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Men of Steele: A Coach's Story

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Old 08-25-2019, 10:47 AM   #1
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Men of Steele: A Coach's Story

System/Game: PC/Madden 20
Mode: CFM (Coach)
Rosters: Active Roster as of 08/20/2019
Sliders: All-Pro Default
(For Year 3, these were switched to Matt 10’s All-Pro set, with fumble turned up to 70)



Quarter Length: 10 Minutes, Accelerated clock runoff to 17 seconds



XP Sliders: TDawg’s XP Sliders, Weekly Progress



Salary cap: On
Relocation: Off
Firings: CPU only



House Rules:




1. At least one non-QB 80 overall or better player HAS to go to free agency from my team if there’s anyone with their contract expiring. If that means I lose out on a stud late-round rookie who’s developed into an 80 overall or better, so be it — they get to test the waters. I can still re-sign them to a deal in FA, but they aren’t restricted.



2. No franchise tagging allowed — I hate it personally.



3. Trades must make sense — I use the good old Madden Trade Calculator to make sure I don’t game the CPU. The AI trade logic is better than years past, but still garbage in some ways. Any trade I make goes through the calculator to make sure the deal is even or slightly in favor of the CPU.
(here https://www.reddit.com/r/Madden/comm...alculator_v40/)



4. Unrealistic releases/signings by the CPU will be corrected. If, say, Drew Brees gets released by NOLA and signs in Buffalo, that is a scenario I find offensive (and not in the usual Saints score a bunch way) and will correct it. Certain players are franchise players and should stay where they are — if I see a free agent signing gone wrong, I’ll correct it by trading the player back to where they should go. From what I’ve seen, the roster logic is still funky in this regard (had to trade Deshaun Watson back to HOU because they murdered their cap space with massive contracts), and it may require turning the salary cap off to mitigate the CPU’s dumb decisions in the future.




5. Defense is super-simmed; I only play offense and field goals, so as to give the CPU a chance. I can't stand playing defense this year anyway since they remapped the buttons and the games go much faster worrying about only one side of the ball.




And with that out of the way … welcome! I’m trekfan, a frequent poster of dynasties over in the basketball side of the forum, and a big football fan of the Florida Gators. I don’t have any particular allegiance to any pro team — hatred of the Patriots and Cowboys aside — so I decided to take the role of a coach in Madden 20.



I’ve got a bunch of material written up, two season’s worth, and I’m steadily adding to it as we go along — so sit back, relax, and enjoy. I’ll be reporting on the team from my coach’s 1st person perspective, as we dive into the most stressful job in the NFL.



As always, any and all comments are welcome.



(Author’s Note: for Year 3, thanks to Madden’s update to offensive linemen Superstar abilities and lowering the amount backup QBs ask for in free agency, I restarted the file and tried to redo things as best I could. I got the big stuff right, but year 1 and 2 are from the original file and refer to players being in places or events happening that didn’t necessarily happen in the current file; 2021 is where the new file takes place and everything from then on is accurate.)










Last edited by trekfan; 08-25-2019 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:51 AM   #2
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Re: Men of Steele: A Coach's Story






Ch. 1


Coach’s Log, End of Preseason, 2019:


I’m going to miss the preseason. I know, most coaches seem to believe the preseason is a waste of time, but you can’t put a price on live reps; training camps and OTAs aren’t allowed to go nearly as hard as they used to, so we’ve got to make due with what we have. As a coach, I appreciate getting the guys play time.


I don’t like injuries, but that’s a trade off that has to be made. It’s why we carry 53 people on the roster — it’s why I signed the guys I did at the beginning of the preseason when I got this job.




When I arrived, Miami was in a total rebuild. The team was a crater, left with excess talent in some positions and virtually none at others. I knew when I was hired I’d have to take a blow torch to some spots, but before I knew what I had to tear down I had to plug some serious holes. My first signing was former Jaguar Jeremy Parnell. An older vet, in his 30s, he was still a good pickup — and someone who immediately took our offensive line from “rotting dog*hit” to “serviceable dog *hit.”


I had to build offensive line up — it was a high priority, because I couldn’t let Josh Rosen get hammered like he did in Arizona. That organization failed him, left him out to dry, and made him a scapegoat. I knew talent — I had helped coach Patrick Mahomes and been with Andy Reid for years. Rosen had talent, plenty of it, and just needed some time to shine.


With Parnell signed, securing the right side, I added Kayvon Webster to help our secondary, former Florida Gator Dominique Easley to compete at RE, MLB Josh Bynes to give us a decent backup at that spot, and then ROLB Nick Perry.


I wasn’t sure about Perry. Half the time I remember seeing him play, he was being helped off the field because he was hurt. I heard from a fellow coach that Green Bay let him go so “the cart guy could give someone else a ride.” I wasn’t sure if Perry was going to survive the season, but for only one year and with $50M in cap space, we could roll the dice.


I didn’t bother with any sort of real QB competition — it was going to be Rosen and that was it. The only reason I entertained Fitzpatrick as the starter was to incur some trade interest, which didn’t show up during the preseason.


I did get trade interest for the two wide receivers I felt weren’t needed on the roster in Parker and Wilson.




I sent Parker to the Packers for a 2021 3rd and two developmental players, though Kumerow was probably just going to be on the roster for the 2019 season. I then sent Wilson to the Vikings for a 2021 3rd from them — I figured feeding the rival of Green Bay would help drive that draft pick higher, one way or another.


With Wilson and Parker gone, I signed Trent Taylor (formerly of the 49ers, cut at the end of the preseason) to be our third receiver. We managed to make it through the preseason without any major injuries, which I’m thankful for, but our schedule is not going to do us any favors.


They say Dolphins are the smartest sea animals — if we were going to survive the regular season and grow our team, we’d have to display some of that intelligence.


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Old 08-25-2019, 10:55 AM   #3
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Re: Men of Steele: A Coach's Story




Ch. 2


Coach’s Log, Week 1, 2019:


We faced Baltimore at home, and Lamar Jackson — the duel-threat QB who could eat yards as easily on the ground as he could through the air. Jackson wasn’t going to be an easy cover, especially because he had a full year of NFL experience now; he wasn’t going to be so quick to pull down and run.


Offensively, we had a hell of a fight against a tough Ravens defense that now employed Earl Thomas — former member of the Legion of Boom. If we were going to win, we had to play smart. We had to take care of our opportunities. In the first half, we did just that: we didn’t turn the ball over, we got big passes through the air, we scored early and often — Jakeem Grant busted out a 75-yard RAC where he juked out multiple Ravens defenders and it seemed we had all the momentum leading into halftime.




Football, however, is a game of adjustments — and Baltimore adjusted big time to us. In the second half, they made our lives hell in the third, forcing us to punt on every possession we had. We couldn’t get the run game going, our running backs as effective as a duct tape against a hurricane — Earl Thomas was constantly put in the path of our receivers. He laid out Gesicki, knocking him out of the game.






With Rosen’s favorite target down and out, we had to rely on our defense to hold the fort. They didn’t — the Ravens scored at will on us in the second half as our offense — my offense — was neutered. We gave up an 11 point lead at halftime to lose in the fourth, only 21 yards away from the endzone and a potential game-winning score.






To say we were disappointed was an understatement. The locker room was morose — some of these guys had seen a lot of losses in their time in Miami. A lot of the team was new, thankfully, so it didn’t affect some of the players, but we were also a very young squad. Rosen performed well — he commanded the offense, threw for 3 TDs, over 300 yards (prior to sacks), even contributed a healthy 31 yards on the ground. He was calm, collected, and in control.


The running game was awful, however — absolutely no support and Kenyon Drake, the supposed “star” back was not much a star in this game. He got stuffed, repeatedly, he didn’t give Rosen any support, and without the threat of a running game, the Ravens went after the passing game. Drake wanted a new contract — I wasn’t so sure he deserved it. I have never been a believer in the “star” running back; in a league where players last a smattering of years, running backs seemed like the worst investment.


As a former fullback in high school and college, I blocked for a lot of running backs — but never saw one really dominate a game. In the NFL, being a running back now meant more than running, it meant catching, blocking, going wide … none of which Drake was particularly good at. He was an elusive sort, a guy who could break off runs, but catching the ball was a skillset that he didn’t do much of in college.


Game 1 was a loss — a close loss, but an L all the same and I started off as another Dolphins head coach who could lose — not an exclusive club.


But the game wasn’t a total waste, because Josh Rosen had shown the fans, the media, and most important the team that he was talented. He could throw for 300 yards and nearly lead the team to a comeback win. He could command the offense. He was a star in the making. The local media, after the game, began to call him Josh “The Chosen” Rosen — the kid didn’t let it go to his head, but it was a good nickname all the same.


The Dolphins had traded for him — they had chosen him. After one game, it looked like a good choice.


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Old 08-25-2019, 01:34 PM   #4
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Re: Men of Steele: A Coach's Story




Ch. 3


Coach’s Log, Week 2, 2019:


Practice focused on the most important position groups we had — namely, quarterback, the offensive line, the defensive line, and defensive backs. We were going to need all of them to grow in order to build the Miami Dolphins organization into an NFL powerhouse, not a division bottom-dweller.


This the was mandate — the owner, Stephen Ross, hired me to build the team into a sustainable entity, so I had a long leash, but nothing was guaranteed in the NFL, except Jon Gruden’s crazy contract.


Week 2 we faced the team that had won the division more times than I could count, a team that had taken the AFC East what felt like every single damned year; the Patriots. They had lost the week before, like us, by just a few points to the Steelers. They were angry, they were motivated, and they had Tom Brady.


Our goal was to win and stay as far away from Gilmore as possible — if we didn’t throw at him, we’d at least avoid him making any impact plays. Did it mean we conceded whatever side of the field he was on? In some cases, yes, but better conceding that than turning the ball over.


In the first, we absolutely busted the Patriots wide open. New England may had had a pass rush, but their rush defense was awful — the running backs had heard me go on all week about what a piss poor performance we put up in Week 1, and they came out hungry. Ballage got the ball going, scoring a big TD run to open the game and he was the star of the first quarter as we scored two TDs on the ground thanks to him.


In the second, the passing game got going and Rosen found former Patriot Dwayne Allen in the endzone for a TD on a stupendous one-handed grab.




Allen had been brought in as the veteran option, a guy who knew the division and — more importantly — still had game in his late 20s. Gesicki was learning under him and learning well, as Rosen and he hooked up repeatedly. Kenny Stills showed out too, as the trades of Parker and Wilson had freed up catches for him and Rosen was calling his number — Stills could line up all over the field now without worrying about taking someone else’s stats.


The Patriots passed for a lot of yards, but also turned the ball over three times and the offense put them away. It was a big win.






After the game, I handed the game ball off to Mike Gesicki — he had a huge day, was a lethal weapon. He was prepared to do big things, I could feel it and so could he.


We were traveling to face the Cowboys next week. If he was going to show off, there were fewer places better to do it than Big D.


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Old 08-26-2019, 08:16 PM   #5
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Re: Men of Steele: A Coach's Story

As always - will definitely be following - you’re an absolute legend when it comes to story write ups PLUS the Dolphins are my favorite team - Good luck! 👍🏻
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:02 PM   #6
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Re: Men of Steele: A Coach's Story

Great start. In.
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:27 PM   #7
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Re: Men of Steele: A Coach's Story

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teleo
As always - will definitely be following - you’re an absolute legend when it comes to story write ups PLUS the Dolphins are my favorite team - Good luck! 👍🏻
Quote:
Originally Posted by djp73
Great start. In.



Thank you both, appreciate the follows! This one is gonna be fun
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:30 PM   #8
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Re: Men of Steele: A Coach's Story





Ch. 4


Coach’s Log, Week 3, 2019:




Mike Gesicki was a beast. That much I was certain about after the Dallas game — with the Cowboys defense having watched him tear a hole through the Ravens and Patriots, the word was out that he was Rosen’s favorite target, that we wanted to use him as often as we could, and that our offense was highly dependent on him (and Kenny Stills) getting yards.


Yet despite all that, Gesicki would not be denied and neither would our rushing game. Ballage had a big day, just tearing chunks of yards up on the ground with the limited touches he got. He was hungry, he wanted it, so I let him have it.




Drake wasn’t a slouch, either — after the big day he had against New England, he performed very well in Dallas. Unfortunately for us, the Cowboys didn’t take kindly to losing like they did and took out their frustrations on our guys. Gesicki, on his final TD catch of the day, was leveled in the endzone and had to be taken out. Drake similarly got lit up by Jaylen Smith. The news postgame wasn’t good.






Despite the big day in Big D, Gesicki and Drake were gone — two of our best starters on offense. Drake’s contract situation still loomed, and him being hurt made me have to consider a future without him. This season was the first year he had really been called upon to be the primary back and it didn’t seem like he could handle the punishment.


Ballage, however, seemed to want it more. He seemed to be eager for those hits. There was something to be said for that.


With those two players out, I moved HB Mark Walton Jr to our active roster, and signed TE Jacob Hollister to be our third guy. Neither was a game changer but both were decent fits into our system.


We were going to need all the help we could get to survive.


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