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Old 05-02-2021, 07:59 AM   #501
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: On to training camp 2098!
With a whole bunch of new and a couple of old faces.

Post draft free agency pretty much finished. "Pretty much" as I have sent out offers to 5 free agents hoping they'll take an eleventh hour contract to join us for training camp, increasing the head count to 70. Providing our two hold-outs Richie Piotte and Darien Fletcher will sign our second offer. Let's hope their mathematically incapable player agents do the right thing and not turn down another much better contract than they're requesting.

Linebacker Hayden McNeil did sign a new one-year deal, which means he'll likely be back for another season on our running downs defensive formations. We did sign a couple of other linebackers, in case McNeil wouldn't and to have a bit more insurance in case our veterans fall apart in camp. 29-year old Bart Hansen is one of two veteran free agent that we added to our roster. He was previously with the Fairbanks Northstars, playing there for 3 seasons after 4 seasons with the Orlando Talons, that discovered him as an undrafted rookie in 2091. Undrafted rookie Trey Ford also signed a one-year deal, we had him on our radar during the draft already.

The other veteran signing is a familiar face: quarterback Kelvin Everett. Yes, he'll probably won't make our pre-season roster, but I figured we'd give him one more shot to prove us wrong. He extended his career after signing with the Chesapeake Chitterlings during the playoffs, but they decided not to use their restricted free agency dibs on him and let him become free to all. Well, Kelvin, here's your one more chance in Oranje Haven.

Aside from aforementioned Trey Ford, we signed 7 other undrafted rookies: running back Angel Henderson, tight ends R.J. Asmus and Wendell Borders, wide receiver Lester Quinn, punter Trevor Sinclair, defensive end Drake Stinchcomb and safety Dakota Kamin. Borders' run blocking, Asmus' special teams skills, Quinn's big play ability and special teams experience, Stinchcomb's pass rush technique and Kamin's zone defending and special teams skills give them a legitimate shot at making the team. Sinclair might just be an insurance incase veteran Shaun Barlow falls apart. Henderson wil have to improve in camp to have a chance to challenge our backfield from last season and seventh round pick Dashawn McIntyre.

The excess of over 60 players is always tricky, because training camp is just a moment to give young players a second look. For veterans pre-season action reveals their game day fitness. But with 60 the limit for pre-season, we'll have to make at least 5 cuts between those two moments. And I'm going to make it more difficult on us/me, as I already mentioned that I have 5 offers out on free agents to join us. Most notable Branden Sandlin, because he deserves to make it to camp here.
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Old 05-03-2021, 01:55 PM   #502
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Bye bye Espino and Sandlin
And welcome to a new long snapper.

Daquan Espino, #29 overall pick in the 2086 draft, touted as our new all around stud linebacker. It all felt promising, but the longer he hung around, the more clear it became that he was gradually turning from a great linebacker into a situational defender. He was active in 158 regular season games and 8 playoffs games for us. The last two seasons he was inactive. Unwilling to sign a new deal, the stint in Maassluis ends after 12 seasons.

Branden Sandlin, a hidden gem in the 2087 sixth round? The wide receiver broke into our starting lineup on the offense as Theodore Bondy's sidekick in 2088, following up in 2089 with a 9-touchdown campaign. But more recently he was losing his speed and diminished into a WR5 role. The last four seasons we barely used him anymore. Contract negotiations failed, so after 129 regular season games and 5 playoffs games he left Oranje Haven.

Bummer, I like to keep our veterans around, but Espino and Sandlin both were unlikely to have an active role and became too expensive...

Coming in is rookie long snapper Harris Custer. I'm expecting him to beat the veteran Sebastian Garner that we signed as a free agent.

Richie Piotte signed a new contract, meaning one of our two hold outs is back on the training field. Darien Fletcher declined my very generous offer, on to offer number three we go, because we can't afford to give him what he's asking straight up.

Training Camp results are also in, players that made good progress: wide receiver Vinny Buysse (always a relief to see our first round on this list), undrafted rookie punter Trenton Sinclair, undrafted rookie linebacker Trey Ford. Secodd tier: fullback Damien Wanamaker (ready to play now?), guard Ronald Staigvil (our first round pick last season), defensive end Robbie Dobreski (could he be for real?), cornerback Omar Leszynski and rookie safety Blaine Wright. Third tier: rookie quarterback Bill Benson (nice, but I doubt he'll make the team), rookie running back Dashawn McIntyre, undrafted rookie tight end Wendell Borders (he's going to make the team), tight end Myron Lofton and tackle Dusty Webster.

Right now, I have to figure out which 6 players won't make our pre-season roster.
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Old 05-03-2021, 02:37 PM   #503
Kodos
Resident Alien
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
It'll be fun tracking the careers of SE Vinny Buysse (who you traded in at 1.7 to grab one pick ahead of me) and FL Teddy Austin who I subsequently got after trading down with Kansas from 1.8 to get 1.17 and Kansas's 2099 1st. It'd be pretty sweet if your move netted me a similar WR plus a future 1st lottery ticket. Hopefully Austin's RR comes along over time.
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Last edited by Kodos : 05-03-2021 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 05-04-2021, 02:02 PM   #504
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kodos View Post
It'll be fun tracking the careers of SE Vinny Buysse (who you traded in at 1.7 to grab one pick ahead of me) and FL Teddy Austin who I subsequently got after trading down with Kansas from 1.8 to get 1.17 and Kansas's 2099 1st. It'd be pretty sweet if your move netted me a similar WR plus a future 1st lottery ticket. Hopefully Austin's RR comes along over time.
I'm pretty sure that I would have settled for Austin if the trade for 1.7 had failed and Buysse had gone at 1.8. I was ready to move up to 1.9 for it. And it's no longer a secret either that I was very close to agreeing terms for 1.4 and would have picked Buysse there. All in all, this draft class had 4 very similar, yet in detail very different receivers in the top7 picks. Austin might be in the mix here, the WR group of 2098 in general will be interesting to watch, but in the micro cosmos of the Futility Bowl rivalry, Austin vs Buysse is a story within that story.
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Old 05-04-2021, 02:23 PM   #505
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Jackson out, Fletcher in
And some other riffraff that won't make it into pre-season.

Clayton Jackson was the most prominent post training camp roster cut casualty. In our group of 9 linebackers, he certainly wasn't the worst of the bunch, but unlike the likes of Jose Meadows, Brant Rayburn, Andrew Cochrane and Brandon Brady, he wasn't much of a special teamer. Third round pick for us in the 2087 draft, we made him sit out his rookie campaign. But convinced in his pass defense skills and slightly less in his pass rush skills, we wanted to keep him around for season 2 and onwards. Jackson ended up playing in 160 regular season games and 4 more in the playoffs, never missing a game since week 1 of the 2088 season. Last season he was a bit of a liability in our pass defense and with the looks of undrafted rookie Trey Ford, it wasn't to be for another season. That's the third long timer already to not make our pre-season roster after Daquan Espino and Branden Sandlin...

Also missing out are Kelvin Everett, the third-year quarterback, our seventh round pick Bill Benson (also a quarterback and despite his somewhat promising training camp), undrafted rookies tight end R.J. Asmus and safety Dakota Kamin, and veteran long snapper Sebastian Garner.

Reporting for duty is defensive tackle Darien Fletcher. He ended his hold out after we finally agreed to terms, on a two-year deal. It will make re-signing cornerback Ernie Grant a bigger challenge now, as well as the extension of contracts of several of our second and third tier players. We've got less than $7M to work with now. We'll likely get around the table with running back Bert Ta'Amu and defensive tackle Jerome Shumate to find some additional cap relief, while the change of kicker might also happen and open up some cap space. We have 21 players on roster in their final year of contract. But all of that is tomorrow's story...
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Old 05-05-2021, 06:53 AM   #506
Kodos
Resident Alien
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Advantage Buysse after week 2 of the preseason. Austin took a bit.
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Old 05-05-2021, 07:02 AM   #507
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: That day all GMs both love and loath
... that moment between pre-season game 2 and 3.

Our cut down to 53 men is settled. Long time special teams linebacker Brant Rayburn, kicker Dylan McMullen and cornerback Bryson Swafford are the biggest casualties. We're also releasing undrafted rookies punter Trenton Sinclair, running back Angel Henderson, defensive end Drake Stinchcomb and wide receiver Lester Quinn.

McMullen looked out of shape, while rookie Gino Shea made good progress. It would make sense to keep McMullen around to mentor Shea, but salary cap reasons made me release him, so we have additional room to lock up cornerback Ernie Grant.

Grant will have a different CB2 next season, in particular on running downs. Bryson Swafford's promising progress came to a grueling halt and in his current shape we can't play him anymore. In return, third-year cornerback Omar Leszynski made another good impression and after two season of inactivity it's time to make him play. This too will help get the cap space for Grant to sign him a new deal.

The other releases are quite simply the numbers game of too many players at their positions. Henderson wasn't going to unseat Bet Ta'Amu (despite his horrible decline) and Ronnie Vanden Bosch, while Dashawn McIntyre and Harris Gerhardt will have special teams roles. Sinclair looked good in training camp, but all of a sudden not so much in pre-season, making us stick with veteran Shaun Barlow. Quinn doesn't look good enough to get an active role on the team. Stinchcomb didn't impress more than Robbie Dobreski did. Rayburn was stuck in a linebackers group where too many are also great special teamers, we're likely shifting Brandon Brady into that unit, with his playing time in pass defense possibly lowered.

I intend to take a look at a couple of upgrades, which means the 53-men list isn't completely set, but it will be 2 or 3 moves at most. The verdict on the decision to get pick #7 rather than pick #4 is currently looking like all it means is $5M more in cap room, whether Raul Bradford (picked at the #4 pick) or Vinny Buysse (our #7 pick) will be the better player is way too early to call. We can't judge Buysse on his 4 catches for 35 yards in the first two pre-season games, we played him in the WR3 slot after all.

Raul Bradford played for the Frederick Red Menace, but wasn't even targeted. The other first round rookies? Outer Banks Osprey's #2 pick Donnie Olsavsky had 8 catches for 116 yards, Texas Sharks' #5 pick Dustin Mathis 3 catches for 27 yards. Moontown's #16 William Rivers had 5 catches for 84 yards, Toronto's #17 Teddy Austin 5 catches for 50 yards. Tucker's #30 Ethan Sawyer barely played, he wasn't targeted. Gothenburg's #31 Jeffery DiMillo had 2 catches for 18 yards. So far the class of 2098 isn't making a splash just yet...
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Old 05-07-2021, 05:54 PM   #508
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Jinxed!
The dreaded perfect pre-season record...

Pre-season came to an end and five teams are coming out of it with a 4-0 record. The Paris Musketeers cruised to it, outscoring their opponents 160-56. Which means our very own 4-0 was just barely enough for second place, as we outscored our opponents 105-70. The Gothenburg Giants were on our tail with a 3-1 record, cruising to three blowout victories and one big loss in Oakland, outscoring their opponents 148-61. Yeah, we're going to be in a touch crowd as the Bordeaux Vineyards are dubbed the post-pre-season favorites by the highly regarded DogBytes power rankings.

Contrary to previous notes, I'm thinking the 53-men list has settled. I failed to sign a linebacker that would have improved our pass defense (lesson: don't underbid on free agents that might get another offer) and I'm uncertain about the other slots that I dillydallied about.

who?pre statsnotes
QB Earnest Ashley42/89 for 1035 yd, 6 td, 3 int; 11 for 68 ydfranchise quarterback, so says the $213M deal he signed
QB Efrain Batcheck32/72 for 376 yd, 3 td, 2 int; 13 for 40 ydEmergency quarterback
KH Jon Gileshe held some kicksand will hold more kicks
RB Bert Ta'Amu28 for 126 yd, 2 rec for 37 yd, 1 tdDeclining fast, but still our best option
RB Ronnie Vanden Bosch17 for 48 yd, 0 td; 3 rec for 7 yd, 1 tdRB2, will we give him some carries this year?
RB Dashawn McIntyre35 for 115 yd, 0 td; 3 rec for 14 ydnew special teamer, backup kickoff returner
ST Harris Gerhardtplayed on special teamsspecial teams ace and mentor
FB Damien Wanamakerhe blocked and stuffthe new fullback?
FB Owen Johnstonwas inactivethe old fullback
TE Clay Gaynor3 for 26 yd, 0 tdgo to guy on third and medium?
TE Clarence Gore4 for 33 yd, 1 tdroute runner, short routes to the sidelines?
TE Wendell Borders3 for 32 yd, 1 tdour new run blocker
TE Ike Nixon4 for 45 yd, 1 tdspecial teamer
TE Myron Lofton3 for 33 yd, 0 tdstill a project
WR Ed Schulz7 for 206 yd, 1 tdSoon to be WR2?
WR George Stuckey24 for 360 yd, 2 tdOur route runner
WR Vinny Buysse8 for 78 yd, 1 tdkid is for real, grow fast, become our WR1 by season end?
PR Mark Perkins7 for 78 ydactually, he's our punt returner
KR Darien Thompsonreturned kickoffslike I said: kickoff returner
LT Johnny Houston5/19 key blocks, 0 sackshas to prove he's worth that $133M contract
LG Nickolas Toler7/13 key blocks, 0 sacksstud
C Robbie Zinn6/18 key blocks, 0 sacksour best OL guy
RG Ronald Staigvil6/13 key blocks, 4 sacksweakest link on the line?
RT Isaac Delgado3/13 key blocks, 2 sackshas to prove he's worth that $180M contract
G Caleb Turnbull3/11 key blocks, 3 sacksveteran OL6
C Rickey Mason0/1 key blocks, 2 sacksproject?
OT Dusty Websterinactiveour 8th lineman
P Shaun Barlowwell, he puntedour punter
K Gino Shea12/15 FG (3 misses on 40+), 9/10 PATour kicker
DE Richie Piotteall downs defensive end?
DE Caiden Croylerun stopper
DE Archie Exnerpass rusher
DE Robbie Dobreskiproject, too green to play?
DT Jerome Shumaterun stuffer and pass rusher
DT Darien Fletcherpass rusher
DT Caleb Domispass rusher
DT Harold Goughpass rusher
LB Brandon Bradymostly running downs, special teams
LB Preston Bradfordpassing downs
LB Bart Hansenrunning downs
LB Hayden McNeilrunning downs
LB Andrew Cochranespecial teamer
LB Jose Meadowsspecial teamer
LB Trey Fordproject
CB Ernie Grantour shutdown corner
CB Omar Leszynskirunning downs CB2
CB Adam Harmonpassing downs CB2
CB Zachery Weisznickel back
S Devon Farrellall downs strong safety
S Chuck Murrayrunning downs free safety
S Jon Brotzmanpassing downs free safety
S Blaine Wrightwill be inactive
LS Harris Custercuz we need one
Yeah, I didn't feel the need to tally defensive numbers, they're usually not telling a true story, being very situation dependent (well, ain't that true for most positions?). I can give you that Richie Piotte ran havoc again, earning player of the game honors twice.


In other news, we finally locked up Ernie Grant and as a result, we now have 5 players signed through the 2102 season: QB Ashley, WR Schulz, the OTs Houston and Delgado and CB Grant. We're currently projected to be $76M over the to be expected $539M cap at the start of the next off-season, with 42 players signed. I intended to lock up at least TE Gore, DE Exner and DE Croyle, which will probably put us at roughly $95M over the cap. Yup, good old cap hell will be back soon! But I'm confident we'll manage, as we'll have close to $150M locked up in base salary for those 5 expensive guys, which should realistically be capped out to being just over $50M.


Some more dillydallying is to be expected over the next day or two, mostly for our game plan. We'll start the season with quite possibly the toughest two-game stretch of all 32 teams: at Gothenburg and at Hanalei. We'll have to follow up by hosting San Antonio and after the bye hosting Tucker and visiting Augusta. Week 7 at Paris will be our first opponent with more than 6 losses last season, oh goody... Week 8 and 9 we host Snapfinger and Bordeaux, then week 10 at Orlando, followed up by hosting last season's #1 seeds back-to-back: Gothenburg and Orlando. Then we get a three-game road stretch at North Plainfield, Fairbanks and Bordeaux, then finish the season with home games against Colorado and Bordeaux.

A very tough schedule, but well have to believe in ourselves, trust what we're good at, keep our chins up. Feelin' young, feelin' strong. We can do this, Merchantmen.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

Last edited by MIJB#19 : 05-07-2021 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:13 AM   #509
QuikSand
lolzcat
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Quote:
Originally Posted by MIJB#19 View Post
[b]General Manager Notes:

Also missing out are Kelvin Everett, the third-year quarterback...

Reader note: Chesapeake has signed QB Everett, and our plan is to give him a look in what appears, down our way, to be a more or less lost season. Not sure if that will be "a look" taking snaps or just running around, but he's too tantalizing to let sit by the wayside. Our standards are, apparently, lower than those of your beloved Merchantmen. #HardTimesInCrabtown
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Old 05-12-2021, 12:33 PM   #510
QuikSand
lolzcat
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
So, this wasn't quite what we might have wanted...

Chesapeake
CMP
ATT
YD
YPA
LONG
TD
INT
BAD
SK/YD
RTG
Kelvin Everett
18
42
145
3.45
22
0
3
2
3/16
22.4

...but might as well know whether we have something at QB in Everett. Early returns are... not promising, shall we say.
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Old 05-12-2021, 03:01 PM   #511
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
To all the loyal readers: I'll get this back in swing, it has been a busy and unusual set of days. And I'll promise to mention Kelvin Everett.
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Old 05-12-2021, 05:15 PM   #512
tzach
H.S. Freshman Team
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
nice! clayton jackson deserves a tribute, he was good
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Old 05-15-2021, 11:13 AM   #513
QuikSand
lolzcat
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Everett back in the saddle, and notches his first win for the Chits, despite eight (EIGHT!) bad passes in one game.

FBK at CHE: 2098 WEEK 6 BOX.
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Old 05-16-2021, 01:00 PM   #514
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: When you have no idea what to say...
.. because everything that can go wrong goes wrong.

The 2098 season might appear to already be over. Wait, what, aren't we just 5 games into it? Definitely, but the outlook right now is, well, let's just look at the cold hard fact:

European Division:
1. Gothenburg 6-0
2. Bordeaux 4-1
3. Paris 4-1
4. Maassluis 0-5

Ouch.

Yes, that's where we stand right now. The tough start of the early schedule did it's work and we didn't even play good enough to win once, let alone twice. In return, the rest of the division is steamrolling, all the recorded losses came against each other.

How did we really do though? We started with a 33-21 loss in Gothenburg, then followed up with a 23-17 loss in Hanalei, a 17-7 loss at home against San Antonio, a 31-13 loss against Tucker and the quintuple was completed with a 23-14 loss at Augusta. I don't care that these opponents combine for the toughest schedule in the league as of week 6, you'll have to face and beat whatever challenges come on your journey.

Earnest Ashley has struggled, completed under 46% of his passes for 1,070 yards (so barely over 200 per game), 5 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. At least he ran a bit, but his 173 yards and 2 touchdowns are inflated by an 81- yarder in garbage time at Gothenburg.

Ed Schulz is struggling even heavier, already dropped 9 passes. He has 23 catches for 262 yards and 2 touchdowns. George Stuckey is thriving, so to speak, with 27 catches for 401 yards, while rookie Vinny Buysse is also struggling with just 11 catches for 165 yards and 1 touchdown. We've missed tight end Clay Gaynor significantly, as he went down in Gothenburg and hasn't played since. Clarence Gore, Wendell Borders and especially Myron Lofton are clearly not in the same realm as Gaynor. Maybe we should throw the ball even more to running back Bert Ta'Amu?

Speaking of Ta'Amu, his stats as the premier ball carrier are depressingly bad. 55 carries for 157 yards and 1 touchdown. Our change of pace Ronnie Vanden Bosch gained just 55 yards on 28 carries, which is even more pathetic. It makes you wonder what these guys would do behind an offensive line that isn't as good as ours and with an offensive coordinator also not as good as ours: would they combine for negative yardage?

Thankfully there's always the defense to fall back on. Except that they aren't setting the world on fire either. We allowed the 3rd most rushing yards per game and the 5th most yards per pass attempt. Not quite what I had in mind with all the talent and cap space invested that we have here. Even our state of the art pass rushers are below average, it's all or nothing with them: either the get a sack or don't make anything (not) happen.

Our rookie kicker isn't helping either: he leads the league with 5 missed field goals, scoring just 16 points so far.

I've tried to jumble and fiddle with our offensive game plan, but it didn't make much of a difference one time and the other time for no legitimate good reason, the game plan wasn't even used. Depressing, no?

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? If we win in week 7, we'll avoid tying the worst ever Merchantmen start to a season. I suspect none of y'all remember the 2030 season, where we started with 6 losses, then somewhat recovered with a 5-2 stretch, to finish with 3 more losses for a 5-11 record, actually outscoring our opponents 357-351.

But I'm honestly close to numb, throwing my arms up in the air wondering: where have we gone wrong, what are we doing wrong that was never broken and now all of a sudden is? Or should I really stick with excuses like a tough schedule? Nope, we can't go for the latter, a competitive team would have gone 2-3 at worst here. We were outmatched all five games.

Back to the drawing board? Perhaps, but I'm far from optimistic right now. Heck, even Kelvin Everett proved that he can play ball. He was signed by the Chesapeake Chitterlings, stepping in for rookie Willie Monroe, the kids the Chitterlings picked at the #20 overall slot after trading down with us. Everett was Merchantmen'98 like in his first game, but in week 6 he recovered with 291 yards and 2 touchdowns. The 3 picks he's throwing per start haven't kept him from splitting them 1 win, 1 loss.

Which makes our franchise quarterback's performance that much more depressing. Our faith is tied to Earnest Ashley for this and at least the next season. From there on, cap technically we can evaluate the situation.

Right the ship and move on, although I'm afraid we have to make an 180 degree turn to make that happen. The fat lady won't even get to the stage to give her a chance to start singing, but we're peaking behind the scenes and realize we'll likely see her much earlier than others will. Next up: a big test in Paris and if we fail that one, which is highly expected right now, despite that we this same team beat them big twice last season, we'll get a visit from the only other winless team...
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Old 05-18-2021, 11:15 AM   #515
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager notes: Trainwreck? What trainwreck?
Let's call it a shipwreck maybe...

It's official: the Maassluis Merchantmen are 0-7. Indeed, in the 95-season history of this franchise, it's the first time ever that we started a season with 7 straight losses.

7 straight losses.

Seriously. This isn't a bad nightmare, it's for real. I had to repeat myself to let it get to me and it's still doubleyouteeeffing-ing.


After the first five losses, we lost 41-10 in Paris. Can we just blame Earnest Ashley for his triplet of interceptions? Not really, he's not playing on our defense that allowed Paris' running back to gain 198 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Today, we had a chance to save face, hosting the equally disappointing 0-6 Snapfinger Jazz. It turned out that after this game day, we're the only two teams with less than 2 wins. In an interceptionfest (3 picks on each side), we got ran over once again and the only good news was that Bert Ta'Amu returned the favor by running for 141 yards. It didn't quite brush away one of Earnest Ashley's worst showings ever: 11 for 36 (imagine that!) for 142 yards passing, 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. This was with Clay Gaynor back in action.

Perhaps I've been sleeping at the wheel a bit here? I doubt it though, the game plans are almost identical to what this team was capable of in that 8-1 stretch last season. So much for never changing a winning game plan, huh?

European Division:
1. Gothenburg 7-0
2. Paris 6-1
3. Bordeaux 5-2
4. Maassluis 0-7

Playoffs? I'm still going to tell the team to give it all they've got and try to redeem ourselves into a 9-7 record and see where we can get with that, but with how strong the rest of the division has been so far, that will likely be just enough to finish still fourth. Our rivals rank 1-2-3 in both the Solecismic Power Ratings and the DogBytes Power Rankings. For whatever it's worth: both ranking systems are very clear that we're not the worst team in the league, despite that we're the only winless team. Both have us at the 29th spot, still ahead of 3 other teams, 5 different ones between them, with Snapfinger last by a landslide in both metrics. Yes, the team that overran us in our own Oranje Haven today is considered to be worse than us. Go figure.

No, no suck for luck here. We'll continue to do our best to right the ship. Whatever there's left of it...
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Old 05-19-2021, 05:13 PM   #516
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Making water, abandon ship!
Indeed. We hadn't hit rock bottom just yet.

Today we had basically nothing to lose anymore. The Bordeaux Vineyards were coming to town and as the clear cut underdogs, given how we and they have played so far, this was a rare moment in the history of the Merchantmen were I wasn't expecting a victory, just playing along and having a chance to win in the final two minutes would be a mental victory of sorts.

The game started slowly, but on our second drive, Oranje Haven exploded: Earnest Ashley found rookie Vinny Buysse for 55 yards and into scoring position. George Stuckey made the catch in the end zone 2 plays later and we were 7-0 up. On our next drive we got a bit lucky, forcing a fumble on their punt return and recovering it in field goal range. Buysse came through with a 21-yard catch and on the next play, Bert Ta'Amu ran it in for the 14-0 lead. Things went back and forth, but early in the second quarter, Bordeaux finally got their mojo going and a 30-yard pass on fist and 20 set up their touchdown. They got deep on their next drive as well, but we halted them just in time and with a key 25 yard run from Ta'Amu we set up Ta'Amu's touchdown catch for a 21-7 lead. As our defense came through on the next drive, our pass rushers forced a strip sack and safety Jon Brotzman made it 28-7 for the half time lead.

Oranje Haven exploded, up by three touchdowns, the Merchantmen were finally recovering from a terrible stretch, 7 losses this season, with the meltdown previous season still fresh in memory as well.

Bordeaux scored a quick 46-yard field goal in the second half, but as the ball kept getting punted back and forth, this wasn't going to change much, right? As we were losing the field position battle (seriously, this used to be our thing: winning that battle), Walt Czech got his chance to shine, throwing a 49-yarder, followed by a 2-point conversion to make it 28-18. Our kickoff returner fumbled and lost the ball right after, rookie Derek Clayton ran for 17 yards and the next play it was 28-25. It didn't last long, Earnest Ashley tried to march the team downfield, but got picked off in our territory and two plays later, Bordeaux' backup tight end turned a short pass into a 31-yard touchdown. Poof, gone the lead, Bordeaux all of a sudden was 32-28 up and the third quarter wasn't even over yet.

In the fourth quarter Devon Farrell saved us with an interception in our own red zone and ran it back for 30 yards, only to see Earnest Ashley get strip sacked on the very next play, with a Bordeaux linebacker landing on the ball. Holding them to a 49-yard field goal was a moral victory, but Oranje Haven was starting to feel like this was going to be one of those rare games where a team completely falls apart and chokes a 3-touchdown lead. Bordeaux kept winning the field position battle and as they go into victory formation, they find out there's 8 seconds remaining, they call the punt play and as the ball sails out of bounds at our 2-yard line, we have 1 second remaining to attempt a hail mary pass! Ashley dropped back, had his 5 receivers all running down field and found rookie Vinny Buysse (our player of the game) 45 yards away, but also in coverage, meaning he got tackled right there and then.

Game over and presumably season over as well. No way we're going to make the 180 degree turn, get to 8-8 and be lucky enough to see at least two teams that already beat us fall from 6-2 or better to a spot behind us.

Division:
1. Gothenburg 8-0
2. Paris 7-1
3. Borderaux 6-2
4. Maassluis 0-8

Ouch.

Some franchises and fan bases would applaud this situation, start dreaming of the #1 overall pick and then start complaining when their team team finishes the season 5-11 and with the #6 overall pick, to grab some random linebacker. Well, we'll be fighting for that scenario. Heck, I want us to claw all the way up to 8-8 and something like the #14 pick. Too much pride to even think about wanting to lose. Besides, given our upcoming cap situation, ending up with a top4 pick, let alone #1 overall, will be a disaster: we can't afford such a pick, or will need to release a truckload of veterans. Although, to be fair, the way this team has played so far this season, does anyone of them really have proven to belong on this team? Earnest Ashley in particular has fallen to a lower level of play than we've seen from him before: completes only 43% of his passes, barely gets above 200 yards per game and has a 1:1.5 td:int ration. The O-line is to blame here as well, they've not protected him well at all, in 28% of all our passing plays Ashley gets sacked, hurried or his pass blocked. Apparently that has been a problem in the previous 3 season as well, but this season is even worse. At the same time, the defense continues to be an enigma too, giving up the 3 most yards per pass attempt and 2nd most rushing yards. I really need to think twice about the game plans that we're using. They worked in the past, for a shorter or longer time, depending on the side of the ball, but right now, despite our ongoingly toughest schedule in the league, we can't think things will get better without any effort.

Merchantmen, stop thinking we're sinking, no life boats to abandon ship, that's not our mentality. Grab your buckets and paddles, we'll find a way back into good waters, we've lost enough games already this season. A new game is on our horizon, set sail to it and return home with a good result. Make it happen, team!
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

Last edited by MIJB#19 : 05-19-2021 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 05-19-2021, 07:11 PM   #517
QuikSand
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Location: Annapolis, Md
you hate to see it
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Old 05-21-2021, 04:36 PM   #518
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: And... it's gone.
2098? Nope. On to 2099.

With 6 regular season games still to be played, we've already been eliminated from contention for the playoffs. We've been unable to put up a fight against the toughest schedule in the league of all 32 teams. We actually won 34-20 in Orlando in week 10, but an all remaining hopes crushing 20-6 defeat by the hands of the Gothenburg Giants in our own Oranje Haven ended all dreams of the impossible comeback.

First of all, our staff didn't learn from our 3-touchdown lead collaps against the Bordeaux Vineyards. After taking a 31-3 lead in Orlando, it was decided to bench Earnest Ashley (after completing 15 of 22 passes for 204 yards) and actually giving the Talons a chance to come back into the game, which they did. Their comeback stopped at 34-20, resulting in our first victory of the season, ending our streak at 8 losses.

With some renewed confidence, we went into the home game against undefeated Gothenburg. And for about 15 minutes we played along. From there on, Earnest Ashley's inability to find his receivers returned. We gave him the liberty to run with the ball (and doing much better with it than he did in Orlando), outgaining Bert Ta'Amu 54 yards to 28 yards with 16 carries each. I'm not sure it's a good idea to give Ashley 15 carries per game consistently, I was actually going to call the experiment a failure in Orlando already, but it was worth a shot to be tricky against Gothenburg. It wasn't to be though.

European Division:
1. Gothenburg 10-0
2. Bordeaux 7-3
3. Paris 7-3
4. Maassluis 1-9

We're not yet locked in fourth place, an incredible comeback to 7-9 with Paris starting to lose games outside the division (they are 1-3 inside it) will actually bring us to 3rd place. We'd still end up losing tie-breakers to the 2nd place team in the Deep South, which will be 7-9 at worst with a superior conference record. Alas.

We're not giving up hope though, we have a lot to learn from this team still. We get some tough competition still, odds are we'll finish the season with a strength of schedule way north of .600, it's not impossible to see it end up being near .666... It's currently at .675. Had we gone 10-0, we'd still have faced the tied toughest schedule. But it won't stop us from trying to please our fans. We'll going to want a sold out house in our remaining home games and try to win all three of them. That sole win so far was in Florida.

Not to mention that I really want no piece of those expensive top picks. Maybe if we can trade down, we can afford it, but y'all know me way too well: we'll go down fightin', trying to save face until the very end, working hard, even when it's all over. Because there's always next season and going into new journeys with rebuilt confidence is worth a lot.

We'll have a chance to play spoiler to a lot of teams that we have some beef with. And we can start with the very next game, at home against the Oakland Black Panthers and Douglas Grosz, who appears to be on a down season. Yes, that kid that I traded away after we failed to select Tristan Powell when we were supposed to.

We won our last division title that 2091 season, followed up with a well deserved good season in 2092, but after that, the drought has begun. This season is already our worst in that stretch though, as we haven been worse than 7-9 in that timespan. We went 6-10 in 2090, next worst was a 5-11 record in the 2030 season. And next worst after that? The inaugural 1-15 campaign in 2004, our only season with less than 5 wins. These 53 guys on roster can't be thinking they want to go into the history books as the worst or second worst Merchantmen team ever, can they?

So, chests forward, chins up. The playoffs are out of sight, but the season isn't over at all.
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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 05-22-2021, 05:53 PM   #519
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: One of those games...
When you get outplayed, but still win.

That's what happened today. The Oakland Black Panthers visited Oranje Haven and were far and beyond the better team. By the end of the first quarter, Oakland was driving for their second touchdown in as many possessions and just over a minute into the second quarter, they took a 14-3 lead. A 44-yard field goal got us within a touchdown, but it felt like this was a game Oakland was going to dominate and slowly, but steadily increase their lead.

Kind of. Oakland slowly but steadily drove downfield, until Devon Farrell picked off the ball at our 20-yard line and returned it all the way, 80 yards for a touchdown. 14-13, Oranje Haven exploded. Oakland regrouped came time short to go all the way, but managed to call time out and kick the 17-13 lead taking 36-yard field goal as time expired. Second half, Oakland possession first. A very short possession as Sergio Hasken was picked off on the very first play and this time Zachery Weisz returned it for a 33-yard touchdown. 20-17, Maassluis. How about that? Oakland replied with a strong drive, but as our defense held them to field goal range, the Oakland kicker lacked the power on his kick to convert the 45-yarder. We drove downfield of the ensuing drive, but not close enough to get into kicking range. Oakland responded with another impressive drive and took a 24-20 lead with two and a half minutes remaining.

Fourth quarter, Earnest Ashley's arm was finally warmed up and found George Stuckey for 12 yards and Ed Schulz for 26 yards. The drive ended with Ronnie Vanden Bosch running in from 22 yards out. A crucial decision to get him involved in the game plan today? At the very least, it got us to a 27-24 lead. Oakland got close to midfield, but a crucial third down stop kept the lead alive. On our own possession, we got far enough to punt the ball back for them to start their drive from the 20-yard line. Three and out was the unexpected result, was this going to be an upset victory?

The inevitable Earnest Ashley interception was still missing and it came with 3 minutes left in the game. The returning cornerback was stopped at him own 47-yard line, but field position was certainly good enough for Oakland to get a chance to kick it to overtime, right? Two passes to the tight end resulted in a net loss of a yard, followed by a crucial Archie Exner sack. Oakland went for it and Caleb Domis forced the quarterback into a bad thrown: turnover on downs! A false start penalty made us fail to run out the clock, but Oakland was left with just 22 seconds from their on 20-yard line. A deep throw came, but not deep enough and time running out, the upset was there: the Merchantmen record win number two: 27-24!

A dirty, hideous win as we got outgained 417 to 210 in total yards on offense. Even punt and kick return yardage were in their favor. But this too is football. As my fellow European long time owner/general manager Alf would say: a win is a win. So true.

European Division:
1. Gothenburg 11-0
2. Bordeaux 7-4
3. Paris 7-4
4. Maassluis 2-9

Yeah, still in fourth place, shocker. Our streak of three road games is starting now with a visit to the North Plainfield Plague. Traditionally they beat us when we have a better record. Well, things are the other way around now, so maybe it's our turn to play spoiler? And if we fail to to that there, we'll certainly try again in the next four games. No playoffs for us, but this shall not go down as the second worst season in Merchantmen history!
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* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 05-25-2021, 01:27 PM   #520
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Spoiled or spoiler?
A little bit of both, I think.

Today we played spoiler, big time. The Fairbanks Northstars fans, 5-6-1 and in the middle of the wild card race in the NAC, must have thought that a 10-loss team visiting Alaska would be a walk in the park. Yeah, you'd think that, but no such a thing.

A game earlier, a visit to the North Plainfield Plague, fending off their AOC Northeast rivals in a division title race that nobody seems capable of claiming, our Merchantmen ran into a Plague team they haven't seen in decades. Scoring touchdowns on all three of their possessions, all drives for 75+ yards, the deficit was too big to get seriously back into it. Or was it? We scored our own first touchdown between their second and third, while a triplet of drive halting interceptions (Zachery Weisz our hero twice) eventually resulted in our offense bringing it back to 21-14 in Plague favor before half time. And that's what the score remained to be. Ernie Grant's interception denied them their best shot at adding points, while Earnest Ashley returned the favor on the ensuing drive with his second pick of the day. We were winning the field position battle in the fourth quarter, initially pinning them at their own 1-yard line, but as our passing game really went nowhere in the final four or so minutes of the game, it was clear that 21-14 would not change anymore. And it didn't.

Throws to his tight ends were the biggest plays for Earnest Ashley in the game in Alaska late in the first quarter. The second one to Clay Gaynor was a 17-yard touchdown to finally get the zeroes off the score board on our end after defensive supremacy had ruled throughout the first quarter. And defensive play continued to dominate as we forced and recovered a fumble, only to see us get stopped quickly and eventually giving them two succeeded field goal opportunities for a 7-6 half time lead in our favor. It wasn't until our first possession in the fourth quarter when Earnest Ashley found George Stuckey for 25 yards and Ed Schulz for 30 yards to set up his own touchdown run for the 14-6 lead. He tried to throw it away with just under 7 minutes to go (ugh, Earnest, not yet another fourth quarter interception!?), but the defense and special team unit saved Ashley's ass and the game. Merchantmen win! Third win in the last 5 games, how about that?

Too little too late, obviously, as we've already fallen to double digit losses. I've clearly been spoiled with my team for quite some time, as I honestly can't remember the last time we were this terrible. We've become very hit or miss in this Earnest Ashley "thing". By no means can we call this an era yet, at all. The kid has done nothing to earn such a distinction. Get us into the playoffs and we'll talk about you like you're the follow up of quarterbacks like Louie Flannery, Rusty Harrison, Jay McGee, Perry Coleman, Bryson Chow, Lester Lowe, Alfred Hickman, Bennett Morris, Ellis McAlister and even Moe Sheldon, the man that mentored you.

Yeah, different game plan, maybe that will help? Well, I don't think so. We're asking you to do what you're supposed to do best. So, start doing it. Avoid the pressure, throw that medium pass, convert third downs and direct us into late game comebacks. We know you can, so please, make it happen.

Next opportunity to play spoiler? At Bordeaux.

European division:
1. Gothenburg 12-1
2. Paris 9-4
3. Bordeaux 8-5
4. Maassluis 3-10

Our division rivals currently possess the #1, #5 and #6 seeds. Will it last though? Gothenburg has secured the division title and a bye week even. Paris and Bordeaux can't really afford their shaking for of late, both won only 2 of their last 5 games. We actually won more games than either of them in that timespan?! Their chances are still pretty good if by miracle we sweep them. The Northeast second place team is 6-7, the Southeast's 7-6, while the two Deep South teams with an 8-5 record will play head-to-head in week 17.

Our season is still what it is: already over, despite that we have so many games (3, 2 at home) still to play. And I'll continue to try to motivate this bunch to keep winning them. I don't care that we're on pace for the #3 overall pick: if we deserve it, we'll "earn" it. We'll finish the season with the hardest strength of schedule, I'm sure.

So, back to pride, we can knock a team or three out of the playoffs, so, let's do that.
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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 05-26-2021, 05:57 PM   #521
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: More tweaking, more spoiling?
Yes and kinda.

After a long, hard contested game of football, it's unrewarding to sit on the losing side, while any victory will have proven to have come after a lot of effort. It adds up when a game goes into overtime. And then there are the games that over overtime end up without a winner. Today the final score of the game between our Merchantmen and the home playing Bordeaux Vineyards ended in a 12-12 tie. Bleh.

My tinkering of the offensive game plan and depth chart continued. One player in particular excelled: Vinny Buysse. Our rookie wide receiver had his breakout game, catching 10 passes for 168 yards. Yes, an overtime game add about 17% of playing time, but without it hew would have racked up career bests of 8 catches and 138 yards. Yeah, that's what happens when you're only 14 games into your career.

The side effect of Buysse's big days was Earnest Ashley's best game of the season with 337 yards passing. Similarly to Buysse, his numbers after regulation would have been season bests.

Okay, short recap of the game? First drive, we get stop quickly, but our defense returns the favor. Second drive: Ashley to Buysse for 29 yards and then again for a 45-yard touchdown. Boom 6-0 up. Yeah, the other rookie, our kicker Gino Shea, shanked the extra point. From there on, defenses dominated, not just a little bit, but big time. We got in the red zone first, early in the second quarter, settling for a 9-0 lead after a 31-yard field goal. Walt Czech responded, but Bordeaux had to settle for a 26-yarder and a 9-3 half time score, in our favor.

The second half saw Bordeaux quickly kick a 47-yard field goal to trim the deficit to 9-6. The defenses forced three-and-out, but our semi-efficient drive ended up in pinning the Vineyards halfway their own red zone. Walt Czech got his Bordeaux offense going, moving the chains, supported by rookie running back Derrick Clayton and in the end we had to feel good about holding them to a 44-yard field goal: tie game. Earnest Ashley quickly responded with a 10-yard throw to George Stuckey and a 25-yarder to Clay Gaynor to end the third quarter. Rookie Dashawn McIntyre got a bit more carries today and paid it back with a nice 7-yard run on third and 5 to get us into field goal range. Vinny Buysse made an 8-yard catch to make it a 34-yarder for Gino Shea. Way to go, rookies: 12-9, Merchantmen! Defenses ruled again, but with 5 minutes to go, Walt Czech woke up again. A 30-yarder to Derek Clayton got them going and Jesse Headley improved to 4 for 4 after a 46-yard field goal. We made some ground, but as we failed to get outside our half, we gave Bordeaux the ball back with just over a minute to go. Walt Czech found Derek Clayton for 23 yards, then penalties moved the chains back and forth until Bordeaux had 19 seconds left, called a chicken play and decided to gamble on a 58-yard field goal, which went wide left.

Overtime. Both teams moved the chains a bit on their first possession. We got perhaps in the better position on ours, but on three straight plays, we saw a pass fall incomplete and a 60-yarder felt too much to ask from our rookie kicker. We left Bordeaux behind with a minute and 86 yards away from the end zone. They actually got really close, but time was short to attempt a 57-yarder for the win. Final score: 12-12. Again: Bleh.

European Division:
1. Gothenburg 12-2
2. Paris 10-4
3. Bordeaux 8-5-1
4. Maassluis 3-10-1

Gothenburg lost, but locked up home field advantage as the Tucker Tigers feel 38-8 at the wild card hopeful Augusta Greenjackets. Paris appears to have secured a wild card on tie-breakers, with only Bordeaux theoretically in the mix for the #5 seed. Bordeaux saw the teams on their tail, the San Antonio Tidal Force and Fort Wayne Fury, both drop to 8-6. The Deep South top two are on 4-game and 3-game losing streaks, meaning Houston (7-7, snapping their own 3-game losing streak) is technically still in the race, despite the week 17 clash between the Tidal Force and Fury and actually a longshot contender for the last wild card as well.

Our season has been somewhat salvaged, giving us the following division standings for the second half of the season:
1. Gothenburg 4-2
2. Maassluis 3-2-1
3. Paris 3-3
4. Bordeaux 2-3-1

Regardless, we're on pace for the third worst record in the league, which would 'reward' us with the #3 overall pick. It's no secret that I'm still not interested in such an expensive draft pick. The competition for this spot is all 5-9 or better, while the 'top' two are the 3-11 Snapfinger Jazz and Moontown Darksiders. We're obviously going to lose the strength of schedule tie-breaker to them as, without doing the math, I'm convinced that we'll finish the season with the hardest schedule of all 32 teams, floating around .600 as so many teams have drifted towards .500 land in the last 4 or so weeks.

So, 2 more games, both at home. Next up: the Colorado Cutthroaths, currently in possession of the NAC's #5 seed, despite their 8-6 record. They're one of many teams that are closing in with a .500 record, having gone 4-5 after their bye week, despite playing 6 of those games at home. They'll end their season with 2 road games, beginning in Oranje Haven and regardless of what we do to them and how bad other results will be for them, they will have their playoff dreams still alive going into week 17.

Well, keep on dreaming, we'll do our best to put them into a must win and need help situation. Our tie today put us 1/2 a loss closer to being worse that 5-11, which to date is our second worst record, after the inaugural 1-15 campaign. Only one franchise has a more impressive second worst season. No, not the Tucker Tigers, they're on par with us, with 5-11 as their second worst after a 1-15 campaign. (Yes, it's hard to imagine that the Tigers in their first 8 seasons were mediocre at best). No, I'm talking about the Chesapeake Chitterlings, who never went worse than 6-10. Until their 5-11 campaign in 2097, last season. They were on pace to 'improve' on it, but an ongoing 5-game winning streak has improved them to virtual #6 seeds with an 8-6 record and guaranteed to be Mid-Atlantic champions if they win in week 17, no matter what happens in week 16.

Yes, it's been that kind of a crazy season, not just in Maassluis, but quite possibly everywhere in the league.

Except for the Hanalei Dragons, 11-2-1, lightyears ahead of the clusterfuck of 8-6 teams incapable of defending the #2 seed slot. No less than 7 of those and even worse teams are still in the running for a bye week in the NAC.

And the Gothenburg Giants and their 12-0 start that has already earned them the #1 seed in the AOC, despite their back-to-back losses in week 14 and 15.

But enough about the other teams in the league, we've got another chance to play spoiler.
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* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 05-29-2021, 07:23 AM   #522
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 2098 is over, almost...
I mean, 12 teams are still hopeful to win IHOF Bowl XCV.

The second worst season in Merchantmen history has been achieved by Earnest Ashley and crew. With a 4-11-1 record, only the 2004 team of then rookie Fumblin' Justin McDavid with a 1-15 campaign was worse. Or maybe we should dub this the worst ever after all. With 265 points scored and 370 allowed, the -105 is by far the worst points differential by any Merchantmen team. The previous worst was set at -81 in 2021 (a 5-11 campaign) and equalized in 2090 (a 6-10 campaign).

If you've done the math, or checked for the scores, you'll see that we split the last two home games at 1 win and 1 loss.

We tried to put up a fight with the wild card hopeful Colorado Cutthroats, actually managing to take a 14-10 lead early in the fourth quarter, but at that point we had one good drive and our first touchdown came on a 61-yard fumble return, seeing 291 pounds Harold Gough score. Aside from that good drive, Earnest Ashley struggled mightily to find his receivers: Vinny Buysse had 2 catches on 12 targets, Clay Gaynor 3 on 10 and George Stuckey 4 on 12. It's fair to say that we needed to win the turnover battle to make up forgetting outplayed.

The Paris Musketeers had already clinched the top wild card when they came to town, but as they decided to not rest their stars, we may have put a dent in their confidence. Although he didn't get as much carries as in prior games, we held Offensive Player of the Year bound Chandler Ferguson to 62 yards rushing with a 3.26 average per carry. Ferguson finished the regular season with 2,525 yards rushing. The last time a player ran for 2,000+ was in 2086, while 2,555 was the league leading figure of Tucker Tigers' DeAndre Dahl in 2077.

Ferguson had a chance to get this game into overtime, but our defense stopped him on a two-point conversion attempt as we were defending a 22-20 lead. Our red zone offense struggled, Earnest Ashley ran for the only touchdown of the game for us, but successfully kicking 5 field goals added up to a just big enough lead to force that two-point attempt and secure victory with that stop. Rookie Vinny Buysse had 6 catches for 123 yards, helping Ashley into a season high for 60 minutes of 333 passing yards. Yes, he threw for 337 yards in the overtime tie at Bordeaux.

Final European Division standings:
1. Gothenburg 14-2
2. Paris 11-5
3. Bordeaux 8-7-1
4. Maassluis 4-11-1

Gothenburg goes into the playoffs as the #1 team in the league, Paris missed their chance to have the second best record in the conference, but were locked into the AOC #5 seed anyway. Bordeaux fell apart in the second half of the season, in particular in "december" with a 0-3-1 record and with that falling 1.5 wins behind the wild card that they had their hands on for roughly 2/3rd of the season. The playoffs will feature only 6 teams with double digits win totals.

I've decided to not go into all the players' and their individual accolades. In short: Earnest Ashley had a down year, his yards per attempt was his worst so far at 5.89, but in particular his passing touchdowns figure of 11 was mindboggling, although he did run for 8 touchdowns to make up for it. We experimented a bit with letting him run with the ball, but he's apparently only capable of it when it's not by play design.

How did our rookies do? Wide receiver Vinny Buysse came close, but was just short of being our leading receiver: he had 50 receptions for 941 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kicker Gino Shea converted 19 of 26 field goal attempts and 26 of 28 extra points. Defensive end Robbie Dobreski was active in only 4 games, recording 2.0 sacks in them. Safety Blaine Wright was inactive all season. Running back Dashawn McIntyre jumped into our special teams unit, was our second kickoff returner and in the last three games we put him a bit in the mix of the backfield rotation, but 23 ball touches says enough: he wasn't heavily featured. Tight end Wendell Borders played in all 16 games, but the plan to feature him in the running game failed, instead he did have 17 receptions. Linebacker Trey Ford was inactive all season. Long snapper Harris Custer was obviously active in all 16 games. Our veteran free agent Bart Hansen played in roughly 1/3rd of the defensive plays, sadly way too much on passing downs, which wasn't as planned at all, as we wanted him exclusively to help stop the run.

So, what does that 4-11-1 record also mean? Yeah, we've "earned" the #3 overall pick in the upcoming 2099 draft. Although the draft class is unknown as of yet, I've got a clear idea of what I want to do here. Then again, if there's a potential phenomenal quarterback out there, why wouldn't we attempt to move up to the 1.1 slot and get him? Just saying, the route to be taken isn't set in stone just yet.

12 teams are still hoping to win the IHOF Bowl this season. 20 postponed their dreams to 2099 and the Maassluis Merchantmen are one of them. A horrendous season, a challenging cap situation to start the off season, but I'm up for the challenge and feel confident that we can make some sort of 180 turn and challenge the Gothenburg Giants for the #1 seed.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 06-03-2021, 05:43 PM   #523
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: When a building block calls it a game
Tight end Clay Gaynor retired.

Yikes, there goes my hopes to see things bounce back next season. A restructure of the game plan was needed and returning Clay Gaynor to 100ish targets was one of them. But no, after the 2098 campaign with jus 28 catches for 286 yards and 2 touchdowns, one of the most talented tight ends to play for the orange-white-and-blue calls it a career at the age of 32. Bummer, Clay. We failed to get him to the 1,000-yard club, but he got a couple of 80-catch seasons in his 136 regular season games and a shocking low of only 2 playoffs games. He was our first of two first round picks in 2090.

Our other 2090 first round pick, Brandon Brady, saw his odds to return for another season increase as Hayden McNeil retired. McNeil played 3 seasons with us, the plan was to focus on using him on running downs, but as opposing teams are continuously flipping around their personnel and play calling, he ended up playing on passing downs quite a lot as well and turned out to be a weak link on those downs. He played 48 games for us.

2095 free agent veteran signing Caiden Croyle also retired. In four seasons with us, he was part of our rotation, a decent pass rusher and good enough run stopper to see us want to (and fail to) get him to play on running downs. In 64 games, he made 20.0 sacks, which isn't phenomenal, but in a heavy rotation, a respectable figure.

46.0 sacks in 185 regular season games and 1 more in 6 playoffs games is the figure for Archie Exner. He's the second defensive end retiring this off-season, leaving us behind with just the exceptionally talented Richie Piotte and second year Robbie Dobreski. Exner is the prime example of an undrafted rookie that can grow into a contributor as he was basically playing about 50% of the time on our D-line as early as in his rookie season 2087. We're going to miss him, probably more than I hope to.

Which brings us to our cap situation, which is $78.58M over the cap (with 42 players signed), with an estimated $39.81M figure for draft picks (for 9 draft picks). The 1.3 overall pick accounts for half of that draft cost at $19.75M. Which quickly shows why I'm very much interested in trading down, if the opportunity arises. Tomorrow we'll find out what the draft class looks like and, shocker, we'll most likely can't afford to think about a quarterback if there's a generational one. Unless we feel like adding a $49M dead cap figure in 2100, or keep Earnest Ashley around as the prime backup and mentor, which he apparently is capable of being now.

I had a plan for the upcoming draft and free agency, but the departure of Clay Gaynor means I'll have to divert a bit as it means that the tight end position might be one to address as well, despite that we're going to enter the off-season with 3 guys signed and a fourth one restricted free agent Wendell Borders, who's agent I fully expect to come with absurd salary requests after the kid had 17 receptions more than he should have gotten in his rookie season.

So, what's next in short?
1. Hire a new assistant coach.
2. Scout the draft class.
3. Decide which top rookies are worth pursuing.
4. Restructure a truck load of contracts.
5. Figure out what to do with the 1.3 pick.
6. Grab some hidden gems late in the draft.
7. Feel amazed about or roster going into the season.
8. Brush away the Merchantmen unworthy 2098 season with one of the biggest turnarounds in league history.

But step by step, steps 1 and 2 first.
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Old 06-05-2021, 08:39 AM   #524
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Draft class of 2099 revealed...
And from a distance, well, it's an interesting one.

This is one of those points in the season where it feels somewhat scary to write about my plan and thoughts. You know, the competition is reading along and telling people what I'm going to do means they other 31 teams could get one step ahead of me. Well, that's the risk I'm running here. Without saying anything about my plans, let's take a look at our roster position by position, then what's available on the free agent market and in the draft, purely looking at the kind of numbers all owners have access to.


Quarterbacks
Nope. Let's not start here, let's go bottom down by how Solecismic orders positions.


Long snapper, kicker and punter
contracted: K Gino Shea (55/65), P Shaun Barlow (50/50)
restricted FA: LS Harris Custer (20/20)
unrestricted FA: -
open market: several LS (20/20), P Freeman (70/70), P Segers (70/70), K Blair (80/80), Giles (70/70)
draft class: P Summers (6.7), P Fletcher (6.5), P Stoffel (6.0), K Reynolds (6.1), LS Carr (2.0)
I should re-sign Custer in pre-draft free agency to fill the LS slot. I'm not 100% convinced Shea is going to be a solid K, but we don't have the cap space to sign one of the veterans and the best rookie is on par with Shea. P Barlow is on the decline, we can't afford to sign a veteran on the market (most likely), it's worth looking at the top rookies at P.


Cornerbacks and safeties
contracted: CB Grant (75/75), S Farrell (55/55), CB Leszynski (40/55), CB Weisz (45/45), CB Harmon (35/35), S Murray (35/35), S Wright (25/40), S Brotzman (25/25)
restricted FA: -
unrestricted FA: -
open market: CB Parrish (65/65), CB Haddad (55/55), CB Gunn (50/50), S Hawkins (60/60), S Linquist (55/55)
draft class: CB Burns (6.1), CB Temes (6.0), S Mueller (6.5), S Gauthier (6.3)
Ideally, I'd like to add a CB to the roster, but purely to have 9 CB/S. Quite frankly, the players on the open market aren't enough of an improvement over our veterans to pursue them. Never underestimate my interest in the draft, but most likely if I'm going to grab a CB/S, it'll be in the later rounds.

Linebackers
contracted: OLB/ST Brady (50/50), OLB/ST Bradford (45/45), ST Cochrane (30/30), ST Meadows (25/25)
restricted FA: OLB Ford (25/40)
unrestricted FA: ILB Hansen (45/45)
open market: OLB Hinson (65/65), ILB Zimmerman (65/65), ILB Levine (65/65), OLB Cholewczynski (60/60), OLB Chenard (60/60)
draft class: ILB Peterson (6.4), ILB Stanton (6.1), OLB Adler (6.4), OLB Lyons (6.0)
We're thin here and Brady is getting old and the cap figure no longer justifies for what he does for us. So, position of weakness for us. If we're going to go on the open market, this position would make sense. There's a handful of complete playmakers in the draft class, which is the alternative. And behind door number three is the trade option, which might actually be the most logical one. Ford can be re-signed at minimum salary, which should book him at least a training camp and pre-season roster spot. Hansen has the skills to be a run stopper, but I'm not sure we're going to want to give him the money he's asking for, despite that it's somewhat reasonable. I hope to go into pre-season with 7 guys on roster, with 6 of those at minimum to make the 53-men roster, including a couple of special teams specialists.

Defensive Line
contracted: DE Piotte (70/70), DT Shumate (55/55), DT Fletcher (50/50), DT Gough (45/45), DT Domis (45/45), DE Dobreski (25/50)
restricted FA: -
unrestricted FA: -
open market: DT B.Brown (70/70), DE Rackers (60/60), DE Lofton (60/60), DE Durfey (50/50)
draft class: DT Ford (6.3), DE Miknich (6.3), DE Ferguson (6.1), DE D.Brown (6.0)
The free agents want to get paid, big time. It's nigh impossible to even think about grabbing somebody here, not even a pure pass rusher, probably. The 6 guys on contract all are, aside from Dobreski, decent to solid enough, but we need a 7th guy for the active roster to get through a game. In the draft, Ford is the only close to complete DT, the rest of the class aren't 3 downs players. The top DEs are also close to complete, but behind them there are a few one-trick ponies worth interviewing. We'll have to get out of this off-season with at least 1 new DE/DT, highly likely 2 of them and to get through pre-season even a 9th guy, making it 3 new faces.

Offensive Line
contracted: C Zinn (80/80), G Toler (70/70), LT Delgado (70/70), G Staigvil (60/60), LT Houston (60/60), G Turnbull (35/35), C Mason (25/55)
restricted FA: -
unrestricted FA: RT Webster (25/30)
open market: several over 55/55
draft class: C Lonier (7.2), G Walters (6.7), G Oakey (6.5), G Loucks (6.1), T Bush (6.8), T Messantonio (6.1), Shepard (6.1), Blasingame (6.0)
Our line is set, no question about it. At least the starting 5. It's really about what to do for the backup slots on the team. C Mason is promising, G Turnbull good enough as a run blocker, if he doesn't fall apart in pre-season. The backup OT slot does need to be filled. I'd prefer to find 2 guys on the market or in the draft to fight it out.

Wide receivers
contracted: WR Buysse (60/70), WR Schulz (55/55), WR Stuckey (50/50), KR Thompson (15/15), PR Perkins (15/15)
restricted FA: -
unrestricted FA: -
open market: WR Sabol (55/55), WR Kemnitzer (55/55), WR Doyle (55/55)
draft class: Maxwell (6.2), Irwin (5.8), Ward (5.8), Korter (5.5)
Okay, we have 3 quite solid guys here and two quality return specialists. I'd prefer to have a 4th WR, the listed players from a distance all might be 1.3 pick worthy, or at least top10 worthy. We can't afford the mentioned veterans.

Tight ends
contracted: TE Gore (45/45), TE Lofton (35/35), TE Nixon (30/30)
restricted FA: TE Borders (30/35)
unrestricted FA: -
open market: TE Morse (65/65), TE Horan (50/50), TE Bernstein (50/50)
draft class: TE Burton (6.8), TE Fausel (6.1), TE Hoyler (5.8)
Losing Gaynor means we're going to rebuild our game plan, which already was part of the plan. I'm afraid we can't afford any of the veteran free agents. Rookie Burton looks like a complete TE, but are we really going to pick that position at 1.3? Borders wants more than minimum, but I'm likely going to come forward and give what he's requesting. That would fill our 4 slots already, but is that enough? Borders is a run blocker, but if needed can make a short catch over the middle out of a running formation. Lofton is a decent blocker and can make a short third down catch. Nixon can turn a short catch into a medium gain and plays special teams. Gore is the route runner, but can do little else than try to make a screen pass turn into a 5 to 10 yard gain. So yeah, for the passing game an additional true receiving TE would be desired.

Fullbacks
contracted: FB Wanamaker (33/45)
restricted FA: -
unrestricted FA: FB Johnston (20/20)
open market: FB Glover (55/55), FB Potchynok (50/50)
draft class: FB Dewacht (6.0), FB Pierce (5.5)
Re-signing Johnston would be good for the special teams unit and for having a decent alternative run blocker. Wanamaker is a run blocker and could be a decent short yardage runner. We still struggle to get Wanamaker involved in that running game. It's unlikely I'll go after the Tucker Tigers star Glover.

Running backs
contracted: RB McIntyre (50/50, RB Ta'Amu (45/45), RB Vanden Bosch (35/35), RB/ST Gerhardt (20/20)
restricted FA: -
unrestricted FA: -
open market: RB Irons (60/60), RB Dail (60/60), RB Watson (55/55), RB Chizmar (50/50)
draft class: RB Torphy (7.1), RB Gaines (7.0), RB Strickland (5.6)
The open market is a minefield with over the hill veterans, just like it always is. We've got such a veteran on roster in Ta'Amu already. Vanden Bosch continues to be an endurance lacking guy, while McIntyre just doesn't have the breakaway speed that Vanden Bosch does have. Rookies Gaines and Torphy are phenomenal. It's no longer fancy to pick a RB in the top5, but after seeing what Chandler Ferguson was capable of for Paris last season, these two guys might convince teams to grab one of these guys in the top10. If I had the sense that our offense was just a RB away from breaking out, I might consider doing that...

Quarterbacks
contracted: QB Ashley (55/55), KH Giles (20/25)
restricted FA: -
unrestricted FA: QB Batcheck (35/35)
open market: QB Forland (65/65), QB Spencer (50/50), QB Hansen (45/45), QB Norris (35/45)
draft class: QB Levingston (7.2), QB Bensen (5.8), QB Cooney (5.5)
So, Ashley, are you the franchise QB that we're paying you to be? Cap space technically, we're stuck with this kid for this and most likely next season. Just because the dead cap figure would be too much to overcome. We can't afford going into the bidding war that will obviously arise for Forland, even though he's likely a one-year rental. And then there's Terrence Levingston. A 6'1" 204 pounds red flag, but look at those combine numbers and he had 1.1 pick written all over. Even with his red flag character. Will we grab him if he falls to 1.3? We'll have to, this kid is the best of his class. Can we afford trading up to 1.1? Only one way to find out: inquire. But... What to do with Ashley and his cap figure if we go that route? I'm not sure what the best move is here. The original plan was to trade down from the 1.3 slot, not up.


So yeah, a very interesting off-season is upcoming. Sure, we're projected at $118M over the cap, but I'm convinced we'll manage that with a series of renegotiations with all the locked up players. G Nickolas Toler is basically the only offensive starter that needs to get locked up for the future. S Devon Farrell and LB Preston Bradford are amongst the defensive starters that are out of contract after 2099.
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Old 06-05-2021, 08:39 AM   #525
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
How about that: a duplicate post.
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Old 06-07-2021, 12:47 PM   #526
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Blockbuster trade!
Elas, we weren't involved in it.

The 1.1 has been traded. Terrance Levingston will go to the Toronto Lake Monsters. The latter held the 1.9 and 1.10 picks and traded not just that but basically everything noteworth in terms of picks in this and the 2100 and 2101 drafts for the 1.1 pick straight up.

Where were we? Well, I did talk with the Snapfinger Jazz management and we had a serious back and forth about bridging the gap between 1.1 and 1.3. Fair to say, they asked a lot, not as much as Toronto gave up, but a lot still. And after seeing their request, I paused for about 10 minutes and had a "no more mulling, let's do this" moment. Elas, it wasn't to be. The one team that I felt would be the best candidate to outbid us did.

Which brings up back to the 1.3 slot and probably soon to be on the non-ticking clock, because it feels very obvious which player will go at the 1.2 slot, regardless of the team. Nope, I'm not opting to move up that one slot, we'll wait and see what's left.
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Old 06-12-2021, 01:38 PM   #527
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: New weapon for Ashley: Calvin Maxwell
No trade we just grabbed the wide receiver the #3 overall pick.

The draft isn't officially going, but the first couple of picks have been announced. The Moontown Darksiders surprised the pundits and selected the third player on the board: left tackle Fido Bush. As a result, the consensus #2 pick was still available at #3 overall: wide receiver Calvin Maxwell.

I was already content with having to go through a coin flip decision between tight end Gavin Burton and another player not yet taken. But apparently we're going to get our hands on a player maker at wide receiver. Teamed up with Vinny Buysse, our #8 overall pick last draft, this could be a phenomenal receiver duo. Ed Schulz, move over, you'll be fighting it out with George Stuckey for the WR3 role.

I have an awesome trade offer standing for Maxwell, I'm still going to consider it. But what would I do with all those picks? It's unlikely I can use them to move back up to the top 10 slots and grab one of the players I was willing to settle for.


Keep in mind that I still have to fix my cap situation and have a strong desire to add a linebacker to our team. This off-season is far from over.
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Old 06-14-2021, 12:16 PM   #528
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Blockbuster trade!
And this time, we were involved.

Ken Torphy, welcome to Maassluis. The top graded running back of this class, and perhaps the most promising kid at his position in years, was still unspoken for at pick 1.6. It cost us an arm and a leg, but for our second and third round picks this draft, the bonus second rounder this draft, our first and second round pick next draft and our first round pick in the draft after that, we got the right for that pick and selected Torphy. I actually made the same offer for the 1.4 and 1.5 picks, but those owners/general manager decided to pick their own offensive skill player.

Believe it or not, had we not landed Calvin Maxwell at 1.3, I still would have made this move after selecting tight end Gavin Burton at the 1.3 and sell the farm for Torphy. Burton like Torphy is a once per decade kind of talent at his position. Maxwell is, well, the best of his class, but he might not even be the highest graded wide receiver on team, given Vinny Buysse's pressence.

It's quite the surprise to have all these skill players on the same team, we haven't been this loaded since the 2025 season (HOF quarterback Rusty Harrison, HOF running back Stanley Givens, HOF receiver Gabe Springer). Maybe the 2078 season was close, but Walt Blair was our first round rookie running back then, but had an injury plagued season behind one-season rental quarterback Bennett Morris and the never to be underestimated J.R. Mills at wide receiver in his next to last season in the IHOF. This time around, all the kids are at the beginning of their careers.

If this doesn't get Earnest Ashley to play like a top10 quarterback, then nothing can save his career.

On top of mortgaging the future in terms of picks, we also mortgaged our financial future. We had to make a truckload of cap outs with our expensive players. Luckily, most of them have recently signed very long contracts, which means that we should be able to keep this offense together for at least 3 seasons. Guard Nickolas Toler is the only one that we still need to lock up this off-season.

It'll be trickier to find room under the cap in the fuure for defensive stars like DE Richie Piotte and CB Ernie Grant, but those are tomorrow's worries. Or the day after that even. Tomorrow's worries are to find the last bit of cap space to not only be $38M under the cap (which we are now), but still add a bit to it to be able to afford both these expensive 1.3 and 1.6 picks.
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Old 06-14-2021, 12:34 PM   #529
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Maxwell and Torphy?
Yeah, those two.

We're way ahead of things, but to put into perspective what we're looking at, this is what the consensus of scouts in the league make of these two promising kids:
Quote:
Originally Posted by IHOF News Network


Maassluis: MIJB19 takes WR Calvin Maxwell with the 1.3 pick.

Avoid Drops69<->100
Getting Downfield45<->75
Route Running65<->95
Third Down Catching69<->100
Big-Play Receiving69<->100
Courage69<->99
Adjust to Ball69<->99
Punt Returning0<->31
Kick Returning69<->100
Endurance66<->96
Special Teams69<->100

HT
WT
RAW
ADJ
DASH
SOL
BENCH
AGI
BRJU
POS
%DEV
72
198
6.3
6.5
4.35
24
20
6.96
125
65
26

Quote:
Originally Posted by IHOF News Network


Maassluis: MIJB19 takes RB Ken Torphy with the 1.6 pick.

Breakaway Speed70<->100
Power Inside65<->96
Third Down Running70<->100
Hole Recognition62<->93
Elusiveness61<->91
Speed to Outside69<->100
Blitz Pickup70<->100
Avoid Drops70<->100
Getting Downfield59<->89
Route Running70<->100
Third Down Catching70<->100
Punt Returning0<->30
Kick Returning0<->30
Endurance68<->98
Special Teams70<->100

HT
WT
RAW
ADJ
DASH
SOL
BENCH
AGI
BRJU
POS
%DEV
70
208
7.1
7.5
4.30
28
22
7.03
128
38
50
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Old 06-14-2021, 03:43 PM   #530
QuikSand
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Exciting times in Maassluis!!!
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Old 06-18-2021, 05:11 PM   #531
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Five more rookies
Because there were a couple of holes to be filled.

We continued the exciting 2099 draft with five more picks. None as sexy as those two picks at #3 and #6 overall, of course. So, what did we add?

At the 4.3 pick, we went for linebacker Doug Stephens, a kid we interviewed and liked as a prospect to possibly be an all around good linebacker. I anticipated that we'd need a new guy here, so, there you go.

At picks 4.22 and 5.3 we added a couple of defensive ends. By no means an error, we have only 2 on roster and thus decided to pick both Spencer Crawford and James Shapiro. At pick 6.3 we added punter John Fletcher and at 7.3 we selected tackle Zane Humphries.

In the meantime, we signed two free agents and released our veteran punter Shaun Barlow. Maybe more on him later?

The free agent signings are quarterback Terry Hutton, a minimum contract, we needed a somewhat half-decent option ahead of our kick holder after Efrain Batcheck signed with the Chesapeake Chitterlings. More splashing was the signing of defensive end J.C. McPike, one of the fastest defensive linemen in the league. He's coming over from the Gothenburg Giants, where he didn't record a lot of sacks, surprisingly.

And as the draft unfolded, we learned that linebacker Preston Bradford, reasonably, wants to no longer play on a minimum salary. The sad part is that I'm not sure I'll find the cap room for him. Unless we release Brandon Brady... But that would be silly. We do need him to sign a much cheaper contract to be able to lock up guard Nickolas Toler. To be continued?
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Last edited by MIJB#19 : 06-19-2021 at 06:21 AM. Reason: just a cosmetic fix, nothing more, nothing less
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Old 06-19-2021, 02:43 PM   #532
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: the Maxwell and Torphy show
Let's not get too excited just yet, but the first signs...

Our offensive coordinator Clarence Byrd was generous. Correction: he was very generous. The bunch of rookies reported at the facilities to sign their contracts and for two guys in particular we were very anxious to find out what his third look of the two first round picks would be. Right now he believes that Ken Torphy is potentially the second best running back in the IHOF, while Calvin Maxwell is potentially second best wide receiver. Both on a 1-100 scale just a single point less impressive than the currently most talented player in the league. How about that!

I'm trying to temper my expectations. After all, I still remember the looks on faces of the staff and then my own shortly after we thought that Bryson Chow was going to be the best quarterback to ever play for the Merchantmen. What my OC is telling me now is close to similar: Torphy and Maxwell are the second best we ever had at their positions. Theodore Bondy barely trumps Maxwell, while Stanley Givens was slightly more talented than Torphy.

But training camp comes first, shortly after followed by the dreaded pre-season action. The latter a moment where players can look completely out of shape, never to recover from it. We remember what happened to Chow, when our assessment shifted from the best ever to, he's still playoffs caliber. Sure, the fans will certainly remember how we still made him our starter, how he turned into a franchise quarterback, statistically won just enough games to surpass Louie Flannery by a single win as #1 for the Merchantmen ever. But it was 2 seasons after his Hall of Fame enshrinement that we won our first and so far only IHOF Bowl.

So, trying to temper my hopes and all, but these guys, combined with Vinny Buysse, this ought to be a fun offense. If I figure out how to make a suitable game plan as well...
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Old 06-22-2021, 05:00 PM   #533
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Training Camp?
Nope, that was yesterday.

Okay, it's been a bit quiet, but that's all in anticipation of what pre-season will bring. Yeah, that must be it, the awaiting for the day that can make or break player careers. In my head, I keep hearing Mel Gibson's voice: "hold, hold, hold!" We mortgaged our future for these two kids named Maxwell and Torphy. Post training camp they're still the 80/100 wide receiver and 75/100 running back that we're hoping to have picked here, we hope their potential holds up. Factor in 70/100 Vinny Buysse and the awesome offensive line and boy oh boy, does Earnest Ashley have no more excuses...

But for now, anticipation. "Hold!"
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Old 06-24-2021, 04:16 PM   #534
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The 53 for 2099?
At least, we're down to 53 now.

The roster cuts waves have come and gone. Our first way saw fullbacks Jackie Norris and Sebastian Howard, quarterback Daryl Pritt, center Skip Krueger, guard Chance Zwillinger and tackle Dusty Webster leave Maassluis. That last guy must feel like a familiar name, he was a backup here for 2 seasons. The other six didn't impress enough in training camp and failed to make the pre-season list of 60 names.

Seven players did make that list, but are no longer on our team going into the last couple of pre-season games. Undrafted rookies kicker Darren Adams, punter Donnie Stoffel and safety Trey Hopkins were the likely casualties. We also released our recent seventh round pick tackle Zane Humphries and fifth round pick defensive end James Shapiro. Humphries lost the roster spot battle to undrafted rookie Johnathan Van Pelt. We also released two respected veterans.

Tight end Ike Nixon spent 6 seasons with the Merchantmen. In all those seasons, he was mostly our fourth or fifth choice, inactive, waiting for his chance to see the field. His tally was 23 games played, with his very own 15 seconds of fame when he made his only touchdown for us, a fantastic 60-yard catch and run in a 17-10 victory against the Colorado Cutthroats in 2094.

More shocking may have been the release of running back Bert Ta'Amu, our premier ball carrier the last two seasons. We acquired him through trade in 2097, in a season where he still ran for 1,235 yards. Last season his production split almost in half with 673 yards. The Fort Wayne Fury football fans may be much prouder of him, as he's considered to be one of their best running backs in franchise history.

It's too early to claim the current 53 men are the end all be all for this season, because you never know, no? The most surprising names on roster are aforementioned left tackle Johnathan Van Pelt and fellow undrafted rookie tight end Riley Bridges. Surprising for other reasons are the names of linebackers Preston Bradford and Brandon Brady. The first one because he ended his hold out after we agreed to terms. The latter because I was fully expecting to release him after further decrease of his skills, but he held up in pre-season and I'm leaning towards making his experience on the team a key role to keep him on the active squad. Brady is expensive, I might have to renegotiate with him to extend a couple of contracts.

We have a bunch of players that need a contract extension. First thing (yes, singular) first: guard Nickolas Toler. He's going to get the lion share of our remaining cap space of $9M. After that, there are 12 more players on our team in the final year of contract and 10 of them will be unrestricted free agents in 2100. So yes, it would be nice to lock them up for another season, if we can. With only $850K in dead cap space next season all adding up to projecting to be close to $29M over the cap, we're in good shape to not be in trouble next off-season. Not having an expensive first or second round pick in the next couple of drafts will also help...

Which brings me to the Maxwell and Torphy show. They held up, yay. Will they be the best ever? Way too early to tell. In the first couple of pre-season games, neither of them shined. Was it on the new play book? Was it on the game plan, constructed by my staff? Or are we coming closer and closer to the conclusion that we have a quarterback in our stables who might continue to struggle. The defense saved the day, twice. We're going to see where we stand soon enough: we open the season at the Bordeaux Vineyards.
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Old 07-01-2021, 05:53 PM   #535
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Editor's note: I'll get back on track here. Tomorrow, maybe.
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Old 07-05-2021, 03:11 PM   #536
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: I love it when I plan comes together
But what to call it when the plan doesn't come together?

We're 6 games into the 2099 season and, frankly, I'm immensely disappointed about my team's performance. We've played 4 home games and are already a win behind the curve, sitting at a far from impressive 3-3 record. The defense has been tremendous, keeping teams from scoring and all (#2 in points allowed, #6 in total yards allowed), but our offense has been downright disappointing. We're #32 in points scored, #31 in total yards on offense. It's quite clear that I've somehow managed to turn a bunch of highly talented players into a bunch of underperforming overpaid kids. Earnest Ashley has completed 53% of 33 pass attempts per game for 187 yards per game, for a whopping 1 touchdown. At least the interceptions (3 in 6 games) are acceptable, but I don't know what to make of this just yet. Ken Torphy started somewhat well with a couple of 100-yard games, but in the last three games he averaged 66 yards on the ground. Our receivers have been missing in action. Vinny Buysse, Calvin Maxwell, Ed Schulz and George Stuckey have combined for 57 catches, 692 receiving yards and a single touchdown. Yeah, combined in 6 games. It's not a result of our tight end Clarence Gore and running back Torphy stealing targets, that duo combined for an average of 10 targets for 6 catches, 63 yards per game. The Ed Schulz illness has carried on towards the rest of the offense, despite that we got rid of our way too optimistic long passing plans. The offensive line is by no means making a case for being as good as we believe them to be (the best Merchantmen quintet ever), they already allowed 18 sacks, that's 3 per game, for crying out loud. Imagine if we didn't take precaution after recent seasons of playing way below their ability.

On the bright side, the rest of the division is struggling a bit as well.

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

Our next game will be in Paris. I'm afraid it won't be enough to lean on our defense, we'll need these talented sons-of-you-know-what-I'm-not-going-tow-write-here to actually play up to their ability for a change. I'm going to make an overhaul of our game plan, because quite clearly listening to my staff members hasn't brought us any results yet at all.

And if these guys actually start playing some football that's worth writing about, maybe that'll inspire me to tell about them. But for now, it's all a pain to see how much these kids are wasting their talent. Team, I know y'all can do much better, act like it. Starting tomorrow, at Paris. Do it.
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Old 07-06-2021, 03:16 PM   #537
Kodos
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Please start by beating Harlem tomorrow.
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Old 07-07-2021, 04:58 PM   #538
MIJB#19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kodos View Post
Please start by beating Harlem tomorrow.
So you jinxed us, now it all makes sense
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Old 07-09-2021, 07:05 PM   #539
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: we're not giving up yet
No, far from, but the road is bumpy.

Yeah, I'm in a bit of a writer block situation, uninspired to tell about my team situation. It's not really a lack of interest in the team, game and league, but RL can get in the way at times. Or maybe it's the overall out of the daily/weekly motions routine that's keeping me away for the moment. This dynasty has gone with ups and downs before, the loyal reader knows too well that the current team is way too good to not pick this up again. Now, if they got to the point of actually winning games, that would be much more motivating. Today we wasted a grand opportunity to take a 2-win distance on the Gothenburg Giants, but a late game 52-yard field goal saw them come back from 9 points down in the fourth quarter to beat us 27-26. We got outplayed in our part of the game (special teams) and despite outgaining them by about 60 yards, it all wasn't enough. Such a pity, because we all know that these are the kind of games that make the difference between winning a heavily contested division and missing the playoffs entirely.

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

Yeah, it's as closely contested as we expected it to be, albeit all four teams have won about 2 games less than we expected them to. At this pace only the division winner will go into the post-season and won't even get a bye week. At least it will make for a much feared #4 seed...

At 5-5, we're below the curve, we've played 6 home games already, which is usually a sign that you're not going to get above .500. Paris actually has only 1 home game remaining, their schedule is even more imbalanced, as has been Gothenburg's with 5 home games in the last 6. Bordeaux plays 4 more at home. So yeah, we seriously missed our chance to get into a solid situation where we'd actually be in a decent spot to hold on to the division lead that we've had for the majority of this season so far. But it doesn't matter if you're not at the top after week 17.

We'll find out in another week or 6. For now, it on to our next games, facing the Chicago Norsemen, fellow 5-5 team and the only team that has seen even less total points scored by the both teams combined in the first 10 games. In our games the average has been 35.4, in theirs 34.3. It'll be the #1 scoring defense (Maassluis) vs tied #2 (Chicago), facing the #31 offense (Chicago) and #29 offense (Maassluis). And it's not all up to a slugfest approach, we're the #18 and #23 running offenses, with the tied #24 and the #26 running defenses.

The most depressing part has been the Merchantmen running game, with the 32nd ranked yards per carry offense. This is despite a veteran cohesive offensive line, with a topnotch offensive rookie of the year prospect running from behind it, with a smashmouth philosophy offensive coordinator. Imagine how incredibly abysmal the situation would be without all those positives. It's almost like the perceived 'intelligence' of my coordinators, combined with my lack of understanding of game planning have combined for a recipe for disaster.

The latter may be the bigger reason behind my overall desire to go out there and tell about my team, because it's overly underwhelming to report on a team that just doesn't deliver. The incompetence of my staff to generate a game plan is undeniable, but I'm clearly incapable of improving their utter crap into something even half decent. Somehow, I'm making things even worse, it turns out.

Unless we've ran into some incredible unlucky dry spell. It's possible, but improbable at the same time.

At the same time, at 5-5 and with a 3-1 divisional record, we're in the midst of things. We'll face Paris and Gothenburg later on, the division is by no means locked up (hence, we're #2 right now), but all isn't lost quite yet either. Does it feel like we're just hoping for lucky dice rolls right now? Yes, it does. But after all the snake eyes we've seen over the course of the last season and a half, we're surely due a stretch that evens things out no? Right? Right!?

At least, I haven't completely lost the courage to flip around our game plan, I've made some tweaks here and there, I haven't quite given up at all yet. Yes, the offense has been "bleh", but, we've got the talent acquired to play with anybody. Sooner or later, these kids have to start delivering by scoring more than half a touchdown per game. We've already improved to 1.2 per game, progress is here.

A little bit more would be great though. So, don't just keep it up. Keep on improving, Merchantmen. Less chatter, more playing football. Good football. north of 4.0 yards per carry. Closer to 7.0 yards per pass attempt. Hang on to our defensive efforts that have kept us in all 10 games so far. And please, oh please, special teams unit, play up to your ability and don't get outplayed anymore like you did today. Then, maybe then, we actually use all the collected ingredients to have a great mix of football, winning football. This team has everything required to get into the playoffs and make things happen there. We're below the required curve for now, but progress is visible, keep it up and we might surprise, or possibly even simply confirm what we're capable of.

Merchantmen, do it.
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Old 07-16-2021, 04:13 AM   #540
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: We need some help, but...
We're still in the race.

An up and down season, with early on offensive struggles, that has poke its head up a bit more in recent games, combined with a surprisingly solid defense, we've bounced through the north of .500 land throughout the season. And with just week 17 to go, this is where we're at:

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

The upcoming games: Paris at Bordeaux and Maassluis at Gothenburg.
Bordeaux in pole position, but if Paris beats Bordeaux, Paris will jump ahead and, depending on what happens in Gothenburg, because if Maassluis wins, that team claims the division title. Gothenburg is eliminated regardless of what happens. Even at second place behind Bordeaux, Gothenburg can't get past the Houston Mustangs for the final wild card. Bordeaux is the only team that can get the final wild card. Freaky enough, all four could end up with a winning record and only the division champion going into the playoffs with the #4 seed. So, yes, the division was competitive all season long, but we didn't all end up at 10-6, but we're floating between 8-8 and 9-7.

Our second half of the season has been, well, both food for optimism and has shown that anything can happen in football. We beat Bordeaux and Paris, beat the Midwest division champions Iowa, won at Chicago, but between all these victories, we choked the games against Gothenburg (lost by 1 point, while up by 9 in the fourth quarter), at Snapfinger (lost by 1 point on a late game 64-yard punt return touchdown) and choked a 14-point lead in Arizona, completing it in style by giving up a touchdown on a fumbled punt return. It's pointless to think that way, but it's fair to say that we should have been 10-5 here, with the division locked up on superior division record (our only loss has been that choke against the Giants).

And the Giants are who we'll meet next. Surely we deserve a 9-7 record more than they do, which isn't to say they aren't a 9-7 team this season, but probably they are, but that's not how it works in football, in particular in the IHOF. 13 of 16 teams in the Atlantic Ocean Conference are 7-8 or better, 11 of them go into week 17 with a winning record. In the other conference it's already guaranteed that at least one team with a 9-7 or better record will miss the playoffs. The tally could end up at 7 of 19 teams with a winning record to miss the playoffs.

Do we have a special game plan for the Giants today? Maybe, maybe not. We have to rely on our underwhelming top rookies Ken Torphy (7th in rushing yards, but with 3.3 yards per carry) and Calvin Maxwell (794 yards receiving, 35th in the league), leaning heavily on our second year wide receiver Vinny Buysse (2nd in the league in receiving yards, 1st in receptions). Earnest Ashley continues to struggle, going to come way short of 4,000 yards once again, unless he gets a 600-yard game today. So, let's wait and say what will happen in week 17...
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Old 07-18-2021, 09:58 AM   #541
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Progress, but last place yet again
It was all just teasing...

Facts first:

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

We finished the season 8-8, in fourth place, behind a triplet of 9-7 teams. Who would have thought that when we were the favorites to win the division mid-season (at least Solecismic Software's playoffs probabilities calculator said so: we we're 60% to win the division). Now, the Bordeaux Vineyards choked equally, they were a full win ahead of the rest going into their week 17 home game against Paris. And Gothenburg were the team to bat going into the season, while Paris got their own share of shiny new toys for their offense.

Our toys sucked, big time. Ken Torphy had the third lowest yards per carry for a Merchantmen running back. No, not this season on roster, third worst all time for all our starting running backs. That 96 seasons and Torphy was 94th of them. Whatever it is our offensive coordinator has been telling these guys, they're not picking it up. Not the expensive talented five linemen and neither our second best in business rookie running back. 3.3 yards per carry. Ouch.

Vinny Buysse finished the season tied for first with the most receptions, but he was supposed to, getting 224 more targets than the second most targeted player in the league. It resulted in the second most yards (1,251) and a depressing low 5.64 yards per target. All four of our main ball catchers (Buysse, rookie Calvin Maxwell, tight end Clarence Gore and all downs back Torphy) were below 6.2 yards per target. Only good old Ed Schulz, our WR3 this season, got 8.7 yards per target on a career low 31 catches. Our other veteran George Stuckey had 1 catch all season, he still lead us last season in catches and receiving yards. Earnest Ashley completed 46 percent of his passes for 3,494 yards, 11 touchdowns and 19 interception. Goodness, how terrible can arguably the most talented offense in football perform?

The defense played well at times, but our inability to be consistent in the run defense (second most rushing yards allowed, tenth most yards per carry) severely hurt our chances to stall drives, despite having the second best pass defense in yards per pass attempt and passing yards per game. The pass rush was once again far from best in the league. Yes, we actually finished the season #1 in least points allowed, outscoring (so to say) Bordeaux and the Fairbanks Northstars by 2 points. Fun fact: none of these three made the playoffs. Defense wins championships? It doesn't even make the playoffs!

So, now what? One learning season in the books and back to the drawing board. 2100, a new century (perceived as we all know that 2101 is actually a new century and in IHOF terms, the century season will be 2103.) Of course! Well, after our traditional cap magic start of the off-season, we're going into the new season projected about $125M over the cap. But with no expensive draft picks, given that we gave up a lot of them for the rights to Ken Torphy and 47 players already signed. We'll just have to add 4 rookies and we'll be good to go. Hopefully, because you never know what the off-season and pre-season bring.

And depending on whether I'm willing to give Earnest Ashley one more chance. It's not much of a secret, expect for himself it seems, that I tried hard to get the #1 overall pick of this past draft to replace Ashley. The kid named Terrence Levingston has guided the Toronto Lake Monsters into the playoffs with an 11-5 record and second best in the AOC. He's offensive rookie of the year bound.

But yeah: 2100, here we come.
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Old 07-19-2021, 02:27 PM   #542
QuikSand
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
disappointing end to the season... hope still should be interesting to see what can come together around Thing 1 and Thing 2
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Old 07-24-2021, 04:36 PM   #543
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: A new season, welcome to 2100!
2100... 2100... 2100! Wow.

Man down, ladies and gentelmen. Guard Caleb Turnbull called it a game after 12 seasons in the IHOF, the last three of those as the sixth lineman of the Maassluis Merchantmen. Primarily a run blocker - what else to expect from an offensife guard? - we were fond of his experience and his willingness to mentor our starters Nickolas Toler and Roger Staigvil.

With Turnbull out, we're down to 47 players signed, 2 restricted free agents and 3 unrestricted free agents. We're currently $112M over the salary cap. Yeah, I'll have to do our traditional magic, with cap outs and creative renegotiations. We'll manage, but it'll be tricky to leave some room for extensions to players that are in the final year and room to bring back some of those 5 free agents. We'll probably have to think of what to do in the draft as well here. All in all, we're basically going to sit at $121M after rookies are signed and we don't do anything else. That's not an option.

The restricted free agents are second year tight end Riley Bridges and left tackle Johnathan Van Pelt, both requesting minimum salary. The unrestricted free agents are more of a concern. Defensive tackle Jerome Shumate is a part of our run defense and pass rush rotation. We didn't have enough remaining cap space to lock him up. We made a desperate attempt on running back Ronnie Vanden Bosch, but failed. He RVDB actually sat out the 2099 season, but I'm still willing to give him another shot, even after his 2.12 ypc 2098 campaign.

Harris Gerhardt has been a loyal special teamer, I'd like to bring him back too, but his demands were a bit too high last off-season and I was actually surprised to see him decide to continue to the IHOF for a 12th season, the 4th with us. You've got to respect a man that once was a workhorse running back, then declined after a knee injury, but is still willing to put on the shoulder pads and helmet to be the nestor of a special teams unit. And mentoring our young running backs, like Ken Torphy, Dashawn McIntyre and before them RVDB.

The staff draft has finished as well. We decided to replace head coach Kyle Elliott after 22 seasons of service. Wow. 22 seasons of the same head coach. We replaced him with Troy Lynch, 16 years younger and previously with the Orlando Talons, where he went 8-8 in his first and only season as head coach. He was a defensive coordinator in Rochester for 4 season and before that spent 2 seasons in Bordeaux and 1 season in Paris as the assistent coach. Elliott was hired by the Colorado Cutthroats, the team that was far and beyond the worst of the league last season. We also hired a new assistent coach, bringing in Jeremy Crane for Bart Guthrie. Our former safety moved on to Arizona.

Speaking of Arizona, they have our first and second round picks, picks #15 and #46 overall in the upcoming draft. They also held the #8, #19, #29, #50 and #61 overall picks. Held, as they traded that #8, #19 and our 1st round pick in 2101 to Colorado for the #1 overall pick, to select top wide receiver prospect Tommy Bracken. Our draft will begin at pick 3.17, or #81 overall if you wish, by that time Arizona will also have had a chance to do something with their 3rd round pick...

One more thing to note: we extended the contract of our offensive coordinator Clarence Byrd. Some owners in the league advised us to switch to a coordinator with a different view on football, but his style made him a success with the Tucker Tigers. In two seasons they reached the bowl twice, won it once. He then found out he isn't suited for a head coach role, winning just 12.5 games in 4 seasons in San Antonio. We were more than happy to pick him up in the 2097 staff draft. But so far, the connection with Earnest Ashley isn't just there yet. We'll give it another chance in 2100. Because, he's proved he can do it, it might all be on me not wanting to put more depth in our game plan. Fourth time the charm?
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Old 07-27-2021, 04:36 PM   #544
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: So we wait, and wait, and wait...
Because, the draft...

The downside of not having picks in the first two rounds of the draft, combined with being more than $100M over the cap at the start of the off-season, means there's not much to do in Oranje Haven so far. Sure, we scouted the draft class, interviewed 12 guys that aren't first to second round prospects. And clearly we went through a truckload of renegotiations with players on roster. But we're still going to have to wait for the first 80 or so picks to have been used to have anything to do in the draft and need to get under the cap to sign the free agents I'd like to (re-)sign.

The good news so far, our first sweep of renegotiations has gotten us up to $13M over the cap, which means we cleared $100M or so already. The final but relies on two guys: offensive tackle Isaac Delgado and defensive end Richie Piotte. That last guy is in the final year of contract, which means I have to find the sweet spot for an offer he can't refuse. For Delgado, I'm wagering on him to sign a restructured 3-year deal that's close to his demands, because a cap out would save us a bit more this season, but probably cost us about $18M more in base salaries in the next two seasons.

Two of our three unrestricted free agents are getting pursued by other teams now, meaning the moment has arrived to figure out what cap room we have available and are willing to spend on a return of them. I'm afraid we can't win a bidding war, so, it's going to require us to find the sweet spot of loyalty, which they're not particularly known for. We'll see what happens.

And the rest of the time it's waiting for the other 31 owners, because it's clear that 2/3rd of the other owners aren't as considerate as yours truly has been for the majority of 96 prior drafts in preparing well for the draft. It is what it is, or has turned into. C'est la vie. But it helps to sometimes write off the frustration about it.

So, what will we do this draft? Maybe we need to fill a hole or two because of the retirement of Caleb Turnbull and the looming free agents walking away, but I'm expecting to take somewhat of a best player available approach. The spreadsheet with all the rookies that we made will be almost sacred, as we may need to flip around the names a bit to make sure we'll not grab the, for example, 200th highest graded player in the third round and hope for the 50th highest graded to fall to the fourth. It might be one of those drafts where we'll have to gamble on player 200 to be there in the fourth or fifth and grab player 50 first.

We'll see what happens in the next 24 hours or so...
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Old 08-06-2021, 03:31 PM   #545
MIJB#19
Coordinator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: So we're good, or maybe not...
Pre-season can be so deceiving.

Yeah, we've reached that point in the season where a couple of pre-season games have been played and we're wondering what the numbers in those games can or can't mean. Earnest Ashley completed 12 of 13 pass attempts in a 31-22 victory. But since he's still mister 50-50, he completed only 10 of 17 in a 27-10 loss. And both games we got outgained in yardage.

Okay, so, two pre-season games played, I see you wondering: where's the report on which players are on the team? Where are the training camp results? Where's the post first pre-season game report on which players looked downright out of shape right after the game and which players showed flashes of being reborn and better than ever?

We trimmed down to 53 players already, before the second couple of pre-season games, so I can semi-claim this will be our opening day roster. But, you never know. After all, the masters of trade haven't made a trade this season, yet.

Quarterbacks
55/55 QB Earnest Ashley, 7th season
15/20 QB Terry Hutton, 2nd season, 8th in IHOF
15/35 QB/KH Malachi Manning, rookie, undrafted
Indeed, Jon Giles, our previous kick holder has left Oranje Haven. Why? Because Manning is the best in business. He's younger and has shown quite the improvement in pre-season (+4/+8). Ashley is back for another season. Last season we tried to bring in a replacement, but we failed and decided to put this and the next couple of seasons into his hands. Hutton had a bad pre-season showing (-8/-9) and he might end up being our QB3 on opening day. Don't be shocked if I try to see if we can bring in a different veteran. We could go with 2 quarterbacks, but I'm hesitant.

Backfield
70/70 RB Ken Torphy, 2nd season
55/55 RB/KR Dashawn McIntyre, 3rd season
35/40 FB Damien Wanamaker, 4th season
30/30 RB Ronnie Vanden Bosch, 5th season
30/30 FB Owen Johnston, 7th season
A completely homegrown bunch, with the second most talented running back in the league our ball carrier with receiving hands. I'm a terrible game planner on offense, just barely better than the random nonsense my staff members would come up with, we know that much, so I can only hope we don't misuse Torphy. McIntyre is a suitable backup, Wanamaker has improved enough in training camp (+3/n.c.) to make his bad pre-season (-3/-4) not be a problem to over take Johnston as our run blocking fullback. VDB didn't have a good pre-season (-5/-5), but I felt he'd be more reliable (cohesion) than undrafted rookie Marlon Saffran, who was released yesterday.

Tight Ends
40/40 TE Myron Lofton, 4th season
40/40 TE Clarence Gore, 10th season
35/35 TE Riley Bridges, 2nd season
25/45 TE Wesley Martin, rookie, undrafted
Another home grown group, with Gore as a 5th round pick the one that we invested the most in. Lofton was a 7th round pick, the other two undrafted rookies. Wendell Borders had a disastrous pre-season (-9/-9) and was released. Gore also had a bad pre-season (-8/-8) and has turned even more into just a decent receiving option. Lofton isn't special, even looked bad in pre-season (-5/-5), but he'll be our starter, sort of, he's a decent third down receiver. Bridges is the best run blocker now and a special teamer. Martin pretty green, but also more experienced than most rookie tight ends. Martin had promising training camp (+3/+3) and pre-season (+1/+3).

Wide Receivers
75/80 WR/KR Calvin Maxwell, 2nd season
70/70 WR Vinny Buysse, 3rd season
55/55 WR Ed Schulz, 8th season
40/40 WR George Stuckey, 11th season
20/30 WR Bobby Sutton, rookie, undrafted
15/15 WR/PR Mark Perkins, 9th season
Yet another completely home grown group. Maxwell and Buysse, the best receivers duo in the league. Now, if they can prove it, that would be really swell. We released kick returner Darien Thompson after another bad pre-season (-4/-4). Stuckey (-7/-7 pre-season) is on the decline, but still a suitable WR4. Schulz, once seen as our savior, well, he's still a solid WR3, right? Sutton is a special teamer and nothing else. He might not play much initially, but I'm sure he'll get to see some action at some point.

Offensive Linemen
75/75 C Robbie Zinn, 8th season
70/70 LT Isaac Delgado, 7th season
65/65 G Nickolas Toler, 5th season
60/60 G Ronald Staigvil, 4th season
60/60 LT Johnnie Houston, 7th season
30/45 LT Johnathan Van Pelt, 2nd season
30/40 C Rickey Mason, 4th season
25/40 G Corwin Driver, rookie
Wait, more homegrown players, that makes it all but our 3rd string QB being drafted or signed as a post camp undrafted rookie. The starting five are set in stone. Driver had a so-so training camp (+3/-2) and a head shaking pre-season (-1/-5), but still made the team by lack of competition. Mason was both our training camp warrior (+5/n.c.) and pre-season dud (-4/-4), meaning he'll continue to be an underdeveloped backup. We're probalby in trouble if one of the starters gets hurt.

P/K/LS
50/55 P Manuel Szymanski, rookie, undrafted
60/60 K Gino Shea, 3rd season
20/20 LS Harris Custer, 3rd season
We released second-year punter John Fletcher as Szymanski looks more promising. None of these kids are the best in business, not even top10 or so. Yes, that's very unMerchantmenlike, but that's how it has gone.

Defensive Linemen
70/70 DE Richie Piotte, 6th season
45/45 DT Harold Gough, 7th season
40/50 DE Robbie Dobreski, 3rd season
40/40 DT Caleb Domis, 8th season
40/40 DE J.C. McPike, 2nd season, 9th in IHOF
35/35 DT Darien Fletcher, 12th season
30/35 DE Spencer Crawford, 2nd season
20/35 DE Deon Rosas, rookie
We've got a fine group of pass rushers, with a couple of guys that lost some of their speed in Fletcher (-6/-6 pre-season) and McPike (-6/-6 pre-season). Our run defense wasn't great and it can't get much better after we lost Jerome Shumate in the off-season. Rookie Roger Lee didn't make the team, too green for what we need now and I don't see him getting enough playing time to grow.

Linebackers
45/45 OLB Brandon Brady, 11th season
45/45 OLB Preston Bradford, 4th season, 5th in IHOF
40/40 ILB Bart Hansen, 3rd season, 10th in IHOF
40/40 OLB Trey Ford, 3rd season
25/50 ILB Abraham Desimone, rookie
25/25 ILB Andrew Cochrane, 7th season
15/15 OLB Jose Meadows, 8th season
Desimone is hopefully our new complete middle linebacker. Given his nice training camp (+6/n.c.), I'm considering to make him our starter this season. But with Bradford, Brady and an improving Ford (+4/n.c. training camp) there's at least a decent enough group here. Hansen is still a good run stopper as well. Meadows and Cochrane are still our lead special teamers.

Secondary
70/70 CB Ernie Grant, 6th season
55/55 CB Omar Leszynski, 5th season
45/45 CB Zachery Weisz, 7th season
40/40 S Devon Farrell, 10th season
35/40 S Blaine Wright, 3rd season
35/35 S Chuck Murray, 11th season
25/35 CB Donnie Dogins, rookie
20/20 CB Adam Harmon, 11th season
15/15 S Jon Brotzman, 11th season
Pre-season wasn't kind to our longtimers Farrell (-10/-10), Brotzman (-4/-4) and Harmon (-5/-5), while Grant added to the decreases (-5/-5). Training camp was a moment to shine for the youngsters Wright (+5/n.c.) and Dogins (+4/-1), which means both might get into the mix this season. Might, as I'm still loyal to the longtimers. Harmon's decline might hurt the most, but Leszynski has improved enough to be a worthy CB2 opposite Grant. Farrell didn't quite fall off a cliff, but he's basically now a grizzled veteran with enough left in the tank to play like something like the 20th best starting strong safety.


We locked up center Robbie Zinn, which means there are two true starters still to lock up for the 2101 season: guard Staigvil and cornerback Leszynski. WQe'll get that fixed, but I want it to happen at a good price, to have something left in the bank to extend the contracts of some of these guys: FB Johnston, TE Gore, DT Gough, DT Fletcher, LB Brady, LB Hansen, LB Ford, S Murray and S Brotzman. We can't pay them all, so it's going to be a tough decision. Ford is probably at the top of the list, with a couple of veterans who aren't much useful to another team at the bottom. We'll see what happens here in a day or three.

So, back to the original questions: where do we stand? Well, it actually was a less pathetic pre-season than in recent seasons, which should be good news. But I'm not quite optimistic until I see results from our star ensemble on offense. Those kids need to get that job done, regardless of whether my staff constructs a dreadful random game plan, or I try to do it all by myself, with barely any better results.

First two more pre-season games, a little bit more data to throw away like it's worthless?
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Old 08-08-2021, 01:30 PM   #546
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Originally Posted by QuikSand View Post
Thing 1 and Thing 2
I'm breaking my head over this reference. I know I've seen it, but my memory is failing.
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Old 08-09-2021, 12:49 PM   #547
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It's from The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss. Big stuff here stateside.
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Old 08-15-2021, 08:19 AM   #548
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It's from The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss. Big stuff here stateside.
Sorry, the picture above doesn't help. It must have been something else that also references to these characters/creatures.

Maybe we've had a previous team in IHOF (I suppose somewhere in the startup seasons) that traded a lot of picks to get two players at the top of the draft and they were also called Thing 1 and Thing 2?
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Old 08-15-2021, 09:21 AM   #549
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could be

it would be a pretty natural pop culture reference for an American to think of two exciting players showing up at the same time, and to reference them this way
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Old 08-15-2021, 01:56 PM   #550
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could be

it would be a pretty natural pop culture reference for an American to think of two exciting players showing up at the same time, and to reference them this way
I think I found what my memory was of: Back in the 2007 draft, the Conyers Condors (the original name of the Snapfinger Jazz) picked RB Randy Reagor at 1.1 and QB Chris Donaldson at 1.2. I think it involved a complex string of trades.
So, 16 years real time later, I finally figure out what Thing 1 and Thing 2 meant. How about that.
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