHOF have no sense of what money is. Heck, there's no way these players will get these kind of contracts elsewhere. Bondy maybe, but the other guys? Hell, no.

Five other guys have signed a restructured deal, but these are in the margins of our roster (no offense, guys).

A tougher decision was the release of one of, if not the best, punt returner in league history: Gabe Broady. His tenure in Maassluis ends after 7 seasons. He was an undrafted free agent signing in 2081 and became our premier punt returner halfway through that season. In the following 5 seasons, he was the league's best return specialist, combining for 8 touchdowns. For a short while in 2085 we benched him in favor of Clarence Blackwell and in 2087 Blackwell took over from this legend. Broady spent the entire season inactive. With 7 playoffs games added, his tally ends at 91 games played for us. Father time came early for him, the decline has already set in for him. Good luck elsewhere, Gabe...
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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 02-12-2020, 03:12 PM   #207
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Exodus continues: Bye, McCorkle
Yup, Craig McCorkle is out. And so is Bart Farrell.

We found new homes for linebacker Craig McCorkle and safety Bart Farrell. McCorkle moves to the Arizona Miners, while Farrell joins the Texas Sharks. In return, we received fourth and fifth round picks in the 2089 draft respectively. Earlier on, we sent the 1.27 and 2.27 picks to the reigning IHOF champions (Houston Mustangs) for their first round pick in 2089 and their third round pick.

Craig McCorkle, inside linebacker, last season moved to the strongside. We picked him 18th overall in the 2079 draft and after a season of third linebacker duties, he burst into the league as a full time starter in 2080. In 2081 he earned his first All-IHOF first team selection and he repeated that in 2085. Last season he was a second teamer. Six season straight he topped the century mark in tackles. In 143 regular seasons games he made 940 tackles, 292 assists, 25.0 sacks, 16 interceptions, defended 99 passes and forced 21 fumbles. Yes, this guy has been a beast and at 29 years old is still at the top of the game. Yeah, we miss him already.

Bart Farrell was our short term replacement for last season's free agency loss Bart Guthrie. Farrell played very well in the free safety slot, but for dubious reasons we were not allowed to offer a cap out to him. A shame, as it would have made us keep him. But so be it, off he goes after just one season. Good luck in Texas!

Attempts to persuade the moronic player agents of the three remaining expensive star players resulted in another failure. It's becoming pretty clear: by tomorrow, we'll make a decision on which of these three guys will leave Maassluis: Theodore Bondy, Kirk Hitchcock and Keith Oliver. Traditionally we've been a team of elite defensive tackles and wide receivers, which doesn't bode well for Hitchcock, unless he actually wants to play elsewhere. But, honestly, I haven't made up my mind yet. We have a very sound trade offer for Bondy, whilst the other two guys have been overlooked on the market. Perhaps their inflated salaries scare other team's general managers away.

One fellow general manager asked about Keith Oliver's contract demands. I was polite, offered the insight, but also added: this is what he wants us to pay. Oliver will lower his demands elsewhere, he knows he's much more valuable to us than for another team. [Yes, I'm convinced that's how FOF8 works, it makes you pay for cohesion boosts].

Will 2088 be a lost season? Hell, no. It's way too earlier to make such claims. We're salvaging a majority of our starters and I'm convinced we'll be competitive and fill some of the voids with guys that were main backups last season. The glaring holes are at quarterback and defensive tackle, we'll have to figure out what to do there though...

All in all, this interesting and moving off-season continues...
__________________
* 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 02-13-2020, 01:45 PM   #208
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Rock, Paper, Scissors…
Oliver wins. I mean, loses. He's out.

Ladies and gentlemen, that was a tough decision. We're down our franchise defensive tackle. A sad day for the Merchantmen defense, a position we usually cherish, especially when he's the best at it.

Well, Heath Oliver, it was a good run, five season in orange, white and blue. The acquisition started in the 2081 draft, when we shipped two second round picks, a third and a sixth to the Outer Banks Ospreys for their first rounder in 2083. It ended up being the #9 overall and at that slot we grabbed the best player of his class, just like we did in the previous bunch of drafts. In those five seasons, he missed nine games due to concussion in 2084. His statistics aren't all that shiny, but he earned all-IHOF first team honors in 2086 and was probably a key figure in our run defense, giving other players the opportunity to make plays.

It is what it is. We turned down a couple of great offers for Theodore Bondy, as I suspect we can do a better job winning games with him and Kirk Hitchcock still around.

But, y'know, it's been a tough off-season. We've released 12 players and I'm not yet convinced we've reached the end of the tunnel. Cap space should be cleared in time for the end of the draft, with just enough cap space to sign Francisco Farley, regardless of whether Bondy and Hitchcock will sign a renegotiated deal that gives them much less money (yeah, remember, player agents are lunatics), but closer to their demands.

The draft has been ongoing and we've already picked a replacement defensive tackle in Corwin Nowlin. Outside linebacker Trenton Mendelssohn and kicker Emmett Wells were other other two third round picks. Additionally, we swapped our fourth rounder for a pick next draft from North Plainfield. We still have our fifth, sixth and seventh round picks to use.

Again, cap hell is not yet over, but the end is in sight. Some inevitable hold outs are upcoming, I just hope we can get Howard Humphrey to stay away from that and offer our all-IHOF first teamer a contract both parties can agree with.

So it goes. Got to keep believing we can manage it!
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* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:56 PM   #209
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen trade WR Gaylor
The exodus of Maassluis Merchantmen players this off-season continues. Today the Merchantmen management announced the trade of wide receiver Tucker Gaylor to the Paris Musketeers for a fourth round pick in the 2089 draft.

Gaylor broke out with 51 catches for 720 yards as the Merchantmen #2 receiver last season. It was his third season in Maassluis after being taken in the fifth round of the 2085 draft. He had just 12 catches for 142 yards before last season.

Being in the last year of his rookie contract, Gaylor felt that he deserved an improved contract, which the Merchantmen under their current cap situation can't afford. It didn't take long for an interested trade partner to fly bye, as the Paris Musketeers offered a fourth round pick for him.

---

Merchantmen re-sign QB Farley
The Maassluis Merchantmen have agreed terms with quarterback Francisco Farley to a new one-year contract. Farley was the third stringer for the Merchantmen last season, seeing no action in his rookie campaign. The undrafted free agent signing has been tipped to be the starting quarterback in Maassluis for the upcoming 2088 season.

The Merchantmen released Ellis McAlister earlier on this off-season and Farley was a restricted free agent. Earlier on kick holder Karsten Muchnick signed a new two-year contract.

Odds are the Merchantmen will bring in a bunch of young quarterbacks to challenge Farley for the starting role. If cap space requires it, Maassluis may or may not look in different directions, as the Merchantmen general manager M.IJ.B. made no secret of wanting to go for a new quarterback in the 2089 season. That said, the Merchantmen are known for trying to be competitive all the time. Even during rebuilding seasons, which the 2088 is shaping up to be.

---

Merchantmen present 2088 draft class
Two defensive tackles, a linebacker, a running back, a wide receiver and a new kicker. That's the score for the Maassluis Merchantmen in the recently completed 2088 amateur draft.

Running back Bart Gunja was taken in the fifth round. The Merchantmen believe he has the much desired combination of hole recognition and breakaway speed, similar to last season's starter Reggie Thongchanh. Expectations are this might be Thong's last season in Maassluis, playing on the final season of his rookie contract. Gunja will likely have to ride the bench, if he makes the final 53-men roster.

Wide receiver Tracy Arntt was taken primarily for his special team skills. A promising kickoff returner, Arntt fits the Merchantmen tradition well. He was taken late in the seventh round, but he was already considered at the fifth round by the team. Arntt has okay big play ability to make him suitable for hail mary plays as well.

Kicker Emmett Wells was graded highest at his position. The Merchantmen took him with the final pick of the third round, acquired in the deal that saw the Merchantmen trade their first round pick to the Houston Mustangs for a 2089 first round pick to save cap space.

Defensive tackle Corwin Nowlin was the first player taken in the third round by the Merchantmen. He's considered as a promising pass rusher, which shouldn't be a surprise given the tradition of fast defensive linemen.

Fifth round pick Kurt Ackerman is another fast defensive tackle. Given the current state of the defensive line, surely Ackerman and Nowlin will see a lot of playing time in their rookie campaigns.

The middle of three third round picks, linebacker Trenton Mendelssohn appears to be yet another pass rusher joining a depleted front seven. He was regarded the second best outside linebacker of this class.
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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 02-16-2020, 11:36 AM   #210
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: We have a 2088 roster!
... and 12 players in excess.

But yes, it's been a frantic post draft free agency with no less than 25 new players signed. With them, three out of contract second year pro free agents returned to Maassluis. In particular the return of defensive end Archie Exner gives me a happy face, but bringing back kickoff returner Mason Wilson and special teamer Santiago Harper are good stories.

Of the 25 new signings, one had a previous stint in Maassluis: third year guard Vernon Sam. He failed to make our 2086 regular season roster, got picked up by the Frederick Red Menace deep into that season and hung around for the entire 2087 season as well, without every seeing any action. Here he'll be battling for the third guard spot on our roster, most likely.

Of the other 24 guys are new names, five aren't undrafted rookies. Running back Braxton Szporluk finished the 2087 season on the Houston Mustangs roster, but missed out on a championship ring being inactive during the playoffs. Safety Bart Sword saw some action for the Moontown Darksiders in 2086, sat out the 2087 regular season without a contract in IHOF, but we'll give this special teamer a new opportunity. Running back Asher Ford was a rookie in 2087, but didn't get even a training camp or pre-season contract, he'll get his first shot here. Tight end Renaldo Crawford was the Toronto Lake Monsters' third round pick last season, got cut in pre-season, then went to the Frederick Red Menace in week 16 for a couple of weeks inactivity and a restricted status this off-season, only to not get a contract there and now joining us. And then there's Jumbo Mojica, a defensive tackle, third round pick for the Chicago Norsemen last season, but inactive all-season long, only very recently released by the Norsemen after ownership change.

Still keeping track? We added 19 undrafted rookie free agents to our roster. Here we go: QB Alvin Stoner, QB/KH Buba Haim, TE Brett Smith, TE Jeffery Blake, WR/KR Roman Gomes, WR Keegan Gelat, WR/KR Rickey Pineo, WR/KR/PR Santiago Messenger, G Nathan Willis, DE Terrence Gellar, LB Jace Peterson, LB Alex Palmer, LB Sebastian Strobel, CB Devin Cherron, CB Alfredo Bennett, CB Ted Frias, S Brenden Hoekstra, S Kennedy Reid and S Levi Blanchard. It would be unfair to all the other guys to pick out a guy or two who stand out, we'll let their training camp performance speak for them.

And that's it for now?

Okay, I see you wondering, what's the cap situation? We've currently got $2.73M of room to work with. Most likely the lion share of this will go to our All-IHOF tackle Howard Humphrey to extend his contract as his rookie deal is ending after this season.

We have six other players scheduled to become free agents after the season. Defensive end Andy Russell appears to be the easiest one to talk into a new deal as he's willing to drop some salary this season and have it spread out as a bonus over three season. Safeties Alexander Marty and Riddick Newsome both have reasonable contract demands, but we'll need all of what Russell is willing to give up for that duo. Defensive tackle A.J. Ritt wants a raise we can't afford for now. Punter Doug Guynes is requesting a raise that might be possible if Humphrey is willing to work with us. And then there's our star running back Reggie Thongchanh, who quite simply will be out of contract after the season. Thong' is willing to play out his rookie contract way below his market value and contract demands.

How is next season looking? The release of Heath Oliver has given us a big hit, but at $38.79M of dead cap space, we're in an okay spot. I'm currently calculating us at $115M under the $489M salary cap. It's reasonable to expect the out of contract players to take about $35M from that stack, which will put us at roughly 35 players signed and $80M to go. The draft will be very interesting with 6 additional picks, including the Houston first round pick. That's 13 more players, putting us at only 3 more empty roster spots counting towards the cap. Realistically, we'll have the cap space for a quarterback once again.

But, but, what about this season? Well, it'll be tricky. I'd love for us to bring in a mentor for Francisco Farley, providing he comes through pre-season and training camp as our obvious #1. But even then, what else can we do? A bunch of potential mentors signed with the better franchises in the league, there are 3 or 4 left on the open market. One of them is the unaffordable franchise quarterback we released not so long ago: Ellis McAlister. No, he's not coming back this season, that's out of the question, impossible, can't be done, no way we'll find the cap space to bring him back.

One more thing? Yes, one more. We'll be releasing 5 players after training camp. Quite simply, we have a roster size limit of 60 to meet. It'll be tough, but probably not out of a luxury. With no disrespect meant, at the bottom of the roster we're weaker than we have been in at least a decade.

On the positive side... Well... We salvaged Theo Bondy, Kirk Hitchcock, kept the O-line together and shockingly saw Thong' decide to hang around for one more season. We might have to go run-heavy this season to protect whomever is going to play at quarterback for us, quite possibly our weakest opening day starter aside from Calvin Snider in the inaugural 2004 campaign. Don't say "what about Malik Weaver in 2044?", he wasn't our opening day starter, Perry Coleman was and got hurt early on, at which point we made the mistake to not go with proven emergency quarterback Harry Osborne, but instead giving that Weaver kid 10 starts, somehow seeing us win 4 of those...

Anyway, that's the post-draft free agency round up. The unwrapping moments to look out for are next Monday and Wednesday, when our scouts tell us the training camp results and what they think on second look after the first bit of pre-season activity.

Until then, we'll sail on. Go Merchantmen!
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:09 AM   #211
Elijin
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I have a lot of respect for you not tearing the team down and starting over. It would have been easy to trade away your assets and take a couple of seasons of lumps, but you chose to fight, which is always the right way.

Missing on Bondy did hurt, though. He deserves to retire in orange.
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:35 AM   #212
tzach
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yep, lots of respect here as well.
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Old 02-17-2020, 05:31 PM   #213
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Training camp Results are in... Yay?
Could it be? Could it be Farley?

Our scouting staff has taken notes, a lot of notes and they have reported about the progress of our players (and lack there of for some). We went into training camp with 65 players signed. 19 players were reported to have good progress. 26 others made okay progress. The first category interests me most, because that to me is a sign those players could become starting quality players, or the very least decent backups. That doesn't mean the other 26 guys, and especially the youngsters that didn't make progress at all, will get cut. It does mean those 19 guys have a significantly better chance to survive the roster cut waves (the first one coming as early as tomorrow).

Enough yada-yada, who are those 19 guys?


QB Francisco Farley - Our second-year pro has me enthused, this guy was already penciled in as our starting quarterback, this might be a signal it was a good decision to keep him last season.

C Jared Labbe - No surprise, he was on this list in the previous two training camps. He's incredibly unlucky to be stuck behind one of the best centers (a 30-year old) in the league. It might be worth putting him on the block, in potential he would fit very well on a run-oriented offense. (Wait, didn't I say we might go run-oriented? Should we put him at right guard, or put Butch Pearson there? Interesting...)

G Nathan Willis - Undrafted rookies that look well are always welcome! This might be a chance for him to get ahead of veteran Vernon Sam as our third choice and 53-men roster making guard.

G Andre Watson - Our fourth round pick 2 drafts ago had his third straight good camp. With Harvey Hank retired, this could be Watson's chance to break into our starting lineup.

LT Myron Hamilton - A bit of a surprise here. Our fourth round pick from a draft ago wasn't impressive in his rookie training camp. We'll need three tackles for the season anyway, he's pretty safe now.

K Emmett Wells - A bit of a no-brainer to "he'd better be!" We spent a third round pick on this rookie, we'll need him to step in now.

DE Archie Exner - Yes! It was a surprise to see him choose to stick with us, we'll be more than happy to throw him into the rotation as one of our top three defensive ends. He was also on this list as an undrafted rookie last off-season.

DE Terrence Gellar - A welcome surprise. Still a longshot to make our team on a crowded defensive end group (wait, didn't we cut two veterans? Yeah, that crowded were we last season already).

DE Gene Kondolovski - Our third round pick two drafts back. Already had two good training camps, this makes three. Basically he should be, given that third round status, but it's still nice to see this guy turn into what we hope is the succesor to Daquan Strugielski. There, I said it!

DT Jumbo Mojica - New signing, second-year pro. Chose us over a worthy other deal elsewhere. This guy has a shot at starting on our line ahead of the two rookies. At the very least, he will be on our running downs rotation.

DT Corwin Nowlin - Third round pick in the recently finished draft. The staff isn't optimistic about his potential, but still felt he made good progress. At least this give him a head start over the other rookie (Kurt Ackerman), but neither look ready to play on running downs.

OLB Clayton Jackson - As stacked as the D-Line is (bar the heavy cap casualty Heath Oliver), our depleted linebackers group (Craig McCorkle and Glenn Brewer both out) needed a boost. Well, Jackson might be our new strong side linebacker. Wait, he'll definitely will be anyway, but his progress is a sign that he's worthy, not just a short term solution. Well... He's struggling at making tackles, but also had a good camp as a rookie. A bit of both worlds, I suppose.

CB Alfredo Bennett - How about that 21-year old undrafted rookie? Sure enough, but we brought in a lot of bodies in the secondary. Good training camp might still not be sufficient for him to make the 60-men pre-season roster...

CB Ted Frias - This undrafted rookie has me more enthusiastic than Bennett. If this kid holds up, we'll have ourselves another pretty decent CB2 type.

CB Jessie McNeil - Was also on this list last season as a fifth round rookie. Last season sniffed at becoming our dime back. With this progress, he might challenge Clarence Blackwell for the nickelback role...

CB Lee Hancock - Our first round pick from two drafts ago once again made this list. In principle a good sign, albeit he was still underwhelming the last two camps. Now, we have to say he's looking sharp and ready to become a true starting cornerback.

S Salvador Harper - Undrafted rookie last season, had his second good camp. I still don't see much more than a special teamer, but he might eventually be a good enough zone defender and tackler to be considered a worthy injury replacement for the 6-men secondary packages.

S Kennedy Reid - Too little, probably. Despite trading Bart Farrell, I'm pretty happy with our returning safeties. Reid lacks the special teams skills to challenge the other guys, he might not even make our pre-season roster, despite his good camp.

S Bart Sword - Third year pro, I think we have our new Bart here after the two guys that left us this and previous off-season. Not quite sure he's good enough to get into our running downs rotation, but his progress is promising.


And there you have it, 19 young players that made good strides.

Notoriously missing are rookie linebacker Trenton Mendelssohn, whom we had hoped to become our second starting linebacker. The same applies to our sixth round pick running back Bart Gunja, reportedly he didn't make any progress: ouch. The undrafted rookie quarterbacks Alvin Stoner and Bubba Hiam didn't look too great either. Although, we might have found a new kick holder in Hiam (Watch out, Karsten Muchnick!)

All five tight ends and all five wide receivers didn't make much progress. Especially wide receiver Branden Sandlin was on the list of guys that we need to make progress as he's quite clearly our WR2 candidate, despite his underwhelming 2 catches in his rookie campaign, he's still ahead of the five rookies that we brought in (and two of them will likely not even make the pre-season roster).

And that's pretty much it. Next stop: the pre-season update. A very important and potentially overhaul making day. We hope to see little to no guys show up out of shape, but you can never know...

Until then: anchors away!
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Old 02-17-2020, 05:33 PM   #214
MIJB#19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elijin View Post
I have a lot of respect for you not tearing the team down and starting over. It would have been easy to trade away your assets and take a couple of seasons of lumps, but you chose to fight, which is always the right way.

Missing on Bondy did hurt, though. He deserves to retire in orange.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tzach View Post
yep, lots of respect here as well.
Thanks guys. That's indeed our (my) spirit. Always try to get the best out of this team. We have too much great players hanging around to not try to keep winning. The game plan on defense looks much improved, I have to stay and will remain positive.
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Old 02-19-2020, 04:02 PM   #215
MIJB#19
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: God speed, Lee Hancock
He had a good two seasons, but he's off to the realms of the once good football players.

One day after having a superb pre-season game with 2 interceptions with a game clinching 45-yard pick six, Lee Hancock showed up for work and looked light and day differently from the very good starting cornerback he used to be. Hancock has become the worst player on roster. No way around it, he'll be out of Maassluis tomorrow. My apologies to the Hancock family.

That's how life can be in the IHOF. One day you are one half of an elite cornerback duo, the next, you're destined to be a former first round pick no longer getting a contract anywhere in the league.

Lee Hancock was our first round pick two drafts ago. It took little time for him to burst into a full time starting role. His pass defense numbers in that rookie season where pretty phenomenal: 10 passes defended, 1 interception, 19 catches allowed. His second season was somewhat pedestrian looking, but he was part of a reborn rejuvenated secondary. Now, we know he's no longer n IHOF worthy sevenths stringer even. There's no point hanging on to him as a special teamer and fourth choice dime back...

He's one of seven roster cuts after our first two pre-season games. A lot of players looked out of shape in that second game and some got the axe just like Hancock. Before I mentioned them all, let's recap which five players failed to even make the pre-season roster: five undrafted rookie free agents: CB Alfredo Bennett, S Brenden Hoekstra, WR Rickey Pineo, S Kennedy Reid, TE Brett Smith.

The other six guys joining Hancock into the free agents pool: kick holder Bubba Hiam (not better than Muchnick), guard Vernon Sam (three times the charm?), safety Renaldo Upshaw (that was our 2087 second round pick? Yes, he never did anything worth mentioning), defensive tackle Corwin Nowlin (wasn't that our high third round pick in the recent draft? Yes, that's he bad he plummeted), kickoff returner Mason Wilson (too many decent other options) and kickoff returner Roman Gomes (too many decent other options).

That Hancock kid though... A real bummer. I've never in the history of this team see a player show up for training so out of shape. That's a huge blow for the entire team.

With Hancock, several other players look like they lost some of their ability over night. Rookie Corwin Nowlin is far behind Hancock, yet still feels like he's in the top10 of worst pre-season looks compared to before training camp in franchise history. Kirk Hitchcock took a hit, but is still an elite player. Our kick holder Karsten Muchnick looks even less of a quarterback now (yay?). Previously tagged potential starting center Jared Labbe now looks like a career backup.

Our results have been horrible, we gained 342 yards. Combined in two games. We scored a grand total of 6 field goals and 3 touchdowns, all interception returns. We managed a 29-6 victory over the Brooklyn Fightin' Bums and lost 16-9 at the Texas Sharks. Our defense gave up 427 yards, combined. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a new era of football has apparently kicked in. Just like that, the air in the atmosphere on the planet has made throwing no longer a sure thing. Nor does running the ball. Reggie Thongchanh' gained 33 yards on 30 carries spread over 2 games. Say what now!?

So... Back to the drawing board? I guess so...
*sigh*
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Old 02-21-2020, 12:14 PM   #216
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: A pre-season to forget...
Unprecedented. That's the word for it.

We just finished the pre-season scoring 41 points, that's the cumulative of all four games. We scored a grand total of 6 field goals and 3 touchdowns, all 6-pointers were interception returns. So, basically, the defense outscored the offense. Welcome to the 2088 Maassluis Merchantmen.

Usually, this would be the time of year to announce our 53 men roster, but to be frank: we're still working on some last minute changes before opening weekend. What it means? Let's wait for a day or so and we'll get back on that.

Those hoping for a return of Ellis McAlister, that's out of the question. Despite that he dropped his demands severely from $35M to $11M for a one-year rental, he's simply unwilling to return to Maassluis. Well, honestly, we can't really blame him here.

So, Francisco Farley? How'd he do in pre-season action? He completed 19 of 42 passes for 160 yards with 2 interceptions, 3 sacks and 1 fumble on a scramble (he had 4 carries for 30 yards).
Yup.

Do I have hope he can get things going? Well yeah, even if I didn't, I would still say I do. Because we have to keep believing, throwing our best quarterback under the bus would not help at all. I see you thinking: "best quarterback, what does that look like in this case?"

Farley is scouted by our staff as roughly a 25/35 on the scale of 1-100. Let's draw the picture
XX+_______ screen
XXX+______ short
+_________ medium
XX+_______ long
XXX++_____ deep
XXX_______ 3rd down
XXX+______ accuracy
XX________ timing
XXXXXX____ sense rush
XXX+______ read def
+_________ 2-minute
XXXXXXXX__ scramble
XXXXXXX___ muchnicking


Compare that to McAlister (scouted at 50/50), whom we recently released:
XXXXX_____ screen
XXXXXX____ short
XXXXX_____ medium
XXXXXXXX__ long
X_________ deep
XXXX______ 3rd down
XXXXXX____ accuracy
XXXXXXX___ timing
XXXXX_____ sense rush
X_________ read def
XXXXX_____ 2-minute
X_________ scramble
__________ muchnicking

That's a huge step back from a guy that was already struggling to make our passing game excel. Or perhaps we've arrived at finally realizing our game plan has been too optimistic and Theo Bondy has covered it with his sensational skills.

The defense hasn't been all that great either, but we're going to need these guys to do well, exceptionally well, to have a shot at winning some games. We may look depleted here, having let go of DE Gino Kemp, DT Heath Oliver, DT Erik Shrader, MLB Craig McCorkle, OLB Glenn Brewer, CB Lee Hancock and S Bart Farrell. That's 7 starters gone. We're going to enter the new season with 9 rookies, just on defense. Is that definite? It probably is.

And as such, we're going to have to rely on guys that are no rookies, but still pretty young. DE Gene Kondolovski enters his third season, DE Archie Exner is into his second season. DT Jumbo Mojica is a second-year pro with zero experience and will likely team up with rookie Kurt Ackerman in the middle of the line. OLB Clayton Jackson spent the 2087 season inactive, a rookie will be our third linebacker. Second-year pro CB Jessie McNeil or undrafted rookie CB Ted Frias will be our guy opposite Kirk Hitchcock.

The offense will be mostly unchanged though. Mostly, because we did let go of our RB2 Leonard Belin, FB Tristan Cochrane, TEs Miles Barker and Jessie Taylor, WRs Artie Blazewicz and Tucker Gaylor, and saw G Harvey Hank retire. That's roughly 5.5 more starters gone, including the departure of QB Ellis McAlister.

So yeah, a huge overhaul. I may check on this later, this could be the biggest rebuilding project in franchise history.

Wait, what? Did I throw "rebuilding" in there?
Apparently I did...

Rephrase that. This is the biggest change of guard in franchise history. Pre-season results have me much less enthused about the upcoming season, but I do realize it's just pre-season. Yet, the offensive game plan needs change, that's a sure thing. We might shift to a slightly more run heavy approach, but not too much to allow defenses to adapt.

Nothing is impossible? Well, I'm not dreaming of reaching the bowl game like I did over the previous 4 or so seasons, when we had an elite team, we should have gotten there with that roster. But now, winning the division would be a positive surprise. Sure, I think we can do it, but it won't come easy, that's for sure. But impossible?

We've got to keep believing in ourselves, we can do this. Go Merchantmen!
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Old 02-22-2020, 09:30 AM   #217
MIJB#19
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen sign QB Moe Sheldon
Moe Sheldon joins the Maassluis Merchantmen quarterback group. Two days before opening weekend, Sheldon signed a one-year $3.2M contract. Still considered a starting caliber playcaller by most league scouts, the 30-year old looks thrilled to get a new shot in the league. Sheldon was a third round by for the Texas Sharks in 2082, but never saw any action there. After being released by the Sharks in the 2085 off-season, the Rochester Razorbacks signed him to a one-year contract. Sheldon started all 16 games for them, losing the first 9, finishing with a 4-12 record. He did well enough for the Paris Musketeers to sign him as their starter for the 2086 season. There he posted a 5-11 record as the fulltime starter. In 2087 he lost the starting job and got released early this off-season. The Merchantmen waited for Sheldon to lower his salary demands and scooped him up. General Manager M.IJ.B. praised Sheldon: "We had been looking at him earlier this off-season, but told him we couldn't afford his salary demands. Initially, we hope he can mentor Francisco Farley, but if the need arises, we know Sheldon as an IHOF caliber starting quarterback. But for now, he's going to need some action on the training field to get in shape, before thinking about battling for the QB1 role for our 2088 campaign." To make room for Sheldon, the Merchantmen released undrafted rookie quarterback Alvin Stoner.
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:09 PM   #218
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Merchantmen lose 2088 opener
The reigning European division champions Maassluis Merchantmen have kicked off the 2088 season with a 36-24 loss at the Paris Muskteers. After three head-to-head victories last season, the Merchantmen kept the score close, but looked lost on the field at times.

The Merchantmen started their first drive seemingly well. Francisco Patter carried for 10 and 6 yards, but negative yardage on Francisco Farley's first completion to Theodore Bondy and a hopeless scramble from the second-year quarterback ended the first drive. Paris responded with a quick drive for the 7-0 lead, just needing one third down conversion on the last play of their first possession. On the second Merchantmen drive, Farley was sacked on his first drop back leading the way to a three and out. The Merchantmen defense replied with a three play drive for -4 yards, but saw their offense quickly punt again after just 3 plays. Before the first quarter was over, Paris had marched into Merchantmen territory.

Paris quarterback Gabriel Woodson found Eugene Hamilton for 18 yards on the first play of the second quarter, only to see them settle for a 40-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead. The Merchantmen needed two penalties from the Paris defense to avoid three and out, responding with a 9-yard run from Patter, but a holding penalty destroyed their drive. The defense came though again, forcing Paris to punt after 5 plays. A couple of no gainers for Patter and a hopeless attempt of Farley to find his tight end ended in another quick three-and-out. Paris replied immediately with a 46-yard pass from Woodson to Darrin Sheldon and a 17-0 lead. Another three-and-out followed, but this time the Merchantmen responded as one of the few remaining star players Kirk Hitchcock took the first takeaway of the game with an interception in the Merchantmen red zone. Paris got the ball back just 3 plays later and as they were driving for a sucker punching touchdown, Hitchcock came through even bigger, picking the ball off again and this time bringing it all the way for 93 yards and a 17-7 deficit at half time.

The Merchantmen defense started the second half well as off-season addition Jumbo Mojica sacked Woodson and also recovered the ensuing fumble at the 13-yard line. Farley found Bondy for 12 yards and two plays later in the end zone to bring things back to 17-14. The Paris offense responded with a couple of good throws from Wooden to Sheldon, setting up a 47-yard field goal for the 20-14 lead. A run first approach somewhat worked for Maassluis, but a fourth and two gamble near midfield failed and gave Paris an opportunity to quickly drive downfield and had Woodson connect with Sheldon for a 27-14 Paris lead. Yet another three-and-out was replied by the Merchantmen with their fearsome pass rush; could it be back after a couple of mindboggling disappointing seasons? On a freak play, the Merchantmen out of nowhere got in the end zone again. Theodore Bondy fumbled near midfield, but somehow Fernando Patter recovered it and was allowed to run it 47 yards forward to make it 27-21. Paris responded with a stellar kickoff return and saw Woodson find his tight end for a 35-yard gain towards the Maassluis red zone.

The Merchantmen defense forced Paris to kick early in the fourth quarter, brining the deficit to 30-21, a closer score than it should have been. Farley started connecting with fellow second-year pro Branden Sandlin for two crucial first downs. Patter ran for 13 yards, Farley for 8 yards and rookie kicker Emmett Wells converted a 43-yarder for a respectable 30-24 deficit with nine and a half minutes to go.

And just as the Merchantmen defense seemed ready to take control, they brought out the dumbest of formations in the last 5 decades, allowing the Paris Musketeers to throw for 83 yards and the gut wrenching touchdown. Their two-point attempt failed, but all hope was gone at that point.

The Merchantmen got three-and-outed. Paris took time off the clock until they punted with 3 minutes to go. Farley started connecting with Bondy for 13 and 12 yards, but a deep throw to undrafted rookie Santiago Messenger, the least likely player on the Merchantmen offense to make such a catch, backfired: interception and game over. Paris wasted time, converted on three and six and then knee dropped to victory.

Maassluis sailed back home with a painful loss. The 157 yards of total offense against the 481 yards allowed was half of the story, the turnover battle was clearly won, but that play that never should have been kept behind a would have, could have, should have feeling. Whomever thought it was a good idea to plug a 5'11" 197 pounds player in a linebacker slot is responsible for the ugliness that followed. Maassluis was weaker, but based on their defensive efforts deserved a shot at a miracle comeback from behind victory in the dying seconds. It didn't happen in week one. But it was only week one after all, 15-1 and home field advantage is still mathematically possible...
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:57 PM   #219
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen repeat: winless after two weeks
The Maassluis Merchantmen continued their 2088 campaign with a deficit. Just like last season, the Merchantmen have lost their first two games of the regular season, this time falling 29-7 at the Outer Banks Ospreys. Yardage production was closer and better, the scoreboard didn't feel much about it.

The first Merchantmen drive started with back to back Reggie Thongchanh runs, getting the starter role back. Francisco Farley found Theodore Bondy on third down to move the chains. Still in Maassluis territory, a huge third down throw for 33 yards to Branden Sandlin got they near the red zone. Only to see Thong' fumble this opportunity into Ospreys' claws. Luckily, the Ospreys did very little with their first possession, turning it over on downs after a failed fourth down attempt. Maassluis quickly got back to midfield as Thong' ran for 13 yards. A set of Thong' runs for 9, 13 and 8 yards set up for a field goal, but the rookie shanked the 42-yarder. Outer Banks' off-season acquisition quarterback Dexter Hutton threw for 23 yards to Chance Seelig to get his birds into Maassluis territory and despite that he got sacked in the red zone, connected with Malachi Pierson for 17 yards for the 7-0 lead with just 1 minute to go in the first quarter.

Although the Merchantmen seemingly slowly but steadily moved upfield early in the second quarter, they were forced to punt and failed to pin their opponents deep. The Merchantmen defense struggled to stop the run, allowing Korey Rose to make several big gains - Heath Oliver and Craig McCorkle surely are being missed. On third and 13, Rose finally for stopped just in time, making it 10-0 Outer Banks after the 33-yard field goal. Francisco Farley wasn't doing all that bad, the Merchantmen got the chains moving, but not enough to avoid punting. A crazy 53-yard throw from Hutton to Pierson got Outer Banks in the red zone and two plays later the 17-0 score was on the score board. Farley showed his strides, scrambling for 13 yards and finding Sandlin for 26 yards (a play called back for holding), then Bondy for 9 yards. To no avail, rookie Wells added a 49-yard misser to his resume to end the first half.

While running kept working for the Ospreys in the second half, a sack from Jumbo Mojica and a defended pass by Alexander Marty forced the home team to punt. Pinned at their own 1-yard line, Maassluis was in trouble. A somewhat surprised crowd saw Moe Sheldon play at quarterback for the Merchantmen in the second half. A penalty and a Thong' run moved Maassluis slowly away from their end zone, but Sheldon took his first sack of the season to force the punt. The Merchantmen defense forced three-and-out, but Maassluis got pinned deep again at their 5-yard line. Sheldon found Theodore Bondy for 16 yards, but it was way too little to even sniff at Outer Banks turf. The Merchantmen defense seemed to get the ball back, but yet another big punt placed Maassluis back at their own 1-yard line to start the fourth quarter.

And just like that it was 19-0 Outer Banks. Reggie Thongchanh got tackled in the end zone on the first play of the drive. The spirit was clearly broken as 4 plays later, Dexter Hutton found Chance Seeling for a touchdown and a 26-0 lead. Francisco Patter ran for 24 yards, Sheldon found Randy Holliday for 17 yards, Renaldo Crawford for 24 yards and eventually Santiago Messenger in the end zone. With just under nine minutes to go, 26-7, was it still feasible? The Ospreys started to get cocky and Alexander Marty picked off Dexter Hutton's deep throw in the end zone. Moe Sheldon replied with 27 yards to Theo Bondy, but near midfield the Merchantmen were stalled and decided to punt. Switched to time wasting mode, Outer Banks left just over 3 minutes on the clock for Maassluis. Sheldon got picked off on the second play. The Ospreys burnt all of Maassluis' time outs and kicked to a 29-7 lead. Sheldon found Crawford for 23 yards, Messenger for 16 yards, but on fourth and 10 the 8 yards to Bondy were insufficient. Hutton dropped to the 29-7 victory.

Some contrast to week one as Maassluis put on more of a fight on offense, but most of that came in the fourth quarter. Although apparently as planned, the replacement of Francisco Farley at half time with Moe Sheldon saw a change in dynamics of the Merchantmen offense. Farley is establishing a preference for Branden Sandlin, while Sheldon likes to connect with the for Merchantmen standards underdeveloped tight ends. Bondy is third in the league with 22 receptions, but with a mind-blowing 4 yards per target, still 6 yards per catch. Most importantly, the Merchantmen are sitting 0-2, but due to other results within the division, they're just 1 win (and tie-breakers) behind the two French teams. A fourth straight division title is mathematically still very much possible.

But to even start thinking about that, the Merchantmen will have to find ways to win football games. The pass defense is ridiculously bad, very much not in line with the talent still remaining. The passing game on offense is league worst. The special teams unit has fallen from cream of the crop to Merchantmen unworthy, one of the worst in the league. Sure, two games is no sample size, but it is what it is. Improvement is needed and it's not understatement. Next up a couple of home games. Maybe playing in Oranje Have will turn things around? Starting with a game against the Lake Monsters, a team the Merchantmen love to feast on...
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Old 02-26-2020, 04:12 PM   #220
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 2088, Farley or Sheldon?
Yes, it's going to be one of those seasons.

For good reasons, we haven't had much flipflopping at quarterback over the recent few decades, but this season could be a classic case. I'm hopeful in Francisco Farley, ok, somewhat hopeful. But we've also got this Moe Sheldon guy, he's one of the "most careful quarterbacks" in the league.

Game one it was Farley, he stunk. Game two we did a one half each, both played okay. Game three, today, it was Farley and he threw a seemingly secure victory away. We were 17-0 up at half time, but in the second half his incautiousness began two interceptions in the third quarter, a pick six in the fourth quarter to revive the Toronto Lake Monsters and then one more in overtime. Shockingly enough, our defense held Toronto to -10 yards in that overtime, but a 53-yarder got them the victory anyway.

You'd think our running game that was so strong last season should have bailed Farley out today? No such luck though. Reggie Thong ran for just 64 yards on 32 carries. Howard Humphrey had 15 key run block opportunities, Butch Pearson 9. They combined for 3 successful key run blocks. Let's shake our heads on that... (What do you mean, passing is at an alltime low? We freakin' stopped running forward as well!)

At least we know now we can make a punter punt 13 times for 630 yards against us. That's impressive.

But no, we completely sucked, flabbergasted I am about how horrible we're doing compared to last season and it's not just the new quarterbacks, it's also the units that had close to no change of personnel. Just, no idea what we're all of a sudden doing wrong that used to be right...

That said, despite an 0-3 start, if we win the next 13, we'll be division champions anyway. The last time we started a season 0-3 was in 2080. We bounced back to 7-6 back then, but eventually were the weakest team in the divison after all was said and done with a 7-9 record. It was before Theodore Bondy, it was with Walt Blair, with Ellis McAlister, Butch Pearson was a backup role rookie, Craig McCorkle, Antonio Battle and Glenn Brewer were our linebackers and Glen Stiegler was still our star defensive tackle. But yeah, we somehow sucked that season... No we didn't, we outscored our opponents by 45 points, we just happened to lose a lot of games by a field goal or less...

Prior to that, in 2047 we bounced back from 0-3 and 1-4 with an 12-game winning streak into losing the AOC Championship game. And prior to that, 2030 actually was a crappy 5-11 season... Or was it? We still outscored our opponents after an 0-6 start! And prior to that was our 2009 campaign, where we went from 0-3 to 2-7 to an 8-8 record.

So, see there, this is our 5th time starting a season 0-3 and in all of those we either outscored our opponents, won at least half our games and when both happened we reached the conference championship game. But for now, I see very little reason to get exited about anything. Theodore Bondy managed to degrade his yards per target figure to under 4.0 yards, he's barely above 7 yards per catch. Yes, that same Theo Bondy with 4 2,000-yard seasons on his resume.

On a positive note... There's still 13 games to go, 13 more chances to win, 13 more chances to show we can play decent football.

Next up the San Antonio Tidal Force. Blaine Hawkins returns to Maassluis on yet another new team. Last season we beat him three times as Paris' quarterback. He's still looking cursed and unable to play up to his potential. We'll make a push for him next off-season if the Tidal Force also think he's never going to live up to the hype as a rookie. We can dream, no?
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Old 02-27-2020, 03:54 PM   #221
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen grab first 2088 victory
From 0-3 to 1-3. The Maassluis Merchantmen defended Oranje Haven well enough to note down their first victory of the 2088 season. The San Antonio Tidal Force with Blaine Hawkins at quarterback failed to put yardage into points, gifting the Merchantmen a dirty 14-9 victory. Moe Sheldon got the start over Francisco Farley, but failed to impress, aside from bringing home the W.

The Tidal Force got possession first, but punted the ball away after less than 2 minutes. Moe Sheldon found Theo Bondy for a negative play (what the bleep is that play doing in the Merchantmen game plan?), quickly followed by a 12-yard connection for that duo to move the chains. Close to midfield, another third down conversion worked out well as Sheldon found Branden Sandlin for 22 yards. Reggie Thongchanh thought he got his team into scoring position, but Sheldon lost the ball on a sack play and the Tidal Force recovered. The Merchantmen pass rush replied, especially Tony Whiting with back to back strong plays (a sack and a hurried pass) to force a punt. Pinned back at their own 4-yard line, the Merchantmen gave it to Thong' and saw their ball carrier run for 16, 19 and 12 yards to march into San Antonio territory. Sheldon found Bondy for 11 yards to close in, then Randy Holliday pulled a 1-yard catch into a miracle 23-yard gain on third and ten, setting up Thong's 11-yard touchdown run for the 7-0 lead. The Merchantmen defense got pressure on San Antonio and forced them into a third and 19 situation. Hawkins found one of his receivers, but short of getting the first down, a strip tackle by Riddick Newsome gave Maassluis the ball back at the San Antonio 40-yard line.

First play of the second quarter, Moe Sheldon drops back, throws a short pass to Theo Bondy and the all-world wide receiver turned it into a 31-yard gain. The Merchantmen eventually settled for the 29-yard field goal, had Emmett Wells actually scored it, yet he didn't as it was blocked. Trailing 7-0, the Tidal Force felt like they were cruising downfield, but a second fumble ensued on a 19-yard run by Wendel DuBois, which was recovered by the last man standing Kirk Hitchcock. Three and out followed, but for the first time all day San Antonio was pinned deep inside their part of the field. Just when the Merchantmen defense thought they were to force a punt, Blaine Hawkins found one of his receivers for a 37-yard gain on third and 10. Driving deeper and deeper, Hawkins fired into the end zone, but undrafted rookie linebacker Sebastian Strobel, born and raised in San Antonio, caught the ball for the Merchantmen. With the clock winding down to 2 minutes, Maassluis punted it back. Blaine Hawkins scrambled for 17 yards on a third down play, but they came time and turf short to attempt a field goal. Half time score: Maassluis 7, San Antonio 0.

The Merchantmen offense got three and outed, but their defense failed to return the favor, allowing Blaine Hawkins to find one of his receivers for 23 yards on third and 15. Things slowed down in Maassluis territory and San Antonio punted after all. It didn't help much as Moe Sheldon took his second sack of the game on third and long. San Antonio saw their punt returner bring it to the Maassluis' 37-yard line. Wendell DuBois ran for 16 yards, then Hawkins came yards short on a third down scramble, settling for a 31-yard field goal for San Antonio's first points of the game: 7-3 Maassluis. A couple of three and outs were followed up by another miracle third and long conversation by Moe Sheldon to tight end Randy Holliday. Just past midfield, Reggie Thongchanh covered half the distance with a 24-yard run, followed by Theo Bondy covering the rest of it with a 23-yard reception to get into the end zone. Maassluis 14, San Antonio 3. The Merchantmen defense forced another three and out, but just as the fans in Oranje Have started believing in the first win of the season, Moe Sheldon saw a pass to Bondy picked off at the San Antonio 39-yard line. Lucky for him, his defense bailed him out, forcing a punt, albeit pinning Maassluis at their 7-yard line to end the third quarter.

After a conservative drive, Maassluis punted and saw Wendell DuBois run for 24 and 26 yards to get San Antonio into the red zone. It was DuBois as well who pounded it in from 2 yards to, but the two-point conversion failed, making it 14-9 on the score board. A couple of three and outs followed. On Maassluis' end, Theo Bondy took a couple of plays off and saw rookie Keegan Gelat step in with a 13-yard reception to avoid a three and out. San Antonio got the ball back, though three plays was all they got. With four and a half minutes left, Maassluis went into time draining mode. Francisco Patter was added into the running mix, alternating with Thongchanh for short gains. They came inched short on a third down throw, punting it to San Antonio with less than 2 minutes to go. They went for it on the fourth play of the drive and failed. The two time outs remaining were insufficient to get the ball back, Moe Sheldon knee dropped three times to secure his first victory for the Merchantmen.

With that, the Maassluis Merchantmen improve to 1-3, sitting 1 win and a game in hand behind the 2-1 Bordeaux Vineyards. Next up a bye week, followed by a visit from the Atlanta Vipers, currently 2-1 Deep South division leaders and hosting Bordeaux in week 5.

Question remain plenty in Maassluis. Will they stick with Moe Sheldon, or was it just one game and will Francisco Farley (said to have shown no progress in development since training camp) get back under center? Theodore Bondy is fourth in the league in receptions, but at 4.4 yards per target he's clearly struggling for whatever mysterious reasons. The Merchantmen are clearly running a lot, but are just 12th with 112 running yards per game. The passing game ranks dead last with just 160 yards per game. The pass rush pressure seems to have somewhat returned to Merchantmen standards (they'd better with all the talent on that defensive line!), but the run defense is bad and the pass defense mediocre at best. A struggling rookie kicker certainly doesn't help either. Getting outgained by 98 yards per game so far, there's still very little reason to think this Merchantmen is good enough to get their fourth European division title in succession. But a game like today shows that there's more in football than just outgaining the opponent. There's still a lot of football left to be played...
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Last edited by MIJB#19 : 02-27-2020 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 03-03-2020, 04:29 PM   #222
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: From good to terrible to awesome
That's it basically, the last three games in a nutshell.

The home game against the Atlanta Vipers was a bit of a defensive slugfest, with a 24-7 win on the scoreboard. A bit as our defense picked off their quarterback on one of their two drives for more than 35 yards, while we were more efficiently on our long drives (2 touchdowns), medium length drive (42-yard field goal) and scored another touchdown on a short 7-yard drive. We went with Moe Sheldon at quarterback again and it somewhat worked. 17 of his 27 targets went to Theodore Bondy, who made just 9 catches for 106 yards out of it. Our tight ends made the touchdowns, as did Reggie Thongchanh' on another 100-yard running performance. The pass rush was particularly impressive with 16 broken up plays on 46 passing plays.

We followed up with quite the defensive stinker at the Fort Wayne Fury: a 48-20 loss. They scored six touchdowns, contrary to previous games, our defense was a no-show, giving up 515 total yards. Our running game was pretty decent, but our passing game was less efficient: Theo Bondy had 6 catches on 15 targets (seriously, what's up with that?), yet Branden Sandlin had 103 yards on 3 catches.

And then we hosted the Paris Musketeers and took full advantage of the turnover margin, beating them 48-14. Moe Sheldon completed 17 of 21 passes for 246 yards, Theo Bondy had 12 catches for 125 yards, Branden Sandlin had 3 catches for 111 yards. Reggie Thongchanh ran for 106 yards and 2 touchdowns. But the key to the blowout score were the 3 interception return touchdowns. Paris' decision to feed their running backs only 8 carries did not work out well for them.

And with that we're sitting at a somewhat surprising second place, just one win behind the division lead:
1. Bordeaux 4-3
2. Maassluis 3-4
3. Gothenburg 2-5
4. Paris 2-5

Yes, it's obviously still wide open and there's very little reason to think we're world beaters. But so is the rest of the division. Our points differential of -9 is best inside the division.

Elsewhere in the AOC, the Houston Mustangs have fallen to 1-6. The reigning IHOF champions will be our next opponents, at their place. Let's not forget that we've got their first round pick, beating them will be very good for our draft position!

So, I suspect you're going to ask "what about Francisco Farley?" Quite simply, he didn't improve much, if at all, so far. Contrary, Moe Sheldon has done admirably well, it makes sense to stick with our eleventh hour free agent signing, for now. With a 3-1 record, numbers look good on him, but to be fair, all three wins were home games. Farley got just one start at home, where he did indeed throw 4 interceptions. More importantly, Farley currently has 4.0 yards per attempt, Sheldon has 7.4 yards per attempt: sample size issues or not, we've got to like Sheldon here. Upside for Farley is his ability to scramble. Where Sheldon will take a sack for a 4 yard loss, Farley will run for 5 or 6 yards.

Defensively, Tony Whiting is turning into a pleasant surprise. Although already knowing he could be a pass rush machine, he's delivering it so far with 7.0 sacks. Archie Exner is behind him with 4.5 sacks, but with an impressive 10.3 pass rush percentage. The supposedly monster defensive ends Gene Kondolovski and Andy Russell are probably the ones taking all the blocking and opening holes for the two undrafted guys. Defensive tackle Jumbo Mojica has proven to be a crucial guy on the inside, the one game he was missing is the game we got crushed by the Fury.

That's about as much as I can say and see for now. We could just as easily end up a 3-13 bottom dweller (we have the #29 offense and #26 defense in yardage), but for now, we're actually half-decent enough to be in the race for the division title. A sweep of the Vineyards would put us in the division lead, but that's getting way too much ahead of ourselves. Houston is our next stop, Bordeaux is second. And all that comes next is way too far ahead in the future.

We live in the now. We're on the Moe Sheldon boat. A place I had no idea we'd be in during the pre-season. But here we are now, hopefully on the right route to success.
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Old 03-07-2020, 05:22 PM   #223
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 2088, clearly not or year, but...
The rest of the division isn't doing all that great either.

We're three weeks further into the season since I last wrote. Boys and girls, we've won one and lost two games. We continue to be W-less on the road and followed up the potential season saving road game at the Bordeaux Vineyards with a similar drubbing against the Gothenburg Giants, at home, no less. That back-to-back loss means the 30-6 steamrolling we managed over the Capital City Blues became near worthless, as those games inside the division could have put us in the division lead.

But, we didn't.

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

Our tie-breaker situation against the division is problematic. All three of them have beaten us once, which theoretically means we can tie up all the head-to-head situations. Gothenburg will have the division record edge if they manage to beat Paris in week 17, but Paris can get the same advantage that week, if they also beat Bordeaux in week 15. The common games situation after that is somewhat manageable for us as well, as we're actually in better shape than Gothenburg and Bordeaux, but week 13 results can shift things into being all level again (if we win and they don't). Our conference record is lacking, so it's a steep hill to climb anyway.

We toyed around with our game plan, to get less predictable on offense. We drastically toned done the planned targeting of Theodore Bondy. The end result? 25, 21 and 27 targets in the last three games. Beats me what the [bleep] is going on there. The home game against Gothenburg was one of the most best wide receiver in franchise history unworthy stats lines: 21 targets, 4 catches for 45 yards. That's 2.1 yards per target. Yes, that was Theo Bondy's statline, not one of the backups. After 11 games he's at 4.9 yards per target, with 107 catches and just barely over the 1K mark.

Behind him, our for-the-time-being WR2 Branden Sandlin has 23.4 yards per catch and 8.5 yards per target. He's struggling to make the catch when targeted, but when he makes that catch, he's making the best of it. Obviously we planned to throw him more balls and with sensational succes: 10 targets total in the last three games. That's below the average for the first 8 games. Yes, sometimes a game plan doesn't get executed the way you'd think it should.

In case you're wondering what's happening with Francisco Farley? He's got a clipboard and a notebook to make notes. He's firmly in the QB2 slot, behind Moe Sheldon. With a 4-4 record and an 9:6 TD:INT ratio, he's doing a pretty decent Ellis McAlister impersonation. McAlister's quarterback rating with the Arizona Miners is one point better, while he's at a 5-6 W/L figure for them after a seemingly decent 4-1 to 5-3 start.

Our running game is unimpressive. Reggie Thong and Francisco Patter are not making the best use of one of the best offensive lines in the league. I mean, it's not all bad, it's just not like we're playing like the potential elite running game that I thought we had.

The defense is going from solid showing to downright dreadful showings. Some of our losses haven't been all on our underperforming offense, the defense is taking its share. The special teams unit appears to lack the cohesion to be as state of the art it has been for the past decades. All in all, this does make you wonder: are these really the Maassluis Merchantmen?

Why yes, these guys are and we'll have to not just do with it, we expect more from them. We've had a tough schedule so far, albeit sadly home game heavy. Our 'easiest' opponents have been the 4-7 Houston Mustangs, the franchise currently the league's reigning champions. It just comes to show how unpredictable football is in the current state.

But despite all that, our schedule won't get any easier. We're going to the 8-3 Orlando Talons next. We'll be facing 5-6 or better teams in the last 5 games, only twice playing at home. With Houston having won 3 of their last 4 games, our draft position has gotten worse as well. Yes, we're dropping games left and right on our own, but the bonus Houston first round pick only recently looked like we may have hit the jackpot in one of the most surprising first to worst situations. It's not going to be, apparently. But all of that out of our hands and something for the next off-season.

For now, we'll focus on our 5 remaining regular season games and who knows what miracles will turn things around and out of nowhere put us into a situation where we can extend the season? Likely? No. Possible? Yes, nothing is impossible. At least in football.
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Old 03-14-2020, 11:46 AM   #224
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Alive and kicking, sort of
Yeah, these are strange times.

Let's focus on the football for a bit, league has been on a bit of an hiatus, but I hadn't taken the time to report on our week 13 game. Well, we sucked, monkey balls.

The defense generated 3 interceptions, we needed all of them to avoid the biggest loss in team history. The Orlando Talons crushed us 52-14, with 589 yards versus 141 yards not far from the result we deserved.

I mean, there was nothing that looked even remotely up to Merchantmen standards. Moe Sheldon completed 7 of 19 pass attempts, got picked off 3 times. The staff even decided to throw Francisco Farley into the lions pit and he got eaten alive, completing 1 of 9 with 1 picked off pass. Our anchor Theo Bondy was near invisible. Targeted just 11 times, gained a grand total of 40 yards. Our running game was unrecognizable, Thong' got 37 yards on 17 carries.

At the same time, the defense was unacceptably terrible. Nothing remotely close to what this collective of players are capable of. Just, totally horrible. Extremely bad. I'm really at loss here, have no words for it. Mindboggling.

Besides all that, we're still just 2 games and tie-breakers behind the division leaders. How absurd is that?

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

So yeah, we're still alive and kicking, although it feels more like we're just squealing. I do realize that our tie-breaker situation is still salvageable. We need to beat Gothenburg and Bordeaux to stay in the race and as such will always have tie-breakers over Bordeaux. To get tie-breakers over Gothenburg, we need them to fall to Paris as well, which will basically also require us to see Bordeaux beat Paris, which could create a four-way tie. If we somehow make up the additional loss. If we do though with the given scenario where all four win 3 divisional games, Paris and Maassluis will have common games tie-breakers over Gothenburg and Bordeaux, with Paris then holding us back on conference record. So yeah, we need to get at least 1/2 a win ahead of Paris. And if Paris falls to both Gothenburg and Bordeaux, we'll need Gothenburg to fall at least 1/2 a win behind us as well.

Alive and thrashing around, yeah, that's where we're at.
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Old 03-20-2020, 09:45 AM   #225
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Home sweet home
We're on stayin' alive mode.

In pretty much all aspects of the game, this has been an awkward, or the very least a very unusual season om many levels. As a little spark far away in the darkness that seems to be daunting on us all, things are slowly rolling again in the league. We hosted the Texas Sharks in a far from impressive showing offensively, although these days 344 total yards is considered pretty good, while we saw the defense give up just 178 total yards. Ball control was heavy, having possession almost 2/3rd of the game, despite losing the turnover battle 2-0.

Yeah, it may seem obvious based on that, we beat the Sharks 20-14. Half of their points were the result of a kickoff return touchdown after we had just gone up 17-7. A fumble in the fourth quarter set them up for what could have been a game wining drive from inside our territory, but as they gambled on fourth down and figured two field goals wouldn't be possible, we got somewhat lucky.

Interestingly enough, our three division rivals all tripped over their respective opponents, potentially shifting things back into a four-horse race.

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

Realistically, we still don't belong in that race. Next up is a road game in Gothenburg. Losing there will shot the doors to the playoffs for us. The division title race is still as I explain the last time I wrote. The final wild card is mathematically possible from the second place spot in the division, but it will require the Fort Wayne Fury to lose their remaining 3 games, the Atlanta Vipers to lose their next 2 games (and beating the Fury in week 17) and then still needing many other 6-7 and 5-8 teams (5 of them outside our division inside the conference) to not end up above 8-8, we might fend off some of them at 8-8 on tie-breakers, but those are longshot scenarios.

Solecismic Software's playoffs predictions actually has us at 2.5% chance to sneak in as division champions. In comparison, all four 10-3 and up teams in the NAC already secured their respective divisions. Both 10-3 teams in the AOC have secured a wild card at minimum, but still need to fend off the second place team in their respective divisions. Most likely the Giants finish the season as 9-7 or 8-8 division champions and enter the post-season with the worst record of all 12 teams.

So, in short, playing at home did wonders and kept our dreams alive. Keep on dreaming, or wake up and move on? It's not our mentality to give up just yet, but I'm sensing any further efforts will be fruitless. We'll see where the flow will make us go.

It's not over until it's over, go Merchantmen!
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Old 03-22-2020, 01:43 PM   #226
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: It's over
Still two games to play, but 2088 will not see us extend our division title streak.

We visited the Gothenburg Giants and despite them being heavily favored, we managed to put up a fight. Not just that, we had our chances to pull of the upset. But it wasn't to be, 24-20 was the final score, in Giants' favor.

A 65-yard bomb from Moe Sheldon to Branden Sandlin was the highlight of the first quarter, setting us up for a 7-0 lead (Reggie Thong' ran it in from 8 yards out). We gave up a 43-yard kick off return that set up the tying touchdown (Tre Lynn to Jack Crane for 6 yards). Late in the first quarter a blocked punt seemed to have set up for our go ahead touchdown, but eventually Theo Bondy was held a yard short and we settled for an 18-yard field goal for the 10-7 lead.

In the second quarter the Giants blocked one of our punts to set up for Jack Crane's 4-yard touchdown run for a 14-10 Giants lead. A long drive of our own was anchored by a 34-yard run from Francisco Patter on 3rd and 3, later followed by Moe Sheldon finding a wide open Keegan Gelat on 3rd and goal from the 19-yard line, putting us 17-14 up. With a minute to go, rookie Emmitt Wells converted a 53-yard field goal for the 20-14 lead at half time.

In the second half we had a minor scare when Clarence Blackwell fumbled a punt return, but special teamer Jace Peterson saved his teammate. The third quarter was mostly defense dominated, the Giants ended that quarter with a 17-yard run by Wade Paterno into the red zone.

Jack Crane put the Giants 21-20 up 16 seconds into the fourth quarter (including the converted extra point). Santiago Messenger returned a kickoff return to our 43-yard line. After a three-and-out, Doug Guynes nailed them at their own 1-yard line. The Giants gained enough ground to eventually pin us at our own 7-yard line. We failed to gain much ground and Giants' returner Doug Flannery marched into our territory. The Giants came closer and closer, but our goal line stand was strong enough to force them to kick the 26-yarder. Trailing 24-20, we had four and a half minutes to fix things. Three and outs on both ends gave us the ball back at our 12-yard line with less than 2 minutes to go. We thought we were making strides as Moe Sheldon found Theo Bondy for 36 yards, only to see him fumble and see the Giants move to midfield to knee drop to a crucial victory in their race to the division title.

It feels like we were the better team, or at the very least not the weaker team, but the 24-20 loss is there regardless. It ends our hopes as at 2 wins behind Gothenburg with inferior tie-breakers, we're out of the race.

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

Gothenburg and Paris play head-to-head in week 17 in Paris. It's setting up for a winner takes all. In a tied situation, Gothenburg has the edge and in that scenario Bordeaux could jump ahead of them with an 8-8 record, providing Gothenburg and Paris both lose in week 16.

For us, what remains is playing for pride, first at the Moontown Darksiders where we can spoil their wild card dreams. Then in week 17 trying to play spoiler for Bordeaux, providing they get their dream scenario of catching up to a three-way tie at 7-8.

We knew this would be a tough season, but it remains to be a disappointment to see us with a -73 points differential, which ranks third worst in franchise history if this holds up. Our worst numbers are -80 and -81, so it's no given that we can avoid that.

It is what it is. C'est la vie. There are worse things in the world.
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Old 03-24-2020, 04:45 PM   #227
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Rock bottom, we're comin'
One more game...

A 34-7 drubbing, all our points from a pick six. The Moontown Darksiders increased our points differrential to -100. Our worst after 16 games in the previous 84 seasons was -81.

That's how bad we were. It's almost like we stopped knowing how to play football. Theodory Bondy has stopped playing like the all-time legend that was supposed to be upon retirement.

I had good hopes we could survive on our old habits, we didn't. Sure, it doesn't help that we've played the (tied) hardest schedule in the league, but that should stop the Merchantmen under normal circumstances. No, we're simply not good enough past the top guys. Because, well, we actually have an elite O-Line, that can't be it. We have an elite collective of pass rushers, that can't be it either. We've got Bondy, we've got Hitchcock. We're clearly not a typical 6-10 or 5-11 team. But here we are.

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

We're done, Bordeaux is done, it's Paris at Gothenburg in week 17 for a winner takes all.

The last time we lost 10 games in the same season was in 2033. Yes, that's right, more than 50 seasons ago. We actually had a pretty good roster that season and our points differential was just -3, despite the 6-10 record. In 2030 we went 5-11, our points differential was actually +6 (yeah, I know).

Okay, one more game. At home. We can finish this season with the best record in home games in the entire conference. We'll just need a win and the #2 seed bound Tucker Tigers to lose. #1 bound San Antonio and #6 seed hopeful Atlanta also hope to finish the season with a 6-2 record at home. Crazy stuff.

Our lottery ticket? The Houston Mustangs have improved to 7-8, they won 5 of their last 6 games. No easy top5 pick for us. Our own pick will be top10. That's Merchantmen unworthy. Period. A disgrace for this franchise.

But at the end of the day, it's just a game, we should cherish that we can still do this, still play football, still show our fans we have pride, still honored to wear that orange white and blue, still feeling strong. Still the Maassluis Merchantmen.
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Old 03-26-2020, 05:29 PM   #228
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Over, it's finally over
Done, finished, 2088 is in the books for us.

We actually managed to finish the season with a crushing defeat of the Bordeaux Vineyards: 37-10. Reggie Thong' ran for 148 yards, Branden Sandlin caught 6 for 105 yards, Moe Sheldon threw for 204 yards and 2 scores without a pick. And Theo Bondy, he struggled once again: 6 catches on 17 targets, gaining 64 yards for 2 scores (the second one a 45-yarder).

The margin of victory actually pushed this season from worst to only third worst in franchise history. A -73 points differential is quite obviously nothing to be happy about, but it's better than the -100 points from before today. Although, considering that we also steamrolled the Paris Musketeers in our house, it shows how pathetic we were most of the time. We lost all 8 road games, only twice being within 1 score. At the same time, we lost one 2 home games, including the one against the Toronto Lake Monsters that we choked as well. But had we not choked those two games, we would have still fallen behind the Paris Musketeers on common games record, this was never meant to be.

European division:
1. Gothenburg 8-8
2. Paris 8-8
3. Bordeaux 7-9
4. Maassluis 6-10
Gothenburg swept Paris, giving them tie-breakers.

All around, the league has six (division winning) teams with a 12-4 or 13-3 record going into the playoffs: the Outer Banks Ospreys, Oakland Black Panthers, Kansas Creationists, Chesapeake Chitterlings (all four in the NAC) and the San Antonio Tidal Force and Tucker Tigers (both in the AOC). The 10-6 Orlando Talons (AOC) and 9-7 Williamsburg Colonials (NAC) are probably better than their records show, they are the top wild cards. Sixth seeds Fort Wayne Fury (AOC) and Moontown Darksiders (NAC) both look good, but not bowl bound material. The Fury might actually have a decent shot at the 9-7 Toronto Lake Monsters, the only team in the playoffs with a negative points differential. The Gothenburg Giants might even not be the worst team in the post-season, despite their 8-8 record, but hosting aforementioned Orlando Talons, a deep run looks farfetched.

Mean whilst, we've taken note of the Houston Mustangs finishing the season with a 7-9 record and as such giving us only the #13 overall draft pick in the 2089 draft. Sure, much better than the #32 pick they were supposed to be, but after their 1-6 start, we had every reason to think we hit the jackpot. Combined with our 'earned' #9 overall, we'll have something to work with. Although it should be no surprise that I would have preferred a pick in the bottom 12, which would have meant still being in the race for league championship.


So, what does next season look like for us?
We have a young roster, we forced our hand there, but it's a fact now. We have exactly one player in his 10th (or up) season: our frickin' kick holder. Let's take a quick glace at each position group.

Quarterbacks
signed: KH Muchnick
restricted: QB Farley
unrestricted: QB Sheldon
Moe Sheldon actually guided us to a 6-7 record in his starts, Francisco Farley lost the starting gig after an 0-3 start. Quite simply, with Farley we were a train wreck. With Sheldon, we were average. Will we bring Sheldon back? If he wants to and if he doesn't ask for $20M/year, maybe. Farley? A somewhat similar story: welcome back, but if he asks for much more than minimum, I suspect his career will be over before we find out what his true potential is.

Backfield
signed: RB Patter, FB Brosseau, RB Gunja
restricted: RB Ford, RB Szporluk
unrestricted: RB Thongchanh
Oh yeah, Thong'. He ran for 1,359 yards this season (1,436 last season). Quite simply, he's going to demand starter money. Will we have the cap space? Probably. Will we give it to him? Unlikely. Patter actually thinks he should be the guy, he's locked up cheap for 2 seasons and looks unlikely to go into holdout mode. Brosseau could be serviceable, but we'll have to get him more involved in the running game as a blocker, otherwise it's a waste for him to play with us. The other three guys? We might be able to bring Ford and Szporluk back cheap and Gunja is locked up. But these guys might be a RB2 at best.

Tight ends
signed: TE Holliday, TE Kotz
restricted: TE Blake, TE Crawford
All these guys are run blockers and okay special teamers. Blake isn't listed as our starter, but he saw the most action. This unit is shoulder raising. We're not going to pay these guys. It's pretty clear that the game these days demands teams to have a decent receiving tight end. Well, we'll have to look at the market and draft class then.

Wide receivers
signed: WR Bondy, WR Sandlin, WR/KR Arntt
restricted: WR/KR Messenger, WR Gelat
If these were happy times, I might be more disappointed about Bondy. It just doesn't make sense that he stopped playing like an all-time great. I really hope we can unbreak him next season. Sandlin has lived up to my expectations, he's WR2 material and locked up cheap. Messenger is our WR3 and kickoff returner, he may have demands, we'll likely meet them. Arntt is locked up, a very good backup to Messenger for the return duties. If we want to improve our team, Gelat might find himself dropped to WR6, providing he gets called back for next season. It's quite possible we'll look at bringing in a new starter.

Offensive Line
signed: C Pearson, G Szott, G Watson, LT Hadinger, RT Humphrey, LT Hamilton, C Labbe
restricted: G Willis
This unit will remain as is. Most likely. Watson is the only starter at risk here, bar disaster in training camp/pre-season, while backup Willis would then be the actual casualty. But unless we find a very good starter, this unit should stick with a cohesion boost.

Kicker/Punter/Long snapper
signed: P Guynes, K Wells, LS Biegen
unrestricted: P Holton
Holton is still around? Yeah, but just because it was pretty pointless to axe him for the last game alone. Neither Guynes or Wells is safe, we have high standards for these positions, but it would need to be a major improvement. Ditto on Biegen.

Defensive Line
signed: DE Kondovski, DE Russell, DE Exner, DT Ackerman
restricted: DT Mojica, DE Whiting, DE Gellar
unrestricted: DT Ritt
Oh boy, Mojica. That guy broke out and might ask for big money. Will we pay him? I might actually be willing to. This guy is the best guy on this unit. Whiting also broke out and might want to get paid as well. Worth it? Probably. Ritt is worth keeping at the right price. There's little chance other teams would want him, well, he'd fit here.

Linebackers
signed: ILB Espino, OLB Jackson, OLB Mendelssohn
restricted: ILB Strobel, OLB Palmer, OLB Peterson
Espino is the real deal, but we already knew that. Jackson is decent, Strobel played okay for what we had. If he wants to get paid, I suspect he'll be out of football by 2090. Palmer and Peterson are special teamers (can somebody please fire the moron that kept Palmer off the field every single game every single special teams play ). Mendelssohn is a bust, sorry kid. Don't be shocked if he's no longer with us by 2090.

Secondary
signed: CB Hitchcock, CB McNeil, CB/PR Blackwell, S Marty, S Newsome
restricted: CB Frias, S Sword, S Harper, S Blanchard
I really like Marty and Newsome, but we do need an all downs guy to give these guys more time to take a breath. The restricted safeties are okay, all lack stamina as well. Yes, safety will be a position to look at for improvement. Hitchcock is undisputable. McNeil better suited to become or nickelback, which would downgrade Blackwell back to just a return specialist and maybe dimeback duties. Frias might be better than he has shown so far. If the price is right, we'll bring him back and give more time to develop.


We're does that put us? 31 players signed, 18 restricted free agents, only 4 players that will hit the open market before the draft. A draft where we will pick at #9 and #13 in the first round, have 3 additional 4th round picks, and also bonus picks in the 5th and 7th round for 13 picks in total. The cap situation? We'll be $80M under the cap, not accounting for the draft picks that will be an expensive one with two top half picks. After accounting for the 22 open roster spots, we'll probably have about $35M to work with.

The season isn't over yet, 12 teams are still in the race to become the IHOF's next top franchise. For 19 others and us, the action is over, it's "tot volgend seizoen" for us. And we wil return, stronger than this season. For we are the Merchantmen, never giving up!
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* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
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Old 03-27-2020, 01:20 PM   #229
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Francisco Farley, sophomore rollercoaster
It was early in spring of 2087. For the third time in succession, a quarterback was taken #1 overall in the IHOF Draft. The Moontown Darksiders invested their top pick in Alabama - Birmingham prospect Blaine Sanderson in hopes of making him their franchise quarterback. Not an unusual decision, many quarterbacks preceded Sanderson as the top pick in the IHOF draft. The Maassluis Merchantmen have been no strangers to this phenomenon, twice trading up to the #1 overall pick and the end result was in both cases an eventual Hall of Famer. Rusty Harrison and Bryson Chow are names every Merchantmen fan should know.

In total seventeen quarterbacks received a call from any of the 32 franchises in the IHOF to be selected in that 2087 draft. The Maassluis Merchantmen spent their seven picks on other positions, but had their eye on one particular quarterback from Syracuse as a potential signing after the draft: Francisco Farley. There was little reason to see why this player in particular was signed by the Merchantmen. Best bet for the outside world was Farley's reputation as being decent in noticing the collaps of his protection and in that situation being a decent scrambler. His Solecismic Score was okay, at least better than the #1 overall pick Sanderson.

Upon arrival in Maassluis, Farley had three other quarterbacks to compete with for a roster spot. Seasoned veteran and sixth round pick to franchise quarterback grown Ellis McAlister's spot as the starter seemed indisputable. The backup slot was by no up for grabs either, the Merchantmen had invested a second round pick in Ernest Andrews in the 2085 draft and by no means looked ready to give up on him just yet. And then there was Karsten Muchnick, one helluva kick holder, crucial for the kicking unit, but not somebody management would like to see on the field throwing the ball. Most likely, Farley would be here to have a fourth ball thrower in training camp, very usual for the Merchantmen.

During training camp, the staff was positively surprised. Farley was picking things up pretty well and was seen as barely any worse than Andrews, whom had been very unimpressive in the previous two camps and pre-season action, while barely making progress during the seasons. Both youngsters made the pre-season roster of 60 players and split playing time in the first pre-season game. A game both would love to see vanished from the history books. Neither Andrews nor Farley looked even remotely in control. Farley completed 4 of 11 passes for 38 yards, getting sacked once, picked off once and running for a 10 yard gain. But all in all, Farley was really on par with Andrews, who got picked off twice in 13 attempts and also lost a fumble. The second pre-season game was barely any better. Again, the Merchantmen offense failed to score any touchdowns, but a 19-19 tie was the end result. Farley completed 4 of just 6 pass attempts for 50 yards. One day later, Andrews was cut. Bar any last minute signings, Farley made the 53-men roster, all based on the staff's assessment about his improvement in training camp and flashes of potential shown in that second pre-season game.

Unsurprisingly, there was little Farley could do that 2087 season to get on the field. Sitting behind Ellis McAlister, two-time reigning division champion and having guided his team to the 2085 AOC Championship game and the conference semi finals in 2086. Sure, McAlister had his flaws, throwing more interceptions than most head coaches would like to see, but he was connecting with the phenomenal wide receiver Theodore Bondy. But Farley also took note of how slow McAlister's career went, he rode the bench for five seasons. Patience can work out.

Following another second round loss in the playoffs, things changed drastically in Maassluis. Cap Hell broke loose and one by one key players left Maassluis. One of them: Ellis McAlister. All of a sudden, Francisco Farley's name was getting penciled in as the 2088 starter. Lacking the cap room to sign a seasoned veteran, the Merchantmen, Farley was seeing potential. The 2088 IHOF draft went by and the Merchantmen spent all six of their picks on other positions. Farley and kick holder Muchnick were the only two quarterbacks on roster. 25 young free agents were signed between the draft and training camp, including undrafted rookie quarterbacks Bubba Hiam and Alvin Stoner.

Francisco Farley received accolades for his progress in training camp prior to the 2088 season. Surely, by no means was he showing flashes of a starting quarterback, but he was far ahead of his competition. The Merchantmen finished pre-season with three quarterbacks on roster, as Hiam got axed after the first couple of pre-season games. Two days before opening day, the Merchantmen called a press conference. A new potential sheriff joined town: Moe Sheldon. Albeit his track record as a starter (9-23) being far from impressive, Merchantmen management was clear about their move: Farley needs a mentor and if he breaks, Sheldon will be a suitable replacement.

Opening day, 2088. The Merchantmen traveled to Paris (France) to start the new season. Starting lineups were revealed. At 25 years old, Francisco Farley was the youngest opening day starting quarterback for the Maassluis Merchantmen in 43 years (Bryson Chow was 22 years old in 2045). And boy, was Farley not ready. The first half was a disaster. Teammates had to motivate him as teams went into the locker room at half time, the Merchantmen trailing 17-7 and being on the score board purely on a last minute 93-yard pick six from Kirk Hitchcock. A fumble on Paris' second play of the second half gave Maassluis a short field and Farley quickly had a chance to cheer: third down, Theo Bondy open in the end zone: touchdown! It was a unique highlight in what ended as a 36-24 loss for the Merchantmen. Farley completed 14 of 27 passes for 93 yards.

Week two, 2088. The Merchantmen had a new plan for the road game at the Outer Banks Ospreys. Little did they know they were visiting the eventual 14-2 top seeds in the NAC. Farley got the first half to prove himself and completed 10 of 14 passes for 74 yards and ran for a first down on a 13-yard scramble. He deserved some kudos, despite the 17-0 deficit at half time. But after the break, Moe Sheldon was the quarterback on the field for Maassluis. Albeit with inferior passing numbers, Sheldon got the Merchantmen on the scoreboard late in het fourth quarter.

Week three, 2088. First home game of the season in a near sold out Oranje Haven. Francisco Farley was once again announced as the starting quarterback. The Toronto Lake Monsters were visiting, but the Merchantmen were rolling. When half time was called, the Merchantmen were comfortably leading 17-0. Farley was the man of the game so far, having found Theo Bondy for the first touchdown and pounding it in from 2-yards out himself for the second touchdown. But in the second half, things got bad and went from bad to worse. The Lake Monsters took control, picked off Farley 3 times, the third one being an 83-yard pick six to eventually force overtime. In overtime, Farley's fourth pick was brushed away by his defense, but eventually it was not to be. An impressive 53-yard field goal gave the Lake Monsters a 20-17 victory.

Week four, 2088. The San Antonio Tidal Force arrived in Maassluis en route to their top seed 13-3 regular season record. Obviously something the Merchantmen did not know then. Francisco Farley was sobbing on the sideline, Moe Sheldon was the starter for Maassluis. Despite a far from impressive statline, one critical number was there: a 1 in the W-column as Sheldon guided the Merchantmen to a 14-9 victory.

Maassluis' bye week didn't change anything. In fact, as Sheldon was notching two more wins in the next three games, the battle for the starting role that wasn't intended, didn't come either. The Merchantmen went from Farley to Sheldon without any back and forth changes like in past times when the Merchantmen struggled. Farley got some playing time in a 34-10 drubbing in Bordeaux, a 52-14 drubbing in Orlando and a 34-7 ear washing in Moontown. Cumulative numbers: 3 for 18, 29 yards, 1 interception. His highlights of the season turned out to be victory formation plays in the home victories over the Capital City Blues (30-6) and Bordeaux Vineyards (37-10).

At that, as promising and as loud as the season started for Francisco Farley, it ended with that knee drop for victory over Bordeaux. By no means was it clear Farley would be the new franchise quarterback, but he could not predict he'd be the backup to a 6-7 Moe Sheldon. Is his stint in Maassluis already over? Too early to tell. Farley will be a restricted free agent once again. He went into the 2088 off-season unsigned, returned for the second-year minimum salary. Next off-season his demands might be higher, albeit based on a depressing statline. Sheldon isn't likely to return, he was probably a one-year rental that kept the Merchantmen far away from a potential top five draft pick.

Draft picks are a plenty in Maassluis in the soon to be upcoming 2089 draft. Most prominently a #9 and #13 overall in the first round. Enough cannon fodder to look up, to attempt to, well, who knows? Maassluis might be in the market for a new attempt at grabbing a franchise quarterback. Or maybe they will look at the potential free agent market, possibly lead by 38-year old Brian Sams or 37-year old Brad Nestor. But that market will be dry. Moe Sheldon might be the best option.

15 minutes of fame, Francisco Farley got two games and a half. Optimistically, it was a false start to a promising and long career. Pessimistically, it was the best he could ever achieve as an undrafted afterthought. Sure, it's way too early to know what the future will bring for Farley. Merchantmen management has claimed to see promising things. It's unclear based on what. Progress in training camp? We'll see what happens, first prior to the draft, then during the draft, training camp, pre-season. Depending on whether Maassluis wants Farley back. In the end, Farley was there when Maassluis seemed to have hit rock bottom, saw a crazy back and worth of wins and losses towards a respectable 6-10 record. A way up from an unusual 0-3 start. For the Merchantmen, for Farley. Who knows? Anything can happen...
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Old 04-02-2020, 01:07 PM   #230
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen OC Murack retires
An extraordinary stint has come to an end. After 18 seasons of service with the Maassluis Merchantmen, Neal Murack has announced his retirement from football. A former respectable center, Murack played 204 regular season games in the IHOF and retired after a short stint with the Merchantmen, early on showed his desire to get into a coaching job. He returned to Maassluis 15 seasons later, to stick around for the longest coaching or staff member stint in franchise history.

As the Merchantmen's offensive coordinator since the 2071 season, he's had the pleasure to work with wide receivers J.R. Mills and Theodore Bondy, and perhaps the strongest offensive line in team history, anchored by Tom Anaya and Oscar Meadows. And obviously the lionshare of his time his faith was connected with quarterback Ellis McAlister, cut by the Merchantmen in the 2088 off-season.

Options are a plenty, but these are big shoes to fill in Maassluis, with a very likely unavoidable change of offensive playing style.
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Old 04-02-2020, 01:27 PM   #231
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Merchantmen legend Gabe Broady retires
Return specialist Gabe Broady has decided to call it a game. An undrafted rookie signing in 2081 for the Maassluis Merchantmen, Broady was initially a bit of a roster filler. But midway through the season, the punt return duties were given to him. For a majority of the following five and a half seasons, Broady posted phenomenal numbers. With 17.0 yards per return (highest average in IHOF history) and 8 touchdowns (tied second most in IHOF history), he's considered an all time great. But father time visited early and in 2087 Broady's seemingly undisputed status fell apart, in part initiated due to his fumbling habits, but also by the emergence of Courtney Blackwell. Broady was released during the 2088 off-season and by lack of interest from any of the 31 other IHOF franchises, Broady decided it was no longer worth waiting for a call.

Elsewhere across the USA, five other former Merchantmen players announced their retirements. Running back Leonard Belin played 97 games in Maassluis and had 3 1,000-yard seasons. Tight end Nicholas Grundy was a special teamer for 4 seasons. 2086 first round pick cornerback Lee Hancock was a two-season starter, but failed to make the 2088 regular season roster. Defensive end Wendell Marshall's one season in Maassluis was a very strong one with 12.0 sacks in that 2084 season. Defensive end Ezekiel Wylie played 121 games in 7 seasons, usually being one of the guys in a four-men rotation.
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Old 04-06-2020, 04:41 PM   #232
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Merchantmen pick DT Fletcher and QB Bell in first round
The Maassluis Merchantmen haven't traded up or down. The 9th and 13th overall picks were kept and used to bolster two positions Merchantmen fans are familiar with seeing picked highly. Defensive tackle Darien Fletcher was selected 9th overall, shortly after followed by quarterback Brandon Bell.

General Manager M.IJ.B. of the Merchantmen was pleased: "It was no secret that we tried to move up in the draft, but after our attempts failed, we got two players we did not anticipate to fall in our lap. Yes, pleased we are."

23-year old defensive tackle Darien Fletcher was touted as a the second player on the draft board and top three in overall talent. The Merchantmen saw it, interviewed Fletcher, but fully expected him to get snagged up by another team. As he dropped to nineth overall, the Merchantmen couldn't pass on what they historically have seen as a key position on defense. The home of Charles Gomez and Shaun Hartman. Fletcher can only hope to get into their footsteps.

23-year old quarterback Brandon Bell left a good impression with the Merchantmen staff. Although they were open about looking for a wide receiver at the top of the draft, management looked happy to pick him. A possible second round target, but he was moved up the priority list when the last of the top three graded wide receivers was taken. The Merchantmen have gone through a struggling season at quarterback, although they've been open about trying to re-sign quarterback Moe Sheldon, perhaps to mentor Bell. This does make it unlikely Francisco Farley will get another chance.
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Old 04-06-2020, 05:11 PM   #233
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We got 'em!
It's early to claim our 2089 draft is a success, but I can't be unhappy about it so far. We got a new stud defensive tackle and a new quarterback!

Okay, I tried to move up to 1.1. There's a once in decades talent at quarterback in this class named Angel Hanson. 20 years old, exceptional in everything. And our brand new offensive coordinator called the kid "underrated". Yeah, we all know Maassluis doesn't Suck for Luck, so even the #9 and #13 were insufficient to persuade the Frederick Red Menace into trading down.

I tried to move up to 1.2. There was an outstanding wide receiver Riley Doyle second on our board. Our new OC was ecstatic about him. Snapfinger didn't like our picks either and went with the kid.

From there on, we just kept waiting and by the time #9 was up, I was shocked to see Fletcher still unspoken for. Our defensive coordinator really liked him and I figured: this is our position, this guy is top three in talent in this class, he's ours!

A couple of picks later, I talked with Bordeaux about the #12 pick, but once they realized wide receiver Marshall Hoffmann was still on the board, they went with picking him. Would we have picked him there? Probably.

No worries, by then I knew our second choice quarterback of this class was still available: Brandon Bell. Aside from his excellent interview, his profile doesn't wow, but he looks like a kid that can lead us to a division title.

The plan is to talk Moe Sheldon into sticking around, both as a mentor and an insurance policy for Bell.

Is this the end for Francisco Farley? It shouldn't initially be, until you understand what his salary demands are. The kid sniffed at playing time and now claims he's a reliable backup, replacement level. Seriously, things are flying over his head. His demands have been a prominent reason to look elsewhere. You heard it here first: he'll be out of football before the 2090 draft.

Contrary to Farley, eleven other restricted free agents had reasonable demands and were signed to two or three year deals. Most prominently defensive linemen Tony Whiting and Jumbo Mojica. Boy oh boy, if Fletcher works out, our defensive line will be back to our old standards.

WR Theodore Bondy and C Butch Pearson have signed a restructured deal, opening up some extra cap space for, well, who knows?

I know, we need to give MLB Daquan Espino a new deal. That will cost us some cap space.

And that's about it for now. A draft to continue, a free agency period with actually some cap space. It's been a while to have something like that going on here in Maassluis.
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Old 04-08-2020, 05:07 PM   #234
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General Manager Notes: Where have the 2089 picks gone?
Take a guess? Indeed. We traded a lot of picks!

Going into this draft, we had no less than 12 draft picks, with the #9 and #13 overall the clear cut centerpieces. But we also had a quartet of fourth round picks. "Had" indeed, the Hanalei Dragons came around, their depleted roster could use another draft pick... Or eight! In two steps, we packaged our second, third, four fourth and two fifth round picks for the Dragons' first and second rounders next draft, their fifth rounders in each of the next two drafts and on top of that linebacker Moe Iveans.

Why the linebacker? Well, really, haven't you seen what was starting for us last season? Iveans can play the zone defense, stop the run, play special teams and support the pass rush. He'll be starting on running downs, that's a sure thing. It also means the departure of last year's undrafted rookie Sebastian Strobel. His demands aren't even extraordinary, but really, he's just not that good of a run stopper or pass rusher. Or a zone defender. Wait, why was he our third linebacker?

On the free agents market, we backed out of signing the best linebacker out there. Trading for Iveans made it pointless. We missed out on a quality cornerback. I thought I made a sound offer, but it was trumped by another team. Our consolation prize of sort was defensive tackle Francisco Burgess. A 32-year old veteran running lanes stop gap. But we'll mostly ask him to mentor the incoming Darien Fletcher.

We made a bid on Reggie Thong', after backing out on the expensive linebacker we have some cap space available. I'm confident in the other three running backs on roster, but Thong' has been with us so long already, he has cohesion with the entire offensive line. Will we get him? Maybe, maybe not. The Chicago Norsemen are also in the market.

Our bid on Moe Sheldon is still the only one. Granted, Moe has announced a preference to sign late in free agency, but you can never know with these players. Making an early offer shows our willingness to commit to him. Sure, short term, most likely, perhaps even as nothing but a mentor to Brandon Bell, but there's nothing wrong with a starter quality backup quarterback.

Aside from that, we're going to offer contracts to some of our restricted free agents. Although their demands are quite higher than what they've done for us last season, we can spend that additional cap space here. Most are defenders and familiar with our game plan. Turnover in players is always bad for cohesion, so we'll try to keep some of them.

One player whom we'll most likely are not going to make an offer is Francisco Farley. His demands are way too rich for what he's shown in his two and a half games. But moreover, we just invested in Brandon Bell, Farley's chances to play are much smaller now. Maybe in late free agency we'll reconsider. After all, I still think he has more potential than most scouts give him for.

I'm undecided about A.J. Ritt for now. He's still a fast defensive tackle, but we're all of a sudden pretty full on our defensive line. Ritt does have cohesion value, but keeping him would mean we'd have to part ways with another defensive lineman, like second-year pro's Kurt Ackerman or Terrence Gellar.

And that's basically it for now. Our next draft picks are in the sixth and in the seventh round, twice in that last round. We'll have to wait and see what will be left from this class once we get there.

Unless I get the goggles and jump in for mid round pick...
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Old 04-09-2020, 11:05 AM   #235
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Thong' stays with Merchantmen for 2089 season
The Maassluis Merchantmen today announced the extended services of running back Reggie Thongchanh. The Merchantmen leading rusher of the last two seasons agreed to a new two-year $16M contract. Overall interest in Thong' was limited, but an offer from the Chicago Norsemen gave enough competition to get this deal done. It makes Thongchanh' the eight highest player on roster.

Fond of keeping players around, the Merchantmen felt relieved to salvage their fourth round pick from four seasons ago. Thong' is familiar with the franchise and has plenty of experience playing behind the current state of the art offensive line. All that said, Thong's role as the starter are no guarantee. The Merchantmen currently have 5 running backs on roster, all returning from last season. Especially third-year pro and last season's RB2 Francisco Patter feels like he's ready to take over. But as both Thong' and Patter struggle with endurance, splitting the carries is a logically solution to the situation. Thong's contract is release friendly as he worked out a modest signing bonus of just $2M, perhaps feeling confident he'll win the main ball carrier role.

Together with Thong', five other free agents signed a new deal in Maassluis. Contrary to Thong', they were all restricted free agents. Tight end Jeffery Blake, winde receiver Santiago Messenger, cornerback Ted Frias, and safeties Salvador Harper and Bert Sword signed various lengths of deals, all until at least the 2090 season.
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Old 04-10-2020, 12:22 PM   #236
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen grab CB, WR, FB to finish their 2089 draft
The 2089 draft is about half a round away from finished. The Maassluis Merchantmen kept their sixth and couple of seventh round picks to increase their class to five rookies. The new names: cornerback Andres Provo, wide receiver Harris Wilkerson and fullback Mel Kinney.

23-year old Provo is the 10th highest graded cornerback in this draft class. Scouts think he's one of the most developed players at his position in this class. On first look, he can play zone defense, man-to-man, support the run and has stamina. Maassluis had only 4 cornerbacks on roster, Provo's chances to make the final 53-men roster are pretty good.

23-year old Wilkerson is considered by the Merchantmen staff as a promising receiver. Probably lacking the route running skills to get open and with big-play ability slightly below Merchantmen standards. But otherwise very promising. Wilkerson will be the 6th wide receiver on roster.

22-year old Kinney comes in as one of the four players the Merchantmen draft war room tagged with an upside of 100 out of 100. Their brand new offensive coordinator called Kinney potentially the best blocking fullback in league history, with the ability to find open lanes to run through. He'll be the second fullback on roster.
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Old 04-11-2020, 08:00 AM   #237
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: What about that new OC?
Oh yeah, it's almost time.

Later today the post draft free agency will end and it means we'll have to prepare our training camp. Most specifically, we'll have to act fast on a drawing a new offensive game plan. As our offensive coordinator retired, we had to hire a new one. Reuben Bidwell is the name and play calling is his thing. Surprisingly he's 58 but has only 8 seasons of experience in the IHOF. He's been an offensive coordinator before, with stints in Frederick and Hanalei. In between, he was head coach of Outer Banks. Sadly, he isn't quarterback oriented, which would have been nice to see him help develop our recent first round pick a bit faster. More importantly, his style is a "spread offense". Why does that matter? Well, we built a game plan a couple of seasons ago completely suited towards our then OC Muchnick. We'll have to do it once again.

For the life of me, I've got no frickin' clue what the difference is between a "balanced" and a "spread" offense. Nor should I, that's what we have that offensive coordinator for, no? It's clearly time for a Solecismic crash course on offensive game planning.
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Old 04-11-2020, 09:46 AM   #238
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: early draft class 2089 look
Yay, rookies arrived, the staff has made a first report on our five draft picks.

1.9 DT Darien Fletcher
Overall grade: 45/65
Our staff sees Fletcher potentially as being in the top 10 pass rushers. We're already loaded in that regard, but Fletcher also brings the endurance and run stopping ability to be an improvement of the D-Line.
Code:
run d XXXXX++___ 45/70 pr tc XXXXXX++++ 60/95 pr st XXXX______ 40 mtm d X+________ 10/25 zon d X+________ 10/25 bnr d XXX+______ 25/40 ply d XXXX+++___ 40/65 p hit XXXXXX____ 60 endur XXXXX++___ 55/65 sp tm XXXX______ 35/45

1.13 QB Brandon Bell
Overall grade: 10/50
Yes, we somewhat reached for this kid. He's clearly more of a second round value guy, but at this position you can never know when or where he flies off the board. Has this kind strengths? Not really. Does he have any weaknesses? He's green and scouted to be worst in short passes. He can avoid sacks, his intelligence came back as a 1/100. Yeah...
Code:
sc ps ++++++____ 5/55 sh ps +_________ 0/5 md ps ++++++____ 5/60 lg ps +++++_____ 5/50 dp ps ++++++____ 5/60 3d ps XX++______ 20/40 accur +++++++___ 5/65 timin XXXX++____ 40/60 s rsh XXXXXXX___ 65 rd df ++++++____ 5/60 2m of +++++_____ 5/50 scr f XXXXXX____ 65 kck h XXXXXXXXXX 100

6.7 CB Andres Provo
Overall grade: 30/50
Initial look doesn't make me wow on him, but what would you expect from a sixth round pick? His zone defense is okay, man to man and bump and run slightly lower than I wish to see here. Endurance is a good thing. Probably lacks the skills to make several picks in a season, will be just an ok option on running downs.
Code:
run d XX++______ 20/40 mtm d XXX++_____ 30/55 zon d XXXX+++___ 40/70 bnr d XXX+______ 30/45 ply d X++_______ 10/25 p hit __________ 0 inter XXX+______ 25/40 pnt r __________ 0 kck r __________ 0/5 endur XXXXXXX___ 65/75 sp tm __________ 0/5

7.9 WR Harris Wilkerson
Overall Grade: 30/50
So, what has to give here? How did this kid fall to the seventh round? The obvious part: lack of route running skills, seemingly. Complete void might me more precise. But otherwise, this kid looks pretty promising. At the very least, we'll have a special teamer again that we wouldn't mind to occasionally see enter the field on offense.
Code:
av dr X+++++____ 5/65 gt dw XXXXXX+++_ 60/90 rt rn ++________ 0/25 3d ct XXXX++++__ 45/80 bg pl XXXXXX____ 60 coura XX+++++___ 20/65 ad bl __________ 0 pnt r __________ 0 kck r +_________ 5 endur XX+++_____ 25/50 sp tm XXXXXX+++_ 55/90

7/13 FB Mel Kinney
Overall Grade: 15/50
Green, but potentially a complete blocker. Not the stand out guy our OC claimed he'd be, but still promising. Yet so green...
Code:
rn lb X++++++___ 10/75 ps bl X++++++___ 10/70 bl st XXX_______ 25 pw in XXX_______ 25 3d rn ++________ 5/20 hol r XX++++____ 15/60 blitz XX++++++__ 20/80 av dr ++________ 0/20 rt rn +++_______ 0/25 3d ct X_________ 5 endur XXX+______ 30/40 sp tm XX++______ 20/35


Overall, we got five players with potential very close to 50 on a 1 to 100 scale. Fletcher is the clear exception. The current development of these kids is on a wide range from very green (Bell, Kinney) to ready to play (Fletcher). We have four mentors on roster: QB Moe Sheldon, KH/QB Karsten Muchnick, DT Francisco Burgess and C Butch Pearson. Both coordinators are very good at player development and young talent. On top of their play calling skills.
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Old 04-11-2020, 12:16 PM   #239
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
2078 - 2088 Ellis McAlister era

In 2078 a wild off-season resparkled the glory of the Maassluis Merchantmen. After four straight non-winning seasons, the arrival of quarterback Bennett Morris as a free agent gave new hope. Especially the connection with J.R. Mills was exceptional and with rookie running back Walt Blair racking up the 100-yard games, the Merchantmen offense was a pleasure to watch. With 490 points scored, they were second in the league and first in the AOC, deservingly reaching the AOC Championship game. A game they lost miserably 37-14 at the Toronto Lake Monsters.

Albeit a short stint, Morris retired after just one season, he left behind a legacy and inspired a fourth string quarterback to come out of nowhere to become the new face of the franchise: Ellis McAlister. A sixth round pick in the 2074 season, McAlister had to witness the disaster that Robbie Howe was and then played zero downs as Erick Loera's backup. In 2077 and 2078 he barely made the roster as the fourth quarterback. But Merchantmen management kept believing in what had been a promising interview back in 2074. And after five long seasons, McAlister's patience was finally rewarded, he became the undisputed starting quarterback. The Merchantmen built on their success from the season before, flirted with their second best single-season record ever, but eventually settled for a 12-4 campaign and crashing out in the conference semifinals. It turned out to be J.R. Mills' last game, coming 56 yards short of 15,000 receiving yards and at that 58 to break Terry Haskell's franchise record of 15,001 receiving yards.

Running back Walt Blair left Maassluis after only 4 seasons, in which he missed 16 games due to concussions. Concerns over his health made the Merchantmen decide to not give him a big contract in his fifth season and eventually Blair would be forced to retire early, despite playing all games in two seasons for the Brooklyn Fightin' Bums. The Merchantmen didn't invest in likewise top-notch running backs, but focused on a strong offensive line with left tackle Nathan Hadinger, right tackles Oscar Meadows and his succesor Howard Humphrey, center Butch Pearson, guard Carlos Webb and his succesor Michael Szott. Aside from the offensive line, the Merchantmen managed to rebuild the roster around McAlister well, almost exclusively through the draft. Season after season, one of the top prospects in the entire draft class was added to the team. One of them, in 2082 Wide receiver Theodore Bondy joined the Merchantmen and grew into a phenomenon. With four 2,000-yard seasons completely vanished former stars from the top spots of the single-season receiving yardage records. The defense saw the arrival of many great players as well. The Merchantmen continued to be strong at linebacker, with Craig McCorkle (2079 draft). On top of that, the Merchantmen found exceptional talent in cornerback Kirk Hitchock (2081 draft) and defensive tackle Heath Oliver (2083 draft).

The Merchantmen kept defining themselves as a team capable of crushing opponents, but also choking in unexplained fashion, but always outscoring their opponents on a season long basis. In 2085, the Merchantmen finally snapped a five season stretch of not winning a playoffs game, scoring 463 points, second most in the AOC. They reached the 2085 AOC Championship game, upsetting the top seeded Orlando Talons, but fell to the North Plainfield Plague. McAlister guided the Merchantmen to two more lost conference semifinals.

Eventually the Merchantmen's success of drafting highly talented players backfired om them. For season after season they managed to stick the bunch together, showing their cap management magic by offering their star players heavy signing boni and exorbitant cap figures. Hitchcock, Oliver, Bondy and McCorkle, as well as McAlister all were getting franchise quarterback money. The snowballing effect of pushing cap hits to the future came to a grueling halt in the 2088 off-season. The biggest roster turnaround in team history was the inevitable result. McCorkle was traded to the Arizona Miners, McAlister and Oliver were cut. McAlister joined McCorkle in Arizona, while Oliver signed with division rival Gothenburg Giants and anchored them into a lost IHOF Bowl. The Merchantmen went through one of their weakest seasons, getting outscored by 73 points, the third worst figure in the 85-season history.

2078 11-5 (3rd) conference finalist
2079 12-4 (2nd) conference semifinals
2080 7-9 (13th)
2081 9-7 (7th)
2082 10-6 (5th) wild card round
2083 9-7 (6th) wild card round
2084 7-9 (12th)
2085 9-7 (4th) conference finalist
2086 9-7 (3rd) conference semifinals
2087 11-5 (3rd) conference semifinals
2088 6-10 (15th)


Editor's note: It was time to add another 'era' chapter, a follow up of the first 10 posts in this thread
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Old 04-11-2020, 01:09 PM   #240
QuikSand
lolzcat
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
FYI, I have had decent luck doing a copy-paste from the IHOF draft thread, and pasting here (with WYSIWYG formatting turned on in both sites) to avoid the tedium of manually recreating the bar profiles. Hope that makes things easier.

Obviously, you can decide whether this is what you want, but this seems pretty functional to me:


Quote:
Originally Posted by IHOF News Network View Post


Maassluis: MIJB19 takes QB Brandon Bell with the 1.13 pick.

Screen Passes46<->72
Short Passes0<->27
Medium Passes56<->83
Long Passes40<->66
Deep Passes50<->76
Third Down Passing29<->56
Accuracy55<->81
Timing47<->73
Sense Rush60<->87
Read Defense49<->76
Two Minute Offense39<->65
Scramble Frequency61<->87
Kick Holding73<->100

HT
WT
RAW
ADJ
DASH
SOL
BENCH
AGI
BRJU
POS
%DEV
73
211
5.1
5.8
4.64
30
11
7.46
106
81
11
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Old 04-11-2020, 04:01 PM   #241
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuikSand View Post
FYI, I have had decent luck doing a copy-paste from the IHOF draft thread, and pasting here (with WYSIWYG formatting turned on in both sites) to avoid the tedium of manually recreating the bar profiles. Hope that makes things easier.

Obviously, you can decide whether this is what you want, but this seems pretty functional to me:
Thanks for the tip, I actually hadn't thought of that particular possibility.
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Old 04-12-2020, 09:04 AM   #242
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Farley signs with Merchantmen
Francisco Farley re-signed with the Maassluis Merchantmen. The third year quarterback and last season's opening day starter signed a new three-year contract. The agreement comes as a surprise as earlier on the two sides were wide apart in their demands. Farley signed a $13.5M contract, but with basically no guaranteed money, meaning he'll have to make the opening day roster this and following seasons to collect the money. No other teams showed any interest in Farley in post draft free agency. Merchantmen management has been open about their belief that Farley has the upside to become an IHOF worthy quarterback, but also in their opinion about him not being ready just yet. Farley will have to compete with first round pick Brandon Bell, last season's starter Moe Sheldon and kick holder Karsten Muchnick for what will most likely be three roster spots for the regular season.

* * * * *

Merchantmen sign veteran guard Theisen
The Maassluis Merchantmen have bolstered their offensive line with veteran guard Darren Theisen. The 26-year old fourth year pro was released by the Chicago Norsemen this off-season. He was in the final season of his rookie contract. The Merchantmen offered a $26.3M contract, but with little guaranteed money. The move comes as a little bit of a surprise as the Merchantmen seemed to have faith in third-year pro Andre Wilson as the starting right guard. Although the Merchantmen had also shown interest in Jose Weems, the other starting guard for the Norsemen last season.

* * * * *

Merchantmen sign one undrafted linebacker
The Maassluis Merchantmen signed linebacker Malcolm Wentz to a one-year contract. He took a one-year $2M contract over offers from three other teams. Wentz was the only undrafted rookie free agent to sign with the Merchantmen. Surprisingly, as usually they make a move on many undrafted free agents after the draft. They showed interest in only three of them. Their other targets running back Bryce Fassnacht and wide receiver Shaun Steel both signed with the Orlando Talons.
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Old 04-12-2020, 09:21 AM   #243
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Of Farley, Theisen and the Spread
Oh boy, we're in for a challenge.

Let's start with the quarterback situation. As you can see, we brought back Francisco Farley. Yes, I still think he can be good, but we've also seen his not ready at all. His demands were backup money. We offered him backup salary with basically minimum bonus money. He took it. If he proves to be worth it, he'll make the team as our QB2 or QB3. We have no guarantee that rookie Brandon Bell will be ready to play this season. We also know Moe Sheldon is our best bet to win games now, if he holds up, but it will also mean we'll have to focus on pass protection on our offensive line. Farley and Bell can sense the rush and run with the ball. Kick holder Muchnick is still here, but if Bell turns out to be in the same realm of kick holding ability, well, you can do the math. If Sheldon falters, Muchnick will stick around to be the mentor of the two youngsters.

Then Theisen. A simple move. We needed a sixth decent offensive lineman that can play guard. Center Jared Labbe once was the promising kid, but he no longer is. Left tackle Myron Hamilton is, well, we're on the fence about him. He'll make the team, bar disaster, but as the seventh or eight lineman at best. At guard there's a backup that most likely won't survive the roster cuts, probably Nathan Willis, who's a liability in the passing game if he's forced into action (as is Labbe, but Willis is even worse). We're pretty confident Andre Watson will be good enough to be a starter, he's actually the better pass blocker than Theisen, but if we want or need the running game to be any good, Theisen run blocking skills should be an improvement.

We've been looking at a new game plan, now that we have Reuben Bidwell as our new offensive coordinator. Safe to say, he's a pass oriented guy. Quite simply, there's no possibility to go with just plays that work best in a spread offense, because it's a pass oriented system. We'll have to work out 50 something running plays that would work in other systems, but can still be effective in Bidwell's approach to football. Quite the challenge, it appears. Looking at our roster, I'd find it a waste of talent if we don't get our fullback and tight end (or two) on the field specifically to help the running game. Signing a guy like Theisen would help as well. And in that, we'll have to be careful in not making things too obvious, making a couple of plays where we run out of a passing formation and throw out of a running formation. You know the drill.

Anyway, the drawing board is getting used quite a bit to figure out what we can do with our offensive game plan. It's a challenge. And we'll get to something that could work on paper, no worries.
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Old 04-13-2020, 03:05 PM   #244
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: TC 2089, mixed bag...
Fletcher, Yay. Bell, uh-oh?

Training camp, oh training camp. The time of year where young players make their big leaps forward in their ability to play ball. And for the staff an additional opportunity to make reports on how good they think the young guys are. But y'all are not interested in all 61 players that went into camp. Yes, we managed to sign an additional player and actually not some random hobo. But more on that later. Let's break down the roster by position group.


quarterbacks
45/45 Sheldon (no change)
30/35 Farley (+3/0)
10/50 Bell (+2/+2)
15/15 KH Muchnik (no change)
This is probably the group where optimism isn't in place. Bell made some progress, but nothing that will make us scream: Yes, he's our guy! It doesn't mean we won't give him pre-season action to show he was first round material. Farley's camp was clearly better than Bell's. This isn't a done deal yet on who will do what.

Backfield
55/55 RB Patter (+3/+3)
40/40 FB Brosseau (no change)
40/40 RB Szporluk (+2/+2)
35/35 RB/PR Thongchanh (no change)
30/30 RB Gunja (+2/0)
25/25 RB Ford (+2/+2)
15/45 FB Kinney (+3/-5)
The plan is to put Brosseau on the field more often on running plays. Thong' remains to be the fastest guy, but Patter hasn't just caught up, it's about to make more sense to make Patter the main ball carrier. Neither has the endurance to be a workhorse though. Ford is a special teamer, Kinney is a question mark to make the 53-men roster. Gunja will be released after camp, we had to trim down to 60.

Receivers
75/75 WR Bondy (no change)
45/45 WR Hammond (no change)
40/40 WR Sandlin (+1/+1)
30/50 WR Wilkerson (+3/-2)
35/40 WR/KR Messenger (+2/0)
25/40 TE Blake (+3/0)
30/30 TE Holliday (+2/-5)
30/30 TE Crawford (+1/-1)
25/30 WR/KR Arntt (+1/0)
20/25 WR Gelat (+1/0)
20/20 TE Kotz (no change)
Hammond who? Yeah, we signed somebody just in time for camp to have a legitimate WR2 (no offense, Branden Sandlin). Hammond was the Gothenburg Giants' leading receiver, curiously he was still looking for a team. The tight ends lack the skills to do well in our passing game, Holliday maybe, Crawford perhaps. Blake is a blocker, potentially.

Offensive Line
75/75 C Pearson (no change)
70/70 G Szott (no change)
70/70 RT Humphrey (no change)
65/65 LT Hadinger (no change)
55/55 G Theisen (no change)
40/55 G Watson (+4/0)
40/40 C Labbe (+6/0)
40/40 LT Hamilton (+5/0)
30/35 G Willis (+4/0)
Theisen or Watson, that's the question. The rest of the line should be as is. Labbe once again with great progress, the other guys also made good progress. And one of them will not make the 53-men roster, that's for sure.

Punter/Kicker/Long Snapper
55/55 P Guynes (no change)
55/55 K Wells (+5/0)
20/20 LS Biegen (no change)
We got special teamers. Shocker! They're all better than average, but nothing spectacular.

Defensive Line
60/60 DE Kondovski (no change)
60/60 DT Mojica (no change)
55/65 DT Fletcher (+7/-1)
45/45 DE Exner (no change)
45/45 DT Burgess (no change)
40/40 DE Russell (no change)
35/35 DT Ritt (no change)
30/30 DE Whiting (no change)
25/30 DT Ackerman (+2/0)
20/25 DE Gellar (+2/0)
We've got to like this group. The two second-year guys (Ackerman and Gellar) might be post pre-season casualties, but for now, they're hanging on. Burgess will probably be an inactive mentor for Fletcher.

Linebackers
65/65 Espino (no change)
50/50 Iveans (+4/-2)
45/45 Jackson (no change)
30/40 Mendelssohn (+5/0)
30/40 Wentz (+4/-1)
25/35 Peterson (+2/0)
20/25 Palmer (+3/0)
Espino, then Iveans, then Jackson. That's the hierarchy. Wentz might be a useful WLB. Possibly more so than passing downs specialist Jackson. Mendelssohn made so much progress, but is still a longshot to make the 53-men roster. Peterson or Palmer, that's the battle for a special teams role.

Secondary
70/70 CB Hitchcock (no change)
50/50 S Marty (no change)
40/40 CB McNeil (+4/+2)
30/45 CB Provo (+4/-2)
35/35 S Sword (+3/+2)
30/40 CB Frias (+4/0)
30/35 S Harper (+4/0)
30/30 S Newsome (no change)
30/30 CB/PR Blackwell (no change)
20/25 S Blanchard (+2/0)
Yeah, Hitchcock and a bunch of sidekicks. The safeties are all zone defenders, except for Marty, he'll be our running downs strong safety. Frias is a running downs corner, we'll need to rotate these guys a bit due to endurance issues.


But yeah, what does it matter? We'll see what these guys are worth when the first pre-season game is in the books. Bell will get the first team to play around with, we'll save the development sessions for the second couple of games.


Back to the wide receiver situation, we signed Ronnie Hammond. After four seasons in Toronto and six in Gothenburg, he's up to a new challenge and home. We figured he can still play ball and gave him a two-year deal. He played in two IHOF Bowls with the Giants, won in his first season there, lost last season. Also reached the AOC Championship game in his first season in Toronto. We need a second legitimate wide receiver to be able to make defense play a honest defense against us.

We actually tried to sign one more wide receiver and a new third offensive tackle, but those attempts failed. left tackle Manuel Stevenson signed with the Kansas Creationists, wide receiver Dale Snyder prefers to remain a free agent. Nobody will give you what we offered, but hey, your loss, Dale.

Time to move on, or continue with that. New game plan for a new beginning. C'mon, Merchantmen. We can do this.
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Last edited by MIJB#19 : 04-15-2020 at 02:16 PM. Reason: little fixes
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Old 04-15-2020, 11:37 AM   #245
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Time to stop trusting this OC?
Remember how we got a new Offensive Coordinator? He's got his strengths, but making player reports that make sense, it isn't one of them.

At least, that's what my first observation is. He's made new reports on all the players and he's telling vastly different things than right after training camp. Most notably, he told me Butch Pearson and Howard Humphrey aren't the players they used to be. Still very good, but not the world class elite they used to be. Of course, Pearson will turn 32 during the upcoming season. More shocking is his new report on Brandon Bell:
Code:
sc ps X++++_____ 10/50 sh ps +_________ 0/5 md ps X+++______ 10/45 lg ps X++_______ 10/35 dp ps X+++______ 10/40 3d ps XX+_______ 25/25 accur X++++_____ 10/55 timin XXXX+_____ 35/50 s rsh XXXXXXX___ 70 rd df X++_______ 10/35 2m of X++________ 10/35 scr f XXXXXX____ 65 kck h XXXXXXXXXX 95

Our OC is currently putting Francisco Farley ahead of Brandon Bell in potential. How about that. For one thing, Bell's kick holding ability seems to be decent enough to make one move y'all probably didn't expect: the farewell of Karsten Muchnick.

Together with Muchnick, six other players have been told that their stint in Maassluis will be over before our third pre-season game. This applies to second year pro's DE Terrence Geller, G Nathan Willis, WR Keegan Gelat and LB Jace Peterson as well as recent draft picks CB Andres Provo and FB Mel Kinney.

Wait, Mel Kinney? The best blocking fullback the IHOF had ever seen? Uhm, yeah, just to understand:
Code:
rn bl XX________ 15/25 ps bl XX+++_____ 15/50 bl st XXX_______ 25 pw in XXX_______ 25 3d rn +_________ 5 hol r XX________ 15 blitz XX++++++__ 20/75 av dr +_________ 5/10 rt rn +_________ 5/10 3d ct +_________ 0/5 endur XXX+++____ 35/55 sp tm XX+_______ 20/30

The others are, like Muchnick, casualties in the numbers game. We have no room for 10 defensive linemen (Geller), 7 linebackers (Peterson), 10 defensive backs (Provo), 7 wide receivers (Gelat) and 9 offensive linemen (Willis). Most notable guys to do make the roster: QB Farley and QB Bell, RB Szporluk and RB Ford, the tight ends, WR Wilkerson, C Labbe (so great in camp, but also got terrible grades after the latest re-scouting), LT Hamilton, DT Ackerman and DT Burgess (mentor!), LB Wentz and LB Palmer.

Any reason for optimism? The first pre-season game was a 44-3 crushing defeat of the Fairbanks Northstars with 395 vs 108 total yards. We did lose 21-13 in Chicago in the second pre-season game, losing the yardage totals 303-242. Brandon Bell played pretty well, actually.

Let's stay positive, we've got a good offense and quality defenders. At least, that's what I think we have. Let's ignore that coordinator's assessment for a while...
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Old 04-15-2020, 02:15 PM   #246
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Pre-season report
Volatility, can be a bitch. Or our scouting sucks.

This is where we stand midway through the pre-season.

quarterbacks
40/40 Sheldon (-3/-3)
30/40 Farley (0/+2)
10/35 Bell (+2/-13)
10/10 Muchnick (-5/-5)
decision: Muchnick out, Bell kick holder.
question: Bell or Sheldon as starter?

Backfield
50/55 RB Patter (-4/+2)
40/40 FB Brosseau (+1/+1)
30/35 RB Szporluk (-10/-5)
35/35 RB/PR Thongchanh (+1/+1)
25/25 RB Ford (-3/-3)
15/30 FB Kinney (-1/-17)
decision: Kinney out, Patter/Thong' will split carries.
question: Can we work Szporluk into plan as short yardage back?

Receivers
75/75 WR Bondy (+3/+3)
45/45 WR Hammond (+1/+1)
40/40 WR Sandlin (-1/-1)
35/40 WR/KR Messenger (no change)
30/40 WR Wilkerson (-2/-11)
25/35 TE Blake (+2/-2)
30/30 TE Crawford (+1/+1)
30/30 TE Holliday (no change)
25/30 WR/KR Arntt (no change)
20/25 WR Gelat (-1/0)
15/15 TE Kotz (-3/-3)
decision: Gelat out.
question: how to utilize all the run blocking tight ends and still be 3WR heavy on passing downs, without making it too obvious foor opponents?

Offensive Line
70/70 G Szott (no change)
65/65 C Pearson (-7/-7)
65/65 LT Hadinger (no change)
65/65 RT Humphrey (-6/-6)
50/50 G Theisen (-7/-7)
40/55 G Watson (no change)
25/30 C Labbe (-12/-13)
30/35 LT Hamilton (-9/-6)
30/35 G Willis (-1/-1)
decision: Willis out
question: Theisen or Watson as our right guard, leaning towards Watson.

Punter/Kicker/Long Snapper
55/55 P Guynes (no change)
55/55 K Wells (no change)
20/20 LS Biegen (no change)
nothing to add here.

Defensive Line
60/60 DE Kondovski (+1/+1)
60/60 DT Mojica (no change)
55/65 DT Fletcher (-1/-2)
45/45 DT Burgess (no change)
45/45 DE Exner (-2/-2)
40/40 DE Russell (-1/-1)
35/35 DT Ritt (+1/+1)
30/30 DE Whiting (-1/-1)
25/30 DT Ackerman (no change)
20/25 DE Gellar (+1/+1)
decision: Gellar out.
question: are these guys really as good as their pass rush speed suggests?

Linebackers
55/55 Espino (-10/-10)
45/45 Jackson (no change)
40/40 Iveans (-9/-9)
35/40 Mendelssohn (+1/-1)
30/40 Wentz (0/-3)
30/30 Peterson (+2/-2)
20/25 Palmer (no change)
decision: Peterson out.
question: we went from good duo/trio to pretty fragile, is this unit even Merchantmen worthy?

Secondary
70/70 CB Hitchcock (-1/-1)
45/45 S Marty (-4/-4)
40/40 CB McNeil (-1/-1)
30/45 CB Frias (+1/+1)
35/35 S Sword (no change)
35/35 S Harper (+2/+1)
30/40 CB Provo (-1/-8)
30/30 S Newsome (-1/-1)
30/30 CB/PR Blackwell (no change)
15/25 S Blanchard (-1/-1)
decision: Provo out.

Not sure what to add here for now. Re-evaluation had depressing results. Not something we're used to. But we'll hold tight en keep hope on things going to be better than last season. Because, well, last season was almost rock bottom, at least for the Merchantmen.
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Old 04-16-2020, 06:20 PM   #247
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Lock 'em up!
It's that time of season: pre selecting the 2090 roster.

Alright, we haven't even started the 2089 season, but it's in good Merchantmen tradition to try to lock up as many players of the potential 53-men roster as possible for the next off-season. As such, the likes of FB Clay Brosseau, TE Tyler Kotz, LT Myron Hamilton, DE Archie Exner, CB/PR Clarence Blackwell and LS Timothy Biegen got extensions. Most are now signed through the 2091 season, Kotz signed only a 2-year deal (he's our fourth best TE, might not even play a down this upcoming season), Exner got locked up for 4 seasons for $40M over that timespan. Some of them might be easy targets as free agents, but I'd rather have them signed and lose some cap space by cutting than losing out on a slightly better replacement and losing the guy that is familiar with the team facilities.

That leaves one player not yet signed for next season: DE Gene Kondovski. He's a little bit undersized, but this guy feels like the kind of defensive end we love to put on the field. Excellent pass rush technique, very good run defense and play diagnosis and at least some pass rush strength. The new Daquan Strugielski? Probably not, but with the support cast around him, he can excel. Or we'll just rotate between him, Exner, Andy Russel and Tony Whiting, which is what we did last season. Kondovski's meager 3.0 sacks was the lowest of this quartet. He's in the last year of his third round rookie contract, looking for a (for his skill set) reasonable $48.7M over 3 years. We have the cap space (or close to), so we'll go and make him an offer that will be lower on this year's salary, much higher on the bonus money, clearly higher overall and just enough to stay exactly under the cap.

Extending Kondovski will also put us over the cap next season, but only by $19M or so, which is (aside from this off-season), a very safe zone for the Merchantmen. Without retirements, it would put us at 52 players signed, 1 restricted free agent (LB Wentz) and 10 draft picks to work with due to the additional 1st, 2nd and 5th round picks from the Hanalei Dragons. Who seem to be reloaded pretty quickly, having signed veteran QB Alvin Engelberger as a free agent (my staff sees him as the 5th best quarterback in the game). This might end up being a low 1st rounder, as is per usual for the Dragons, usually. Why didn't we go for Engelberger? He's signed for a hefty $35M salary and a $40M bonus each of this and next season.

Is that 53-men roster set in stone after re-signing Kondovski? Never say never. We have a couple of players that are still options to cap out their contract if needed. I'd rather not to, because now is the perfect example of a season where we want to spent ever $10K of cap space to have more room to renegotiate with the locked up players next off-season.

Another decision I made was to activate Francisco Farley for the last two pre-season games. He'll be splitting the playing time with Brandon Bell there. We don't have to see anymore from Moe Sheldon, we know he's a .500 land quality quarterback, with this offense should be good enough to push us back into the division title race.

We're going to not tweak too much with the game plan of the first two games. The pass/run split has been as close as 50/50 as it can get. FB Brosseau was on the field on just over half of the running plays and about a third of passing plays, that's progress from recent seasons. On a lower level, our run blocking tight ends Blake and Crawford have been on the field occasionally on running plays and a handful of passing plays. The carries split for running backs is a complete clusterfuck in pre-season, backup Szproluk saw the most activity in the first game. Patter and Thong' had promising ypc figures, almost exclusively playing from behind our projected starters on the offensive line (with G Thiesen getting the nod here, G Watson will play in the second couple of games).

And with that, it's on to those second two pre-season games. First one at the Colorado Cutthroats and next up at home against the Arizona Miners. The latter will be visiting without Ellis McAlister, he didn't get a new contract there. In fact, McAlister is sitting a top the free agents pile. Together with Tre Lynn, the Gothenburg Giants starter for the last 13 season, including their winning IHOF Bowl run in the 2083 season and being their starter in the lost bowl game last season. Both are good enough to start for a third of the league's teams, on paper. We're one of them. But most of them have a young guy with the potential to be better than them. Or so they hope, both the player and the team. Had we not re-signed Sheldon, either Lynn or McAlister would be a suitable alternative.

Oh yeah, those last two pre-season games. We'll have to see what happens there. And then it's on to opening day against the Gothenburg Giants, in Oranje Haven. It'll be interesting to see which quarterback they will bring in as their starter. And many other new faces, that's for sure.
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Old 04-17-2020, 08:04 AM   #248
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen 2089 Pre-Season Recap
The Maassluis Merchantmen have finished their pre-season action with a 2-2 record. It ends a three-season streak of losing pre-seasons. Let's look over what the Merchantmen did in those games (and limited sample size).

W2: 44-3 win, 395-108 total yd, +3 turnovers (6-3)
W3: 13-21 loss, 242-303 total yd, equal turnovers (1-1)
W4: 9-33 loss, 237-411 total yd, -1 turnovers (1-2)
W5: 24-19 win, 326-336 total yd, +1 turnovers (2-1)


Passing:
W2: Bell 22/42 for 196 yd, 2 td, 0 int
W2: Sheldon 0/1 for 0 yd, 0 td, 1 int
W3: Bell 8/10 for 58 yd, 1 td, 0 int
W3: Sheldon 8/20 for 38 yd, 0 td, 0 int
W4: Farley 4/6 for 26 yd, 0 td, 1 int
W4: Bell 15/25 for 105 yd, 0 td, 0 int
W5: Farley 18/21 for 211 yd, 2 td, 0 int
TOTAL:
Bell 45/77 for 309 yd (4.01 ypa), 3 td, 0 int
Farley 22/27 for 237 yd (8.77 ypa), 2 td, 1 int
Sheldon 8/21 for 38 yd (1.80 ypa), 0 td, 1 int

Bell's performance was acceptable, Farley's play was encouraging, aside form the interception. Sheldon was unable to get anything going.


Rushing:
Thong' 63 for 275 yd (4.36 ypc), 0 td
Patter 29 for 168 yd (5.79 ypc), 2 td
Szporluk 20 for 43 yd (2.15 ypc), 1 td
QB Bell 7 for 44 yd (6.28 ypc)
QB Farley 8 for 32 yd (4.00 ypc)
QB Sheldon 4 for 23 yd (5.75 ypc)

Patter really pushes Thong' here for being the main ball carrier. Szporluk got very little going as the 'passing downs hb'. THe quarterbacks all showed some flashes of their scrambling skills.


Receiving:
Bondy 20/45 for 218 yd, 2 td
Hammond 18/30 for 188 yd
Sandlin 19/24 for 70 yd
TE Holliday 6/7 for 60 yd, 2 td
TE Crawford 5/6 for 52 yd, 1 td
TE Blake 2/2 for 20 yd
FB Brosseau 2/2 for 14 yd
RB Szpurlok 0/4 for 0 yd
RB Thong' 0/1 for 0 yd

Bondy still struggles, but when he makes the catch, it will be a good play. Hammond is in the same camp. Sandlin was used mostly for short throws. The rest are just there to keep the opponents from (correctly) focusing on the wide receivers.


Pass defense:
CB Hitchcock 3 int, 5 pd
CB Blackwell 1 int, 2 pd
S Marty 1 int, 1 pd (63 yd td)
S Newsome, CB McNeil 1 int each
LB Espino 3 pd
DE Russell, S Sword 2 pd each
LB Jackson, CB Frias, S Harper, LB Iveans, DT Mojica 1 pd each

Nothing surprising here. Hitchcock is the man. The other starters showed their face. CB Frias perhaps with the most underwhelming numbers.


Sacks and stuff:
DT Mojica 3.0 sk, 3 hur, 0 blk
DE Whiting 3.0 sk, 2 hur, 0 blk
DT Ritt 2.5 sk, 0 hur, 0 blk
DE Russell 2.0 sk, 2 hur, 0 blk
DE Exner 1.5 sk, 1 hur, 0 blk
DE Kondovski 1.0 sk, 6 hur, 0 blk
LB Jackson 1.0 sk, 1 hur, 0 blk
DT Fletcher 0.0 sk, 2 hur, 1 blk
LB Espino 0.0 sk, 1 hur, 1 blk
DT Ackerman 0.0 sk, 1 hur, 0 blk
CB Blackwell 0.0 sk, 1 hur, 0 blk

Nobody really stood out, which is to be expected from this talented bunch. 14 sacks in 4 games is probably what you can expect or at least want from this crowd.


Blocking:
LT Hadinger 4/9 run, 1 sk
LT Hamilton 1/13 run, 3 sk
LG Szott 8/17 run, 0 sk (1x pancake)
C Pearson 5/14 run, 0 sk
C Labbe 3/5 run, 0 sk
RG Theisen 4/14 run, 0 sk
RG Watson 2/4 run, 0 sk
RT Humphrey 10/29 run, 0 sk (4x pancake)
FB Brosseau 0/5 run
TE Crawford 1/1 run (1x pancake)
TE Holliday 0/1 run

Hard to judge without down and distance numbers. The starters played well. Watson and Theisen hard to compare due to Watson's activity being much less than planned.


Scoring:
5x pass td
3 x run td
1x interception return td (63)
9x field goal (1x 49, 1x 47)

Scoring allowed:
5x pass td
1x run td
2x punt return td (74, 62)
6x field goal (1x 52, 1x 46)
1x safety

On both ends roughly a 50/50 between touchdowns and field goals. Couple of punt returns resulted in the somewhat inflated 33-9 score. Pick six was in the 44-3 blowout.

All in all, really hard to make any judgement call on what makes and doesn't make sense for the Merchantmen in terms of the leading decisions to make. Well, decisions, there's basically one, that's not just a question mark, but also has an exclamation mark behind it: who will be the starting quarterback? The Merchantmen published their depth chart with Brandon Bell starting, Moe Sheldon the backup and Francisco Farley inactive. But how accurate and honest is that? We'll have to wait and see what happens in week 1 against the Gothenburg Giants in what could be considered already a crucial game. If the Merchantmen are for real, they'll have to do well in their home games inside the division to have a shot at the division title.
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Old 04-17-2020, 05:01 PM   #249
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: A new beginning?

On my left shines a glass with my favorite soda, as I've learned to call this. On my right a bowl loaded with grapes. In times like these, fruit and vegetables are the things to stay healthy. She taught me with firm confidence. In a way, she's been my new muse, unknowingly inspiring me to grab a laptop and write down what's going on in Maassluis, in particular with the Merchantmen. Now, being forced to stay at home is one way to re-evaluate what you've been doing for so long and whether it all still makes sense to keep dreaming or whether it's time to start all over.

Let's face it, that 2088 season was a disaster. Football in the IHOF has changed, drastically. Defenses have somewhat caught up, a guy like Theodore Bondy can no longer on his own gain 2,000 yards. You know it! It can't have come as a surprise that we've signed a new wide receiver off the street, one that has recently been involved with a successful team: "Sharlie". No offense to the previous general manager that has been behind his nickname, to us he'll be Ronnie Hammond. In the shadows of these two 30-something proven 1,000-yard receivers, we have the third-year sixth round pick Branden Sandlin. 35 catches for 670 yards last season as our emergency WR2 and as a result his agent already thinks he's worth $10M a season. I mean, the salary cap is closing in with $500M, but it's still a lot of cash.

But three wide receivers sounds like a much better plan than one and a half, like Bondy and Sandlin were going into that disastrous last season. It's not like we didn't adapt early to the new playing styles, we ranked third in most running plays on offense and next to last in pass attempts. The teams around us in both figures participated in the IHOF Bowl, our philosophy was more than ready. But obviously there's more to it. Our running backs Francisco Patter and Reggie Thong' each laid down a 3.9 yards per carry average, behind a loaded offensive line. I'm willing to blame our game plan.

Thus entered our new offensive coordinator Reuben Bidwell. The fanbase loves our loyalty to our personnel, Bidwell is the replacement of Neal Murack, after 18 seasons of service. For Bidwell's sake, it's good that Murack retired, otherwise he'd have a lot of people to convince. And I'm one of them, because, frankly, I trusted him in the decision making to go for Brandon Bell as our backup plan after failing to get the top pick for Alvin Henson. Underrated, well, I'm not yet convinced. In return, when Murack in his third season with us said sixth round pick Ellis McAlister would be our new franchise quarterback, not previous first round pick Robbie Howe (the guy we drafted the off-season before Murack was assigned). I raised an eyebrows, or two, but trusted him. Or both, however you've read that, I kept faith in Murack's opinion on McAlister. In essence, Bidwell's faith is now tied with a kid named Bell.

Brandon Bell isn't in an easy spot here. He's got last season's starter Moe Sheldon to compete with, as well as last season's opening day starter Francisco Farley. Quarterback isn't an easy position in football, when the management and staff have faith, you can make mistakes. But Farley will probably remember how last season went, we were unforgiving towards his first three starts in the IHOF. And now a rookie, taken with the #13 overall pick, might be in that exact same position. "Might" indeed, in all honestly, the unusual confidence that I have felt since somewhere between the 2084 and 2085 season, it has crumbled down. Or the completely not knowing of what would come in the 2078 season, when new unprecedented things started. Now, I'm second guessing my next move, play it cool or go on a firm all or nothing offensive?

It's ironic how everyday life decisions carry over to your profession and other parts of what comes and goes around. Bell, Sheldon, or back to Farley? I think I know what Sheldon can give us: pretty much the same as last season, but with an additional wide receiver and on a game plan that might be improved from last season's. But the game plan's effectiveness is a mystery, too many unfamiliarity. There's little time left to twist thumbs and second guess here. Cutting ties with Karsten Muchnick was probably something no Merchantmen saw coming, which paves the way for Brandon Bell to stick around at minimum as an active kick holder. But will we go with the new kid as our man of the offense? We've seen him play in pre-season with the starters, it was encouraging.

Farley would be too much of a Cinderella story. Heartbroken by how the 2086 season ended, he got here and it would be too good to be true, perhaps. We knew in 2087 it would be the last call on McAlister, Farley was already the glimpse of hope. But it didn't work. Or we just didn't try hard enough, after all, we gave up on him after just 3 games. Moe Sheldon gave us .500 ball, albeit the wounds from earlier that 2088 season were to deep to heal it all. Bringing Farley back shows there's still some hope left. Sheldon was underwhelming in pre-season. Our safest bet for the short term, but for long term effects, a choice between Farley and Bell might be better, knowing that it has higher risks. I hope there's upside here, but as promising as both have looked in pre-season, the sample size can make things look so promising, we have no guarantees it was the real magic at work.

At the end of the day, the weekend if you will, I'll have to make a decision and it makes sense to stick with it, no matter what (bar unforeseen circumstances). Either way, Bell or Farley, from a helicopter view looking, neither seems to give us much hope to playing winning football in 2089. Unless the one we choose works well with the game plan, let him hand of and let Patter and Thong' run it all day long.

Only problem is, I know I can live with another season of Sheldon, it sure wasn't easy, but it was kind of bearable...
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Old 04-20-2020, 02:19 PM   #250
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Bell leads Merchantmen to solid season start
Brandon Bell began with a big bang, the Maassluis Merchantmen beat the reigning conference champions Gothenburg Giants 28-14 in Oranje Haven. Bell earned his first game MVP honors in a solid showing. Especially the connection with another off-season acquisition, Ronnie Hammond worked surprisingly well. The 2089 season has started well for the Merchantmen.

For days it was the biggest question in and around Oranje Haven: who would be the starting quarterback for the Merchantmen? Fans were split on the issue. Some felt Moe Sheldon deserved the credits after an acceptable 2088 campaign. Other felt the first round pick Brandon Bell should be thrown out there, regardless of what happened in pre-season. And then there were the fans that saw a near perfect Francisco Farley in the last pre-season game almost single-handedly beat the Arizona Miners. Merchantmen management released their depth chart two days before game day. It turned out it wasn't a diversion tactic, but the actual lineup: Bell the opening day starter.

Brandon Bell steps in the footsteps of big names. Five times before Bell, a rookie was the opening day starter. In 2004 through 2006, three different names got their moments of fame. 2004 starter Calvin Snider's spotlight lasted one game, 2005 rookie Leonard Lyon's a full season. Louie Flannery got the nod in 2006 and was the first one to become a franchise quarterback, The first Merchantmen quarterback to get elected into the IHOF's Solecismic Hall of Fame. In 2020 and 2045 number one overall picks "Rusty" Harrison and Bryson Chow got the confidence of Merchantmen management and both responded with a Hall of Fame career as well. Their careers pretty much followed up. Merchantmen fans got spoiled with self-grown quarterbacks, albeit without that big win.

And then it was a different story. Quarterbacks came and went. 9 quarterbacks were drafted in between, in 2071 Robbie Howe was the #19 overall pick, but he was unable to unseat IHOF Bowl winner Alfred Hickman. Howe was the only first round pick between Chow and now. Howe's stint in Maassluis lasted 4 seasons, only the final one as a starter. Now, in 2089, 44 seasons after Chow, there's finally a new rookie quarterback that received the confidence from management.

But one thing turned out to be very different. Snider, Lyon, Flannery, Harrison and Chow, all had to live with losing their first start for the Merchantmen. But Brandon Bell showed no mercy with the Gothenburg Giants defense. Bell used his arm, his legs and his head. The Merchantmen offense put a solid game of football on the grass, but Bell was the quarterback the Merchantmen fans had been hoping for to see. Yes, Ellis McAlister got them deep into the playoffs, but after last season's disaster, the spoiled fans want more than just a 9-7 record.

Superlatives were too little. Bell completed 24 of 32 passes for 262 yards and a touchdown, while running 5 times for 24 yards with several crucial first downs. Especially under pressure, Bell excelled and kept connecting with primarily Ronnie Hammond for first downs. By the time the third quarter was about to end, the Merchantmen had a 28-7 lead, with a missed field goal on both ends.

Sure, the Merchantmen defense was quite okay, holding the Giants under 300 total yards. Especially starting quarterback Kenny Reese was pounded out of the game. On the first drive of the third quarter, Reese was sacked on third and five, getting thrown on his back for the third time and subsequently got pulled from the game. Fourth round rookie Mercury Pierce played admirably well in relief, but it was far from sufficient to orchestrate a comeback.

Merchantmen management i optimistic about the result, but also realistic and trying to temper the expectations for the near future. "Rebuilding" isn't part of their vocabular, but it's way too early to think this will be the great revival. A good, strong start after such a disappointing season.

In the mean time, the 37-year old quarterbacks Ellis McAlister and Tre Lynn had to watch this game on television, both still being a free agent after a long off-season without any phone calls for a new opportunity. After 19 consecutive clashes against each other in this division rivalry, which ended last season with McAlister's departure, today both franchises hope to have seen their new longterm starters in action in their respective encouraging debuts.
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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 : 04-20-2020 at 02:21 PM. Reason: cuz I had to ;)
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