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Old 11-14-2020, 10:59 AM   #401
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen complete 2094 draft with RB Cote, CB Cosby
The Maassluis Merchantmen have finished their 2094 draft with seventh round picks Philip Cote and Keegan Cosby. Cote is a 22 years old running back out of Kentucky. The Merchantmen see him as a do it all, with special teams experience, potentially a backup kickoff returner, a back that can protect the quarterback against blitzes and with decent speed and hole recognition. Cosby is 21 years old cornerback from Wake Forest. He's primarily a top prospect in a kickoff return role, but is said to have enough experience in a zone defense role to jump in as a nickel or dime back, if need be.
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* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 11-14-2020, 04:55 PM   #402
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen sign kicker McMullen
Accoladed kicker Dylan McMullen continues his IHOF career with the Maassluis Merchantmen. The 34-year old three time All IHOF first team selection agreed to a 3-year contract worth $52 million. Widely considered the most talented kicker in the league, McMullen is mostly known for missing two field goals and an extra point in the 2084 IHOF Bowl, which the Williamsburg Colonials still won 20-17. After his rookie contract expired, with two All-IHOF first team selections on his resume, McMullen moved to the Paris Musketeers in 2087 on a 3-year $46M contract. In 2089 McMullen and the Musketeers agreed a new 5-year deal, but in that final season of that deal he was released in pre-season. The Fairbanks Northstars offered McMullen a one-year contract for the 2093 season. And now in 2094, McMullen returns to the European division, with the Merchantmen.
__________________
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* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 11-15-2020, 03:35 PM   #403
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: undrafted rookies day!
We got 10 new players out of the post draft free agents pool.

Linebacker Les Flowers was the only non-rookie. We signed the 29-year old to a two-year deal. Flowers is a pass rush specialist, should fit well on the D-Line, if he actually had the framework to play there. Which he doesn't have. We'll evaluate the situation after training camp.

Quarterback Herb Benson could be our new kick holder, quarterback Marshall Ellard could be lightning in a bottle and a potential backup passer, fullback Owen Johnston can play special teams, as can tight ends James Finley and Norman Blades, wide receiver Sergio Bishop, linebackers Andrew Cochrane and Kirk Barber, and last but not least defensive end Reggie Bundy.

Will these undrafted rookies make the final 53-men roster? Most of them won't even make the pre-season roster, but that's something the decide on after training camp.
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* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 11-17-2020, 01:21 PM   #404
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Training Camp 2094!
Some good news, some dreadful news.

Okay, let's start with a roster breakdown, post camp, as I haven't made a list of our team yet. We're out of camp with 68 signed, 8 players won't make the pre-season roster, obviously. As per usual, I'll round the scouted 0-100 scale grades to the nearest 5's. Training camp 'results' are the actual numbers.

Quarterbacks
35/35 (no ch.) Moe Sheldon
20/50 (+5/+1) Earnest Ashley (R)
15/35 (+2/-1) Marshall Ellard (R)
15/30 (+2/nc) Jon Giles (KH)
15/25 (+2/nc) Lorenzo Emerson
05/25 (+1/-2) Herb Bensen (R) (KH)
Ashley's progress is very promising. Lack of progress for the other youngsters reason to be underwhelmed about them.
cut: Ellard, Emerson
bubble: Giles or Bensen

Running backs
45/45 (+2/nc) Trey Beyer
45/45 (no ch.) Francisco Patter
40/40 (no ch.) Reggie Thongchanh
35/35 (no ch.) FB Clay Brosseau
25/35 (+3/-1) FB Owen Johnston (R)
25/25 (no ch.) Darien Bettencourt
20/25 (+1/-2) Philip Cote (R)
Beyer is comin' Patter and Thong' have to look over their shoulders. Johnston is promising, but special teams skills only can give him a chance.
cut: Cote
bubble: Johnston or Bettencourt

Tight Ends
55/55 (no ch.) Clay Gaynor
50/50 (no ch.) Clarence Gore
25/30 (+3/nc) Ike Nixon
20/30 (+2/nc) James Finley (R)
20/25 (+2/-2) Norman Blades (R)
20/20 (no ch.) Renaldo Crawford
Not much going on here. Gaynor and Gore are the guys, Crawford our run blocker.
cut: Finley
bubble: Nixon or Blades

Wide Receivers
55/70 (no ch.) Ed Schulz
60/60 (no ch.) Theodore Bondy
45/50 (+4/nc) Rickey Lyle (KR)
45/45 (no ch.) George Stuckey
40/40 (no ch.) Branden Sandlin
30/30 (no ch.) Santiago Messenger (KR)
20/35 (+2/-1) Sergio Bishop (R)
25/25 (+2/nc) Mark Perkins (PR)
Wait, what? Indeed, Schulz saw no progress at all. That's one of the most worrying things I've seen in years. This kid is supposed to be the next WR1.
cut: Bishop
bubble: maybe Sandlin, maybe Perkins

Offensive Linemen
65/75 (+7/nc) C Robbie Zinn
60/60 (no ch.) RT Howard Humphrey
60/60 (no ch.) G Michael Szott
40/70 (+7/-1) LT Isaac Delgado (R)
30/55 (+6/-2) LT Johnnie Houston (R)
45/45 (+2/+1) G Hayden Gaylor
40/40 (no ch.) G Andre Watson
30/35 (+4/nc) C Lewis Azzolini
25/30 (no ch.) LT Byron Irvin
Rookies Delgado and Houston both look good. One of them will be our LT, Houston appears to have made the swap with no problem, the other might be our OL6 or might push Watson out of the lineup.
cut: Irvin
bubble: nobody

Defensive Linemen
65/65 (no ch.) DT Darien Fletcher
55/55 (no ch.) DT Jumbo Mojica
50/50 (no ch.) DE Gene Kondovski
45/45 (no ch.) DE Archie Exner
35/45 (+5/nc) DT Caleb Domis
35/45 (+5/-11) DT Harold Gough (R)
35/35 (no ch.) DE Trent Donovan
30/30 (no ch.) DT Kurt Ackerman
30/30 (no ch.) DE Tony Whiting
15/25 (+4/-2) DE Reggie Bundy (R)
Gough is enigmatic. Progress is a good sign, regression a horrible sign. More after pre-season. The rest of the unit is the same as last season.
cut: Bundy
bubble: Gough, Domis or Donovan

Linebackers
70/70 (no ch.) Brandon Brady
50/50 (no ch.) Daquan Espino
45/45 (no ch.) Clayton Jackson
30/35 (+6/-3) Andrew Cochrane (R)
30/30 (no ch.) Jose Meadows
20/40 (+2/-4) Kirk Barber (R)
30/30 (no ch.) Les Flowers (new)
30/30 (no ch.) Brant Rayburn
10/10 (no ch.) Alec Palmer
The Brady bunch? Flowers is a pass rusher, but I doubt he'll stick around as a LB playing at DE. A lot of guys are purely special teamers, they will play there ahead of Brady or Espino.
cut: Barber
bubble: Cochrane, Meadows and Flowers

Secondary
65/65 (no ch.) S Devon Farrell
50/50 (no ch.) CB Jackie Richardson
40/45 (+2/-1) CB Zachery Weisz (R)
40/40 (no ch.) CB Adam Harmon
40/40 (no ch.) S Chuck Murray
35/35 (no ch.) S Jon Bozeman
30/35 (+3/nc) CB Britt Hudson
25/35 (+2/-3) CB Bryson Swafford (R)
25/35 (+4/nc) S Gabriel Cromer
20/35 (+1/-4) CB Keegan Cosby (R) (KR)
Swafford is very disappointing, but he'll hang around for at least 2 seasons and 3 training camps, promise. Ditto on Weisz, who does ready to jump in as a nickel or dime already.
bubble: Cosby, Cromer

Punter
85/85 (+4/-2) Doug James
Best in business

Kicker
80/80 (no ch.) Dylan McMullen
Second best in business

Long snapper
20/20 (no ch.) Bryce Karney
Third best in business

So yeah, Ashley is good news, Schulz was disturbing, Gough puzzling, Swafford disappointing. The tackles Delgado and Houston are both considered to be underrated (my staff had them both as 'as scouted').

More on this in two days, when everything we saw now, might be completely different.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 11-17-2020, 03:04 PM   #405
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: some player profiles, 2094 pre-pre-season

Our quarterback of the past and of the future. Ashley looks promising, but not a world beater. One of those things nearly impossible to see is that he seems to have a keen eye for avoiding interceptions, just like Sheldon used to have.
Code:
vet QB Moe Sheldon vs. rookie QB Earnest Ashley sc ps XXXXX_____ 50 . . sc ps X++_______ 10/25 sh ps XXX_______ 35 . . sh ps XX++______ 15/45 md ps __________ _5 . . md ps XXX++++___ 25/75 lg ps XXXX______ 40 . . lg ps +_________ _5/10 dp ps XX________ 20 . . dp ps X+++______ 10/40 3d ps XXXX______ 35 . . 3d ps XXXX+_____ 45/55 accur __________ _0 . . accur X++_______ 10/30 timin XXXXX_____ 50 . . timin XXXX+_____ 40/50 s rsh XX________ 15 . . s rsh XXXXXX____ 60 rd df XXXX______ 35 . . rd df X++_______ 10/35 2m of XXXXXX____ 60 . . 2m of XX+++++___ 25/65 scr f XXXX______ 40 . . scr f XXX_______ 30 kck h XX________ 15 . . kck h __________ _0

Our tight end duo. Gore is the route runner with the big play ability, Gaynor the third down guy with courage and speed. Both can pass block, neither is exceptional in run blocking. Nothing new here, but just to reiterate why they could be, but necessarily will be a key factor in our passing game.
Code:
2090 1.17 TE Gaynor vs. 2091 5.23 TE Gore rn bl XXXXX_____ 50 . . rn bl XXX_______ 30 ps bl XXXXXXXX__ 80 . . ps bl XXXXXXX___ 65 bl sl XXXX______ 35 . . bl sl XXXXXXX___ 70 av dr XX________ 20 . . av dr __________ _5 gt dw XXXXXX____ 55 . . gt dw X_________ 10 route XXXXXX____ 55 . . route XXXXXXXX__ 80 3d ct XXXXXXXX__ 85 . . 3d ct XXXX______ 35 bg pl XXXX______ 40 . . bg pl XXXXXXXX__ 80 coura XXXXXX____ 60 . . coura __________ _0 ad bl XXXXX_____ 50 . . ad bl XXXXXXXXXX 95 endur XXXXXXXX__ 75 . . endur XXXXXX____ 60 sp tm XXXXXXXX__ 75 . . sp tm XXX_______ 30

And then our top three wide receivers. Bondy the future Hall of Famer, Schulz the future WR1 to be and then there's Stuckey who can distract the opposing secondary with ability to get open and draw double coverage with it. Pass happy football teams should love a trio like this, no?
Code:
Legendary Theo Bondy vs 5th yr George Stuckey vs the future Ed Schulz av dr XXXX______ 40 . . av dr XXX_______ 30 . . av dr XXX++_____ 30/50 gt dw XXXXXX____ 60 . . gt dw XXXXXX____ 60 . . gt dw XXXXXXX+__ 70/85 route XXXXXX____ 65 . . route XXXXXXX___ 70 . . route XXXXX+++__ 45/80 3d ct XXXXXX____ 55 . . 3d ct XXX_______ 30 . . 3d ct XXXXX+____ 55/60 bg pl XXXXXXX___ 70 . . bg pl XXX_______ 25 . . bg pl XXXXXXXXX_ 90 coura XXXXXXX___ 70 . . coura XXXXXXXXXX 95 . . coura XXXXXXXXX+ 85/99 ad bl XXXXXXXXX_ 90 . . ad bl XXXX______ 45 . . ad bl XXX++_____ 25/50 pnt r __________ _0 . . pnt r __________ _0 . . pnt r __________ _0 kck r __________ _0 . . kck r __________ _0 . . kck r __________ _0 endur XXXXXXXX__ 75 . . endur XXXXXXX___ 70 . . endur XXXXXXXX+_ 80/90 sp tm XXXXXXXXXX 98 . . sp tm XXXXX_____ 50 . . sp tm XXXXX+____ 50/60
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 11-19-2020, 02:27 PM   #406
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: the day everything can change...
It came, 2094 brought little noteworthiness.

Okay, we're two games into the four game pre-season. We crushed the Hanalei Dragons 42-7, then get crushed 34-7 at the Kansas Creationists. But that's not what the general managers in the IHOF are worried about. We don't mind if we see our kick holder get player of the game honors after he tossed 1 touchdown pass on 16 attempts. We don't feel pride when a top-notch receiver is held to 6 catches for 45 yards. We're not worried when our future face of the franchise completes 7 of 11 passes when the plan was to have him throw the ball 30 times, or see that kid run for 15 and 10 yards. No, as soon as these games are played, we rush to our staff members and ask them one simple question: give me a new scouting report!

The crucial part is to have made notes on what the 60 or so players on roster were evaluated at right after training camp. And that we did in Maassluis as well. So, what's the verdict? We'll once again go by the 0-100 scale of the staff members, round down to the nearest 5's to keep some guesswork for the other teams alive and make no secret about the changes.

Quarterbacks
20/50 (+1/+1) Earnest Ashley (R)
30/30 (-4/-4) Moe Sheldon
15/30 (nc/+1) Jon Giles (KH)
05/25 (nc/-1) Herb Bensen (R) (KH)
Whew, Ashley held ground. That's good news. Sheldon will be the mentor. Giles the kick holder.
cut: Bensen

Running backs
45/45 (+1/-2) Trey Beyer
45/45 (-1/-1) Francisco Patter
35/35 (-5/-5) Reggie Thongchanh
35/35 (-4/-4) FB Clay Brosseau
25/35 (-2/-1) FB Owen Johnston (R)
20/20 (-1/-1) Darien Bettencourt
Okay, is this the year we'll promote Beyer into Thong' role? If so, Thong' will still stick as a special teamer, together with Johnston.
cut: Bettencourt

Tight Ends
55/55 (no ch.) Clay Gaynor
50/50 (no ch.) Clarence Gore
20/30 (-1/-1) Ike Nixon
20/25 (nc/-2) Norman Blades (R)
20/20 (-4/-4) Renaldo Crawford
Nothing new here, it's all about finding ways to get the ball thrown to the guys with the initials C.G.. I'm undecided about Nixon and Blades, knowing the last two pre-season games will do exactly nothing to the decision making process.
cut: Blades

Wide Receivers
55/70 (nc/-2) Ed Schulz
55/55 (-4/-4) Theodore Bondy
45/45 (+1/+1) George Stuckey
40/40 (-6/-7) Rickey Lyle (KR)
40/40 (+1/+1) Branden Sandlin
20/20 (-8/-8) Santiago Messenger (KR)
25/25 (-3/-3) Mark Perkins (PR)
Not one but two guys regressed. And I'm not talking about Theo here, he's still WR2 material behind Schulz. And in pre-season Bondy already showed a connection with Ashley, so: yay? Lyle's regression makes him expendable, well, close to. Messenger's drop is more problematic, he went from a great kickoff returner to a very good one. Perkins continues to grow, is he top3 in the league now? Sandlin will make the team, way to go! So, after pre-season it's a decision about 5, 6 or 7 wide outs, with Lyle and Messenger at risk.
bubble: Lyle or Messenger

Offensive Linemen
70/75 (+2/+1) C Robbie Zinn
60/60 (-4/-4) RT Howard Humphrey
40/75 (-1/+1) LT Isaac Delgado (R)
50/50 (-11/-11) G Michael Szott
30/60 (+1/+2) LT Johnnie Houston (R)
45/45 (-2/-2) G Hayden Gaylor
40/40 (no ch.) G Andre Watson
20/25 (-10/-12) C Lewis Azzolini
Azzolini dropped hard. It's time to shop for a new backup center. The rest? Szott is getting older, but is still useful. The real questions are: Houston or Delgado at left tackle? The 'loser' plays at guard or Watson will?
bubble: Azzolini (if we find a replacement)

Defensive Linemen
60/60 (-7/-7) DT Darien Fletcher
55/55 (-3/-3) DT Jumbo Mojica
50/50 (no ch.) DE Gene Kondovski
45/45 (-4/-4) DE Archie Exner
35/45 (-3/+4) DT Harold Gough (R)
30/40 (-2/-4) DT Caleb Domis
30/30 (-1/-1) DE Trent Donovan
30/30 (-3/-3) DT Kurt Ackerman
25/25 (-4/-4) DE Tony Whiting
These guys all continue to look good and now that enigmatic Gough guy becomes even more puzzling. I really have no idea where we go here, will we keep 9 guys for the second straight season?
bubble: Gough, Domis or Donovan

Linebackers
75/75 (+2/+2) Brandon Brady
45/45 (-6/-6) Daquan Espino
45/45 (-3/-3) Clayton Jackson
35/35 (+6/+6) Jose Meadows
30/35 (nc/+1) Andrew Cochrane (R)
25/25 (-5/-5) Brant Rayburn
20/20 (-12/-12) Les Flowers (new)
10/10 (-2/-2) Alec Palmer
The verdict on Flowers is out: out. He looked nice, but is worse than all the nine d-linemen. That still leaves us with too many linebackers than we could use. It's a decision for the top3 (Brady, Jackson, Espino) and behind them 2 or 3 special teamers. Meadows looks safe, the staff says he's so good, he can't even be ranked amongst his peers in the league.
bubble: Palmer
cut: Cochrane and Flowers

Secondary
65/65 (no ch.) S Devon Farrell
45/45 (-7/-7) CB Jackie Richardson
40/45 (no ch.) CB Zachery Weisz (R)
40/40 (-1/-1) CB Adam Harmon
35/35 (-3/-3) S Chuck Murray
30/30 (-4/-4) S Jon Bozeman
35/35 (+1/-1) CB Britt Hudson
35/55 (+9/+19) CB Bryson Swafford (R)
25/35 (-1/-1) S Gabriel Cromer
20/25 (nc/-7) CB Keegan Cosby (R) (KR)
It's tricky yo judge rookies so early, but Cosby looks like he's on the way out. Cromer can become a useful backup, one that can jump into action if injuries force us to activate him. Swafford may look like a hidden gem that wasn't to be discovered, but he was very underrated by my staff's assesments. Richardson is declining, but should still be the starter ahead of the rest. Farrell is still Farrell.
bubble: Cosby, Cromer

Punter
90/90 (+2/+2) Doug James
Best in business

Kicker
75/75 (-2/-2) Dylan McMullen
Second best in business

Long snapper
20/20 (no ch.) Bryce Karney
Third best in business


That's where we stand now. We'll be 5 players lighter in the last two pre-season games. And after those, 2 more to let go. And not to forget: renegotiate with upcoming free agents. We've got about $26M of cap space to work with and at least one key player to talk with: Devon Farrell. (Actually, I should have talked with him now, but sometimes you make all the instructions that need to be made and afterwards remind yourself you forgot something. New chance tomorrow.)
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 11-19-2020, 06:42 PM   #407
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: the rare times you can reverse things...
If only in real life...

The nice thing about cumulating orders and sending them in a way that it can be reversed and re-done, it can do wonders every now or then. Such is the case here, as I decided to revert two decision that I made earlier. Let's take a look at them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MIJB#19 View Post
General Manager Notes: the day everything can change...Linebackers
75/75 (+2/+2) Brandon Brady
45/45 (-6/-6) Daquan Espino
45/45 (-3/-3) Clayton Jackson
35/35 (+6/+6) Jose Meadows
30/35 (nc/+1) Andrew Cochrane (R)
25/25 (-5/-5) Brant Rayburn
20/20 (-12/-12) Les Flowers (new)
10/10 (-2/-2) Alec Palmer
The verdict on Flowers is out: out. He looked nice, but is worse than all the nine d-linemen. That still leaves us with too many linebackers than we could use. It's a decision for the top3 (Brady, Jackson, Espino) and behind them 2 or 3 special teamers. Meadows looks safe, the staff says he's so good, he can't even be ranked amongst his peers in the league.
bubble: Palmer
cut: Cochrane and Flowers
Andrew Cochrane, buddy, I've changed my mind. At least for another day or two, you'll be part of the team and we'll actually throw you out there to see some action! Why? Well, I looked at the training camp results and Cochrane was the 3rd most improved player. In my experience, that's a sign for good things to come, which makes it a waste to throw him away just already. We'll determine at a later moment whether Cochrane, Palmer or Rayburn won't make the final 53 men roster, but for the last two pre-season games, we'll stick at 56.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MIJB#19 View Post
General Manager Notes: the day everything can change...
That's where we stand now. We'll be 5 players lighter in the last two pre-season games. And after those, 2 more to let go. And not to forget: renegotiate with upcoming free agents. We've got about $26M of cap space to work with and at least one key player to talk with: Devon Farrell. (Actually, I should have talked with him now, but sometimes you make all the instructions that need to be made and afterwards remind yourself you forgot something. New chance tomorrow.)
And here's an even bigger no-brainer, this is a time to lock up potential free agents, so do it! This season we're getting one attempt less to extend contracts after pre-season 2, so we have to make them count. So, aside from Devon Farrell, everybody with an expiring contract will get a contract offered that will make them more expensive this season, but should keep them from running off as a free agent.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 11-19-2020, 07:18 PM   #408
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Speaking of updating...
What about those player profiles?

True. Let's do that quickly.

The quarterbacks
Sheldon declined a bit, Ashley held ground. This kid will play a lot this season and Sheldon will tell him what to do. We're going to commit to this kid, it seems unlikely that I'll change my mind in favor of the sack magnet that Sheldon has become.
Code:
vet QB Moe Sheldon vs. rookie QB Earnest Ashley sc ps XXXX______ 45 . . sc ps X+++______ 10/35 sh ps XXX_______ 35 . . sh ps XX++++____ 20/55 md ps __________ _0 . . md ps XXX+++++__ 25/75 lg ps XXX_______ 35 . . lg ps +_________ _5/10 dp ps XX________ 20 . . dp ps X+++______ 10/35 3d ps XXX_______ 30 . . 3d ps XXXX+_____ 45/55 accur __________ _0 . . accur X+++______ 10/40 timin XXXX______ 40 . . timin XXXX+_____ 35/50 s rsh X_________ 10 . . s rsh XXXXXX____ 60 rd df XXX_______ 30 . . rd df X++_______ 10/30 2m of XXXXXX____ 55 . . 2m of XXX+++++__ 25/75 scr f XXX_______ 30 . . scr f XXX_______ 25 kck h XX________ 15 . . kck h __________ _0

The tight ends
Very little has changed here. Both have been slightly gone up and done here or there, but nothing noteworthy. Factoring them into the passing game, I've said it quite a bit now, that'll be a challenge, but probably worth our while. At least I've upped our multiple TE formation in our play book last training camp.
Code:
2090 1.17 TE Gaynor vs. 2091 5.23 TE Gore rn bl XXXXX_____ 50 . . rn bl XXX_______ 25 ps bl XXXXXXXX__ 80 . . ps bl XXXXXXX___ 65 bl sl XXXX______ 40 . . bl sl XXXXXXX___ 70 av dr XX________ 20 . . av dr __________ _5 gt dw XXXXXX____ 55 . . gt dw X_________ 10 route XXXXXX____ 55 . . route XXXXXXXX__ 80 3d ct XXXXXXXX__ 85 . . 3d ct XXXX______ 40 bg pl XXXX______ 40 . . bg pl XXXXXXXX__ 80 coura XXXXXX____ 65 . . coura __________ _0 ad bl XXXXX_____ 50 . . ad bl XXXXXXXXXX 99 endur XXXXXXXX__ 75 . . endur XXXXXX____ 65 sp tm XXXXXXXX__ 75 . . sp tm XXX_______ 35

The main wide receivers
The guys that have to make the big catches, providing the tight ends won't do it already. Theo returns and although losing a bit more of his route running and endurance, he's still an above average WR2. Schulz should continue to improve into the top 10 WR we hope he is. And Stuckey would be a WR2 on most other teams, aside maybe a handful that also have good looking threesome like we do.
Code:
Legendary Theo Bondy vs 5th yr George Stuckey vs the future Ed Schulz av dr XXXX______ 40 . . av dr XXXX______ 35 . . av dr XXX+______ 25/45 gt dw XXXXXX____ 55 . . gt dw XXXXXXX___ 65 . . gt dw XXXXXXX+__ 75/80 route XXXXX_____ 55 . . route XXXXXXX___ 70 . . route XXXX++++__ 45/80 3d ct XXXXX_____ 45 . . 3d ct XXX_______ 30 . . 3d ct XXXXX+____ 50/65 bg pl XXXXXXX___ 70 . . bg pl XXX_______ 25 . . bg pl XXXXXXXXX_ 90 coura XXXXXXX___ 65 . . coura XXXXXXXXXX 99 . . coura XXXXXXXX++ 80/95 ad bl XXXXXXXXX_ 90 . . ad bl XXXX______ 40 . . ad bl XXX++_____ 25/45 pnt r __________ _0 . . pnt r __________ _0 . . pnt r __________ _0 kck r __________ _0 . . kck r __________ _0 . . kck r __________ _0 endur XXXXXXX___ 65 . . endur XXXXXXXX__ 75 . . endur XXXXXXX++_ 75/85 sp tm XXXXXXXXXX 98 . . sp tm XXXXX_____ 45 . . sp tm XXXXX+____ 50/55

So, yeah, I hope we have a passing game this upcoming season. Ashley over Sheldon will hurt our cohesion, as will the move from Hadinger to a rookie at LT (Delgado or Houston), but I think we'll manage. Ashley being a rookie might steer us into starting just one rookie LT and not both guys, but that's something to save for opening day. Just like the decision on who to give the ball to. We have three RB2 guys and Thong' and Patter have been both hot and cold over the years. Beyer is in his 4th season on team, that can't hurt, can it?
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 11-20-2020, 12:30 PM   #409
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Bring on the regular season!
Yes, it's time.

We finished the pre-season with a 2-2 record, winning the final home game 40-3 over the Fairbanks Northstars and losing 34-9 at the Arizona Miners. Ernest Ashley finished it with a 9/12 for 86 yards and a 13/23 for 161 yards with 1 interception. Yes, these last two games the young guns played as much as my staff thought they should play (they're always, always, always pulling the rookies that need that time to play and keep the veterans that need the time off to not get tired on the field; why would we want our backup guard and center to play at offensive tackle when they are much better suited to play their own position!?).

Our running game was dramatic, IHOF unworthy in Arizona, while it was pedestrian against Fairbanks. So much for letting our staff handle the game planning, I suppose? Moe Sheldon took the cake for cheesiest performance, completing 2 of 3 passes for 1 yard.

More important was the contract extension for no less than 16 players. The most important one, Devon Farrell, had to be rejected due to lack of cap room. Say what now? Apparently I miscalculated by about $5M and now we don't have the cap room to make him even a half decent offer. So, one of those 16 will walk away with a new signing bonus and not see the 3 additional seasons on contract come true: defensive end Trenton Donovan will be sacrificed to salvage Farrell. A stupid mistake, completely unnecessary. At the same time, one D-Lineman had to be cut anyway, 8 is plenty enough and Donovan was the worst pass rusher last season anyway. It does mean the enigmatic rookie Harold Gough will make the team.

The other two cuts have also been finalized. Kickoff returner Santiago Messenger won't make the team. For whatever reason, he showed up out of shape after pre-season game 2 and went from an elite kickoff returner to a very good one. We have Rickey Lyle to step into that role now, with rookie Keegan Cosby getting a chance to prove he's the right guy for the backup role. Veteran special teams linebacker Alec Palmer was also released. Second-year Jose Meadows will be moved to WLB to keep the number of OLB players on roster at 3. It might come back to bite us in our special teams' cohesion...

Speaking of cohesion, apparently we're once again sky high at the top of the league in that area. Players on roster are roughly 1 1/2 years longer on team than the median in the league, or somewhere along that line. With Palmer cut, 19 players have been us since the '80s. Only Chesapeake and Oakland are in the same realm, while Kansas is nearby, the rest of the league has a much fresher roster. It does show that we're in good company, they were the top3 in the NAC last season, with Chesapeake winning the bowl game, eventually.

Now, what to expect of the upcoming 2094 season? My guess is just as good as yours, we're switching to a rookie quarterback, with a second-year wide receiver and a rookie left tackle. That reeks of beginner mistakes, with lots of ups and downs. The defense has lost Kirk Hitchcock, it's all up to an over the hill Jackie Richardson, Devon Farrell and the emerging zone defenders Harmon, Brotzman and rookie Weisz to save the day. Brandon Brady is clearly the leader of this gang, despite that Farrell might think he's main figure.

Is the 53 men list final? Never say never...
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Old 11-21-2020, 07:14 AM   #410
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen cut Messenger, Donovan, Palmer
Today the Maassluis Merchantmen released wide receiver Santiago Messenger, defensive end Trent Donovan and linebacker Alec Palmer. Contrary to earlier releases in pre-season, all three had been with the time much longer and last season each had their specific roles on the team. The moves opened the door for the Merchantmen to agree terms with All IHOF safety Devon Farrell on a contract extension through the 2098 season.

30-year old Santiago Messenger is listed as a wide receiver, but his last reception was in 2091. Instead, Messenger was the Merchantmen's kickoff returner for six straight seasons. He was discovered as an undrafted rookie in 2088 and until he showed up from practice out of shape in the middle of pre-season, the team decided to move on and hand the duties to fourth year former second round pick Rickey Lyle and rookie Keegan Cosby.

30-year old Alec Palmer is listed as an outside linebacker, but in reality wasn't used on defense. Palmer was the Merchantmen's gunner for the past 5 seasons. He was picked up in 2088 as an undrafted rookie and saw some action that rookie season due to injuries of other linebackers. In his second season he was promoted to the gunner role.

26-year old Trent Donovan leaves the Merchantmen for the second time in his career. In 2091 the linebacker was signed as an undrafted rookie and moved to defensive end, but failed to make the opening day 53-men roster. Late in the season, he was signed again, making him a restricted free agent for the 2092 off-season. The Merchantmen signed him to a two-year deal, but Donovan spent the entire 2092 season inactive behind the 4 returning defensive ends. In 2093 his contract was extended with another year and that season was was put into the rotation after retirement of Andy Russell. This off-season Donovan got his payday, getting a contract fitting with his rol: $30M over 4 years. But a cap mishap turned things around, bringing back Devon Farrell was more important and with the talented D-Line group, Donovan was the was logical sacrifice. Donovan walks away with a $4M signing bonus, but misses out on the $6.38M base salary for those four seasons.
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Old 11-24-2020, 01:19 PM   #411
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: welcome to the Ashley Era
Let's hope this will turn out to be an era, not jus a year...

Let's start with the bad news. And there's more bad news than just one little snippet. Let's go in this order: division standings, injuries report, quick recap of the first two games and then some further musing about the Merchantmen.

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

Yeah, we're not off to a great start, more on that later.

Our punter Doug James came out of the first game at the Paris Musketeers with a very serious knee injury. The verdict was horrible: out for a year, not just a season, but we should expect him to possibly not even be ready for action in week 3 of the 2095 season. We're now looking ahead to week3 of the 2094 season. To cover the gap, an old face returned home: Doug Guynes. The 32-year old, our 3rd round pick in 2085, was sitting in the free agent pool after a stint in Arizona last season.

Short term injuries might also have their effect. Reggie Thongchanh missed the week 2 game at home against the Hanalei Dragons. He'll be kept inactive in a new instalment of Futility Bowl, in Oranje Haven (where else), between two 0-2 teams. Thong' will be joined by Jackie Richardson. The veteran cornerback is out with a shoulder injury.

Center Lewis Azzolini was released just before opening day and replaced with veteran Aidan Doyle. Azzolini was a pain to watch in pre-season, he's just not that good anymore. Usually one would say that about an over the hill veteran, but this was an over the hill third-year pro. Doyle is 33 years old and most likely wals away as a disgruntled free agent next off-season, but we need some insurance on the line in case of injuries and he can mentor Robbie Zinn while doing that.

Okay, that's a lot of blabla, but what you're all really interested to hear and read about is how the rookie Earnest Ashley has done in his first two games as our starting quarterback? Let's start with the bad news first, again: 5 interceptions in 75 attempts. Yeah... In return, he did throw for 200+ yards in both games, twice found Theodore Bondy for a touchdown, so the chemistry with the all-time great is there. With Ed Schulz the connection is still developing (what would you expect with two green players?), 9 catches in 18 targets for 133 yards.

Is going back to Moe Sheldon an option at some point during the season? Well, quite simply, only injury could force us into that direction. Seriously, Sheldon has become too slow to be able to see the rush coming, he'd get sacked 4 times per game, in spite of, no, especially behind this young developing line. Which at the same time as a reason to give Ashley more credits and time to get used to playing in this game. Well kid, get ready for a sold out Oranje Haven that will be much less forgivable after a loss. The Dragons aren't a team to lose to, but the Lake Monsters are a team you're not allowed to lose to.

So yes, we lost the first two games: 14-10 in Paris and 23-13 at home against Hanalei. In both games we gained over 300 yards and in both games we allowed roughly 320 yards.

One thing that hasn't worked out as planed yet: throwing the ball more often. I constructed a new game plan, tried to throw plays in there that will be more favorable to our Smashmouth approach and find plays that won't play into the weaknesses of our skill position players. Well, we rank 14th in most rushing attempts and 16th in pass attempts. Sounds like our old school 50-50 approach no? Well, we ran the ball 51 times and threw it 76 times.

Our defense? Once again the bad news: the pass rush is unacceptably bad. These guys are scouted to be an elite unit in pass rushing, not just above average our some such, these guys should run havoc. Well, they're not doing that: they made 1 sack in 71 pass plays. Sample size or lack of something else?

Sample size should be at hand for almost everything, of course. Two games is so little. But we have only 16 games in a season (thankfully), one eighth already in the books and we've got to understand that since our 4-0 start last season we've been not just below .500.

Earnest Ashley has the keys, he's got the receivers, and we'll give him the time to grow. All three of the next games will be at home, all with a reasonable chance to win. But I'm willing to be patient with this kid. Not too much, I still want him to see 10 wins at the end of the season, or whatever number is required to make the post-season. Because we don't tank, we reload and keep on trying until we're officially eliminated, and then still keep on trying to win. Because that's how we roll, or sail, whichever makes more sense. Go Merchantmen!
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Old 11-25-2020, 01:05 PM   #412
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Ashley joins the win column
Futility Bowl is ours!

This game went well, no doubt. The Toronto Lake Monsters visited Oranje Haven and after shortly into the second quarter they already knew today wasn't going to be for them. In contrast with our rookie quarterback Earnest Ashley, he guided the Merchantmen to a 34-14 victory. Ashley completed 23 of 36 passes for 245 yards and 4 touchdowns, without turnovers. He spread the ball around well, Theo Bondy and Clay Gaynor each lead the team with just 6 catches, while speedy Ed Schulz gained the most ground with 86 yards on 3 catches. The tight ends Gaynor (twice) and Gore (once) made the catches in the end zone on the first three drives to get to the smooth 32-7 lead.

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

Yeah, despite today's win, this was one of two games that will be meaningless for the tie-breakers inside the division. It will be much more important if we somehow get into the wild card race, but that's too much to ask for at the moment, this was just the first win of the season after three attempts.

After all, we've played well, but this is just 1 win for now. It's far too early to get overly enthusiastic.

Next up a home game against the San Antonio Tidal Force. A matchup between two rookie quarterbacks, as San Antonio picked Johnathan Freeman #1 overall this past draft. Freeman is already tagged a bust, despite being so young and with plenty of potential still. They are the only two rookie quarterbacks with a starting role, Brooklyn's #8 overall Ramon Patterson is backing up Brooklyn's own Jekyll and Hyde, Ross Grinnell, while second round picks Evan Drake (Arizona) and Grayson Devine (Outer Banks) underwhelmed in pre-season and might already be written off by their respective team owners. With no emerging rookie running backs and wide receivers, they're currently the front runners in the offensive rookie of the year race, by lack of better other candidates.

Again, we're only in week 3. 13 regular season games still to come and hopefully 3 or 4 in the post-season. But the latter is nothing to start thinking about, we'll have to focus on the next home game first.
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Old 11-25-2020, 03:08 PM   #413
Kodos
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Beating my Lake Monsters is a minor accomplishment at the moment. We are terrible. I think I've severely mucked up our cohesion.
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Old 11-26-2020, 03:35 PM   #414
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Deja vu?
Haven't we been here before?

My memory wandered off, back to week 2 of the 2089 season. The Maassluis Merchantmen were visiting the Frederick Red Menace. The home team was proudly showing their rookie quarterback, Angel Henson, the #1 overall pick of that 2089 draft, coming off victory in his debut. In the (orange-white-and) blue corner, Brandon Bell was the rookie quarterback in charge, coming off a marvelous first career victory. The player of the game that day was the quarterback of the home team, despite throwing a pick six, but it was the Merchantmen that won, despite that the home team gained of 500 yards of offense.

Week 4 of the 2094 season, the Maassluis Merchantmen playing at home, hosting the San Antonio Tidal Force. In the yellow and black corner, the recent #1 overall pick Johnathan Freeman, confident after his first career victory last week. In the orange-white-and-blue corner, a fellow rookie quarterback, Earnest Ashley, coming of his first career victory as well. Today, the home team's quarterback earned the player of the game honors, despite throwing a pick six, as the Merchantmen won, gaining over 500 yards in the process.

Angel Henson is still in the league, quarterbacking the Frederick Red Menace and currently in the race for the offensive player of the game honors. Brandon Bell, the Merchantmen starter that day, he's already retired from football. Merchantmen fans will hope that Earnest Ashley will prove he isn't the next Bell. Today, he made a statement, overcoming an early long pick six, throwing for 276 yards and running for 67 yards. The latter to everybody's surprise, wasn't this kid supposed to be a pocket passer?

Johnathan Freeman had high hopes to be the rookie of the year candidate that every 1.1 pick believes he can be, but after a 1-3 start to his career, people will overlook the tough competition he had to face so far (we're the only opponent that isn't leading a division) and already wonder when this kid will ever deliver. But really, a couple of weeks before his 22nd birthday, can you expect much more from him?

Ashley is two and a half years older than Freeman and showed his maturity. On pace for 4,000 yards (wait, hold on, sample size, remember?) and hinting at that he might be for real. But Brandon Bell looked good in 13 games in his rookie season, 86.8 passer rating, 18 touchdowns vs 9 interceptions, 204 yards per game. Ashley has already thrown 6 interceptions in 4 games, a passer rating of 74.4 is mediocre in the IHOF of 2094.

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

It's still so early to draw any conclusions. I'm repeating this every time, but it holds up almost every other season. Even the reigning champions thought they were starting with 4 straight losses. Speaking of whom, it's almost impossible to deny that we've made notes from their game plan in recent seasons, kept our ears open and have tried to adopt throwing the ball to the tight end more often. Clay Gaynor is fourth amongst tight ends in most targets per game. Additionally, Ashley could be be described as a a bit of a younger version of Corwin Blanchett. Although I'm going to say that's much more coincidental than the ball tossing to the tight ends.

And now, after three straight home games, the teams stays home even longer, as we'll be having our way too early bye week once again and in week 6 will host the Atlanta Vipers. A team currently on pace to get the #1 overall draft pick, but not by their own record, by landing it through trade from the team they will face in week 13. We'll take a look at how things fare in the rest of the league next round of games and hope to see LT Houston and CB Richardson back in our starting lineups.
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Old 11-27-2020, 10:24 AM   #415
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Bye bye bye


Yup, it's our bye week. And tomorrow we'll pick it back up with our 5th regular season game of the season. We're all but one player back to healthy. We're still without Doug James, as will be the case throughout the season.
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Old 11-30-2020, 02:43 PM   #416
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Fee Fi Fo, Four in a Row
No, not losses, four victories.

Growing pains? Earnest Ashley had to endure two losses in the first two games, but our rookie quarterback as taking the IHOF by storm now. Today was a 37-23 victory at the Fort Wayne Fury, an not to be underestimated opponent starring the infamous quarterback Blaine "Broomcorn" Hawkins. Sure, Ashley struggled for a bit, but for him that's 243 passing yards and a running touchdown to open the score. From behind him, our duo Francisco Patter (106 yards, 2 scores) and Trey Beyer (98 yards, he's firmly ahead of Reggie Thong' now) shined. Although, for Patter the lion share came on a 85-yard run early in the fourth quarter, he was floating at 2 yards per carry the rest of the game. Thong' might return soon, but ahead of Patter...

The previous 37-21 victory at home was probably the league wide revelation as Ashley as he threw for 432 yards and 3 touchdowns and he got seriously snubbed for player of the week. No less than 4 missed kicks kept this from being a true blowout.

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

Indeed, Bordeaux - it's still early, mind you - is at the top with a very promising 5-1 record. We're currently projected to miss the playoffs even, as above Gothenburg there's the Orlando Talons and their 6-1 record that is only second to the Tucker Tigers' 6-0-1.

Still, we're in week 7, most teams have played just 6 games. I said it before, it's way too early to draw conclusions about where we are and can be. Let's make a screenshot that shows us at gaining over 400 yards on offense and giving up less than 300 yards, on a per game average. We had 4 seasons before of over 400 yards and 4 seasons below 300 yards allowed, none of those combined in the same season (we did gain 424 per game in 2059 and allowed 289 in 2060, but that doesn't count as a single season). So really, we might not see such a performance ever again, it might all be over after the next game already. Have I said sample size yet? No? There, you have it.

Next game? At home against the Paris Musketeers. Tight end Clay Gaynor is still out with a concussion, as still is our young punter Doug James, but otherwise we're very healthy. Which actually creates a dilemma on the offensive line, as rookie left tackle Johnnie Houston has sat out two of the last three games and veteran guard Andre Watson looked good while playing. Granted, with Watson back, all the other guys player their normal position, which may have helped, but Houston was on the line (no pun intended) in the second 500-yard game (yeah, we had back to back 500-yard games on offense, I'm not sure we done that before, actually). First world problems, no?

First world though? We're still only third in the division, on pace for being the seventh seeds (which means missing the playoffs). Paris has been struggling lately, but they're not a team we can beat easily. After all, we've lost in their place in week one. But I should feel confidence in that we can win this game, we're in good shape. Ashley is doing better than I could have hoped for. Yeah, sure, the jinx is on now, but he's doing basically all we can ask for from a rookie quarterback.
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Old 12-01-2020, 02:55 PM   #417
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Way to jinx it..
You invest so much and then this happens...

"1-10-PAR31 (4Q: 00:08) Dylan McMullen attempted a 48 yard field goal and missed wide to the left. A bad snap from center appeared to cause the miscue."

It was a little bit of a shootout, this game against the Paris Musketeers, at home, in our own Oranje Haven. But at the same time, it wasn't. We took the lead on the Ashley to Schulz special (similar to the Blazewicz special), went down 10-7, saw Rickey Lyle immediately turn the tide with a kickoff return touchdown and long before the first quarter was over, we had a firm 21-10 lead. By half time it was 31-19. Indeed, half time.

Early in the fourth we improved to a 38-26 lead, this game was in the pocket, right? Not quite, a short pick six (rookie mistakes, Earnest Ashley?) brought Paris back in striking distance, but it wasn't until Paris ran out of time outs, forcing us to punt with a minute to go. The special night wasn't over yet, Marshall Aleman returned it for Paris the full 84 yards into our end zone, the extra point made it 39-38 for Paris. A phenomenal third and 15 pass from Ashley to Theodore Bondy kept the chains moving, while Ashley himself ran for 16 yards on the next play to get within field goal range. We declined a holding penalty on that same play and with 8 seconds left, our expensive kicker, with top notch long snapper and holder just had to convert it. Aforementioned happened: wide left and the 39-38 score held up in Paris favor.

Quite the bummer, as you can imagine. Sure, Paris was in ball control in time and won the turnover battle, but we nearly over came those with efficient run and pass offenses. Ashley completed 17 of 34 passes for 274 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, ran 3 times for 52 yards and fumbled once. This kid doesn't like to scramble, but when he does, he makes things happen.

But, how much can we really expect here? Yes, I want, demand, our team to win 10 games, at minimum, every season. But the other day I glanced over our roster and then to the draft class we had. It's a good group of rookies, and almost everyone of them is on the field quite often. QB Earnest Ashley goes without saying by now, but the offense also features our duo LT Johnnie Houston and LT Isaac Delgado playing quite a bit at left tackle and left guard respectively. DT Harold Gough sees quite the action on our pass defense unit in a end rusher role, while CB Zachary Weisz and CB Bryson Swafford kind off split time. Kickoff returner CB Keegan Cosby hasn't played yet. Undrafted rookies FB Owen Johnston and LB Andrew Cochrane have joined the core of our special teams unit.

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

Yes, it's still tight. If, big if, we regroup and start a 9-game winning spree, we'll be division champions anyway. Point being, we still play Bordeaux and Gothenburg twice each. It's really still all in our own hands and feet.

One week at a time, that's today's reminder. Next up is a visit to Houston, a place where we've played quite a lot in recent seasons. Our last win there in 2091 snapped a 7-game losing streak in their place, with the previous last win before that in 2076.

Clay Gaynor will be back in action, that will give a boost to our passing game, reuniting our fabulous five of Theodore Bondy, Clay Gaynor, Clarence Gore, Ed Schulz and George Stuckey. Okay, let's not get overexcited here, it's a nice group, but "fabulous" is kind of a stretch for now. But giving all of them 5+ targets every game, that's part of the plan now: keep them guessing, not just whether we'll run or pass, but also where the ball will been thrown. There are no guarantees in football, but if we try and work hard, we can accomplish things. We lost two close games, then posted four strong victories, so bouncing back after today's unneeded loss will show how resilient we really are.
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Old 12-03-2020, 02:28 PM   #418
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Not one of those season...
Up, down, left, right, back to .500 land?

Frustration isn't the right word, because I'm trying to not get too worked up about this young and promising team. But the way things are going, I've seen this before: when we win, we win big, but when we lose, it was a choke job.

So, how about that Houston game? We went up 17-0 in the first half, saw Houston make it 17-7 just before the break, went into the 4th quarter leading 20-14, saw them kick the 20-17 shortly after the side switch and with a minute to go they kicked a game tying field goal. That after both kickers had already missed a kick in the fourth quarter. Then in overtime we crumbled and saw Mark Giles (yes, that Mark Giles, the guy we didn't want to give 10M per year and now sees us pay 17M per year to a much older and much less accurate kicker) kick the game winner: Houston 23, Maassluis 20. Better team lost, but that too is football. "Better" can be relative, of course. So it goes, it happens.

It brought us back to .500 land, but only for a short time. The home game against the Bordeaux Vineyards would be an even bigger test. And boy did they fail this test. Not the Merchantmen, we steamrolled to a 31-0 lead and went into halftime leading 34-3. Then, a couple minutes into the third quarter, the brain fart of the Bordeaux' offensive coordinator was there, pulling their star quarterback Walt Czech in the middle of their best drive of the game. We responded with an equally puzzling quarterback replacement about 7 minutes of game time later, also in the middle of a drive: kick holder Jon Giles was allowed to play out the snooze fest of a second half. Filed goals and a pick six yanked up the score: Maassluis 41, Bordeaux 9.

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

So, the first big test for us was a good result, but we haven't even reached midterm yet, that comes in our next game in Gothenburg. If you think we're playing well, well, so are the Giants. The one chance we might have is their run defense that will be basically the only "stat group" in this matchup that isn't top10 in the league right now.

It's also a matchup between the #5 ("Merc" Pierce) and #6 (Earnest Ashley) quarterbacks in the virtual offensive player of the year race. A race that's pretty much already settled: Tucker's QB Donovan Muth could get hurt now, miss the last 7 games of the season and could still win it. He's that much ahead of the field. But that's something we're really not going to worry about, we're going to want to go to Gothenburg, play a good game and hopefully pull the upset: Solecismic has us as 7-point underdogs, DogBytes as 9.5-point underdogs.

Temper expectations and work hard to beat the spread and then see where we can get.
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Old 12-04-2020, 02:37 PM   #419
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Earth to Merchantmen
Welcome back.

Flat on our collective faces. Goodness, were the Gothenburg Giants to impressive or did we play so terribly bad? For 2 and 1/3rd quarters, we got steamrolled, at which point we waived the white flag and the 42-10 score at that point rolled on into a 56-13 clobbering. A franchise record number of points allowed, while giving up 570 yards. So much for ending the season below 300 per game, huh?

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

Yeah, division title, better luck next season? Mathematically we're still in the race, with games against Gothenburg in week 15 and at Bordeaux in week 17, but can we really expect the Giants to lose lose 2 (3 if Bordeaux completely falls apart) more games than we do and Bordeaux at least one more. Even a wild card is far away, the field ahead of us is a triplet of 7-3 hopefuls. Anything to cheer us up after a beatdown like that?

Theodore Bondy had 2 catches on 7 target for 22 yards. I hadn't even tracked it, y'all know that individual accolades are a by product of overall success in Oranje Have, but apparently he became the 7th member of the 20K club in receiving yards. Yay, good for you, Theo! Moving up to 6th or even 5th in all-time receiving yards is still within reach for him this season, if he steps it up after his recent tenure of 4 straight below 50 yards. I'm fully expecting him to not be our leading receiver of this season when week 17 is in the books, Ed Schulz has basically a full game of yardage ahead of him, despite making 2 catches per game less. Still, let's not poop on Theo's impressive numbers, but that's for season's end to look back on.

Trey Beyer is perhaps the discovery of the season (ignoring that QB of ours for a second). Fourth year on team, first with a premier role. 640 yards on 104 carries for a 6.15 average. He was one of few showing good numbers in Gothenburg today. Which presumably means the O-Line held well as well.

So, kudos to the Gothenburg Giants management, players and staff for pulling of their sensational victory. We had our overwhelming fun against the Vineyards in the previous game, but that feeling that we were actually coming along well, well, we still are, but we're not quite the team that can do it week in, week out. One game at a time, back to that attitude. We'll be visiting the Oakland Black Panthers next game. They're leading the AOC West with an 8-2 record, ranking 3rd in least points allowed.

Player to watch there? Right tackle Douglas Grosz. Once the #9 overall pick, selected by the Maassluis Merchantmen and traded after the fact to Oakland. He's turning into a one-man offensive line. Last season he had 75 key run blocks, a sensational league record in the era of all passing offenses. The Panthers could be a mismatch for us, as they sports very similar cohesion, which makes it more about raw talent and, well, they trump us in a couple of positions, but I think we could hold up well. On paper that is. But this game isn't played on paper. Oakland runs the ball. A lot. I mean, a grand lot. Something to think about in our game plan...
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Old 12-05-2020, 12:22 PM   #420
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Rock bottom had not been reached yet
Not quite, at least.

The staff is, against me orders and desire, already giving up on Earnest Ashley. For the third game in a row he was pulled, for the second time in a game where we played so dreadful that aside from the most optimistic people, a comeback was impossible. But my staff clearly wasn't around when the Merchantmen once choking a 21-point lead at the Gothenburg Giants in the final 9 minutes of a game, old timers like me know better: "never say never". Or at least not before there's roughly 1 minute per 8 points remaining.

I was hoping to sit here today, pretending to grab my cigar (I don't smoke), smirk, proud of my team and tell them "I love it when a plan comes together". As you can imagine, "hoping to" means there's no reason to do so. offensively, our game plan was ready for the trash can three plays into the game as Ed Schulz walked off, team doctors immediately ruled him out for the rest of the game and he's very likely to sit out the remainder of the regular season. Which with how things are going now, would mean the entire season.

Wait, what about that plan not coming together part?

Oh yeah, I was going to construct a specific game plan to try to stop the Oakland running game. Well, we slowed them down, a little bit. They ran the ball 50 times (yes, I kid you not, 50 times) for 205 yards (slightly above their season average), which means a 4.1 average, which is below their 11-game average of 4.78. So, we made them slightly less effective. Yay for that?

Well, as to be expected, we were more vulnerable to their passing game, but as they run specific formations that they run out of, it shouldn't have mattered. Well, we saw their former 1.1 quarterback Marty Forland tear our pass defense apart: 21 of 25 passes completed for 273 yards. Goodness, are we that bad when we're down one starter on defense (free safety Jon Brotzman)? Forland is exceptionally talented, clearly, but this was his most productive game of the season. Last time he threw for more than that was in week 4 of the 2093 regular season.

Okay, looking back, I made a bit of a blunder, I forgot to think about a couple of specific situations that I considered to not focus on run stopping, but I did and we got punished several times on 3rd and long with a medium pass that turned into a big gain. I mean, when you stuff their running back on 1st and 2nd down, be prepared to see a pass on 3rd and 12 and don't have your defenders exposed into running a coverage they are dreadful in. It would have stopped them early on their 14-10 lead taking drive. It would also have stopped them early in the third quarter from gaining 43 yards on 3rd and 10 as we exposed ourselves. Albeit, with their talented quarterback and the receiver on that 43-yard play being the exceptionally talented wide receiver Winston Alexander, they might have made that play anyway. All that said, our run defense was actually sort of effective on first and second down, we lost this game on third downs, letting them convert to extend the drive and eventually they had the ball 2/3rd of the time in this game.

That ball control imbalance was also a result of our own abysmal play on offense, obviously, as we couldn't keep them from getting the ball back. Their defense pummeled our main ball carrier Trey Beyer into 14 yards on 9 carries and in total we ran the ball just 15 times, while Ashley threw the ball 23 times and Moe Sheldon (we activated him for today's game) threw the ball 10 times. yes, Ashley was bad, but Sheldon was horrible, downright no longer IHOF worthy, it's a serious mistake from our staff to pull our promising superior quarterback and throw either his mentor or our kick holder out there. Please, staff, stop doing that! (If only I knew how to make them come to their senses...)

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

Yeah, the Giants lost, that makes it even more of a missed opportunity on our end. But in reality, today's game was going to be a loss anyway, the way this game played out. Our season has been shanked in the home game against Paris and the road game in Houston, both games were obnoxious choke jobs. We should have been 7-4 and still in the mix with games remaining against both teams ahead of us.

With Ed Schulz out, we'll have to rely on the return of (very rusty due to lack of action) Brian Sandlin as our WR3, with George Stuckey stepping into Schulz' role and Theo Bondy remaining in the WR2 role that he's had all season, despite that he's making more catches than Schulz.

We might still bounce back, in our last five games we'll meat two 3-8 teams (not to be underestimated, one of them beat Gothenburg today) and our three rivals for the playoffs spots: Gothenburg, Bordeaux and Augusta. Beginning with that last team. They're coming off their own unexpected drubbing after a sensational big victory over fellow wild card hopeful Orlando. Augusta and Orlando are 7-4 now, so we'll still need quite the help to catch and pass them. Beating Augusta will be crucial though, losing at their place will be their next to last nail in the coffin. Mathematically we can't get eliminated yet, but practically we would be.

So, Merchantmen, regroup, bounce back. Losing at Gothenburg and Oakland was all within expectations at season's start. Forget about how big the losses were, think back of the overwhelmingly positive vibes that we got and showed in the wins against Bordeaux, Fort Wayne, Atlanta, San Antonio and Toronto. Heck, all of our wins were impressive. We can do this. Go Merchantmen!
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Old 12-08-2020, 01:58 PM   #421
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: It's not for this season
Did we really win 4 straight?

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

Yup, let's start with that, why not? Our season continued with a couple of 9-point losses: 19-10 at Augusta and 30-21 at Fairbanks. Both were bizarre games. In Augusta our rookie of the year candidate threw 6 interceptions. For a change he wasn't taken off the field. As a result, he threw the 6th pick when we were still within a single score, which implies our defense held the Greenjackets in check. The game in Fairbanks was enriched with 2 missed field goals and 2 missed extra points. Seriously, Dylan McMullen, did you really want to prove the Northstars right for letting you walk? Do you really not belong on what was supposed to become the best special teams unit in the league (which actually allowed another punt return touchdown)?

So, from 4-2 to 5-8. It feels better than going from 1-7 to 5-8, but it's still a depressing idea that we went from being top 10 in all team stats, to now have the second most turnovers and, well, season over, even mathematically. What's left is playing spoiler for Gothenburg and Bordeaux, starting in Oranje Haven against the Giants. Which is actually the good news of playing division rivals late in the season, it's easier to motivate ourselves. The tanking crowd would applaud losing those games, as it would actually be bad for their rivals' draft position.

But not in Maassluis. We'll keep on trying. We can still finish the season with a positive points differential (we're at a tied 314-314 score now) and with an 8-8 record. It's a long shot, but we have to try. No, not try. We have to go for it. Go for it!
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Last edited by MIJB#19 : 12-08-2020 at 02:07 PM. Reason: Spelling. nothing else.
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Old 12-09-2020, 01:28 PM   #422
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Cruising along
Bouncing back is more accurate though.

Wait, what, are you saying we beat the Giants? Yes, we did, we did beat the Giants.

First quarter, the tone was set. Three and out by our defense, Earnest Ashley to George Stuckey for 32 yards to start our first drive to set up a 48-yard field goal. back to back sacks stalled Gothenburg's second drive, Ashley responded with a typical chains moving drive, eventually ending with Trey Beyer's 23-yard touchdown run. Early in the second quarter, up 10-0, Chuck Murray made a momentum flipping interception just outside our end zone. Penalty on a punt play extended our drive but we had to punt later on anyway. Another sack on third down stopped the Giants, while our offense quickly went into their half with Ashley's 29-yard dart to Stuckey. Eventually Francisco Patter ran the ball in from 4 yards out. Darien Fletcher made Oranje Haven explode three plays later, after the defensive tackle signed for the second pick of the game deep inside Giants' turf. Ashley returned the favor with a pick of his own. Neither side gained much ground on their last drive of the first half, we went into the break leading 17-0.

Second half had barely started and we pulled of a bit of a hail mary with four receivers going deep, Stuckey made the 44-yard catch and two plays later Beyer ran it in for a 24-0 lead. Gothenburg's first drive of the second half was hijacked by a holding penalty. We responded with a silly 28-yard run on 3rd and 20 (say what now?) by Patter, eventually the key play to set up Patter's 8-yard touchdown run. At that point Gothenburg checked out, replaced Mercury Pierce and free agency signing Kai Silvanic took over. Three and out followed and our offense responded with another short gains drive to eventually kick a 24-yard field goal. Gothenburg was once again stuffed into punting and our lead was now 34-0 going into the fourth quarter.

Our offense was stalled, but as Gothenburg continued their last chance efforts to safe face, pick number three came on the box score as Devon Farrell jumped in. The Gothenburg defense stopped us quickly, but we returned the favor and on our next drive (with the offensive line in a bull-shit lineup; this ain't pre-season, staff!) we kept winning the field position battle. Then Gothenburg finally caught some fire, starting with a 16-yard run, then a 31-yard pass on third and long, a 14-yarder on 3rd and very long and a face saving touchdown right after the two-minute warning. We ran out the clock, punted one more time and that was that.

So, victory, strong running game, a so-so Ashley (completed 18 of 44 for 239 yards), good Stuckey, solid defense. And too little too late.

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

Bordeaux has qualified for the playoffs. How about that, congratulations! Gothenburg is pretty close as well. They can still miss out if Augusta catches up from 8-6 to 10-6 each. Solecismic playoff probabilities give Augusta a 2% chance to catch up with either Gothenburg or fellow 10-4 Orlando.

Our season will continue with our final home game of the season, we will host the 5-9 Colorado Cutthroats. Which will be our preparation for playing spoilers in Bordeaux in week 17. Ed Schulz has been cleared to play, he may or may not be back into the lineup...

One player will be missing in our lineup: linebacker Daquan Espino. Already upset over not being a starter, despite being a starter (he's just unlucky to face a lot of teams that field more than two wide receivers on their first play, if only these players understood these things), Espino apparently took some trips to Amsterdam despite team policy being strictly against it and, well, he's been admitted into a clinic to work on his addiction. His player agent has urged us to call it "tobacco withdrawal", so... He's going to be inactive for an undisclosed period of time. Maybe he'll be back in time to welcome back Doug James, recovered from his ACL knee surgery, somewhere in pre-season 2095?

Adam Harmon and Clayton Jackson won't sit those games out, despite that we have no idea when their hamstring issues will be resolved.

Yeah, it's really time for new turf, the players have been dropping like flies this season. Good to know that will arrive in time for pre-season 2097.
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Old 12-11-2020, 02:59 PM   #423
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Tic-tac-toe
We finish 2094 with three wins in a row!

So, what happened? Well, we played out the regular season with a 17-10 victory at home over the Colorado Cutthroats and a convincing 31-17 win in Bordeaux. A painful loss for the Vineyards: they fell from #2 to #6 seeds, even a tie would have saved that bye for them. Let's skip the game by game dissecting for a little bit.

Division standings:
1. Gothenburg 12-4
2. Bordeaux 12-4
3. Maassluis 8-8
4. Paris 6-10

AOC
1. Tucker 13-1-2 (yeah, imagine that, not 14-2, but 13-1-2, will we ever see this record again?)
2. Fort Wayne 12-4
3. Gothenburg 12-4
4. North Plainfield 6-10
5. Orlando 12-4
6. Bordeaux 12-4
7. Augusta 9-7
8. Maassluis 8-8
9. Houston 7-9
10. Atlanta 6-10
11. Paris 6-10
12. Rochester 5-10-1
13. Harlem 5-11
14. Snapfinger 3-13
15. Toronto 3-13
16. San Antonio 2-14

(And for those wondering, the NAC:
1. Texas 15-1
2. Oakland 12-4
3. Kansas 12-4
4. Chesapeake 12-4
5. Capital City 10-6
6. Williamsburg 9-7
7. Frederick 8-7-1
8. Brooklyn 8-8
9. Outer Banks 8-8
10. Moontown 7-9
11. Hanalei 7-9
12. Arizona 6-10
13. Iowa 5-9-2
14. Colorado 5-11
15. Fairbanks 4-12
16. Chicago 4-12


So, with that, our season has ended.

Earnest Ashley finished the season with 4,009 yards passing, 25 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. Was that good, was that bad? A little bit of both, actually. Last time we had a quarterback throwing for 4K was in 2086 Ellis McAlister, a season after his 30-touchdown figure. Last time we had our quarterback throw 27 or more interceptions? That was all the way back in 2068, Alfred Hickman then had 28 touchdowns and 27 interceptions, two seasons after he quarterbacked us to a bowl victory with 27 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. Let's call it a good sign of things yet to come. I've got to end on a positive note here.

Trey Beyer ended up as our leading rusher with 903 yards (5.47 per carry), despite getting 35 carries less than Francisco Patter, who ran for 682 yards (3.41 per carry). They ran for 8 and 6 touchdowns respectively. Reggie Thongchanh's stint as our RB1 ended this season, he was promoted from rotation guy to a full time special teamer. Our quarterback Ashley ran for 317 yards and 2 touchdowns with a 8.13 per carry averages. Yeah, our quarterback knows how to tote the ball.

The receiving end of things saw the season end without a 1,000-yard receiver for the first time since, well, let's look it up... 2073. Theodore Bondy had a career low 76 catches for 883 yards and 7 touchdowns. Bondy was targeted 24% of the time, a career low as well. But that was all by design, it was the plan to spread it around. Ed Schulz had 42 catches for 834 yards and 4 touchdowns, George Stuckey had 53 catches for 750 yards and 6 touchdowns, Clarence Gore 61 catches for 617 yards and 3 touchdowns, Clay Gaynor 46 catches for 498 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Other individual stuff to let the guys know they did better than so-so?

Mark Perkins lead the league with 912 punt return yards. This should be considered to be a team effort thing, as getting a chance to return a punt means the defense forced the opponent to punt and means the offense was deep enough in the opposing territory before that defensive stop to actually make the punt returnable. Which is basically general football statistical explanation, which might be more obvious than I made it seem. He returned that ball for 6th best 16.0 per return, scoring 1 touchdown and finishing the season with just 1 fumble on 59 touches (2 receptions on top of the 57 punt returns). Now that's reliable and responsible punt returning!

Our kicker Dylan McMullen was a disaster. Okay, that's a bit harsh, but this fresh guy had 9 missed field goals and 3 missed extra points. Not quite numbers to be proud about, but we gave him a fat contract, there's reason to be not so happy here. Too much pressure? Counting his money at night?
Our emergency signing punter Doug Guynes, returning back home because Doug James will be out for another week or 37.

The team pass rush was unacceptably bad. 4.4% of pass plays ended in a sack, 24% in a pass rush based negative play. The latter is kind of okay, being tied 8th in the league. Our pass defense percentage was 6th best, the run defense about average. I'm not going to single out any defensive players. Well, except for the monster linebacker Brandon Brady and the All-IHOF bound safety Devon Farrell. And maybe nickelback Adam Harmon and defensive tackle Darien Fletcher, also All-IHOF bound.

Let's move on to the offensive line, where the two rookies Isaac Delgado and Johnnie Houston didn't contribute much to the running game, but were kind of reliable in the pass protection. Center Robbie Zinn lead the team in key run blocks, while Howard Humphrey wasn't back to his all-star leven after missing half of last season. Guard Michael Szott was rock solid.

So, what's next? After the playoffs, we'll have the 2095 off-season. We'll go into that about $26M under the cap, providing no retirements make the situation better or worse. We'll have an additional 4th round pick that will be the 9th pick in that round.

First those playoffs. Bordeaux and Gothenburg will face off in the wild card round. Two 12-4 teams, separated by the tie-breaker of which one of them actually beat us. Gothenburg it was and as such this game will be played up North in Sweden.

So... Let's end it here for today's rambling.

We improved by half a win compared to last season and actually outscored our opponents by 48 points. We deserved a bit more, I think, but with how strong the elite in both conferences have been this season, even with 3 wins out of the chokes, we would have still missed the playoffs at 11-5.

Next season, we'll improve and be back in the mix. I think that's where we could be then: in full sail.
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Last edited by MIJB#19 : 12-12-2020 at 09:00 AM. Reason: editoral correction on the interceptions and bowl win snippet
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Old 12-16-2020, 05:42 PM   #424
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Quote:
Originally Posted by breanalynch View Post
Season in a nutshell? Perhaps. It was for the most part a frustrating season. I think we pissed away (excuse my language, okay, not really, otherwise I would have written something else here) at least 3 games that were lining up to be smooth victories. Combine that with two of the biggest blowouts in 87 seasons of team history, it makes clear that we were very capable of making things go from bad to worse unnecessarily on a very consistent level.
I think that was what I wrote about 2090 already.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MIJB#19 View Post
Season in a nutshell? Perhaps. It was for the most part a frustrating season. I think we pissed away (excuse my language, okay, not really, otherwise I would have written something else here) at least 3 games that were lining up to be smooth victories. Combine that with two of the biggest blowouts in 87 seasons of team history, it makes clear that we were very capable of making things go from bad to worse unnecessarily on a very consistent level.
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Old 12-17-2020, 05:46 PM   #425
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Start of 2095, The returns!
But Thong', Szott and Whiting retire.

Usually the retirement of a football player is news worthy, but in some rare cases, sticking along can be seen as such a big surprise that it's worth mentioning. Well, we've been on the retirement watch on many occasions before, but the retirement watch with Theodore Bondy has been on for serval off-seasons. And this off-season isn't the one he turns in the #80 jersey either. A huge opportunity for Ed Schulz to learn even more from his mentor and our promising quarterback Earnest Ashley.

RB Reggie Thongchanh called it a career after 10 seasons, 155 regular season and 11 playoffs games. Thong' was a 4th round pick in the 2085 draft and as a rookie already got a lot of carriers, ending up with 989 yards and 9 touchdowns. From there on it was a wild ride, usually stuck in a timeshare with Francisco Patter, still managing to get to 3 1,000-yard seasons, finishing his career with 8,353 yards and 50 touchdowns in regular season play. With those numbers he ranks 4th and 3rd in franchise history. He was also a tremendous punt returner and on the field on most special teams plays.

LG Michael Szott retired after 11 seasons with us, being active in 169 regular season and 11 playoffs games. As a second round pick in 2084, expectations were for him to become a starter. He saw some action in his rookie season and became a full time starter at the start of his second season on the team. A complete lineman, being a good pass protector and run blocker, he made 30+ key run blocks in 4 different seasons. He jumped into the top10 in franchise history in key run blocks last season, retiring at the #10 spot.

DE Tony Whiting retired after 9 seasons on team. An undrafted rookie that barely made the 53-men roster in 2086, he spent two seasons on the side lines and inactive, learning the tricks from the veterans. In 2088 he was added to the rotation of defensive ends and broke out with 10.0 sacks. It turned out to be his most productive season, while his role maintained to be in rotation, he finished his career with 36.5 sacks in 112 regular season games. Whiting also played in 4 playoffs games.

Down these three guys, we're going into the off-season with 47 players on board, with 8 draft picks, situated in the middle of the round (17th in the first round) with an additional medium high 4th round pick. Two players are unrestricted free agents: punter Doug Guynes and center Aidan Doyle. Both were late signings last season, with Doyle jumping in as our new backup interior lineman and with Guynes taking over for Doug James after his devastating knee injury. James will miss the pre-season and as of now the expactations are he'll be out for 2/3rd of the regular season as well, roughly. Fullback Owen Johnston and linebacker Andrew Cochrane are restricted free agents, but both look worth re-signing for a second season on team.

Our cap situation? We're $45.7M under the cap. Yes, not over, but under the cap. Solecismic's cap calculations estimate us at $22.8M of cap space to work with after signing draft picks, but we all know it will be slightly higher due to the double counting of the 52nd through 55th players.

How to react on these retirements? Well, quite simply, we picked those two rookie offensive tackles last season and at meant that guard Andre Watson was demoted to a backup role. If he doesn't regress, he's a perfectly fine player to put back into the lineup, whilst we'll also look for a new backup. Hayden Gaylor is a fine guard as well, but we can use the luxury of three starting caliber tackles and position on of them on the inside, next to the outstanding center Robbie Zinn.

The loss of Whiting means that we'll open our eyes for young pass rushing defensive linemen once again. I would have liked to bring back Trent Donovan, we released him late in the 2094 pre-season for cap reasons, but he decided to retire and not wait for a new team this off-season. Too bad, we could have used him now.

Last but not least, a couple of other players that have retired this off-season (or may have already last off-season and I failed to notice):
* Wide receiver Artie Blazewicz, we actually named a play after him and run a play inspired by him in our current game plan. Played 127 regular season games and 9 playoffs games with us, had one 1,000-yard season, scored 24 touchdowns, including 2 kickoff returns.
* Safety Riddick Newsome. Played eaxctly 100 regular season games with us, 9 more games in the playoffs. Made 10 interceptions, defended 44 passes.
* Running back Asher Ford. Mostly a special teamer, but we did let him carry the ball 24 times in the 65 regular season games he was active in. Was also active in 4 playoffs games.
* Defensive end Trent Donovan. We picked him up as an undrafted rookie linebacker, moved him to defensive end, released him on opening day 2091, brought him back in the playoffs, kept him inactive in 2092 after signing a 2-year contract, then gave him a lot of playing time in 2093, offered him rotation starter money in the 2094 pre-season and subsequently released him again on opening day to make cap space to lock up safety Devon Farrell. A pity that he retired after just 16 games in the league.

Speaking of Devon Farrell, he received All-IHOF honors for his performance in 2094. Defensive tackle Darien Fletcher was honored as an All-IHOF second teamer. Quarterback Earnest Ashely missed out on offensive rookie honors to Bordeaux' guard Floyd Kennedy, who was an All-IHOF second teamer. We can and will respect that, that kid played well and may turn out to be an all-time great at his position.

So, on to the staff reshuffling and then it's time to prepare for the draft. And free agency, we have cap space now and might be able to not spend it all on contract extentions. But we'll have to wait and see for a bit...

Oh, and Douglas Grosz won his first IHOF Bowl ring. Kudos, kid, well played.
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Old 12-19-2020, 09:21 AM   #426
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Changes are coming in 2095
But that wasn't planned...

Every off-season in the IHOF starts with the day where the teams decide on how to shape their coaching staff. The plan and hope was to find a different kind of defensive coordinator, but the actual change came unexpectedly. The Harlem Apollos were looking for a new head coach after theirs retired and they decided to sign our offensive coordinator Willie Behrendt. Quite a pity, it would have been nice to keep building on his smashmouth approach to football. Alas, it wasn't to be.

To fill the void at offensive coordinator, we hired Alexander Petty, a West Coast fan. Quite the disaster is his complete inability to scout players, his strengths are player development (especially with running backs), interviewing and play calling. Okay, so there's that. More over, we didn't hire a new defensive coordinator, which means we're going to be one of the worst teams in terms of scouting players. This lack of scouting skills is unprecedented in Merchantmen team history. Safe to say: we're in for a challenge this off-season.

Part of it how we got here is that we fell to 10th place in the Blackadar Cup, and subsequently in the draft order. Yes, we're still financially a playoff caliber team. Main cause for the drop is our stadium renovation. We'll have to live with that for another off-season or two.

First order of business from this new offensive coordinator: he's telling us Earnest Ashley is a 30/30ish quarterback. That's right, Behrendt had him as a 35/50ish quarterback at the end of last season, but our new OC thinks he's backup material, not starting material. It's going to be quite the challenge to actually ignore our OC on his evaluation of the ability of our players. He's also much less optimistic about our three young offensive linemen C Robbie Zinn (-10ish), LT Isaac Delgado (-15ish) and LT Johnnie Houston (-15ish). Ouch. Not on the players, but on landing this guy that has no clue about how good young players actually are.

So yeah, I'll have to recover a bit from that, I just didn't see that kind of mess coming at all. It's going to drastically change my staff draft preferences in the future, a coordinator like this should have never ever been the best possible candidate for us. That's all besides the point of this OC preferring a different style of football, because that's something we can work around.

Bottom line: the MalcPow challenge, let's call it that. We'll have to go into the draft leaning heavily on combine scores and trends of a player's skills compared to one another, we can by no means rely on our OC, except his excellent interviewing ability...
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Last edited by MIJB#19 : 12-20-2020 at 11:44 AM. Reason: cuz I wanted to, to correct spelling errors
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Old 12-23-2020, 04:45 PM   #427
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Yo, where are the updates?
Well, here's one.

The draft has started and it's been an interesting first couple of rounds. With the lack of scouting ability, I'm leaning heavily on the combine scores and such to determine where to go here.

At the 1.17 pick, an attempt to trade up failed due to timing, but we ended up landing the player we would have traded up for. That player? The top graded safety Ernie Grant. A top10 player by grade in this class. Ran a fast 40-yard dash, had a tremendous position drill score, strength is a plus, agility a plus, size is good. Any red flags? Why yes, he's considered a red flag. We will consider moving him to cornerback? Yes we will, it might not be worth starting him next to Devon Farrell in the inside of the secondary.

At pick 2.16, the last player of our first round list apparently lasted. Top graded outside linebacker Richie Piotte. Ran a fast 40-yard dash, with a good broad jump score and Solecismic Test score. We'll move him to defensive end, no question about it. He has the weight (269 lbs) for it and could get the job done at 6'3".

Otherwise it's been a silent off-season, obviously.

Or not!

We signed running back Jack Crane from the Gothenburg Giants and traded for running back Benjamin Kapp from the Paris Musketeers. Yeah, there's competition coming for Trey Beyer and his 5.47 yards per carry and Francisco Patter. Crane was signed for $10M/year to a 3-year deal. He's already 30 years old, in his 8th season and coming off a down season (first one below 1,000 yards, lowest yard per carry), is he over the hill? In Gothenburg known as Sticky Fingaz, Crane has 8 fumbles in his career in 2,163 touches. Kapp was acquired for our 6th round pick, we know he's good though, he was our 7th round pick only 2 draft ago.

In the bidding wars elsewhere, we're quite active. Defensive end Caiden Croyle is our main target, but after drafting Piotte, there's much less need to sign him as our third defensive end. We're also in the market to bring back backup center Aiden Doyle and are the only team bidding on former Bordeaux left tackle Marc Wilkerson. Do we need a new tackle? Not quite, but we do need 8 linemen and Wilkerson is more promising than all the guard prospects. Although signing a guard is a better decision to keep a legal roster [ugh, these game technicalities are such a spoil sport for the immersionists amongst us...]. Anyway, we're busy on the open market.

Enough for now, more tomorrow, or so.
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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 12-24-2020, 09:21 AM   #428
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Old Doug returns
But we lose out on a promising wide receiver.

Oh and we traded draft picks.

First things first. With Doug James still recovering from ACL knee surgery, we needed to sign a punter to cover for him for the first half to two third of the season. Old Doug Guynes returns for another season, we'll figure out the roster space technicalities later on.

We lost out on wide receiver Malachi Pierson. It turns out Malachi has become a very popular first name with football players, back in the day we had Malachi Pennell, the best punter ever to wear the orange-white-and-blue, until we selected Doug James, but we have no idea whether James will reach the heights Pennell. Did.
Pierson is a 32-year old wide receiver, promising kickoff returner. And he is one of several players that we found in the recycle bin of the IHOF. Several teams have been cutting off old but still good to consume meat, probably because they've got salary cap troubles. Yes, my staff members can't scout properly, so we can't rely on their player assessments, but with players this age, it's much less of an issue, it seems. Anyway, he took Colorado's 22.35M over our $15.5M offer, both over 2 years, rightfully so.

And then the trading part. We shipped our third round pick to the Gothenburg Giants and the pair of fourth round picks to the Atlanta Vipers. My list of suitable players ran out at the 2.16 pick. I do have an ace or two up my sleeve, I hope, but we'll gamble on landing them in the middle of the 5th and 7th rounds. There are currently 5 names on my list of players that we might like to see join us from training camp and could have a reasonable shot at making the 60 men pre-season roster. One of them specifically a player that my coordinator graded very lowly, while said player had a very strong combine showing. But let's stick to: we still have a consolation prizes list.

Returning to that recycle bin, we've found out that another team is also in the market for defensive end Caiden Croyle, quite possibly the top dog in the current free agent pool. We'll certainly try to outbid those Toronto Lake Monsters, albeit not at all cost. We do need a mentor for rookie Piotte, so that would be an added bonus.

We're also in the market for guard Desmond Pritchett, but he hasn't taken the bait yet. Neither has our backup center from last season, Aidan Doyle.

So much for now, more later. As always.
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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 12-24-2020, 11:59 AM   #429
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The challenges of a terrible scouting staff
Warning: this might get unimmersive.

Alright fans and readers, we go back to this ongoing off-season in memory, as we were forced to pick a new offensive coordinator and ended up with Alexander Petty. I've been on and off about his (in)ability to scout players, most prominently resulting in the downgrading of three key members of the offense, all of them entering just their second season in the league.

With the draft going on, we're slowly, but steadily finding out what this actually means for a team, specifically to the general manager - you know, the one in charge with actually signing players. Below are two player profiles, fora change I haven't rounded up or down to the nearest 5's or 10's, but will share the actual numbers provided by the OC (after all, if he sucks, what does it hurt to share, right?)

WR Desmond Houston (no interview), pick 1.13 by Houston (ha!)
Code:
My terrible scouting OC vs league average kind of av dr -------??? 71-98 . . av dr ------???_ 64-94 (-7/-4) gt dw -------??? 73-100. . gt dw -------??? 67-98 (-6/-2) route --??______ 16-43 . . route ----???___ 44-74 (+28/+31) 3d ct -------??? 73-100. . 3d ct -------??? 68-98 (-5/-2) bg pl ------??__ 55-82 . . bg pl ------???_ 56-86 (+1/+4) coura -------??? 73-100. . coura -------??? 70-100 (-3/same) ad bl ------??__ 57-84 . . ad bl ----???___ 37-67 (-20/-17) pnt r -??_______ _7-34 . . pnt r ---???____ 25-55 (+18/+21) kck r ???_______ _0-27 . . kck r ???_______ _0-30 (same/+3) endur ----???___ 43-70 . . endur ---???____ 27-57 (-16/-13) sp tm ------???_ 58-85 . . sp tm -----???__ 50-80 (-8/-5)
Okay, overall, this seems to be a WR that a lot of OC's liked as a WR1 prospect. Route running is up in the air (44 would be bad, 74 would be great), endurance could be an issue (27 would be a problem, 57 acceptable for a WR1).
Well, my OC has surely helped tone down the average numbers, in particular in some key skills. My OC thinks that Houston doesn't have the route running to be a WR1 type, but does have the endurance and is convinced that adjust to ball is a strength rather than a weakness (let's ignore the punt returning for a second).
What this tells me is that my scout is very much in the same uncertainty as other OC's, however, given his terribleness, it seems likely that he's misjudging route running and endurance. As it looks now, he might not be off by just 30 points in route running, he could be off by close to 60. Yikes! He could also be 43 points off in endurance, both are monumental shifts in a player being effective or not.
Yet at the same time, my OC doesn't sit far away from the rest of the field at all. Could it be that he's completely misjudging on just a handful of skills and is spot on with the rest, possibly being as clueless as every coordinator can be on a player's ability and potential.


RB Howard Durrough (w/ interview = overrated), pick 1.32 by Oakland
Code:
My terrible scouting OC vs league average kind of break -------?__ 69-82 . . break -------??? 65-95 (-4/+13) power ----?_____ 37-50 . . power ----???___ 37-67 (same/+17) 3d rn ---?______ 27-40 . . 3d rn ----???___ 43-73 (+16/+23) hol r -------?__ 70-84 . . hol r ------???_ 60-90 (-10/+6) elusv ??________ _0-16 . . elusv ???_______ _0-30 (same/+14) outsi -----??___ 52-65 . . outsi -----???__ 48-78 (-4/+13) blitz ------?___ 55-68 . . blitz ------???_ 63-92 (+8/+24) av dr -----??___ 54-67 . . av dr ------???_ 63-93 (+9/+26) gt dw ??________ _0-16 . . gt dw ???_______ _0-30 (same/+14) route ------?___ 57-70 . . route -----???__ 51-81 (-6/+11) 3d ct --------?? 84-97 . . 3d ct -------??? 69-99 (-15/+2) pnt r ??________ _0-16 . . pnt r ???_______ _0-30 (same/+14) kck r ??________ _0-16 . . kck r ???_______ _0-30 (same/+14) endur --------?? 84-100. . endur -------??? 70-100 (-14/same) sp tm --------?? 84-100. . sp tm -------??? 70-100 (-14/same)
Durrough was one of 3 RBs that I interviewed, obviously before knowing we would sign Crane and trade for Kapp. I anticipated on drafting a RB at 1.17 or maybe at 2.16. Still, he was interviewed and my OC arrowed the uncertainty to 16 or 17 points for each skill, compared to the league's average that's at roughly 30 points.
The overall picture in both situations is kind of similar: a RB with breakaway speed, hole recognition, very low elusiveness, some receiving skills and endurance to be able to carry all day long. Yes, the differences are there, but it's basically just in two skills: third down running and avoiding drops. That's almost neglectable if you already have a short yardage back and don't throw to the RB a lot.
My OC interviews well, it's a main reason why I actually trusted that "overrated" and decided to let Durrough fly at 1.17. Well, not entirely, he was still #2 on my list, but it was just enough to give S Ernie Grant the edge. A decision made before we even offered a contract to veteran RB Jack Crane.

Okay, so, what have we learned so far? I think it tells me that there are two things at hand in the scouting of players: players will be masked, underrated if you wish, not just in one skill but all around. But, they will also be misjudged on single skills, where a terrible OC might potentially be off as much as 50 out of 100 points, that's huge if you're a GM like me who focusses on one- or two-bar players a lot.

Conclusions? Nothing particular, other than: scouting can seriously push you into a different direction on a player. I'm most certainly not going to give up on our should have been rookie of the year quarterback. I'll just have to find a way to figure out which kind of changes we'll see in pre-season: randomness or unmasking.

It has become a challenge and I'm already convinced it will be a one-year solution at OC. It also makes me more aware that having a good staff isn't just an advantage, but keeping the finances healthy is key to draft well (in our case kind of by lucky to start with a top-notch situation all the way back in 2004, but later on being very quick in building a maxed out stadium, which is a must-have). And this season we made a horrible pick, at least concerning scouting. This staff member might be good elsewhere and just have trouble with young players and maybe just a random skill or two, or three.
__________________
* 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 : 12-24-2020 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 12-25-2020, 11:00 AM   #430
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: FA signings and late round picks
A handful of new faces to report on!

We completed the draft with the selection of a green wide receiver and even greener quarterback. Nicolas Coady is a wide receiver who had a stellar combine and purely based on that won a pre-season roster spot on our team. Okay, maybe just a training camp roster spot, but pre-season isn't out of the question yet. Yes, it was a precious 5th round pick that we spent on him, but that late in the draft you just try to claim guys that you otherwise might end up overpaying for in the undrafted rookie bidding wars. Same applied to quarterback Colton Cote, our 7th round pick. I think I'm going to call him Coco from here on. His sense rush ability and Solecismic Test score were good enough to make me think: why not? We've thrown out contract offers to 6 undrafted rookies, we'll see which of them will report for training camp.

Other rookie news has been the position change for both Ernie Grant and Richie Piotte. A little bit premature, as we're still going to have to see if they can do something about their weight, but Grant should feel comfortable playing cornerback and Piotte playing defensive end. Grant should lose a bit of weight, Piotte will need to gain a bit.

Our roster was boosted by three veteran free agent signings. Center Aidan Doyle was our backup already last season, we're going to pay him more than minsal to do that one more season, before he finds out sitting on the bench isn't his kind of football. Guard Desmond Pritchett was signed to a heavy 1-year $15M contract, certainly not to rot on the bench. This 34-year old has been All-IHOF material early in his career playing in Houston, we hope he still has a lot of gas left in the tank.

That gas left in the tank is something we'll really have to hope for with 31-year old Caiden Croyle. We didn't hire him to a 2-year $39M contract just to mentor rookie Piotte, we do want to see him play a lot in our rotation. With his endurance, that is the best we can ask for anyway though. Still, with Croyle and Piotte added, we're back up to four suitable defensive ends. But you never know what will happen in pre-season...

So, that means all in all that we're currently at 59 players signed, with 8 of them new faces: 4 rookies (2 starters, 2 longshot projects), 3 starting caliber veteran free agents and 1 promising young trade acquisition. Some roster spot battles will be intense and hard to justify with our crappy scouting OC, but that's what we'll have to work with. Yes, I had to mention my OC's inability to judge player potential one more time. Get used to it, it will come up more often in the lead up to the regular season.

The cap situation has drained us down to just under $10M in cap space. No less than 18 players will be out of contract after 2095, one of them being the newly signed Pritchett, which means 17 of them are potential extensions. You know our drill: we'll get on to it after pre-season week 3. Most prominent names: backup QB Moe Sheldon, breakout RB Trey Beyer, FB Clay Brosseau, TE Clay Gaynor, WR Theodore Bondy, RT Howard Humphrey, OLB Clayton Jackson, CB Jackie Richardson and S Jon Brotzman.

It's getting repetitive perhaps, but this will be yet another update to end with: more to come later. The off-season is far from over, training camp and especially pre-season will give us a whole new look on our roster anyway.
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* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 12-26-2020, 09:58 AM   #431
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Training Camp 2095 is coming

Okay, usually the post-draft pre-training camp free agency is the phase where we pick up a couple of undrafted rookie free agents that eventually make the 53-men roster. We picked up 5 training camp bodies, but I'm very cautious, I suspect some won't even make our pre-season roster and none make the regular season roster. QB Shaquille Trenery might have the best odds as a potential new kick holder. RB Edwin Harlow is a breakaway speed guy, with some [apparently hidden] special teams ability. RB Derek Finch has hole recognition. G Vince Henselman was on our shortlist in the draft for the late rond picks, he's a strong run blocker. K Tracy O'Neal was signed to challenge McMullen, he'll make the pre-season roster just in case McMullen is indeed over the hill.

Other news? The defensive coordinator is optimistic about our top two rookies. CB Ernie Grant is considered top5 in the league in potential. He'll be asked to trim down in weight a bit to fit with the new position. DE Richie Piotte will be asked to gain weight. Both players are on our staff's green page, that list of the top20 most promising youngsters. How about that for a mid-round first and second round pick.

I was very worried about our playbook, but after looking at it, there's little reason to make changes. Apparently we were unintentionally prepared to a switch to a West Coast offense. We'll see how that goes in pre-season.

That all said, training camp will see us go in there with 64 players signed, including injured Doug James. We have 5 QB, 6 RB, 2 FB, 4 TE, 7 WR, 9 OL, 2 P, 2 K, 9 DL, 6 LB, 7 CB, 4 S and 1 LS. I think it's safe to say we'll be trimming down at QB and RB right after camp and the final cut before pre-season will be based on which other youngster will make no progress.

Stay tuned, to be continued?
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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 12-27-2020, 01:15 PM   #432
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Nostalgia
It's 2095, the 92nd season of IHOF. Christmas tree on my left, nothing but darkness on my right, in that direction is where we'd find Oranje Haven, the North Sea and behind the biggest island of the United Kingdom, the Atlantic Ocean between the homeland of most of our players. Back in 2003 we thought it would be a good idea to bring a football team (back) to the Netherlands, we were warmed up to it, weren't we?

Our home games are still played in Oranje Haven, although it needed some renovations over time, most importantly an expansion early on to make it available for 100,000 visitors. In the heart of the most densely populated part of the country, that should be easy to fill, no? It has been ever since, generations of football fans have come and gone, as have the players. A grand total of 1605 players have signed a contract in Maassluis, not double or triple counting those that returned for second or even third stints. That grand total excludes one player that was drafted twice, but never signed a contract, because back in 2028 and 2029, rookies weren't automatically signed to their contracts.

Of those 1605, 1070 made a regular season roster, not counting dozens of players that tried out between games to fill an injury initiated vacancy, not double counting the 25 players that had two on roster stints with us. And that 1070 doesn't include our recent acquisitions. That's a whole lot, but at the same time it makes you realize that in 91 seasons, we've on average added just over 11 new players to our team every new season, just under 11 if you exclude the first season and the 53 players from that 2004 season.

Okay, those are all fancy numbers, neither meaningful or meaningless if there's no point to my rambling. Is there a point? Well, it's nostalgia season, so I felt like looking back a little bit and dig up some old memories. Remember when I made a list of 50 legends? Well, that was way back shortly after the 2078 season. We're a whole retired, just short of Hall of Fame worthiness, franchise quarterback further away from the inaugural 2004 season. How about increasing that with as many players that should have been added after the 16 seasons that came after 2078? Well, let's do that. Let's kickoff with an update on those that weren't retired yet, then add 10 new names to the list of all-time greats and finish it with a bunch of of also-rans, including the replacement of three players that were promoted to the legends list.



Update on the class of 2064 era players that were still active after the 2078 season

WR #82 J.R. Mills 2069-2079
Wide receiver J.R. Mills cost the Merchantmen a truckload of picks, but the #9 overall selection was high enough to get him. And boy was he worthy it. Not from the beginning though. Despite a 1,000-yard campaign as a rookie and making it a four-season streak, Mills' stamina appeared to be an issue. Injury sidelined him for the majority of the 2073 season. Upon his return in 2074, he upped his game and kept improving, becoming a 1,500-yard receiver and peaking with 111 catches for 2,228 yards in the 2077 season. Coming in at the second most productive season by any receiver in IHOF history. The Merchantmen hope to build on him for another handful of seasons. Mills had another All-IHOF second team season in 2078 with 1,756 yards receiving. His 17 receiving touchdown were a personal record and second best in Merchantmen history in a season that saw the Merchantmen reach the AOC Championship game. After a bit of a down season in 2079, he retired, just 56 yards short of the 15K mark, with 839 receptions for 14,944 yards and 85 touchdowns in 162 regular season games. Currently ranks 3rd in Merchantmen history in receiving yards, 6th in receptions and receiving touchdowns. Unsurprisingly was inducted into the Soleciscmic Hall of Fame.

OT #65 Oscar Meadows 2071-2085
Offensive tackle Oscar Meadows was a surprise first round pick in the 2071 draft for the Merchantmen. Right tackle isn't traditionally a position the Merchantmen invest in, but Meadows had the size and talent to be worthy of that. In his first seven seasons in Maassluis, Meadows proved to be the stud of the line. He allowed 33 sacks and made 198 key run blocks so far. In 2078 Meadows earned his first All-IHOF honors, being a second-teamer with 33 key run blocks and only 4 sacks allowed. His peak season cam in 2081 with 37 ket run blocks and just 2 sacks allowed, earning All-IHOF first team honors, despite missing a game. In 2084 his role demised and in 2085 his activity was limited to a tiny bit of special teams play. Meadows retired after 224 regular season games, he tied Tom Anaya in most regular season games started (213). His career was highlighted by the 2078 AOC Championship game and after his active career with enshrinement in the Solecismic Hall of Fame.

LB #52 Antonio Battle 2073-2080
Linebacker Antonio Battle joined a rich history of first round picks at his position. He had the honor to join the Merchantmen shortly before the big names retired. The veterans imediately recognized Battle's talent and he became a full-time starter as a rookie. With four 100-tackle seasons, 11 interceptions, 50 defended passes, 8 forced fumbles and 12.0 sacks in 5 seasons, his two All-IHOF team selections aren't surprising. He's a premier linebacker, a worthy succesor to Edward Ross and preceding names. In 2078 Battle earned his second All-IHOF first team selection in a season that ended in an AOC Championship game loss. In the 2081 off-season, Battle became a cap casualty and continued his career in Gothenburg (2081), Hanalei (2082-2084) and Kansas (2085), where his career ended in an IHOF Bowl loss.


The Ellis McAlister era players

QB #9 Ellis McAlister 2074-2087
An unheralded afterthought, just a sixth round pick of the Merchantmen in the 2074 draft, McAlister's career didn't start like a fairy tale. He made the 2074 roster as the fourth quarterback and for 5 full seasons was kept on the sidelines. But in 2079 out of the blue, McAlister was promoted into the starting role and continued to be the undisputed starter through the 2087 season. With McAlister under center, the Merchantmen made the playoffs 6 times, peaking with the 2085 AOC Chapionship game. McAlister had 3 4,000-yard seasons, 20+ touchdown passes in each season as a starter and aside from his last season in Maassluis threw for less than 20 interceptions. In 2088 a dire cap situation prompted the Merchantmen to say good bye to their franchise quarterback. McAlister played a season in Arizona, which turned out to be the third losing season in his career. McAlister retired after the 2089 season, in which he failed to find a new home, the Merchantmen lacked the cap space to sign him during the playoffs that season. McAlister retired after 157 regular season games, 144 for the Merchantmen in which he threw for exactly 35,000 yards, 218 touchdowns and 152 interceptions. Currently he ranks 3rd in passing yards in franchise history, 6th in touchdown passes.

DT #96 Glen Stiegler 2075-2085
The arrival of Glen Stiegler came after a strange incident in which the North Plainfield Plague accidentally selected him in the 2075 draft. The Merchantmen were quick to open negotiations as Stiegler was their player to get that draft and the #16 overall pick went into the books as a Merchantmen pick. His arrival made sense, so shortly after the retirement of Shaun Hartman and his sidekick Preston Urquiola. Stiegler didn't reach the levels of play of Hartman, but was a worthy Merchantmen nose tackle, earning All-IHOF first team honors in 2078 and 2080. Like many players from this era, his peak moments came in the 2078 and 2085 AOC Championship games, the latter turned out to be his last game for the Merchantmen as he failed to make the 2086 opening day roster and Stiegler retired the next off-season. In 174 regular season games he made 439 tackles and 56.5 sacks.

G #74 Carlos Webb 2075-2085
Carlos Webb continued a trend of the Merchantmen finding their offensive linemen in the draft in the middle rounds as he was a third round pick in 2075. Against all odds, he became an opening day starter and for 10 straight seasons was undisputed as the team's second best run blocker. In 2077 he recorded 47 key run blocks and in 2083 reached the magical 50 figure. In 2085 he lost his starting job, but due to injuries played in both playoff game victories, yet was benched for the AOC Championship game, which the Merchantmen subsequently lost. Webb retired soon after, meaning the lost 2078 AOC Championship game was the highlight of his career. In 156 regular season games he made 359 key run blocks, making him rank 6th all-time for the Merchantmen and highest amongst guards.

RB #26 Walt Blair 2078-2081
Rarely does a player much such a strong impression in just 4 injury plagued seasons. The Merchantmen picked Walt Blair #13 overall in the 2078 draft and as a rookie he made an impact running for 1,213 yards and 6 touchdowns in just 10 games as his season was cut short. Blair was missed during the playoffs run, fans still wonder whether the Merchantmen would have actually won the AOC Championship game with him. Blair bounced back in 2079 with 1,609 yards and 11 touchdowns, but 2080 was another injury plagued season. In 2081 Blair held out in the off-season, but changed his mind in pre-season, before he signed a contract extension. He left Maassluis after a tremendous season with 1,779 yards and 17 touchdowns, the latter was by far the best in the league that season. Blair played 2 more seasons with the Brooklyn Fightin' Bums and retired after just 6 seasons in football on doctor's advice, but fear for repetitive concussion syndrome was never officially confirmed.

CB #32 Kirk Hitchcock 2081-2093
The standards for a shutdown cornerback were set high after Peter Tucker retired, but in 2081 a new shutdown corner was selected at the #11 overall pick by the Merchantmen. Kirk Hitchcock delivered as a rookie with 5 interceptions and 11 defended passes. He continued to improve his standards and in 2084 earned the first of three All-IHOF first team honors. Hitchcock continued to produce and in 2089 became Defensive Player of the Year after a season with 8 interceptions (2 touchdowns), 20 defended passes and 115 tackles. The Merchantmen failed to make the playoffs that season. The decline started soon after, but unlikely so many veterans in Maassluis, Hitchcock continued to be a starter through his final season in 2093. One of his best games came in the 2085 AOC Championship game, but it wasn't enough to make his team win. With 46 interceptions and 185 defended passes in 204 regular season games, he ranks #1 in Merchantmen history.

CB #37 Gabe Broady 2081-2087
The Merchantmen have a good tradition of finding hidden gems in the undrafted rookie free agent pool and Gabe Broady is certainly one of those. A rookie in 2081, Broady got his chance midway into the season as the punt returner and did well enough to win the job. From 2082 onwards, Broady was the best punt returner in the league, scoring 8 touchdowns between 2082 and '86. Already in decline in 2086, he lost his role in 2087 to Clarence Blackwell. A clearly past his peak Broady failed to make the 2088 roster in Maassluis and retired in the 2089 off-season. 8 punt return touchdowns makes him rank 3rdd already, but his 17.0 yards per return makes him the best punt returner in IHOF history [he ranks second in the Solecismic record books behind a player with 20 career punt returns, we're not going to credit him the best ever, right?].

WR #80 Theodore Bondy 2082-now
Back in 2082 when the Merchantmen picked Theodore Bondy 8th overall, they felt like it was the steal of the draft. To get the pick, the Merchantmen gave up the #20 overall and the 2083 1st round pick. It was all worth it. "Theo" already delivered as a rookie with 95 catches for 1,469 yards and 8 touchdowns, which was just the start of a career as the clear top target of the quarterbacks that he played with, getting targeted an insane 42% of all passing plays. Bondy didn't crack under that pressure or the seeming over usage. 150+ receptions became his norm, as was 2,000 receiving yards, a figure that he reached 4 times. In 2088 times changed, defenses adapted to the throw it to one guy approach, but Bondy continued to be a lock for 1,000 yards. He reached the 20K mark during the 2094 season and going into the 2095 pre-season he's still going strong...

LT #66 Nathan Hadinger 2083-2093
In the 2083 draft, early in the second round, the Merchantmen couldn't believe that left tackle Nathan Hadinger was still available. The decision to pick him was a good one. Although riding the bench as a rookie, from his second season and onwards, it was clear that Hadinger was the pass protecting left tackle the Merchantmen love to provide their quarterback. He was a lock for 10 straight seasons, bar injuries. Which actually came when it was time to shine, Hadinger missed the 2085 playoffs and the trip to the AOC Championship game. With Hadinger in action, the Merchantmen never went one and done in the post-season. A lack of key run blocks will keep Hadinger from Hall of Fame status, but Merchantmen fans know better. With 37 sacks allowed in 153 games, Hadinger did his job and did it very well.

G #72 Michael Szott 2084-2094
Result of a trade one pre-season earlier with Bordeaux, the Merchantmen held the top pick of the second round in the 2084 draft. Guard Michael Szott was an easy pick there, one of the most talented players of his class. Never the best in the league, but all round enough to be the perfect left guard, supporting the left tackle and contributing to the running game. Szott was in and out of the lineup in his rookie season as injuries haunted the line, but from the second season he was a 10-year starter. Szott was pretty much a guarantee for 25 key run blocks and rock solid, never missing a game. He retired in the 2095 off-season after 169 regular season games with the Merchantmen and ranked 10th in franchise history in key run blocks.

OT #61 Howard Humphrey 2085-now
Not quite as planned, the Merchantmen picked right tackle Howard Humphrey at #9 overall in the 2085 draft. Unlike in future off-season, the Merchantmen decided to stick with what looked like maybe the best player of the class. As a rookie he was already in the starting lineup and made a key blocker for the running game, delivering with 44 key run blocks. Howard peaked in 2087 (52 key run blocks) and 2092 (53 key run blocks), marking the best showings of no less than 6 ALL-IHOF first team selections. The 2085 and 2091 AOC Championship games are the most important game in his career to date. To date, as Humphrey is still on team going into the 2095 pre-season and has a shot at improving from 4th to 2nd in Merchantmen history in key run blocks. Without a doubt he's Hall of Fame bound...


So close, the also rans of the last 15 or so seasons:
LT #69 Louie Murray 2074-2086
Ellis McAlister's first left tackle. Quite the achievement for a 6th round pick.

C #75 Butch Pearson 2080-2092
Late first round pick, elite run blocker. Second best center in Merchantmen history after Tom Anaya.

DT #91 Heath Oliver 2083-2087
More of a tackler than a pass rusher. Cap casualty in 2088 off-season. Ran havoc with the Gothenburg Giants.

RB #24 Reggie Thongchanh 2085-2094
Fourth round pick turned into fourth most rushing yards in Merchantmen history, despite being part of a tandem with Francisco Patter.

RB #26 Francisco Patter 2087-now
Seventh round pick turned into 9th most rushing yards, despite being part of a tandem with Thong'. Still on team, might still improve.


Legends of the future:
DT #73 Darien Fletcher 2089-2094
Pass rusher, at least All-IHOF second team in 4 of 6 seasons.

LB #53 Brandon Brady 2090-now
Another instalment of the fine tradition of top-notch LB in Maassluis.

S #40 Devon Farrell 2091-now
Turning into a monster safety. Best safety in the league in 2094.


The buble boys, bound to be also-rans:
TE #46 Clay Gaynor 2090-now
Talented 1st round tight end, but is he suited for the Merchantmen style?

TE #44 Clarence Gore 2091-now
5th round breakout, but already on the decline?
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Old 12-28-2020, 09:14 AM   #433
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Training Camp 2095 report is here
What's going on with Ed Schulz?

With the Merchantmen we went into training camp 2095 with 64 players, including the still injured punter Doug James. Was it a good camp? For some players we saw a lot of progress, some where we were banking on it. Others seriously disappointed. Let's run it down position group by position group, untraditionally from the bottom up. but traditionally rounded to the nearest '5s as per our staff members, which all but our assistent coach suck in judging player talent.

Special Teamers
20/20 (nc/nc) LS Bryce Karney
90/90 (nc/nc) P Doug James (injured)
50/50 (nc/nc) P Doug Guynes
80/80 (nc/nc) K Dylan McMullen
40/55 (+4/nc) K Tracy O'Neal (rookie)
Yup, promising kicker this O'Neal kid is, but McMullen is technically better. O'Neal won't make our pre-season squad.

Secondary
65/65 (nc/nc) S Devon Farrell
50/70 (+9/-5) CB Ernie Grant (rookie)
50/55 (+6/nc) CB Bryson Swafford
45/45 (nc/nc) CB Zachery Weisz
45/45 (nc/nc) CB Jackie Richardson
40/40 (nc/nc) CB Adam Harmon
35/35 (nc/nc) S Chuck Murray
35/35 (nc/nc) CB Britt Hudson
30/35 (+4/nc) S Gabriel Cromer
30/30 (nc/nc) S Jon Brotzman
20/25 (+2/nc) CB Keegan Cosby
Grant is for real, we're going to have a great secondary with Grant and Farrell. Swafford is continuing to give signs that he's better than he's scouted at. Weisz and Harmon continue to be excellent zone defenders, Brotzman a very good one. Murray a serviceable running downs safety, Richardson a decent man-to-man corner and mentor. Cosby looks to be headed for the door out, to join Cromer, who won't even make our pre-season roster. Cosby's kickoff return skills could save him.

Linebackers
75/75 (nc/nc) OLB Brandon Brady
45/45 (nc/nc) ILB Daquan Espino
45/45 (nc/nc) OLB Clayton Jackson
40/40 (+4/+4) ILB Andrew Cochrane
35/35 (nc/nc) OLB Jose Meadows
20/20 (nc/nc) ILB Brant Rayburn
Brady is the man, Jackson and Espino the sidekicks. Meadows and Rayburn are special teamers. Cochrane is the rough diamond that continues to improve, but he might end up just the second special teamer ahead of Rayburn.

Defensive Line
65/65 (nc/nc) DE Caiden Croyle (vet fa)
60/60 (nc/nc) DT Darien Fletcher
45/65 (+7/+3) DE Richie Piotte (rookie)
55/55 (nc/nc) DT Jumbo Mojica
50/50 (nc/nc) DE Gene Kondovski
45/45 (nc/nc) DE Archie Exner
40/40 (nc/nc) DT Harold Gough
40/40 (nc/nc) DT Caleb Domis
30/30 (nc/nc) DT Kurt Ackerman
Let's wait until pre-season changes to get overexcited, this crew is getting older. Piotte is the obvious star to be, we have potentially a great bunch, once again the best in the league purely based on pass rush technique.

Offensive Line
65/65 (nc/nc) G Desmond Pritchett (vet fa)
65/65 (nc/nc) C Robbie Zinn
55/60 (+5/nc) LT Isaac Delgado
55/55 (nc/nc) RT Howard Humphrey
45/45 (+5/+2) LT Johnnie Houston
45/45 (nc/nc) G Hayden Gaylor
40/40 (nc/nc) C Aidan Doyle
40/40 (nc/nc) G Andre Watson
25/50 (+4/nc) G Vince Henselman (rookie)
Quite the decisions to make in mid-pre-season. The top 5 names are most likely starters, but we know Gaylor is a suitable backup, while Watson has been reliable for so long, Doyle is good enough and Henselman had a decent camp.

Wide receivers and tight ends
55/70 (nc/nc) WR Ed Schulz
55/55 (nc/nc) TE Clay Gaynor
55/55 (nc/nc) WR Theodore Bondy
50/50 (nc/nc) TE Clarence Gore
50/50 (nc/nc) WR George Stuckey
40/40 (nc/nc) WR Rickey Lyle
40/40 (nc/nc) WR Branden Sandlin
25/40 (+2/nc) TE Ike Nixon
25/25 (nc/nc) WR Mark Perkins
20/20 (nc/nc) TE Renaldo Crawford
15/15 (+3/+3) WR Nicolas Coady (rookie)
Same bunch as last season, unless Coady makes a splash in pre-season and if one of the other receivers falls apart. Perkins and Lyle are our return specialist.

That said... What's up with Schulz? This is the puzzle I have no idea how to solve. For the second straight training camp, this "58% developed" super star makes no progress. Remember that he also made no progress throughout the entire '94 season. What's up with that, seriously, what's up with that? What's going wrong here? Is there reason to be worried? Not even, the kid had 19.86 yards per catch, this kid can play.

Backfield
60/60 (nc/nc) RB Jack Crane (vet fa)
50/50 (+3/+3) RB Trey Beyer
45/45 (nc/nc) RB Francisco Patter
35/45 (+2/+8) RB Edwin Harlow (rookie)
40/40 (+1/+1) RB Derek Finch (rookie)
40/40 (nc/nc) RB Benjamin Kapp (trade acq)
35/35 (nc/nc) FB Clay Brosseau
30/35 (+2/nc) FB Owen Johnston
Beyer might have locked himself into retaining half of the carries, but will the second one be Crane or will Patter retain his part? Is the Crane signing already one of our worst ever free agent signings? Harlow looks promising, so does Finch. Caveat, our OC can't judge young players, they might actually really suck. Kapp is still very talented, but it's unlikely he'll make the team. Finch and Harlow are also on the bubble.

Quarterbacks
35/35 (+3/+3) QB Earnest Ashley
30/30 (nc/nc) QB Moe Sheldon
15/30 (+2/nc) KH Jon Giles
10/25 (+2/nc) KH Shaquille Trenery (rookie)
5/25 (+2/-4) QB Colton Cote (rookie)
We know Ashley is much better than this and we'll continue to believe that and ignore our OC's assessment. Ashley is our starter, no questions asked. Cote and Trenery, won't make the pre-season squad.


That's it for now, more after our first couple of pre-season games.
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Last edited by MIJB#19 : 12-28-2020 at 11:17 AM. Reason: changes
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Old 12-30-2020, 11:57 AM   #434
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Pre-season action...
and how a crappy OC can make everything look hazy.

Anticipation is high when pre-season action is about halfway. Offensive and defensive coordinators will take a second stab at scouting the roster of their team. But when they're not all that great, it becomes even more of s crapshoot to figure out which 7 players of the 60-men pre-season roster shouldn't make the final list of 53 players for the regular season.

Special Teamers
90/90 (-1/-1) P Doug James (injured)
50/50 (nc/nc) P Doug Guynes
70/70 (-8/-8) K Dylan McMullen
20/20 (nc/nc) LS Bryce Karney
A decision to be made: James will miss the first 11 (or so) games of the regular season. Keeping him from injured reserve means that we can bring only 50 non-kickers into the regular season. But realistically he'll return during the season and should be better than Guynes. It should be worth it.

Secondary
65/65 (-1/-1) S Devon Farrell
50/70 (nc/-2) CB Ernie Grant (rookie)
40/45 (-8/-8) CB Bryson Swafford
45/45 (nc/nc) CB Zachery Weisz
35/35 (-9/-9) CB Jackie Richardson
35/35 (-3/-3) CB Adam Harmon
35/35 (+1/+1) S Chuck Murray
35/35 (+1/+1) CB Britt Hudson
35/35 (+4/+4) S Jon Brotzman
20/25 (nc/-1) CB Keegan Cosby
So, Richardson on the decline, Swafford got re-rescouted, Grant and Farrell still look good. Harmon took a bigger hit than it appears, but it might just be the rescouting going into the other direction (from overrated to underrated), he's still a starter. Weisz continues to be an elite zone defender. Cosby could be done as a Merchantmen player.

Linebackers
75/75 (+1/+1) OLB Brandon Brady
45/45 (+1/+1) ILB Daquan Espino
45/45 (+1/+1) OLB Clayton Jackson
35/35 (-7/-7) ILB Andrew Cochrane
35/35 (nc/nc) OLB Jose Meadows
15/15 (-4/-4) ILB Brant Rayburn
This is the group. Cochrane makes another swing, this time into the wrong direction. Puzzling stuff, I know. He's actually a worse special teamer than Rayburn and Meadows now, which is bad for his role.

Defensive Line
60/60 (-4/-4) DE Caiden Croyle (vet fa)
60/60 (nc/nc) DT Darien Fletcher
50/55 (+2/-8) DE Richie Piotte (rookie)
45/45 (-8/-8) DT Jumbo Mojica
45/45 (-5/-5) DE Gene Kondovski
45/45 (+1/+1) DT Harold Gough
40/40 (-2/-2) DE Archie Exner
40/40 (+1/+1) DT Caleb Domis
20/20 (-9/-9) DT Kurt Ackerman
Ackerman is still incredibly fast, but he's the odd man out. Mojica took a severe hit, but he's the second best run defending tackle if we keep cohesion in mind, otherwise Domis would be that, it's pretty close though. Croyle took the anticipated hit, Piotte is young and will go all over the place for the next season or two anyway.

Offensive Line
85/85 (+20/+20) C Robbie Zinn
60/60 (-6/-6) G Desmond Pritchett (vet fa)
55/65 (+8/+19 LT Johnnie Houston
55/55 (-1/-4) LT Isaac Delgado
50/50 (-3/-3) RT Howard Humphrey
35/35 (-4/-4) G Andre Watson
35/35 (-10/-10) G Hayden Gaylor
35/35 (-8/-8) C Aidan Doyle
25/50 (nc/+4) G Vince Henselman (rookie)
Okay, one has to go, but who? The starting 5 are set: Houston, Delgado, Zinn, Pritchett and Humphrey. Watson should be the main backup. Doyle is serviceable. Gaylor or Henselman is almost a coin flip.

Wide receivers and tight ends
55/70 (-1/-2) WR Ed Schulz
55/55 (nc/nc) TE Clay Gaynor
50/50 (-4/-4) WR Theodore Bondy
50/50 (-3/-3) TE Clarence Gore
45/45 (-3/-3) WR George Stuckey
40/40 (nc/nc) WR Rickey Lyle
40/40 (+1/+1) WR Branden Sandlin
25/35 (nc/-6) TE Ike Nixon
15/40 (nc/+22) WR Nicolas Coady (rookie)
25/25 (nc/nc) WR Mark Perkins
20/20 (-1/-1) TE Renaldo Crawford
Schulz, oh Schulz. The good thing is that we know he's good, but it's such an enigma. Bondy may sound like he's almost unchanged, but our OC thinks he's a very different kind of player now, he lost a lot of big-play speed. Rookie Coady is a big puzzle as well, I doubt he'll make the team, but he's just so interesting...

Backfield
45/45 (-12/-12) RB Jack Crane (vet fa)
40/40 (-9/-9) RB Trey Beyer
35/35 (-12/-12) RB Francisco Patter
40/45 (+4/-2) RB Edwin Harlow (rookie)
30/45 (-8/+8) RB Derek Finch (rookie)
30/45 (-7/+5) RB Benjamin Kapp (trade acq)
25/25 (-7/-7) FB Clay Brosseau
25/25 (-6/-8) FB Owen Johnston
Three guys will have to go, but who? Our OC is throwing these guys all over the place, especially the two rookies are going from 90's hol recognition, to something like 50/80, or vice versa. Brosseau might be on a fast decline. Too bad, I really like him. He's still a very good run blocker, don't misread me there, but he's re-scouted as no longer clearly top3 to second tier (3rd through 6th). Crane had the typical veteran signing decline. Kapp won't make the team, bummer about that late round pick that would otherwise likely missed the team as well. Will mull over the others.

Quarterbacks
35/35 (+2/+2) QB Earnest Ashley
20/35 (+3/+6) KH Jon Giles
25/25 (-4/-4) QB Moe Sheldon
So, Giles is now a good kick holder again and Ashley made progress? Sheldon turned into even more of a sack magnet than he already was. He's purely a mentor now, Giles purely a kick holder, Ashley our only serious option. But that was something we knew going into the pre-season already.

So, yeah, these coordinators, they're messing with everything and make it both harder and easier to make decision. Some players are obvious over the hill veterans ripe to get released, but you know me, I'm a bit more loyal than the average GM, especially if I think their cohesion can help overcome things.

Contract renegotiations will start too now, with those guys that will make the team and are worth it getting locked up. Fun times.
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Old 12-31-2020, 12:10 PM   #435
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 5 out, 2 more to go
And renegotiations to lock players up.

Last part first, we extended contracts to a good bunch of players, meaning 9 players won't be locked up for next season: QB Moe Sheldon, QB/KH Jon Giles, RB Edwin Harlow, TE/ST Ike Nixon, G Desmond Pritchett, G Hayden Gaylor, G Vince Henselman, LB/ST Jose Meadows and CB/ST Britt Hudson. Six of them will be restricted free agents, which means they'll be protected in the pre-draft free agency. Pritchett signed a 1-year deal this off-season. Sheldon is too expensive to give a new deal. We'll see where we stand next off-season, but I think he'll retire, otherwise he's nothing more than a mentor with cohesion value. Gaylor has been in trade feelers mentioned, which is the only reason why we haven't given him an extension, if he doesn't move away, it depends on the decision whether Gaylor or Henselman will not make the 53-men roster.

Concerning the latter, it's obvious to me that 1 guard and 1 running back will not make the team, which means we go into 2095 with two punters, as Doug James will be inactive, but not put on injured reserve.

Players that were released: undrafted rookie RB Derek Finch, 5th round WR Nicolas Coady (despite his big boost in pre-season), trade acquisition RB Benjamin Kapp, DT Kurt Ackerman and CB/KR Keegan Cosby.

CB Keegan Cosby had been scouted by my staff as our best kickoff returner on roster, but I'm going to stick with Rickey Lyle, or try to find an eleventh hour replacement. It clashes with my belief that you shouldn't give up on young players too early, but the numbers game in the secondary was not good to him. We're probably still overcrowded at CB, but so it goes. He saw no action in his rookie season with us, after we picked him in the 7th round of the 2094 draft.

DT Kurt Ackerman was the casualty in a very crowded defensive line unit. We really have no room for 9 guys, 8 of them will be on the active roster. It was either Ackerman or Jumbo Mojica. The latter can stop the run, while Ackerman is basically just another pass rusher. In 7 seasons with us, his production is only 8.5 sacks, 31 hurries and 7 blocked passes, despite activity in 84 regular season games. He was a 5th round pick find in the 2088 draft.

Last but not least, we're going to try to make our young players get additional action in the last two pre-season games. Which will probably fail, as my staff has been known to be very disobedient and prefers to sub out the young players that need the development time and wear out the low endurance veterans. So it goes, I guess...

Oh, yeah, we played two pre-season games. We won in Outer Banks and earlier lost at home against the Frederick Red Menace. It wasn't worth mentioning as Earnest Ashley was traditionally subbed out for our kick holder way too much and that kick holder tossed for 3 touchdown passes in these games, while Ashley was limited to 1 touchdown. Ashley did win player of the game honors for his 186 yards passing in Outer Banks.

Final decisions after these last two pre-season games.
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Old 01-02-2021, 06:23 AM   #436
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen 53-men set: G Gaylor and RB Harlow released
The Maassluis Merchantmen have announced their 53-men roster for the upcoming 2095 regular season. Guard Hayden Gaylor and running back Edwin Harlow were released. Harlow had been an undrafted rookie free agent signing this off-season and underwhelmed in 2 pre-season games. Gaylor was out of shape after having been a reliable backup for 3 seasons, including starting in the second half of the 2093 season after Howard Humphrey went out for the season with a knee injury. These moves also mean the Merchantmen go into the 2095 season with both punters Doug Guynes and Doug James, the latter expected to be inactive until he's fully recovered from the knee injury that sidelined him for most of the 2094 season and made him already miss training camp and pre-season action.
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Old 01-05-2021, 03:19 PM   #437
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: False start or sign of things to come?
So did we start last season. Well, kind of...

Two games in and we're already clearly in for a challenge and quite possibly not the contender I expected us to be. Gothenburg on the road: 41-20 loss. Kansas at home: 29-3 loss. Indeed, the least points we scored in a home game since week 8 of the 2070 season, when the Musketeers from Paris beat us 31-3. 41 points allowed isn't all that usual either, although we did have that 56-13 drubbing in Gothenburg last season, so basically we made 22 points progress. Yay?

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

Wait, hold on, two terrible showings and I'm not even going to pinpoint what exactly went wrong? Earnest Ashley was dreadful, completing just 10 of 31 passes for 93 yards against the Creationists from Kansas. obviously pulling him didn't make things better, our kick kolder and nothing but a kick holder completed 0 of 4 passes, not counting his interception towards those 'completions'. Do I wish we actually ran the ball a bit more? Of course I do, but what can you do when the situation calls for other calls. We ran the ball 20 times per game, not counting Ashley's scrambles, while we tried to complete a pass 36 times per game, not counting the 2 sacks per game allowed.

Was the defense bad? Yes, yes it was. 6.29 and 5.55 yards per play allowed may not sound like a couple of disasters, but we gave up a league second worst 177 yards rushing per game (yeah, the caretakers in Kansas actually made that offense run the ball 31 times) and a league second worst passer rating of 112.8. Who cares about that passer rating? Not me, but it's mostly a result of allowing a second worst pass completion percentage.

Anything to be proud of right now? No, not really. Glass half full? There's room for improvement, quite a bit of that even! But to see that happen, we do need to see Ashley improve on his (in)ability to connect with the receivers that we got for him. For now, I give him the benefit of the doubt, because our OC really has no freakin' clue how good a young quarterback can become, plus, neither mentor Moe Sheldon or kick holder, kick holder and nothing else but a kick holder Jon Giles will be able to improve on this, unless they catch lightning in a bottle Harry Osborne style. Which isn't going to happen.

Our season will continue with a home game against the equally underwhelming Harlem Apollos, followed by the inevitable way too early bye week and a home game against the Tucker Tigers. Always fun to play them, but preferably with a team that can actually put up a fight. But that's week 5, week 3 will come first. A chance to redeem ourselves, let's take that opportunity, team.
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Old 01-09-2021, 12:25 PM   #438
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Win some, lose some
But we are slowly improving.

Three more games played since my last report and we're coming off a series that has confirmed my confidence in the current group of players.

The worst first: Doug James. Our all-time great in the making has returned to practice, has been reported as 'probable' for a couple of game days now but once in the practice field, it became apparent: he's lost most of the power in his kicking leg. Other elements of his game appear to be still very good, aside from the kick holding that he wasn't going to do with Jon Giles (a kickholder and nothing but; remember that, staff!) on roster. Once he back to 100% we can make a new judgement on where we go between Doug James and Old Doug Guynes, until then we're not allowed to release him and switching back to James earlier would be a recipe for disaster, the kid deserves to not get rushed into action.

Second thing, the second game of the three we played. A home game against the Tucker Tigers, the team we love to hate and a team we're quite often throwing new stuff in our game plan to try and see what works and doesn't work against a team we're most likely going to lose to anyway. Except that we didn't this time and the result was an exciting game in Oranje Haven. In the end one big 73-yard catch and run made the difference, although Tucker's game winning drive to improve to 38-31 from a tied score was more impressive and didn't lean on a lucky play. So, we put up a fight, came back from 2 scores down, but at the end of the day we failed on fourth and one near midfield in the last chance drive and that was the end of it as the defense couldn't force one more change of possession in the last two minutes plus time outs.

So, where are the wins then? Well, before the Tucker home game, we rolled up the Harlem Apollos 24-6 in a near shutout in our place. The defense gave up only 182 total yards, including their final 78-yard drive that put them on the scoreboard.

The other win came at the Augusta Greenjackets, as we brought them back to earth (they had started 4-1 and are leading the AOC Southeast ahead of Tucker) with an overwhelming 44-23 defeat. Two missed field goals hardly mattered as we kept picking off their quarterback, combined with a fumble, for 6 turnovers in the second half alone. We took advantage of all those changes of possession, but aside from those were also quite impressive with 438 yards of total offense and an impressive kickoff returner to win the field position otherwise anyway.

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

Familiar sight? This is how it was last season. Complete with Bordeaux sitting as the virtual #6 seeds, except that Gothenburg is currently the virtual #1 seed after winning 30-26 at Tucker, seeing Augusta fall to us and the last undefeated AOC team, the Toronto Lake Monsters fall 29-7 in Atlanta, the surprise Deep South division leaders.

So, 2-3, with already 3 home games in the bag, that's not a good sign. On the other hand, we've played a tough schedule. Yes, they combined for only 16-13, but trust me, aside from the (no offense) unimpressive Harlem Apollos, we played strong opponents.

Earnest Ashley's sample size of 5 games has him on pace for another 4,000-yard season, with a 2:1 td:int ratio. Yes, his completion percentage is low, but we're forcing him to try and he does sport a 7.2 yards per attempt for it.

Our running back tandem Trey Beyer and Francisco Patter from last season has turned into a tricycle with the involvement of Jack Crane. Beyer gets roughly half the carries, with Patter and Crane about 25% each. That last guy's 5.11 yards per carry is quite good, although his third down tiny sample size, that don' impress me much.

The receiving side of the ball is once again the share of five guys. Theodore Bondy gets the most looks, Clay Gaynor makes the most catches, Ed Schulz has the awesome 10.8 yards per target, Clarence Gore the highest target percentage and catch percentage and George Stuckey has scored 50% of our receiving touchdowns. This is a great group, no doubt.

For the offensive line and defensive line the numbers of individuals are even more situation specific than those of the aforementioned guys, whom all are already also heavily influenced by situation, support cast, etc, etc.

Silly stat of the day, or perhaps the whole season so far: we had 6 interceptions against the Augusta Greenjackets, while we had none in the previous 4 games. Try to understand that. I won't, but that's how it goes at times.

Next up? Paris, at home. Week 7 and we're already starting to get a series of do or die games. Although quite frankly: if we want to go places, and actually think we're so good, we'll need to win at least 8 of the remaining 11 games. That's a lot to ask, but these last three games are a boost to the team confidence. Slow start, but things are improving and if we keep working hard, hopefully we get the reward we're seeking.
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Old 01-13-2021, 04:54 PM   #439
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Hot or cold?
We've been both this season, a lot.

We've rebounded, and then some. A tremendous 27-3 root over the Paris Musketeers, which was our second near shutout of the season, brought us into .500 land and we followed up by winning a 35-23 fumblefest against the winless Snapfinger Jazz, despite that they actually dominated the game, if you ignore our pass rush and their 7 sacks for a second. But just as we managed to finally get a winning record again, we dropped hard in Bordeaux, losing 27-7 to the Vineyards.

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

Back to .500 land, that's where we are. It makes me think we're destined for a series of seasons of floating around that 8-8 record. I certainly hope not, but the way we're winning games and losing games, we deserve nothing better or worse than 8-8.

50% is also almost part of Earnest Ashley's faith, as he's currently near the bottom in the league in completion percentage. With a dropped to mediocre yards per attempt figure, we can't claim that he's getting the most he can out of the passes he does complete, although he does rank 3rd in yards per completion, so maybe he does?

The living legend Theodore Bondy is the main culprit, struggling to make the catches, despite being heavily targetted. Not the 42% of the time he used to be, but 30% does have him far ahead of Ed Schulz (only 21% targeted) and Clay Gaynor (23%). Maybe we have some game plan fixing to do? Schulz and George Stuckey can fairly claim that they've surpassed Bondy in skill and efficiency, while Clarence Gore needs to be worked more into the game plan as he continues to be a dangerous receiving tight end.

Our running game continues to be up and down like our results are. The loss of Michael Szott may have been filled by Desmond Pritchett on paper, but he's lacking the endurance to play well all day long and has lost a step or two already from the elite guard that he used to be. Good old Howard Humphrey is actually leading the team in key run blocks again.

On the defense a couple of youngsters is getting the best out of their playing time. Rookie Richie Piotte is in the running for the defensive rookie honors, although I doubt he's got a serious shot at it, with 5.0 sacks and an interception he's in the mix after 8 games played. Second year defensive tackle Harold Gough leads the team with 7.0 sacks and is clearly one of the best at his position this season, especially as a pass rusher. Rookie cornerback Ernie Grant has a broken clavicle and has been rules out for one and a half months. He might be back in time for the last 2 or 3 regular season games. Second year players Zachery Weisz and Bryson Swafford once again get a chance to play, while it also prompted the return of veteran Jackie Richardson into the rotation.

At 4-3, the Solecismic playoffs probabilities calculator had us at roughly 50% to make the playoffs, despite sitting in the 7th seed slot at that point. After the loss in Bordeaux we dropped to roughly 25% and rightfully so, given that we have 3 home games remaining against the last remaining undefeated team (Iowa Cobbers), the AOC leading Gothenburg team and the team we got clobbered by in week 9 (Bordeaux). The other 5 games are all on the road, with trips to Paris (week 17), and in last to first order also to Arizona, Atlanta, Chicago and Orlando, our next stop in this up and down season. Any other season, we'd already pencil it in as a loss, and I think we'll still have to, despite the Orlando Talons' current 2-6 record.

So yes, we're back in the mix after a tough start, but just barely. I have my hopes up, or had before we came home from the drubbing in Bordeaux. Regroup and go back to one game at a time. Orlando it is. They've been pretty one-dimensional on offense, which sounds good initially, but given their overall talent, we have no reason to think we're the favorite, no matter what the odds makers say. Jerald Harrison is an elite quarterback, he can tear apart any defense. Which means the guys have to bring their A game once again. So, Merchantmen, do it, make it happen!
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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 01-15-2021, 01:43 PM   #440
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Cold as Ice
We're still alive, but a longshot...

Two more games, against the fifth and sixth best franchises of the 2090's. (We barely make the top10 of that metric, or all things considered it's a miracle we're top10 material?) We visited the Orlando Talons and came close to tying the score in the final 15 seconds, but we came a couple of plays short. Or 8 yards, whichever way you see it. And would have still had to make the two-point conversion. In which case we would have tied up a game that we deserved to lose. Orlando beat us 21-13, a fitting final score. The 34-10 final score at home against the Gothenburg Giants was much more of a disappointment. Yes, Orlando (like us) is only 4-6, while Gothenburg has reached 9-1, but at home against the Giants is a must win game, but certainly not a game where we should get crushed the way we did today. Merchantmen unworthy. I spoke of hot and cold before, the game against Orlando was chilly, the one against Gothenburg was as cold as their old stadium used to be (the Palace of Ice and Frost).

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

So, scoreboard journalism, or whatever, we're still alive, but barely. Really, just barely. With 4 road games still to go, the odds are not in our favor. Neither does our divisional record help to even think about getting past Bordeaux. The final wild card will be tough as well, as we're unlikely to catch up in conference record with the Northeast second place finisher. At least we have that win in Augusta to give us tie-breakers over some of the competition...

Doug James returned to action against the Giants (yay!), but was underwhelming. But really, what can a punter do to make a difference? Well, do what James was capable of before the knee injury. But that's the past, we have to live by the kind of player he has become. Earnest Ashley is struggling, not doing better than his rookie season, which is kind of bad. Theodore Bondy is, well, he doesn't feel like "Theo" anymore. Don't be surprised if he ends the season only 5th on the team in receiving yards. It might be tricky to get much more than 500 yards receiving. Imagine that, a four-time 2,000-yard receiver...

Rookie cornerback Ernie Grant is still out with a broken clavicle, he might not be able to return in time for the crucial week 15 clash with the Bordeaux Vineyards. More certain will be the absence of Isaac Delgado, our guard playing left tackle. A concussion rules out Delgado for the remainder of the regular season, and then some. He might only be able to play if we make it to the bowl game...

Lastly, for now, the complete lack of progress by Ed Schulz continues to disappoint me. Our staff still thinks he's roughly 58% developed, but he has been since our last game of the 2093 season. You read that right: not last season, but the one before that. At least his performance continues to improve, which is still something. But this third year pro with Theo as his mentor, he should show progress, I think. It's almost as if becoming the leader of the receivers group is holding him back...

On to week 12, a visit to the Chicago Norsemen. Last time we visited them was a 30-13 victory in the 2037 season. Ellis McAlister was still our quarterback, Francisco Patter a backup to Reggie Thongchanh and Theodore Bondy already was our offensive star. That day he caught 10 passes for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns. It would be nice to see him do something like that again, but odds of that are slim. Theo is about to find out that he'll be demoted to the WR3 role behind George Stuckey. Yes, even when the season is only mathematically still salvageable, we're not shy of making an all-time great lose his starting role. That too is part of what can happen with the Merchantmen.
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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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