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Old 04-20-2020, 06:03 PM   #251
MIJB#19
Grizzled Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Stop second guessing!
Brandon Bell, baby!

Was I second guessing there, or not? In retrospect, I'm not sure. Yes, I've mulled over what to do here, but going over all that could happen, the tiny sample size of pre-season action was enough to convince me to trust in our first round pick and go for it with Brandon Bell. Would Moe Sheldon or Francisco Farley have done better? Quite simply, we'll never know.

Digging up some old pieces of writing on the team, made me update an old list and I found some interesting observations. First the list of all our opening day starters in the history of the Merchantmen:
2004 Calvin Snider - 2004 league draft R49 pick
2005 Leonard Lyon - 2005 #31 overall pick
2006-19 Louie Flannery - 2006 #5 overall pick
2020-29 "Rusty" Harrison - 2020 #1 overall pick
2030-32 Jay McGee - 2030 trade acquisition
2033-34 "Rusty" Harrison - 2033 trade acquisition
2035-39 Jay McGee - 2030 trade acquisition
2040 Stanley Bissel - 2040 veteran FA signing
2041-44 Perry Coleman - 2041 veteran FA signing
2045-57 Bryson Chow - 2045 #1 overall pick
2058-64 Lester Lowe - 2057 trade acquisition
2065-69 Alfred Hickman - 2065 trade acquisition
2070 Robbie Rhoades - 2070 veteran FA signing
2071-72 Alfred Hickman - 2071 veteran FA signing
2073 Winston Buckner - 2073 trade acquisition
2074 Robbie Howe - 2071 #19 overall pick
2075-76 Erick Loera - 2075 veteran FA signing
2077 Sammy Erickson - 2077 veteran FA signing
2078 Bennett Morris - 2078 veteran FA signing
2079-87 Ellis McAlister - 2074 #176 overall pick
2088 Francisco Farley - 2087 undrafted rookie FA signing
2089 Brandon Bell - 2088 #13 overall pick

With this being the 86th IHOF season, is that a long or short list? I've actually got no idea. I think it's pretty short. Alfred Hickman, the guy that got us our own IHOF Bowl, was our tenth different quarterback on this list. There are obviously some actual starting quarterbacks missing, guys that were for whatever reason not in the starting lineup in week 1. Brandon Bell is though and as we're about to end the '80s, including the '70s, he's the 10th different guy since we won that IHOF Bowl. But more promising to me, Bell is the 19th name on this list. Oh goody!

With the Paris Musketeers beating the Bordeaux Vineyards 16-13, it looks like our wide margin of victory, or some other obscure tie-breakers currently put us in the division lead, an oh so familiar place to be in:
1. Maassluis 1-0
2. Paris 1-0
3. Bordeaux 0-1
4. Gothenburg 0-1

No time to really enjoy this victory. Up next is a road game at the Frederick Red Menace. Well how about that, the team that didn't want to trade us the #1 overall pick (for good reason). Well, that means this could be a clash of two first round rookie quarterbacks then. Alvin Henson threw for 469 yards in his debut. I think our kid Brandon Bell has something to prove here, that he actually was the right decision here. Well, we can only hope so he does!

Let's 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
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Old 04-21-2020, 11:51 AM   #252
MIJB#19
Grizzled Veteran
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: So far so good!
We won on the road!

No really, we did. After our near unbeatable road game status in 2087, when we won 7 straight to reach the playoffs and saw the streak end in the divisional round at the Orlando Talons, the 2088 season was an 0 for 8 campaign. Our stop was Frederick to face the Red Menace and their brand new quarterback Angel Henson. Well, no worries, we've got our very own rookie quarterback with a 1-0 record. The #1 overall versus the #13 overall pick. Yes, the media were on it.

Things didn't start that well for us. Despite that sacked Henson on his first all passing drive, it took them three minutes to see their star wide receiver hurdle into our endzone on a 25-yard catch and run. Our respons was a decent drive ending in a 38-yard field goal. After a couple of three and outs, we forced them to punt after 4 plays anchored by Daquan Espino's 9-yard sack of Henson. Yet another three and out for our offense left a minute to play in the first quarter, a couple of neat throws brought them into our territory to end the first quarter with Frederick leading 7-3.

A couple of penalties didn't push them back enough to get into field goal range, but the range turned out to be too much to ask, the kick fell short. Our reply was a quartet of neat runs from Francisco Patter and Reggie Thongchanh, followed by Bell finding Theo Bondy for a 35-yard gain. Two plays later, Patter ran it in for the 10-7 lead. Defenses started to dominate, although our own chances were mostly diminished by penalties. It resulted in thr Red Menace getting a short field and a 38-yard pass from Henson to Jermome Barber put them back in the lead (14-10). Our running game continued to be solid and with a minute to go, Bell threw a short pass to Patter, who managed to turn it into a 24-yard touchdown catch. The defense was stout enough to maintain the 17-14 lead into the half time break.

First drive of the second half, an obnoxiously short kickoff return pushed us deep in our territory. Bell found Ronnie Hammond for 23 yards, Patter ran for 24 yards. It was enough to have a shot at a three-pointer, but Emmitt Wells missed the 47-yarder. Our defense started to bend, but forcing a 19-yard field goal felt like a victory. After an exchange of three-and-outs, we managed to resparkle our confidence. Steadily we marched into the Red Menace territory, Bell found Hammond for 25 yards and on second and goal, Patter ran it in from 3 yards out. We cheered too early, a penalty called it back and we had to settle for a 25-yard field goal, yet a 20-17 lead to end the third quarter.

The fourth quarter started with the play of the game. Henson's pass was picked off by Kirk Hitchcock and he ran it 33 yards back for the touchdown and a 27-17 lead. Now, it was all up to the defense to figure out that all passing offense from the Red Menace and primarily focus on the red zone defense. First drive, crucial third down defended pass by Hitchock. Their second drive, we allowed them to sniff at midfield. Bell responded with a 22-yard pass to Hammond to put them back at their turf on their next drive. Henson found R.J. Wiggins for 30 yards, then Jerome Barber for 33 yards to get into our 6-yard line. Another defended pass by Hitchcock, our alert defender on a Henson scramble and then a dropped pass made us force them to kick a 20-yarder. Leading 27-20, we had an efficient time outs burning drive. We pushed them back to their 19-yard line with 1:51 to go. 8 yards, 35 yards, 7 yards, they quickly marched into our turf. Ball spiked, 27 second to go. Gene Kondosvki pressured Henson into throwing it away, fourth down and three. Henson threw it to Barber, who used his hands illegally, but cornerback Jessie McNeil still managed to bat it away and we gladly declined the penalty. Knee drop Bell for the 27-20 victory!

Bell completed 21 of 37 passes for 259 yards and 1 touchdown without interception. Ronne Hammond lead the receivers again with 6 catches for 90 yards, Theo Bondy was held to 5 catches for 71 yards. Francisco Patter ran 17 times for 80 yards and a score, adding a receiving touchdown to it as well. The Red Menace's Henson completed 37 of 64 passes for 509 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception and got sacked twice.

Sure, we got outgained 517 to 385 yards, but we were clearly more efficient in what was probably an even game, if not for the two-score lead taking pick six from Kirk Hitchcock. We failed to pressure their quarterback, but the defense defended 11 passes, on top of that single interception.

Elsewhere in the IHOF, our division rivals all won as well. Paris won 27-20 at the Williamsburg Colonials, Bordeaux beat the Brooklyn Fightin' Bums 22-16 and Gothenburg beat the Chesapeake Chitterlings 27-23. Rookie Mercury Pierce got the start for the Giants, could this kid be for real?

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

Up next, the Houston Mustangs. They'll be motivated to test our rookie quarterback Brandon Bell, given that we picked him with the first round pick we got from them. They picked wide receiver Ruben Lynn for the pick they received back then, he's got 13 career catches, none so far this season. Let's hope we can make them regret that trade even more by bringing our A game. Or B game as we're already jokingly calling it.

But let's not get carried away now, a 2-0 start can still end up in a 2-14 season. Surely, we hope to improve to 3-0, but Houston also had a 2-0 start. They finished last season with a 6-3 series, starting it with a 30-23 win in our place. It's time to avenge that. Go 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
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Old 04-21-2020, 05:59 PM   #253
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Maassluis Merchantmen, masters of trading, episode 1.

We're in the middle of the 86th regular season of the IHOF. Rookie quarterback Brandon Bell has been a pleasant surprise in the first two games, but he wouldn't have been here had the Merchantmen not traded their late first round pick of the 2088 draft to the Houston Mustangs in exchange for a 2089 first round pick. A pick that ended up being the #13 overall and as the Merchantmen stayed there, the end result was picking Bell.

With just two games on his resume, it's clearly way too early to claim this trade was good or bad. But there's no reason not to look at the past and dig up memories on historic moments in Merchantmen trading tradition. There a lot to pick from, as the Merchantmen have made no less than 343 trades in 86 off-seasons and incidentally a trade or two during the regular season. Wouldn't it be neat to look back on some of those moments. Let's try to see if it's possible to count down the top 10 best trades, throw in a handful of bad ones and one specific trade that never happened, which could have had major implications on the history of the Merchantmen.

To kick off this series, let's take a look at the day the Maassluis Merchantmen picked the player that ended up wearing the #86 jersey: wide receiver Gabe Springer.

It was early in the 2016 draft. THe IHOF until that point had a tradition of quarterbacks getting picked #1 overall. The class of 2016 wasn't all that bad, the Chesapeake Chitterlings managed to selected Glenn "GC75" Coleman with the second pick of the second round. A completely different and new trend was established in the first round, 2016 became the draft of the wide receivers.

Going into the draft, the Maassluis Merchantmen held the #17 overall pick and had their eyes on one and only one player: wide receiver Gabe Springer. A combine skipper, thus interviewing his was considered crucial in the war room in Maassluis. It gave the team management a sense that he was very underrated and as such Springer was highlighted on their draft board.

The Houston Mustangs started the draft of wide receivers by taking Dusty Kassem #1 overall. Ironically, he ended up being the lesser of four wide receivers taken in the first round, all in the top eight. Brandon LaCour was taken with the #5 overall by the Asheville Axemen and the #6 became Syracuse Mohawks legend Cris Anthony (#2 all time in receiving yards). At that point, it was the Merchantmen's belief that Springer would not last until that #17 overall pick and it was time to make a move. The Oakland Black Panthers decided to invest in Brant Pancake as their quarterback at #7 overall. The Boulder Blizzard then were on the clock.

The Merchantmen were coming off an 8-8 campaign and had fallen from a team with an elite defense to a barely over .500 team. With that reputation in mind, the Merchantmen offered the #17 overall and their 2017 first round pick to move up 9 slots. Negotiations were short, the trade was accepted and the Merchantmen management was overjoyed: Maassluis got the #8 overall pick and would get it's own super star wide receiver by selecting Gabe Springer out of Ohio.

The Boulder Blizzard would later on trade down from 1.17 to 1.28 and additionally acquired the North Plainfield Plague's first round pick in 2018. The frenzy continued as shortly after picking linebacker Cary Wofford with that 1.28 pick, the Blizzard sent the rights to Wofford back to the Plague for two third and two fifth round picks that draft, as well as the Plague's second round picks in 2017 and 2018 and third round pick in 2017.

The gist of things was Maassluis getting their wide receiver. Gabe Springer turned out to be the guy they wanted to have. Springer served as the #1 target for HOF quarterback Louie Flannery for 4 seasons and then for HOF quarterback Russell Harrison until Springer retired after the lost AOC Championship game in the 2027 season.

Maassluis Merchantmen send:
2016 1.17 pick
2017 1st Maassluis

Boulder Blizzard send:
2016 1.8 pick


The sacrificed 2017 first round pick ended up being the #15 overall, which the Blizzard used to pick wide receiver Van Pool, who retired after 12 seasons of a bit of bouncing around with 393 catches for 5,167 yards and 31 touchdowns, getting just one 1,000-yard season, achieved in his third and final season in Boulder. He did win a championship ring as the third wide receiver for the Superior Intellects in IHOF Bowl XX at the end of the 2023 season.

The 2016 #17 overall pick was used by the North Plainfield Plague to select safety Kevin Hickman. After being a starter in his rookie season, he left the Plague after 5 seasons, having been buried in their depth chart. He hopped around as a dime back for three more season and retired after 95 regular season games with 4 interceptions (2 of those in his rookie season), 27 defended passes, 186 tackles and 64 assists.

The Merchantmen were perhaps the obvious winners from the trade. Although back then all that mattered was getting Springer and back in 2016 the value of a star wide receiver was roughly two first round picks. Playoffs success was limited with Springer around. In the middle of the '20s, Springer was the centerpiece of a 500-points caliber offense in 2023 with HOF quarterback "Rusty" Harrison, HOF running back Stanley Givens and Springer's understudy Terry Thomason. In following years the Merchantmen bolstered their defense. The 2027 AOC Championship game turned out to be the deepest the Merchantmen would get into the playoffs with Gabe Springer. He retired after a Hall of Fame worthy career with 1,077 catches for 14,531 yards and 105 touchdowns in 170 regular season games, all wearing the Maassluis Merchantmen's #86 jersey.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 04-22-2020, 02:02 PM   #254
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Fun while it lasted
We're back to the land of the mortals.

Starting the season 2-0 was a welcome surprise, but today the Houston Mustangs put us in our place, probably. After a 30-9 drubbing, we know one thing for sure: we can't think we're already back in the land of the playoff caliber teams. Brandon Bell completed 15 of 37 passes for 106 yards, Theo Bondy had 2 catches for 14 yards.

What has me worried is that the staff keeps thinking it's a great idea to not use our best player on offense. Have they forgotten or never noticed we have Theo Bondy on our team? So far he's been targeted 22 times, cumulative over 3 games. Problem remains to be that opposing defenses will try to double cover our man. Hence the reason to sign a guy like Ronnie Hammond to have a legitimate WR2 and put Branden Sandlin in the WR3 spot that suits him.

And Francisco Patter continues to be angry, just because he isn't in our 113 formation. Get real, kid, you're getting 75% of the carries now, stop complaining!

At least we can put everything negative aside next week. Oh wait, it's once again our bye week already, in week 4 of the regular season. That never gets old, I guess.

Enough complaining, we're 2-1 and despite that the rest of the division is as well, we're still in the lead. Yay!

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

So, next up a bye week. And then, in week 5, the Tucker Tigers. Yummy! We'll get them in Oranje Haven, but still, they're one of two undefeated teams in the AOC. They other team was our opponent from Houston earlier today.

The good news? It actually felt bad losing today, which is a signal I have by no means gotten accustomed to it. Let's keep that up. We've got our fair share of losses against them, but notching win #19 would put is one more away from batting .333 against them. Which is actually kind of decent in the grand scheme of things. The little wins count too. We can do this.

Back to the drawing board and see where it well gut us. Go 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
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Old 04-22-2020, 06:16 PM   #255
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Maassluis Merchantmen, masters of trading, episode 2.

The story of the trading tradition in Maassluis. Nobody kept track, except for the Merchantmen themselves on their own trades, but it's likely the Merchantmen have made the most deals of all over the past 86 off-seasons and a bit of regular season trading. The idea was to count down the top 10 best trades, to throw in a handful of bad ones and one specific trade that never happened, which could have had major implications on the history of the Merchantmen. Episode 1's trade for the 2016 #8 overall pick that was used on wide receiver Gabe Springer will certainly ranks in the top 10 all-time, but where? Let's save that question for later and switch from #86 to #89, wide receiver Terry Haskell.

The 2035 season had been a very good one for the Maassluis Merchantmen. After 6 seasons outside the playoffs and seeing the Bordeaux Vineyards pull of an equally long series of European division titles, the Merchantmen finally restored their dominance. Before Bordeaux' unprecedented streak in the division, the division title tally was Maassluis 12, Bordeaux 8, Gothenburg 6, Paris 3. The 11-5 record was far from good enough to even sniff at the byes as the top two seeds in the AOC both put down a 14-2 record. The Merchantmen ended up beating the 12-4 wild card Fort Wayne Fury, but were no match for the nearly unstoppable Tucker Tigers en route to their second straight IHOF Bowl victory, their first back-to-back league championships.

Result of that campaign was a #26 overall first round pick for the Merchantmen. While the draft was slowly starting to roll, the Merchantmen had put their eyes on wide receiver Terry Haskell. Yes, they interviewed him prior to the draft and they were very impressed as the staff back then felt Haskell was a very underrated prospect (and he was, on arrival Merchantmen staff assessed him as a 42-potential player on a 1-100 scale). It would turn out to be a draft of wide receivers (shocker!) with seven of them taken in the first round, all of them with the top 18 picks.

To be able to make a move, the Merchantmen jumped on the Paris Musketeers' willingness to trade the #20 overall pick for two second and one third round pick in that 2036 draft (#56, #57 and #80 overall). Due to their trading in prior off-seasons, the Merchantmen were stocked with even more picks. Dating back from the 2033 off-season, they had acquired third rounders from Tucker, Minnesota, Texas and second rounders from Texas and Outer Banks. At that point, those second rounders were already gone, one of them in the move up to #20, another went to Rochester Razorbacks to be able to acquire veteran wide receiver Russell Holliday.

Anyway, stocked with picks, the Merchantmen rang the Neverland Ranch Hands and packaged the #20 and #26 overall picks, as well as a triplet of third rounders (#80, #90 and #96 overall) for the #6 overall and a 2037 third round pick. Hoping it would be high enough to grab their diamond in the rough.

In a change of events, the Neverland Ranch Hands ended up trading both the 1.20 and 1.26 picks to acquire the 1.3 overall pick from the Asheville Axemen and ended up selecting wide receiver Vincent Reblin. An obvious sigh of relief for the Merchantmen, whom had traded up for a different wide receiver.

Pick 1.20 ended up being traded by Asheville to the Vicksburg Vipers to be able to select cornerback J.C. Abrams. Pick 1.26 ironically moved back to Maassluis in exchange for their 2037 first round pick to be able to pick defensive tackle Jerome Tyson. Picks 3.24 and 3.26 remained in Neverland Ranch Hands hands, they were used to select wide receiver Reggie Thorstenson and defensive tackle Bill Lewitt. The 3.32 was traded by Neverland Ranch to the Orlando Talons to be able to select offensive tackle (to be moved to guard) Melvin Connell.

Maassluis Merchantmen send:
2036 1.20 pick
2036 1.26 pick
2036 3.24 pick
2036 3.26 pick
2036 3.32 pick

Neverland Ranch Hands send:
2036 1.6 pick
2037 3rd Neverland Ranch


#20 overall pick J.C. Abrams turned out to be a solid cornerback for the Vicksburg Vipers, sticking around for 9 seasons, missing 7 regular season games and participating in 10 playoffs games. 13 interceptions, 105 defended passes, 5 forced fumbles, 7 fumble recoveries, 418 tackles and 118 assists was his resume in Vicksburg. His 10th and final season in the IHOF was underwhelming with no interceptions or defended passes, despite playing on 428 passing plays for the Hanalei Dragons.

#26 overall pick defensive tackle Jerome Tyson was a welcome addition to the Merchantmen defense, but after four seasons, salary cap issues made them release him as the start of the 2040 off-season, despite having signed an expensive 4-year deal in the 2039 off-season. He bounced around with 3 seasons for the Moontown Darksiders, 3 seasons with the Hanalei Dragons, 2 with the Toronto Lake Monsters and one final game for the Augusta Greenjackets. In 2039 he was an All-IHOF first team selection, which was a cause for the Merchantmen and Tyson being unable to agree to a contract that would work under their tight cap situation. Tyson ended up retiring with 377 tackles, 166 assists, 35.5 sacks, 93 hurries, 30 blocked passes in 182 games in 13 seasons. He participated in 12 playoffs games, most prominently the 2039 IHOF Bowl XLII in which the Chesapeake Chitterlings beat the Merchantmen 23-10.

Neverland Ranch's third round picks all turned out to be duds. Wide receiver Reggie Thorstenson played only two seasons there, accumulating 82 catches for 1,065 yards and 8 touchdowns. In four more seasons with the Colorado Cutthroats he failed to get above 1,000 yards for a single season either. In 2042 Colorado decided to let Thorstenson walk in free agency and no other team showed any interest, despite coming of his most productive season with 75 catches for 864 yards. Defensive tackle Bill Lewitt was released after 4 underwhelming seasons with 46 tackles, 30 assists and 6.5 sacks in total.

Orlando's guard Melvin Connell remained inactive throughout the 2036 season and got cut in the 2037 off-season. He never got to play a down in the IHOF. That too happens at times, even for third round picks.

That 2037 third round pick from the Neverland Ranch Hands ende dup being the 3.14 pick, which the Merchantmen packaged in a swap of three third round picks for a 2039 second round pick and some 2038 picks from the Outer Banks Ospreys. The Ospreys used that 2037 3.14 pick to select wide receiver Marc Kohler, with 78 catches in 102 regular season games and 7 seasons, an afterthought in their game plan.

Terry Haskell at #6 overall was still considered to be like hitting the jackpot for the Merchantmen. Evidently they knew what they were doing, grabbing this undervalued wide receiver that would end up being their all-time leading receiver (until Theo Bondy most likely catches up somewhere in the 2090s). 1,086 receptions, 15,001 yards, 127 touchdowns in 202 regular season games. 19 more playoffs games for 101 catches, 1,254 yards and 8 touchdowns, including 8 catches for 85 yards in the lost IHOF Bowl XLII. After a Haskell unworthy 58 catches for 671 yards, the 21-13 loss to the San Antonio Tidal Force in the 2048 divisional round was his last game in the IHOF. He retired in the following off-season, to get selected into the IHOF's Solecismic Hall of Fame in 2053. One of seven players from that 2036 draft class, one of the other six being linebacker Wesley Devine, with whom Haskell played together on the same team for all that time. They got inducted into the HOF together.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

Last edited by MIJB#19 : 04-22-2020 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 04-23-2020, 02:20 PM   #256
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Maassluis Merchantmen, masters of trading, episode 3.

It never gets old for Merchantmen fans to hear old stories of obscure trades that happend in 86 off-seasons in the IHOF. The plan was to count down the top 10 best trades, in between throw in a handful of bad ones and one specific trade that never happened, which could have had major implications on the history of the Merchantmen. Episode 1 and 2 were about how #86 Gabe Springer and #89 Terry Haskell each become the best wide receiver in Merchantmen history, with a HOF worthy career. Let's continue with the third amazingly talented wide receiver, like Springer and Haskell a home grown top 10 pick, which in team tradition was acquired through trade: J.R. Mills.

The trip in the time machine brings us back to the 2069 off-season. Maassluis Merchantmen had gotten quite lazy in recent off-seasons, not preparing themselves well for the draft with their usual spreadsheets and all. Perhaps spoiled from their first (and so far only) IHOF Bowl victory at the end of the 2066 season and actually thinking 10-win seasons will be sufficient all the time. In 2068, after a 10-6 campaign and choking in the wild card round against fellow 10-win Tucker Tigers, the time for change was announced. A record and playoffs exit that earned the Merchantmen the #24 overall pick for the 2069 draft.

An overjoyed general manager M.IJ.B. was happy to announce a deal with the Moontown Darksiders. Part of the happiness was explained by this being the 300th trade in franchise history (incidentally not M.IJ.B.'s 300th trade in IHOF, in 2017 temporary substitute dann made two draft day trades). The joy came from the ability to move up in the draft from the #24 slot. It cost them their second, third and fourth round picks, as well as an additional second round pick that was acquired from Texas during the 2068 draft for that draft's second round pick.

Ironically, the Merchantmen general manager back then apologized to other g.m.'s for making trade talks so difficult, claiming "It took [Moontown] an hour to convince me to trade after all. Y'all know it's unusual for me to actually want to keep a truckload of picks, but with my decimated roster, I actually wanted to keep a pick or 10". J.R. Mills it was after all the debating. He turned out to be the most productive receiver of his draft class and one of 12 to get elected into the Hall of Fame.

The Moontown Darksiders held onto the four highest picks and got linebacker Kendall Sualua, left tackle Randall Fleming, defensive end Rodney Root and offensive tackle Tim Parker with them. The 4.24 pick was traded to the Capital City Blues for cornerback Randall Heinlein. Capital City then spent the pick on center Noah Springer

Maassluis Merchantmen send:
2069 1.24 pick
2069 2.24 pick
2069 2.29 pick
2069 3.24 pick
2069 4.24 pick

Moontown Darksiders send:
2069 1.9 pick


The #24 overall pick linebacker Kendall Sualua turned out to be a centerpiece for the Moontown Darksiders' exceptional dynasty, winning 4 IHOF Bowls in the '70s. He left Moontown after 11 seasons for 2 more with the Iowa Cobbers and an HOF worthy career. Ten times did Sualua record 100+ tackles, but he also added 19.0 sacks and 28 forced fumbles.

Left tackle Randall Fleming won three championship rings in Moontown, missing the 2079 title after having signed with the Houston Mustangs, where he spent the last 2 seasons of his HOF worthy career. Fleming was a phenomenal run blocker, posting three season with 40+ key run blockers for the Darksiders. He finished his career with 375 key run blocks in the regular season and 39 in 19 playoffs games.

Left tackle Tim Parker's career in Moontown was short, active in 26 games and being released during the 2071 season. It meant he was cut in the middle of the Darksiders' first IHOF Bowl winning season. Two seasons with the Harlem Apollos didn't help his career get a real boost, he retired after his two-year contract expired and no other team offered him a third chance in the league.

Noah Springer's career brought him to five different teams. Capital City let him walk away after 4 seasons in a backup role. The Gothenburg Giants signed him in the 2074 off-season, but released him in pre-season. In 2074 the Frederick Red Menace offered him a new opportunity in a backup role, but in the 2075 off-season he was released. During the 2075 pre-season he signed with the Arizona Miners, playing 11 games there in a backup role. I 2076 he signed a one-year deal with the San Antonio Tidal Force, but remained inactive that season. It was his last stint.

Given their four league championships, with two hall of famers out of this particular trade, it's hard to argue the Darksiders didn't get their fair share of success out of this trade.

Merchantmen fans would probably have liked to see #82 wearing J.R. Mills get a championship ring for himself, but he didn't get closer than the lost AOC Championship game in 2078. Mills' career notoriously ended after 11 seasons. With just 839 catches, Mills still managed to get 14,944 receiving yards for 85 touchdowns. 57 yards short of tying Terry Haskell for the Merchantmen franchise record. Mills did have a sensational 2077 campaign with 111 catches for 2,228 yards, the only season he was an All-IHOF first teamer. His 63 games with 100+ yards receiving was a franchise record, until Theo Bondy jumped ahead in the 2088 season by setting the new mark at 66 and counting.
__________________
* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

Last edited by MIJB#19 : 04-23-2020 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 04-24-2020, 11:09 AM   #257
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Solid Merchantmen victory over Tigers
The 2089 season continues to be better than hoped for the Maassluis Merchantmen. With a solid 23-17 victory over the previously undefeated Tucker Tigers, the Merchantmen improved to 3-1 and sitting in the middle of the playoffs race spots. Brandon Bell earned his second player of the game honors.

After a bye week and before that a lesson in high level football, the Merchantmen were in for another big test, facing the Tucker Tigers. With a 4-0 record and solid football on the field, the Tigers are looking like the Tigers again. The Merchantmen however are wrestling with an identity crisis. The defense has been struggling for years, while the search for a new franchise quarterback appeared to be harder than they're used to. Taking Brandon Bell in the first round, 13th overall even, the media was all over this reached pick.

First drive of the game, the Tucker Tigers to receive the ball. Despite some strong plays early, they were halted at the Merchantmen 42-yard line. The Merchantmen responded with a bang, on the second play of the drive, starting at their own 27-yard line, Theodore Bondy went deep, caught Brandon Bell's first pass of the game close to midfield and turned it into a 73-yard touchdown. Oranje Haven exploded: this is football. The Tigers seemed unmoved, drove downfield on their next drive, but safety Riddick Newsome was spot on, in the Merchantmen red zone and picked off Donovan Muth on a short throw to the fullback. Francisco Patter ran for 10 and 11 yards, followed by another deep throw from Bell, this time to Branden Sandlin for 42 yards. A holding penalty in the red zone forced the Merchantmen to kick, but going 10-0 early exceeded expectations. The Merchantmen defense responded with forcing the Tigers to punt, except that Courtney Blackwell dropped the punt return after a 16-yard gain and two plays later, Greg Ena ran ran it in for 12 yards and a 10-7 Tigers deficit.

Reggie Thongchanh opened the second quarter with a 23-yard run, taking full advantage of Howard Humphrey's typical dominating run blocking on the right side of the line. Francisco Patter ran for 12 yards and Thongchanh followed yup with a 20-yarder to march into the red zone. Francisco Patter showed his third down skills, converting on third and one and getting the additional two yards to dive into the end zone for the 17-7 lead. The Tigers tried to reply with a solid drive of their own, but a holding penalty pushed them back, making an 18-yard catch by Lewis Burchfield at midfield still way short of moving the chains. Brandon Bell quickly lead his offense into Tigers territory, leaning heavily on a screen pass to Ronnie Hammond that turned int a 32-yard gain. The Tigers defense played a firm red zone defense and the Merchantmen settled for a 25-yard field goal and the 20-7 lead with 2 minutes remaining in the first half. Greg Ena ran for 34 yards and the Tigers marched forward. Andy Russell sacked Donovan Muth on second and ten, eventually forcing the Tigers to settle as well, a 29-yard kick made it 20-10 for Maassluis at half time.

The second quarter the Merchantmen got the ball first and continued their solid offensive play. Brandon Bell found tight end Jeffrey Blake for 10 yards, Reggie Thongchanh ran for 11 yards and on third and short, Bell connected with tight end Renaldo Crawford for a scree pass that turned into a 23-yard gain. On third and 12, firmly within field goal range, the line collapsed and as Brandon Bell tried to salvage the field goal, his 3 yard scramble resulted in a fumble and a turnover. The Merchantmen defense proved they got Bell's back and forced the Tigers to punt within 2 minutes of clock time after the turnover. Perhaps overwhelmed by his first career turnover, Bell's offense was kept to three and out, helping the Tigers get a somewhat short field. A penalty and the ferocious pass rush from the Merchantmen pushed the Tigers back, but the 20-yard punt return by Courtney Blackwell resulted in his second lost fumble of the game. His fellow cornerback saved the day on the next play, picking off Donovan Muth a couple of steps outside the end zone and the Merchantmen were starting to believe that this good showing so far could actually end up in a victory. Francisco Patter converted a couple of three and one plays and Brandon Bell himself scrambled for a couple of short gains. An unnecessary roughness penalty helped the Merchantmen into field goal range and despite Bell getting sacked on third and long, Emmitt Wells received applause for his 47-yard field goal. Maassluis was up 23-10 against the Tucker Tigers, with one quarter of football still to be played.

The roaring Tigers' offense apparently woke up now. Steadily, they ran for first down after first down and after 5 minutes of possession, Donovan Muth found his tight end Ron Virgadamo for a 21-yard touchdown play and trimming the score to a 23-17 deficit. An impressive kickoff return by Tracy Arntt was called back by a penalty, shortly followed by Brandon Bell getting sacked for the second time, this time on third and three. The Merchantmen defense returned back into action, Muth was pressured into throwing the ball away on third and long. Brandon Bell responded with a 12-yard pass to Theodore Bondy, but a couple of players later, his scramble on third and long was way short to move the chains. Punter Doug Guynes pinned the Tigers deep at their own 5-yard line with barely more than 4 minutes remaining and needing a touchdown. Donovan Muth found Tyrone Starks for a crucial 32-yard gain on third and ten. The Merchantmen pass rush showed up again, forcing a hurry immediately followed by a sack. On fourth and 14, the Tigers went for it from midfield and the Tigers' call was to throw it short, with both Merchantmen cornerbacks all over Tyrone Starks. The two-minute warning and two time outs gave the Tigers the ball back with 94 seconds to go. Hopes of coming back from behind where quickly gone as Jessie McNeil intercepted Donovan Muth on first and 20. Three plays later, victory formation was there: the Merchantmen completed a 23-17 victory!

Brandon Bell completed 15 of 22 passes for 245 yards, with 1 touchdown and a lost fumble. He outgained Tucker's Donovan Muth, who completed 27 of 44 passes for 210 yards with 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions. Theodore BOndy had 5 catches for 114 yards, Reggie Thongchanh ran 12 times for 97 yards, Francisco Patter 16 times for 77 yards and a touchdown. With 3 sacks, 8 hurries and 1 blocked pass, the Merchantmen pass rush disrupted 12 of 47 pass plays. The Merchantmen secondary made 3 interceptions and the defense added 4 defended passes to that.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Gothenburg Giants beat the Bordeaux Vineyards 26-19 in a game where punt returns accounted for 2 of the 5 touchdowns in the game, while the Paris Musketeers steamrolled the Augusta Greenjackets 39-7 with 6 field goals and a late game pick six to seal victory.

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

Victories over two 4-1 division leaders help the Merchantmen into a stronger strength of victory tie-breaker to sit ahead of Paris' three wins over below .500 opponents. But it's so early in the season, that's worth very little.

After 4 games for the Merchantmen, Brandon Bell has completed 75 of 128 passes for 872 yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. A scary jinxing number, given that every other starting quarterback has thrown at least 2 interceptions in 4 or 5 games so far.

The Merchantmen offense ranks
20th with 218 passing yards per game
8th with 6.8 yards per pass attempt
9th with 138 rushing yards per game
18th with 4.32 yards per carry
13th with 351 total yards per game
16th with 21.8 points per game

The defense ranks
31st with 149 rushing yards per game
32nd with 6.9 yards per carry
24th with 264 passing yards per game
23rd with 6.4 yards per pass attempt
28th with 394 total yards per game
15th with 20.3 points per game

Not the most overwhelming numbers so far for the Merchantmen, even knowing the sample size is obviously small and from games against teams combining for a 13-6 record (including the 1-3 record against Maassluis). So far, the Merchantmen are playing decent football on third downs and pass rush numbers on both ends are top five in the league. It also helps that they played giveaway free football until today, but they nullified the 3 fumbles by quadrupling their takeaways from 1 to 4.

Again, it's way too early to draw conclusions on where the Merchantmen are headed this season, but 3-1 isn't all that shabby. Brandon Bell isn't likely to win the Rookie of the Year battle anyway, despite a better passer rating, Angel Henson completes 32 of 56 pass attempts for 400 yard per game in a pass only offensive game play. But true football fans, especially the Merchantmen's, are not bothered by those kind of numbers. Football is a team sport: lose together, win together. And winning together is what the Merchantmen did today, beating the IHOF's historically strongest team.
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Old 04-25-2020, 01:01 PM   #258
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: good, great, bad, nice, ugly
Unpredictable, that's what we are.

Just after we've established that we can beat good teams at home, we get our second big loss of the season. The Augusta Greenjackets may have had some bad seasons recently, but this isn't your average 'below average' team. For instance, they've got Randal Webb walking around, quite possibly the most gifted tight end to have played in the IHOF all-time.

But one tight end doesn't make it right for us to play terribly. Against the Greenjackets, a good number of our players and elements of our game plan sunk below our standards. Our inability to move the chains today was the most troublesome: 9 of 13 drives were 3 or less plays long. Losing the turnover battle 3-1 didn't help there.

Our first drive was reason to think we could play ball with Augusta, between their first two drives for a touchdown, we responded with a similar drive. But after those drives the defensive supremacy reigned and ours was less capable of forcing turnovers and pushing them back. Long story short, we lost 47-21 and got humiliated by seeing the Greenjackets pull their starting quarterback at half time.

Brandon Bell completed 12 of 20 passes for 144 yards, with 1 interception that got returned 64 yards for a touchdown. Theo Bondy was held to 5 catches for 57 yards, Branden Sandlin had 3 catches, Ronnie Hammond jus 1 catch. Francisco Patter ran for 52 yards and a score, Reggie Thongchanh for 45 yards, Moe Sheldon scrambled for a touchdown as well (Bell got pulled late in the game). Our only takeaway resulted in a touchdown (Alexander Marty with a 56-yard fumble return. Our pass rush was invisible, our pass defense completely dependent on Kirk Hitchcock.

Elsewhere in the league, our division rivals also had a tough day. The Gothenburg Giants lost at home to the Tucker Tigers 30-24 in overtime on a 76-yard touchdown run by Greg Ena. The Paris Musketeers got crushed 36-10 in their own place by the Orlando Talons. The Bordeaux Vineyards were the moral winners, their bye week meant they were the only European team not to lose today.

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

Yeah, the game against Augusta for now is the tie-breaker (Paris beat them in week 5).

Up next for us a crucial road game at the Musketeers. At the very least, it'll be time for a new game plan. We can do this team!
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Old 04-27-2020, 08:09 AM   #259
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Merchantmen reclaim division lead without ejected Bondy
The Maassluis Merchantmen have retake the lead in the IHOF's European Division. With a convincing 30-23 victory at the Paris Musketeers, they did their own part. The Gothenburg Giants put a sloppy 20-3 deficit on the field at the Orlando Talons, which helped the Merchantmen leap ahead in the standings. But the biggest story of the game was about one of IHOF's stars, what happened to Theodore Bondy?

The Brandon Bell lead Maassluis Merchantmen are turning into a surprise of the 2089 season. With a solid 24 of 38 completed passes for 259 yards and 3 touchdowns without interception, Bell was once again impressive for an unpolished rookie quarterback. Helped by a defense that took no less than three takeaways on the first three Paris drives, the Merchantmen took a quick 13-0 lead and basically held ground from there on. Trailing by 14 points late in the game, he Musketeers almost got their miracle comeback. After making it 30-23 with a minute to go, they recovered the onside kick. But an impressive Gene Kondovski ended the Musketeers' hopes with a defended pass on third down and a solo sack on fourth down. Bell knee dropped to the victory.

But in a game where the Merchantmen pass defense defended 9 passes and had 1 interception, wide receiver Santiago Messenger's 7 catches for 85 yards and 2 touchdowns were the most surprising statline of any single player. The story of the day was the sudden disappearance one of football's stars: Theodore Bondy.

About six and a half minutes to go in the first quarter. Maassluis was up 7-0 and slowly but steadily driving downfield. On second and ten, Reggie Thongchanh got the handoff and after a 6-yard gain was tackled. A couple of feet away from the spot of the tackle, a couple of players had gotten into a brawl. After some time, Merchantmen guard Andre Watson was called for unsportsmanslike conduct, which essentially put the Merchantmen in a field goal at best situation. But on top of things, wide receiver Theodore Bondy was ejected from the game. One anonymous Merchantmen player pointed to the vile and dirty Paris cornerbacks Arturo Dunn and Ross Madison as the culprits for provoke Bondy.

The referees refused to elaborate and "profound language" was given as the explanation. Watson received the penalty for being first to misbehave, but Bondy was visible taunting. It's no secret that divisional clashes can get more heated and the Merchantmen had clearly arrived in Paris with an attitude of wanting to win at all cost. Bondy received a fine on top of the ejection, but league officials said there will be no other disciplinary actions.

With Bondy sitting out the game in the locker room, his replacements Branden Sandlin and in particular Santiago Messenger did their best Bondy impersonations. On top of it, the adrenaline from the heated atmosphere kept flowing through the veins of the Merchantmen players and eventually they got to travel home with their fourth "W" of the season. And with head-to-head wins against both Gothenburg and Paris, they have the tiniest of edges to potentially end up with tie-breakers, albeit they'd probably still need to beat one of them in the bottom half of the regular season.

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

Amidst the turmoil, last year's starting quarterback Moe Sheldon was spotted with an annoyed face on the sidelines. Although he's been silent in the media about it, his role as a backup isn't doing him well on game days. Last season one of his finest performance for the orange-white-and-blue came in a 48-14 trashing of the Musketeers in Maassluis, he had hoped to finally get a chance to travel to Paris and play well to avenge the release by the Musketeers in the 2087 off-season. Last season, Sheldon was a backup as well in the road game in Paris, sitting behind Francisco Farley, shortly before Sheldon took over and guided the Merchantmen to a 6-7 record.

Brandon Bell in the mean time continues to play like a division winning quarterback, still boosted by the lowest interception figure of all starters in the league. He had already shown he can find other receivers than the all world caliber Theodore Bondy, but today he proved to be able to do it even without Bondy. Or perhaps it was his ability to stick with the game plan, not to go for the safer route to throw it to the veteran Ronnie Hammond on the right side, but stick with the game plan and throw it to the left a lot. Branden Sandlin and in particular Santiago Messenger showed they have the quality to play in Reuben Bidwell's spread offense. Imagine Bondy back in the mix and this passing game could actually be good against any defense.
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Old 04-28-2020, 03:01 PM   #260
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Saved by the Bell, No wait...
We're still winning games, how sweet is that?

Hosting the 2-4 Snapfinger Jazz, the unknowing fan would assume that the 4-2 Maassluis Merchantmen would have to be the favorite in a home game. But after last season's mass departure of stars and cohesive veterans, we can't ever feel like we're the clear cut favorites.

First quarter, first drive. Our defense gives up a 15-yard pass, a 21-yarder and an 18-yard run. On third and four in our redzone, Tony Whiting makes the sack to force them to kick the 37-yarder. Our response was the kind of offensive play we've shown more often this season: 15 yards here, 5 yards there, 7 through the air, 6 on the ground, Bell to Bondy for 11 and then the 7-3 lead taking Bell to Bondy for 30 yards. Now that was somewhat new, for whatever reason Bell has had trouble connecting with Bondy. After our defense keeps them short, we continue with another one of those drives: Bell finds the tight end Crawford for a couple of 10-yarders, Thongchanh and Patter make the smooth runs and Bell finds Bondy open in the end zone for the 14-3 lead on the first play of the second quarter.

Things continue to be good for us, when Bart Sword intercepts a third and long pass and returns it to the 50-yard line. Alas, we end up punting and get a 32 and 30-yard passes thrown at us, but no worries, the D-Line overthrows their O-Line and their quarterback loses the ball in the melee. Things get even better on the punt play shortly after, as our guys knock over their punt returner, strip the ball and our guard Michael Szott bulldozes 30 yards downfield for the 21-3 lead. And things would have been swell had we all just shook hands and gone back to the locker rooms. But that wouldn't have been fun for our fans, would it?

Randal Solomon (that's the Jazz's quarterback, the one that we picked off and strip-sacked) finds Riley Doyle (the #2 pick from this draft class) for 27 yards, but as they settle for a 34-yard field goal, we think we can improve our lead from 21-6 to something larger. Francisco Patter runs for 9 yards, Bell finds Ronnie Hammond for 22 yards and just before the two-minute warning, again Hammond for a 44-yard touchdown. 28-6 up, hell yeah. Our defense plays well, but with the ball back in Bell's hands, we get cocky. Rather than running the clock out, we keep trying and Bell gets picked off at our 45-yard line. Two plays later, we get punched back hard: Solomon to Doyle for 45 yards and just like that it's 28-13 for the half time score.

We get the ball first in the second half, but at midfield we get slowed down and punt. First play on their drive, Clayton Jackson blitzes around their right tackle, sacks Solomon and Andy Russell recovers the loose ball at their 6-yard line. A goal line stand later, we kick the 18-yarder for a 31-13 lead. The rest of the third quarter continues with drives that get a bit upfield, but far from midfield. Until the Jazz decides to go run heavy and get to our 49-yard line by the end of the quarter.

Still leading by 18, we know this isn't a closed deal, but we're in good shape. On third and two, our strong safety gets the credits for stuffing their 224 pounds running back to force the punt. Then all of a sudden, our wheels are coming off: Bell throws his second pick of the game (and third of the season). They have a short field and a 21-yard pass on third and 13 is the key play to their touchdown, but after a failed 2-pointer, we're still up by 12 points. We get three-and-outed, return the favor, and get held to a short drive again. Solomon keeps finding open receivers, finds a guy with 3 minutes to go for a touchdown, but a holding penalty stalls them, for a minute. All of a sudden we up 31-26 and with 2 minutes remaining. We need just one more first down to end it and we get it done on second and five. Bell can do it again: knee drop for the victory!

Brandon Bell completed 23 of 34 for 195 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions (tripling his season total). Francisco Patter ran for 72 yards, Theo Bondy had 9 catches for 62 yards with 2 touchdowns, Ronnie Hammond 4 catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. The defense gave up 412 total yards, but most of it came in the second half. Despite the raw numbers, I actually have to like what we displayed today.

Lesson of the day? Don't get too excited when we're leading big just before half time and also get the ball first in the second half. It unnecessarily made it close than it needed to become.

Elsewhere in the league, the Gothenburg Giants had a bye, while the Paris Musketeers lost 40-34 at the Tucker Tigers and the Bordeaux Vineyards won 34-17 at het Augusta Greenjackets. The division is once again a close race.

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

The ugly part is that all four teams have a negative points differential. Some consecutive hilarity too, at 337 yards per game, we rank just ahead the 334 yards per game of all three of our rivals. We do score more points, have the better turnover margin and shockingly give up the most yards: we're bottom five in rushing and passing yards allowed.

The key stat is pointing towards us the most of course: the W-tally. We're going to need the cushion as we've got a rough road ahead, visiting Bordeaux, Orlando (5-2) and Gothenburg in the next three games. Of the last 6 games, 5 are in our place and the only one in the USA will be at the Chesapeake Chitterlings, standing tall with a league best 7-1 record. The home games are all but one against teams with a 3-4 record, which doesn't say a lot, 25% of the league has that record.

So, next up Bordeaux. We lost there the last two times, four out of the last five as well. Time to turn back time to when we used to own them in their place as well. We can do that, Merchantmen.
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Old 04-29-2020, 10:41 AM   #261
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: 2089 regular season halfway done, too good to be true?
"Venimus, vidimus, vicimus".

I mean, we're a team, right?

Get this: we've already equaled our win total from last season. Our fifth road game of the season and eighth in total, against our long time division rivals from Bordeaux. Sure, we've played all three of them for the past 85 and a half seasons, but just like our franchise, Bordeaux' has had the same ownership throughout.

So, Bordeaux. We pulled a nice 31-24 victory here, once again quickly bursting into a solid lead (21-0 today) and smooth sailed to another victory while seeing them getting closer and closer, but never catching up.

Brandon Bell is turning into a phenomenon. Either this kid is the real thing (mind you, eight games is a small sample size) or the guys around him know what they're doing. 30-yard bomb to Ronnie Hammond, 5-yarder to Theo Bondy and a 20-yarder to Branden Sandlin, that's how the first possession started. On third and goal, Bell found Sandlin wide open and the early 7-0 lead was ours. The defense kept their possession short and we saw Bell immediately reply with a 15-yard pass to Bondy. Francisco to the left for 15 yards, Reggie Thongchanh to the right for 9 yards and on third and ten Bell throws a 26-yard bomb into the end zone to Bondy for the 14-0 lead. We force three and out and Bell adds a 14-yarder to tight end Jeffrey Blake and an 8-yarder to Sandlin to play out the first quarter.

They finally find a way to stop us by the time we're a couple of yards shy of midfield, then give up 21-yard and 28-yard catch and runs, but the pass rush pressure was spot on on third down and as their kicker shanks the 52-yard kick, we get the ball back at our own 42-yard line. Third and three, Brandon Bell finds Theo Bondy for 16 yards. Then Francisco Patter rans the ball into the red zone and Bell himself goes for a 15-yard scramble towards the 21-0 lead. Bordeaux then finally wakes up as Brad Nestor finds various players for 18, 23 and 22 yards, that last completion accounting for the touchdown to trim it to 21-7. We get three-and-outed, give up a 24-yard pass, then see Archie Exner sacks Nestor for a huge loss of terrain and after good old Artie Blazewicz (130 games with us on his resume) makes his first catch in a Vineyards uniform, they throw for 8 more on third and long to set up an impressive 54-yard field goal. Bell knee drops to halftime with a 21-10 lead.

We struggle on their first drive in the second half, but regroup once they reach our red zone, with Kirk Hitchcock showing why he's considered the best player on our defense and an early favorite to win defensive player of the year in the IHOF. Sure, they convert the 25-yard field goal, and force three and out, but on the very next play, Hitchcock picks off a short pass at the Bordeaux 11-yard line and we're in good shape to extend our 21-13 lead into a two-score lead. Brandon Bell to Theo Bondy falls a yard short, so a 19-yard field goal puts us 24-13 up. We allow Nestor to throw for 25 yards, but Gene Kondosvki sacks him on the very next play and as he forces an incomplete pass on third down, we get the ball back, albeit deep in our own territory. Bell to Bondy for 8 yards, Francisco Patter over Howard Humphrey for 8 yards, but then out of nowhere Nathan Hadinger gives up his first sack of the season as Bell goes down on third and 5. Another three and out after they get pushed back 10 yards by a holding penalty and then Bell finds tight end Randy Holliday for 10 yards to end the third quarter.

We get stopped on third and 6, but Doug Guynes pins them at their 2-yard line for their first possession in the fourth quarter. On second down their tight end fumbles after making the reception and as Clayton Jackson recovers it for us, we're already in first and goal. On third down, Brandon Bell finds Theo Bondy in the end zone for the 31-13 lead. Brad Nestor then orchestrates a solid drive, eventually pounding it in himself from the 1-yard line, followed by a 2-pointer for a 31-21 deficit for Bordeaux. We scrape a minute off the clock and after a 25-yard punt return they just need a 15-yard pass to get into field goal range and with a 34-yarder they comeback within a touchdown: 31-24. With just under 5 minutes to go, we know this isn't a done deal. Instead of just running on all downs, Bell mixes it up just enough with 11-yard and 9-yard completions to make them burn their first time out with just over two minutes remaining. After we punt and give up a 26-yard return, Kirk Hitchcock comes up big again, making his second interception of the game right before the two-minute warning. Reggie Thongchanh runs for 11 yards and as they burns their last two time outs, we need him to do that one more time to seal the deal.

As Gothenburg miss a late game 45-yard kick in a 28-26 home loss to the Augusta Greenjackets, we extend our lead in the division to 2 wins. Paris needed their kicker to converted all four of his 46-yards and longer field goals to pull off a 25-24 win at the Snapfinger Jazz.

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

Brandon Bell earned yet another player of the game by completing 26 of 31 passes for 228 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also had that 15-yard scramble for a touchdown, while his only booboo (a fumble) got recovered by his running back Francisco Patter. Theodore Bondy had 14 catches for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns. Reggie Thongchanh ran for 53 yards, Patter for 49 yards.

Defensively, Kirk Hitchcock was phenomenal again: 2 interceptions and 2 defended passes. The pass rush was impressive as well, breaking up 14 of 53 passing plays.

Next up, Solecismic has tagged our road game at the Orlando Talons as the game of the week. Two 6-2 teams facing each other. One a usual suspect, the other a team that used to be great, but is now on a bounce back season. That's us, with Brandon Bell our cinderella story, so far. Well, kind of. A first round pick quarterback is supposed to be good, but not in his rookie season and especially not after everybody wrote him off before he took his first snap.

Keep it up Bell (and the rest of the team). Go Merchantmen!
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Old 04-30-2020, 02:02 PM   #262
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Cautiousness remains, we're not there yet
Yup, we lost in Orlando, the most logical result of the season so far.

We had it coming of sorts, we knew the stretch of one-score-margin wins would come to and end sooner or later. We're kind of similar to last season's team, still. All our wins were kind of blowouts, today's 27-11 loss at Orlando only shows that we're still far from a true contender.

Brandon Bell was brought back to earth. Although completing 22 of 34 passes, the ground gained was only 176 yards, with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Indeed, that's from 1 to 5 in just 3 games time. Growth spurts, or early signals Bell is closer to the replacement level quarterback he's been talked about being?

Theo Bondy has completely lost it, that's a sure thing. After 9 games, he's gotten over 100 yards just twice. Twice! And that was with 114 and 110 yard figures. Ronnie Hammond as the diversion tactic is slowly stopping to work. But perhaps he can relive the week 1 success against his old team as we're visiting the Gothenburg Giants up next.

Gothenburg isn't in good shape either though, they got crushed 31-6 at home by the Paris Musketeers. The Bordeaux Vineyards got destroyed 51-20 at the Tucker Tigers.

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

Aside from our struggles on offense, despite that I've been impressed by our defense at times, we continue to be bottom feeders in rushing (28th per game, 31st per carry) and passing (27th per game, 25th per attempt). As impressive as our defensive front looks on paper, we're actually mediocre in pass rush figures. Yeah, I actually thought we were doing pretty well, but we're actually below average.

Oh well, losing in Orlando wasn't a shocker, it's back to focusing on games that will matter even more for the division title race. We'll pout about the missed opportunity to grab the #2 seed spot with head-to-head tie-breakers over both Southeast division's title contenders by the time we find out the loss in Orlando cost us a bye week. Now we'll just have to stay ahead of Paris. For starters, extending our wins in the division would help us make another leap towards maintaining the division lead.
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Old 05-01-2020, 05:23 PM   #263
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Optimism, pessimism, we're all over the place
At least we're still in the lead.

Gothenburg, our most disliked division rival. Our ancient fans remember the day Justin McDavid's career came to a halt on the terrible turf of the Palace of Ice and Frost. And then there was that game where we choked a 21-point lead in less than 10 minutes. It's just two games from 50+ seasons ago, but we still remember. At the same time, last season the Giants snapped our 6-game winning streak in their place. Ellis McAlister learned to love leading us there.

It was Brandon Bell's first visit and in the first drive of the game, it was a familiar sight: he was throwing the ball all over the place to lead us to a touchdown. In particular a triplet of completions to Theodore Bondy was very encouraging. The Giants needed just three plays to pound back on a 35-yard run from Jack Crane. Their next drive was cut short by penalties, but the 32-yard field goal was enough for the Giants' 10-7 lead.

The second quarter saw the defenses get stronger, as both teams got stopped after a handful of plays. We got into their turf as Theodore Bondy turned Brandon Bell's screen pass into a 30-yard gain. Francisco Patter followed up with 13 and 14-yard gains, to set up Bell's scramble for a 1-yard touchdown. Leading 14-10, Kirk Hitchcock accounted for the first turnover of the game. Only to see Brandon Bell return the favor four plays later in the Giants' redzone. With three minutes remaining, the ensuing drive also ended with a pick in Giants' territory, Courtney Blackwell made the play. After the two-minute warning and our punt, we gave up an 80-yard touchdown pass from Mercury Pierce to Frederick Wight to give them a 16-14 lead at half time as they missed their extra point.

The Giants drove downfield on their first drive of the second half, but linebacker Moe Iveans prevented a touchdown pass by picking the ball off at our 1-yard line. After two risky 0 yard runs from Reggie Thongchanh, Brandon Bell found Theodore Bondy for the 11-yard first down catch. Bell did it again on third and one to Bondy and a 19-yard pass to Ronnie Hammond brought us within field goal range. Braxton Szporluk got his rare third and long carry to extend the drive and as Bell found Branden Sandlin for 18 yards, we were only 3 yards shy. Their goalline stand was strong and we settled for a 20-yard field goal, yet taking the 17-16 lead.

We stopped them on their first drive in the fourth quarter, but got pushed back to our own 20-yard line. Brandon Bell got strip-sacked, but possession was saved by All-IHOF right tackle Howard Humphrey. On third and long, Bell got his payback with a 27-yard pass to Theodore Bondy. On third and eight, it was Bondy again as the receiver, this time for 15 yards. On third and six, Branden Sandlin came short, followed by a bad hold from Bell to see Emmett Wells miss a 45-yard field goal. Still leading 17-16, we had to not just stop them, but really keep them from reaching field goal range as well. After three and out by our defense, things were feeling pretty good. On our next drive, Reggie Thongchanh converted three and one with a trick play, although just barely. We ended up punting three plays later, but the defense was strong again with a three and out. Instead of running out the clock, we decided to throw, or rather, hope to do that. Brandon Bell was hurried on three consecutive plays, twice by our former All-IHOF defensive tackle Heath Oliver.

By the time of the two-minute warning, the Giants had reached our 44-yard line and on third and 2, Mercury Pierce found Frederick Wight for 13 yards. A sack couldn't avoid their 43-yard field goal attempt, that got converted for the 19-17 lead for the Giants. With 32 seconds to go, it was a tough task, but starting at our 25-yard line and with 3 time outs in hand, not impossible. First attempt, Brandon Bell's pass got batted down by the front seven. Second and ten, the obvious choice to throw to Theodore Bondy, but a safety got in between to break up the play. Third down, Bondy gets open, but fails to make the catch. Fourth down, Bell fails to see an open receiver and goes for a scramble that ends up way short. With 6 seconds remaining, all our time outs remain unused, they can go into victory formation for the 19-17 win.

A disappointing result of what felt like a game where we had control, took advantage of the three interceptions and really were a non-shanked field goal or not giving up an 80-yard play away from pretty much eliminating the Giants in what now is a three-horse race. Three, as the Paris Musketeers pulled off an ugly but effective 33-13 victory over the Bordeaux Vineyards.

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

With these standings, we really can't afford any more hiccups. The week 17 clash in our place against the Musketeers could end up being a winner takes all, but we can't rule out the Giants just yet. That week 17 clash does mean we can potentially come back from 1 win behind, but that not something we can bank on, we have to get back into the swing we had going for us.

Brandon Bell today completed 24 of 40 passes for 257 yards, with 1 interception and saved fumble on his only sack taken, with his only touchdown that 5-yard scramble. Theodore Bondy was his old self with 12 catches for 172 yards. Francisco Patter ran for 70 yards and a touchdown, despite that our running game struggled today.

No time to mourn, we're going back home to host the Brooklyn Fightin' Bums. In this season, we have no opponents that we can afford to underestimate, because even a 3-7 team like the Bums will likely claim they have the superior roster. Surely, we'll disagree here, but the neutral football scout will probably agree with them. It's up to us to prove them wrong and extend our winning streak at home to 7 games, dating back to week 12 of last season, basically a full season away.

I'm all for it, so let's regroup and 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
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Old 05-02-2020, 04:16 PM   #264
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Maassluis Merchantmen, masters of trading, episode 4.

Sometimes it's a little bit too much to brag about the success the Merchantmen had in their trading sprees these past 86 off-seasons in the IHOF. It sounded like a good idea to count down the top 10 best trades, in between throw in a handful of bad ones and one specific trade that never happened, which could have had major implications on the history of the Merchantmen. Episode 1 through 3 were about how three HOF wide receivers were taken in the draft shortly after the Merchantmen traded up for them. For today's episode, we go back to the day the Maassluis Merchantmen made one of their worst trades: the acquisition of wide receiver Jewell Simpson.

In the 2009 season, the Merchantmen had a touchdown lacking 0-3 start and after a mid-season 4-game losing streak, the Merchantmen needed to win 6 of their last 7 games to avoid a losing season. Quarterback Louie Flannery threw for 3,550 yards, with his leading receivers Bryce Ewald (48 catches for 751 yards) and tight end Jim Reiser (59 catches for 582 yards). Ewald and fullback Jamal Rosenberry lead all offensive players with 3 receiving touchdowns. In the 2010 off-season, the Merchantmen management felt a new wide receivers was a necessity and got their eye on 27-year old Jewell Simpson from the Springfield Isotopes (after several name changes today known as the Moontown Darksiders).

Simpson was coming of an underwhelming season with 19 catches for 233 yards and 2 touchdowns in 14 games. The Merchantmen staff assessed Simpson as a wide receiver with excellent route running skills and felt they could afford a lot to acquire him. After long negotiations and Springfield's little interest to trade Simpson, the Merchantmen management threw their 2011 first round pick on the table. It didn't take long, that offer was unsurprisingly quickly accepted. Backlash was all around from other owners across the IHOF. The Merchantmen started the 2010 season with a couple of wins, but the back-to-back wins in the last two games downgraded the traded pick from a top5 pick to the #9 overall pick.

Naturally, the Merchantmen didn't trade their 2011 first round pick straight up for Simpson, they also negotiated to receive a couple of fourth round picks in exchange for a couple of fifth round picks. Springfield kept their fifth round picks to select cornerback Cary Dubord and linebacker Carl Travers. The Merchantmen traded the 2010 4.5 pick shortly after to the Syracuse Mohawks to be able to move up in the third round to select fullback Quentin Malicki. Syracuse ended up picking center Adrian Clemons with that 2010 4.5 pick.
The Isotopes' 2011 fourth round pick got traded by the Merchantmen in the 2011 off-season in a move up 27 spots to select safety Eddie Cole. The receiving team Georgia Gridlock used that top 4th round pick to select Georgia Tech alumni cornerback Dominic Campbell. The 2011 first round pick from Maassluis remained in Springfield possession and was used to selected running back Will Davidson.

Maassluis Merchantmen send:
2011 1st Maassluis
2010 5.19 pick
2010 5.30 pick

Springfield Isotopes send:
WR Jewell Simpson
2010 4.5 pick
2011 4th Springfield


2011 #9 overall pick Will Davidson turned out to be a useful running back. The Springfield Isotopes became the Knoxville Rebels in 2013. In 7 seasons with this franchise, Davidson had 5 1,000-yard seasons, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2011 and eventually peaking in 2015 when he ran for 1,661 yards and 11 touchdowns, also earning him All-IHOF first team honors. In 2016 he was the starting running back in Knoxville's run to the NAC championship, to be held to 50 yards in the lost 41-21 IHOF Bowl against the Orlando Knights. In the 2018 off-season he was traded to the Oakland Black Panthers, only to get traded after just one dreadful game (20 carries for 31 yards) to the Bordeaux Vineyards, where he played 15 more games and retired in the 2019 off-season. Davidson still ranks first in carries for the today called Moontown Darksiders. His career totals of 8,430 rushing yards, 58 rushing touchdowns and 16 receiving touchdowns

2010 5th round pick cornerback Cary Dubord didn't survive the Springfield Isotopes' roster cuts for the regular season and that was the last that was seen of him in the IHOF. He filed for retirement in the 2011 off-season.

2010 5th round pick linebacker Carl Travers became a starter for the Springfield Isotopes in their 5th regular season game that season. But after a promising rookie season, dropped hard on their depth chart. After his rookie contract expired, he was picked up by the Boston Rhinos and after a season on special teams moved on to the Rochester Lake Monsters for another season in a backup role. In 2015 the Williamsburg Colonials signed Travers, the team where he ended up having his longest stint with 7 seasons, including the lost 2017 IHOF Bowl against the Syracuse Mohawks. He retired with 136 games played on his resume.


2010 4th round pick center Adrian Clemons spent the 2010 as an inactive reserve for the Syracuse Mohawks. The deception of his career was getting cut in the lead up to the Mohawks' IHOF Bowl participation, which ended up being a 34-31 victory over the Frederick Red Menace. Clemons subsequently retired from football, disillusioned.

2011 4th round pick Dominic Campbell hung around with the Georgia Gridlock for 5 seasons, aside from his rookie season being a learning year, he was basically their nickelback. In 2016 he was out of contract and signed by the Paris Musketeers. Campbell became a starter that season, doing pretty well with 3 interceptions and 10 defended passes. After a dreadful 2017 campaign (0 picks of defended passes in 404 pass plays) and an injury plagued 2018 season, he was released on cut down day 2019. The Conyers Condors picked him up for the last 3 games of the 2019 season, but failed to get a new contract in 2020 in the IHOF. His 122 regular season games in the IHOF saw him make 5 interceptions and defend 46 passes.

The jewel of the trade was supposed to be wide receiver Jewell Simpson. His 2010 campaign was unimpressive, with just 38 catches for 635 yards and 3 touchdowns. He failed to become the top receiver in 2011 as well and by 2012 was firmly behind then recently acquired wide receiver Alfredo Bass. In 2013 Simpson was active in only 4 regular season games and retired in the following off-season. Because of the trade, Simpson did finally get a chance to see some playoffs action, something he would have never gotten with the Springfield Isotopes. In the end, the Merchantmen basically traded a top-notch running back for a wide receiver that would rack up 149 catches for 1,992 yards and 14 touchdowns.
__________________
* 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 : 05-02-2020 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 05-03-2020, 05:22 PM   #265
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen rebound, hold on to division lead
The Maassluis Merchantmen improved to 7-4 after a 24-19 victory over the Brooklyn Fightin' Bums. Brandon Bell and his team showed resilience to get the job done. With the win, the Merchantmen already have won more games that they did all of last season, with 5 still to play. Their focus is on more than just doing better, they are still in the middle of a division title race which remains tight as the Paris Musketeers beat the previously 8-2 Chesapeake Chitterlings.

Scoring early has become the Merchantmen's way to make a statement this season, but in the home game against the Fightin' Bums, things went quite differently. On the first drive of the game, Francisco Patter was stripped of the ball on the second play and get returned to the Merchantmen red zone to set up Brooklyn's 7-0 lead on the very next play as Jason Leeuwenburg ran it in. Brandon Bell and his offense responded as Bell found Ronnie Hammond for 26 yards, Reggie Thongchanh for 34 yards and after Patter ran for 8 yards, Bell found Theodore Bondy open in the end zone for the 7-7 tied score. The Merchantmen defense stopped their opponents with a stuff and a sack near midfield, giving Patter a chance to rebound with 19-yard and 13-yard runs. It was to no avail, as the Merchantmen punted from the Brooklyn 36-yard line, quickly followed by an impressive three and out by the defense. The Merchantmen showed guts with a fourth and one run from Thongchanh to move the chains from near midfield and saw Bell run for another first down on fourth and three shortly after. Patter followed up with 6-yard and 10-yard runs to end the first quarter with the Merchantmen in the Brooklyn red zone and the score tied 7-7.

Brandon Bell used his legs to gain more ground, but after a rushed pass on third down, the Merchantmen finally settled for a 29-yard field goal for the 10-7 lead. Jason Leeuwenburg caught the Merchantmen defense off guard with a 58 yard run to set up a 26-yard field goal to tie things 10-10. Bell continued to struggle with getting the ball to Theodore Bondy, getting intercepted at the Merchantmen 44-yard line. Ross Grinnell responded with throws for 9 yards, 11 yards, 17 yards and 6 yards to get to the Maassluis 1-yard line. Both Brooklyn running backs got a chance to pound it in, but both were stopped at the line of scrimmage, forcing Brooklyn to settle for an 18-yard field goal, yet taking a 13-10 lead regardless. Asher Ford was promoted to third down back today and responded by converting on third and four to keep the Merchantmen's next drive going. Bell had a typical third down conversion with a short pass to Branden Sandlin but right after the two-minute warning, Bondy dropped what would have been another third down conversion. Antoine Boyd ran for 21 yards for the Fightin' Bums but a strip sack by Clayton Jackson ended the first half, with Brooklyn leading 13-10.

On Brooklyn's first drive of the second half, they showed their own fourth down magic, having Jason Leeuwenburg run for 16 yards where was sufficient. It inspired Ross Grinnell to throw for 23 yards to Vincent Turner and get his team into field goal range. On third and very long, Grinnell scrambled for 15 yards, but still short of the first down as Brooklyn again settled for a (28-yard) field goal and a 16-10 lead. The Merchantmen got three-and-outed on the next drive and Oranje Haven was getting more worried than it has been so far this season. Rookie Darien Fletcher sacked Grinnell on second down and still shaky Grinnell mistimed and saw his pass picked off by Clarence Blackwell near midfield. Brandon Bell finally found Theodore Bondy for a big gain (18 yards) and followed up with a 14-yard pass to tight end Jeffrey Blake. Asher Ford saw has efforts end up inches short on a third down run, followed by a missed field goal, again with kicker Emmett Wells giving the evil eye to Brandon Bell for a bad hold. The Merchantmen defense forced three and out, but Bell was looking bad on the next drive. Momentum shifted when a deep punt was fumbled by the returned after getting tackled by Bondy and another multiple All-IHOF selection, Howard Humphrey recovered the loose ball at Brooklyn's 3-yard line. Two plays later, Francisco Patter pounded it in and after the extra point, Maassluis was leading again: 17-16. Rookie Darien Fletcher sacked Grinnell on the next drive to basically end the third quarter.

The Merchantmen defense completed the three-and-out, but the offense failed to get much going as Theodore Bondy dropped yet another pass on third down. In an attempt to gain ground quickly, Ross Grinnell threw a long pass, but linebacker Clayton Jackson showed he's got more than an ability to make sack, picking off the pass and returning it to the Brooklyn 34-yard line. On third and five, Brandon Bell found Bondy wide open on a screen pass and Bondy promoted it to a 29-yard touchdown. After the extra point, the 24-16 lead was on the scoreboard. The Merchantmen defense held ground and the Merchantmen offense went into a time wasting mode. The Bell to Bondy connection failed again. As did the run defense, giving up a 62-yard run to Jason Leeuwenburg (giving him 120 yards on just his two longest carries). Grinnell scrambled for a decent gain, but got sacked by Andy Russell on second down and after Clayton Jackson tackled the third down receiver short of a first down, Brooklyn went conservative and kicked the 31-yard field goal to the 24-19 score. Bondy dropped yet another third down pass and Brooklyn really went for their chances to comeback from behind. Grinnell found Leeuwneburg for 20 yards, only to get sacked again, this time by Gene Kondovski. On fourth down near midfield, Bart Sword batted down a pass to give the Merchantmen a chance to waste a lot of time or time outs, perhaps even get a chance to kick for an 8-point lead. After three runs, the Fightin' Bums were out of time outs, but as the third down run came short, punting was next and the touchback gave Brooklyn 80 yards of ground to gain for the win. Grinnell found running back Antoine Boyd for 30 yards and tight end Dwyane Osterlund for 26 yards, to quickly march to the Merchantmen 24-yard line. Time was running out and after Grinnell went for a scramble with little luck, they had to rush to the line of scrimmage and after a successful third down conversion, Grinnell came time short to spike it.

It wasn't pretty, but the Merchantmen defense has held ground, just barely, to secure a 24-19 victory. In a game where Brandon Bell completed just 17 of 33 passes for 179 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, while Theodore Bondy had 7 catches for 70 yards (with 2 scores) and Francisco Patter ran for 78 yards, it came as no surprise that a defensive player was the player of the game. Clayton Jackson took the honors, as his strip sack, a second sack, a crucial interception and 7 tackles made him the most productive player on his side of the ball. Kirk Hitchcock extended his defensive player of the year chances with 2 defended passes and leading the team with 8 tackles.

As the Paris Musketeers pulled a 26-13 win over the Chesapeake Chitterlings, but the Gothenburg Giants fell 34-18 at the Williamsburg Colonials, the European division appears to have been trimmed to a two-horse race now, despite that Gothenburg and the 22-18 winning Bordeaux Vineyards are mathematically still in the race.

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

Next up, a trap game, against the 2-9 Harlem Apollos. Even at home, with how this team played recently, they can't take anything for granted. Today, the Merchantmen got sloppy at times, gave up two big runs and saw Theodore Bondy drop too many passes, things that can cost them victories. To maintain the division lead and stay on the race for the playoffs, they have to stay focused, drive after drive, play after play. All game long.
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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 05-05-2020, 09:36 AM   #266
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen lose game and Bell
A mix of emotions lived amongst the Merchantmen fans as they one by one departed from Oranje Haven. Disappointment after their team lost in overtime. Relief after hearing the Paris Musketeers also lost. But the sight of a carted off quarterback Brandon Bell leaves behind the biggest impact on the fans. The first loss in Oranje Haven in more than a year may have come with an even bigger deception.

A near sold out Oranje Haven was getting ready for a pounding of the visiting Harlem Apollos. Like no others, the Merchantmen fans realize any team can win any day in the IHOF, but the Merchantmen were on a 7-game winning streak at home, while the visiting Harlem Apollos brought in a conference worst 2-9 record. And with Brandon Bell quickly becoming the new popular quarterback in Maassluis, with a rejuvenated Theodore Bondy on the wing, this could be an enjoyable game of football. And entertaining it certainly got, for at least the first three quarters.

The Merchantmen had first possession and came out of the gates like they have done most of their games this season. 6-yard run by Francisco Patter, 7-yard run from Reggie Thongchanh, Brandon Bell scrambling successfully on third down. Then on fourth and two at the Harlem 44-yard line, the Merchantmen tried to go for a homerun, yet Bell's deep pass towards Theodore Bondy was deflected by a nearby linebacker. The Merchantmen defense didn't seem prepared to go on so quickly, but in their red zone they were back at it and forced Harlem to settle for a 32-yard field goal. The Merchantmen running backs looked even more eager to get the job done on the next drive. Patter ran for 27 yards and Thongchanh for 14 yards, shortly after followed by Bell finding Ronnie Hammond on a deep throw for a 33-yard touchdown. Maassluis 7, Harlem 3, that's what the fans had showed up for. Harlem quarterback Eugene Logan responded with a 26-yard throw to his tight end, while his running back Tre Ellison took credits for an 11-yard run and a 12-yard catch to set up Logan's 19-yard touchdown pass to Wyatt Ward. Harlem was unimpressed and took a 10-7 lead with a minute to go in the first quarter.

The run heavy offense continued for Maassluis. Francisco Patter ran for 10 yards, Reggie Thongchanh for 13 yards. Brandon Bell was connected with his receivers left and right, finding Theodore Bondy for a crucial 10-yard gain in the red zone on third and two, only to get picked off in the end zone on the next play. Defensive player of the year candidate Kirk Hitchcock came up big on the next drive, intercepting the ball near midfield and retuning it to the Harlem 30-yard line. Thongchanh ran for 12 yards and Bell found Bondy near the end zone open enough to get the 13-10 lead, the extra point was blocked. Anchored by middle linebacker Daquan Espino's 8-yard sack, a three and out quickly gave Maassluis the ball back in a good position. A pass interference call helped the Merchantmen on seemingly failed third down en route to getting deep inside Harlem territory. A couple of Patter runs were stopped at the 3- and 2-yard lines, then followed by Bell unable to find Branden Sandlin on back to back plays to have the ball turnover on downs. Harlem quickly got out of the situation of being pinned so deep, but could do little more than get the last 2 minutes off the clock to end the half in a 13-10 lead for the Merchantmen.

The second half started with Harlem's quarterback Eugene Logan running on back to back plays to quickly reach midfield. A couple of penalties pushed them back and gave the Merchantmen the ball back after the punt. Brandon Bell found Theodore Bondy for 18 yards, while Reggie Thongchanh ran for 11 yards to get the chains moving. A holding call and a sack put Maassluis in third and twenty, which was enough to force a punt. Logan decided to continue running, although the Merchantmen defense forced him to fumble on his first carry, it didn't turn the ball over and Logan did get a first down on his second scramble. Unable to complete passes, Harlem punted again, which the Merchantmen responded to with Bell finding Bondy for 12 yards and then tight end Renaldo Crawford for 8 yards to get into Apollos' territory. A 19-yard pass from Bell to Branden Sandlin got Maassluis into the red zone, but on the next play, Bell's short pass to Bondy got picked off and returned to the Merchantmen 41-yard line, as cornerback Braden Burnett got chased down and tackled by Bondy himself. The Merchantmen defense stood high, but as Harlem's kicker Austin Ferguson converted the 49-yard field goal, a 13-13 score was making this game much closer than it had need to be. Brandon Bell quickly responded with a 16-yard pass to Bondy and an 11-yarder to Crawford before the third quarter was over.

Then on the second play of the fourth quarter, things went horribly wrong. As Brandon Bell tried to escape the incoming pass rushers and neatly completed a 16-yard pass to Theodore Bondy, he bumped into a defender and was knocked out. Oranje Haven got quieter and quieter as Bell was lying on the ground motionless. Until that point, Bell had completed 21 of 29 passes for 218 yards and 2 scores to wipe away his 2 interceptions. After minutes had gone by, doctors were signaling Bell had retained consciousness, but it was apparent he was getting carted off the field and not to return today.

Veteran Moe Sheldon, last season's street free agent turned into starter for the Merchantmen was all of a sudden back in action. Wide receiver Branden Sandlin looked stunned from what happend earlier, dropping the ball on the next two plays. Oranje Haven erupted as Harlem cornerback Albert Houston shoved Sandlin after the second one of those drops and as the referees called Houston for unnecessary roughness, it was first and one from the 8-yard line. Francisco Patter was stopped after 1-yard gains on back to back plays and as Sheldon was rushed into a bad throw on third down, Maassluis settled for a 23-yard field goal to gain a 16-13 lead. Harlem failed to score on their next drive, but instead managed to pin the Merchantmen at their own 1-yard line. Things got worse as Reggie Thongchanh fumbled on the very next play and Harlem was all of a sudden just 6 yards away. Eugene Logan needed just one play to find Wyatt Ward. As the extra point was missed, Maassluis was now trailing 19-16 in what could have been a steamrolling victory. The Merchantmen continued to struggle and after guard Andre Watson was called for unsportsmanship conduct, they were forced to punt. The Merchantmen pass rush showed up on the very next drive as rookie Darien Fletcher sacked the quarterback on first down, while Gene Kondovski forced two hurried passes right after. Moe Sheldon continued to struggle and Maassluis once again was forced to punt. Harlem all of a sudden seemed ready to roll into Merchantmen territory to complete the upset, but on third and one, Andy Russell added to the pass rush domination by sacking Eugene Logan and forcing Harlem to punt again. On third and long, Sheldon finally found Theodore Bondy for 17 yards and Oranje Haven was at last getting the confidence back this game was still winnable. Sheldon found Bondy again on third down, this time for 12 yards to cross midfield and then found Ronnie Hammond on second and twenty for a 26-yard gain. Maassluis was back on fire and marching for a game winning drive. Sheldon found Bondy again for a crucial third down conversion, but inside the red zone, Maassluis decided to settle for a 29-yard field goal and with 33 seconds to go tying the score 19-19. Harlem actually tried to get the chain moving, but overtime was unavoidable.

Harlem got the ball back and on their second play quarterback Eugene Logan found a wide open Ernie Flood for a 27-yard gain. Well within Maassluis territory, Harlem was forced to punt. A holding penalty pinned the Merchantmen deeper inside their own red zone and they were eventually forced to punt. On third down, Logan found Wyatt Ward for 15 yards and a first down two plays later Flood for another 15-yard gain to reach field goal range. A penalty and a Gene Kondosvki sack pushed Harlem back a little bit, but not enough to avoid a field goal attempt. Austin Ferguson converted the 43-yarder and completed the upset victory for the Harlem Apollos.

Having lost not just the game, but also their quarterback, the Merchantmen and their fans had a lot to be disappointed and worried about. A glimpse of hope returned after word came out the Paris Musketeers had lost 12-9 at home against the Rochester Razorbacks. With the Gothenburg Giants winning 24-12 at the 10-1 San Antonio Tidal Force, this may actually return to being a three-horse race for the division title. The Bordeaux Vineyards won 20-3 at the Atlanta Vipers, but their chances are very slim to leapfrog all three of their division rivals.

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

For the Merchantmen it's back to Moe Sheldon as Brandon Bell was diagnoses with a concussion and quite possibly ruled out for the remainder of the regular season. Unless the Merchantmen management is in for an even bigger turnaround, as this also means the return of Francisco Farley to the active roster and Farley surely showed his eagerness to play in pre-season. Up next a huge test, visiting the 8-4 Chesapeake Chitterlings, who are in desperate need to stop their sudden downfall to second place in their division after a 7-1 start with a still undefeated status at home.

For the Merchantmen, still leading the division, now isn't the time to give up just yet. The Merchantmen are no quitters, they will continue believing it ain't over till the fat lady sings. And even then will probably still hope things will fall their way until long after she's done with her performance and has left the stage.
__________________
* 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 05-06-2020, 04:17 PM   #267
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Falling but still floating
Yup, we've lost 4 of the last 5 games. And we're still leading the division.

It's a silly season. Today we managed to get a shot at upsetting the Chesapeake Chitterlings in their own house and we blew it.

In the first quarter we forced them to punt, then fumbled and lost possession to give them 46 yard to go and succeed for a touchdown. We responded with a 34-yard field goal and then saw penalties push them from field goal range to punting to maintain their 7-3 lead.

In the second quarter we struggled again in their territory, settling for a 44-yard field goal. Then we give up a 45-yard paas to set up their 14-6 lead taking touchdown. Our response a 6 1/2 minute drive to trim the deficit to 14-13. Right after the two-minute warning Alexander Marty picks their QB off and gain just enough ground to kick a 29-yarder towards a 16-14 half time lead.

Third quarter, we're forced to punt, but our OL stars somehow hunt down their punt returner and make him fumble and Howard Humphrey collects his league leading 3rd and 4th fumble recovery of the season. Yes, he had to save Moe Sheldon's ass after a strip sack as well. We came a yard short for a first down and settled for a 19-14 lead with a 40-yard field goal. They responded with a solid drive, but they too come a yard short and settled for a 36-yard kick (19-17). We reached midfield, sadly punted and failed to pin them deep. By the end of the third quarter, they reached midfield.

In the fourth, we had nothing against their running game and see them take a 24-19 lead. After a solid kickoff return, we got three-and-outed, but finally pinned them deep at their own 3-yard line. Our defense responded with a quick stop, but their punt pushed us back to our 37-yard line. Moe Sheldon then started to look like Brandon Bell (yes, I went there), running for 7 yards, converting 3rd down to Branden Sandlin, reaching Theodore Bondy for 34 yards and then Sandlin again for the 16-yard touchdown. After the two-point conversion (Sheldon to Reggie Thongchanh) we got back in the lead: 27-24. They responded with a third down 33-yard bomb, but we defended our red zone enough to force a 33-yard field goal for the 27-27 tie. We reached the tow-minute warning without enough progress to score, but our defense responded more impressively to give us the ball back with 44 seconds to go. Moe Sheldon got sacked and on the very next play gets picked off. 15 seconds to go, one play for them: Corwin Blanchett finds Casey Alexandre for a touchdown. 34-27, game over, basically. We went for the long bomb, obviously, but it got picked off.

A back and fort close game, that we had a chance to win, or at least get to overtime, but instead managed to lose. We knew Sheldon could be a bit of a problem against the pass rush, but didn't expect him to throw a game losing interception. A fumble maybe, but not a late game pick.

On the bright side, Paris also lost. The football gods are keeping the pressure on us to hold onto the division lead. With Gothenburg and Bordeaux both winning, it heats up.

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

Next week: Gothenburg at Paris and we host Bordeaux. Yes, I kid you not, this division race is incredibly tight. Week 17 is still the most crucial game for us, hosting Paris, but week 15 is close behind. As close as it may look, Bordeaux still needs a miracle to win the division, as their hopes to get tie-breakers are up in smoke and the head-to-head clashes inside the division mean the division winner will be at minimum 8-8. Our tie-breaker situation is smooth, but the week 17 game against Paris is a can't afford to lose game in that regard.

And with this team this season, we thought we knew what we could expect: two close victories followed by a blowout loss. But after the choke jobs against Gothenburg, Harlem and Chesapeake, had we held on to winning two of them, we were one win away from the playoffs. Now, we'll have to keep on winning and winning and hope to see Bell back in action with the season on the line.

Do I think we got this? Yes, I do actually. Moe Sheldon should be doing better than last season. Theodore Bondy has finally returned to his normal level of play, while Ronnie Hammond and Branden Sandlin prove to be worthy WR2 and WR3. The running game is quite good, usually, the defense really isn't the bottom 6 that the yardage figures make you believe we are. No wait, we actually have been dreadful against the run, giving up 6.23 yards per carry. That's 0.76 yards worse than second worst. Good heavens.

Anyway. The defense might be mindboggling bad, we're a pretty good team, most of the time. I've regained faith in this team, we can beat anybody, we should be able to keep this going, or rather, get back to the 6-2 form we had. Let's 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

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Old 05-07-2020, 04:49 PM   #268
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: we're still pretty good at this...
... apparently!

So, Bordeaux. The score is somewhat misleading, given how we ran up the score late in the game, but the fans must have enjoyed the 35-3 score.

It was a defensive game in the first quarter, Bordeaux ended the three-and-out series with the first third down conversion, only to see our defensive end Andy Russell pick off the ball on their fourth play that drive. Then two more three-and-outs, until Moe Sheldon found Branden Sandlin for 20 yards on third and two. Sheldon then found Theodore Bondy for 13 yards and a bunch of plays later Bondy turned a caught screen pass into a 15-yard touchdown for the 7-0 lead. Bordeaux woke up, helped by an unnecessary roughness penalty.

The kicked a 38-yarder to make it 7-3 at the start of the second quarter. It got followed up with three incomplete passes from Moe Sheldon, but things flipped on Bordeaux' next play as Riddick Newsome picked off a screen pass and stumbled into the end zone for the 14-3 lead. Then the defenses took over, with both getting stopped after three plays, twice. Bordeaux thought they had it fixed after a 23-yard pass play, but they settled for punting to pin us at our 6-yard line. We then went on an impressive drive, but eventually settled for a 49-yard kick, which Emmitt Wells missed, with no Brandon Bell to blame for this time. Bordeaux tried to make the best of the last minute of the first half, but our pass rush was too dominant to let it happen.

Second half and Bordeaux' quarterback must have felt deja-vu getting sacked by Gene Kondovski and Darien Fletcher for the second time. Our fumblitis positive punt returner Clarence Blackwell called for a fair catch on our 9-yard line, but we gained just enough ground to put them right back where they should have started: their own 20-yard line. Penalties left and right, helping Bordeaux get a first down, but the biggest help was Blackwell losing the fumble on the next punt return. Another three and out and another Blackwell fumble, this time ge got his ass saved by a teammate. Moe Sheldon then inspired the running game, alternating himself with our running backs Francisco Patter and Reggie Thongchanh, while in between throwing to his tight ends, with Renaldo Crawford making the touchdown catch for a 21-3 lead. Bordeaux' Brad Nestor then threw his third pick off the game, Kirk Hitchcock yanked up his Defensive Player of the Year chances.

After smooth time wasting play, The fourth quarter started with Francisco Patter running for 5 yards and Moe Sheldon finding Theodore Bondy in the end zone for a 28-3 lead. We gave Bordeaux the room to move up field, or maybe they deserved the credit for it themselves, but the blocked 44-yard field goal attempt was all on Clarence Blackwell, finally doing something right on a special teams play. A time wasting drive came next, including a nice 27-yard run from Patter to reach their red zone. On second and goal, Sheldon connected with Branden Sandlin for running up the score to a 35-3 lead. Bordeaux pulled their quarterback and although reaching our 15-yard line in the last nearly 5 minutes, it was all game over anyway, the score remained 35-3 for us.

Moe Sheldon completed 26 of 35 passes for 188 yards and 4 touchdowns. Theodore Bondy had 8 catches for 67 yards with 2 touchdowns. Francisco Patter ran for 61 yards. It wasn't much on offense, but it was all good enough given how dominant our defense (or incapable Bordeaux' offense) was.

With the Paris Musketeers winning the turnover battle 3-0 against the Gothenburg Giants, they ended up winning 30-23 in their own place, to basically turn this into a two-team race.

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

Bordeaux is done as the division winner will be 8-7-1 at minimum, Gothenburg will need a Maassluis-Paris tie in week 17 to be able to jump ahead, because they have inferior tie-breakers in any possible tied situation.

Paris next hosts the 3-11 Frederick Red Menace. You know, the team that took Angel Henson at the #1 overall pick and the probable Offensive Rookie of the Year, despite that we would put our vote on our own first round quarterback. In contrast, although we play at home as well, our job is to fend off the 9-5 Williamsburg Colonials. They're still in the race for a bye week, providing they win their last two to jump ahead of the 10-4 Chesapeake Chitterlings in their very own potential winner takes all week 17 clash.

Brandon Bell is still out, which means it's Moe Sheldon for yet another game. Which in itself means Sheldon is slowly backing down from his angriness over seeing little playing time. If it wasn't for Sheldon's inferior pass rush avoiding skills, we'd probably consider keeping him in the lineup for week 17. Heck, if we win in week 16, that's still a possibility... Luxury issues, after a 6-10 season. Heck, we've even somewhat saved face by flipping the points differential into a +8 with the big win today.

But really, we're still going to need to win in week 17. Winning in week 16 would keep us in the race for the #3 seed, but given how good the wild card teams are (it's already set in stone that the Deep South and Southeast runners up will be the wild card teams, just not which teams), #3 or #4 doesn't make that much of a difference. We got to stay focused, game for game and do our best to get back into what's so familiar for us: the playoffs. We got to keep believing, so we will. Go Merchantmen!
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* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
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Old 05-08-2020, 08:51 AM   #269
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Merchantmen fend off Colonials in crazy victory
The Maassluis Merchantmen improved to 9-6 after a strange 34-24 victory over the Williamsburg Colonials. Interception returns and a kickoff return combined for the lion share of points, while inept play in the red zone, kept the Merchantmen from making things easier for themselves. The victory means the Paris Musketeers' result became irrelevant, as it maintains the prospective of a victory or tie making the Merchantmen division champions, while a lose in week 17 will drop them outside the playoffs.

With Brandon Bell still sidelined with a concussion, Moe Sheldon started for the third game in succession. A decent kickoff return made the field a bit shorter on the Merchantmen's first drive. Francisco Patter ran for 6 yards, Moe Sheldon for 7 yards and a first down, but a fourth and one attempt at the Colonials' 43-yard line failed. Punishment took almost 5 minutes as the Colonials drove downfield and scored on a 10-yard screen pass from Donovan Wagaman to Ernie Browning for a 6-0 lead after a failed extra point. Three and out was the Merchantmen faith and a face mask penalty put the Colonials near midfield and capable of quickly getting into fieldgoal range, only to see them miss the 45-yard kick to remain at 6-0 up. Patter then ran for 15-yard and 8-yard gains to end the first quarter with the Merchantmen trailing 6-0.

Third and short wasn't converted and the Merchantmen punt barely helped for field position purposes. Kirk Hitchcock was then called for unnecessary roughness, but set things right on the next play, picking Donovan Wagaman off for a huge 37-yard return well inside the Colonials red zone. Moe Sheldon returned the favor 3 plays later, throwing the ball into a Colonials' defensive end's hand. Still deep inside their own territory, the Colonials thought they were quickly moving upfield, until Riddick Newsome picked off a short pass and returned it 30 yards for a touchdowns and a 7-6 lead. Archie Exner made a big sack on third and short to force the Colonials to punt, but Moe Sheldon continued in his struggle to reach Theodore Bondy in double coverage. The Merchantmen defense forced three and out, shortly after followed by Sheldon finding tight ends Renaldo Crawford for 21 yards and Jeffery Blake for 14 yards. Francisco made a 10-yard run on third and short to get into field goal range, while Sheldon kept connecting with various players to get closer and closer to the end zone. Reggie Thongchanh got tackled a yard short from the endzone, but Branden Sandlin made the touchdown catch on the very next play for a 14-6 lead. Donovan Wagaman found Dustin Orenstein for 30 yards and the Colonials though they would get into field goal range, yet their 59-yard kick missed wide to the left. Maassluis went into the break leading 14-6, despite feeling like they got outplayed.

The Colonials stormed out of the gates in the second half with a 9-play 63-yard touchdown drive, With Donovan Wagaman finding Ernie Browning for a 25-yard touchdown pass. The Colonials went for a single to make it a 14-13 deficit. On an almost gone wrong play, Moe Sheldon connected with fullback Clay Brosseau for 33 yards to march into opposing ground, but a stuffed run pushed the Merchantmen outside of field goal range and went for pinning the Colonials at their 3-yard line. The Colonials barely made ground and Maassluis got the ball back at the 49-yard line. Sheldon found Theodore Bondy for 16 yards, Reggie Thongchanh ran for 11 yards and that turned out to be sufficient to set up the 38-yard field goal towards a 17-13 lead. The Merchantmen defense then got bailed out by the Colonials inabilty to play disciplined football and the ensuing punt got blocked and recovered at the 30-yard line.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Emmett Wells scored on a 41-yard field goal for the 20-13 lead. Merchantmen defense looked strong again on the next drive, but tight end Renaldo Crawford fumbled on a 20-yard catch and saw ex-Merchantmen Darien Stokes recover the loose ball. Three incomplete passes later, a 53-yard field goal was scored to give the Colonials the feeling they were stil in it, but kickoff returner Santiago Messenger responded with a 97-yard kickoff return to make it a 27-16 lead for the home team. The Colonials replied with a strong 9-play 72-yard drive completed with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Donovan Wagaman to running back Harris Gerhardt, then a two-point conversion to Gavin Johnston to make it 27-24. Reggie Thongchanh converted on third and one, but Theodore Bondy dropped a short pass on third and two, helping give the Colonials the ball back. Wagaman marched his team into Merchantmen territory lead by a 23-yard pass to Ernie Browning, into field goal range, but then a short pass got intercepted by defensive end Gene Kondovski, with two and a half minutes to go. The Merchantmen offense struggled to move the ball and made the Colonials burn their time outs. Wagaman lead his team forward once again, but at midfield his fourth interception of the day was there and Alexander Marty ran it 52 yards back for a 34-24 lead for the Merchantmen. In the final 21 seconds, the Colonials didn't even seriously try and the Merchantmen victory was there.

Offensively, the Merchantmen offense had little to be proud about. Moe Sheldon completed 14 of 28 passes for 141 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Especially his inability to reach Theodore Bondy (3 catches on 12 targets for 30 yards) were disappointing. Francisco Patter lead the running game with 55 yards on 13 carries.

Key numbers were on the defensive side with 4 interceptions for the Merchantmen, including touchdowns by the safeties Riddick Newsome and Alexander Marty. Especially the numbers for Kirk Hitchcock were interesting, as he was at the spot of a successful catch 11 times, which he responded to with 14 tackles and the first interception of the game.

Elsewhere in the league, the Paris Musketeers beat the Frederick Red Menace (3-12) 24-14, while the Gothenburg Giants won 20-16 at the Brooklyn Fightin' Bums (5-10). The Bordeaux Vineyards got crushed 52-24 by the Chesapeake Chitterlings, Corwin Blanchett threw 6 touchdown passes.

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

Oranje Haven will be the place where the European Division title will be decided. The Maassluis Merchantmen will host the Paris Musketeers in a winner takes all game. In case of a tie, the Merchantmen will take the division title based on the week 7 victory in Paris. The loser will miss the playoffs as the conference has two second place teams with at minimum an 11-5 record. The winner might improve to the number three seed, depending on what the North Plainfield Plague will do in their last game. But the difference between the third and fourth seed will be marginal, either way the visiting wild card team will have a better regular season record.

Elsewhere in the league, the Hanalei Dragons kept their playoffs hopes alive, meaning in a best case scenario, the Merchantmen will get the #12 overall pick from their draft day trade in the off-season. But that's all just minor stuff in the grand scheme of things for the Merchantmen, right now all that really matters is beating Paris at home. Basically, the playoffs have already started.
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:33 AM   #270
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Ok, one more and we're in...
And then what?

Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty happy how things are going. Our rookie quarterback is playing much better than we could have hoped for. Yes, a first round pick, but the lack of progress and the toned down expectations of how good he can become, made me worry. And quite simply, if Brandon Bell crashes back to earth in week 17, we'll have nothing to show for his promising season.

The defense is even more puzzling. I refuse to think our game plan is horrible. We've been there, done that. It may not be the best possible, but the way this football works, there's just so little you can do to figure out what does or does not work. It's all a crapshoot, shots in the dark. It is quite obvious that Kirk Hitchcock must be feeling like he's doing it all by himself. He's leading the league with 8 interceptions, ties for the lead with 18 passes defended, but more shockingly, has already made 110 tackles (fourth in the league) even ahead of our linebackers, although Daquan Espino might still get ahead of Kirk.

Our completely revamped game plan on the offense has worked, well, most of the time. We've played pretty horribly in about a third of our games, but in the rest I was actually impressed by how smoothly we could march downfield, running left and right, seeing Bell use plenty of his receivers, but mostly fixing Theodore Bondy. I am disappointed that he's still

Paris won't be an easy game. Yes, we won in their place, but it's still a game to be played. I should be confident, I know we can beat them, but I try to temper my expectations. We've already had our upset victories to boost our record, but also saw a couple of horrible things gone wrong games. But, honestly, I'll be disappointed if we choke this season, we've been leading the division for most of the season. It's our season to lose and we're not going to let that happen. Right, team?

Go Merchantmen!
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Old 05-09-2020, 11:45 AM   #271
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Merchantmen fumble division title away
The Paris Musketeers crowned themselves European division champions after a 36-31 victory at the Maassluis Merchantmen. In a winner take all game, the Merchantmen wasted their own chances, almost pulled a sensational comeback lead by backup quarterback Moe Sheldon, but they fell short. The Oranje Haven attendees went home with a mix of emotions, but this time the "what could have been" trumped.

The Merchantmen went with rookie Brandon Bell at quarterback, returning as the starter after three games and a bit sidelined due to a concussion. First possession was for the Merchantmen and Bell immediately showed he was back in action, completing third down passes to Theodore Bondy for 9 and 24 yards respectively. On third and seventeen in field goal range, Bell went for a scramble, but lost the ball and none of his teammates was capable of avoiding Deron Bualat's 82-yard return for the touchdown and 7-0 Paris lead. The reply was non-existing, the Paris defense kept it short and after a 20-yard punt return got to start their drive on their 49-yard line. On third and long, Gabriel Woodson found his running back Moe Shannon on a short pass for 25 yards, setting up a successful 24-yard field goal for the 10-0 lead. A holding penalty pushed the Merchantmen offense back, basically forcing them to punt, but their defense was strong enough to force Paris to punt as well.

The second quarter started with Brandon Bell finding Francisco Patter for 15 yards, Patter running for 7 yards, Bell finding Ronnie Hammond for 23 yards and then tight end Jeffrey Blake for 13 yards on a crucial third and long situation. Reggie Thongchanh ran for 9 yards, followed by Bell finding Theodore Bondy on third down to move into Paris 6-yard line, and then Branden Sandlin on third down to leap into the endzone for the 10-7 score. Paris' Gabriel Woodson responded with a screen pass to tight end Allen Weikel, who turned it into a 48-yard reception, shortly after followed by Woodson finding Darrin Sheldon on a 5-yard touchdown pass for a 17-7 Paris lead. The Merchantmen were three-and-outed on their next possession and then allowed a 27-yard punt return well inside their territory. Woodson finished a short drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Darrin Sheldon for a 23-7 lead, as the extra point was missed. Oranje Haven was getting unamused. Brandon Bell then ran for 10 yards, but got sacked two plays later and after another punt, Marshall Aleman pulled another long punt return to get into Merchantmen territory. Ripe for the knockout punch, safety Alexander Marty seemingly saved the day with an interception. But two plays later, Brandon Bell fumbled for the second time and the Musketeers' Gabriel Woodson followed up with a 26-yard toss to Willie Woodward and a 12-yard throw to Aleman for the 30-7 lead. Bell tried to reply with a quick drive into field goal range, but time ran out near midfield.

The Paris Musketeers steamrolled on their first drive of the second half. Moe Shannon ran for 12 yards, Gabriel Woodson found tight end Leon Heffner for 19 yards and Darrin Sheldon for the same gain. Even a holding penalty couldn't stop the Musketeers, as Woodson found Sheldon for a 13-yard gain and then Moe Shannon didn't just converted on third and three, but took it five more yards for a touchdown. Following the missed extra point, Paris was 36-7 up. Oranje Haven got silent. What had become a face saving season, things were going horribly wrong and a clobbering at home was what they had to witness. But on the sidelines rumors were spreading that Brandon Bell was going to be replaced.

Helped by a 25-yard kickoff return from Santiago Messenger, the Merchantmen tried to respond. Reggie Thongchanh ran for 9 yards, Brandon Bell was still on the field and connected with Branden Sandlin for 19 yards to reach field goal range. After Francisco Patter moved the chains, the replacement was there after all in the middle of the drive: Bell out, Moe Sheldon in. Sheldon's first pass was dropped by Ronnie Hammond, but on third down he found a wide open tight end Renaldo Crawford for 19 yards and on the next play Sandlin in the end zone for a 36-14 score. A glimmer of hope returned as the Merchantmen defense kept the Musketeers short, but the real hope restoring play came right after as Crawford turned a short pass into a 58-yard gain. Two plays later it was Sandlin with his third touchdown catch of the day to sparkle some hope, the deficit was trimmed to 36-21. Another three and out was there to end the third quarter.

The Merchantmen got pinned deep, but on third and short, Moe Sheldon found Theodore Bondy for 42 yards to quickly march into Paris territory. On third and long, Sheldon connected with Bondy again for a first down, but on the third third down, he was forced to scramble and gain just enough yards to set up the 47-yard field goal for the 36-24 score. The Musketeers finally got a first down again, but in the end just took 2 minutes off the clock. Pinned deep again, it was Sheldon to tight end Jeffrey Blake for 31 yards on third and very long to keep the chains moving and the fans believing in a miracle. They were forced to punt with less than 4 minutes to go (the Merchantmen shockingly didn't go for it on fourth and 6 from the Paris 45-yard line). The conservative play turned into a turn over, as Paris' Moe Shannon fumbled the ball on the first next play and rookie Darien Fletcher recovered the ball and moved it to the Paris 12-yard line. Three plays later, Sandlin made his fourth touchdown catch of the day. The deficit trimmed to 36-31, the Merchantmen were still in it, with just over two minutes to go. But that's where it also ended. Paris made the frowned upon play to put their wide receiver at running back and Marshall Aleman ran for the first down and time out waster. Moe Shannon followed up with a 15-yard gain and that was basically it. Paris 36, Maassluis 31.

Oranje Haven at first showed disappointment, but a couple of enthusiastic fans started a loud applause as the players made their round across the stadium to thank the loyal fans. A turn around season ended in disappointment of missing the division title and with that the playoffs, but with a 9-7 record, the Merchantmen at least returned to winning football and showed at times they can play with the best. A couple of stupid losses turned out to be too much to overcome, including Brandon Bell's fumbles today.

Brandon Bell completed 14 of 24 passes for 134 yards and 1 touchdown, but also lost 2 fumbles. Moe Sheldon completed 10 of 14 passes for 177 yards and 3 touchdowns. It marked the first 300-yard passing game for the Merchantmen of the season. Theodore Bondy had 8 catches for 94 yards. Branden Sandlin 7 catches for 41 yards, but with 4 short touchdowns. Reggie Thongchanh ran for 60 yards, Francisco Patter for 49 yards.

The Merchantmen defense may have played a role in the comeback today, but looking over the numbers, they can't be all that happy about their showing. The supposedly top-notch pass rush unit broke up 2 of 36 passing plays, with the credits going to cornerback Kirk Hitchcock and running downs linebacker Moe Iveans. The pass defense deflected 4 passes and had 1 interception. The Merchantmen offense may have gained more total yards, the Merchantmen defense allowed the Musketeers to gain more yards per play.

Final standings:
1. Paris 10-6
2. Maassluis 9-7
3. Gothenburg 9-7
4. Bordeaux 6-10

The Paris Musketeers move on to the wild card round as the #3 seeds (the North Plainfield Plague lost 29-12 at home in their final regular season game) and will host the Tucker Tigers (11-5 after losing 13-6 at the Orlando Talons). The Houston Mustangs are the #5 seeds despite a 13-3 record, as the San Antonio Tidal Force have the same record.

In the NAC, the Hanalei Dragons won their last regular season game, but as the Oakland Black Panthers also won, their season ended anyway, as their tie-breaker situation compared to other wild card teams was a lost situation. It means the Merchantmen end up with the #17 overall draft pick in the 2090 draft from the 2-89 draft day trade, in combination with the 'self-earned' #19 overall pick.
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Old 05-14-2020, 03:45 PM   #272
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Kirk Hitchcock receives Defensive Player of the Year Award
Maassluis Merchantmen cornerback Kirk Hitchcock has been named 2089 Defensive Player of the Year. Unsurprisingly, Hitchcock also earned All-IHOF honors, being joined by teammates offensive tackle Howard Humphrey and rookie defensive tackle Darien Fletcher. Fullback Clay Brosseau received All-IHOF second team honors.

In a bit of a bounce back season for the Merchantmen with plenty games against opponents throwing a lot, Kirk Hitchcock was co-leader in the league with 8 interceptions and with 20 defended passes. He ranked sixth in tackles with 115, an unusual high number for a cornerback. His All-IHOF honors make him go back-to-back and make it his third season as a first team selection. Hitchcock is only the third Merchantmen player to ear Defensive Player of the Year honors. He follows up defensive end Daquan Strugielski, the award winner of 2071 and 2072, and linebacker Daniel Duncan, winner in 2043. Linebacker Oliver Drake won the award the season before he was traded by the Williamsburg Colonials to the Merchantmen.

Rookie defensive tackle Darien Fletcher earned All-IHOF honors as well. He was second amongst his peers with 6.5 sacks and added 40 tackles to his resume. He steps in the trails of a tradition of first team Merchantmen defensive tackles, preceded by Charles Gomez, Andy Cottle, Brenden England, Jerome Tyson, Dennis Lucas, Brian Lincoln, Donald Lapointe, Shaun Hartman and Preston Urquoila, Glen Stiegler and Heath Oliver. But none of them earned those honors in their rookie seasons, Fletcher is the first to achieve that.

Offensive tackle Howard Humphrey was selected as an All-IHOF first teamer for the fifth straight season in his equally long IHOF career, strengthening his status as the league's elite right tackle. His key run block total was his lowest with a figure of 36, but he made up for it with just 2 sacks in 561 pass plays, his best season in that area and 4 fumble recoveries.

Clay Brosseau was an unsurprising pick as the All-IHOF second team fullback. Playing at a bit of a niche position, he was going to be in the mix, leading all fullbacks with 9 key run blocks. He lost the first-team honors to Walter Baxter, the leading receiver with 28 catches for 298 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Wide receiver Theodore Bondy missed out on All-IHOF honors for the second season in succession. The four-time first teamer had 118 catches for a career low 1,329 yards, while scoring 13 touchdowns. For the third season in a row he was the co-leader in forced fumbles, once again showing why he's a cherished player on the team's special teams unit as well as a key player on the offense.

As expected, quarterback Brandon Bell's 2,662 passing yards (6.48 per attempt), and 18 touchdowns vs 9 interceptions with a 62.8 completion percentage in 13 games (7-6 win/loss record) came way short of winning Offensive Rookie of the Year. The award went to the #1 overall taken quarterback Angel Henson, who went 3-13 while completing 56 percent of his passes for 5,978 yards (second in the league), 6.63 yards per attempt with 33 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. Bell finished 8th in the league in passer rating, Henson 17th.
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Old 05-14-2020, 04:30 PM   #273
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Ellis "Who the Fuck is Ellis?" McAlister retires
The football career of Ellis McAlister is over. A sixth round pick for the Maassluis Merchantmen in the 2074 draft that went from fourth choice to franchise quarterback after five full seasons without a single pass attempt. He defied all odds of not being a first round pick or a quarterback acquired through trade or signed as an expensive free agent to become a 9-season starter, missing just 1 game in those seasons and guiding his team to the AOC Championship game in the 2085. He was released during the 2088 off-season and signed by the Arizona Miners for a one-season stint there, then sat out the entire 2089 season as a free agent. The Merchantmen claim to have contacted McAlister's agent to sign him late in the regular season, in case Brandon Bell would be diagnoses out for the remainder of the season and in an attempt to have him retire as a Merchantmen player, but the negotiations failed over salary cap issues. McAlister retires with a 86-67 record for the Merchantmen (6-7 for the Miners), while throwing for exactly 35,000 for the Merchantmen (3,343 more for the Miners), 218 touchdowns for the Merchantmen (15 for the Miners) and 152 interceptions (15 for the Miners).

Wide receiver Ronnie Hammond has filed his retirement papers after just one season with the Maassluis Merchantmen. Hammond offered Brandon Bell the much needed WR2 option opposite Theodore Bondy, but finishes the season with only 48 catches for 768 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Linebacker Glenn Brewer spent the 2089 season waiting for a phone call that never came, just like McAlister. A 2077 first round pick for the Merchantmen, he spent 11 seasons in Maassluis, receiving All-IHOF honors in his third season. In the 2088 off-season he was released for salary cap reasons, then signed a two-year deal with the Williamsburg Colonials, but was released there on roster cut day 2089, thus spending one season there. He made 43.0 sacks, 991 tackles, 10 interceptions, defended 86 passes and forced 22 fumbles in his 12-season career. He played in 174 regular season games and 13 playoffs games for the Merchantmen, including the lost 2078 and 2085 AOC Championship games.

Defensive end Gino Kemp also spent the whole 2089 season without a team. A fifth round pick in the 2080 draft, he joined the front seven rotation in the 2081 season for the Merchantmen. After 8 seasons, he was released over cap reasons in the 2088 off-season, then briefly was on contract with the Kansas Creationists (without seeing the field) that season and despite being re-signed there in the 2089 off-season, he failed to make their regular season roster. In 115 regular season games for the Merchantmen he made 39.5 sacks, 129 hurries and blocked 26 passes. He played in 9 playoffs games for the Merchantmen.

Defensive tackle Erik Shrader is yet another off-season cap casualty, who spent the entire 2089 season without a team. Shrader was a fourth round pick in the 2080 draft and worked his way up to become a full time starter in the 2084 season. After 127 regular season games and 9 playoffs games for the Merchantmen, he was released in the 2088 off-season and was then picked up by the Moontown Darksiders for 7 games, to be released mid-season by them.

Safety Emmitt Miller was the Merchantmen's 2082 second round pick. After spending two full seasons inactive, he became a starter for the 2084 and 2085 seasons, to return to inactivity for another season and get released in the 2087 off-season. He then signed with the Paris Musketeers for two seasons, but after his contract expired, he spent the 2089 season without a contract in the IHOF. Miller played in 35 games for the Merchantmen, including the lost 2085 AOC Championship game. With 2 interceptions, 10 defended passes, 2 forced fumbles and 86 tackles, he's far from a memorable figure for the Merchantmen fans.

Linebacker Jace Peterson spent the 2088 season with the Maassluis Merchantmen, being a premier special teamer. Partly a result of the roster cuts wave to get under the cap, the undrafted rookie was active in all 16 regular season games, but almost exclusively on special teams, without making an impact as a tackler. He was released during the 2089 pre-season, then decided to pursue other opportunities after a season of watching the IHOF on television.

Kick holder Karsten Muchnick joined the Maassluis Merchantmen as an undrafted rookie in the 2079 off-season and became their fulltime kick holder from the opening day. He had that role for 156 regular season games and 9 playoffs games. With heavy protest from team management and ownership, the various head coaches let him pollute the quarterback position, attempting to throw away 4 blowout victories and disgusting the orange-white-and-blue uniform 4 more times in blowout losses. He was nevertheless a respected kick holder by his teammates.
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Old 05-14-2020, 05:37 PM   #274
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Oscar Meadows elected into Solecismic Hall of Fame
Former Maassluis Merchantmen offensive tackle Oscar Meadows has been elected into the Soleciscmic Hall of Fame. A first round pick in the 2071 draft, Meadows was just 21 years old when he was made a day one starter for the Merchantmen. For 13 straight seasons his position as the right tackle was undisputed, but during the 2084 season he lost his spot on the line initially to rookie guard Michael Szott, who in return was replaced by veteran left tackle Louie Murray. Meadows hung around for the 2085 season, but only saw very limited action on special teams and didn't see any action in the lost 2085 AOC Championship game. He was on the field in the lost 2078 AOC Championship game, which ended in disappointment after a strong season by the Merchantmen offense, of which Meadows and fellow Hall of Famer J.R. Mills were both selected on the All-IHOF second team.

Meadows was initially scouted as a strong offensive tackle, slightly better in the pass protection than supporting the run. In his second season already proved his value to the running game with 35 key run blocks. After all was said and done, Meadows retired with 380 key run blocks, third most for the franchise and the highest figure by any non-center. With 213 starts, he tied the franchise record of fellow Hall of Fame lineman Tom Anaya. Contrary to Anaya, Meadows also saw action in regular season games he didn't started, which increases his number to 224 games played (excluding 9 in the playoffs). Some fans claim that had Meadows never been benched, he would have broken the 287 games played franchise record of kick holder/quarterback Kerry Lewis (which is also the league record).

Meadows was added to the Merchantmen ring of honor in the 2086 pre-season, half a year after he announced his retirement. He will get a special moment again prior to the pre-season game against the Chicago Norsemen. Meadows is the 18th player inducted into the Solecismic Hall of Fame as a Maassluis Merchantmen and the 30th team alumni.

Year and player(s)
2024 CB Ben Greer (2019)
2026 QB Louie Flannery (2006-21)
2031 RB Stanley Givens (2023-26)
2032 WR Gabe Springer (2016-27)
2039 QB "Rusty" Harrison (2020-29, '33-34)
2043 WR Russell Holliday (2036-38)
2049 LT Kerry Zumdahl (2031-38)
2050 QB Perry Coleman (2041-45)
2053 LB Wesley Devine (2036-48), WR Terry Haskell (2036-48), S Donald Gadrinab (2047-48) and TE Seth "Superman" Shroeder (2047-48)
2055 DL Dennis Lucas (2041-50)
2060 DE Kai Kramer (2055) and RB Norbert Talley (2048-55)
2061 DE Kenyon Durham (2056)
2063 QB Bryson Chow (2045-58)
2075 WR Riddick Stanley (2057-70)
2077 LT Adam Gorski (2071-72)
2079 DT Shaun "The Behemoth" Hartman (2062-74)
2080 LB Edward Ross (2064-75), DE Daquan "Da Machine" Strugielski (2064-75) and CB Peter Tucker (2064-75)
2083 C Tom Anaya (2065-78), QB Bennett Morris (2078) and DE Zachary Tompkins (2076)
2084 QB Erick Loera (2075-77) and WR J.R. Mills (2069-79)
2088 C Nicky Sherman (2079-80, '82)
2090 OT Oscar Meadows (2071-85)

Years of service in parentheses, Merchantmen inductees in bold
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Old 05-15-2020, 11:21 AM   #275
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General Manager Notes: back to business in the '90s?
One thing looks familiar: we're over the cap!

Okay, that sounds much worse than it really is. By having locked up 51 of 52 players on roster (we lost Ronnie Hammond over retirement) and that 52nd being a restricted free agent, we're in a position where we just have to get under the cap, use our 10 draft picks and have some difficulties in decided who to keep.

Okay, let's back up just a bit. Over the cap? By how much? We're currently $10.7M over the $493.8M salary cap.

Sidetracking for a minute: insane how high the cap has gotten, no? It was just $75M when the IHOF was established. In 2022 it had already doubled up to $149.9M. In 2031 we went north of $200M, in 2041 north of $250M, in 2051 we surpassed $300M, in 2062 we got past $350M, in 2072 we reached $400M and in 2082 we surpassed the $450M mark. I'm projecting the salary cap to break the $500M barrier in the 2092 season.

But yeah, about $29M over is doable. A good chunk of that is the reservations of the draft picks, with the #17 and #19 overall picks accounting for $14M. Technically we're just $10.7M over the cap, which should be something to figure out by talking with our key players Kirk Hitchcock, Theodore Bondy, Daquan Espino, a bunch of our offensive linemen and the defensive ends.

We've got an interesting case with backup quarterback Moe Sheldon, our 10th most expensive player. Both starter Brandon Bell and Moe Sheldon played okay football, but we'll have to consider our options at quarterback. A playoffs caliber quarterback at minimum get $40M. Bell and Sheldon right now combine for barely $21M. It's very unlikely we'll go out there on the market to try and sign any of the top free agents. Who would that be? Eric Keith, Iowa Cobbers starter, turning 40 during the off-season. He's in the average starter level and it will require that $40M kind of offer to sign him. Perhaps less, most teams will shy away from the veteran. We haven't seen the draft class yet, but let's be reasonable, we can't count out the possibility we will try to see what #17 and #19 will get us in terms of trade up options. Heck, maybe the #1 pick holding Chicago Norsemen will go quarterback and (in that scenario with good reason) put Brady Ladner on the block, the 2088 #2 overall pick, a kid with playoffs caliber potential.

Backup guard Darren Theisen is our 9th most expensive. Based on that, it makes a lot of sense that Andre Watson in his 5th year will start demanding starter money. For us, that means being top10 in cap figure, as Theisen is the 5th highest paid offensive lineman on our roster and the other four starters are top7.

And then there's Reggie Thongchanh. He's on roster for $8M with a very cut friendly $1M bonus figure. But then, why would we release one of the two guys of our running back rotation? A bigger test will be to see what Francisco Patter's demands will be as he's in his final year of rookie contract. Being a former 7th round pick and coming off a 1,000-yard season, there's an obvious mismatch that his player agent might try to milk millions out of.

But all things considered, with Ronnie Hammond already out of town, having Theodore Bondy and Branden Sandlin as our receiving options means we've got that area to look into. We targeted our tight ends 113 times last season, which is an area where we might try to shift away from pure run blockers to improving on the 75 catches for 731 yards and 1 touchdown they accumulated. But a new wide receiver might make even more sense as we're losing a guy that had 3 catches per game for 16 yards per catch. And knowing that keeping Branden Sandlin might get tricky, as he's (also) entering his final season of the rookie contract and he's coming from 6th round pick money.

After this, I see you wondering, which player is that one restricted free agent? It's the undrafted rookie signing linebacker Malcolm Wentz. By lack of special teams skills, he sat out the entire 2089 season, but his run stopping, zone defending and pass rush technique make it worth the trouble to keep him around, especially after seeing how our linebackers deteriorated last off-season. But by the lack of stamina, he's no all downs guy either, so brining him will mean we need a second linebacker to fill in as well. Or maybe, just maybe, we do one of those linebacker combo drafts, if the talent is there...

The secondary could be another area of interest and effort. Kirk Hitchcock is entering his 10th season in the game, the 3rd most expensive player in the league delivered with a DPotY award. Our safeties and sidekick corners to Hitchcock are acceptable, but a second impact player would be really nice.

Lastly, I've already mentioned some players in their final year of contract and loyal readers know that we prefer to lock up as many players as possible going into a new season. It applies to our tow running backs, wide receiver Sandlin, guard Watson, but especially our secondary will be an area of attention. All four of our tight ends will be out of contract after the 2090 season.

For now, optimism is returning, we've got a healthy roster/cap situation and are coming off a season that was encouraging. One reason for that has been our performance on the road against one of the two teams that eventually faced off in the IHOF Bowl. I think we had our chances to have a better result against the Chesapeake Chitterlings. During the IHOF Bowl I claimed that the Orlando Talons crushed us and were worthy league champions. That last part is certainly true, but we didn't have our worst game against them. The do have plenty of reason to claim they crushed us though, we were down 21-3 at half time and really showed very little to prove we deserved to get in a situation where we'd be driving late in the game to tie things up.

So yeah, optimism. A step at the time? I hope we make a big step then. Our more fitting in our team theme, a firm breeze would be nice. Go Merchantmen!
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Old 05-16-2020, 11:31 AM   #276
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Merchantmen replace Offensive Coordinator
Reuben Bidwell's stint as the Maassluis Merchantmen offensive coordinator last just one season. Today the Maassluis Merchantmen announced the replacement of Bidwell with 17 years younger Willie Behrendt. Bidwell stepped in during the 2089 off-season to replace recently retired Neal Murack after 18 seasons of service. It marks the fourth time the Merchantmen replace their offensive coordinator after just one season.

Bidwell came in with in a new philosophy, desiring to unravel his take on a spread offense. Instead, the team asked him to build on the balanced approach that Murack had established, but improving on the passing game in the process. A mission somewhat accomplished as the Merchantmen improved from 31st in passing yards to 19th, while going from 9th to 10th in rushing yards with miniscule improvement in production in rushing yards per game and carry.

Not so much apparently. The Merchantmen decided that, despite Bidwell's highly praised playcalling skills, they needed a coordinator better capable of evaluating the players on roster.

In comes Willie Behrendt, at 42 years old still young for a coordinator. He left the Chesapeake Chitterlings after just one season there as their assistant coach, in a season where the Chitterlings went above their expectations and reached (and lost) in IHOF Bowl LXXXVI. Behrendt has previously been the offensive coordinator for the Frederick Red Menace (2086-'87) and Chicago Norsemen (2088). In Frederick, Behrendt was kind of a mismatch as he's a fan of a smashmouth approach to the game of football, while the Red Menace have recently established themselves as a pass first, run rarely team. He was supposed to be a better fit with the running style of the Norsemen, but in his tenure their running game went from 2nd to 24th in rushing yards, although improving the yards per attempt figure. A change of management then and yet again during the 2089 off-season already ended his stint in Chicago.

Merchantmen management looks forward to Behrendt's cooperation with head coach Kyle Elliott, who received a contract extension through the 2093 season. If he sticks around that long, he'll tie the franchise's longest head coaching tenure of Ellis Cassidy (2054-'69), the Merchantmen's only IHOF Bowl winning head coach. For now, Elliott is entering his 13th season with the Merchantmen, making him the third longest, sitting also behind Leroy Van Der Woude's 14-season tenure (2005-'18).

It means the Merchantmen staff has changed in at least one role for the sixth season in a row, something that happened only once before during the 2066-'71 period, shortly after the team's only IHOF Bowl victory and ending it with the unique situation of having three former players of the team on the coaching staff (former safety as the head coach Kelvin Shepherd, former center Neal Murack as the offensive coordinator and former wide receiver Dwayne Kemp as the assistant coach).

Bidwell has been contracted by the Atlanta Vipers as their new offensive coordinator, as the Vipers had a vacancy following the retirement of Dominic Ehret, a two-time IHOF Bowl winners as the offensive cooridnator of the Tucker Tigers.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:52 AM   #277
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Merchantmen sign CB Jackie Richardson
Cornerback Jackie Richardson moves to the Maassluis Merchantmen. The highly touted free agent signed a 4-year contract worth $160M, with a $50M signing bonus. Richardson left the San Antonio Tidal Force after 6 seasons as their premier cornerback.

Fans of defensive football should be pleased. Signing Richardson means the Merchantmen can make a claim for having the best cornerback duo in the league with reigning Defensive Player of the Year Kirk Hitchcock already walking around. A unique duo? Perhaps, although the Merchantmen tried a stud cornerback duo before, with mixed results.

All the way back in 2019, the Merchantmen made a pair of trades that got them the exceptional duo of Randall Allen and Ben Greer together. The pass defense improved from 27th to 7th in yards allowed and went from 30th to middle of the pack in yards per attempt. The overall result didn't improve either, the Merchantmen finished with a 6-10 record for the third season in succession. The duo didn't last long as Greer ended his Hall of Fame worth career after just one season in Maassluis. Allen for 5 seasons.

In the 2026 season the Merchantmen made a blockbuster trade in week 4 of the regular season, acquiring Defensive Player of the Year linebacker Oliver Drake and shutdown cornerback Walt Wheatley from the Williamsburg Colonials. The plan was to team up Whatley with Thomas Nordbye, acquired through trade in the 2025 off-season. Coming in, the Merchantmen were aware of Nordbye's injury proneness and it turned out to be an issue, missing 9 games in his first two seasons, but in 2027 he finally played a full season together with Wheatley. But despite their apparent skills, they didn't visually imporve the already strong Merchantmen defense. In fact, the impressive 2028 campaign with just 211 points allowed came the season after Nordbye's inevitable retirement.

In the 2040 IHOF draft the Merchantmen selected Mark Crum with the #30 overall pick and in the 2041 off-season they traded their 2042 first round pick to the Minnesota Miners for 2039 first round pick Marc Pomato. The duo stuck together through the 2050 season. Some say they both peaked early. In the 2042 season, the Merchantmen ranked 1st in passing yards allowed both per game and per attempt, a sign of things going well. They were actually just a 10-6 wild card team and went one and done at the division winning Gothenburg Giants. Between 2040 and 2047, the Merchantmen did keep opponents below 300 points for the season, but the pass defense remained, although strong, not the best in the league like it was in 2042. Crum and Pomato both left after the 2050 season and immediately dropped from top10 to bottom8.

During the 2066 IHOF Bowl winning run, the Merchantmen were clicking on many levels, but the presence of cornerback Peter Tucker, one of the members of the Class of '64, and 2060 first round pick Leo Angus was part of the team's success and spectacular defense. The pass defense ranked 1st in yards per pass attempt allowed, the overall passing yards allowed number was much less impressive, a result of a lot of catch up games. With Tucker around and Angus eventually replaced by 2068 second round pick Tre Rice, the Merchantmen went up and down season to season between top three and middle of the pack in yards per pass attempt. Until Tucker retired and the pass defense plummeted to bottom8 status.

Kirk Hitchcock has previously been one half of a highly touted duo, as the #11 overall pick in the 2081 draft was accompanied by the #14 pick of that class Tre Poloski. Unlike Hitchcock, Poloski has struggled to live up to the first round pick status and was released in the 2087 off-season in a salary cap move, but part a result of his inability to return to his production of the 2082 and 2083 seasons. Despite all this, the Merchantmen never really stood out with this duo, even ranking 32nd in passing yards allowed in 2082 and more shockingly 32nd in the league in 2084 in yards per pass attempt allowed.

All in all, results from the past have no influence on what the future will bring, but the Merchantmen fans should know well that having a studly cornerback duo can do only so much for a team, from being improved in pass defense without more wins, to winning an IHOF Bowl, to ranking last in the league.
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Old 05-21-2020, 01:15 PM   #278
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General Manager Notes: I love this CB duo
Yay, two of the top5 corners in the league!

Okay, before we get overly excited, I just gave a couple of cornerbacks a $50M signing bonus, each. Richardson is the new guy in town, 29 years old, into his 7th season, we gave him a somewhat inflated contract, going from a $15M salary in 2090 to $35M in 2092 and '93. Hitchcock signed an extension through the 2092 season. He's now at $53.18M dead cap space (due to signing boni) in this and next season. So yeah, we're spending almost $84 of our $494M cap figure on two cornerbacks.

At the same time, as I mentioned earlier, the offensive line is pretty expensive too. Even after some renegotiations to be able to afford Richardson, 4 of our linemen accumulate to over $109M, still excluding the backup guard Darren Theisen that we're paying $9.2M.

All this means that we're now at 53 signed, of whom 32 signed for next season, excluding the incoming 10 rookies. The 21 that will be out of contract will be a bit of a concern, but that's something I don't want to address until after we've played our second pre-season game [okay, seriously, how the bleep can I roleplay it into making any sense that random player development changes happen right between two pre-season games!?]. There might be a hold out or two, but we'll probably be able to cover that.

I'm actually not so thrilled about going into training camp with 63 players signed, it's 3 too many to my liking. We just don't get to see too much about rookies and other young players in camp. It's a first glimpse of their potential, but not the end all be all. It means we'll have to deduce the roster by 3 players before we actually get any sense for where we stand as a team in terms of talent for the (2090) season.

In the mean time, the draft is hopping along. When we're done, I'll write about the whole bunch that we picked, I'll stick with a short summary for now. I had hoped to push the 2nd round picks forward with trades to the 2091 draft, but I got one team interested too little too late: the 2.20 pick had already been used. We did trade our 3rd round pick to the Orlando Talons for their 3rd next draft. We'll probably trade down this way, but it better than to spend a signing bonus on a rookie that might not even make the team. I kept the additional 1st round pick, without making any moves up or down, which is quite unique. Our score so far, mid-way through the 5th round: a RB, a TE, 2 WR, a K, a DT and a LB.

I constructed a new draft board tool, combining all the data we have so far on scout assessments and combine scores. After a fix of an initial small error in calculation, the board actually says we grabbed a kicker that ranks 4th overall, a linebacker ranked 10th, a tight end ranked 16th. On an adjusted board, where we ignore skills I don't usually value highly on certain positions, that linebacker moves up to 2nd overall, the kicker drops to 7th, the tight end to 34th, but we'll also see the defensive tackle come in at 27th. The first WR ranks 38th, the RB 47th and the second WR 123rd.

Sure, no names yet, despite that the draft results are published on the open net? Again, I'll announce the full class all at once.

Other things to consider for now? Well, not particularly. It seems unlikely I'll make a bid for any other free agent, because, clearly, with 53 signed an 9 draft picks incoming, we're still ahead of the 60 I prefer. Technically, the league mandated limit is 70 on roster for training camp, but as I said before, there's little need to go far beyond that 60 figure. For now, I'm hoping that new draft board works. Reading through the history books and seeing how confident I was when we traded up for kids like Gabe Springer and Terry Haskell, despite looking underwhelming from a distance, that's why we're doing this, getting back into being one of those teams that drafts well. We've had such good drafts in the '60s, late '70s and even as recently as the early '80s, it's a track record that I'd like to build on.
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:55 AM   #279
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TE Gaynor, LB Brady top Merchantmen draft class 2090
The 2090 class of draft picks for the Maassluis Merchantmen is complete. A result of trades during the 2089 draft, the Merchantmen went into the draft also holding the Hanalei Dragons' first, second and fifth round picks. During this draft, the third round pick went to the Orlando Talons, leaving 9 picks to be used.

With the 1.17 pick, the Merchantmen selected tight end Clay Gaynor from Texas Tech University.
Code:
rn bl X+++++?___ 60-70 ps bl XX++++++?_ 80-90 bl sl XXXX?_____ 35-45 av dr X++??_____ 35-45 gt dw X+++++??__ 65-75 rt rn X+++++?___ 60-75 3d ct XX+++++++? 85-100 bg pl XXXX?_____ 40-50 coura XX+++++?__ 65-80 ad bl X+++++?___ 55-65 endur XX++++++?_ 80-90 sp tm XX++++++?_ 80-95

With the 1.19 pick, the Merchantmen selected linebacker Brandon Brady from Florida State University.
Code:
run d XXXX+++??_ 75-85 pr tc XX+??_____ 35-45 pr st XX??______ 20-35 mtm d XXX+++?___ 60-70 zon d XXX++??___ 55-65 bnr d XXXX++++?? 85-95 ply d XXXX++++?? 85-100 p hit XXX??_____ 35-45 endur XXXX++++?_ 80-95 sp tm XXXX++++?_ 75-90

With the 2.18 pick, the Merchantmen selected wide receiver George Stuckey from the University of Oregon.
Code:
av dr X++???____ 30-60 gt dw X+++++???_ 60-85 rt rn X+++++???_ 65-90 3d ct ++???_____ 25-50 bg pl XX??______ 15-40 coura XX+++++??? 75-100 ad bl X++???____ 30-60 pnt r ???_______ 0-25 kck r ???_______ 0-25 endur XX+++++??? 75-100 sp tm X++???____ 35-60

With the 2.20 pick, the Merchantmen selected kicker Mark Giles from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Code:
k acc XXXXX++??? 75-100 k pwr XXXX+???__ 50-75 ko di XXXX++???_ 65-90 ko ht XXXXX++??? 70-95

With the 4.20 pick, the Merchantmen selected wide receiver Griffin Iafigliola from Marist College.
Code:
av dr +++??_____ 25-50 gt dw ???_______ 0-25 rt rn X+++++???_ 60-85 3d ct +++???____ 30-55 bg pl XXXXXXX??? 75-100 coura ???_______ 0-25 ad bl X++++++??_ 70-95 pnt r ???_______ 0-25 kck r ???_______ 0-25 endur X+++???___ 45-70 sp tm X+++++??__ 55-80

With the 5.17 pick, the Merchantmen selected running back Trey Samuels from Vanderbilt University.
Code:
break XXXX???___ 40-65 pw in X???______ 15-40 3d rn ???_______ 0-25 hol r XXX+++??__ 55-80 elusi X+??______ 15-40 outsd XX??______ 25-40 blitz X++??_____ 30-55 av dr XX++???___ 45-70 gt dw XX+++???__ 50-75 rt rn XXX+++???_ 60-85 3d ct XX+++???__ 50-75 pnt r XXX+++???_ 60-90 kck r ???_______ 0-25 endur ???_______ 0-25 sp tm XX++???___ 40-65

With the 5.19 pick, the Merchantmen selected defensive tackle Tyrone Hanson from Vanderbilt University.
Code:
run d XX++???___ 45-70 pr tc XXX++++??? 70-100 pr st ???_______ 0-30 mtm d X+???_____ 20-50 zon d X+???_____ 20-50 bnr d ???_______ 0-30 ply d XX+++???__ 45-75 p hit XX???_____ 20-45 endur XXX++++??? 65-95 sp tm +???______ 5-35

With the 6.18 pick, the Merchantmen selected quarterback Carlton Mathews from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Code:
sc ps XX++++??__ 55-85 sh ps ???_______ 0-25 md ps X+++???___ 40-65 lg ps X++??_____ 25-55 dp ps ???_______ 0-25 3d ps X++???____ 30-55 accur +???______ 15-40 timin XX+++++??_ 70-95 s rsh XXXXXX???_ 60-85 rd df ???_______ 0-25 2m of X+++???___ 45-70 scr f XXX??_____ 25-50 kck h ???_______ 0-25

With the 7.17 pick, the Merchantmen selected center Dwayne Gullett from St. John's University in New York [it appears that this football program discontinued in 2002 in RL].
Code:
rn bl +++??_____ 25-50 ps bl ++++???___ 40-65 bl st XXXXXX??__ 60-85 endur X++++??___ 45-70

Scouting reports from the Merchantmen, pre-draft, somewhat tinkered to round up/down to the nearest 10s and 5s.
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* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail

Last edited by MIJB#19 : 05-22-2020 at 08:51 AM. Reason: mini fix
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:49 AM   #280
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Rookies are here!
We got our first new look on our rookies. And boy is it a mixed bag. I mean, I like some of them and others are kind of "meh".

1.17 TE Clay Gaynor
Code:
rn bl X++++++___ 15/65 ps bl XX+++++++_ 20/85 bl sl XXXX______ 40 av dr X++_______ 5/30 gt dw XXXXX++___ 45/70 rt rn X++++++___ 10/65 3d ct XXXXXXX++_ 65/90 bg pl XXXX______ 45 coura XXXXX++___ 50/70 ad bl X+++++____ 10/65 endur XXXXXX++__ 60/80 sp tm XXXXXX++__ 60/85
Needs time to develop.
Potentially our best receiving TE.
Now a liability to running game.



1.19 SLB Brandon Brady
Code:
run d XXXXX++++_ 45/90 pr tc XX+++_____ 20/45 pr st XXX_______ 35 mtm d XXXX+++___ 35/70 zon d XXX+++____ 30/65 bnr d XXXXXXX++_ 65/85 ply d XXXXX+++++ 50/95 p hit XXXX______ 40 endur XXXXXX++__ 65/85 sp tm XXXXXXX++_ 75/90
Opening day starter?
Will play on running downs.
50/50 to be on 2 LB pass formations.



2.18 WR George Stuckey
Code:
av dr X+++______ 5/40 gt dw XXXX++____ 45/65 rt rn X++++++___ 15/75 3d ct XX+_______ 25/30 bg pl XX________ 25 coura XXXXXXX+++ 70/100 ad bl X+++______ 10/45 pnt r __________ 0 kck r __________ 0 endur XXXXXX++__ 55/75 sp tm XXXX+_____ 35/50
Green, but route running potential.
Questionable get downfield.
No big play ability.



2.20 K Mark Giles
Code:
k acc XXXXXX+++_ 60/85 k pwr XXXXX+____ 50/60 ko di XXXXXX+___ 60/70 ko ht XXXXXXX+__ 70/75
Decent kicker all around.
No improvement over Wells.
Might may better, but needs to grow.



4.20 WR Griffin Iafigliola
Code:
av dr ++++______ 5/40 gt dw __________ 0/5 rt rn X++++_____ 5/55 3d ct XXX+______ 30/45 bg pl XXXXXXXXX_ 90 coura +_________ 5 ad bl X++++++___ 10/65 pnt r __________ 0 kck r __________ 0 endur XX++______ 25/40 sp tm XXX++_____ 30/55
Big play ability, but little else.
Potential in route running.
Longshot to make 53-men roster.



5.17 WR Trey Samuels
Code:
av dr X+++++____ 10/55 gt dw XXXX++____ 40/65 rt rn X++++++___ 15/75 3d ct XXXXX+____ 45/65 bg pl XXXXXX____ 60 coura XXXXX+___ 45/65 ad bl +++_______ 5/25 pnt r XXXX++____ 35/65 kck r __________ 0/5 endur __________ 0 sp tm XX+_______ 15/35
Will move from RB to WR.
Void of endurance is a concern.
Looks otherwise pretty good.



5.19 DT Tyrone Hanson
Code:
run d X+++______ 15/40 pr tc XXX+++++__ 30/80 pr st __________ 0 mtm d +++_______ 5/25 zon d X+________ 5/20 bnr d __________ 0 ply d XX+++_____ 20/50 p hit XXX_______ 30 endur XXXXXX+___ 55/70 sp tm X+________ 15/25
Greener than anticipated.
Potentially can join our rotation.
Has a shot at making 53-men roster.



6.18 QB Carlton Mathews
Code:
sc ps XX++++____ 18/58 sh ps __________ 0/0 md ps X++++_____ 15/45 lg ps X++_______ 10/30 dp ps __________ 0/5 3d ps XXX+______ 25/40 accur X++________ 5/25 timin XXXXXX++__ 65/85 s rsh XXXXXXX___ 65 rd df +_________ 0/10 2m of X++++_____ 10/45 scr f XXXX______ 40 kck h __________ 5
Typical late round stab in dark.
Disappointing sense rush ability.
Unlikely to make 53-men roster.



7.17 C Dwayne Gullett
Code:
rn bl +++_______ 0/30 ps bl ++++______ 5/45 bl st XXXXXXX___ 70 endur XXX+++____ 35-56
All round decent potential.
Weakness is run blocking, sadly.
Longshot to make 53-men roster.



So, Brady and Gaynor look good, but not quite the game changers you want out of the first round, yet. Hanson looks promising. Samuels' endurance might drop him from WR2 potential to punt returning WR4. Giles needs to show up in camp, or risk losing the kicking battle. Stuckey in the second round was a reach, but if he fails to make the team, a typical wasted second round pick. Iafigliola is tough to pronounce, but does have some interesting upside. Gullett might be ok, but too much of a blind side protector than a running game supporting center. And Mathews, well, let's see where he stands after training camp and a bit of pre-season action, if he makes that pre-season roster.

Aside from this bunch, we'll be offering a contract to 7 undrafted rookies, which would potentially put us at the league maximum of 70 signed. A player that looks promising, but didn't get an offer is WR Ricky Owens. If he's still on the street at mid-pre-season, don't be shocked if we take a look at him after all. But with 3 incoming rookies at WR already, we have other priorities.
__________________
* 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 05-23-2020, 07:23 AM   #281
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Undrafted rookie free agents arrived!
Yup, we increased the class of 2090 from 9 to 14.

As I mentioned already, we offered contracts to 7 rookie free agents. Two of them signed a bonus heavy contract elsewhere in the league, being punter Jake Tyworth (went to the Frederick Red Menace) and offensive tackle Jorge Duke (went to Snapfinger Jazz). Who did we sign?


RG Marvin Silvan
From South Carolina, we had to outbid two other teams to win him over. Longshot to make the team, but you never know what happens in the off-season to returning veterans.
Code:
rn bl XX++++____ 15/55 ps bl XX++++____ 15/60 bl st XX________ 15 endur XXXXX++___ 55/75


MLB Brant Rayburn
Comes from Vanderbilt (indeed, a third rookie from this university). Primarily a hard hitting special teamer, but could be okay in pass defense support. We outbid three other teams for his services. He's actually got a decent chance to make our pre-season roster and who knows after that?
Code:
run d XX________ 15/25 pr tc XXX+++____ 35/55 pr st XXX_______ 30 mtm d XXX+______ 25/35 zon d XX++______ 20/40 bnr d XXXXX_____ 45/50 ply d X+________ 10/15 p hit XXXXXXX___ 65 endur XXXX______ 35/40 sp tm XXXXXXX___ 70/75


WLB Ruben Caminiti
Comes from Michigan State. This kid could be a great fit on a 3-4 defense. We run a 4-3 defense and upon arrival realize this kid will be a misfit here. He's undersized to move to defensive end. Hence, he should have been signed by a 3-4 team, but eerily we were the only team showing any interest.
Code:
run d XXXX+++___ 40/70 pr tc XXXXXX++__ 55/85 pr st XX________ 20 mtm d X+________ 5/20 zon d __________ 0 bnr d X+________ 10/20 ply d __________ 0 p hit XX________ 25 endur __________ 0 sp tm __________ 0


CB Chuck Murray
Comes from Florida State and will be moved to strong safety, as was our plan. Lack of endurance and special teams skills could limit his chances to make our final 53-men roster, but in theory he could make the team as a running downs strong safety. N other team showed interest in him.
Code:
run d XXX+______ 25/40 mtm d X+_______ 10/20 zon d XXX+++____ 35/60 bnr d +_________ 5 ply d XX++______ 20/40 p hit XXXXX_____ 50 inter XXXXXXX___ 70/75 pnt r __________ 0 kck r __________ 0 endur X_________ 10 sp tm X_________ 15


FS Jon Brotzman
Comes from Oklahoma, has the potential to be a fine free safety and brings the welcome special teams skills with him. Surprisingly we signed him uncontested.
Code:
run d __________ 0 mtm d XX+++_____ 25/45 zon d XXXX++++__ 40/80 bnr d __________ 0 ply d XXX++++___ 30/70 p hit XXX_______ 30 inter XXXXX+____ 45/65 pnt r __________ 0 kck r __________ 0 endur XXX+______ 30/35 sp tm XXXXXXXX++ 80/95


So, yeah. Honestly, I really like this group. Botzman and Murray could be keepers here. With 7 safeties signed, some will be released even between training camp and pre-season games, but right now, had I use the axe today, both would make the 60 men pre-season roster. Can't be unhappy about Rayburn either. And Caminiti really deserves to play in this league. And Silvan has a legitimate shot at being our eight lineman.

Oh, by the way, we signed the Gothenburg Giants' long snapper Bryce Karney in pre-draft free agency. The 10th year veteran will get a position battle with our 5th year pro Thomas Biegen. And they get to do this alongside the inevitable kicker battle!

Two men enter, one man leaves.

Twice.


All this means we've got 68 players on roster. And we've got plenty of positions or position groups where it's clear we'll make some cuts sooner or later (well, duh!). What have we got?
4 quarterbacks (it makes sense to stick with 3)
4 running backs (I'm opting to trim this to 3)
1 fullback (bar disaster, Brosseau will be the 1)
5 tight ends (we'll end up at 4)
8 wide receivers (including some return specialists, but this has to come down to 5 or 6)
3 centers (this will be at most 2)
4 guards (this will be at most 3)
3 offensive tackles (this will likely remain 3)
1 punter (got to have 1)
2 kickers (position battle down to 1)
4 defensive ends (I like all 4)
6 defensive tackles (that's seriously too much, we'll do with 5 or even 4)
9 linebackers (this may end up being 5, at most 6)
5 cornerbacks (depending on what happens elsewhere, this will be 4 or 5)
7 safeties (yeah, that's too much, this will come down to 4 or 5)
2 long snappers (by opening day this will be 1)

That will get us down to 52 by mu count, so there's some room to keep one more player. Speaking of that, don't be shocked if a couple of free agents joins our training camp at the eleventh hour...


A side line story, what happened to Ricky Owens? He signed with the Moontown Bombers, taking the only only offer that he received. I know the game has changed, but this kid would have been a lot of fun to see play in any of the deep throwing eras. Yeah, let's not second guess this decision to not make an offer to him.

Wait, there's one more thing: what was the effect on WR Trey Samuels position change? The staff re-evaluated him already and this is what they make of him now. They tempered expectations a little bit, but overall his player profile looks nearly unchanged.
WR Trey Samuels
Code:
av dr X+++++____ 10/55 gt dw XXXX++____ 40/60 rt rn X++++++___ 10/65 3d ct XXXXX+____ 45/60 bg pl XXXXXX____ 55 coura XXXXX+___ 40/55 ad bl +++_______ 0/25 pnt r XXXX++____ 35/65 kck r __________ 0/5 endur __________ 0 sp tm XX+_______ 15/35


Finally, training camp is upcoming. We're going form a Spread offense to a Smashmouth offense, which might cause an overhaul in the playbook. Well, there will be some changes, but ironically, we were well prepared for this change, it appears. Our formation choices last season are more than ready to have this new philosophy work... on paper.

I can't wait to see what the progress of all the youngsters will be!
__________________
* 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 : 05-23-2020 at 07:26 AM.
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Old 05-25-2020, 04:19 PM   #282
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Editor's note: Yesterday I spent half a day researching for a new installment on the 'masters of trading' series. Fact that I haven't posted it yet, comes to show how time consuming this specific one has been so far and I'm a little bit worried there will be no end of it. We'll have to see where that ends. I'm afraid it's going to be brain bursting for anybody trying to read it anyway. It'll be a tough call, but I might have to make a decision on how deep to follow the trail of trades.

I'm afraid I'll have to go with how I did with the previous installments: stick with who got taken with the the draft picks that were involved in the initial trade. It might end up being nothing more than a long list of team names exchanging some players, but mostly draft picks that eventually get used to pick players. In fact, I almost lost it myself during the research, had to write down in detail where I was. So yeah, judgement call, I'll do some more digging later this week and probably make the mind blowing part spoiler tag hidden in the full version.

It was fun, for a long time, until I had to call it a night way past 1 am and a couple of hours later realized within my sleep that I was dreaming about the kind of research I had been doing, the massive spread of things that were going on. It felt like a virus and trying to figure out who or what got infected and every time you think you've got it isolated, the last end in the diagram becomes a new tree.

So yeah, just had to share that for a bit, for those regularly tuning in and reading. Let's do the training camp report and mulling over who to release to get down from 70 to 60 players.
__________________
* 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 : 05-25-2020 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 05-25-2020, 06:00 PM   #283
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Training Camp 2090, decisions, decisions
So many fine players and 10 won't even be here for our first pre-season game.

First things first, right before training camp, two players got a last minute call to join our team. Rookie cornerback Adam Harmon somehow slipped through earlier, this 23-year old looks to have fine potential in zone defending (excellent even), interception skills, man to man defense and also has special teams potential. The other signing was tight end Sherman Bridges, 10th season veteran, mediocre blocker, questionable receiver (144 career catches for a guy with no route running skills), but he can play special teams and mentor Clay Gaynor, which the kid desperately needs.

Then we went to camp and afterwards asked the scouting staff to report on how much progress the youngsters on the roster showed. Well, we got some surprises on all ends of things. Let's break it down by position group.

Quarterbacks
40/40 no ch. Moe Sheldon (9th, 3rd with us)
20/40 +3/nc Brandon Bell (2nd)
30/35 +3/nc Francisco Farley (4th)
15/25 +2/-1 Carlton Mathews (R)
Our new offensive coordinator likes Bell's potential better than Farley's, but still has Sheldon about 3/100th ahead of Bell. Mathews was a bit of a lottery ticket, it's safe to say, he's projected outside our 53 men roster.

Running backs
55/55 no ch. Francisco Patter (4th)
35/35 no ch. Reggie Thongchanh (6th)
30/30 +1/-1 Braxton Szporluk (5th, 3rd with us)
25/25 no ch. Asher Ford (4th, 3rd with us)
Patter and Thong' once again, but the decision to be made is Szporluk or Ford as the third down back, with the loser a serious candidate to miss out on our 53 men roster. Ford has the advantage of also being a quality special teamer.

Fullback
40/40 no ch. Clay Brosseau (5th)
Best run blocking fullback in the league. We're moving to a smashmouth offense, you do the math.

Tight ends
35/65 +4/-1 Clay Gaynor (R)
40/40 unkn. Sherman Bridges (10th, 1st with us)
30/40 +3/nc Jeffery Blake (3rd)
30/30 no ch. Renaldo Crawford (4th, 3rd with us)
30/30 no ch. Randy Holliday (4th)
15/15 no ch. Tyler Kotz (6th)
We have to believe in Gaynor and Bridges will help him. Blake and Crawford are the better run blockers of the returning players, Holliday and Kotz won't make the 53 men team. In fact, both are on the chopping block for pre-season already.

Wide receivers
75/75 no ch. Theodore Bondy (9th)
40/40 no ch. Brandin Sandlin (4th)
30/50 +4/-2 Trey Samuels (R)
25/50 +4/nc George Stuckey (R)
35/40 +3/nc Harris Wilkerson (2nd)
35/35 +1/+1 Santiago Messenger (3rd)
25/45 +2/-1 Griffin Iafigliola (R)
30/30 no ch. Tracy Arntt (3rd)
Messenger and Arntt are our kickoff return guys, Samuels right now looks like the third best option as punt returner. I'd love to see what the rookies can do on the field, but it's a numbers game already and think I'll have to release Wilkerson or Iafigliola before pre-season. Wilkerson was one of our special teamers, but Arntt is good competition and Samuels os on par with him. Stuckey an odd one, made the best progress, but is he (or Samuels) good enough to become the WR3 behind Bondy and Sandlin?

Offensive Linemen
70/70 no ch. Michael Szott (7th)
70/70 no ch. Butch Pearson (11th)
65/65 no ch. Howard Humphrey (6th)
65/65 no ch. Nathan Hadinger (8th)
50/50 no ch. Darren Theisen (5th, 2nd with us)
45/45 no ch. Andre Watson (5th)
35/35 +1/nc Tyler Hamilton (4th)
20/40 +2/-3 Dwayne Gullett (R)
30/30 +3/+2 Jared Labbe (5th)
25/45 +6/-2 Marvin Silvan (R)
Same story as last season: 4 of 5 starters look locked in, Watson once again has to look behind him for veteran Theisen, but rookie Silvan made such a strong jump in training camp, we have to consider him as a legitimate option for the future. Gullett was underwhelming, Labbe slightly recovered, but is far from the kind of football player we thought he was going to be. One of those last two will not make the pre-season roster. After or midway through pre-season we'll make a decission on the guards.

Punter
55/55 no ch. Doug Guynes (6th)
Please don't fall apart, please don't fall apart.

Kickers (yup, plural)
65/75 +7/+1 Mark Giles (R)
55/55 no ch. Emmitt Wells (3rd)
Wells is good, but Giles is great? That's what this looks like now. It's tough to already go our separate ways from a third round pick, but such can be the life in the IHOF.

Defensive Ends
60/60 no ch. Gene Kondovski (9th)
45/45 no ch. Archie Exner (4th)
40/40 no ch. Andy Russell (5th)
30/30 no ch. Tony Whiting (5th)
This is what it is, bar disaster.

Defensive tackles
65/65 no ch. Darien Fletcher (2nd)
60/60 no ch. Jumbo Mojica (4th, 3rd with us)
45/45 no ch. Francisco Burgess (11th, 2nd with us)
35/35 no ch. A.J. Ritt (7th)
30/30 +3/-3 Kurt Ackerman (3rd)
20/40 +3/-3 Tyrone Hanson (R)
Burgess is a run stuffer, mentor, but I doubt we will keep him. Hanson might turn out to be too green after all. Ritt is good for cohesion. Ackerman finally looking like the kind of player we thought he could be. But Fletcher and Mojica are complete defensive tackles, with Fletcher slightly on the tricky end in endurance. Depth isn't required, 4 guys on the 53 men list should be sufficient.

Linebackers
50/75 +6/nc Brandon Brady (R)
55/55 no ch. Daquan Espino (5th)
45/45 no ch. Clayton Jackson (4th)
40/40 no ch. Moe Iveans (5th, 2nd with us)
35/40 +3/nc Trenton Mendelssohn (3rd)
35/40 +3/nc Malcolm Wentz (2nd)
30/35 +3/+1 Brant Rayburn (R)
25/35 +3/-2 Ruben Caminiti (R)
25/25 no ch. Alec Palmer (3rd)
Brady, just hold and you're the new name in a long list of spectacular linebackers wearing the orange-white-and-blue. As was the plan with Espino, until pre-season 2089 happened. Caminiti looks so sweet, but we just can't make a roster spot for him. Kid might should end up on a 3-4 defense as their pass rushing WLB. This could be the off-season where Mendelssohn finally gets axed. Jackson has grown into being a very good passing downs linebacker. Iveans might already get cut after one season, we had good hopes, until pre-season 2089 happened to him (as well). Palmer is the best special teamer, but we'll be good to go with Brady, Rayburn and Iveans, if those last two stay.

Cornerbacks
70/70 no ch. Jackie Richardson (7th, 1st with us)
70/70 no ch. Kirk Hitchcock (10th)
45/45 +5/+1 Ted Frias (3rd)
40/40 no ch. Jessie McNeil (4th)
20/40 unkn. Adam Harmon (R)
30/30 no ch. Courtney Blackwell (7th)
If they don't fall apart, Richardson and Hitchcock will be the best duo in the league. Frias made great progress, but might actually be the casualty of the Richardson acquisition. McNeil solid, Harmon greener, with slightly more potential. Blackwell used to be our punt returner, in raw talent is still the ebst by far, but has shown a tendency to fumble too often, that's risky.

Safeties
45/45 no ch. Alexander Marty (8th)
35/35 no ch. Bart Sword (5th, 3rd with us)
35/35 +1/+1 Salvador Harper (4th)
30/40 +5/+2 Chuck Murray (R)
30/30 no ch. Riddick Newsome (8th, 6th with us)
20/35 +3/nc Jon Brotzman (R)
20/25 +2/nc Levi Blanchard (3rd)
So many decent options, but none that wow us. Murray may be too much of a Marty look-a-like, which is both a compliment and a problem, because he has to become better to surpass him. Brotzman may already be our best special teamer, maybe aside from Harper, that's a thing to consider here as well, with Sword close behind. I'd like to keep them all, but we really can't, not even for our first pre-season game.

Long Snappers
20/20 no ch. Bryce Karney (10th, 1st with us)
20/20 no ch. Timothy Biegen (5th)
To go with cohesion or with ability, that's the question. Karney is the better snapper, no question about it, but Biegen has been good enough. We won't keep both, not even into pre-season, simple as that.


So yeah, decision to be made. 10 guys have to leave now, not after the (wacky) pre-season re-evaluation of players, now. Or to be more exact, tomorrow. We'll have about a day to mull over this. The lineup for the games can be made already, the players that are available for trade have been listed on the trade block: Kotz, Holliday, Gullett, Wells, Iveans, Palmer, Mendelssohn, Wentz, Blanchard, Harper, Sword and Biegen. Yes, an old fashioned bargain bin trade block, anything goes for a 7th round pick. Got to try, no? We have a name to live up to.
__________________
* 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 05-26-2020, 11:20 AM   #284
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen release 10 players
The Maassluis Merchantmen have trimmed their roster down to the pre-season maximum of 60 on roster. 10 players were released, most notable long snapper Timothy Biegen and kicker Emmett Wells. The full list of players released is below.

Long snapper Timothy Biegen was an undrafted rookie free agent signing for the Merchantmen shortly after the 2086 draft. He got the nod as the new long snapper and kept the role for 4 straight seasons. This off-season the Merchantmen brought in veteran Bryce Karney as competition and the team went with the supposedly more talented veteran.

Kicker Emmett Wells was a 3rd round pick for the Merchantmen in the 2088 draft. It seemed that the Merchantmen had found their long-term answer at the position, but in the recent draft they took a U-turn and drafted Mark Giles in the 2nd round. Wells spent 2 seasons with the Merchantmen and kicked for them in 32 games.

Tight end Tyler Kotz was a 7th round pick for the Merchantmen in the 2085 draft. He spent his first two seasons inactive, then in 2087 was active in 4 games and in 2088 finally made his first career catch, but that season was almost exclusively a special teamer. Last season his activity was limited to 1 game. Kotz leaves Maassluis after 5 seasons on roster with 21 games played.

Tight end Randy Holliday was a 5th round pick for the Merchantmen in the 2087 draft. He spent 2087 on inactive, but in 2088 was a starter being considered the best receiving tight end on roster. Last season he was demoted to a backup role, playing almost exclusively on special teams. He leaves the Merchantmen after 3 seasons of service with 31 games played.

Linebacker Trenton Mendelssohn was the Merchantmen's 3rd round pick in the 2088 draft. After an underwhelming initial training camp and pre-season, he spent his rookie season inactive. In 2089 he saw the field just once, making a tackle on 1 of just 2 plays, meaning he leaves the team after 2 seasons on roster and just 1 game played.

Safety Levi Blanchard was an undrafted rookie signing shortly after the 2088 draft. But he was stuck behind veterans and never got to see any action for the Merchantmen. He leaves the team after 2 seasons on roster, without any games played.

Defensive tackle Francisco Burgess leaves the Merchantmen after a season without seeing the field. The 11th year IHOF veteran was signed to mentor first round pick Darien Fletcher, but spent all season inactive and now is considered no longer required.

Defensive tackle Tyrone Hanson was recently a 5th round pick for the Merchantmen in the 2090 draft. Despite praise to the 23-year old pass rusher, he was considered unlikely to make the 53-men roster on a unit that the team considers to be loaded with many young, but developed others.

Center Dwayne Gullett was recently a 7th round pick for the Merchantmen in the 2090 draft. The Merchantmen decided that he was the least likely of 10 linemen to make the final 53-men roster.

Linebacker Ruben Caminiti was a recent undrafted rookie free agent signing. His release was very likely as the fear of him unable to adapt to a 4-3 defense or moving to defensive end turned out to be legitimate. Team management continued to praise him as a worthy pass rusher on a 3-4 defense.
__________________
* 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 : 05-26-2020 at 02:39 PM. Reason: cuz, well, things changed. :D
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Old 05-27-2020, 04:54 PM   #285
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The day we all fear, and sometimes love, or both
Pre-season week 2. You know it.

This is one of those days where you know something's coming, but not quite where it will go and feel afterwards. It's not exactly that tension when you're about to make a phone call to that special person that you hope will finally be ready to give you a chance to get to know you better and sparkle the positive vibes you hope she has for you as well, but it's somewhat close. So, what did the randomness of destiny in mind for us?

Wait, let's take you with me on this journey a little bit more.

I woke up more than an hour before the alarm was set...
Okay, not that far back.

Days like these, they go in three shifts of tension. First, there's the moment the game is played. Ask all the owners and GM's in the league, none of them even remotely care about the result and few will be bothered to investigate the play by play and box score. No, everybody is waiting for all the staff members and the league scout to re-evaluate the players.

Step one, the league office announces the results of the games and lets the league scout and a specific report from one team in the league make a leaguewide evaluation, with a list of the players that have made the most progress and those that looked like total duds.

You hope to see your own players on that first list, well, our undrafted rookie linebacker Brant Rayburn did. Good for you, kid!

Then you scroll down to the second list. No Merchantmen players. Oh goody!

But that's not all there is. The second stage is the league scout's report on your own team. You know going into the numbers that the league scout by no means can do a reliable report, or at least not as reliable as your own staff. But being stuck outside your team network, you go can't help yourself and do take a look.

Brandon Bell went 10 points up on the scale of 1-100. Holy smokes! Moe Sheldon went 7 points up. Kid Rayburn, +19. Goodness, we're back in business with our quarterbacks? Then you notice the evaluation of Sheldon from the league scout from the previous point in time was far off from your team's assessment. And you also realize that a young quarterback like Bell is hard to pinpoint, especially for a league scout who, by lack of interest, didn't land a better job in the league.

You go on with your normal day life, this particular day having some kind of planned phone call, but still slightly different from an average conference call. A bunch of normal conference calls follow and then, after the last one, it's time to shift the attention and get onto the team's network and find out what your own staff has to report.

Brandon Bell +1/-1, drats, stupid league scout. Moe Sheldon +2/+2, good, but not awesome. Bryan Rayburn +1/+5. Okay, some good news. And then you stare at the reports on your first round picks.

Dang.

Okay, not the end of the world, but -2/-8 for the highest pick you ever spent on a tight end and then +1/-5 on the linebacker that you though was the best player in the entire draft class, that's disappointing to read. Even if the league office still grades your draft as the 3rd best in the league, seeing your first round picks not at the very least hold ground, it's a bummer.

But it's not the end of the world, your awesome cornerback duo went -2/-2 (the new guy Richardson, not all that bad) and +1/+1 (Hitchcock, you old dog! Who said you can't peak in your 30s?).

Then the night falls, and loneliness... No wait, that's a different story.

Anyway, it was a mixed back this day in the life of a GM/owner in the IHOF. Some good news, some bad news. To put things into perspective, it's best to look over the roster just like you did after training camp and look at it from the "what have we got?" point of view?


Quarterbacks
45/45 +2/+2 Moe Sheldon (9th, 3rd with us)
20/35 +1/-1 Brandon Bell (2nd)
30/35 -1/-2 Francisco Farley (4th)
15/25 nc/+1 Carlton Mathews (R)
Yup, that's the new pecking order. Sheldon starts, Bell on the bench, Farley inactive, Mathews released.

Running backs
55/55 +3/+3 Francisco Patter (4th)
35/35 no ch. Reggie Thongchanh (6th)
30/30 +1/-1 Braxton Szporluk (5th, 3rd with us)
25/25 +1/+1 Asher Ford (4th, 3rd with us)
Patter and Thong' the one-two punch, Ford the special teamer, Szporluk released.

Fullback
45/45 +1/+1 Clay Brosseau (5th)
Nothing new here, Brosseau is our guy.

Tight ends
30/55 -2/-8 Clay Gaynor (R)
35/35 -6/-6 Sherman Bridges (10th, 1st with us)
30/40 -1/nc Jeffery Blake (3rd)
30/30 no ch. Renaldo Crawford (4th, 3rd with us)
Gaynor the starter, Blake and Crawford the other blockers, Bridges the special teamer? I'll have to browse over the whole team, 4 active will be a bit much, but that's what we're looking at for now.

Wide receivers
75/75 -1/-1 Theodore Bondy (9th)
40/40 no ch. Brandin Sandlin (4th)
30/50 -1/-3 Trey Samuels (R)
35/40 no ch. Harris Wilkerson (2nd)
25/50 nc/-2 George Stuckey (R)
25/40 nc/-7 Griffin Iafigliola (R)
30/30 -7/-7 Santiago Messenger (3rd)
20/20 -6/-6 Tracy Arntt (3rd)
Theo and Sandlin the starters. WR3? It's up for grabs, kids. Messenger and Arntt took hits, but they will stay on as our kickoff return guys. Iafigliola will be released.

Offensive Linemen
70/70 -1/-1 Michael Szott (7th)
70/70 no ch. Butch Pearson (11th)
65/65 no ch. Howard Humphrey (6th)
60/60 -4/-4 Nathan Hadinger (8th)
45/45 no ch. Andre Watson (5th)
45/45 -6/-6 Darren Theisen (5th, 2nd with us)
30/30 -4/-4 Tyler Hamilton (4th)
25/40 -1/-5 Marvin Silvan (R)
30/30 no ch. Jared Labbe (5th)
Hadinger, Szott, Pearson, Watson, Humphrey. Our line for another season. Theisen will be released, despite being the best backup.

Punter
60/60 +1/+1 Doug Guynes (6th)
He didn't fall apart!

Kickers (yup, plural)
65/75 +2/-3 Mark Giles (R)
He held, basically.

Defensive Ends
60/60 no ch. Gene Kondovski (9th)
45/45 no ch. Archie Exner (4th)
40/40 -1/-1 Andy Russell (5th)
35/35 +2/+2 Tony Whiting (5th)
Continuity at this position, now there's something unexpected!

Defensive tackles
65/65 no ch. Darien Fletcher (2nd)
55/55 -1/-1 Jumbo Mojica (4th, 3rd with us)
35/35 no ch. A.J. Ritt (7th)
30/30 +1/+1 Kurt Ackerman (3rd)
Fletcher and Mojica the starters, Ritt and Ackerman the backups. We'll browse over the entire roster to determine whether both can be active, or just one.

Linebackers
50/70 +1/-5 Brandon Brady (R)
55/55 -1/-1 Daquan Espino (5th)
45/45 +4/+4 Clayton Jackson (4th)
40/40 -1/-1 Moe Iveans (5th, 2nd with us)
35/40 +1/-1 Malcolm Wentz (2nd)
30/40 +1/+5 Brant Rayburn (R)
25/25 no ch. Alec Palmer (3rd)
Brady and Espino, but Jackson will be our LB2 on passing downs. Iveans probably our LB3 on running downs. Rayburn and Palmer special teamers, number active based on room at other positions. Wentz will be released.

Cornerbacks
70/70 +1/+1 Kirk Hitchcock (10th)
70/70 -2/-2 Jackie Richardson (7th, 1st with us)
45/45 -1/-1 Ted Frias (3rd)
35/35 -3/-3 Jessie McNeil (4th)
20/40 nc/-1 Adam Harmon (R)
30/30 +1/+1 Courtney Blackwell (7th)
Hitchcock and Richardson the starters. Frias and McNeil the active backups. Harmon a project for the future, if we decide to keep him (we'll trim down to 54 today). Blackwell gets this pre-season to prove he's over the fumblitis.

Safeties
45/45 no ch. Alexander Marty (8th)
30/40 nc/+3 Chuck Murray (R)
35/35 -2/-2 Salvador Harper (4th)
30/30 no ch. Riddick Newsome (8th, 6th with us)
20/30 nc/-3 Jon Brotzman (R)
25/25 -12/-12 Bart Sword (5th, 3rd with us)
Still puzzling with these guys. Marty is a strong safety, Murray could be a running downs guy or a future strong safety, but Harper is better right now. Newsome is our passing downs free safety. Brotzman special teamer and future project. Sword will be axed.

Long Snappers
21/21 no ch. Bryce Karney (10th, 1st with us)
Don't believe the league scout and his -2/-2, we still think Karney was a good signing. Still top5 in the league.


All in all, it was an okay day. Sometimes having things not get worse is good enough for now, as long as there's potential for growth. I think there is, we got to give it a little bit of time, but by week 11 or so, I think that's roughly the right time to decide whether the course we set was right, or whether to turn the ship around and sail to other horizons, of course hoping to find the treasure.
__________________
* 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 : 05-27-2020 at 04:57 PM. Reason: cuz i had to
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Old 05-28-2020, 04:13 PM   #286
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
[b]General Manager Notes: Extension Day![/i]
Cap space next season, bye bye.

Yup, it's that time of year again. I'm not talking about the money generating exhibition games, but the scare moments between the notorious early pre-season impression the players give us and the start of the regular season, This is the incredibly short window of opportunity where you can realistically extend contracts.

As a result, we've extended contracts of 9 players and will make a second bid to Reggie Thongchanh, who turned our first offer down. RB Asher Ford, RB Francisco Patter, WR Branden Sandlin, C Jared Labbe, G Andre Watson, P Doug Guynes, DE Andy Russell, DT Jumbo Mojica and S Alexander Marty won't be be a free agent next off-season.

We've still got $4.7M of cap space to work with after these extensions, so we're not cap strapped... for now.

For next season, it's a different story. We're projected at $54M over the cap with 41 players signed. Some would call it crazy, for me that's our usual business. We'll be fine, I think. Just not making a splash signing like we did this off-season with Jackie Richardson.

For those wondering how we did in our two pre-season games, we won and lost. No wait, we lost and won in that order. By some random luck, we got the privilege to visit the Fairbanks Northstars (1-15 last season) and then host the Chicago Norsemen (also 1-15 last season).

We seriously crushed the Northstars, if you're beleiving in total yards numbers, but losing the turnover battle 6-1 with three pick sixes will lead to a 38-23 loss, despite 359 yards gained and 193 yards allowed. Moe Sheldon had 1 pick six, Brandon Bell 2 pick sixes. Bell also lost a couple of fumbles, as did our punt returner Courtney Blackwell. These last two are very alarming, for both this is a serious issue to make them, well, lose the position battles they are in. Were we smashmouthing it? Not quite, we ran 31 times versus throwing (or trying to) 43 times.

We seriously crushed the Norsemen as well. 366 yards versus 141 yards, only this time the turnover battle was in balance (1-1). Two missed field goal on their end made this end up as a 28-0 shutout. With 27 runs and 37 pass plays, we weren't quite smashmouthing this one either. Fun stat of this test game? We seriously punished Chicago's backup quarterback, sacking him 8 times in 26 pass plays. Our punt returner Courtney Blackwell fumbled yet again. I mean, seriously dude, you're going to cost us games. Gabe Broady, wish you were still here. The VSOD was unkind to you in '87...

So yeah, pre-season does tell us something about our team: we need to look for a different punt returner. Blackwell will be deeper down our cornerbacks depth chart, but this fumbling is just something we can't afford. We'd better let Thong' do his thing and take the 5 yards less gained for granted.

Back to that stuff before that. Brandon Bell and fumbling, does this mean Moe Sheldon will be our starter this season? Why, yes, I think he's sealed that deal. Bell seems to have really lost his confidence or whatever it is. He got sacked 7 times in those two pre-season games. And most of those behind the starters on the O-Line. For Sheldon that would be bad, he's a pocket passer, for the mobile Bell that's atrocious, below his ability to avoid the pressure. And how about Francisco Farley? He'll be the inactive third quarterback. Unless he does something even more overwhelmingly impressive in the last two pre-season games than he did in the '89 pre-season games. But most likely, we'll still give Bell the backup role, he did quite well last season, remember?

Oh yeah, have I mentioned how disappointed I am in Blackwell? Right now he's the prime suspect to become that 54 to 53 men roster cut.

Let's wrap this up for tonight. Two more pre-season games, with mostly the youngsters playing: Bell at quarterback, the undrafted guard Silvan, rookie receivers Samuels and Stuckey, second year receiver Wilkerson, tight end Clay Gaynor obviously, and on defense rookie linebackers Brady and Rayburn, and defensive backs Harmon, Brotzman and Murray.

And then the regular season, it's coming soon...
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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 05-29-2020, 03:28 PM   #287
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Merchantmen release cornerback Courtney Blackwell
The verdict is out, cornerback Courtney Blackwell was the final cut for the Maassluis Merchantmen to meet the regular season limit of 53 players signed. It had been hanging in the air, as Merchantmen management was open about the concern about Blackwell's fumblitis and he got this pre-season to prove them wrong. Blackwell fumbled twice in four pre-season games.

A fifth round pick in the 2084 draft, the Merchantmen initially saw Blackwell as a future prospect and backup plan to punt return specialist Gabe Broady (who the Merchantmen claim was the best punt returner to ever play in the IHOF for any team). But Blackwell's zine defense ability and interception skills also made him a worthy nickel or dime option. After spending his rookie season inactive in all but one game, he got the nickelback role in his second season and grew into the nickelback role in his fourth season. The Merchantmen recognized Blackwell's punt returning skills to be phenomenal, but with the best guy in the league in front of him, his time would have to come later. In 2087 Blackwell got that part too and averaged 14.3 yards per return, while scoring his only touchdown for the Merchantmen.

With 2 fumbles in his first 9 returns in earlier seasons, there was a fumbling concern already, but in his breakout season, he fumbled 4 times in 48 returns. The problems continued in 2088, when Blackwell fumbled 4 times on 37 returns and last season a couple of two-fumble games already made the team take him off punt return duties and hand the role over to running back Reggie Thongchanh.

The arrival of cornerback Jackie Richardson as a free agent, combined with the improvement of Ted Frias and the faith the team has in undrafted rookie Adam Harmon, it piled on and lead to this decision. Blackwell played in 81 regular season games and 7 playoffs games for the Merchantmen, making 4 interceptions (excluding the one in the lost 2085 AOC Championship game), 26 defended passes in regular season games and averaging for 12.0 yards per punt return (but also 15 fumbles in 126 returns).
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Old 05-29-2020, 05:19 PM   #288
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Third look at the rookies: end of pre-season
Let's take yet another look at our rookies.

I'm not going to report on those that have left the facilities, flown back home to the USA and hope to get a second shot in the IHOF at some point during the upcoming 2090 season. i will mention them though.

Center Dwayne Gullett has already found a new home at the Frederick Red Menace, but it might just be short term. I have less hope for quarterback Carlton Mathews, despite his decent training camp and lack of disappointment in pre-season, but he still has the intangibles several teams look at for young players at his position. Wide recevier Griffin Iafigliola is unlucky to be around in the wrong era, although I still think he should be capable of becoming a good football player, he's got the looks of an underveloped, yet faster Branden Sandlin. It even makes you wonder why we kept Trey Samuels and George Stuckey. And then there's linebacker Ruben Caminiti. Seriously, IHOF, sign this guy, any 3-4 team not signing him just isn't really paying any attention. Defensive tackle Tyler Hanson is a tad more underdeveloped, but if given the time to develop, he can be a good pass rusher as well.


1.17 TE Clay Gaynor
Code:
rn bl XX++++____ 20/55 ps bl XXX+++++__ 30/75 bl sl XXXX______ 35 av dr X+________ 10/25 gt dw XXXXX+____ 45/60 rt rn XX++++____ 20/60 3d ct XXXXXX++__ 65/80 bg pl XXXX______ 40 coura XXXXX+____ 50/60 ad bl XX++++____ 20/50 endur XXXXXX++__ 60/75 sp tm XXXXXX++__ 60/80
To be fair, Gaynor is not ready to be a full time starter. As a result, we'll throw him out there on what should be mostly passing formations, but on running downs he's a liability. I hope he'll be good, but we won't really know until like halfway the 2091 season, I suspect.


1.19 SLB Brandon Brady
Code:
run d XXXXXX++__ 55/80 pr tc XXX+______ 30/40 pr st XXX_______ 35 mtm d XXXX++____ 45/65 zon d XXXX++____ 35/55 bnr d XXXXXXX+__ 75/85 ply d XXXXXX+++_ 55/90 p hit XXXX______ 40 endur XXXXXXX+__ 70/80 sp tm XXXXXXXX__ 80/85
Another mixed bag. Brady looks really good, but we thought even more of this kid. He'll be there on running downs, for sure, and with Espino's endurance, it wouldn't be a total waste to rotate between them on passing downs to play next to Jackson.


2.18 WR George Stuckey
Code:
av dr X++_______ 10/30 gt dw XXXXX+____ 50/65 rt rn XX+++++___ 25/70 3d ct XX++______ 25/35 bg pl XX________ 25 coura XXXXXXXX++ 80/100 ad bl X++++_____ 15/45 pnt r __________ 0 kck r __________ 0 endur XXXXXX+___ 60/75 sp tm XXXX+_____ 35/45
He's going to start the season inactive. Lack of special teams skills really hurt here. Inactive also means a season of no progress, so at some point we do need to get him out there, one way or another, to develop.


2.20 K Mark Giles
Code:
k acc XXXXXXXX__ 75/85 k pwr XXXXX+____ 55/55 ko di XXXXXXX___ 65/65 ko ht XXXXXXX___ 75/75
So he was slightly better than Wells after all. At least for now, but this is still before his very first real game. Anyway, he didn't fall apart, that's improvement from many previous highly picked kickers. And Wells was one of those, although he's actually IHOF worthy material, just not a game winner.


4.20 WR Griffin Iafigliola
Released
Yes, looking again, I'm actually convinced we should have kept him over Stuckey or Samuels. (Both, even). So it goes.


5.17 WR Trey Samuels
Code:
av dr XX+++_____ 15/50 gt dw XXXX+_____ 40/50 rt rn XX++++____ 20/60 3d ct XXXX+_____ 45/55 bg pl XXXXXX____ 55 coura XXXX+_____ 40/55 ad bl X+________ 5/15 pnt r XXXX+_____ 40/50 kck r __________ 0/0 endur __________ 0 sp tm XX+_______ 15/25
Lack of special teams skills and endurance, those are serious issues. He'll stick around, in hopes to see improvement.


5.19 DT Tyrone Hanson
Released.


6.18 QB Carlton Mathews
Released.


7.17 C Dwayne Gullett
Released.


undrafted RG Marvin Silvan
Code:
rn bl XX+++_____ 20/50 ps bl XX+++_____ 20/50 bl st X_________ 15 endur XXXXXX+___ 60/65
We kept him over veteran backup Theisen. Which was also in part a salary cap move.


undrafted MLB Brant Rayburn
Code:
run d XX+_______ 20/30 pr tc XXXX++____ 40/60 pr st XXX_______ 30 mtm d XXXX++_____ 35/50 zon d XXX+______ 30/45 bnr d XXXXX+____ 50/55 ply d X+________ 10/15 p hit XXXXXXX___ 65 endur XXXX+_____ 40/50 sp tm XXXXXXXX__ 80/80
Promising, but even now not quite there yet to see much if any action. Maybe some as a special teamer. At least he's ahead of Iveans as the fifth linebacker.


undrafted WLB Ruben Caminiti
released
Seriously league, sign this kid.


undrafted CB Adam Harmon
Code:
run d X+________ 10/15 mtm d XXX++++___ 30/65 zon d XXXXX+++++ 45/95 bnr d __________ 0 ply d __________ 0 p hit __________ 0 inter XXXX+_____ 40/55 pnt r __________ 0 kck r XXXXX_____ 45/50 endur XX+_______ 25/35 sp tm XXXXX++___ 55/65
We've got to give this kid a chance to develop. He's already survived a phone call where he was told it was over, only to have me make a 180 degree turn and keep him instead of a second kicker for just a little while. And now he's still here, making us release our nickelback from past season.


undrafted SS Chuck Murray
Code:
run d XXX++_____ 35/50 mtm d X+_______ 15/25 zon d XXXX+++___ 45/65 bnr d +_________ 5 ply d XXX+______ 30/45 p hit XXXXX_____ 50 inter XXXXXXXX__ 75/80 pnt r __________ 0 kck r __________ 0 endur X_________ 10 sp tm X+________ 15/20
This kid will also get the chance to develop. We'll throw him out there a little bit. He really resembles Alexander Marty, including the lack of endurance, forcing us to still look out for a third or even fourth safety to fill the playing time.


undrafted FS Jon Brotzman
Code:
run d __________ 0 mtm d XXX++_____ 30/50 zon d XXXXX++___ 50/70 bnr d __________ 0 ply d XXXX++____ 40/65 p hit XXX_______ 30 inter XXXXX+____ 50/60 pnt r __________ 0 kck r __________ 0 endur XXX_______ 30 sp tm XXXXXXXX+_ 80/90
Speaking of additional safeties, Brotzman also makes the active roster, hopefully as a key special teamer, but is already good enough to play dimeback.



Weird how so often we end up picking the real gems after the draft or with the late round picks, and them totally miss in the 2nd through 4th rounds. But it's usually also a sign that the team is already considered to be pretty good. It's not quite the surprise that I tried to move some of those picks. We got one out and actually failed to trade a second one, the trade offer came right after we handed in the name of our selection.

Including these 11 rookies, this means we're going into the new season with 13 new faces on the team and 40 returning players. 13 isn't actually that far off from what we usually do. 2088 was exceptional, with 23 new names, but salary cap woes were the cause for that. We followed up with just 8 new names. The lowest turnover was in the 2067 off-season with just 4 new players, but that was to be expected after our bowl victory, we really wanted to keep that bunch together. The cap hell in 2070 brought in 26 new players, that's how it goes when you do what we do: push the cap a bit too much to the future and eventually you'll get stuck in a transition season.

Anyway, this is it.

Oh yeah, we actually played those last two pre-season games. We lost 33-17 at Hanalei. Some kid named Chance Arnold scored two 50-yard field goals, as well as two short ones and three extra points. More importantly, we got outgained heavily: 417 vs 196 total yards. Yes, that was our worst showing this pre-season. But we followed up by doing the opposite with 426 vs 169 total yards, crushing the Arizona Miners 51-6. Guess who scored their two field goals? Emmett Wells, the other kicker picked in the third round and still in the league after we gave up him. Thomas Robertson is also still in the league, actually. He was our second round pick in 2084. Okay, so maybe we do pick talent, but are too picky to give them a chance to stick around. Robertson today is the second best paid kicker in the league. Quite the contrast with the past, as we spent a total of 8 draft picks in the second or third round on kickers and of the first four only Levon Elliott (2068) survived the pre-season roster cuts. Arnold and Robertson hung around for 4 season, but left as free agents, Wells was released this pre-season. But it's not like we did any better in the 4th through 7th rounds, of those 13 guys only 4 made the roster and one of them actually was drafted for a second time after we didn't offer him a rookie contract. Paul Welker (2020-2026) was the only one that hung around for more than 4 seasons, as did third round pick Elliott.

But enough about kickers. On to week one, home game against the Bordeaux Vineyards. 39-year old (what's age got to do with this? That's a fine age!) Brad Nestor is still around quarterbacking for them, their 2076 #1 overall pick. He's got a neat group of receivers, 3 of his guys got to 900+ yards last season. Their line is solid, but lacks endurance, maybe we can take advantage of that late in the game, when our rotating defensive lineman are slightly less worn out. Their defense is fine: strong linebackers, okay secondary, shaky defensive line. We should be able to handle them, especially at home.

Moe Sheldon is listed as our starter, but Brandon Bell made one hell of a statement in the last pre-season game in Oranje Haven in that 51-6 steamroller: 28 of 42 passes completed for 298 yards and 5 touchdowns without any turnovers. He got the ball in Theo's hands 10 times for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns. We really have to not give up on this kid just yet, despite that he's basically plan B now. Having a (pass) defense that makes 6 sacks, 6 hurries, defends 6 passes and has 2 picks, that certainly helps too though.

So yeah, bring it on. 2090, new decade (well, technically not, xx90 is the tenth of the '81-90 decade, plus we started the league in 2004, so decades should basically run from '04 through '13 and so on), new opportunities. Merchantmen, let's get this ship sailing, full speed ahead!
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* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 05-30-2020, 06:13 PM   #289
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Maassluis Merchantmen, masters of trading, episode 5.
(non-extended edition)

In quieter times, there's grasping for things to write about, like the Merchantmen and their trading sprees these past 86, no wait, 87 off-seasons in the IHOF. It's still a good idea to count down the top 10 best trades, throw in a handful of bad ones in between and eventually get to that one specific trade that never happened, which could have had major implications on the history of the Merchantmen. Episode 1 through 4 were about trades that brought wide receivers to Maassluis. For today's episode, we go all the way back to the day the Maassluis Merchantmen traded away the 2005 #1 overall pick of the very first amateur draft, before having taken note of the draft class.

The inaugural season of the IHOF had finished with a bit of a blow out in IHOF Bowl I as the Joey Allen lead Fairbanks Northstars crushed the Stillwater Dynamite 23-7. The losers of that game immediately began their first name change, as the then owner (our beloved Buccanneer, rest in peace good friend) had come in late in the season and had to wait his opportunity to move his team to become the Telluride Outlaws. In 2018 that franchise moved to become the Houston Mustangs, a new they still hold. The Fairbanks Northstars are one of just five franchises to be owned by the initial owner, albeit being the only one of that in between changed ownership. The Maassluis Merchantmen back in 2004 were on the other end of the spectrum and finished a somewhat prophetically predicted 1-15 season en route to 'earning' the first pick of the amateur draft in the next off-season. The story of the 2005 #1 overall pick.

As trigger happy as the Merchantmen management was those days, the somewhat hard earned 1.1 pick of the 2015 draft was burning in their hands. There was no doubt that this pick was not meant to be used to select a player, but cash it in for a truckload of picks and players. The list of players that were officially becoming eligible wasn't out yet, but the Merchantmen felt gambling on there being a franchise quarterback was not worth the wait. The Astoria Heroes (in 2008 renamed Williamsburg Colonials after ownership change) were more than welcome to jump in quickly. The Merchantmen came out somewhat on the weaker end, getting 24-year old linebacker Ellsworth Thelen, the Heroes' first and second round picks (12th overall in those rounds) as well as the by the Heroes earlier acquired first and second round picks from the aforementioned just recently renamed Telluride Outlaws.

It would have made things a lot easier had it just stopped there, but this one trade was just the beginning of a chain reaction of other trades involving those picks involved. *see note at the end.

Let's begin with what happened to the picks that moved to the Astoria Heroes. For those that felt the earlier move was a blockbuster, they hadn't seen quite the thing yet. The Georgia Gridlock (in 2036 renamed the Augusta Greenjackets after ownership change) turned out to be welcome trade partners for the Heroes. Both the 1.1 and 2.1 picks went South, while the Heroes also threw in their 4th round pick and a 2006 1st round pick they had recently acquired from the Vicksburg Vipers (these days playing in Atlanta). In return, Georgia was giving up their 2.5 and 3.5 picks in that 2005 draft. Moreover, no less than 6 players changed places, with three of them going from Astoria to Georgia (guard Rex Snyder, defensive end James Bull and defensive tackle Calvin Sylvia) and three going the other way (defensive end Cris Richardson, defensive tackle Albert Simone and safety Marlin McAlister). We're almost there on this end as the Gridlock held on to those two picks and made wide receiver Tyrus Shaye from the Air Force the first ever draft pick in the history of the IHOF. In the second round, offensive tackle Victor Owens from Wake Forest was the Gridlock's selection pick of that draft.

So, the Maassluis Merchantmen got out of the deal having doubled their number of picks in the first and second round and with a new starting linebacker in Elsworth Thelen. The 1.12 and 1.31 picks didn't leaves Maassluis either, as cornerback Tai Wayne and quarterback Leonard Lyon were taking at those slots.

The Merchantmen didn't keep the 2.12 pick of the 2005 draft, they used it to be able to move up in the draft from the 1.14 (yes, they traded a lot that draft) to the 1.6 slot. To get there, they also gave up their 2006 2nd round pick, but in return received the Springfield Isotopes' 2007 3rd and 4th round picks. Springfield used the 2.12 pick on quarterback Mel Atkins.

The 2005 2.31 pick didn't stay in Maassluis very long either, the Merchantmen traded it to the Paris Musketeers, alongside with the 2.18 pick (acquired in another trade), their 5th round pick, a 2006 7th round pick and safety Randall Smith to acquire right tackle Wilson Grimaldo and Paris' 2005 7th round pick. The Musketeers held on to the 2.31 pick and selected left tackle Louis Bell with it.


Maassluis Merchantmen send:
2005 1.1 pick
2005 2.1 pick

Astoria Heroes send:
LB Ellsworth Thelen
2005 1.12 pick
2005 1.31 pick
2005 2.12 pick
2005 2.31 pick



So, the top pick of the 2005 draft became the 6'4" 201 pounds wide receiver Tyrus Shaye. His stint with the Georgia Gridlock was disappointing. He was without a touchdown as a rookie and missed 4 games in his second season. Georgia traded him to Paris, but in 4 seasons there he failed to get a 1,000-yard season as well. In his seventh season, the Tucker Tigers became his third home, agqin through trade. He got to 1,000 yards in 4 of 5 seasons, scoring 17 touchdowns in just 12 games in 2012 (the Tigers lost in the AOC Championship game that season). In 2016 he was traded to the Knoxville Rebels, but after two more mediocre seasons he was traded once more to play his 14th and final season in Georgia. He played and lost with Knoxville in IHOF Bowl XIII in his first season there. He retired with 815 receptions for 11,671 yards and 87 touchdowns in 203 regular games.

In the 2005 draft at 2.1 taken offensive tackle Victor Owens stayed his entire IHOF career with the Georgia Gridlock. In 13 seasons he was more of a run blocker than a pass protector, but nevertheless a reliable starter for the Gridlock. He played in 191 regular season games for them.

After Linebacker Ellsworth Thelen's first season in the IHOF with the Astoria Heroes, he played for the Merchantmen for 5 seasons. His first two seasons in Maassluis he was a full time starter, but the next three he was stuck in a loaded group as his position. Eventually it lead to trade in the 2010 off-season to the North Plainfield Plague, where he was used more often. He played 139 games in the IHOF (76 for the Merchantmen) in which he made 649 tackles and 29.5 sacks. In 2007 he was on the losing end of the AOC Championship game with the Merchantmen, in 2010 he was with the North Plainfield Plague.

As the 1.12 pick of the 2005 draft, cornerback Tai Wayne came into Maassluis with high expectations. The Merchantmen claimed they had their shutdown corner in him. He was with interceptions in his rookie season and went out for the season after just 13 plays into the 2006 campaign. But in 2007 he came back strong and was a factor in the Merchantmen's run to the (lost) AOC Championship game. It turned out to be the highlight of most of his teammates and that applied to Wayne as well. He retired after 11 seasons in Maassluis, having played in 147 regular season games (probably 6 playoffs games) in which he made 12 interceptions and defended 135 passes, peaking in 2011 with 24 defended passes.

Unlike Wayne, 2005 1.31 pick quarterback Leonard Lyon's stint in Maassluis ended after just one season. He won the starting role in Maassluis due to injury to his rival, but got traded in the 2006 off-season shortly before the draft as the Merchantmen had already decided to select a new quarterback. Lyon was traded to the Springfield Isotopes for quarterback Mel Atkins (and a bunch of draft picks ), where he was the starter in his first and third season, but in 2009 got traded to the Williamsburg Colonials after just 2 games. At Williamsburg he was playing a backup role, but still ended up starting in 13 games for them. He missed the 2015 season due to a suspension and in the 2016 off-season signed with the Vicksburg Vipers the season after as a free agent. He had his finest hour there, going 9-1 in 10 starts, but despite that in 2017 remained on the bench all season. On roster cut day 2018 the Vipers released Lyon, to never been seen active in the IHOF again. He still managed to record 131 games of activity (15 in Maassluis), 69 as a starter (9 in Maassluis) and throwing for 13,115 yards and 76 touchdowns versus 69 interceptions.

The 2005 2.12 pick Mel Atkins had a somewhat similar faith as Leonard Lyon. After a dreadful rookie campaign, he was traded by the Springfield Isotopes to Maassluis in exchange for Lyon. After two seasons on the bench behind rookie Louie Flannery and watching him guide the team to the lost 2007 AOC Championship game, he was released in 2008 and signed with the San Luis Obispo Burn. In 2012 he returned to the Isotopes and started in their last 4 games in the regular season for them. In 2013 he signed with the Tucker Tigers, but was released before training camp there and then had a failed tryout with the Gothenburg Giants late in the season. In 2014 he signed with the Conyers Condors, stayed there for 2 season, but in 2016 didn't survive the 53-men roster cut day. His career ended there, eventually being active in 124 regular season games, mostly as a kick holder, earning just 14 starts. With just 2,015 passing yards, 6 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.

2.31 pick of the 2005 draft left tackle Louis Bell remained with the Paris Musketeers for 4 season, after which he got traded to the Maassluis Merchantmen for a couple of third round picks. In that 2009 campaign he started in a reserve role, but was forced into action to replace injury prone guard Butch White (one of 4 first round picks for the Merchantmen in the 2005 draft). But aside from the 2011 season, he was just a backup in Maassluis throughout the 2013 season and left for the San Luis Obispo Burn in the 2014 off-season as a free agent. He rode the bench for 2 more seasons and retired in the 2016 off-season. His IHOF career ended after 151 regular season games, playing the most with the Merchantmen (65).


It's hard to say who got the better end of this deal, as that would require an extensive research on how the trade between Astoria and Georgia evolved. Tyrus Shaye was a disappointment, so the 1.1 pick himself wasn't much of a success and turned into the gift that kept getting given along. Maassluis got three starters out of it and the second round picks that they threw away, those players still ended up in Maassluis for some part of their careers. Astoria didn't keep the pick for very long, they probably felt they got the pick cheap, but by lack of a true gamechanger in the 2005 draft class (although one player did make the Solecismic Hall of Fame: Chesapeake 's #18 overall pick quarterback Ron Lyle, which as a result makes nemesis Astoria by default a loser in this story). It makes it hard to call Georgia the third dog here either. But perhaps all were winners, the general managers/owners for having so much fun tossing around all the draft picks and players in the early days of a young football league. The fans for getting so much drama and news stories during the off-seasons.


* Note: As I was writing this, I actually had no idea how many there are, I hoped it was doable, so far it's been fun to track down, but shockingly, I'm not even close to having found all loose ends. As a result, this is the short version, in the same style as the previous "masters of trading" episodes. I've tried to track down all the draft picks that have exchanged hands in the following chain of events, but this trade has unleashed a gigantic spread of trades, so far too large to have finished research on.

To give you some pointers, the chain has already reached the 2016 draft, for which Maassluis held a 4th round pick from Georgia, and all that is still from the trail of the picks that went from Astoria to Georgia. Another end sees Georgia sending Maassluis' 2nd round pick in 2011 to Ann Arbor for cornerback John Q Ballhawker.

Yet another side story involved a 4th round pick from Springfield the 2007 draft that Maassluis for a short while held, but eventually ended up in Tucker, which the Tigers used on running back R.J. Ellard, who ran for 4 touchdowns and still holds the all-time record for carries in a playoffs game, set in a the 2012 conference semifinals against the Merchantmen. The rushing touchdowns got tied for the first time in 2057 and eventually broken in 2060.

Just to name a few.
__________________
* 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 05-31-2020, 05:51 PM   #290
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Side stories of the 2090 season
How about that Theodore Bondy guy?

Remember how he broke the franchise receptions record last season? Probably not, because I completely missed it and never wrote about it. Apparently it happened in week 11 early in the fourth quarter during the 19-17 loss in Gothenburg. Bondy tied it and broke it on the very next play.

Usually, these kind of things are the side stories for me, not really the important stuff (wins and losses, players getting injured or not living up to expectations), but sometimes there's some time to focus on the individual honors. To be clear, we don't give players more playing time to break records and such, we play to win. But, looking over some other stuff, I noticed Bondy has cracked into the 14K receiving yards, which obviously means he'll have a shot at 15K and such the franchise record. Interestingly enough, he'll go into 2090 as the #4 all time. He jumped ahead of one of the four hall of famers, Riddick Stanley, the one I have the least affection for, as far as that's a thing.

15,001 Terry Haskell
14,944 J.R. Mills
14,531 Gabe Springer
14,371 Theodore Bondy
13,511 Riddick Stanley
11,996 Terry Thomason

(yeah, if we're going to list guys, let's at least mention Terry for being the other guy over 10K)

Anyway, this means there will be, or could be fans who keep track of Bondy's chances to get past them one by one. If he keeps pace with the last two seasons, say roughly 80 yards per game, Bondy can pass Springer in week 2 at Hanalei, Mills in week 9 at Harlem and Haskell in week 10 at Bordeaux. Must be a joy to reach those milestones in front of hostile fan bases, but that's what the likelihood is. Needing 630 receiving yards, it's no given still, but bar injuries, Bondy should get there by the end of the season, even with just 40 yards per game.

The touchdowns record, also in Haskell's hands, is (at 128) well out of reach for now. Bondy jumped into the 100-club, sitting at 105, one behind Springer's 106 and just ahead of Stanley's 103. Naturally, the receiving touchdowns record is almost equally out of reach for now. Haskell has 127 of those, Bondy and Springer sit at 105, Stanley at 100. In both categories, Mills is far behind with just 85 (receiving) touchdowns.

In a similar fashion, Kirk Hitchcock took the all-time passes defended record for Merchantmen players. He's currently at 147, far ahead of Tai Wayne, who had been the recordholder for such a long time, retiring with 135 of those after the 2015 season. Hall of Famer Peter Tucker came close at 130, but he settled for the interceptions record with 45 of those. Hitchcock is still 9 behind on Tucker, even still trailing safety Thurman Hopper and his 42 interceptions.

And last but not least likely, center Butch Pearson has a shot at jumping into the franchise top 5 in number of key run blocks. With 308 of those he ranks sixth now, but he's 25 behind mid '40s to '50s guard Bryant Huffman, which is a number he topped in each of his 9 seasons as a starter (he spent his rookie season inactive). The top 4 is still far out of reach though, as Carlos Webb is fourth with 359 key run blocks.

If this stuff is your thing, keep your eyes open for it. I'll probably forget about it and maybe remember by the end of the season, or maybe only if one of these three phenomenal players retires in the next off-season. Which is getting us way ahead of things, we're not going to worry about the projected $71M over the cap, excluding draft picks, that we'll be in then. We'll focus on this season, where we hope to make one more bounce back towards the upper echelon of teams in the league. The defense looks ready, the offense looks barely unchanged.

The biggest question will be: Moe Sheldon or Brandon Bell. I think you know by now which route we'll take, but if Sheldon starts struggling, or worse, we have some confidence in Bell being good enough to jump in. And worst case scenario, Francisco Farley can make his additional years on team come into play.
__________________
* 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 06-01-2020, 07:26 AM   #291
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager notes: 2090 has begun, a win is a win!
How does it go in English, a good start is half the battle?

New season, new quarterback. Okay, technically Moe Sheldon isn't new, he's got 16 starts in 2 seasons prior with us, but this was the first time he got to start in week 1 for us. The opponents were the Bordeaux Vineyards, the division's last place team last season, in Oranje Haven. Sheldon started in this matchup in both previous seasons and both ended up in large victories (37-10 in '88 and 35-3 in '89), with Sheldon throwing for less than 200 yards per game, but accumulating 6 passing touchdowns and no interceptions. Prior to joining us, he also guided his previous teams (Rochester and Paris) to large victories over Bordeaux. Apparently a matchup that Sheldon really likes.

First quarter, Bordeaux has the ball first and our defense immediately forces three and out. Francisco Patter runs for 13 yards on the first play on our drvie to march into their territory, Moe Sheldon finds Theo Bondy for backu-to-vack 10-yard gains to nearly reach the red zone. Patter runs for 18 yards and a couple of plays later pounds it in from the 1-yard line: 7-0, Maassluis. Second Bordeaux possession, Gene Kondovski sacks Brad Nestor on second down, but they convert on third and long and toos it into our half. Then second and long, Nestor goes for a short pass to his tight end, but linebacker Clayton Jackson comes in between: first turnover of the game, Oranje Haven erupts. Sheldon finds Patter for 21 yards, Bondy for 26 yards, Patter for 11 yards and then Bondy in the end zone for a 14-0 lead with just a minute left in the first quarter.

Bordeaux starts the second quarter with a failed third down pass deep inside their red zone and punt. Moe Sheldon finds Reggie Thongchanh for 25 yards to move back into Bordeaux turf, but two plays later the line collapses, Sheldon diverts from the play design, makes a bad throw towards an unexpecting receiver and safety Ivan Lynch comes in between to pick it off. A triplet of passes for a first down get Bordeaux into field goal range and Billy Blankenhorn converts the 37-yarder for the 14-3 score. Merchantmen move downfield, but are forced to punt and see Bordeaux return the favor after a similarly short drive. Three and out is then the Merchantmen offense's faith. Bordeaux finding itself slightly more upfield than before the exchange of punts, Nestor attempts a long pass, but it gets picked off by rookie linebacker Brandon Brady and it gets returned to the Bordeaux 42-yard line. Maassluis fails to move the chains, nor run out the clock, giving Bordeaux one more chance to get into scoring position. Bordeaux converts on 3rd and long as Brad Nestor finds Russell Mitchell for a 17-yard gain, they then go into field goal is good enough mode, as Nestor completes two chains moving passes to give them a 56-yard attempt with 3 seconds to go. Blankenhorn misses, meaning Maassluis goes into the half time break leading 14-3.

Second half, Maassluis has the ball first. Moe Sheldon finds Branden Sandlin for 9 yards, Reggie Thongchanh runs for 11 yards, but a dropped pass by Theo Bondy (who else?) on third down brings on the punter to nail them at their 4-yard line. With the pressure on, three and out follows and Maassluis gets the ball back at Bordeaux' 37-yard line. Sheldon connects with Bondy for 14 yards, Francisco Patter runs for 8 yards and on second and goal, Sheldon finds a wide open rookie Clay Gaynor to make his first reception in the IHOF be a touchdown, making it 21-3 for Maassluis. On their next possession, Bordeaux by then has already benched their quarterback, putting off-season acquisition Trenton Edwards on the field, but a couple of penalties bring them in an unconvertable 3rd and 25 situation. An exchange of three and out drives follows, but Maassluis breaks the trend as Francisco Patter converts in third and two, already well inside Bordeaux territory. Moe Sheldon scrambles for 17 yards and on the next play throws a screen pass to wide open wide receiver Harris Wilkerson, who turns his first career reception into a touchdown (just like Gaynor did earlier). Maassluis is then 28-3 up, with just 26 seconds to go in the third quarter.

Bordeaux' drive gets stopped short once again at the start of the third quarter. Maassluis just runs it and pins them back at their 3-yard line. Theodore Edwards then finds fullback Matthew Croom for a 23-yard gain and Marshall Hoffman for an 11-yard gain, but the latter gets tackled by Clayton Jackson with a nifty move, losing the ball and Jackson himself recovers it at the Bordeaux 40-yard line. Moe Sheldon finds Branden Sandlin for 10 yards to set up rookie Mark Giles' first field goal attempt and Giles nails the 41-yarder. Bordeaux fights back and after Theodore Edwards finds Nick Gnida for a 16-yard gain to get into field goal range, Gene Kondovski misbehaves and helps Bordeaux 15-yards deeper upfield. The Merchantmen defense stands strong and Kondovski himself makes the crucial tackle on third down to force Bordeaux to kick (and convert) the 29-yard field goal. Maassluis runs and punts, Bordeaux tries to pass, but receptions don't happen. Bordeaux decides to call it a game, not go for it and Maassluis basically runs the clock out for the 31-6 victory.

Moe Sheldon got the somewhat surprising player of the game honors, completing 18 of 33 passes for 188 yards and 3 touchdowns. Theodore Bondy had 9 catches for 77 yards and a score. Francisco Patter ran for 72 yards and a score.

Defensively, Clayton Jackson had a monstrous game, with an interception, a forced and recovered fumble, 4 tackles, 3 assists, a hurried pass and 3 defended passes. Cornerback Jackie Richardson made his first game in Maassluis a noteworthy one, defending 4 passes and making 5 tackles. Rookie linebacker Brandon Brady lead all Merchantmen with 7 tackles. Gene Kondosvki made the only sack of the game, but with 8 more hurried passes (3 of those credited to Tony Whiting), 9 of 48 passing plays were disrupted.

On the grand scheme, how did the change of offensive coordinator affect this game? Has Maassluis turned into a smashmouth offense? The simple answer after just one game? No, we haven't. We ran the ball 32 times and tried to throw it 33 times. Given that we ran a lot late in the game, shows that we were trying to throw it slightly more on the 'normal' drives.

Elsewhere in the division, the Paris Musketeers decided to start quarterback Wesley Elliott today, which was obviously a mistake. After 5 sacks, he got replaced after all, seeing last season's division winner Gabriel Woodson return to the field. It was too little too late already by then, the Gothenburg Giants had already taken a smooth lead in Paris' house and steadily kept the big lead to secure a 41-10 victory on the road in a crucial division game. Jack Crane ran for a league leading 175 yards. Maybe Gothenburg is the real smashmouth team in the division this season?

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

Elsewhere in the league, the Hanalei Dragons beat the Colorado Cutthroats 26-23. Chance Arnold missed two extra points, but a missed field goal on Colorado's side cost them the chance to tie the score. Why is it worth mentioning? Hanalei is next up on our schedule, in their house. We've already played them there in the pre-season (weird how that was arranged), which means we can't go out there with the same game plan again.

Big test? Sure. We have big goals and these are the kind of games we have to win to show we've made the leap forwards towards a true contender. Solecismic Software already puts us in a situation where we have something to prove, calling us 11-point underdogs. Last time we lost by more than a score was last season in week 10 at the Orlando Talons, the eventual IHOF Bowl winners.

So yeah, the season continues there, at the Dragons. It will be an interesting game at the very least, possibly an even bigger test for our defense and us thinking that unit is a very good one. Go out there and make it happen, guys. Go Merchantmen.
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* 2005 Golden Scribe winner for best FOF Dynasty about IHOF's Maassluis Merchantmen
* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 06-02-2020, 03:21 PM   #292
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Back to the drawing board?
Yup, we lost.

We had our chances to start the season 2-0, but the Hanalei Dragons turned out to be be slightly better, more efficient, or some other combination.

Things starter pretty well. Francisco ran for 7 yards, Theo Bondy caught a pass from Moe Sheldon to convert on third down, Patter ran for 7 more yards, Sheldon found Reggie Thongchanh for 20 yards, Patter ran for 11 yards and 8 yards, but eventually we settled for a 34-yard field goal. We forced them to punt after 4 plays and responded with another solid drive. Patter ran for 7 yards, Sheldon found Bondy to move the chains, Sheldon to Harris Wilkerson for 15 yards, Patter ran for 9 yards, Sheldon to Thonghanh for 12 yards, Sheldon to Bondy for 26 yards and eventually Patter ran in from 3 yards out for the 10-0 lead. After three and out on both ends, Hanalei quickly won the position battle with a 19-yard punt return to start their drive in our half and a 19-yard pass got them in field goal range by the end of the first quarter.

Hanalei settled for a 33-yard kick, making us maintain the lead, with a 10-3 score. Santiago Messenger returned the ensuing kickoff for 41 yards, giving us a short field, but after three and out we punted after all. Then Alvin Engelberger got his offense going, but our pass rusher sacked him for 9 yards and forced them to try a 57-yard field goal and the home crowd cheered as Chance Arnold converted it. So he can make those kicks elsewhere. We failed to make much ground on our next drive and an incredibly bad punt put them at midfield with the ball. A penalty called back a big 23-yard pass play for them and Arnold's 50-yard field goal attempt got blocked by us. Moe Sheldon found Theo Bondy for 23 yards on 2nd and 19 to move upfield and an unsportsmanlike penalty got us in field goal range with a minute left. Their pass rush kept us from making more progress and we settled for a 13-6 half time lead after Mark Giles 38-yard field goal.

First drive of the second half and with a 30-yard pass and 37-yard run they burst into our red zone. They quickly toss a 6-yard touchdown and level the score: 13-13. After our drive got cut short, again, they got into full swing. 21 yard pass, 13 yard pass, 14 yard pass... It was a minor victory to make them settle for a 31-yard field goal for a 16-13 Hanalei lead. We responded with a slow, yet somewhat steady drive, yet punting got us no better than having them start at their 20-yard line. We finished the three and short with Darien Fletcher sacking their quarterback and after a solid punt return we were back at our 42-yard line. Our drive stalled early, but a fumble on their punt return found us in possession again, at their 29-yard line. On third and nine, rather than maintaining field goal range, Sheldon got picked off and their linebacker ran the ball the full 81 yards for a 23-13 Hanalei lead. Our next drive was short and in return their last two plays of the quarter got them just across midfield.

A dropped pass forced them to punt, pinning us deep at our 10-yard line to start the fourth quarter. Moe Sheldon found Theo Bondy for a crucial 23-yard gain, but around that play our running game crumbled into near worthless small gains. Sheldon found Francisco Patter for 6 yards on 3rd and 4, but another short run and back to back sacks put us far away again. We managed to pin them at their 14-yard line, but our defense kept struggling with holding them down. A joint sack forced their quarterback to fumble, but they recovered the ball. It was enough to make them punt two plays later, but with time ticking away, we were back at our own 7-yard line. After a fruitless drive of our own, Hanalei efficiently ran out the remaining two and a half minutes. We did stuff them on a trick play, trying a sneak quarterback play when knee dropping would have secured the victory, but the 23-13 deficit on the road was there anyway.

Moe Sheldon completed 16 of 33 passes for 163 yards, with 1 interception. Theo Bondy caught 11 passes for 109 yards (indeed, moving to third and ahead of Gabe Springer on the all time Merchantmen list). Francisco Patter ran for 77 yards. We allowed them to gain 340 total yards, including 157 on the ground with a 6.8 yards per carry average. Horrendous run defense.

Our division rivals all lost as well. Gothenburg lost 27-13 at the Oakland Black Panthers. The Bordeaux Vineyards were inefficient in a 40-16 crushing loss at home to the Fairbanks Northstars. The Paris Musketeers went back to Gabriel Woodson, but couldn't avoid losing 23-17 at home against the Colorado Cutthroats.

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

So yeah, we lost and somehow improved to leading the division on the obscure tie-breakers.

Our game plan for today, well, I've decided to throw it away already. Okay, our first two drives were actually pretty solid, but the rest was so-so. Moe Sheldon is way down on the quarterbacks list. 2 games is a small sample size, but 2 picks in 2 games is very uncharacteristic for him. His pass completion percentage at 51.5 is disappointing.

But yeah, actually more troublesome has been our run defense once again. 2 games in and we're already back in last plays in yards per carry, just like the last 2 seasons. Maybe i should fix that game plan, if only I had a clue how this works, or if my staff had a frickin' clue, which they naturally don't either.
Until then, we're probably stuck with what's been going on the last couple of seasons on that side of the ball, despite awesome front seven, cornerback duo and very useful safeties. Shrug?

It's up to the offense to save the day then. Less short gains in the running game, more completions in the passing game. And we'll make a chance again. But probably not next game, when we visit the always sting y Houston Mustangs. But we can hope and certainly try, no?
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* Former GM of GEFL's Houston Oilers and WOOF's Curacao Cocktail
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Old 06-03-2020, 04:48 PM   #293
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: A losing record...
I had forgotten how that looks and feels.

In short, we were outmatched by the Houston Mustangs. Sure, we sacked their sack magnet of a quarterback 7 times on 37 passing plays (yes, it was neat to see 7 different guys getting in on the party), but he still threw for 296 yards to guide his team to a 24-16 victory. The run defense was unable to stop their (admittedly) top-notch running game.

Our offense was silly as it has been at times over recent season. Theodore Bondy made 11 catches... for 60 yards. Goodness, what kind of crappy game plan did my staff think we should run? Those are the numbers of a fullback, not the best wide receiver to ever wear the Merchantmen uniform. Sigh.

The unintended comedy of the game came after our turnovers, twice. Moe Sheldon got sacks and fumbled, only to see his Houston counterpart return the favor on the very next play. Also in the first quarter, Sheldon threw an interception, but on the very next plan then, their quarterback lost another fumble after getting sacked.

But really, when you give up a 33-yard pass play on 3rd and 14, and a 22-yard run on 3rd and 1, you know the defense just wasn't clicking on all cilinders. The difference between great and horrible plays was too big.

Elsewhere in the division, Gothenburg and Bordeaux pulled off victories. Paris put up a serious fight with the reigning league champions, but lost anyway.

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

Next up will be the North Plainfield Plague, again on the road. But not in week 4, because we're once again having our bye week this early in the season.

Will we bounce back from this 1-2 start? Sure, I've got to confident about it. Is it likely? Hard to tell, we've built quite the reputation in recent years to completely lay an egg against the Plague. You'd think we'd throw a Yathzee to brush away all the snake eyes at some point, but we'll have to go back to the drawing board first. You're going to need 5 dice to make that happen, it feels like we're not giving ourselves enough dice to get good numbers.

Win some, lose some? I had hoped to be 2-1 now, but given the competition and locations, 1-2 is probably where we're supposed to stand, if we consider ourselves a 9-7 or 10-6 kind of team. Which is a bummer then, because at some point you'd expect these guys to really get that 12-4 kind of season out of their overpaid talented asses.

Did I just say that? No, but I did write it. These guys are talented, I know they are. They'd better start playing like it. And the staff? Well, we all know all these so-called coordinator and coaches are just making wild guesses and drawing up completely random game plans.

But enough for a rant. It's been a sunny day, life's too good and too short to get worked up about one loss in a game that going into the season was quite possibly the most likely game to be lost anyway. Our goal remains unchanged, patience is tough, but it's sometimes part of the game plan. Not for this team here and now, we're in it to win it and it's up to ourselves to pry open a window of opportunity. We can do this 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

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Old 06-06-2020, 07:19 AM   #294
MIJB#19
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: The running experiment
First attempt: failure.

Week 5 of the 2090 season. We were visiting the North Plainfield Plague and scouting them I figured: this team is a prime candidate to go try to run it up their gut. So, we constructed a game plan that, would estimate us to run about 75% of the time. In theory, you'd think: maybe this can work?

First quarter, we threw in some catch them off guard plays, but they all failed. Moe Sheldon got sacked on our very first offensive play and on the second one he apparently had to divert from the plan and throw it to someone else than Theodore Bondy. Unable to really beat their defense, including possession in field goal range due to a fumble, but also stout enough to fend them off, the scoreboard was showing a 3-0 lead for the host by the end of the quarter.

Despite being pinned deep, we managed to orchestrate a very long (17-play, 8-minutes) drive, that ended in an interception at their 2-yard line. Their response? A 98-yard drive to take a 10-0 lead. Ouch. Closing in again on the next drive, we got there, but not quite: another interception, this time at their 1-yard line and with just 26 seconds to play. Half time score: North Plainfield 10, Maassluis 0.

Third quarter, second drive for us, we finally catch a real break, as Moe Sheldon finds Harris Wilkerson wide open and able to turn a short pass into a 48-yard touchdown. The defense continues to play decently, but in turn we start doing silly things, like running a hail mary play on 3rd and 9 halfway through the third quarter. And it almost even worked, had Bondy not dropped the pass.

Early in the fourth quarter, we continue another long drive, but Sheldon takes a sack on third and five, pushing us out of field goal range and punting. On their next drive, they get into a field goal range and we're more than happy to force them to kick after a crucial sack on third down. 13-7 down, we have more than 5 minutes to make up for it. Stuff, sack, dropped pass; attempt one is no success. We get the ball back shortly before the 2-minute warning We need a penalty to see the drive stay alive, see Sheldon connect with Branden Sandlin for a crucial 22-yard gain on 3rd and 14. But despite the chains moving, we simply fail to gain much ground and the game is over before we even barely reach midfield.

So, we lose 13-7, part of it was the turnover battle (we lost that 3-0), which could have saved us about 17 points, yet at the same time we had two long drives that were only long in time, not in yardage gained. Experiment to run failed? Yes and yes. It failed, because we ran 33 times for 125 yards. It also failed because we threw the ball 34 times, or tried to, not counting Moe Sheldon's scramble on the last play of the game.

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

So yeah, despite this unnecessary loss, we're still right in the mix, our points differential is still an acceptable +1.

Moe Sheldon got us 1 win so far, with a horrible 73.7 passer rating, barely north of 200 yards per game, a terrible 6.2 yards per attempt average and 5 picks in 4 games, Sheldon unworthy.

Theo Bondy is averaging 10 catches for 86 yards per game. His 5.7 yards per target is hair pulling terrible. I have no idea what our staff thinks they're doing, but the plays they keep suggesting, it surely isn't making this most talented receiver in the history of the Merchantmen look like he is who he is.

Our running game? Francisco Patter so far is averaging 3.77 yards per carry. Thong' 3.71 per carry. That's downright disappoint with the personnel that we have. We've invested a lot of cap space in our offensive line, even hired a run oriented offensive coordinator and the result so far is almost depressing.

The good news? Not the defense, really. We're bottom 6 in both yards per pass attempt and yards per rushing attempt. Our sack percentage is pretty good, but the overall pass rush pressure is barely above league average, which is just not what you'd expect from the talent that we have walking around here.

End of story, so far, we've played three tight road games, albeit losing them all, we didn't get crushed. I mean, we looked bad at Hanalei and Houston, but i think we'll have to give credit to the class and talent of those teams there as well. Yes, I'm convinced that we have a defense that should be spectacular, but it's not quite making it happen.

But, it's still early in the season, new opportunities will arise to turn the tide. Like in week 6 at home against the Rochester Razorbacks. Running it up the gut might not be the best idea, given their top5 run defense, but their pass defense has been equally impressive, so going with our usual balanced approach is the way to go. And at some point, you'd think our defense can play up to their skill level. Maybe today is the day.
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Old 06-06-2020, 11:34 AM   #295
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Lose some, win some
And today we won, but it didn't come easy.

The opening day victory feels like it was months ago. And looking at the schedule, it kind of was, we had 3 road games and a bye week since our optimism rising victory over the Bordeaux Vineyards. Today the opposing team came from Rochester, the Razorbacks were visiting Oranje Haven.

We're still going with Moe Sheldon ahead of Brandon Bell, although I have to admit I was really tempted to rethink this decision based on today's performance. And then there was my rant after our previous game about how underwhelming the running game, the passing game, the run defense, the pass rush, well, basically the entire team has been doing in the totality of the 4 games already behind us.

We got the ball first and our kick off returner Santiago Messenger showed why we made him our #1 guy, moving the ball 27 yards forward. But our first drive wasn't as impressive, Francisco Patter ran three times, but his third and one attempt was stuffed. The special teams unit responded by nailing the Rochester punt returner. We thought we stopped them on their first drive at midfield, but Clayton Jackson was called for illegal use of hands. We gave up a 15-yard pass and then on third and one an 8-yard run. Then on third and 13, we allowed a 14-yard pass to have them set up rookie harry Hicks' touchdown run for a 7-0 Rochester lead. Messenger replied with a 30-yard kick off return. Moe Sheldon completed a pass to Clay Gaynor for 11 yards then a 4-yarder to move the chains again, Patter converted third and two and then Sheldon found Gaynor for 25 yards to march into their red zone. Francisco Patter tried to run it in, but lost the ball halfway there. So much for that scoring opportunity to lower or brush away the 7-0 deficit...

Rochester moved the chains a couple of times, but coming all the way from their 2-yard line, they eventually had to punt, but put us right back to where we started. But not for long as Reggie Thongchanh returned the punt for 13 yards and followed up with a 17-yard run. Moe Sheldon then found Branden Sandlin for a 26-yard gain. On third and six, Sheldon found Theodore Bondy, but he got basically nowhere. We then went for it on fourth and five, but again the completed pass did not earn a first down. Second play of their drive, we give up a 26-yard run, but a couple of plays later on third and two close to field goal range, our off-season star signing Jackie Richardson comes up with the interception and even runs it back to our 48-yard line. Reggie Thongchanh continues to be the guy making the big gains on the ground, but Francisco Patter recovers a bit with a neat catch and the drive finally results in a touchdown as Theodore Bondy makes the 14-yard reception to level the score 7-7. The defense then comes up big on third and short to quickly give us the ball back. We had a little scare as Thongchanh loses the ball after an 18-yard punt return, but thankfully recovers it himself. Patter then runs for 12 yards, but it's way too little to inspire the passing game. Then Oranje Haven burst afterall as on another third down pass, a pick happens: this time it's Riddick Newsome on the spot and he runs it the full 46 yards back for the touchdown and a 14-7 half time lead!

Second half, Rochester to get the ball first. We think we stopped them, but on fourth and second from well inside their own territory, they take the risk and come up with a 16-yard screen pass play to maintain possession. It turns out to be a crucial play, as they eventually have a 22-yard pass to move into our red zone and finish it off with an 8-yard touchdown pass for the 14-14 tied score. Moe Sheldon responds with a 9-yard pass to Harris Wilkerson, but a nasty sack moves us back, forcing us to punt, pinning them at their own 5-yard line. On their first play of the drive, they decide to run and we almost tackle their running back in the end zone, but it turns out he's still about a yard shy of giving up 2 points. It seems to be good enough to end it there, but on the punt return soon after, Reggie Thongchanh fumbles it after a 17yard run at their 27-yard line. The defense responds well and after another three and out, we get the ball back at midfield as Thongchang makes a 20-yard punt return. Sheldon this time connects succesfully on third down to Theodore Bondy, twice. However, we eventually have to settle for a 32-yard field goal, which rookie Mark Giles converts for the 17-14 lead.

To start the fourth quarter, our defense comes up with another three and out. Our offense makes nothing of it though and on their next drive, Rochester quickly marches away from their red zone. We force them to punt after all and as Reggie Thongchanh pulls of a 26-yard punt return, we're winning the field position battle. Moe Sheldon connects with Theodore Bondy on third down for 17 yards and we quickly move into field goal range. Sadly, Mark Giles misses the 42-yarder and we're still leading only 17-14. After three and out, we start smelling the victory, so we think, although we do get pinned deep after an impressive punt. Thongchanh runs for 11 yards and Sheldon finds Santiago Messenger for 14 yards to get away from our red zone and into the two-minute warning. After we burn their time outs, we punt and put them at their 34-yard line with 96 seconds to play. On fourth and eight, they stay alive with a 13-yard pass. 32 seconds remaining, they throw for 10 yards and a penalty on our end makes it a free play. We then allow a 16-yard pass and as they rush on their kicking unit, the 42-yard field goal attempts is scored to force overtime with a 17-17 score.

Second play of our first possession, Moe Sheldon finds Harris Wilkerson and he turns the short pass into a 48-yard gain. Next up, Sheldon finds Santiago Messenger for 20 yards and we're at the very least into field goal range. It's where it also ends though, as our special teamer Sherman Bridges is stupidly allowed to get on the field and he drops a pass in the end zone. Mark Giles converts the 26-yard field goal and with the 20-17 lead, we're still in good shape. We allow them to start their drive at their 24-yard line. They convert on third and five, but are still far away. On second down, their quarterback scrambles to move the chains. The defense does the job, but on fourth and six, they extend the game with an 8-yard pass. Our defense continues to run havoc though, pressuring their quarterback on and off, forcing them to make a decision on fourth and 10. Apparently unconfident in their kicker, they dismiss the opportunity to tie it with a 57-yarder and instead go for it. The pressure is on once again and after a botches pass, the game is finally over: Maassluis 20, Rochester 17.

A much deserved win, but we made it a lot harder for ourselves than it needed to be. We brushed away the turnovers with turnovers, but I think we proved to be the better team and simply failed to show it on the scoreboard with a solid score.

Moe Sheldon completed 25 of 34 passes for 259 yards and a score, while avoiding turnovers. Theodore Bondy made 9 catches, but gained only 60 yards, yet did score. Harris Wilkerson lead the team with 73 yards on 5 catches, rookie Clay Gaynor had 4 catches for 45 yards. Reggie Thongchanh was the leading rusher with 57 yards on 10 carries, Francisco Patter was held to 41 yards on 20 carries. The running backs combined for 3 fumbles, although Thong' had both on punt returns. It makes my decision earlier in the off-season to cut Courtney Blackwell a bit more of a headscratcher though.

The defense gave up 318 total yards, of which 135 on the ground at an 3.9 yards per carry average (our best run defense showing of the season). The pass defense was actually pretty good, giving up 183 net yards passing, the defensive line collected no less than 15 hurried passes, 1 blocked pass and 1 sack on 47 pass plays. The defense also defended 7 passes and collected 2 interceptions. Got to be pretty happy about that at the end of the day, no?

Elsewhere in the league, the Gothenburg Giants did manage to win 19-17 at the North Plainfield Plague, showing how it's done with 507 total yards of offense, albeit making it slightly harder than necessary with sloppy red zone offense. The Bordeaux Vineyards beat the Harlem Apollos 24-17, the Paris Musketeers lost 10-6 at the Toronto Lake Monsters, our opponents next week.

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

A good, victory. The score was way too close for how much better we were, or so I think. It basically continues the sloppiness of the previous 3 games and continues my disappointment in my staff to get the best out of my players. It's troublesome that I actually continue to feel like I have to make that game plan all by myself, sensing that as talented as my staff should be, they really have no clue how football in the IHOF is to be played. So it goes, such is life in the league and with the Merchantmen. We'll struggle along and in week 7 get a chance to shift back to .500 land, which is despite their 1-win record, not an easy task.
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Old 06-09-2020, 02:03 PM   #296
MIJB#19
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: Disappointment is an understatement
I have no poker face, I'm quite obviously unamused.

I'll keep it short, for now. We just lost two home games, where we scored a combined number of 6 field goals and 0 touchdowns. Despite outgaining both opponents in yardage by a wide margin: 107 yards and 125 yards. We actually won the turnover battle against Toronto 2-0, but we lost it against Paris 6-2. Yes, that's right: 6 turnovers.

I'm pretty speechless for now. Maybe after our 8th game of the season, I'll be a bit happier. For now. I'll focus on other stuff and not waste my energy on the disappointment that this team is this season.

Step it up, team!
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Last edited by MIJB#19 : 06-10-2020 at 04:57 PM. Reason: just clean up. ;)
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Old 06-10-2020, 04:53 PM   #297
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
Theodore Bondy reaches milestones in Merchantmen victory
Theodore Bondy put his name in the record books. A late-game 8 yard catch got his career production over 15,000 receiving yards and simultaneously became the Maassluis Merchantmen's all time leading receiver. The party was that much larger as the Merchantmen ended a streak of ridiculous home losses with a smooth 16-3 victory at the Harlem Apollos.

Going into the season, Theodore Bondy and his teammates were convinced he would become the leading receiver and break the 15,000-yard mark, but it was still a matter of staying healthy and focusing on the actual games. After all, if results come, the production will be required to get there anyway. Bondy needed 629 yards to reach the first mile stone and 2 more to break T.J. Haskell's franchise record. Given his resume, it made sense for him to at the very least reach it by week 9, but the hopes were things would go smoothly and he would get there in the prior three-game stretch at home.

It has been a disappointing season for the Merchantmen so far. Even today's 16-3 defeat of and at the Harlem Apollos doesn't make all things right again. A couple of dominant performance resulted in losses, the game against Rochester unnecessarily went to overtime and all three hard fought road game before that all went in the L-column as well.

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

Playoffs Race
1. Gothenburg 7-2
2. San Antonio 7-2
3. Tucker 6-2
4. North Plainfield 5-3
5. Fort Wayne 5-3
6. Houston 5-3
7. Orlando 5-3
8. Bordeaux 4-4
9. Harlem 4-4
10. Snapfinger 3-5
11. Augusta 3-5
12. Maassluis 3-5
13. Toronto 2-6-1
14. Paris 2-6
15. Rochester 1-7
16. Atlanta 1-8

For now, the playoffs are far away for the Merchantmen. It's time to focus on winning games again. Despite Bondy's record breaking day, the passing game is incredibly bad this season. At 5.95 yards per attempt, the Merchantmen are historically bad, as this is setting up to be the third worst season in franchise history in that measure. Only the 2021 (5.93) and recent 2088 (5.75) campaigns have been worse. Editor's note: statistics for 2004-2012 have gotten lost at Solecismic, it's likely the Merchantmen had a worse season or two early in their existence. The Merchantmen offense is actually not so bad on first and second downs, and acceptable on third downs, but they seriously struggle once they get into the red zone, scoring just 7 touchdowns in 20 visits.

Defensively the Merchantmen run defense has seemingly recovered after several obnoxiously bad seasons and an equally terrible start to the season. The pass defense is shaping up to be above average, in part due to the pass rush at times living up to the hype, while the secondary is similarly flipflopping between good and underwhelming.

For the moment, good vibes appear to be returning and a crucial road game series continues with visits to Bordeaux and Gothenburg. The French second placed team first, where the Merchantmen hope to build on their solid week 1 victory at home against the Vineyards.
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Last edited by MIJB#19 : 06-10-2020 at 04:58 PM. Reason: cleanup
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Old 06-11-2020, 01:28 PM   #298
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: That's my Theo
Individual records? Whatever. Winning games, that's the stuff!

Seasons can go with ups and downs. Today, the road game at the Bordeaux Vineyards, was one of those rising moments. No, we're not quite at the top yet, I hope we have that ahead of us.

So, Bordeaux.

We struggled early, but the D did just enough to make them kick for just a 3-lead. Moe Sheldon found Branden Sandlin (19 yards) and Theodore Bondy (17 yards) for big gains, but once in the red zone, he got sacked and fumbled (not again!?): opportunity vanished. The defense was unamused, but underwhelming as well, allowing them to take a 10-0 lead.

A slow, but steady, drive got us back in the game, seeing Moe Sheldon running it in for 3 yards and the 10-7 deficit. Next drive, we stopped them barely past midfield, but on the very next play, Moe Sheldon tossed a screen pass to Theodore Bondy, who somehow managed to make it all the way to the other end for an 85-yard touchdown and the subsequent 14-10 lead. The defense finally woke up for a three and out, followed by a Reggie Thongchanh 24-yard punt return. With the short field and a couple of long plays, you'd think we would have made it two scores, but we ended up settling for a 25-yard field goal. We actually managed to get the ball back before half time, but came time short to extended the 17-10 lead.

Second half and some guy named Springer makes a decent and a great catch for Bordeaux. A penalty didn't push them back enough, we then allowed them to converted on third and 12 yards and on the next play they run the ball in for a 17-17 tied score. We replied with a solid, but not solid enough drive to make it 20-17 for us after a 38-yard field goal. After a three and out and a short punt, we were starting to win the field position battle, on top of maintaining the 3-point lead. Moe Sheldon next recovered his own fumble, but the turnovers continued as he saw a pass picked off near midfield and returned for what could put Bordeaux in a score tying field goal. A quick sack disrupted their drive and Jessie McNeil, recently activated to fill in for injured Ted Frias, deflected a third down pass to force them to punt. We responded with a couple of big plays to restore field position advantage.

To start the fourth quarter, Doug Guynes directed a short punt well to pin them at their 2-yard line. They 20-yard run was insufficient to get their engines really going and we replied with a 20-yard gain on third and 17 as Moe Sheldon found Theodore Bondy. Francisco Patter's 13-yard run then marched us into their red zone and a 37-yard field goal a couple of plays later put us a touchdown up: 23-17. A punting battle followed, crumbling the clock down to the two-minute warning. On fourth and 4 at midfield, Bordeaux went for it and Tony Whiting twirled around their line to sack the quarterback to stop them. We burnt their time outs, but still needed to punt. They tried, but another well timed sack, credits to Andy Russell, ended the game.

Yes, turnovers hurt once again, but this time the near 100-yard advantage did get the job done. Of course, take away Theodore Bondy's spectacular play and we're, well, actually on the losing end with slightly less production in yardage.

Moe Sheldon completed 22 of 35 passes for 272 yards, 1 touchdown, but also a pick and a fumble lost on one of 4 sacks. Theodore Bondy had 9 catches for 161 yards and a score, Reggie Thongchanh ran for 72 yards.

Bad news of the day was injury to Howard Humphrey, our all galaxy right tackle (I mean, this is american football, it's hardly worth mentioning outside the USA, there's no way it's being played on any other planet, is there?). It's probably just a game or three, but with a couple of other good players already missing, this is one of those not so small things that might come back to hurt is in Gothenburg.

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

So, all of a sudden, we're right back in the mix for the wild cards? Not quite yet. We're stil a game and tie-breakers behind. I'm still hoping we can aim for the division title.

But yeah, Gothenburg. They're on a roll and although it's usual in our rivalry to see the one trying to catch up actually derail the division leader, we'll have to put up our A game out there. Which is certainly possible, so let's do that, team. if you ever want to impress me, now is the time.
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Old 06-12-2020, 01:49 PM   #299
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Location: Maassluis, Netherlands
General Manager Notes: When it rains, it pours...
Which makes today's game a tropic storm.

41-3.

No, we didn't win. We endured or second largest margin of deficit. By the hands of the Gothenburg Giants. I know, based on our historic resume, a score like that would make you think we were on the winning side, but we were not.

Let's start with the biggest disaster of them all: Moe Sheldon, completed 7 of 14 passes for 29 yards with 2 interceptions returned for 60 yards. He was benched at half time, when the score was already 27-0 for the Giants.

So yes, Brandon Bell actually returned to action and he completed 8 of 10 passes for 122 yards. But he wasn't flawless either, he lost a fumble after one of his scrambles, he clearly not over that yet.

The plan was to run and run, then run some more and run some more. The end result? 27 carries for our running backs, 24 pass attempts and 4 quarterback scrambles. Which once again shows that even when we try not to have balanced offense, we still end up with it.

Games like these, you're usually happy that you have a talented defense, with the best cornerback duo in the league and one of the best pass rushing units to compliment them. And it worked, we gave up 281 yards on 29 pass plays, with a grand total of 2 defended passes and 3 sacks. Impressive.

So... 10 games in, we've lost 6 games, of which 2 should have been victories and 3 were maybe winnable. Of the 4 victories, 2 were closer than they should have been and 2 were solid wins.

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

Clearly, we're not giving up just yet, but the division title is, aside from a complete meltdown from the Giants, out of sight.

Take a deep breath, sleep on it and tomorrow make a plan of what to do next. Because we got to keep believing in ourselves!
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Old 06-13-2020, 04:03 PM   #300
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General Manager Notes: We did it again
The better team lost, the trend continues.

Okay, "better" can be a subjective term, sometimes you try to look at the raw numbers and see numbers like 351 total yards of offense (5.66 per play), 238 total yards of defense (4.33 per play).

We were up to a big test, playing at home against the Oakland Black Panthers. This season, they're thriving, visiting us with a league best 8-1-1 record. They beat the Gothenburg Giants (yes, those guys) two seasons ago in the IHOF Bowl, and this season after the 8-3 loss against the Fairbanks Northstars (what a weird score line), they haven't lost a game.

To spare you all the details, we had our chances, took a 6-0 lead on field goals, missed a third field goal, scored a touchdown to get back within 2 points (failing the two-point conversion), and in the fourth quarter saw our coaching staff make an unforgivable blunder, punting on 4th and 3 with 1:06 remaining, but only 2 time outs left. You can see how that cost us the game as Oakland simply went into victory formation to end it.

My decision for today was to go back to last season's first round pick and starting quarterback Brandon Bell. Yes, Moe Sheldon played better last season and started strong this season, but after the 10 games, there was simply no excuse anymore to keep him in. Bell did kind of okay in an already lost game at the Giants, it was only fair to give him another shot. Bell completed 27 of 35 passes for 262 yards, 1 score, but also 2 interceptions. There was no need for him to scramble (a good sign?), he got 111 yards out of Branden Sandlin and 86 yards out of Harris Wilkerson. Sure, he struggled to connect with Theodore Bondy (8 catches of 14 targets for 50 yards), but Oakland was the kind of defense where Bondy could get in trouble against an almost as good as our secondary.

Our running backs struggled, although they did combined for 100 yards on the ground at a 4.0 per carry average. At the same time, our defense had much less of an answer to their running game, which was not inflated by one big run, although the ran for the first down only 5 times (and threw for it 7 times). They were ripe for the upset, but it wasn't to be.

Elsewhere in the league, Gothenburg extended their winning streak to 7 games, while Paris failed miserably in their tanking efforts and Bordeaux lost.

Division standings
1. Gothenburg 9-2
2. Paris 5-6
3. Maassluis 4-7
4. Bordeaux 4-7

Playoffs? Mathematically we're still in the race, being 2 wins and tie-breakers behind the last wild card. Theoretically, we can actually still get the tie-breakers on all the other other hopefuls as well, but it's clearly a longshot. Besides, with the ways we're finding to lose games. Have the players the right to talk about it? Some would say no, but I think they actually need to. We're in it to win it, as long as the scenario writers claim we're still in the race, I fully expect this team to go for it. One game at a time, but with the ultimate goal in mind.

We have to keep believing in making it happen. Looking at the teams that beat us, their records are 9-1-1, 9-2, 8-3, 8-3, 6-5, and then there's the two fuckups against a 5-6 and a 2-8-1 team. Only Gothenburg really crushed us, I think we can claim to be better than a 4-7 team.

And then you look at the schedule and see our historical toughest opponent coming to town: the Tucker Tigers, 7-4 division leaders. Admittedly, 18 other franchises also have Tucker as their toughest opponents, including heritage (only the Williamsburg Colonials have a winning record), but we've played the Tigers the most of all our non-divisional opponents and it's actually to my surprise to see we won the last two meetings.

Tucker runs well (7th in yards, 5th in per carry) and passes well (6th in yardage, 3rd in per attempt). Their defense seemingly is far below average. I'm skeptic on that second part though, having a tough schedule and leading a lot can inflate those numbers. We'll have to see, believe in ourselves and go out there with the thought that we can beat them.
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