Author Topic: HIFL EDITORIALS  (Read 14007 times)

GM Gooch

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« Reply #50 on: August 15, 2016, 12:12:16 AM »

From the desk of Rockwell Locke:

Every year since the HIFL's inception, there has always been excitement on draft night. So many teams look to their future with drafting who they hope will help add to their franchises to find success or to continue being successful. This year is no different. Here is my play by play for last night's 1st Round of the S8 HIFL Draft!

1. Douglas Fowler (WR) - Kansas City

The cheering in Kansas City could be heard across the HIFL universe, and the loudest voice may have been Marcus Mariota. Mariota threw for 3,554 yards last year while having 0 targets in the top 12 of the league in catches or in yardage. Adding a player like Douglas Fowler can be a game changer for the newly named Kansas City Bruins. KC touts one of the most talented pass blocking offensive lines in the HIFL and having a QB that can throw and a target that is hungry for catches may help Kansas City make an immediate impact in the west. Western Conference teams will have no room to cheat their secondary to stop the run...Mariota and Fowler will be a force to be reckoned with.

2. Adrian McCaffrey (RB) - St. Paul

If Adrian McCaffrey can live up to half of his hype, that will still outproduce the rushing yards by the St. Paul Lynx from S7. All rushes from all players that rushed with the ball in St. Paul totaled 1,190 yards. The top 10 in the HIFL all surpassed that. Recently retired Jose Mackey ran for 1,764 yards by himself. Adrian McCaffrey has his work cut out for him as St. Paul rebuilds, but it will be fun to watch what he can do.

3. Daniel Maxley (CB) - Atlanta

In S7, the Atlanta Warriors allow the 6th fewest pass yards in the HIFL. They only allowed for 3502 yards, had no players in the top 12 in pass disruptions. Atlanta has already restocked their DB’s adding names like David Putnam. Could Maxley, Putnam, and Dockery stop the pass in the East? Only time will tell.

4. Steven Shore (G) – Tulsa

GM Franchise made a splash with his new franchise, the Tulsa Celtics, signing some top flight talent in ERFA’s. Just looking at his offensive line, Franchise was able to sign tackles Miguel Alexander and Gerbert Styles. Adding Steven Shore to that mix is the start for an offensive line that will keep Impact Bowl champion Christian Sullivan for seasons to come. Philip Moorman and Christopher Allen have to be excited to have linemen that are going to move bodies for the run game as well. The offensive side of the ball is looking good for Tulsa right now. Kudos have to be sent to GM Franchise.

5. James Fellows (DE) - Long Beach

The Long Beach Mermen struggled last year on the defensive side of the ball with zero players registering in the top 10 for tackles, tackles for loss, or sacks. James Fellows is a good start to fixing that problem. Long Beach allowed a middle of the pack 1,926 rushing yards last season. A player like James Fellows can, himself, help change that. This was a smart pick up by the GM tandem in Long Beach.

6. Jonathan Wright (QB) - Long Beach

The Steven Crawford Era is officially over as Kyle Aquino was signed and promised he’d be the heir apparent and Steven Crawford was amnestied to free agency. If Kyle Aquino felt comfortable being the starter it was only for the first 5 picks of this draft as GMs Black Death and Adam Wrong selected the highly sought after Jonathan Wright. We are looking at a QB battle in Long Beach, can the younger Wright make the same impact as his older brother? Only time will tell.

7. Travis Brothers (T) - Las Vegas

GM Metro picking an offensive linemen in the first round? There has to be something special about this young man and there truly are. Las Vegas lead the league in passing yards, but were almost the worst in the league in rushing yards. Adding a 6’6”, 309 lbs. freak of nature can only improve things. He will join Daniel Ford as the tackles for the Scorpions.

8. John Fredrickson (LB) - Music City

GM Justin takes the first Line Backer off the board with John Fredrickson. The 6’4” and 228 lbs. linebacker out of the Citadel looks to make an immediate impact on a defensive unit that allowed the fewest yards in the HIFL last season. Music City allowed a league low of 4,604 yards. Bringing in a player like John Fredrickson makes you wonder...could Music City allow under 4,000 yards of offense from opponents this year?

9. CJ Kirby (RB) – Seattle

New franchise Seattle Rhinos bring in a top rated back that is known for being a bruiser. The former Georgia Bulldog was known as a wrecking ball in the SEC and looks to carry that domination to the HIFL. If Seattle were to look to trade for speed demons like Alabama’s Christopher Johnson or St. Paul’s Roger Quick, they could have a one-two combo that could take over the west with a dynamic run game. Real, “Bruise ‘em and Breeze ‘em” style football.

10. Danny Edelman (FS) - Las Vegas

GM Metro and the Las Vegas Scorpions find their way for the second time in the first round and they pick up a dynamic player in Danny Edelman. Edelman showed off his speed at the combine recording a 40 time of 4.5 outrunning WR Robert Hitt and CB Daniel Maxley. Part of the allure of Edelman is his potential as a special teams player. His speed and agility could cause him to not only start on defense but be a team that special team coaches fear kicking to. This pick could be looked at as one of the most important pick-ups in the S8 Draft.

11. Louis Duckett (T) – Michigan

Michigan makes their very first pick in the HIFL draft by picking up the 6’4” 306 lbs, form UCLA Bruins player. Roger Perez and Randal Salcedo have to be please with a man the size of Duckett to be protecting their future QB and allowing them to get balls thrown their way. Duckett played in a tough conference known for having strong defensive teams. Duckett took care of his own and helped his offense. Will he bring bring his offensive talent spotlight to the pros with him? He has the tools to do it.

12. Stefan Elkins (T) - Seattle

Seattle utilizes their 2nd first round pick by picking up a tackle to block for #9 pick CJ Kirby. Elkins is 6’8” and 286 lbs. and impressed at the combine. The 21 year old Coastal Carolina alum looks to use his long arms and weight to his advantage to stop defensive ends and linebackers from coming around the corner and disrupting the passes of former Atlanta Warrior Charles Todd. Stefan Elkins towered over all offensive linemen at the combine with only 3 players even being close to him in height, and he was still taller than the closest one by two inches. In a game of inches and feet, a player like Stefan Elkins can mean the difference in a well calculated throw or a sack. We are going to lean on him allowing for more calculated throws.

13. Steven Pickens (SS) – Miami

Miami looks to the defensive side of the ball with their very first 1st round pick in the HIFL. Pickens is a versatile pick-up who played as a SS as well as playing some WR at The Ohio State. He will be able to make an immediate impact with Miami and it is my belief that he will be in the running for Rookie of the Year. He has a chance to lead rookie SS’s with interceptions and rookie WR’s with passes caught. Miami got a steal picking him up at number 13.

14. Harris McKeown (CB) – Michigan

Michigan looks to the defensive side of the ball by picking up CB Harris McKeown. The former Kentucky Wildcat plays a wild style of football while standing 6’0 and weighing in at 195. The 24 year old looks to disrupt offenses this season.

15. Shane Durkin (DT) - Long Beach

The Northern Iowa defensive tackle looks to be plugging up the Long Beach interior defensive line. At 6’1” and 308 lbs. he looks to be a force playing next to former Missouri Bruin stand out DT, Mark Berg. Long Beach allowed 1,926 rush yards last year and had zero defensive linemen rank in the top 10 in any category. With Berg and Durkin plugging up the middle and James Fellows taking care of one of the ends, GMs Black Death and Adam Wrong are making a statement about their defense: Think twice before running on Long Beach. 

16. Douglas Dickerson (DE) - Kansas City

Kansas City went offensive with the #1 pick in the draft and at #16 look to improve their defensive line. The almost 300 lbs. tough as nails 20 year old from Texas Southern looks to join underrated DE Nathaniel Armstrong and DE Wesley Garrett to anchor the ends of the KC defensive line. No players on the former Missouri Bruins made the top 10 in tackles, tackle for loss, or sacks. The Missouri Bruins allowed the 4th most rushing yards and the 5th most passing yards and second year Bruins GM T-Bone is looking to change that. Adding a player like Dickerson could help be that answer. 

17. Ronald Roberson (DT) – Oakland

GM TJ picks up a giant man to fill the interior defensive line for Oakland. Roberson weighed in the most of any defensive tackle at the combine at a wopping total of 320 lbs. Roberson looks to immediately compete for starting time with fellow Silverback DT’s Jackie Andrews and Larry Graham. Oakland allowed 1,909 rushing yards this past season and Roberson is an immediate improvement to the Oakland defensive line. Oakland had 827 total tackles last season, 49 tackles for loss and 51 sacks. Roberson is the type of player who can ignite those numbers. We may see Oakland back near the top in statistics come this time next year. Might they have a ring, too?

18. Dwight Bell (OT) - Kansas City

The former Missouri Bruins have a reputation of having a strong offensive line and added Dwight Bell to their list of hogmollies. The 6’5” 304 lbs. former UCLA Bruin looks to make some pancakes and turn some heads in Kansas City. While last still strong, last season was not a strong season for the offensive line of the Bruins. Dwight Bell is the kind of player who can light a fire under Josue Luce and Jesus Young for starting snaps. Bell could reignite that offensive line and help open up the lacking run game (3rd worst with 1,534) and improve a decent pass game (6th in the league with 3,876). It’s been said that as soon as Mariota was done cheering for the drafting of Douglas Fowler that he started cheering again immediately for Dwight Bell. GM T-Bone has to have a very happy QB, coaching staff, and fans.

19. Neil Downing (OT) – Oakland

Oakland is looking at improving their lines on both sides of the ball. Neil Downing is an immediate starter in Oakland and looks to complement the play of fantastic tackle George Britt. Tashaun Pate will nuzzle into his pillow tonight feeling a little bit safer.  George Britt came in second in the league with 83 pancakes and Downing, one of the largest tackles in this draft, is said to have a large appetite for pancakes as well. Could Britt and Downing combine for 200 pancakes this year? Western conference defensive linemen be warned.

20. Corey Rizzo (QB) – DC

Closing out the 1st round of the draft, the most decorated GM in the history of the HIFL picks up Wisconsin star Corey Rizzo. Rizzo turned heads at the combine with his skill but was said to have blown teams away with his interviews. Rizzo is wise behind his years and a natural leader. He has some growing to do but that process will be expedited with coaches like Shaun Saint and Duante Blank. Where it could take him a few seasons to progress in another system look for Rizzo to make an immediate Impact...all the way back to the Impact Bowl.

How many of these things will come true? Only time will tell. But tonight, GMs will be going to sleep with visions of successful collegiate football highlights transitioning to the HIFL running through their heads.

Rockwell Locke
Sports Journalist out of Dallas
GM Kirk [12|Mar 04:19 PM]: Gooch, how much did you bribe the HIFLPA to help you steal all my players?
GM TJ [12|Mar 04:21 PM]: Lolololololololooooooooooollllllllllll
Disgraced GM Powers [12|Mar 04:24 PM]: The league is #TeamGooch
GM Gravedigger [12|Mar 04:25 PM]: It's because he's so nice....
GM Gravedigger [12|Mar 04:25 PM]: Unnaturally nice...
GM Adam Wrong [12|Mar 04:25 PM]: I love gooch
GM Gravedigger [12|Mar 04:26 PM]: Everyone loves Gooch, except Kirk...
GM Phoenix [12|Mar 04:28 PM]: Almost makes you think gooch is reincarnate red skull trying to live a double nice guy life on hifl
GM Gravedigger [12|Mar 04:31 PM]: Gooch's heel turn will rival Hogan....

GM Gooch

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« Reply #51 on: August 26, 2016, 03:46:33 PM »

From the desk of Rockwell Locke:

The ERFA and HIFL draft are almost complete and we are looking to free agency. Some teams are on the verge of greatness and what they do could lead them to the Impact Bowl or the Toilet Bowl.

I've broken down the stats and watched the draft. Here are my musings. This is food for thought, you can do the dishes.

DC Cobras

What can you say about the Impact Bowl champions. Their offensive line dominated by pancaking everything in sight. They had more chances because of more plays with their high tempo offense, but was very impressive regardless. Their team didn’t miss tackles. They didn’t allow points. They ranked top 6 in Total yards, pass yards, and points for. They struggled getting interceptions and with disrupting plays, but adding on a guy like Alfred Glass could clear that up.

GM Jon, a sure fire, future Hall of Famer, picked up Corey Rizzo (QB) in the 1st round, and James Rodriguez (FS) in the second round. DC picked up Defensive Tackle Adam Long in the 4th round, wide receiever Loren Isaacs in the 5th, and Robert McDougle (DE) and Stephen Treadwell (FB) in the 7th.

DC will be looking hard at free agency at offensive linemen (their current line allowed 55 sacks) and they need an improvement in either run blocking or a running back. Bringing in Alfred Glass should help their struggle with not disrupting plays and that should hopefully lead to more sacks.

Oakland Silverbacks

#2 in the West and the team that made it to the Impact Bowl, Oakland had a strong outing last season and look to improve again this season. GM TJ is ready to reload as he sent off a few pieces to free up cap space and roster space and looks to make another run to the Impact Bowl, but this time bring home some hardware (and if he does, GM Powers will not be allowed to visit the Hall of Champions). When you look at Oakland, you see balance. They were great in a few areas (Pancakes and Total Points), they were weak in a few areas (Points allowed and Passing yards), but past that they played consistently. Some would find that problematic, but when you are able to play a consistent football game you consistently win football games. What could GM TJ be looking for during draft season?

While most teams were getting high praise and making noise in the draft, GM TJ quietly had a VERY solid outing picking up Ronald Robertson (DT) to help clog up the line and Neil Downing (OT) to help with sacks/allowed. Rhett Purdy is a very good prospect at Linebacker and was a nice pick up in the 2nd round. James Garrison (CB) landed in Round 4 and Henry Sweeney (RB) and Mark Perryman (G) landed out the Silverbacks’ 5th round.

GM TJ will be looking at strengthening his WR corp during free agency to help balance a rushing attack that was hindered last season. The draft allowed TJ to strengthen his defense with youth and be able train them up and free agency may be used to get those pieces needed for the offense to click better.

New Jersey Dragons

The first team in the modern HIFL era to go undefeated during the regular season. That loss to DC is a stinging one that GM Kirk will not forget. The Dragons put on a clinic during the regular season ranking #1 in total points, #2 in rushing yards, #3 in plays disrupted, #3 in total yards, #3 in sacks allowed, #5 in interceptions, and #7 in passing yards. As great as those statistics are, they were #1 in points allowed and ranking #13 in total yards allowed (which is good). Even though teams weren’t able to move the ball well against them, they somehow still put points on the board. Some fans may look at the stats and wonder who New Jersey could be dead last in tackles. The Dragons only accumulated 729 team tackles. Therein lies the genius of GM Kirk, a slow paced offense that can actually move the ball allows the defense less time on the field and if they stop the defense effectively, there will be fewer tackles.  A lot of 3rd and outs could be the reason for the total yards allowed while their total points allowed stayed low.

New Jersey had a rather quiet draft day picking up Pedro Easter (FS) in the 4th round and Melvin Hurtado (Center) in the 6th round.

Rebuilding will be minimal for this powerhouse of a team and GM Kirk might be looking for a leadership guy or two, but mostly young players to develop. Rinse. Later. Repeat. New Jersey could win every game this year again and bring home the Impact Bowl trophy.

Cleveland Mustangs

GM Dazz and Coach Blitzer put on a clinic of football this past season. Ranking #4 in Plays disrupted and #6 in sacks lets us see Coach Blitzer’s touch on the defense and the positive effect he has had. But their offense was no slouch either. They ranked #2 in total points, #5 in Total Yards, #5 in rushing yards, #7 in passing yards, and #8 in pancakes.. GM Dazz should look to strengthen that defense and it could lead to Cleveland knocking off NJ and DC in their bid to win the East in their first season.

Dazz picked up top 5 reciever Daniel Roman and wrecking ball running back Terry Torres in the 3rd round. They picked up David Jordan (QB) in the 4th and Patrick Merriman (TE) in the 6th.

Looking at free agency, Dazz allowed the rich to get richer as he only shored up his already strong offense. While Blitzer is a brilliant defensive mind, the team struggled with allowing sacks, allowing total yards, allowing points, and ranked #13 in team tackles. If Cleveland wants to compete in the East with the likes of DC and New Jersey, Dazz and Blitzer are going to have to strengthen their defense. They've already done some good picking up the ever distracting Stephen Cotter. The Eastern conference may have a few cellar dwellers, but the top teams of the East are some of the best football teams in the world.

Tombstone Outlaws

Tombstone ranked #2 in the West and lost to Oakland in the conference finals. The ever competitive GM Powers has been and will be seething until the playoffs next season and it would be an utter shock if they didn’t make it. Their defense was stifling (thought they could use some work garnering sacks), their offense struggled, especially putting points on the board (#9) and in passing yards (#12). They ranked #5 in yards allowed (good on their defense), but ranked #9 in total yards (not good on their offense.) They could use improvement on the offensive and defensive lines.

GM Powers knew what he needed and picked up Lynn Malone (4th, LB) and Robert McNeil (4th, DT), and Jeffrey Castro (5th, G), and Christopher Morrison (6th, TE). This wasn’t a flashy draft, but Powers selected guys that his team needs. Free agency will be similar. While they may not have it as “easy” as Rapid City, this should be a fun time for Powers as he will just be strengthening an already stacked Tombstone Outlaws team.

Alabama Nighthawks

The storied history of Alabama being a winning team continued last season. Alabama tells a story about the benefits of having a dominant offensive and defensive line. They allowed the 2nd fewest sacks in S7 and they placed 5th in sacks. Their offensive line ranked #5 in pancakes. They also showed that their offense may be one of the most balanced in the game as they ranked #7 in Total yards, #7 in rushing yards, #7 in total points, and #8 in passing yards. While their defensive line may be brilliant, it seems as if their linebackers and secondary aren’t as brilliant. In team interceptions they ranked #9, Plays disrupted they ranked #9, Total tackles they ranked #11, and in total yards allowed they ranked #15.

GM Pancho started out round two with one of the top rated Wide Receivers in the draft, that being Philip Lugo. In Round 3 he picked up Daniel Martel (LB), Round 4 brought Tight End Jay Morris into the fold. Alabama had a great 5th round bringing in Kentucky Jeremy Martin’s back up Peter Hayfield and Free Safety Randolph Scully. Round 6 saw Neal Adams (SS) picked up. The 7th round draft is not currently finished as off this press time.

Pancho needs to look to his offensive line to replace Kevin Corral and needs to look at signing a free agent linebacker to help solidify his defense. Pancho may have had some fireworks this offseason, but don’t expect that to hinder this football team looking to the future.

Lincoln Pride

GM Strike Guy  and Lincoln were an anomaly in statistics. Their offensive line held strong only allowing 13 sacks on the year while their line ranked last in pancakes. Again, pancakes and sacks allowed end up on both ends of the spectrum. Lincoln allowed 6,380 yards which ranked #1 in the HIFL. To offset that though they scored a ton of points ranking #3. While their opponents may have garnered a lot of yards against them, they could not score as they were #6 in points allowed. Lincoln missed having Hagar on the defensive line and could use a running back to make plays as they ranked #12 in sacks and #13 in rushing yards.

Lincoln had two picks in the S8 draft and they picked up two guards: George Folsom (Round 5) and Charles Kane (Round 7).

Strike Guy must have some magic up his sleeve for free agency as his team needs help defensively getting sacks and offensively developing a running game to complement their passing one. He has an eye for talent. Let's see who he can pull into Lincoln.

Orlando Stampede

#4 in the east, #3 in the Southern Division and a playoff team. Their going to the playoffs show the extreme weakness of the Northern Division with two teams who totaled 4 wins. The problem that we find with Orlando is that the places that they ranked so highly in will be hard to replicate this season. Alfred Glass was sent to Impact Bowl Champion DC. The team ranked #1 in interceptions, #4 in tackles, #4 in total yards allowed, #5 in disruptions and then everything else was middle of the pack or worse. They had the worst total sacks and they play in the conference with St. Paul where EVERY team was having a sack party. Losing Alfred Glass is a huge blow to this team. The Insiders will cover extensively all the trades during the offseason, so this article won’t do that. GM Eddie Phoenix has proven that while his ways may be erratic, he was a way of winning. With Alfred Glass gone, what are they going to do to pick up the pieces?

Anotione Muir (DE) was a very good pick up in Round 2 as he could’ve very well been a 1st rounder. Picking up another Defensive End in the 3rd round in Virgil Sanborn was nice as he could also start immediately (which they need, #16 in sacks). Otto Stone (T) was picked up with Elmer Turner (SS) in the 4th round and Andrew Rojas (WR) and Brian Bayne (DE) were picked up in the 5th round.

The last place that Orlando needs to look at in free agency is at the position of defensive end. They saturated themselves with that on draft day. A backup QB might be a good pick up in Free Agency as their offense hinges on the health of Mervin Patton as Marco Schweinsteiger struggled in the pocket in St. Paul last season in his limited play. Orlando has a little bit of cap space and that could be utilized to pay a big contract to a great player and small contracts to bit pieces, or a few good contracts with a few bench players. The loss of Alfred Glass could be huge for Orlando...but GM Eddie Phoenix has proved the world wrong before...what does he have up his sleeve this season?

Rapid City Inferno

GM Gates and the Rapid City faithful were heatbroken about not making the playoffs in S7 and look to make a huge impact in S8, an impact at the Impact Bowl perhaps? They ranked #1 in total yards with 6,630 yards...more than 2,000 more than the struggling St. Paul Lynx. They run one of the fastest offenses in the HIFL so that sort of output isn’t a surprise, but is still extremely impressive. They ranked #2 in plays disrupted, #3 in passing yards, #3 in rushing yards, #4 in team interceptions, #4 in sacks/allowed, #4 in total points, #5 in team tackles. Rapid City, like Las Vegas, looked very good on paper. But that’s why they play the games. The weakness of Rapid City seems to lie in their defense, ranking #10 in sacks and #9 in points allowed.

One of the few weaknesses on the Rapid City team was on the defensive line and GM Gates used his second round pick to pick up Glenn Totten (DT) and his third round pick, Roy Amador (DE) to help fix that. Timothy Beck (LB) was drafted in the 3rd as well, along with Albert Amaya (CB), Harry Fletcher (QB) and James Hamm (DT) in the 4th, and Linebacker Brian Harmon in the 6th.

With a solid draft, free agency will be a fun time for GM Gates as he will only be strengthening his team.

Las Vegas Scorpions

If games were played by statistics alone, Las Vegas was a playoff team and could’ve contended. The chink in their armor was that they allowed a lot of yards, they were middle of the pack in tackles, they ranked #15 in interceptions and they ranked #15 in rushing yards. Vegas runs an extremely fast offense (on the line of Rapid City and DC) and strengthening the run threat could open their team up to stats similar to Rapid City. Their offensive and defensive lines played well, looking for a running back, a QB of the future, and secondary might help Las Vegas.

GM Metro had a meticulous draft picking up two first rounders in Travis Brothers (T) and Danny Edelman (FS). Edelman was known to be a combine darling as not only a good FS but had blazing speed that could be utilized for other things as well. With the steal of the draft, Metro picked up Stephen Shelly. I, Rockwell Locke, am going to predict that Stephen Shelly will have a chance to start at some point this season and that we will see Michael Mays shipped out of Las Vegas to strengthen a weaker part of the team. Christopher Davis (Center) was drafted in the 3rd round along with RB Matthew Reyes. Ignacio Willis (DE) closed out The Scorpions’ draft days.

Las Vegas struggled in their secondary and on the rushing side of things this past season. GM Metro will likely be trying to find a running back to carry the load more effectively and a secondary that can pick off a few interceptions. If he is able to pick those things up, Las Vegas could be a threat to win the Impact Bowl this season. 

Music City Kings

They just barely missed the playoffs and had to stay home. The only outstanding statistic they had was team sacks. Past that they were very good on their offensive line with pancakes and sacks allowed as well as rushing yards (All ranked #6). They ranked #15 in team tackles and #16 in yards allowed (allowing around 2,000 fewer yards than the team in last place). A few tweaks to the defense could get them over the hump and into the playoffs.

GM Justin must be a student of statistics as well because he had a big need on the defensive side and picked up the #1 prospect out of linebackers (and maybe of all defense) in John Fredrickson. Fredrickson is believed to be a game changer. If he can motivate his teammates to step up their game, this pick could be one that Justin looks back on as genius. Joseph Ruiz (TE) was picked up in the 2nd round and if he has a set of hands and/or can run block, he will be a good addition to this team. Hiro Nakamura (LB) was a 2nd rounder and James Cochran (CB) was a solid pick up in the 3rd round.  The only weakness analysts are seeing in this draft is that Nakamura could’ve been picked up later and that a secondary player could’ve been picked up earlier.

Outside of the analysts, this writer things GM Justin had a very smart draft and his free agency will focus in on some solid parts for defense, shoring up their offensive line some, and just getting some good, young players to develop.

Atlanta Warriors

After suffering the loss of their beloved and successful GM Rebel, moral seemed to plummet and the team tanked in the season. GM Rebel is back and Atlanta will look to be a powerhouse. They excelled on their offensive line ranking #4 in pancakes, but while they did well there, they were #14 in sacks allowed. So if the line didn’t put someone on the ground, opponents had a good chance of getting past the line and sacking the Atlanta QB. Their secondary ranked #9 in interceptions, but there are plenty of places that GM Rebel can go to strengthen this team. GM Rebel is a force of positivity, and any steps they make in the right direction along with his ability to boost morale could show that Atlanta is a playoff contender again.

GM Rebel saw the defensive struggle and signed Daniel Maxley (CB) in the first round and Walter Turner (SS) in the second round. Both could make contributions immediately. Elijah Hood was a smart pick up in Round 3, with Armando Shumaker (WR) picked up in the 3rd, and Antonio Parker (LB) picked up in the 5th.

Atlanta needs to look at improving their offensive line with at least one player who won’t let sacks occur on a regular basis. Training on the offensive line might help this offseason, but a smart draft by GM Rebel makes free agency that much easier to strengthen his squad. Looking for a back-up QB is a priority for the Warriors, but who will they look for?

San Antonio Knights

The Knights were Sack City this year ranking #2. Past that, they were in the lower part of the league in every statistical category, worst being #16 in the league in play disruptions. GM Gravedigger would be wise to draft the best possible player at every draft pick in hopes of strengthening his team to make a run in a season or two.

GM Gravedigger picked up 13 picks in this draft with the most noteworthy being his Round 3 pick up of Billy Maynard (QB), and his 3 fourth round pick ups in Wesley Chung (CB), Chris Zeller (RB) and Sergio Malone (DT). He picked up James Simpson (5th, TE), Christopher Connor (5th, LB), John Gibbs (5th, TE), Phillip Morris (6th, SS), Ralph Maple (6th, C), David Lovell (6th, WR), Dana Warden (6th, T), William Bills (7th, DE) and Anthony Marks (7th, FB). How many of those players will get playing time is yet to be seen and with that much youth, there must be growth in training camp.

GM Gravedigger may have set a record this season with draft picks and if he wants to ensure that chaos doesn’t come his way, drafting some older vets with leadership would be the best bet.

Long Beach Mermen

Long Beach finished #8 in the West, and showed some brilliance in rushing, but that is gone this season as Jose Mackey retired. They had a lot of pancakes, but much like other teams that lead in pancakes, they also ranked low in (#13) in sacks allowed. Long Beach, much like KC, should just draft the best players on the board and not worry about focusing on one position.

Long Beach had 8 picks in the draft and picked up 3 first rounders, 4 second rounders, and a 3rd rounder. The 3 first rounders are James Fellows (DE), Jonathan Wright (QB), and Shane Durkin (DT). Wright was projected to be the superstar QB of this draft and will move immediately into starting with Long Beach. James Fellows and Shane Durkin look to shore up a defensive line that was paltry at best. Brandon Lamb (RB), Robert Weddle (FS), Ryan Rosser (WR), and Dante Kurtz (FB) were the 2nd round pick ups. If I were the Long Beach Boys (the duel GMs), I would take as much pressure off of Brandon Lamb as I could. He doesn’t have to replicate the rushing numbers from last year. Treat this team like a new team and build up. Linebacker William Lujan rounded out their 3rd round pick.

In Free Agency, Long Beach could use some good leaders to help train up these young guys or look to other areas of improvement. Long Beach had a good draft. Free Agency should just help fill them out more.

Kansas City Bruins

Missouri had been a playoff team the year before, but they snuck into the playoffs because of mass injuries and GM issues on other teams. It was not expected for them to play well this year. Their highlight is Marcus Mariota, as on his shoulders they had the #6 most passing yards in the HIFL. Everything else was an effort in futility. Their rushing numbers were bad, their points allowed were worse, they didn’t disrupt plays, get interceptions, or get sacks. GM T-Bone is a smart GM and should just draft the best player on the board to improve his franchise.

The best thing that the Bruins had going for them was their passing game. They needed work in many other areas, but with the #1 pick in the draft they pick up Douglas Fowler (WR). Marcus Mariota may be happy, but that doesn’t necessarily help all of the other areas that are actually problems. T-Bone had 2 other first round picks and nabbed up Douglas Dickerson (DE) and Dwight Bell (OT). All 3 are likely to start and make an impact immediately. Chad Gable (DE) was picked up in the 2nd round, Odis Raines (WR) and Kenny Corey (TE) were picked up in the 3rd. Kenneth Minton was picked up in the 5th. Punter Christopher Busby picked up a nice pay day being drafted in the 6th round and Running back Derek Cardwell was picked up in the 6th as well. T-Bone had a 7th round pick, but decided to pass rather than pick.

The former Missouri franchise moves West and will play in a tougher division and they currently don’t have any roster spots to pick up any free agents. T-Bone has a good coaching staff on hand and will need to have a great training camp to see improvements. If they end up moving players and making a roster spot, they should try to get the best running back that they can find to help take some of the stress off of Marcus Mariota’s shoulders. 

St. Paul Lynx

The only redeeming quality of the team was that they could tackle well. They allowed over 6,000 yards of offense and only gained a little over 4,400 yards of offense. They scored 233 points and allowed 570. They ranked #16 (dead last) in 5 categories and #15 in 3. Newly hired GM Gooch made a good decision signing Coach Joan Swoop and hopefully that will draw some free agent interest. The irratic Gooch needs to watch the knee jerk reactions that hindered the success of his Missouri Bruins and listen to Coach Swope. He might learn something. St. Paul has needs in places most teams don’t have places.

St. Paul utilized their #2 pick in the first round to pick up 18 year old prodigy Adrian McCafferey. Linebacker Faustino Villarreal was a late 2nd round pick. Geno Mathias (QB) and Alvin Soto (CB) were nabbed up in the 3rd round. Robert Vazquez (Center) was picked up in the 4th. Back to back 4th round picks landed Nathan Butler (TE) and Joseph Hickson (WR). Round 6 saw Raymond Ellis (RB) and round 7 saw Josh Houston (SS) land in St. Paul.

This team needs help everywhere. EVERYWHERE. GM Gooch will need to look to pick up some players with strong leadership and experience to turn this ship around. The hiring of Joan Swoop was a great start. If St. Paul has a decent draft and a good free agency on top of a stellar training camp...they will still not be able to sniff the playoffs. GM Gooch took this job knowing that this team was going to be a few years out, and St. Paul’s owner seems to understand that as well. 

Tulsa Celtics

Luke E. Charms is a new team owner and landed his team in a rich Irish town of Tulsa (3rd highest Irish Population in the USA). Luke is the only expansion team that is bringing on a GM and they opted to bring in GM Franchise. GM Franchise has already made some waves by getting some great players to jump to Tulsa in free agency.

Before the draft even started Franchise was able to lure Christian Sullivan (QB) away from the Impact Bowl champion DC Cobras for a contract of $20mm. He was also able to get Miguel Alexander (T) and Gerbert Styles (T) to come in to protect Christian. Gary Hunter (LB), Gregory Neal (CB), and Shane Castleberry (P) were also some of his acquisitions.

Here are Tulsa’s draft picks:
Round 1   Steven Shore   G
Round 2   Robert Hitt   WR
Round 3   Christopher Choo   C
Round 3   Toby Paine   G
Round 6   Luke Cummins   DT
Round 6   William King   LB
Round 6   Carlos Jacob   CB

GM Franchise has a lot of work to do on defense. He’s already had the luck of the Irish when it comes to signing big players in ERFA, he’s had a great draft, but how will he fair in UFA?

Miami Killer Whales

Max Rhodes. Brilliant trades that will put them in a good position to grow for seasons to come. Owner Willy Freedman may never want to hire a GM if Max Rhodes can keep up this sort of cunningness.

Max made the following draft picks:
Round 1   Steven Pickens   SS   Miami
Round 2   Walter Kinney   C   Miami
Round 2   Jared Garza   LB   Miami
Round 3   Lee Woo   QB   Miami
Round 4   Joshua Blanco   T   Miami
Round 5   Justin Hardy   RB   Miami

Their UFA will be similar to the other expansion teams. They have many needs. Balancing those needs and not getting in trouble with the cap will be imperative. If Max Rhodes can do that, Mr. Freedman may never hire a GM again.

Seattle Rhinos

Arnold Reigns brought in Andy Graham and they are taking new life with some good deals. Seattle was the APL champs of 2014 before an upset loss in 2015 and then a 4-12 record in 2016. Arnold does not like to lose.

Andy Graham had a nice draft day with:
Round 1   CJ Kirby   RB
Round 1   Stefan Elkins   T
Round 3   Omar Smith   G
Round 4   Sheldon Howerton   TE
Round 5   Darrel Meyer   WR
Round 6   Taylor Frizzle   K

Smart strategy could get Andy and the Rhinos headed in the right direction, if not, he’ll be sent to the CHOOPPPPAAAAA and a real GM will be brought in.

Michigan Monsters

Nessa Waters is coming to the HIFL with a chip on the shoulder having won the APL 2016 championship. She brought in Harry Bryce to keep the tradition of winning alive, or at least build in that direction.

Harry Bryce had a good draft day with:
Round 1   Louis Duckket   T   Michigan
Round 1   Harris McKeown    CB   Michigan
Round 2   Donald Doolittle   QB   Michigan
Round 5   Lucas Ash   SS   Michigan
Round 5   Earl Sturdavant   LB   Michigan
Round 6   Harry Andrews   LB   Michigan

Bryce will probably try to find himself a veteran QB to lead his offense and will need to be smart about how he picks his team. They have needs everywhere.

Will everyone agree with this article? Surely not. But am I wrong on everything, ABSOLUTELY not. Season 8 of the HIFL has the chance to be the most explosive, exciting year of football. I'm just glad I'm along for the ride.

Rockwell Locke
Sports Journalist out of Dallas

« Last Edit: August 26, 2016, 04:13:56 PM by GM Gooch »
GM Kirk [12|Mar 04:19 PM]: Gooch, how much did you bribe the HIFLPA to help you steal all my players?
GM TJ [12|Mar 04:21 PM]: Lolololololololooooooooooollllllllllll
Disgraced GM Powers [12|Mar 04:24 PM]: The league is #TeamGooch
GM Gravedigger [12|Mar 04:25 PM]: It's because he's so nice....
GM Gravedigger [12|Mar 04:25 PM]: Unnaturally nice...
GM Adam Wrong [12|Mar 04:25 PM]: I love gooch
GM Gravedigger [12|Mar 04:26 PM]: Everyone loves Gooch, except Kirk...
GM Phoenix [12|Mar 04:28 PM]: Almost makes you think gooch is reincarnate red skull trying to live a double nice guy life on hifl
GM Gravedigger [12|Mar 04:31 PM]: Gooch's heel turn will rival Hogan....


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« Reply #52 on: September 05, 2016, 12:07:44 AM »
Off-Season Analysis: 5 Most Talented Players at Each Position - PT. 1

By Roy Baker

Hello there ladies and gentlemen, tis I, Roy Baker here to bring you the best damn editorial the off-season has to offer; That’s right!  I am going to break down my top five players at each position in the entire HIFL, well at least players who are signed to a team at the time of this publication.

So this is completely one man’s opinion and in no way a reflection of the HIFL or ESPN, do not take this article as anything more than what I believe to be a top 5 list of players by position, based on their attributes and not their statistics and/or team’s achievements.

So with that being said, let us begin…

Kickers:  You see, I want you to read this entire article, so instead of putting the boots at the bottom, I’m leading off with them!  If you want to find my quarterbacks, you’ll have to keep searching sweet cheeks!

1. Omer Sasser - Clearly the fact that he is one of the most well known kickers in the league explains why.  63 yard field goals are not a concern to this sniper of the pig skin, he has won many a game with his golden right foot.

2. Jessie Dudley - Alabama’s kicker has won 3 championships with two different franchises and has rarely missed a kick in his career.  No reason to think that talent will fall off any time soon.

3. Mark Mitchell - San Antonio’s sharpshooter didn’t attempt a field goal of 50+ last year, but he was 19 of 20 attempts and has a career conversion rate of 94.2%

4. Andrew Hernandez -  Powerful and accurate, the Inferno never fear when he steps on to blaze one through the pipes, 62 of 65 in his two seasons in the league.

5. Walter Summerlin - Above 92% for 3 seasons in a row, he has never missed a chip shot and has only missed from 50+ over the last 2 seasons, The Bruins trust their kicker so much he once played QB in an emergency situation… he was 0-5 with 1 INT.

Punters - You never think your punter is important, until you can’t get the ball out of your own side of the field and lose on a last second field goal.  Here are my picks for the most talented punters in the league.

1. Andrew Vieira - The only kicker to ever grade as a second round pick to any GM, in any football league, ever… This kid does deliver on some of the hype by ranking top 5 in league history with an average punt distance of 47.3 yards, if he can pin more inside their own 20, he could become a real game changer.

2. Antonio Jordan - Orlando’s coffin kicker pinned 22 of his 93 punts inside the 20 last season while averaging 48.6 yards per attempt, a big reason the Orlando Stampede improved down the stretch last year, field position is half the battle.

3. Richard Keyser - He can punt, he can kick, and he will tell you how he feels.  Can’t shame this kid who has pinned 29 inside the 20 over the last two seasons while converting 100% of his XP and FG attempts in Season 6.

4. Damien Shively - The Inferno don’t like to punt, but the fast paced offense is destined to stall at times, and when they do kicks like Shively’s career best 76 yarder last season help the defense prevent points.

5. Andrew Campbell - The former Silverback pinned 25 over the last two seasons, and has great accuracy.

Quarterback - The brains of every team, the heart and soul of most teams, and the one player who is blamed too much for failure and praised too much for success… Lets talk about my top five signal callers in the HIFL Today.

1. Trevor Jose - 0 Interceptions in the regular season last year, a league record 43 TDs, and a 149.9 QB Rating, there is no doubt that Trevor “TJ” Jose is the creme of the crop heading into the 2017 season.

2. Caleb Smoak - 33-8 TD-INTs last year and his passer rating has gone up each season since he arrived in the league in 2011.  If he can avoid being sacked 48-50 times a year (his average in Cleveland) he could become the premier passer in the league.

3. Jose Pruitt - Pruitt was an afterthought by many when Rapid City took him in the expansion draft two years ago.  Now he is a 4000 yard passer who had his best season a year ago, now with even more weapons at his disposal the sky's the limit for this 28 year old mobile QB.

4. Christian Sullivan - You might not agree that Sullivan is top 5, but you might also argue he is number 1.  2 Impact Bowl championships is hard to argue with.  Back to back seasons with 26+ TDs and under 10 INTs also speaks volumes.  Sullivan also finished this years’ championship run with a 105.2 QB Rating in the playoffs which reminds you of his cool demeanor in a clutch situation.  Clearly though he is chasing the money, because I don’t understand why in the hell you leave the back to back champions for an expansion team, turning down a chance to go back to back to back, a feat no other team or quarterback has ever achieved.

5. Mervin Patton - Sullivan’s back up turned Orlando’s savior was in the MVP conversation for a reason, I predict that Patton could jump into the top 3, if GM Phoenix doesn’t punch in the Nuclear codes in Orlando before the trade deadline.  I bet you DC wishes they had their General right about now.

GM Kirk [21|May 12:29 AM]:   When trade fever hits, math is the first casualty.

GM Gooch

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« Reply #53 on: December 02, 2016, 03:29:57 PM »

From the desk of Rockwell Locke:

Training camp is over and we are looking to the preseason and getting to see some HIFL Football return! Some teams are on the verge of greatness and what they do could lead them to the Impact Bowl or the Toilet Bowl.

Based off of my sources and what I've seen, this is how I've assessed the teams this year and predict how Season 8 will play out.

Here are team assessments in alphabetical order followed by predicated rankings and playoffs.

Alabama Nighthawks

Ortega. Harrell. Block. DGB. Caron. Large. Botts. Jeffries. Cobbs. Wilkinson. Gonzales. Brown. Even Dudley and Salcedo. What is not to love about Alabama? They took a step back in the transition from a player loving GM to a player loving GM…there is a difference in there. GM Pancho may not physically love his players, but he loves smash mouth football and will defend his players to whoever steps up, if they are wrong. It may not be, “I’m a man and I’m 40”, but the press tend to not come at “The King”. Players dig when a GM will stand up for them and Henry Munzo Jr. will be ready to lead the charge. While Music City may make some noise in the Southern Division, I’m pegging Alabama to win it. When I say that Alabama took a step back, they took a step back from being Alabama, most teams would love to be Alabama on a “down year”. Alabama looks scary strong, but they are in the same conference as D.C. and New Jersey. I could be wrong, but at the end of the day, Alabama may be the best team in the HIFL to not play in the Conference championship game. They are going to be fun to watch, hit you in the mouth, and the silver tongued GM Pancho will keep you engaged.

Atlanta Warriors

Not much news is coming out of Atlanta as they missed their training camp completely. Luckily for GM Rebel, his previous work has a team that is stacked well and looking to play some tough football this year. We will probably see a lot of John Carr handing off to Ezekiel Elliot behind the blocking of Andrew Newberry to much success in their run game if things improve from last year. If teams decide to blitz to stop that fearsome backfield, they will get torched by ever talented Michael Hodge. Defensively there is a lot of “average” on this team. Cavenaugh and Chandler will be tough, but there are linebackers that a run game can exploit in there and that may cause the secondary to have to compensate. No training camp and it taking time to gel in early games may end up keeping this team out of the playoffs this go round. Team chemistry is important and trying to develop it in the preseason and in the first few weeks of the season could spell disaster. But, having a schedule where you play Michigan, St. Paul, and Miami as well as a potentially weakened Orlando only helps. A surprise win against a Cleveland or Music City and they could make a rumble for the playoffs. I wouldn’t count them out, but I would say a playoff birth is likely.

Cleveland Mustangs

GM Dazz had the magic touch last year and is looking to bring that to a top heavy Eastern Conference. Reports coming out of training camp indicate that Caleb Smoak looks better than ever, their secondary showed great improvements in training camp with Burton McAllister, Nathaniel Kim, and Frank Cooney responding well to Coach Blitzer and Coach Hall’s schemes, and Russell Byrd, looking at a contract year, showed some improvement in his run blocking in drills, he may end up with a big pay raise. Who knows, maybe next year he will be a Tulsa Celtic with an $18mm contract? GM Dazz picked up The Cotter and has the coach that can reign him in. If Coach Blitzer can’t teach The Cotter, there may be no hope. GM Dazz had a great round of PR that has Cleveland exctatic and hopes are high that Cleveland will make some noise in the playoffs this year…and they very well could.

DC Cobras

One of the greatest GMs in the history of sports is GM Jon…not just HIFL, but sports. He took a team that hadn’t seen much success and turned them into an every year threat. The defense is one to marvel at. I’m not sure they are as strong as Las Vegas, but bringing in Alfred Glass will help any defense. They, like Rapid City, are moving to a 3-4 and that could cause some growing pains if things don’t click right out the gate, but considering they are in the Eastern conference, it would only be a trip and not a full out fall. Larry Stevens and Steve Wright are going to be LBs that offenses will have nightmares about. Losing Sullivan and Ramos is going to be hard on the offense. Steven Crawford has a chance for redemption, but his offensive line is going to have to protect him. DC has one of the best offensive line’s in the league, so the pressure will be on Crawford’s shoulders…or should I say neck. Most teams are in trouble if they have an offensive linemen go down, but DC actually has depth with an impressive Thomas Wolf licking his chops for an opportunity to play. Corey Rizzo, the future QB of the Cobras franchise, will have some decent leadership to watch from Crawford, but the coaching he will get from Shaun Saint and a determined Dante Blank is going to have this offense firing. It is a lock that they make the playoffs. It’s a lock they make it to the Eastern Conference Finals…but can they beat a strong New Jersey?

Kansas City Bruins

Word coming out of Kansas City is that there was some improvement overall as a team in Bruin land, but they are still reeling some from the final decisions of GM Gooch. Their running game is going to suffer some this year and GM T-Bone has to wonder what it would be like to have Roger Freedman and Kenneth Benjamin to compliment Marcus Mariota in the passing game just to keep teams honest. This will be a pass heavy offense and some added threats will be helpful. Douglas Fowler has the pressure of living up to #1 draft pick billing, but he has the tools to do it. It's just a matter of if Mariota will have time to get the ball to him. Losing tackle Jesus Young will be hard, but he should bring in a good return to help. There are holes around the defense that an early draft pick could help with. Kansas City looks to be in the market to pick up a linebacker early in the 1st like Tulsa…who will land the big catch first?

Las Vegas Scorpions

With a 6-10 record, the Scorpions stung themselves and GM Metro does NOT like that. One of the most competitive GMs in the HIFL will find this team has a great opportunity to redeem themselves this year. The very fast, shotgun offense of Las Vegas returns and we will see a big battle between the top WR threats looking for passes from Michael May. John Pitts was given the nod as their primary receiver, my sources are indicating, and Jonathan Johnson isn’t pleased about that. Johnson isn’t one to mope, so expect to see him work very hard to get open and take that top spot back. Coach Graham has worked this defense into a frenzy and they are going to be killers. Most teams cross their fingers and hope their defense can slow an opponent as their offense scores a ton of points, but other reporters say that Las Vegas is the opposite. While it’s true that their defense is going to be crushers and even if Michael May falls off from expectations, Stephen Shelley is waiting in the wings. I watched Stephen Shelley at the combine and enjoyed his college career. Michael May had better walk a straight line because Shelley is the heir apparent in Las Vegas. If May falls off, Shelley will make an instant impact and could potentially be Rookie of the Year (yes, he’s that good) and when he has a full season as the main QB, we could see an MVP contender. You heard it here first, Stephen Shelley is the real deal…and he fell to the 2nd round. 

Lincoln Pride

This team had some hope for this year, but now without GM Strike Guy morale is sinking. Reports indicate that Giovani Hill had an amazing training camp and is looking to prove his $11mm contract is well spent. Hector Houser will be his primary target but Hill’s targets begin to sink quickly after that. The defense looks good in Lincoln, but their offense may struggle. Theodore Schumacher is in a contract year and will be looking to make some noise to get another big contract. Look at a lower to middle of the pack team this year. There is a lot of good to build off of though.

Long Beach Mermen

It looks like GM Black Death will be taking over control of the Long Beach Mermen, but the disaster of inactive GM work may not be able to fixed this season. Long Beach tasted the sweet nectar of victory and it’s a taste that is leaving at a rapid pace over the past few seasons. GM Black Death finds himself at a cross roads, practically the middle of the bottom of the league. They aren’t rebuilding, but they aren’t really in contention. A few albatross contracts on weaker players keeps them locked in where they are this season. Fortunately for Black Death, Long Beach has 22 players in the final year of their contract. Anderson Ginobili is also in a contract year. If this season crashes and burns, we could end up seeing a completely different team beginning in Season 9. Black Death may want to start trading players and getting draft picks and going young and if Ginobili isn’t the direction he’s wanting to go, picking up a great mind like Tombstone’s Jay Rudino. This looks to be a long season for the fans, staff, players, and executives of Long Beach.

Miami Killer Whales

Max Rhodes looks to play head coach as well as GM this year and other owners are watching intently to see if it’s a key to success. GM’s sometimes can get in their own way and hinder the team. Some teams may look past Miami because their talent isn’t distributed evenly and there are holes to be picked at, but this game needs to be circled on EVERY calendar as a game that GM led franchises try to make a statement. Shawn Simon is in the final year of his contract and as a true freak of nature, may alone keep teams on their toes. A scorned Douglas Barnhart who wasn’t given the reigns in St. Paul may have something to prove, but there may not be enough pieces to throw to outside of Simon, an aging Joseph Dobbins, and Mark Bello. Reports are indicating that Robert Cervantes may surprise some people at Defensive End and offensive tackles are being warned that he could cause them problems. Miami will be toward the bottom of the league, but they are still a team that GMs will want to especially beat.

Michigan Monsters

New Franchise, Michigan Monsters, are building their franchise this year. Their defense shows hope overall and there are strong pieces in different places, but they will need some good draft picks and free agent play to really build here. This is just on paper though, Harry Bryce, Lionel Tomlin, and Travis Freese may work this team into a frenzy and the mascot could match the play of their team…Monsters. Donald Doolittle is a QB that will surprise the league one day, but today isn’t that day. LB Aaron Ledeoux could have a great season this season and is on a contract year. A big pay day may be coming his way. A lot of pressure will be on the bright spots of this team, hopefully Harry Bryce can distribute that effectively. Expectations aren’t high for this team even though the fans seem to have high hopes for them.

Music City Kings

The big news out of Music City is that Noah Rose wants out of Memphis. GM Justin accidentally forgot to utilize the $5.5mm in PR that would’ve made Noah Rose a national name if done properly. GM Justin could look to Seattle who could take that giant contract and could get some nice pieces in return. The Southern Division of the Eastern Conference tends to be the weaker of the two (seriously, New Jersey and D.C. are in the Norther Division), but Music City has a chance to make some noise. Alabama looks to win the division and Orlando and Atlanta are in the hunt, but I wouldn’t count out Music City. Crowder, Hollingsworth, and Carpenter are a great coaching staff, and conditioning guru Dwight Jackman has done wonders. Reports indicate that Music City may be the most fit team in the HIFL. GM Justin has brought in some solid young talent and if they don’t pay of this year, they will for sure in years to come. 

New Jersey Dragons

I talk to plenty of GMs every year and one of the most well liked GMs in the HIFL is GM Kirk. A lot of GMs felt for him as he lead the Dragons to an undefeated season only to fall to the mighty DC Cobras. Some teams at the top lost important pieces, but New Jersey seemed to pick up pieces to fit their system better. While The Cotter and Hagan were great athletes, the impact they had on the psyche of this team was detrimental. GM Kirk has a great team first mentality that trickles down to his players and they work together cohesively. Losing Coach Swope would be a big problem, but Felix Duran was a student of his (so to speak) and will pick up where Swope left off. By way of defensive players, Gilmore Waters had a very productive training camp, my sources say, and is looking to get some playing time. He is in the final year of his contract and if he shows out, he could end up making big money, and I'm sure GM Kirk and his staff hopes it will be in a Dragons uniform. Offensively John Spurgeon still looks crisp and Trevor Jose looked primed for a big season at training camp. Michael Griswold, Christopher Mackey, and surprise Darryl Spurgeon (who had a great training camp) are prime targets for Jose. The offensive line may be slowed down a step, but Kirk can probably pick up a very talented offensive linemen with one of the final few picks in the 1st round of the S9 draft. We will probably see another Eastern Conference Finals battle between New Jersey and DC, and the way things look, New Jersey will be the ones going to the Impact Bowl.

Oakland Silverbacks

GM TJ always has his teams in contention and the S8 version of the Oakland Silverbacks is no different. Sources indicate that they had a great training camp and saw some great improvement in players, but one has to wonder how to fill the cleats of Christopher Allen and Gary Hunter. GM TJ brings in and cultivates leadership and the Oakland Silverbacks team is chock full of leadership. For 3 seasons the offense has produced over 25 points per game. They could repeat that but to break away they will need Tashaun Pate to avoid that injury bug. I believe that Rapid City will win the Impact Bowl and the only team in the West that worries me about that prediction is Oakland. They are well coached, they have a GM that makes smart and calculated moves, and they develop talent. They run a scary 3-4 that will be hard to score on in the air or on the ground. Oakland is a perennial contender and this year is no different. If you are an Oakland fan, buy your tickets to the Western Conference championship, I just have hesitation about you buying Impact Bowl tickets.

Orlando Stampede

GM Cory is the new GM in Orlando and has quite a few great pieces to play with in Orlando. Alphonso Montes, Xavier Best, and Michael Cervantes all have decided to stay in Orlando which should leave the Disney World hometown fans sighing a breath of relief. There is hope that GM Cory will be a bit more stable than the eccentric GM Eddie Phoenix. While the fans enjoyed winning games, doing so with such anxiety can truly be tiring. Having Mervin Patton back will be good, but he just needs more targets. The offensive line will need some help in the future. Chemistry can be a cure sometimes and for this team to have great success, GM Cory will have to work with the coaching staff to develop that. “The General” looks to lead this team to a good record and potential playoff birth this year, but the defense may make that difficult. While Cervantes, Stephens, Logue and Saunders look strong, the secondary may be hurting relying on unproven talents. GM Cory may have some magic up his sleeve to turn Orlando in the Magic Kingdom again and into the playoff picture, but it's going to be hard to do so.

Rapid City Inferno

I’m going to play Nostradam-Rock on this one and say that Rapid City drops a few games early in the season, only to rally and end up winning the Impact Bowl. There will be some growing pains in their transition to a 3-4 defense, but once it clicks…it’s going to be big. Rookie DT Glenn Totten is going to clog up that line and will be impressive. That gets me to the offense. Strong and efficient offensive line, ever confident QB Jose Pruitt, machine RB Jeremy Martin, trustworthy WR Eric Ashworth, and Clint Dickey and Ralph Brown out at WR for Pruitt to throw to…this offense is going to be sick and has great potential to break records. If the Rapid City defense can click and even somewhat slow teams down, Rapid City is going to be a special team to watch this year. Remember, you heard it here first: They drop a few…and then win the Impact Bowl.

San Antonio Knights

Marcus Lawrence looks to make the starting QB job his own while Cardale Jones is still recovering from injury. San Antonio made some improvements, but lingering issues with the coaching transition from Jingle to Bo Action could have some residual effects. If GM Gravedigger can have an even keeled season, they may be a playoff team…next year. There are enough holes in this team that it will be hard for them to make the playoffs. Some holes in the secondary will leave them susceptible to being burned by offenses, but their front 7 are formidable to say the least. A run heavy team will have problems playing San Antonio, and that may be where they win the majority of their games, but unfortunately, this year has some open offenses and San Antonio coaches will have to out think their opponents and not rely on sheer talent along. The offense is strong like last year, but their offensive line is better and that could show improvements. Kenneth Benjamin was a gift that fell in GM Gravedigger’s lap and will be a key to the success of this team. If the passing game takes some time to adjust, this offense’s success or failure will fall on Mr. Benjamin’s shoulders. He has broad shoulders, but he also doesn’t need to be crushed either. San Antonio won’t be drafting near the first of the S9 draft, but they also won’t be in the playoffs. Look for an improved season under an even keeled GM Gravedigger, a good draft and playoff ready San Antonio Knights for S9.

Seattle Rhinos

The biggest winner this offseason may very well be GM Eddie Phoenix. He lands in an extremely good position with a new franchise in Seattle. He has $55mm in salary and could be the beneficiary of other GMs poor decisions. He has quite a bit of PR money, that I would encourage him to use on scouting, the combine, combine interviews, and try not to offer players PR. His propensity to forget to apply it led him to Seattle. Joking aside, Eddie Phoenix thinks differently than most GMs, but he has a successful track record. Barring the PR mishap, one could even dub him the “Mad Hatter” of the HIFL because of his success. Much like GM Gravedigger, if he doesn’t react irrationally to events, he could build Seattle from the ground up into a really good team. There are some great pieces in place here. Charles Todd is reliable, CJ Kirby is a wrecking ball, the offensive line is formidable, and his linebacker corps is strong. A move to a 3-4 might end up benefiting Seattle because of their strength at linebacker, maybe not full time, but for looks it could be important. I don’t think think they are a playoff team this year, but with Eddie Phoenix, you never know. Seattle could end be a surprise if they were in the Eastern conference, but alas, they are in the west and in the same division as a strong Oakland, a decent Lincoln, and my predicted Impact Bowl champion Rapid City. Seattle will show some signs of life this season but will end up with a lottery pick. An offseason with smart picks, wise decision, and a few $15mm contracts to great free agents and Eddie Phoenix will be in a position to shock the world. Andy Graham will do his part, for sure. Win or lose, you can guarantee that Hallquist Memorial Colosseum will be rocking. The fans are ready for some football in Seattle.

St. Paul Lynx

It would be a fair assessment to say that GM Gooch has done more for the St. Paul Lynx in his short time there than he did in his two seasons with the former Missouri Bruins. When GM Gooch took over some of the administrative duties of the team during S7, the team was the worst in just about every category. Bringing in Coach Joan Swope to man the ship and bringing in David Seaton and Vincent Quinn ensures that the coaching staff is on the same page and has a vision for the team. GM Gooch saw that there were only so many draft picks and utilized those to the best of his ability, but brought in a lot of leadership and experienced players. This rebuild will take a few seasons and getting these young players solid advice, great examples, and top notch coaching could help build this franchise. An early trade to Alabama sending troubled Dorial Green-Beckham to GM Pancho raised some eyebrows, but Gooch sees something in in Lynwood Hunter and was able to get experience in Kevin Corral on the offensive line. Lynwood Hunter has had trouble living up to the potential that people thrust upon him and this year could be the year he does it. He dropped a ton of passes and this offseason and a training camp he worked on his hands. This could be the year that Hunter shows greatness. Vega Del Rio will not only have him, but will have rookie Joseph Hickson, an aging but efficient Roy Lemke, RB Adrian McCaffrey, and improved Alphonso Munoz to throw to on top of future hall of famer Bobby Meeks at TE. Teams won’t be able to double team Hunter or they will get burned. It will be Hunter’s season to burn. The ball will be in his hands…literally. St. Paul is shooting to not be a flash in the pan, but get a slow start like a diesel engine. Once this team gets cracking, they will stay cracking. This team is a HUGE improvement in EVERY facet from last year from coaches, to lines, to linebackers, to receivers, to running game, to passing game, to tackling game, to coverage game…are there any more games? They will show some signs of greatness, but they will miss the playoffs and have an early pick in the draft for S9. They might surprise me, but I don’t think this is the season they do.

Tombstone Outlaws

Jon Rudino returns as the head coach of a strong football team that is, barring injury, a lock for the playoffs. GM Powers was able to keep Jay Rudino in place as his offensive coordinator in what turned into a bidding war with St. Paul. Roderick Baker is tickled pink to have Waylon Hagan on board and it was a brilliant move by GM Powers to bring in Jose Mackey who will help the backfield immensely. The problem that I see is that you have Hagan making $15.5mm, Brewster making $15mm, and Gary Hunter making $13mm, that’s $43.5mm invested in 3 players. I’m not saying they aren’t worth it, but pumping that sort of money into three players will leave holes in other places. This is a do or die season and Tombstone has to treat it with the utmost sense of urgency. If they are going to win an Impact Bowl this is the year to do it. The offense is star studded, but there are holes in the defense no matter how brilliant Coach Baker may be. The offense will have to score early and often and the defense will rely on Hagan, Hunter, and Stacy to slow other offenses. That will be hard considering the potent offenses they will face in Rapid City, Oakland, and a surging Las Vegas. I don’t believe this will be GM Powers last year in Tombstone, but I also do not believe that they are going to win the Impact Bowl either. My prediction is a one and done for this Tombstone team, some retooling in the offseason and a strong showing in S9.

Tulsa Celtics

GM Franchise landed in a great position to build a franchise in his image, so to speak. Franchise is one of the more eccentric GM’s of the HIFL and had his sights set on big players in Free Agency. He pulled in amazing grabs like Christian Sullivan for an astonishing $20mm contract, Gerbert Styles and Miguel Alexander to man what looks to be a formidable offensive line. He signed Running back Christopher Allen and legendary fullback Philip Moorman to complement the offense, Reports are indicating that WR Ricky Lackey worked hard during the offseason and is looking better, but that was assessed during Tulsa’s limited training camp. For all of the focus that GM Franchise put on offense, he seemingly left his defense alone barring Gregory Neal and Ronny Santiago. I’m not a betting man, but if I were, Tulsa will be using their very early draft pick to pick up a linebacker in the S9 draft.

Rankings & Playoffs

Rankings –
West –
1.   Rapid City Inferno
2.   Oakland Silverbacks
3.   Tombstone Outlaws
4.   Las Vegas Scorpions
5.   San Antonio Knights
6.   Lincoln Pride
7.   Kansas City Bruins
8.   Long Beach Mermen
9.   Tulsa Celtics
10.   Seattle Rhinos

East –
1.   New Jersey Dragons
2.   D.C. Cobras
3.   Alabama Nighthawks
4.   Cleveland Mustangs
5.   Music City Kings
6.   Atlanta Warriors
7.   Orlando Stampede
8.   St. Paul Lynx
9.   Michigan Monsters
10.   Miami Killer Whales

Playoffs –

East - Rapid City vs. Las Vegas
East - Oakland vs Tombstone
Western Finals - Rapid City vs. Oakland

West - New Jersey vs. Cleveland
West - D.C. vs. Alabama
Eastern Finals - D.C. vs. New Jersey

Rapid City vs. New Jersey

Rapid City – S8 Impact Bowl Champions

Right, wrong, or indifferent these are my conclusions. But there is a reason they play the games. We are going to get twists, turns, mistakes, and triumphs. I’m excited for Season 8 of the HIFL. It may be the best yet.

Rockwell Locke
Sports Journalist out of Dallas

« Last Edit: December 02, 2016, 04:58:13 PM by GM Gooch »
GM Kirk [12|Mar 04:19 PM]: Gooch, how much did you bribe the HIFLPA to help you steal all my players?
GM TJ [12|Mar 04:21 PM]: Lolololololololooooooooooollllllllllll
Disgraced GM Powers [12|Mar 04:24 PM]: The league is #TeamGooch
GM Gravedigger [12|Mar 04:25 PM]: It's because he's so nice....
GM Gravedigger [12|Mar 04:25 PM]: Unnaturally nice...
GM Adam Wrong [12|Mar 04:25 PM]: I love gooch
GM Gravedigger [12|Mar 04:26 PM]: Everyone loves Gooch, except Kirk...
GM Phoenix [12|Mar 04:28 PM]: Almost makes you think gooch is reincarnate red skull trying to live a double nice guy life on hifl
GM Gravedigger [12|Mar 04:31 PM]: Gooch's heel turn will rival Hogan....

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« Reply #54 on: January 04, 2017, 10:14:49 PM »
3-Point Conversion Radio

Episode 1: "Mass Produced Dissappointment"

GM Black Death joins Thad Bone for the first installment of the 3-Point Conversion, in which he continues his feud with Kyle Aquino (or Kyle's feud with him, depending on who you ask), and turns into a chipmunk in the outtakes!

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« Reply #55 on: February 07, 2017, 09:52:18 PM »
The great fans of HIFL, this is Howard McAfee coming to you out of semi-retirement.  My editor notified me that Season 8 of the HIFL isn't getting much coverage so he wanted our small publication to pounce on the opportunity.  So here I am, almost past my bedtime, and yet to have my nightly bourbon to talk HIFL!

In an effort to spice up this column, my editor has put me in touch with two...shall I say..unique individuals.  With me tonight are Jonny Quinn and Uncle Tony, aka Superfan, aka the bastard child of Mr. Quinn.

Gentlemen, welcome!  Are you ready to talk some HIFL football?

Jonny:  "I know I'm ready, Uncle Tony is still releasing his demons, if ya know what I mean."

Howard: "Ah old age affords me many opportunities to have relations with the porcelain gods."

Tony: "Had to take a breather there for a second boys. Luckily for you twose I have blessed this house."

Jonny: "Unfortunately, not my nostrils."

Howard: "I actually appreciate you for have sufficiently burned some of the excess nostril hairs that I have.
I digress, lets get to some football.

Alright, so we are in Season 8 of HIFL and almost three quarters of the way through the season.  It just seems like yesterday that the season just started.  With that being said, my bedtime is fastly approaching so lets jump right into this.  I'd like to start with the Western Conference, specifically the Northern Divison.  Rapid City, Kansas City, Oakland, Lincoln, and Seattle...that is the current standings based on record.   

Anything in particular about the division that stands out to either of you?"

Tony: "Once again GM Kirk and his New Jersey Dragons get no respect. Why we got to start with the bums instead of the meat of the HIFL?!?"

Jonny: "How you can call Rapid City a bum, is quite baffling there Tony."

Howard: "Well, if my short term memory serves me correctly...GM Kirk has employed a bunch of cheaters."

Tony: "You ever been to Rapid City? It's a bum town run by a bum owner. And don't get me started on snitches."

Howard: "Since we are on the subject of Rapid City, let's start there....are either of you surprised by their season thus far?"

Tony: "Where I come from we deal with rats one way. A permanent fishing trip."

Jonny: "Howard, the thing that stands out to me in that division is no real threat to Rapid City. Preseason you think Oakland is right there with them, maybe even the favorites. Lincoln had some talent, but GM Strike left town and they lost their smile."

Tony: Jonny Come Lately over here is right. They're the big dog in a small pond. Never had to take a punch in their life

Tony: So they walk around like they got a pair

HOWARD: I'm sure its safe to say they have the division won...but what happened to Oakland?  Surely everyone thought they would be more competitive

Jonny: Faith in Pate. That's what has happened to Oakland.

Tony: GM Big Puss loved to pound the rock but since he took over he's lost his two starting RB. Even a dummies got to out two and two together

Jonny: I think it's a sign that big changes are going to be coming for the Silverbacks in the offseason.

HOWARD: Ah yes...he has had some trouble under center to say the least.

HOWARD: GM TJ definitely has some work to do in the offseason to retool that team.

Tony: Retool?

Jonny: Howard, I'm not so sure GM TJ will be around to retool.

Tony: More like relocate

HOWARD: Mr. Quinn, are you suggesting he will get the boot?

Jonny: Coming off a Impact Bowl runner-up season... to what we've seen thus far. I don't see him surviving, no.

Tony: Considering Big Puss drinking problem he'll land with the losing Impact Bowl team as there offensive coordinator

HOWARD: So no leverage with being runner up?

Tony: GM Mexico won the damn thing and got shipped

HOWARD: Speaking of drinking problem...I need my nightly bourbon

Tony: You think losing gonna buy you leverage?

HOWARD: Fair point Jonny

HOWARD: Moving along...KC is second in the division, do either of you think they have enough in the tank to make the playoffs as wildcard?

Tony: I like this team. They got some LB that know how to hit. Like my ma used to when I acted out of turn

Jonny: I'm rooting for them. But with constant injuries to Mariota, I think they are a team playing above their talent level right now.

Jonny: I think they are building for a very promising future though.

HOWARD: I'm of the opinion that they have to upgrade at running back

Tony: Nonsense. They got a kid up and coming

Tony: Gonna be a force to be reckoned with

HOWARD: That bowling ball they have in Force is not cutting it

Tony: Who you calling bowling ball there Mr. Anti virus?

HOWARD: Henry Force

Tony: You couldn't be more wrong. Force is gonna be somebody

Jonny: I think it's still early to say it's not cutting it, don't you think?

HOWARD: Going to be somebody...he's in his second year...and he's a running run the damn ball.  How much time
are you going to give him? Grab the ball and hit the hole

Tony: This aint your prom night Mr. Anti Virus.

HOWARD: If they had a better running game maybe Mariota doesn't get beat up as much

Jonny: Perhaps, but I think as long as Mariota is allowed to use his legs, he's going to be exposed to big hits.

HOWARD: Well I guess I will have to agree to disagree with you two...after all, y'all are apparently family and are going to stick together.

HOWARD: GM Phoenix and the Rhinos rest at the bottom of the division.  At this point he should be looking towards the draft and free agency....agreed?

Tony: GM Fenix needs to call the queer guys for the straight guy so they can show him how to not bend over on these trades.  Nothing wrong with liking the salami just dont do it on company time capishe?

Jonny: Absolutely. I know he made a couple deadline trades, but his real focus needs to be on the draft and free agency and building this team up.

HOWARD: We wish him well...they need it.

HOWARD: Let's get to the southern division.  It's a two team race...Scorpions and Outlaws

Jonny: I wish Seattle well... they need it.

HOWARD: They are a game apart...who you picking to win the division at this point?

Jonny: I'm going Tombstone. They have the offensive fire power and have you seen what Curt Robles has been doing?

Tony: I'm going with Vegas for two reason.  One it's my kind of town and Two GM on a Powers Trip needs to take it down a notch or two


HOWARD: Robles has been amazing...but Vegas has a defense and an offense

HOWARD: I don't trust tombstone's offensive line

Tony: GM Power Trip is putting a spotlight on his organization

Tony: you never want that kind of attention

Tony: every team has dirt on it and the more you talk about how clean you are

Tony: the dirtier you are underneath

HOWARD: He definitely took a unique approach with the whole PED situation


Tony: He just wants to smile for the cameras but who privately tested first? GM Kirk

Tony: He belongs in Long Beach near Hollywood with his act



Tony: ... anyways

Tony: Go Vegas

Jonny: I think we're losing focus on the actual question here.

HOWARD: you ever shut up?

HOWARD: have enough faith in Tombstone's offensive line to keep Brewster upright?

Jonny: Vegas is a team that didn't change a great deal from last season's disappointing one. I think if May can keep playing the way he has, they can do it. But Tombstone has the proven track record of getting the job done. As for keeping Brewster upright, the trade GM Powers made for Jamal Seal was great move.

HOWARD: Rest of the division isn't much to talk about...but am I the only one surprised by San Antonio's season?

HOWARD: I figured Bo Action would have had a greater impact on that team

Jonny: I think they have improved from last season, but they have been bit by the injury bug. I think I saw somewhere they
have started four different quarterbacks.

Tony: San Antonio I'm gonna love in two seasons if Mr. Grave doesn't dig himself into a whole

Tony: they got a back that can pound the rock

HOWARD: This is true...they have had some injuries at the quarterback position.  I still think they are underperforming overall

Tony: and a defense they can build around

HOWARD: mention two you think GM Digger has two seasons to really make the team a force?

Tony: Johnny come lately is right they just need to find a QB.  If he can continue to show improvement yes as long as he is patient...this year he improves on a record next year he competes for a playoff spot, but if he hasnt found a franchise qb by then he is in trouble, but if he trades the future for the present and misses ... thats how fools lose their jobs

HOWARD: Next team is Tulsa and the always volatile GM Franchise...they sit at 4-6...would that be considered a surprise?

Jonny: In my opinion with the offense they put together... I thought they'd be better. Goes to show that you can't ignore
defense completely.

Tony: I say GM France is doing the right thing

Tony: focused on one side of the ball to competitive and get some wins

HOWARD: Indeed, they have a great running game, but that defense is...well...shitty

Tony: next season if he can fix that defense he gots himself something

HOWARD: Think he will last until next season?  He still has five games to blow something up

Tony: its an expansion team better to focus on one side than spread the talent ... if instead of a QB and RB combo he did a QB
and LB combo he would have less than those four wins

HOWARD: Point well taken.

HOWARD: Long Beach is without GM Black Death at the moment, in which we all wish him a speedy recovery.  Let's move onto some predictions.

HOWARD: Who are you playoff teams out of the West and who is your pick to represent the conference in the Impact Bowl?

Jonny: Division winners are Rapid City and Tombstone. Wildcards go to Vegas and Oakland. I like Rapid City to represent the West.

HOWARD: Tony....

Tony: I got Las Vegas as the rep; with Rapid City, Kansas City, and Tombstone

HOWARD: So one for RC and one for Vegas...only time will tell

HOWARD: I'm old and have bladder issues...before we get to the Eastern Conference...I have to urinate

HOWARD: Alright, I'm back.  Let's start with the northern division in the Eastern Conference.  Once again, the Dragons are atop the division and are dominating the competition.  Is this team better than last season's>

Tony: As a unit most definitely. They got rid of some individual divas from last year and are easily my pick to not only rep the East but win the throphy

HOWARD: Your papi sure is taking forever

Jonny: I agree with Tony Two Tone.

HOWARD: Do they have a real weakness?

Tony: Themselves.  GM Kirk got to let go this holier than thou stuff.  We Jersey baby owned by Chinese company dont matter if it got a lil stink on it long as its a bread winner.

Jonny: We will have to see how this investigation unfolds. GM Kirk opened up a skeleton closet I don't think he ever intended to open.

Tony: Maybe he should have hired you Mr. Anti Virus, get rid of some Malware

HOWARD: True...but I have a class action lawsuit against fact...GM Justin is apart of that if I'm not mistaking

HOWARD: Back to football...Cleveland and the two-time defending champs, DC are neck and neck.  Who finishes second in the division?

Tony: Anybody want to tell me whos throwing the rock in DC?

Tony: cause until they answert that question I got BelieveLand

Jonny: Reggie "Turnover" Lawson is not the answer behind center for DC. I'm with their fan base... WE WANT CRAWFORD!

HOWARD: Fair point Tony...but it's really hard to discount GM Jon and that assassin of a kicker they have

HOWARD: Do you think we see Crawford back this season?

Jonny: If DC wants to make the playoffs, yes.

Tony: Ditto Johnny Come Lately

Jonny: It's as simple as that.

HOWARD: You think GM Jon relaxes on his indefinite suspension just for the sake of making the playoffs

Tony: Push comes to damn right

Jonny: We've already seen him being reactivated, just inactive on game days.  Only a matter of time I think.  Regardless, I still
think Cleveland has the chops to finish second.

HOWARD: Ok....St. Paul is right on the heels of both teams...just two games separate second and they have enough firepower to make a run?

Jonny: I really like the way St. Paul is playing this season. They play hard from beginning to end and I have to clap my hands for GM Gooch and the brilliant hire of Coach Swope. It's already paying dividends.

Tony: And where did Swope come from?


HOWARD: That's great and all...but both of you didn't answer my damn question

Tony: Don't think GM Cooch makes it this year

Jonny: I don't think they match up with the elite in that division at the end of the day.

Tony: that Del Rio kid must think he is running from Trump every time he takes a loss of yards

HOWARD: Michigan rests at the bottom of the cellar..and, well...they don't deserve our time.

Tony: I got to say though about Michigan. I love how ruthless they are

HOWARD: Let's move onto the southern division.

Tony: They clipped Rapid City's nuts when they stole Sanderson from them and the same for GM Mexico gifting them a draft pick

HOWARD: The Kings are at the top of the division, with Orlando close behind....stop interrupting Tony before I get your papi on
you!  Where was I.....oh yeah....the Kings at the top of the they finish the season at the top?

Jonny: I think they do. They've played the most consistent piece of football throughout the season.

Tony: Only cause the rest of that division keeps killing their own momentum.  I think the Kings are fools gold come playoff time

HOWARD: What part is fools gold?

Tony: that boy aint no King I can tell you that...we see these SEC QB come out of college hyped like a mofo.  That boy gonna
prove he more jester than King

HOWARD: So their offense will be their downfall?

Tony: I'm telling you there a bad turnover day away from getting demolished

Jonny: I don't know I'd go that far. But the inexperience in the playoffs is going to hurt them when they play the giants in that conference.

HOWARD: Carmazzi has previously shown to be a turnover king at times

HOWARD: The battle for second is between the new guy, GM Cory and GM Mexico for second

HOWARD: Who you got?

Tony: I got GM Boy Meets World....GM Mexico is at it again. Second year on a franchise and he's gone trade happy.  Cost him
his job last time

Jonny: I'm taking GM Pancho on this one.

Tony: gonna do the same this year

Tony: How GM Kirk ever lost to this goombah i'll never understand

HOWARD: He's been on a trading tear....will it be his demise?

Jonny: Did he make some questionable moves during the deadline... maybe. But overall, he did improve the team.  And if Ortega can stay healthy, having a duo like DGB and Houser to throw too is mighty tasty.

HOWARD: Arguably the best receiving duo in the you think it works out?

Tony: You think a man like Houser can take a backseat to some out of control kid?

Jonny: It depends on if Houser buys in or not. That will be GM Pancho's job to do that.

Tony: One so far has been a flash in the pan

Tony: the other a constant in the season for a long time

HOWARD: That is going to be a tough one.  Houser taking a backseat... I don't see it happening

HOWARD: Let's touch on you think John Carr is out after this season?

Jonny: He should be, the season is lost. If that is who they feel the QB of the future of that franchise is. Protect him.

Tony: I think Atlanta blows up.  Worse than Oakland

Jonny: I don't want to skip Orlando so quickly though.

HOWARD: Ok...let's go back to Orlando

Jonny: I think GM Cory has done a good job picking up the scattered pieces GM Eddie left behind.

Tony: Amazing Job Johnny come Lately

HOWARD: I would have to agree with that.  I definitely thought Orlando was done

Tony: to think at there week one performance and how they have turned that around?

Jonny: He's done the smart thing making little moves here and there... like acquiring Holt. I see big things for the Stampede next season.

HOWARD: Do you think they have what it takes to stay ahead of Bama...or even catch the Kings?

Jonny: I do not.

Tony: Winning the division? small chance

Jonny: As I see only one playoff team out of the South. And that's Music City.

HOWARD: Let's carry on back to Atlanta...does GM Rebel survive after the season?

Jonny: I don't think survives the rest of the this season.

Tony: but staying ahead of Bama easily I got to disHe doesnt even finish the season...Whoa sorry to burp.  Like I said agreeing with Johnny come Lately on Atlanta.  She's dead Jon

HOWARD: So both of you are predicting he doesn't even make it to the end of the season?

Jonny: Correct.

Tony: Fugged bout it

HOWARD: Bold prediction.

HOWARD: Alright, Miami is a the bottom, they have shown some fight, but they do not have a GM so we will keep it moving.  It's my bedtime.

HOWARD: Playoff teams out of the East and who represents in the Impact Bowl?

Tony: Jersey represents and WINS.  Division winners are Jersey and Music City. Wildcard teams are Cleveland and D.C.

Tony: I got Stangs Kings Stampede

Jonny: I think Cleveland represents the East.

HOWARD: Tony has Jersey...who is your Impact Bowl Mr. Quinn?

Jonny: Rapid City.

HOWARD: Gentlemen, we have finished at a decent enough time for me to get my beauty rest.  I appreciate both of you for your time and opinions.  Any parting thoughts?

Jonny: The other side of the pillow is always cooler, unless Uncle Tony urinates on it.

Tony: I ain't no Russian trump prosti.  Go Jersey!!

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« Reply #56 on: February 12, 2017, 06:53:46 PM »
3-Point Conversion Radio

Editor's Note: I apologize for this. The technical team ran into several technological and quality control issues, that in lieu of the recording of the entire episode, the transcript will be provided along with the GM Phoenix interview. These problems should be rectified for future episodes. Thank you.

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT the 3-point conversion! I am your host, the camp of the champs, Thad Bone. Our show is produced by Meredith Green, and music is provided by Kevin MacCloud. The 3-Point Conversion can be heard on, and downloaded anywhere you find EPZN podcasts. We're sponsored by Frank Delvichio's legitimate business, and T-Bone you better not imply this business is anything but legitimate...or else.

We have such an episode scheduled this week. Later on I have an exclusive interview with the GM of the surprising 5-4 Orlando Stampede. I've done my due diligence as a reporter, I have a list of questions for him as long as my arm. It promises to be an entertaining segment.

So, big news in the HIFFLE world. Where do I even start? Well, we've had our first QB go down for the season. Rookie Jonathan Wright was placed on injured reserve. Let me highlight this for you. Rookie, Quarterback, Injured Reserved. Absolutely ridiculous. It's a hamstring injury, and those injuries follow you around for the rest of your career. I'm done being angry about this. Why should I? We've got a fucking PED scandal!

I know what the network wants me to talk about. What the league wants you talking about. Here's the difference between the injury scandal and the drug scandal. The injury scandal can be directly linked to league policy. They are the fault of the league, and the league is liable. Drugs however...they are the fault of the players. The league gets to play the hero by getting the PEDs out of the league. That's what they want us talking about.

And here I am, another stooge talking about it. I don't mean to make light of a serious issue, because it is serious. I just think it's important to recognize the difference between the stories the HIFFLE wants you to be thinking about, and the one they don't. Injury problem? keep your mouth shut. PED problem? Blame everybody else!

But, let's get into this. Let's go down this rabbit hole. For the uninformed, PED scandals have happened several times in the league. The who and what isn't important, but the how. How does this continue to happen to football in 2016? The testing methods available right now to determine PED use are numerous. Yes you idiots tweeting me on twitter, HGH can be tested for too.

It's baffling to me not who this happened to, but how it happened. The list in Governor Turpin's report includes a who's who of HIFFLE players and staff. There's of course Stephen Crawford...of course there's Stephen Crawford. How else do you expect him to recover from a broken neck? I think a lot of people forget what HGH is supposed to be used for. It's prescribed by doctors to help people recover from injuries. The funny thing about HGH is that there is no evidence to suggest that it helps athletes perform better. But I'm not here to give you guys a science lesson. Most athletic organizations ban its use, and they have the right to do so. Before you text the show to I'm not defending or justifying anyone's decision to use it. Nor am I saying it's good or bad. I'm just pointing out that it is used for legitimate reasons. If you want to fire me, tweet at ESPNFanzone. That should do it.

I think Crawford is an interesting case. For what he represents, and the responses to him. DC made him a pariah. While some other General Managers decided to let their star player eat a temporary ban, or trade them to another team, GM Jon, a friend of the show mind you, made the curious decision to give him an indefinite suspension. You know I'm the biggest GM Jon defender out there, so I can only assume his decision was well informed. But the perception of it is crazy. DC fans are clamoring for GM Jon to end the suspension. Fans of other teams are calling for Crawford to be banned from the sport permanently. Take away his well-earned shot at the Hall of Fame. This is absolutely ridiculous of course. But hey, the league gets a villain and you continue to support the league with your money. It's a happy ending for everyone involved.

He said sarcastically while transitioning to his next point.

It's just, crazy. I think the best part of all this is how certain GMs reacted to it. GM Powers held a press conference early on in the controversy to try and get ahead of it. Some applauded it, but let's be honest it was a nice bit of grandstanding. Not to be outdone, GM Kirk hired his own one ring circus and has a private investigator scheduled to violate the CBA in his facility. Now I'm of two minds on this. In some respects, GM Powers and GM Kirk are picking up the slack the league should have from the beginning. To be fair, the league has had years to care about this issue and the legal means to do something about it, and they've done the bare minimum. Good on them for wanting to tackle the PED problem in their organizations. Bad on them for grandstanding to the public for it.

It's a perception thing of course. Fairly or unfairly, GM Kirk and the New Jersey Dragons have a perception that they will do anything and everything to win, so PEDs fit in the realm of possibilities. Steven Cotter was caught a few seasons ago, and the Dragons were never actually cleared of wrong doing. Heck, they employed him the following season anyway, suggesting some wrong doing after all. GM Kirk is often criticized by the fans, and by other GMs. GM Bone's takedown of him in a press conference last season went viral. But you know what I say to all that? The man has lost two games in 2 seasons. Maybe he's cheating, or maybe he's good at his job. Or maybe the New Jersey Dragons are a conspiracy made by and for the benefit of the Chinese.

That last one was a joke.

I think this could be a good thing. Where the Dragons and the Outlaws are being proactive can be an example for the league. But let's make sure we credit the right people. I will not be singing Commissioner Wilkinson's praises if and when the league's policy changes for the better. We shouldn't be prepared to celebrate a league for finally doing its job. Maybe the GMs Association should also get a seat at the negotiation table? Something to think about.

Okay, time to justify my exorbitant contract. Guys, it's almost Valentine's Day, and what better way to keep your lady happy then with a dozen beautiful roses through Proflowers? delivers high-quality flowers guaranteed for 7 days or your money back. Exclusively for 3-Point Conversion listeners is a dozen red roses, a glass vase and a box of chocolates for 19.99. Just go to, hit the radio icon, and type in the code 8080. That's 8 0 8 0. But only for a limited time.

Did I do that right, Meredith?



Well, that's our show. We ran long on the first segment and interview. Big questions remain. Will I finally get GM Jon on this show? And how will the PED saga end? *Sigh* I have to keep talking about this boring scandal don't I? Okay, goodnight everyone.



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« Reply #57 on: February 15, 2017, 03:30:18 PM »


This week we take a look at the players most likely to be designated as their teams' franchise player.  Which potential free agents could warrant the Franchise tag, a designation that guarantees a 1 year contract worth an average of the top five salaries at that players position?

We'll take a look at each team's most likely franchise tag target, and rank them from most to least likely.  With the 2018 salary cap expected to raise by up to 5 Million dollars, some teams will have tons of salary cap room to spend, especially those like Seattle, Michigan, and Miami that did not over-spend in 2017, keeping cost low across the board with a number of short or one year contracts.


Orlando Stampede - Mervin Patton QB, est. tag cost $18.75MM
While the Franchise Tag figure for a generic QB this offseason is figured to be around $17.25MM, Merv Patton's current salary requires the 25% pay increase clause to trigger meaning the highly efficient field general would become the 3rd highest paid QB behind only Christian Sullivan and Caleb Smoak.  While agent James T. Crain will definitely be looking to match or surpass Sullivan's $20MM per year salary in a long term deal, GM Cory will have to decide if that is a price he is willing to pay, but its hard to believe that The General will be allowed to hit the open market after ERFA ends, even if the tag is only used to insure Orlando receives compensation for his departure.

Oakland Silverbacks - Shawn Simon TE, est. tag cost $7.75MM
Much like Orlando and Patton, Oakland would be foolish not to tag Shawn Simon who is a steal at $2MM per year right now, but is still a bargain at 7.75MM per season considering many view him as a wide receiver who is labeled a tight end.  Steven Rosenhaus will argue that Simon should be paid as the top TE in the league, and he wouldn't be wrong.


Music City Kings - Erik Pitts WR, est. tag cost $11MM
The Kings biggest off-season priority will now be replacing the departed GM Justin who surprised everyone when he bolted from the first place Kings to the Tombstone Outlaws; once they hire a GM, he will have to decide if keeping the teams most electric offensive weapon is worth the cost he may command.  Long term Pitts projects to continue to get better but he has always been followed by the dark cloud of "character issues" that haunted him at the University of Texas.  Risk vs. Reward and value come to question for the next GM of the Kings.

Alabama Nighthawks - Dorial Green-Beckham WR est. tag cost $11MM
If this was based on talent alone, I would have D.G.B. listed in the HIGHLY LIKELY section, but the enigmatic and oft-controversial wide receiver has found off-field troubles at every stop along the way in his short career.  in 3 seasons, DGB has been on 3 different teams and despite his production at each stop, he is still seen as some rival GMs as a player that would not even get a contract offer if he was on the open market.  Alabama's trade for Hector Houser and his multi-year contract makes DGB somewhat expendable if GM Pancho can't get him back on a deal that he finds appealing and fruitful for both sides.

New Jersey Dragons - David Wilson DE, est. tag cost $10MM
While the early reports out of Newark seem to imply that most of the Dragons' free agents plan to at least test the open market at the recommendation of the HIFLPA who is still clearly unhappy with GM Kirk for his well documented investigation fiasco.  However GM Kirk showed two years ago that he will franchise a player in order to trade them, even if they do not like the move. (See Michael May to Las Vegas), and after a strong resurgence to his career, David Wilson looks like a premier pass rusher who is hitting the market at the right time.

Las Vegas Scorpions - Jeffrey Harlow DE, est. tag cost $10MM
With several players on the free agent's to-be list in Las Vegas could Merit the franchise tag like John Pitts and David Nelson, Harlow is a player at a position that has become a coveted one by GM's over the past two seasons, Defensive end.  As a young and explosive sack artist who also plays well against the run, Harlow will command top dollar.  However Vegas may not be able to afford to keep him which could lead to either a tag-and-trade situation, or an outright clean break.

Kansas City Bruins - Josue Luce OT, est. tag cost $10MM
The KC Bruins have both of their starting offensive tackles hitting the market this offseason, but only Josue Luce can brag that he helps keep Marcus Mariotta upright.  While Jesus Young has sacrificed 11 sacks so far this season Luce has only allowed 2 which is right on pace for another great season from the former #2 overall pick.  Luce is a candidate to collect his first Pro Bowl honors this season, and with that he is also likely to be looking for a nice pay day, one that GM Bone may struggle to satisfy while having to either retain Jesus Young or find another starting tackle.


Rapid City - Kenny Johnson OT, est. tag cost $10MM
Another player who deserves some love in the pro bowl considerations, 7th year man Kenny Johnson has been a rock for the Inferno since arriving in Rapid City.  His 15 allowed sacks over the last 3 seasons has been a vital part of why Jose Pruitt has found so much success in the Inferno's scorched earth offense, however a $10MM dollar price tag, the new contract handed out to James Steed, and the expiring deal of recently acquired George Gaskins makes it seem unlikely that Rapid City can afford to hand out another big money deal before things get out of hand in the salary cap department.

DC Cobras - Alfred Glass CB, est. tag cost $17.5MM
While the tag price for a corner is actually estimated to be around 11MM this season, Alfred Glass would be due to make $17.5MM based on the 25% increase, as a player who already makes more than the franchise tag average cost.  While Glass is hands down the best corner in the game GM Jon may struggle to offer him a contract worth more annually than superstar linebacker Larry Stevens is receiving (15MM per season), and that could lead to Alfred Glass once again putting his services on the open market where he could re-set the bar for defensive players across the league.

Atlanta Warriors - Michael Hodge WR, est. tag cost $12.5MM
While Michael Hodge has a performance trigger in his contract that would return him to Atlanta for another season at $10MM if he reaches 80 catches on the season, he is currently projected to finish just short of the 80 catch mark.  If he does, Atlanta would have to decide if the most controversial WR in the league (and with DGB that is saying something...) is worth the money, the headache, and the year-to-year circus that would come with one year contracts for the dynamic big play threat. With GM Rebel or whoever takes the reigns in ATL next season needing to add more talent around the board, he could be allowed to hit the market.

Lincoln Pride - Theodore Schumacher CB, est. tag cost $11.25MM
A player who will receive tons of phone calls during free agency if he is allowed to reach the open market, Theo Schumacher is a corner who has played well in all 8 of his HIFL seasons but is said to want out of Lincoln unless GM/Coach Michael Campbell is let go.  However even at $11.25MM, he would be an attractive trade piece if Lincoln chose to tag-and-trade, especially for a team willing to trade and then negotiate a longer term deal.

Tombstone Outlaws - Burton Tibbetts WR, est. tag cost $13.75MM
With a new sheriff in town, Tombstone is a wildcard when it comes to personnel decisions.  Burton Tibbetts, the leading touchdown catcher in league history is no spring chicken, and with Martin Back under contract for another year and clearly capable of being the #1 target, the Outlaws could let Tibbetts walk and save a big chunk of salary cap on a #2 receiver.  With the Offensive focus still running through Curt Robles, it seems very unlikely that Tombstone spends big on Tibbetts when defensive end and offensive line could be prioritized this off-season.


St. Paul Lynx
GM Gooch has done a great job turning a little into a lot, and he will be happy to look at his roster and see that none of his critical pieces on defense are hitting the open market.

Michigan Monsters
The Monsters of the Midwest may not have a single player on the team worth a franchise tag, unless you count Philip Sanderson as elite..

Cleveland Mustangs
With a highly paid QB and Linebacker already on the books and a potential contract extension/raise for the dynamic "Turnover" Taylor, Cleveland wouldn't want to fork out franchise tag money to anyone.

Miami Killer Whales
Miami moved high profile free agents to-be like Dobbins and Simon for draft picks to build for the future.

Seattle Rhinos
As with the other "expansion" or "import" teams this year, not many players that are expiring are worth retaining, let alone franchising.

Long Beach Mermen
Long Beach's best talent are young and under contract, no need to overpay here.

San Antonio Knights
Working into potential playoff contention for the first time in franchise history, the Knights have talent hitting the market, but with other WR's on the roster, Luigi Lewis isn't a real franchise tag possibility.

Tulsa Celtics
In need of a total renovation of the defense, look for Tulsa to be aggressive on the market and in the draft.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2017, 02:03:47 PM by Talon »
GM Kirk [21|May 12:29 AM]:   When trade fever hits, math is the first casualty.

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« Reply #58 on: February 17, 2017, 01:25:42 PM »
South East – Free Agency Preview


Key Free Agent: Christopher Chandler

While some would argue that Michael Hodge is key for this team, Chandler’s presence as a pass rush specialist in a market bereft of them might make him the most coveted player on the market. With no off field concerns to his name, Chandler is likely to command a deal that resets the market for pass rushers and with no obvious replacement it’s key for GM Rebel – or whoever takes over the team – to ensure Chandler returns or at minimum that they get something of value for him.

Elsewise – it is going to be a busy off-season in Atlanta with a number of players on offense eligible for free agency. However with Zeke and Noah Rose as two lynch-pins, and John Carr establishing himself in the Mervin Patton mold, it may make sense for Atlanta to spend on the offensive line and establish a dominant ground and pound game similar to what Oakland has previously been successful with. A road grater on the inside like Harold Gallegos may be more effective than a similar outlay for a wide receiver. A talented tight end who can be a weapon in the passing game and block down may be the best fit for this team but that play may not exist on the market this year.


Key Free Agent: Abraham Bittner

Flush with cap space, draft capital, and no long term commitments that look like albatross’, Miami may very well control the flow of the off-season. Bittner represents an above average cornerback and as more and more teams move the ball in a spread offense those carry value. If he hits the market he could be a sneaky signing for someone looking to upgrade on the boundary but I doubt Rhodes let’s that happen.

Known more for building through the draft, I wouldn’t expect Rhodes to be a major player in free agency, at least at the top level despite being flush in cap space. That my change if Mervin Patton hits the free agent market but otherwise I look to Miami to make a couple of “smart signings” that don’t catch the headlines but may pay dividends next season. Sneaky prediction here that they maybe “over-pay” Ian McIntyre from New Jersey but it ends up looking like a bargain next season.


Key Free Agent: Bruce Wilkinson

Sure – he’s not hitting the market this off-season but redoing his contract should be number one priority for GM Pancho in the off-season. I see no way Wilkinson signs a long term deal once next season starts and with Harlow, Chandler, and Gaskins all likely to see contracts that come close to Cobbs’ deal, the franchise tag cost begins to grow. A deal with Wilkinson that mirrors Cobbs, tearing up the final year of his rookie deal, may be enough to get one of the best defensive players in the league locked up long term.

Otherwise GM Pancho has already started by ensuring that DGB stays a member of the Nighthawks. Off the field concerns aside, DGB can ball out and if he manages to stay on track this may be a great signing for GM Pancho. With Houser and DGP, and a developing Jamie Ortega the offense may soon mirror the defense in ‘Bama. I wouldn’t expect Alabama to be big players in free agency, but look for them to look to mirror what Las Vegas has done under GM Metro and that’s wait until the end of the off-season and look to make some value signings by offering playing time to help people build/rebuild value on 1 year deals.


Key Free Agent: Mervin Patton.

It goes without saying that teams flush with cap space are salivating at the change to add a premier starting quarterback at no cost to them other than money. Though many teams seem to have a starter or are already hedged on a QB of the future, I could see a couple of teams being interested in Patton even at the cost of 2 1sts. New Jersey comes to mind if Jose retires, Eddie Phoenix’s signing of Brian Owen despite the presence of Charles Todd and history with Patton may make sense. A sleeper – if Michael May hangs it up, maybe Vegas … loaded as always with draft capital makes a big dick move. Patton’s ability to protect the ball and the resurgent run game in Vegas may be too much for GM Metro to ignore.

This off-season might be a calm one in Orlando, a welcome change from GM Phoenix. Logue, Wentworth and Gallegos will likely take a large bite out of any remaining cap space they have after protecting Patton at all costs. One player GM Cory should look at however is bringing Julian Carr of Alabama. They’ve missed Sam Rose this season and having him patrolling center field may allow them to increase the heat coming from the front seven and allow Logue and Holt to make plays.

Music City

Key Free Agent: Chris Blevins

Most teams would struggle surviving the growing pains King Carmazzi is enduring but Music City has done so on the strength of the defense. Blevins has started to add years but is still effective in the run game and can play all three downs when/if necessary. Taking care of him and making sure he stays on for another couple of years as Fredrickson and Nakamura develop is important. Erik Pitts is a free agent but if he is looking for a raise on his current salary it may be worth letting him walk given the depth they have at receiver and the number of solid, if not spectacular, receivers who are available.

To that extent – it would be easy to suggest that Carmazzi’s problems require adding more weapons. Given the potential cap room Music City has, especially if Pitts walks, playing at the top of the offensive line market may be more effective. Look for Music City and Atlanta to potentially compete for the same players … though a stud left tackle like Josue Luce may make more sense for Music City.

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« Reply #59 on: February 17, 2017, 04:19:16 PM »
North East


Key Free Agent: Aaron Ledoux

Michigan still appears to be a year or two away from contending but with a solid coaching staff and some emerging talent, they may be players in a year or two. Retaining Ledoux keeps championship experience on the team, something that is valuable in development, but he is not solely relegated to elder statesmen status. Still productive on the field, Michigan looks to be developing a strong front seven to build their team around. On offense, maybe Roger Perez will be retained but this just feels like Harry Bryce’s first real opportunity to put his stamp on the team.

With Michigan being a year or two away, and the new HIFL rules allowing teams to retain salary in trade, I look at them to potentially punch above their weight as it were in free agency on short term deals. Waylon Hagan seems to fit here as I don’t foresee Marcus Russell as a future building block. He’ll likely play eight games before being auctioned off to the highest bidder and a portion of his salary retained. Look for them to potentially look to do the same on Theo Schumacher who has shown in the past he’ll accept short term deals to maximize his earnings, while one of Chandler, Gaskins, and Harlow might be someone to watch if they want to wait an off-season and see what happens with Wilkinson’s deal as a comparison.

New Jersey

Key Free Agent: Joshua Love

Rumor has it that the HIFLPA, none too pleased with GM Kirk, has told all of its players to test the market in Jersey, almost forcing GM Kirk to use the tag to retain one of Love or Wilson. With their title window firmly resting on the shoulder of Trevor Jose, protecting him is all the more important and so Love wins out. Regardless of who they choose, there’s going to be some big turnover in New Jersey and with teams always willing to overpay for players who have come from winners, there may be a raid on New Jersey that they are ill-equipped to withstand.

There’s a part of me that has a feeling that GM Kirk may look to jump ship for a new start … Lincoln comes to mind here … but if he doesn’t he has a big decision to make. With big money tied up in a few players, he may be wise to double down on his star laden approach and make a big move for Alfred Glass at the expense of some of his depth. Otherwise, look for him to retain his development prospects and attempt to keep the majority of this team together for one last run.

St. Paul

Key Free Agent: Alton Woods

Some would argue that Kevin Corral is the key free agent for this team but to this point it has been Joan Swope and his elite secondary that has kept this team not just afloat but in position to make the playoffs. We’ve seen this year multiple teams use different formation packages to get their best players on the field and with Woods spending time all over the place some teams may over value that versatility. It takes the right system – and co-ordinators – to make it work and GM Gooch has that. Corral is one of the elite lineman but with effectively the entire line on expiring contracts it may make more sense to divvy that one big contract up into two or three medium pieces.

Beyond Woods – GM Gooch’s primary focus needs to be getting younger. For a “rebuilding team” they have a number of plays on the downswing of their careers signed last off-season. Their surprise run may hurt that rebuild going forward as a result of the success. A young linebacker and a new offensive line are in order between the draft and free agency. Mario Vance might look really nice in that linebacking core if Rapid City lets him walk.


Key Free Agent: Raymond Coble

Though Albert Esparza is a bigger name – GM Dazz needs to be looking at next years free agent class; James Taylor, Chris Knapp and Eugene McReynolds and see some big raises coming. Given the number of teams that are looking for offensive line help – you have to think Esparza’s market begins at 7MM and that number becomes really hard to fit in with their current salary structure. Someone like Coble, who’s been a solid contributor for them and can likely be locked up long term on a relatively friendly deal may be the best bet for a team who’s likely got this year and next before they need to make some tough decisions.

One name I can’t help but think would fit in Cleveland is Steven Roundtree. He’s not played much in Oakland but he just seems like a fit on that team who’s been looking for an edge defender ever since GM Franchise passed on Wilkinson. He likely isn’t going to cost much for that team and may be better suited as a 4-3 defensive end. Other targets may include James Frick of Vegas who’s looked good in limited action, and Ronald O’ Connor from Seattle.

Key Free Agent: Marshawn Holliday

GM Jon is in an unfamiliar position and I don’t see him taking the off-season off as he looks to get his team back into the playoffs. I almost said Justin Blais was his most important free agent as I see Glass likely to leave the team, but adding a downfield weapon for whoever their starting quarterback is next season might be key for this team’s success. Holliday is one of the top pure deep threats in the league but has routinely played behind other elite receivers so doesn’t have the gaudy stats to show for it. A full season as a true number one may launch him into the stratosphere and presents an interesting conundrum for Steve Rosenhaus. Does he look to lock in now, or does he take a 1 year deal in the hopes it launches Holliday into DGB territory.

Beyond that GM Jon has money to play with – with really only a CB2 to sign and that may be Glass given the cap space he already occupies. Some might say he needs a bell-cow running back but we’ve seen before in Oakland, and this year in Vegas, that a committee approach can work just as good for a fraction of the cost. I can see either Barbour or Davis returning but not both – an interesting name to watch here is Russell Gould who’s been Robles’ backup the past few seasons but has impressed in spurts. Given GM Jon has seen what opportunity can do in Mervin Patton, he may look to channel some of that magic for himself.

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« Reply #60 on: February 18, 2017, 05:07:07 PM »
North West

Rapid City

Key Free Agent: Jose Pruitt

Much the same as Alabama, the key to Rapid City’s off-season involves someone who’d be entering their walk year. Despite having J-Mart, Dickey and Brown, this team goes as Pruitt does and although we’ll get to see Harry Fletcher over the next two weeks I don’t foresee this being considered the Impact Bowl favorite with him under center. Fitting a long term deal in Pruitt is complicated by the number of other deals that are expiring in two years time; Salmon, Dickey and Brown to name 3, but almost makes it that much more important to know exactly what that number will be. Paying Pruitt a year early may allow them to save a little bit down the line which is going to be important.

Given the above, look for Rapid City to try and make some savvy signings this off-season taking a chance on young players who may have some draft pedigree but have been missed by their current teams. With both Milliken and Kinney in walk years – maybe someone like Devon Kruse could shine if given a chance and could probably be locked up long term on a lower cap number. Similar targets may be Scott Marshall on a shorter term deal after the year he’s had in Las Vegas, or Bruce Thorton from St. Paul.


Key Free Agent: Teddy Schumacher

Lincoln’s in a bit of a bind with no GM currently and the Campbell’s running the show. Schumacher has said he won’t resign if Michael Campbell is still in charge but it remains to be seen if the Timon and Pumba act will pay out his contract or let talent walk. With the depth of young coaching talent … it seems almost criminal that Ken Graham has yet to get a head coaching gig … it might be wise to gut the staff and retain for my money the second best corner in the league.

Otherwise – this is a team that could be players in free agency with a bundle of cap room and few starters leaving. A defensive backfield of Schumacher and Glass powered Oakland to the playoffs and Lincoln might be a great fit for him. They lack a true #1 receiver after moving Houser an you have to think one of the Pitts brothers is a fit. Otherwise, look for them to make a move on a player Nicky Oliver on the back end of his career but who can still run-block with the best of then.

Kansas City

Key Free Agent: Josue Luce

KC has always had an elite level offensive line. While Luce is definitely more valuable to them than Jesus Young, both warrant keeping around and continuing to protect Marcus Mariota. While GM Bone’s hardline stance with Young following his PED suspension may scare him off, Luce has no such concerns and has been one of the top tackles in the HIFL for the past few seasons. Sure to be a hot commodity if he hits the free agent market, Luce may end up playing the year under a franchise tag as he looks to establish the market for elite tackles off the back of his two year tag cost.

Adding to a secondary which has at times underperformed should be the main focus externally for Kansas City. While Alfred Glass and Teddy Schumacher may be above their weight class, Abraham Bittner or Brandon Logue may be a great companion for Sammual Goode, while Justin Blais in a nickel back role could be a steal of a signing. Heading into season 3 GM Bone knows that it’s time to start competing and the rebuild needs to hurry up. Look for KC to be active in both the FA and Trade Market to improve in the off-season.


Key Free Agent: Joseph Mullins

This was tough – and with the kings ransom paid to acquire Simon many would say he needs to be priority number one, but with the offense struggling this season and Tashaun Pate looking more and more like a 1 game wonder this team needs to get back to what got them to the IMPACT Bowl, a strong defense and pounding running game. Mullins gives them an elite defensive back who can shut down an entire side of the field which is all the more important given they sit in a division with the Scorched Earth offense of Rapid City and an emerging Douglas Fowler/Marcus Mariota connection.

With not a lot of money coming off the books and Paul Schmitt also needing to be retained – I don’t expect whoever is running the show in Oakland to be active in free agency. Look for them to fill out the roster and maybe take a chance on a few UDFA’s from this draft class and see who can emerge. If they are going to spend the money – I could see them looking to move John Peyton back tail back and signing Randy Oliver to help in the run game if Tombstone lets him slip away.


Key Free Agent: Joseph Herzog

A lot of people sleep on GM Phoenix but Orlando is headed to the playoffs for the second straight season, and although his roster machinations this season may have irked some people within the league he’s done a good job of trying to find talent wherever possible … including a trade that to many made no sense in acquiring Joseph Herzog. I liked the move as it adds an elite weapon on offense while at the same time adding a veteran presence. Retaining Herzog and building around him and Chriscoe in the receiving core may have this team being next years. St. Paul, especially if Oakland continues to struggle and Lincoln becomes a dumpster fire.

Flush with cap space – look for Eddie Phoenix to make his moves at the top of the market as is his MO. If I was a betting man – this is where I’d have Waylon Hagan landing. It’s always tough to judge Eddie given his complex relationships with many agents, and likely all Drew Leventhal clients are off the board. That being said, with Coach Andy Graham at the helm looking to pass the ball and move at a rapid pace … what about the Pitts brothers uniting in Seattle. Playing with his brother might be enough to convince Erik to play in Seattle … and just might be the olive branch GM Phoenix needs to extend to get back on Leventhals’ good side. Plus, If the offensive line can hold up that might be an offense that no team can stop.

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« Reply #61 on: February 18, 2017, 05:47:24 PM »
South West


Key Free Agent: Javier Strickland

Probably the most anonymous “key free agent” on this list, GM Franchise is entering a difficult off-season, needing to remake a defense with little cap space, and with few players on expiring contracts he may need to make some tough decisions on players. Strickland could become a potential swing tackle which has some value in this league given the dearth of available offensive line help. If Peter Jingle and GM Franchise have seen any development in his rookie season, they may be able to sign him for a couple years on a cheap deal, similar to what Las Vegas has done with Robert Ponder, and reap the benefits of the deal in a year or two.

I wouldn’t expect a big splash from GM Franchise this off-season which is difficult to say but I just don’t see the room nor an avenue to create it. Gerbert Styles may be overpaid at 9MM but not by much given the aforementioned talent depth and it may not make sense for Franchise to make that sort of move. With big dollars otherwise tied up in Allen, Sullivan and Gregory Neal … far and away the best 3 players on the team, I’d expect this Tulsa roster to look very similar next year leaving GM Franchise hoping that progression and cohesion makes up for an inability to add talent.


Key Free Agent: Randy Oliver

GM Justin has a few key choices to make this off-season, with both Steve Cuevas who’s come on strong in the secondary and the league’s best receiver in Burton Tibbetts as free agents. All that said, Randy Oliver clearing the path for Curt Robles is likely more important for this team, especially given that they’ve not made it back to the IMPACT bowl since moving away from the Roblette’s approach. I can see GM Justin using Robles as the bell cow we haven’t seen the past couple of years, featured in both the running game and the passing game … with Martin Back taking the top off the defense, leaving Tibbetts expendable, but making Oliver even more valuable as he takes a few big pops for Robles.

I don’t expect Waylon Hagan to be back, and if Tibbetts leaves there will be some salary room for GM Justin to work with. Given that he built a Music City team who’s MO was power running and a strong defense, I see them being in the market for any high profile guard who hits free agency. I also get a sense that if the market is right GM Justin might decide to announce himself in the division with a shot across the bow at GM Metro in Las Vegas by offering big bucks to Jeffrey Harlow. Other options they may look at are George Gaskins or GM Justin looking to bring the Tackle Bot to Tombstone and pairing him with former teammate in Pearl Harbor Matthew Alvarado.

San Antonio

Key Free Agent: Melvin Williams

Much like Tulsa, Williams effectively is key by default given how few players are expiring in San Antonio after the Luigi Lewis signing. Williams has shown well this year, getting beat a couple times in coverage but has been excellent in run support. Given the teams in the division and the running games, having a safety who can make players in the box is important and I don’t think GM Digger overlooks it. I see a deal that mirrors Darrel Hickey’s in Vegas, a similar player, coming together quickly between player and team.

Given how few players are coming off the books GM Digger enters free agency with very little cap room to play with, especially with the Luigi Lewis deal signed. Christopher Chalmers is someone they’d like to bring back and with the number of high end defensive ends on the market it may behoove San Antonio to take a wait and see approach if he is looking for top 5 money as Chalmers is not on that tier. That being said, if someone can sign him for a deal similar to his current one after free agency starts to shake out he could be the steal of free agency. Look for GM Digger to be patient this off-season and try and make one or two value signings but the core of this team will not change.

Long Beach

Key Free Agent: Henry Watts

There’s some nice young pieces in Long Beach and it really represents a tossup between Watts and Wampler on who is most important. Along with Maxley and Wright the two young lineman represent the future core of this team and ensuring they stay together long term should be imperative to GM Death. There are a few other pieces who could be retained at the right price point; Hildebrand and Belanger come to mind but it looks to be another rebuilding season for Long Beach ahead so some of the elder statesmen like Scott and Oliver probably won’t be retained.

Without a first round pick, look for GM Death to use his cap room in the free agent market. Either of the Pitts brothers would look good in Long Beach, so too would Johnny Vazquez if Belanger isn’t retained. On the defensive side of the ball, this is where I see Chandler ending up if Atlanta lets him walk. I’d also not be surprised if Michael Hodge – upon hitting the market – finds a soft landing spot in Long Beach with a GM who has always been known to prioritize talent over off field concerns. I don’t believe Alfred Glass ends up in Long Beach but if BD is looking for a corner to pair with Maxley, Teddy Schumacher could look awfully nice.

Las Vegas

Key Free Agent: Jeffrey Harlow

Armed with draft picks, a bit of cap room, and a number of key free agents. Vegas joins Miami as probably the most interesting team in free agency. Vegas has done a great job of drafting and developing over the past couple of seasons; Edelman, Hernandez, Ford and Corbett all swing to mind so maybe GM Metro is content letting Harlow walk and using some combo of Willis and Judge – but I doubt it. An elite pass rusher who plays the run well, Harlow won’t come cheap but I don’t see Vegas letting him walk – even if it means losing John Pitts.

GM Metro has never swung a big stick in free agency, preferring to build through the draft, but he’s always done a good job of securing a couple bargains each year who’ve produced and I don’t doubt that’ll continue. Expect him to sniff around Chalmers if they lose Harlow, potentially be around a name like Clifford Barbour, and if Michael Hodge’s price point is right you know there’ll be interest. Otherwise, expect the same thing we’ve seen from Metro in the past … a bargain signing like Harrell/Slaughter looking to make good and cash in next year, DeMarcus Montgomery and Thomas Raynor return to their reserve roles, and after Terry Butcher scores a free agent deal as a fullback, another offensive lineman who gets moved to meet league minimums.

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« Reply #62 on: February 22, 2017, 10:25:27 AM »
Hello again fans of the HIFL, it is your favorite journalist, critic, analyst or whatever the hell you want to call me…Howard McAfee.  You shall remember I came out of semi-retirement to talk HIFL with Uncle Tony and Jonny Quinn…I guess semi-retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be because here I am again coming to you with yet another piece related to the HIFL. 

However, it is with great pleasure that I have been granted the ONLY interview with former Tombstone general manager, Mike Powers.  Unless you’ve been hiding on another galaxy, you all know the scandal that led to Mr. Powers fall from grace and into the HIFL doghouse.  My interview with Mr. Powers has afforded him the opportunity to explain his side of things and to once and for all, clear the air.


Howard: “Mike, thank you for giving me the exclusive interview.  What I and every other sports fan wants to know is...what the hell happened with the whole PED and NJ Dragon ordeal?”

Powers: “Thank you for the time, and the platform to speak out about this. 

"What the hell happened"....that is the million dollar question, isn't it?  The short of it is, I let my personal feelings about GM Kirk go to my head, and cloud my judgment.  It led me to make a move against him that was beyond the bounds of gridiron competition.  Then, when I realized just how far things had progressed, I was in too deep.

“But I suppose you're looking for a little bit more detail and insight than that, am I right?”

Howard: “Yes, that would be ideal.  I mean after all, you may damn near be blackballed from the league.  Now is the time to set the record straight.”

Powers: “Let me give you some background, before I get to the meat of the story.  Hopefully, this will help in explaining my motivations.

Now, I am sure that this is common knowledge amongst the HIFL GM circles, but less than common knowledge amongst the HIFL fans....GM Kirk and I do not get along.  At all.  We have had a dislike for each other, and a rivalry, for years now.

I was never a fan of his, the way that he conducted himself to the press, the way he managed his team.  But, everything really goes back to the original PED scandal, with 'The Cotter'.  Tombstone was one of the last teams that the Dragons beat, with Cotter on their squad.  To say that I was a bit salty about that one, would be an understatement.  Adding to that the cavalier attitude that Kirk displayed took my dislike to new levels.

Over the next few seasons, Kirk's arrogance grew larger and larger.  He would take shots at other GM's, myself included, on a weekly basis.  Meanwhile, he was acting as if his sh--....sorry.  He was acting as though his poop was odor-free.  As though he were somehow 'above everyone'.  As though the fact that he was the ONLY GM in the league to run a dirty team wasn't even a thought for him.

Do I describe an accurate picture of my feelings on GM Kirk leading into this season?”

Howard: “Yes, I would say that paints an accurate picture.  So how did the scandal unfold this season?”

Powers: “The Turpin report is what set the wheels in motion.  One of my players - Lynn Malone - came to me prior to the report dropping, and told me that his name was going to appear on it.  When that happened, I'll admit that I was thinking more of myself than of the player. 

I thought, "I will call a press conference and show the world - GM Kirk included - how to draw a hard line in the sand when it comes to players using PED's.  I've been criticized by other GM's for 'grandstanding'.  Upon reflection, I'll admit that they were right.  I wasn't thinking about poor Lynn Malone; his feelings, his reputation.  I was trying to stick it to GM Kirk.

Then, GM Kirk had a player on the report.  I'll be honest, I was over the moon.  "Couldn't have happened to a better guy", I thought to myself...and he had the stones to STILL come at me in his press conferences.  He was STILL taking shots at me, despite the fact that he was living in a glass house.  I was aghast.  GM Kirk was in my head, 100%.

Shortly thereafter, he announced his independent investigation.  And that is when the idea was born.”

Howard: “ had a huge hard on for GM Kirk.  So what was the actual plan?  To have GM Kirk's players framed?”

Powers:  “Like I said, it progressed from simply disliking the guy, to actively hating him, to him totally getting in my head.  The more he spoke -- especially when he had my name on his lips -- the further he burrowed into my head.  It was bad, real bad.  I should've been mentally tougher than that, I should've been able to deal with it....but I didn't.  I seriously regret that.

So, the plan.  When Kirk broke word of his independent investigation, a terrible idea formed in my head.  To not only ensure that a couple members of his team were to pop positive, but to ensure that it was KEY members of his squad.

Now let me stop for a minute, and make sure that I make one thing abundantly clear.  I was under the impression that Kirk's independent investigation would be a report that went no further than Kirk's own desk.  Naively or not, I did not know that the league would be provided a copy of the report.  I did not know that the media would get wind of it, I didn't know that it would lead to the firestorm that we all saw.  I thought -- naively, I now realize -- that it would be read by GM Kirk himself, turning him into a paranoid basket case, jumping at shadows.  I had ZERO intention of ruining careers, or calling players into question publicly.  Like I said, call me naïve, but that was where my head was at the time.

Anyway, I called up Mr. Mangum and laid out the proposal.  A $1MM dollar payment for Spurgeon and Wilson to show up on the investigation.  He agreed.  I asked him how to pay him the funds so that it wouldn't raise any eyebrows.  He suggested that I pay for an 'investigation' of the Outlaws, one which would 'obviously be clean'.  I paid the man, and he held up his end of the bargain.”

Howard:  “Well needless to say the whole thing ended up backfiring.  Can you elaborate on the thought process of bringing Jack Bowser into the mix?”

Powers:  “I brought him in as a form of insurance. As we all know now, it blew up in my face in spectacular fashion.

During one of Jersey's press conferences, a member of the press mentioned something about 'criminal dealngs' in relation to the Chinese ownership of the Dragons. Doing absolutely zero research beforehand, I felt as if it were a given that there were in fact criminal activities. After all, why would the press mention it if it weren't true?

Yeah, I know, I know. But my head was so far up my own ass, and I had so many plates spinning at once, it made sense to me at the time.

Anyway, I felt that if just one more piece of shady Intel came out of the Dragons camp, it'd be game over. Can't fight a war on all fronts, you know what I mean? So I sent Jack in to do just that. Only there weren't any criminal dealings. The only shady stuff he found revolved around me, and he quickly got to the root of that, and exposed me in dramatic fashion.”

Howard:  “So to be clear, Mr. Bowser found no type of criminal activity as it relates to the Dragons ownership?”

Powers:  “Well, it's not like Jack provided me with a report afterwards. All I know is what he said at the hearing, which was he found nothing, and Mr. Tong was a 'good man'.”

Howard:  “Fair enough.  Well I have to tell you Mike, I'm very surprised that you did something of this nature.  GM Terrorist...I mean T-Bone or GM Fuck-up...I mean Franchise...I could see either one of them doing something like this.  But you...never in a million years.” 

Powers:  “That makes two of us, believe me. A few months ago, if you'd told me that I'd be watching the Outlaws playoff run at home, and THIS was the reason why....I'd tell you that you'd lost your mind.

You know, I think that sometimes us GM's can lose perspective. We spend so much time in our big offices, in our fancy chairs, looking down on everything and everybody....sometimes we treat this like a game. We forget that we are screwing with people's lives, not just cutting numbers off of a spreadsheet.

That said, is like to take this opportunity to apologize to Mr. Spurgeon, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Tong, and the New Jersey Dragons organization. John, two did absolutely nothing to deserve the treatment that I gave you. You two, as far as I can see, are nothing but professionals. I am sorry to call your reputations into question. The same for you Mr. Tong. I apologize for repeating the media's insinuation about criminal activities.

I'd also like to apologize to Mr. Crowley, the Outlaws organization, and fans. You all deserve much, much better than having the black eye that I provided. I'm truly sorry.”

Howard:  “Well you beat me to the punch, I was just going to ask if you had anything you wanted to say to any of the parties involved.  But with that out of the way, what do you say to owners of teams looking for a GM?”

Powers:  “Well I'd like them to know that, as clichéd as it sounds, I learned my lesson from this. I never thought things would go this far, but that is not the point. The point is I never should've put these things in motion to begin with. It is a mistake that, while I shouldn't have made it to begin with, I will absolutely never make it again.

I'd ask that the owners look past this mistake, and look at my track record on the field. 3 straight playoff appearances, an Impact Bowl appearance among them. I also put together the Outlaws team that just won the division, and (at the time of this interview) are poised to take a serious run at the Championship. I'd ask the owners that they give me a chance, and I will make them proud. I most certainly will NOT make them regret their decision.”

Howard:  “Do you have your eye on a specific team?”

Powers:  “There are multiple teams in need of a GM right now. I'm under no illusion that I'm guaranteed a job, especially in light of these events. I just need someone to give me an opportunity, and I'll prove to everyone that I deserve it.”

Howard:  “Do you fear that Commissioner Wilkinson will suspend you?”

Powers:  “Well, at the hearing the Commissioner suspended me for the remainder of this season, as well as imposed a fine that I must pay to NJ when I re-enter the league. What most people are unaware of is the fact that Commissioner Wilkinson and myself had a sit down just a week or so ago. While he did uphold my suspension, he also kindly reduced my suspension a bit, making it a touch easier for me to find work after the Impact Bowl.”

Howard:  “Well Mike that are all the questions I have.  Do you have anything else you would like to add?”

Powers:  “I'd just like to thank you once again for the time, and I'd like to reiterate my sincerest apologies to Spurgeon, Wilson, Mr. Tong, Mr. Crowley, and both the Dragons and Outlaws organizations.”

Well there you have it ladies and gentlemen, straight from the horse’s mouth.  Mike Powers has graciously enough explained his side of the story.  Let’s all just hope he gets a second chance.

Now if you don’t mind, I’m going back into semi-retirement.


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« Reply #63 on: May 25, 2017, 05:54:29 PM »
Pre-Season Record Watch: Which Single Season Records could fall this year? Pt 1: OFFENSE

By Roy Baker

Hello there ladies and gentlemen, tis I, Roy Baker here to bring you the best damn editorial the off-season has to offer; That’s right! Soon the HIFL will return to our televisions filling our hearts with great action and enough drama to make your local soap operas and reality shows look like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  So before we kickoff another year of football, lets take a look at some of the single-season records and who could be in line to break those records this year.

Passing Yards
Current Holder - Steven Crawford (2014, Long Beach)
The 2014 season seems so long ago for most fans, since then Long Beach has collapsed, teams have joined the league, and one of them has even won the Impact Bowl, but Crawford's 4,796 yard season has only been flirted with three since the Mermen won the Impact Bowl despite  nearly a half dozen players have broken into the top 10 in single season passing attempts. Michael May's 2015 season fell just 183 yards short of tying the mark but since then the Scorpions have began to lean more on the run game, but one player who seems poised for such a record breaking season is the raining MVP, Jose Pruitt in Rapid City.  The combination of Clint Dickey, Ralph Brown, Matthew Grover, Eric Ashworth, and Jeremy Martin offers Pruitt an endless array of weapons to choose from and last seasons 15.1 yards per completion average is enough to put him on pace to obliterate the Crawford record by 851 yards.  Granted Jeremy Martin will get a load of carries, but if the team decided to go air-raid, Pruitt could become the first QB in league history to top the 5,000 yard mark in the air.

Passing Touchdowns
Current Holder - Trevor Jose (2017, New Jersey)
Sure the Dragons' offense has been the best in the world for a handful of years, but Trevor Jose is just as responsible for the teams success as the team is for his own success and there is no reason to believe that the QB who has 3 of the top 5 single season passer ratings (1,2,and 5) over the last three seasons can not do it again with his new club, the Music City Kings.  With new wide receivers Erik Pitts, Eddie Stands, James Van Driver and a duo of strong receiving Tight Ends in Joseph Ruiz and Ramon Triplett, there are plenty of weapons at the finger tips of one of the greatest QBs in league history, so why can't he throw for 44+ TDs in his 12th season as a pro?

Rushing Yards
Current Holder - Jose Mackey (2015, Long Beach)
2,033 yards in a single season, no big deal right?  Not when four players last year rushed more times than Jose Mackey's 413 attempts in the 2015 season when he set the bar and destroyed the 2011 record set by Brian Smith of the NJ Dragons at 1,724.  In 2015 Jeremy Martin (1764), Curt Robles (1848), and George Carlson (1944) also broke Smith's record, and since then Jose Mackey (1764 in 2016), and Curt Robles (1884 in 2017) have also pushed beyond the 2011 record, but there is still ZERO chance anyone breaks Jose Mackey's mark this season.  Mackey gained 4.9 yards per carry in 2015, and despite the increase in carries, most backs in the league were hovering right around 3.9 to 4.2 yards per carry and that means a back would need to push near 490 carries this season if they wanted to claim the throne, and I just can't see a sensible GM letting that happen, period.

Receiving Yards
Current Holder - Brian Beckwith (2010, Oakland)
It seems as if it is just a matter of time before the season 1 record of 1,796 yards receiving is broken by one of the talented wide receivers in the league.  In 2015 and 2016 Jonathan Johnson, formerly of the Las Vegas Scorpions flirted with history as he put up 1774 yards in 2015, and followed it up with 1,779 yards in 2016 but last season he only barely eclipsed 1,000 yards and chose to retire in the off-season.  Marvin Wenzel, #2 all time with 1,782 in 2011 also retired leaving Burton Tibbetts and Michael Hodge as the next two options already in the top 10 all-time.  Tibbetts big season came in 2011 when he reached 1701 yards, but Hodge put together a 1,669 yard season just last year with a subpar offensive unit in Atlanta.  Could he be the one to push for 1800, or could it be fellow 1,600 yard club member Eugene McReynolds who took advantage of Caleb Smoak's love of the long ball last year to crack the top-10?   Hodge will be catching passes from General Patton this season in Orlando, while McReynolds and Smoak will look to continue their connection making both receivers strong candidates to push for the crown, but don't sleep on #1 overall draft choice Darren Pierce who will be the featured offensive weapon in Seattle, a team that has little else to work with and could be forced to go to Pierce on every play, giving him the volume opportunity to make his mark.

« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 01:51:22 PM by Talon »
GM Kirk [21|May 12:29 AM]:   When trade fever hits, math is the first casualty.


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« Reply #64 on: May 26, 2017, 03:03:25 PM »
Pre-Season Record Watch: Which Single Season Records could fall this year? Pt 2: Defense

By Roy Baker

Hello there ladies and gentlemen, tis I, Roy Baker once again working tirelessly to predict which single-season records could fall this year, this time we take a look at the defensive side of the ball.

Current Holder - Alfred Glass (2016, DC)
Two years ago, Alfred Glass picked off a jaw dropping 18 passes.  Luis Brown had previously set the mark the year before at 16 INTs.  This past season only one man came close and that was James "Turnover" Taylor who matched Brown's mark at 16, but that was on the back of multiple 3-INT games.  Only 7 men have ever picked off 10+ passes and no one has ever done it twice, so my pick comes from outside of the current pool of 10+ INT men like Glass, Brown, Taylor, Botts, Davis, and Duke, instead I predict that Andrew Roderick the once-forgotten Free Safety who surged into the spotlight last season with St. Paul has the opportunity to double his totals from last season, where he took 9 passes away from opposing QBs.

Interception Return Yards
Current Holder - Luis Brown (2015, Rapid City)
Not a statistic that shows up in the box scores, but one the league tracks at the end of the season none the less.  Brown's ridiculous 2015 season featured a jaw dropping 475 yards in INT return yards.  He became the first player to surpass 300 yards in total returns, and is one of only 9 players to ever top 200 yards, 6 of which have occurred since his record setting year.  Now my pick to surpass him is big play safety Robert Dotson, also of St. Paul.  Last year Robert Dotson became the second player to gain 300+ yards in INT return yardage with 308, the kicker... he did it on only 8 Interceptions where Luis Brown needed 16.  If Dotson can maintain his near 40 yard per INT average, he would only need to improve his INT rate slightly to become the new yardage king.

Current Holder - Larry Stevens (2015, DC)
The only man capable of breaking Larry Stevens 202 single-season tackles record has to be the man himself.  Larry Stevens has 4 of the top 10 seasons in league history with #1 (202), #2 (194), #4 (173), and #8 (164).  Stevens' numbers dipped last season (164) partially due to learning a new defensive scheme, but if he can once again regain his dominant positioning on the field in the teams 3-4 defense look out, because Stevens clearly wants to record every tackle in every game.

Current Holder - Timothy Cobbs (2016, Alabama)
27 sacks, more than 1.5 sacks per game on average and that is what Timothy Cobbs  did in 2016.  He booked ended that season with a pair of 24 sack seasons making him the most dominant sack artist in the league over the past three years.  His 72 combined sacks blows away the two nearest challengers, Waylon Hagan and teammate Bruce Wilkinson (61 each).  Wilkinson however is the youngest of the bunch and is seen as the one with the upside to topple the record after posting 20+ sacks in each of his first three seasons in the league while Hagan has missed 10 games over the past three years due to suspensions and other issues with management.  The scary thing about Hagan is that his 3 year sack average is on pace to tie or break Cobbs record depending on how you round the figures, so even at his advancing age he could be the one to beat Cobbs mark and reclaim the single-season sack record.

GM Kirk [21|May 12:29 AM]:   When trade fever hits, math is the first casualty.

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« Reply #65 on: June 25, 2017, 10:26:35 AM »
Season 9 Predictions - The View from Across the Pond
By Mark Hansen and Sean Brosnan

After the preseason games this year I did what all HIFL fans do... picked my fantasy team. After reviewing what I'd put together I decided it was good and went down to my local to show off my superior football brain. Unfortunately one of my fellow regulars is ESPN UK's own Sean Brosnan so that bragging soon turned into an argument that stretched late into the night. To settle which of us knew the league better we decided to predict the results of week 1. Unfortunately that settled nothing as we both got 6 right so the editors here at ESPN UK thought we should take this feud to the great HIFL public. Each week we'll be discussing every game and using our years of experience to completely humiliate ourselves as we get our predictions horribly wrong. So, without further ado:

Orlando at Atlanta

MH: Neither of these teams is particularly blessed with defensive talent so I can see this being quite a high scoring affair. I'm still not convinced by John Carr in that Atlanta offence though. They don't have enough variety in targets for him to really perform and I think they're going to rely heavily on Elliott to carry them. He could get some joy out of this Orlando d-line but I still lean towards the Stampede here.

SB: Forget Carr, the question for this game is whether Orlando can stop Elliott. The answer is "No". Orlando's defensive line would get blown over in a strong wind, so expect to see Atlanta pound the rock right through the middle all game. Another thing to expect is to see Patton on his arse more often than not, and I don't think he can take that kind of pounding for two games in a row and still be effective. I predict a high scoring game with Atlanta doing just enough to get the win.

Las Vegas at Long Beach

SB: I have to confess that I don't pay much attention to Long Beach: they're just not relevant. Having said that, I see them getting the win against Vegas. Michael May is an interception or 3 wating to happen and Vegas' options at RB are just not as good as last season. I think this will be a game full of mistakes but Las Vegas shoot themselves in the foot one too many times.

MH: Neither of these teams have an offence this year. No need to talk about either. Both teams have some good pieces in their defensive lines but Long Beach's LBs don't really support that 3-4 base and their secondary is weak. The Scorpion's secondary isn't much stronger but I think the LBs are going to make the difference here. I agree with Sean about May but Long Beach won't be the defence to catch him out. Vegas edge a messy game.

Music City at Miami

SB: Music City are playoff contenders, well coached and stacked with talent. Miami are none of those things. Without Trevor Jose and an AWOL GM, the Kings might struggle. Struggle doesn't mean lose, though. Music City win this one.

MH: Miami are very much a C rated team. Nothing exciting but not particularly bad either. Music City could be a very good team but they need leadership which they sorely miss at the moment. I have to disagree with Sean here though, losing Jose will be a blow they can't overcome this week. Miami... just.

Cleveland at Michigan

MH: I don't know how Miami restricted that Michigan d-line last week. Absolutely no idea. This week they face a much stronger line against Cleveland but I still expect them to have more joy. Unfortunately for Michigan their defence is all about that line while the Mustangs have a very balanced attack. If Cleveland's line can keep Hagan away from Smoak then they are going to find a lot of options deep down field. Michigan's other problem will be keeping Giovanni Hill on his feat against one of the fiercest front sevens in the league. The Mustangs don't get to the QB a lot but they'll have an easier time of it against an o-line that's weak in every position. Cleveland win this but it will be closer than people think.

SB: Whilst some pundits, such as my esteemed colleague, will waste your time by analysing this match-up in detail, Cleveland are simply much better than Michigan on offense and defence. Cleveland win by two TDs.

Rapid City at Oakland

MH: This Rapid City team are potentially one of the all time great teams in HIFL history. Oakland are not. In fact, Oakland are just going through the motions this year and will roll over for the Inferno. This won't even be close.

SB: Rapid City have a real shot at going one further than the perfect Dragons. The only things standing in their way are injuries and Cleveland. Oakland have plenty of talent on offence, but not on defence and they are rudderless without GM TJ. Rapid City win with a cricket score.

Kansas City at San Antonio

MH: I think there's a lot to like about this San Antonio team. Penalties cost them against Tombstone, which actually says a lot. If they can improve their discipline they'll win a lot of games this year. Including this one. Kansas City are another of those teams that don't really have the LBs or DEs for the 3-4 base they use. This will be a close one though and probably one of the games to watch this week.

SB: There's a lot to like about this San Antonio defence, but their offence is built around their weaknesses instead of their strengths. Benjamin is a true star, but can't shine behind that wet paper bag of an o-line, or in the shotgun which they use to cover Cardale Jones' lack of pro-level IQ. The fact that they scored 35 points last week says more about Tombstone than it does about this offence. The opposite is true in Kansas City. Mariota has no excuses this season because the Bruins have given him everything he needs to succeed. Their defence is a big question mark, though. Kansas City has one LB and a stable of mediocre DEs. The 3-4 can cover some of that, but the 3-3-5 they run is madness with their below average secondary. I think San Antonio edges this one.

Lincoln at Seattle

MH: I do not like this 3-3-5 in Seattle. At all. Lincoln will be too good for them.

SB: I do not like this team in Seattle. At all. Everyone will be too good for them. Lincoln win.

Alabama at St Paul

MH: This is a difficult one for me. Ortega is a better RB than he is a QB but he's still a better QB than Del Rio. That might not matter if St Paul can get their running game going and draw in the Alabama Corners, though. The Safeties in 'Bama look like an afterthought and could find themselves exposed. Alabama are a good team but I think St Paul will win this in OT.

SB:It looks like someone has forgotten that Del Rio is injured. St. Paul struggled to score against a NJ defence most people are sleeping on and I don't see that changing against an aggressive Alabama unit. Alabama are a lot like Las Vegas, in that they have a lot of great players who just don't seem to be able to play as a team. I think Alabama win a tight game against St. Paul's backup QB.

Tombstone at Tulsa

MH: Tulsa's defence was just awful last year. They made a few additions over the off-season which now means their defence is simply terrible. I'll let you decide if there's a difference there. This will be the Robles show. Tombstone by 10+

SB: If San Antonio could score 35 against Tombstone, Tulsa's high powered offence could score more. This is going to be a shootout, but I can't back Tulsa to win it. I agree that Robles will be the difference between the two teams as Tombstone emerge with the win.

Each week we'll be discussing the prime time game in more detail. This week that's New Jersey at DC.

MH: Jersey at DC is clearly the biggest game of the week. It's already a must win for both teams and we're only in week 2. The Dragons will be desperate to show they're still relevant in this division while DC need to bounce back from a terrible game 1 against Cleveland. It should be a good one.

SB: The Cobras and Dragons have fallen a long way from the beasts of old. Two poor losses in week 1 don't raise much hope for quality play in this one. DC looked a long way from being contenders and New Jersey look toothless. Clash of the Titans this isn't.

MH: These are two of the most successful teams in the league with two of the most competitive GMs in the league. The rivalry alone elevates this game but you make my point about DC for me. They're aiming to top this conference so to stay in the hunt they can't lose games like this. GM Kirk will want to play spoiler. Might be too early in the season for The Dragons though.

SB: DC is a team I just don't understand. Crawford's best days are long behind him and not coming back, but they clearly don't trust Rizzo. Tank was their best addition in the offseason but they run a spread/west coast offence that keeps the ball out of his hands. DC topping this conference this season only happens in a Disney movie.

MH: I agree about that. There's no way DC top this conference this year. The expectation they play under is based on past glories but you don't win things with a QB throwing 4 INTs in a game. Don't get me started on the 3-4. So many teams are playing it without building the roster around it. DC's DEs are too small and they don't have enough depth at LB.

SB: You have to wonder if GM Jon has done enough in the offseason after the way they rolled over for Cleveland, and how much can be expected of New Jersey after losing so many key players.

MH: At the moment you can't expect much from the Dragons. This is the quintessential team in transition but I'm not sure what they're transitioning to. It seems they're basing their future on Dak but I don't think he'll be what GM Kirk wants. He's another Carr in that sense. This defence is still solid though, we've seen that in preseason and against St Paul. If they can get that offence to click they'll surprise a few teams. Not yet though. DC scrape a win here, which is going to be disappointing for them.

SB: Immediately after the week 1 games I would have agreed with you. DC's midweek trade changes things, though. Tony Stacy is only 288lbs but he's going to line up as NT against the 321lbs of Lloyd Graff. The rest of that line is undersized for the 3-4 and is up against the monsters on New Jersey's o-line. Trading away Smith has resulted in a weak link in Crawford's protection as well. Sasser keeps this close, but the Dragons win an ugly, low scoring contest.

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« Reply #66 on: June 29, 2017, 10:19:32 AM »

- Johnny Quinn -

Folks, welcome to a new segment where I will decipher HIFL trades and decide who the winners and the losers are. So without further due, let's take a look back this past offseason at some trades (not all of them, but the more important ones) and decide who won and who lost on that specific trade. Let's begin shall we...


Long Beach trades Ryan Rosser (WR), Long Beach's S9 4th round pick (via Orlando) and 6th round pick (via Atlanta).

Seattle trades Dorian Chrisco ( Seattle pays 4 million on the contract for the coming season)


Dorian Chriscoe: The dude got paid a nice chunk of change from former GM Eddie Phoenix and goes from being thrown the ball from a bunch of quarterbacks with minimal potential, to Jonathan Wright, former #1 overall pick. If Chriscoe can build chemistry with Wright, they could help each other out and make a strong future pairing together.

Long Beach: Not only do they gain a potential go-to receiver in Chriscoe, but Seattle is paying for $4MM of that salary for the upcoming season.

Ryan Rosser: After seeing the deal Chriscoe received while in Seattle, you'd have to think Rosser is licking his chops at the opportunity to earn a nice pay check as well. With GM Phoenix running the ship, you never know what he'll say or what will happen.


Seattle: They trade away what their own GM described as the best WR in HIFL and will continue to have his salary on the books for the upcoming season.


Miami receives: WR - Hector Houser

Alabama receives: S9   2nd Round Draft [Tulsa & Cleveland], S10 1st Round Draft [Oakland]


Miami: They gain a valuable veteran WR that can help their young team and gives a William Brewster someone dependable to throw the ball too.

Alabama: They offload an expensive contract and gain valuable draft picks for them to restock. That first round pick in S10 very well could be a Top 5 pick.


Hector Houser: He goes from being on a potential IMPACT Bowl contending team to a team on the rebuild. Can't imagine that is what he had in mind.


Michigan Receives: Giovanni Hill

Lincoln Receives: Season 9 2nd Rd Pick, Season 9 6th Rd Pick, Season 10 6th Rd Pick


Everyone: This is the type of trade that both teams benefit from. It gives Michigan a signal caller that a young QB like Doolittle can learn under and make them a competitive team in the process. For Lincoln they had draft picks as well as open up the beginning of the new face in the franchise in Carl Bloom.


Opposing Fans: Nobody wants to see a trade that is equally beneficial to both parties. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!


Tombstone trades: Martin Back, Oscar Smith, S9 2nd round pick (DC)

Atlanta trades: S9 1st Round Pick  (#5 Long Beach), S9 4th Round Pick (ATL)


Oscar Smith: Who ever the fuck this guy is just landed on a professional football team. Well done!


Atlanta: Traded for a guy that does not play professional football. While they receive Martin Back in the deal as well... this would have been a little sweeter had this been for Omar Smith, I'd say.

Tombstone: The franchise looks like a bunch of boneheads here. Now they have to try and save face. What makes it worse is they trade Omar Smith, who was suppose to be in this deal, to Alabama instead. Or maybe it was Oscar Clary... who they end up trading to Miami. Extra burn to Atlanta!


D.C. receives: WR - Timothy Hightower, TE - Gary Figueroa

San Antonio receives: S10 2nd Round Draft [D.C.], S10 4th Round Draft [D.C.]


D.C.: They get a former top pick in Timothy Hightower after losing out on Marshawn Holiday to pair with Brett Myers as primary options for Crawford.

San Antonio: They trade Hightower who was sort of lost on the depth chart for some future picks to potentially beef up their defense or provide some depth and weapons for Cardale.


D.C. Future: It's obvious with a trade like this that they are in a win now philosophy. I'm not sure this trade makes them a top contender in the league, let alone their division, but I can tell you with a guarantee that it wasn't worth the risk of losing future picks to start a rebuild process that probably begins next season.


Seattle gets: Domingo Smith (OG), Richard Gerber (DT)

D.C. gets: Tony Stacy (DT), William Jordan (OG)


Tony Stacy: I feel as though any time you get to get out of GM Phoenix's world you're automatically a winner. But Stacy lands on a team that has potential to make a run and work a 3-4 defense similarly to what he worked in at Alabama.

Seattle: They were heavy on Defensive tackles in their 3-3-5 defense and were able to work a trade for a valuable guard to beef up their offensive line in Domingo Smith. That is a piece GM Phoenix and the Reign can build around.

William Jordan: From unemployed to a huge raise in Seattle to now playing on a contending team and getting to learn from the likes of Coach Ivan Brewster and teammates Anthony Smith and John Lee. Has to feel like he has won life's Impact Bowl.


Steven Crawford/Corey Rizzo/Tank Mixon: Seeing that flash on the breaking news feed can't be something that excited them. They lose a nice piece of their offensive line and is replaced by a relative unknown who was unemployed not too long ago. This is the kind of trade that might break what was a solid o-line when healthy. 



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« Reply #67 on: July 02, 2017, 03:47:49 PM »
The View from Across the Pond - Week 3
By Mark Hansen and Sean Brosnan

Welcome to another installment of The View From Across the Pond. I wanted to start this week by talking about the most important result, and the most surprising to some, of week 2. That, of course, is the 7-4 thrashing of Sean Brosnan. I think we have already proven that I, Mark Hansen, have a superior knowledge of this league and its teams. Just admit that, Sean, and we can spare the HIFLverse more weeks of our nonsense.

SB: Even Schweinsteiger throws a touchdown pass on occasion, but that doesn't make him Trevor Jose. This week has some interesting match ups where your true mettle will be tested. Let's get to it.

Atlanta @ Alabama

SB: Of all the predictions that I got wrong last week, and there were many, the one I was most sure of was Atlanta beating Orlando. Atlanta are a good team and they played Orlando close, but close doesn't get the job done and leaves me with egg on my face. Eliott didn't get quite as much penetration as I predicted, and looks a little down on power from last season, but Carr looked solid despite the interception and I think the two of them keep Atlanta's offence balanced enough to worry most defences. Alabama were cearly paying attention to me last week and just about managed the win against St.Paul, exactly as I predicted. This is going to be one of the games to watch and I predict Alabama do right by me once again. Alabama win a tight one, but both teams walk out with their heads held high.

MH: You have to be mad to back Alabama in this game. I like them as a team but they struggled against a wounded Lynx side and were probably fortunate to escape with a win. Atlanta looked strong in defeat and I was impressed with Carr, despite what I said about him last week. Elliott will have fun against the weak 'Bama DTs. Atlanta to win comfortably.

Oakland at Kansas City

MH: I watched the Kansas game last week and I was wrong about it in a number of ways. It wasn't close, San Antonio didn't win and it wasn't a particularly exciting game. It was worth watching though, if only to watch a very impressive display by Mariota. I think Sean was right about this Kansas offence and I'll be watching them more closely in future. It's a shame their defence doesn't match up but it doesn't have to if they can keep scoring like that. Oakland didn't embarrass themselves against Rapid City but they never really looked like winning and they don't look like they will here either.

SB: I talked up Mariota and the Bruins' offence last week, but even I was surprised by the way they exploded all over San Antonio's D. San Antonio have big problems, but we'll get to that later on. Right now I need to focus on what Kansas City are going to do to Oakland. I'll be picking against Oakland pretty much every game, but they put up sterner resistance against Rapid City than Mark and I expected. I'm going to put that down to Rapid City pacing themselves in games they know they're going to win rather than anything Oakland were able to do. Oakland have some nice pieces on offence, so they'll make a show of taking the game to Kansas, but the result can only go one way. Kansas City win and Mariota repeats as offensive player of the week.

Michigan at New Jersey

SB: Michigan surprised everyone with a very hard fought victory last week and 9 sacks against a usually stingy o-line. New Jersey surprised nobody, except me, by not getting out of first gear on offence and losing to DC. New Jersey need to get Pate going if they want to hang onto the coattails of the leaders in the NE, but that isn't going to happen. Michigan have looked a lot better than they have any right to be so far and I don't see that stopping this week. Michigan win and GM Kirk's seat in New Jersey starts to feel very warm indeed.

MH: I expected Michigan's d-line to perform better in week 2 than it did in week 1. i also expected that game to be close but I didn't expect the Mustangs o-line collapsing like they did. I think Michigan also proved me right about their defence being all about that line. When they weren't getting to Smoak, Cleveland moved the ball well against them and that result could have been very different. I don't think they'll need to worry about that from New Jersey though. The Dragons have a lot of issues on offence at the moment but I think they have potential there. GM Kirk just needs to redefine what success is for them this year and have the patience to see it through. They'll lose more than they win this year and this will be one of the former. Michigan in another close one.

Miami at Orlando

SB: Miami managed to win last week by being slightly less terrible than Music City. That isn't a strategy that will work for them against Orlando, however. On paper, Miami look a decent team but it's not coming together for them on the field. Orlando will have far too much firepower for them, so this one is likely to be a blowout. Orlando win handsomely.

MH: Miami and Music City played out a poor game last week. Neither offence could get anything going with neither defence doing anything particularly noteworthy either. I don't see Miami being able to up their game in Orlando. I agree with Sean on this game, the Stampede will simply have too much for Miami. A blowout for sure.

Seattle at Rapid City

MH: This game is probably going to be one of the easiest to predict this year. I don't really think there's a lot to say about it but I did want to touch on Seattle. That 3-3-5 of theirs proved to be a disaster again last week and they got blown away, as expected. They just don't have the players for it and I don't think time is going to solve anything there. The problem is, if they change something drastic then that will take time to settle again too. They have nothing to lose in this game so they may as well try something but the news coming out of Seattle seems to suggest it's on offence that they've made a switch. Seems odd to me to alienate your starting QB like that in favour of a guy who is prone to throwing interceptions when you're visiting one of the best teams in league history. It may work out in the long term, though I'm not too convinced it will. It definitely won't work this week. Rapid City win this by a big margin. 

SB: Seattle can't run the ball, pass the ball or defend. Rapid City do all of those things very well. The Inferno could send out one of Martin's drinking buddies in his place and still win this one without breaking a sweat. Although GM Phoenix has a history of inspiring teams to play far better than their talent would suggest is possible, I think this Seattle team is a bridge too far for his unique methods. So the most interesting thing to watch for in this game is how Rapid City react to taking the lead. Will they step on Seattle's throat or take their foot off the gas and coast to the end? After their performance last week, I think it's likely to be the latter and that could come back to hurt them when they have to step it up against a tougher challenge. Rapid City win this, but not by as many points as they should.

Tulsa at San Antonio

SB: Apart from Mark's moment of confusion in picking Atlanta to beat Alabama, the predictions have been pretty straight forward this week. This is where it starts to get more interesting, however. The Knights shouldn't lose this, but they shouldn't be allowing 42 points per game either. When you're looking to plug the holes and right the ship, coming up against Tulsa and their high powered offence is not what you need. The Knights have the talent to be one of the top defences, particularly out west, so allowing another big score this week will provoke some uncomfortable questions to ask of Coach Diaz and his scheme. San Antonio should be too strong for Tulsa, but I just can't back them until they show some spine. I predict Tulsa to win a shootout.

MH: Sean's moment of madness in picking Alabama over Atlanta aside, he's right to say nothing has been too difficult so far. We're going to have to disagree again here though. I was very surprised at the way Kansas were able to take apart that San Antonio pass defence but when you look at the stats it was down to the efficiency of Mariota rather than Kansas throwing the ball freely. Tulsa will have to be just as efficient if they wan to win this one as San Antionio's secondary is still a talented group and their line is going to stifle the Tulsa running game. That run is probably the weakness of the Tulsa attack and they've failed to breach 100 yards in either game so far despite relatively high rushing attempt numbers. I think this will be a high scoring game again but San Antonio's defence will hold Tulsa back better than Tulsa hold the Knights back.

DC at St Paul

MH: The North East division is the most competitive in the league and you have to be at your best to win any of these games. Despite DC's deficiencies this year there's no real need to discuss this one. No Del Rio, no chance for St Paul. It's as simple as that.

SB: Another difficult match to predict in the NE. Neither offence has shown very much so far, so I wouldn't expect a high scoring affair. DC's destruction at the hands of Cleveland suggests a softer belly but I don't think that St. Paul have the tools to expose it. As far as Crawford has regressed over the past few seasons, he is still capable of the occasional moment or two of quality and I think that will be enough to see DC through another NE snooze fest.

Long Beach at Tombstone

SB: There's only one question here: Can Long Beach stop Robles? Considering they allowed 4.3 yards per carry against a Las Vegas team built to get the most out of May's arm, they won't even slow Robles down. Tombstone win.

MH: I actually like this 3-4 in Long Beach... I know, stop the press! They have a very promising NT, they have talented DEs with decent size and a useful collection of LBs. That is how you build a 3-4. Unfortunately, this 3-4 doesn't seem to be able to contain the run and that is going to be a big problem with Robles up against them this week. Offensively, Long Beach have very little going for them and that is going to be a problem. Tombstone win but not as convincingly as Sean expects.

Music City at Las Vegas

SB: This is a tale of two Music Cities. One has Trevor Jose and wins this game. The other has Bain and loses. I don't think they will rush Jose back in time, so I'm picking Las Vegas to win this one.

MH: Without Trevor Jose, Music City are going to be relying on their run game to get anything going on offense. Unfortunately for them Las Vegas have allowed fewer than 3 yards per carry in the first 2 games this year. Vegas aren't pulling up trees offensively themselves but their defence wins this one for them.

Cleveland at Lincoln

SB: Cleveland at Lincoln gets top billing this week and should be interesting. Cleveland need to get rid of the taste of that bad loss to Michigan, but Lincoln have momentum. The problem for Lincoln is that their momentum has been gained against two of the weakest teams in the league this season. Cleveland are an entirely different caliber to what they have faced so far and will constitute their first proper test.

MH: You can only beat the teams that are put in front of you. Momentum is momentum and the Pride are going to be very confident going into this game. The problem for them is that Cleveland are a team that historically have taken out bad losses on the next team they face. After one loss last year they went and threw 5 TD passes against the Dragons in the next game.

SB: I wouldn't put much stock in a 5TD victory against the Dragons when they were in the middle of being torn apart by scandal and politics. More important than Cleveland's desire to make up for their loss last week is whether Lincoln's youth is a help or hindrance in a big game like this. Is youthful exuberance enough to get past the Mustangs?

MH: The Mustangs aren't exactly ancient themselves but they've been to the playoffs in the past 2 seasons and know how to win. The key to beating the Mustangs is to stop their offence. That sounds like I'm just stating the obvious but if Lincoln try to get into a shootout with them they stand no chance. The Mustangs defence simply doesn't give up many points and if Lincoln fall behind early they are going to have a real uphill battle throwing at Taylor and those CBs. The good news for Lincoln is that their own defence is capable of holding back most teams.

SB: The Lincoln defence has been particularly good against the run, which is bad news for the Mustangs. For some reason, GM Dazz or his coaches don't trust Smoak's arm, so they look to use Usher and Chandler to soften the opposition up for him. John Spurgeon struggled against Lincoln in week 1 and I don't see Cleveland's RBs having better luck. By the time Cleveland realise that they need to loosen Smoak's shackles, it might be too late. That's the key in my opinion.

MH: I think we both expect this to be a low scoring affair. Both defences are likely to have strong games here. The winner of this game will be the winner of the turnover battle. Lincoln have a rookie QB and a rookie RB and that is a dangerous combination to take on Cleveland with. If Bloom makes a couple of early mistakes those could easily snowball and Lincoln may find themselves chasing things. I expect Lincoln to have a very good season but the Mustangs bounce back this week.

SB: Lincoln's wobble in the middle of the game against Seattle poses questions about their mental strength. I agree that if Cleveland's ball hawks pick off Bloom early, his confidence could drain. Cleveland rely on their defence causing turnovers more than any other team for success and I think that's their weakness. A rookie QB isn't going to exploit it, though. Cleveland win in a gameweek with very few surprises.

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« Reply #68 on: July 23, 2017, 06:19:05 PM »
Welcome to the third installment of The View from Across the Pond. Last week we learned... absolutely nothing. Not surprising really when Sean and I agreed on so many of the results. There weren't really many surprises, though New Jersey putting together a competent offensive performance in week 3 took us both by surprise. Long Beach winning a game they should have lost was probably the other thing that caught a lot of people out. I found myself having to ask people around me if that really was the score in the end because it didn't fit that game. More on that later though. The important score was 7-7 between me and Sean which leaves me still leading by 1 game week. If you're a gambling man/woman I'd still suggest listening to me over Brosnan. This week my pearls of wisdom begin with one of the more interesting games of the season.

San Antonio at Las Vegas

MH: Last week I talked about San Antonio being able to restrict Tulsa better than Tulsa would restrict them. I didn't realise they would restrict each other quite that much. You have to applaud the San Antonio defence for such a strong performance against a team with the attacking talent Tulsa have. On the other side, how do you only score 17 against that disaster of a Tulsa D? 1 of 12 on 3rd down conversion, that's how. You won't win many with conversion rates like that. Vegas are a much better defensive team than Tulsa so San Antonio will struggle to score this week. Vegas might too, though. I'm not sold on their offence so we're looking at another defensive duel. I think Vegas will edge it.

SB: Last week, San Antonio finally put in a defensive performance equal to the talent on their roster. It was beautiful to watch, for people who like that side of the game, but is that the version of the Knights that we'll see this week? I wouldn't exactly put my house on them not reverting to the shambles of the first two games. With Las Vegas, you know that their defence is going to play and play hard, but can their offence do enough. They ran the ball 48 times last week, showing a lack of trust in May and making me look a little silly in the process. I'm backing San Antonio in this one, purely out of spite.

Kansas City at Lincoln

SB: I like Lincoln and I like Bloom. Apparently James Taylor does not, and he decided to almost single handedly ruin their week. Rookie QBs are going to have games where they play like it but overall I expect good things from Bloom in his first season. Lincoln will need to dust themselves down very quickly because they are facing A Bruins team who are really finding their stride. Mariota looks immense this season and the 107 points they've scored in 3 games makes then the second best offence in the league so far. The Pride will be a sterner test as they have strength and depth right across their team, but I think Kansas City will have too much firepower for them. Kansas City win.

MH: I agree with Sean about Lincoln. They are a very promising side and they pushed Cleveland hard for almost 3 quarters. in the end Cleveland were too good but Lincoln will win those games more often than not this year. Bloom has looked very impressive in his first season so far and I'm looking forward to watching him develop. Kansas have been sensational offensively this season. They've really caught me by surprise. I still don't like their defensive strategy though. It just doesn't work for their roster. Oakland couldn't capitalise on that but Lincoln will make a better go of it. It will be a shootout and my head says Kansas will have the better of it but my gut says Lincoln. My gut doesn't fail me often. Home field advantage could be the difference. Lincoln.

Tulsa at Long Beach

MH: Long Beach's shock victory was built on 2 things last week, efficiency and a solid ground defence. No attempted fieldgoals all game tells its own story. Of course, had Tombstone not missed a very kickable one then the result would have been different. You need luck in this league sometimes but I think to base that victory on luck would be unfair. Long Beach did a great job of restricting Robles to less than 3 yards per carry and if you do that against the Outlaws you give yourself a great chance. Tulsa have no run game at all. 2.2 yards per carry last week was very very poor. Their passing game more than makes up for it but this defence in Long Beach is going to be a tough nut to crack, even for Tulsa. Again, I think the home field advantage will win out here and Long Beach surprise a few people.

SB: Calling Long Beach's victory last week a shock is going a little too far in my opinion. I don't think it possible to be shocked by Tombstone throwing away games they should be winning, as GM Justin is just continuing Tombstone's tradition of underachievement. More on that later. As Mark said, Long Beach were efficient in the red zone and solid against the run. Unfortunately for them, their defence is not good against the pass. Tulsa rely heavily on Sullivan's ability to get the ball to Lackey and Ramos, who are doing all the heavy lifting for their offence, and he has had a good deal of success with that so far. Maxley can't cover both, so I expect big yardage from Tulsa. Long Beach need a strong defensive effort to win any game against opposition not from Seattle and Tulsa are a bad match-up for them. Tulsa win this one.

Atlanta at Miami

MH: If you're a fan of a team playing against Miami and looking at this article for some in depth analysis I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed. Miami have no direction and are the wrong side of mediocre. Although Atlanta let me down last week I have no hesitation in picking them to make it up to me this time.

SB: Contrary to what certain pundits will tell you, Miami are a better team than their record suggests. They will win some games this season and surprise better teams. I think that this week is going to be one of those occasions. Atlanta are almost a good team. Carr is almost a good QB and Elliott is almost an elite running back. I think that Atlanta will almost win this game, but they're missing something and they need to figure out what that is. Maybe losing to Miami this week will shock them into action.

SB: - In light of GM Rebel's dismissal and the current trade frenzy instigated by Mr. Crowe, I am going to adjust my prediction. Atlanta are no longer close to a good team and will get beaten handily by Miami.

MH: - I did not see that coming. We've had 3 weeks of this season so far and GMs are already abandoning hope and trying to rebuild. Mr Crowe had to make a decision and chose the nuclear option. I can see the vultures circling already. I will have to change my prediction and select a rare win for Miami.

DC at Michigan

SB: DC have ridden their luck during the past two weeks and won tight games thanks to the bionic leg of Omer Sasser. In order for Sasser to work his magic though, DC have to keep the game close. Against the deeply flawed offences of the Dragons and Lynx, that task was easy enough, but Michigan have scored 21 points in each of their games... a score DC hasn't managed once. Freedman had a breakout game against New Jersey and Hill is a much better QB than Pate or Gino Mathias. I think this is the week that DC's luck runs out. I predict Michigan win to keep things very tight in the North East.

MH: DC have been struggling offensively so far this year and have relied on Sasser to get them out of trouble. They'll be feeling pretty good after some dramatic victories but Sean is right, they should have beaten New Jersey and St Paul more comfortably than they did. I don't know how well DC will handle Hagan and Sanderson and that could be key. There are mistakes in this DC offence. Michigan, on the other hand, have performed better than I expected and particularly impressed against Cleveland. Unfortunately, a lot of that has been sullied by a poor loss against a Dragons team in transition. It's difficult to back them after that. The other question mark is still that secondary. I stand by my comment about their d-line being their whole defence. They rely on that d-line getting sacks to stall the opposition's momentum and to kill drives... but if Sasser can hit 60 yard plus FGs that might not be good enough. It's difficult to choose between these two so I'll take the easy option and go for the home team.

Alabama at Music City

SB: This one is simple: Trevor Jose beats Alabama's third string QB.

MH: Alabama goes as Ortega goes. If he plays I think they'll have too much for a Music City side that are coasting this year. We have to assume he won't, though, and that makes this a very different game. I have to agree with Sean on this one, Music City win a poor game.

New Jersey at Oakland

MH: After this game against Oakland, New Jersey travel to Cleveland and Rapid City. Lose and the Dragons could find themselves in a slump that may well hurt their rebuilding process. Win and they can hold on to a set of back to back victories from which they can build confidence later in the season. It's an important game for GM Kirk and Pate, more so for the latter with Todd waiting in the wings now. I think this is a good match-up for them and just at the right time too. Oakland have struggled and New Jersey still have an elite defence so they should give themselves a low target for Pate to aim for. I still think this offensive unit needs time to gel but they'll be good enough for this one. New Jersey in a low scoring game.

SB: Mark has already covered the main points on this one, so I won't repeat them. It'll be interesting to see if the rumours of GM TJ's return make Oakland step up a gear and how John Spurgeon will react to suiting up against the Dragons for the first time in his career. I still can't see anything other than a win for New Jersey, though.

Tombstone at Seattle

SB: Tombstone have not looked good this season and I think it's time that people start to ask questions about the coaching staff there. Their record over the last few years isn't bad but it is rather underwhelming for a team of their talent. They should have been a powerhouse in the West, capable of taking on any of the monsters from the East but they look as far away from that as I've ever seen them. I don't think that GM Justin's decision to abandon a team he built for what he expected would be an easy shot at the championship has endeared him to the playing staff or the fans, and that is going to be a big concern for him if the team doesn't find a way to be more dominant. A trip to Seattle could make things look much brighter, though. GM Phoenix seems to be in full meltdown, if the rumours of more key players being dumped are true, and that could lead to an embarrassing winless season for the Rhinos. Tombstone win, but still fail to look convincing whilst doing so.

MH: I'm glad Sean focused on Tombstone because I want to talk about the more compelling story in Seattle. It's like watching a car crash. It's horrible but I can't take my eyes off it. I'll start with the positive, GM Phoenix made the right choice switching to 4-3 and it will suit that roster much better in the long run. Assuming he sticks with it. The situation at QB is a farce, though. Todd is the man they need but they've dumped him for a pair of error prone QBs. Yes, Dak and King have promise but they should be showing better signs of improvement by now. You can't blame Carmazzi for that disaster last week, he stood no chance against Rapid City. What he needs is consistency and a GM willing to invest in him. He won't get either in Seattle. The QB is an easy scapegoat but Seattle's problems run much deeper than that. To get back to this week's game, Seattle lose to anyone but they'll be destroyed by a Tombstone team who are better than Sean thinks.

Rapid City at Orlando

SB: This is the biggest game of the season so far and really should have had the primetime slot. The two remaining undefeated teams go head to head in what could be a preview of this season's Impact Bowl. Rapid City currently have the top scoring offence and the stingiest defence in the league, so they go into this as the favourites. Pruitt and Patton are two out of the top three QBs in the league (Smoak is the other, since you ask, but you could argue forever about who goes where on the list) so the game should be a real treat for the fans. The real difference between these teams is in the quality of their RBs and defensive front seven on defence: Orlando are no match for the Inferno in either. It'll be a great game, but there's only one winner... Rapid City.

MH: I think Sean is right about this being the game of the week. The two form teams in the league going head to head is going to be some spectacle. Though I think he forgets Kansas and Cleveland when he suggests Orlando will make the Impact Bowl. Still, this game is going to be fascinating for many reasons. While Sean gets excited about Pruitt and Patton, it's the defensive battle that interests me. I know, it's sad. Both of these teams have real world class talent sprinkled through their defences but there's a lack of depth behind those key players. On paper the Rapid City secondary looks like a weak spot but they handled Mariota and that powerful Kansas offence in week 1. Patton and Orlando will be a different prospect though. Patton has a number of targets he can hit and the game IQ to pick out the open man. Lightner might be able to bottle up Hodge but there's still Best et al for Patton to hit. On the other side, I'm not convinced the Orlando DTs are strong enough to contain the Rapid City run game. I keep going back and forth on this one but I'm going to make the controversial pick and back Orlando this week. I just have a feeling in my gut.

St. Paul at Cleveland

SB: This is generally when Mark and I would discuss the top billed game in detail, but there's not much to say. St. Paul don't have an offence. Cleveland have a very good offence. Cleveland win this every day of the week, twice on Sunday and invent an extra day to win it again.

MH: I think you oversimplify this game just a little. On paper Cleveland matched up very well against St. Paul last year too but lost twice. I think the Mustangs underestimated them last season and paid the price. That's unlikely to happen this year as Cleveland have the additional motivation of wanting to avenge the playoff loss and the fact that this is their first home game of the year. Usually GM Gooch has St. Paul set up to play to their strengths. However, when I heard him talking about Cleveland being a passing team at his press conference I just sat there shaking my head. They probably should play that way but as you pointed out last week, the Mustangs still try to soften their opponents up with the run before throwing deep. If St. Paul sit back in coverage they could find Usher and Chandler running through them. A backup QB trying to chase the game against the Cleveland secondary could get ugly.

SB: None of that matters. Can St. Paul's offence put points on the board? No. Can they win against a team who can? No. Coach Swope's defence is still one of the best out there, but they have to hold teams to under 20 points and score some as well. That's not going to happen against a good team. GM Gooch's teams always play hard, so it won't be a blowout, but that's the best they can hope for.

MH: I actually disagree with you there.I know I've been trying to talk up the game but I think it could turn into a blowout if St. Paul fall behind early. A fully fit Lynx team might make team might make this a close game but I can see this getting very ugly in the second half. I'll put my reputation on the line and say Cleveland win by more than 14.

SB: Cleveland's offence gains yards, but doesn't score as many points as it should. The Lynx have a good enough defence to keep the score down, so a 14 point victory only happens in GM Dazz's dreams.

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« Reply #69 on: August 07, 2017, 02:31:20 PM »
2nd Edition

- Johnny Quinn -

Here we are again after a very busy Week 5 saw many trades as teams are gearing up for a playoff push or looking to build towards a better tomorrow.


New Jersey gets: Charles Todd

Seattle gets: Dak Prescott

*Seattle agrees to pay $5MM of Todd's contract for season 9.*


Charles Todd: Anytime you get out of a situation where you are unwanted to a situation with a cloudy quarterback as their starter on a team that has been historically successful. You're a winner.

Dak Prescott: Even though he goes to a team that are in rumbles on offense... it's clear GM Phoenix thinks Dak is the man to take over the reigns in Seattle. I don't think GM Kirk ever looked at Dak as a potential starter for his team.

New Jersey: I feel Todd is a better option at QB then Dak and they also had Seattle pay them $5MM of Todd's salary. Not too shabby at all.


Seattle: I just have a feeling that soon they will realize Dak Prescott is not a better option then Charles Todd.


New Jersey gets: John Lynn, Ali Muhammad, Luis Paulson

Atlanta gets: Charles Todd, Charles Barker, George Slender, Michael Winkler, NJ's s10 2nd, 3rd, 5th round picks


Atlanta: When GM Rebel left, it was clear it was time for a rebuild and no better way to rebuild then through the draft. Acquiring a 2nd, 3rd, and 5th should help out nicely in that department and they really didn't lose too much to get them either.

New Jersey: Clearly GM Kirk feels John Lynn is the quarterback of the future here, but he also picked up a nice DT in Muhammad and a veteran CB in Paulsen. This could end up being a steal when we look back at this trade in a few seasons.   


Lynn/Muhammad: When you are a rookie in the league and you get drafted, I don't think there is any bigger stunt to your development then being traded. That's the case with both these rookies who had promise, but now they have to learn a new system under new coaches and they haven't even been in the league long yet. Has to feel like a big fat L to them.

Charles Todd: I guess GM Kirk didn't really value Todd at all. And after Atlanta bought him out, now he stands unemployed. Bummer for Todd, who will now look to resurrect his career next season or try and land on another team this season. 

Tashaun Pate: To know his franchise is trying to acquire the QB of the future can't sit well. He's going to constantly be looking over his shoulder as the organization is going to be itching to give Lynn as chance... especially if their season starts taking a turn for the worse.


ATLANTA GETS: Vega del Rio, Alonso Munoz, Wilhelm Hammer, St. Paul S10 2nd Round Draft Pick

ST. PAUL GETS: John Carr, Martin Back, Atlanta S10 6th Round Draft Pick


St. Paul: When you play in the toughest division in football and you have the defense to get it done, but something is lacking on offense... this is the type of trade that can catapult the Lynx back into the playoffs with a shot winning the Impact Bowl. Carr isn't someone that will throw up crazy numbers, but he's someone that doesn't turn the ball over very often and that's what the Lynx need. Martin Back is a game changer and this might be a match made in heaven that sends St. Paul soaring.

Atlanta: Sure Atlanta lost out on Carr and Back, but in return they did receive Wilhelm Hammer a young stud DE and another 2nd round pick. Atlanta is gearing up for a big time draft and still has many pieces to build around.


Vega del Rio: Was once thought of as the franchise QB in St. Paul now see's himself in Atlanta with a very murky future. He better have his fingers crossed that Atlanta doesn't select a QB in the first couple rounds.


Orlando receives: Mario Cavanaugh (Atlanta retains 4.5MM in Salary)

Atlanta receives: Orlando S10 1st Round Draft Pick, CB Joel Flemming


Mario Cavanaugh: Talk about change in scenery. From a team with little to no shot at the Impact Bowl, he lands on a team that may just be the best team in the East. Now has a great opportunity to win a ring this year.

Atlanta: Acquiring a 1st round pick for an aging DE. The new GM there has stepped in and really solidified a change to build with this upcoming draft.

Orlando: Sure giving up the 1st pick is a gigantic risk, but Orlando is a team that has Impact Bowl aspirations and this deal puts them right there with Rapid City as favorites to do win it all.


Joel Flemming: Because someone has to be a loser here.


Seattle gets: Steve Wright, Sean Johnson, Adam Lang, Tyrell Carlton, William Boyd, S10 DC 1st Round Draft Pick, S10 DC 5th Round Draft Pick

D.C. gets: Raymond Roby, James Gomez, Joshua Keaton, Bob Tubbs, Walter Arreola


D.C.: Much like Orlando, they also lose a first round pick, but with this trade that might have potentially assembled the best offensive line in HIFL. Roby and Gomez fill in a the gap left by Wright and actually boost the depth of the linebacking corp. They also unload a few bad contracts in the process.

Seattle: They acquire the 1st round pick they were looking for and add a nice piece on the defensive line with Sean Johnson. Steve Wright wants out of Seattle though and that could garner them another pick in the draft or some pieces to build around.

Lonnie Spooner: He was the odd man out in the depth chart and will now get his chance to shine opposite Taco Tipton on the defensive line.


Steve Wright: Does time make things better in his relationship with GM Phoenix? Perhaps. But even still, he is someone who would rather be on a contender then a builder.

D.C.'s S10 Draft: Now without a pick until the 5th round... I guess GM Jon will be relying heavy on re-signing guys and working free agency.


Miami receive: William Wallace, Earl Craven, Carl Long, Austin Napier

Seattle receive: Hector Houser, Frank Olivera, Phillip Johnson, Miami Season 10 6th Round Pick, Miami Season 10 7th Round Pick


Seattle: What a great piece to put on the opposite side of Darren Pierce. Houser still has loads of talent and would be a great mentor for the young rookie. The rest of the trade is pretty insignificant, but those two draft picks at the tail end of the draft could prove to be valuable for a rebuilding team.


Miami: I'm not sure what there goal here was with this trade. They didn't get any draft compensation back. The players they got are nothing special. They lose a good rebuilding piece in Hector Houser, especially for what they gave up to acquire him (see the last edition).



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« Reply #70 on: August 08, 2017, 10:45:26 AM »
Season 9 - First Quarter

- Johnny Quinn -

1. Rapid City (4-0)

2. Orlando (3-1)

3. Cleveland (3-1)

4. Kansas City (3-1)

5. Las Vegas (3-1)

6. Michigan (3-1)

7. Lincoln (2-2)

8. Alabama (3-1)

9. Tombstone (2-1-1)

10. D.C. (2-2)

11. Tulsa (2-2)

12. New Jersey (1-3)

13. St. Paul (1-3)

14. Long Beach (2-2)

15. Miami (2-2)

16. San Antonio (1-2-1)

17. Oakland (1-3)

18. Music City (1-3)

19. Atlanta (0-4)

20. Seattle (0-4)



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« Reply #71 on: August 10, 2017, 07:14:37 PM »
Welcome to the latest chapter of The View From Across The Pond. Week 4 promised us a lot of exciting football and it didn't fail to deliver. There were some real standout games, Rapid City vs Orlando standing out in particular. Sean may well have been right to pick it out as an Impact Bowl preview and I'd not complain if we got another chance to see that. Lincoln put up another strong performance against Kansas, though they didn't quite do enough, and Oakland surprised a lot of people by waking from their coma against the Dragons. Overall, I was a little surprised by the lack of upsets though. Many of the games went the way you'd generally expect, which is very odd for the HIFL. Unfortunately this meant that I've finally been beaten by Mr Brosnan. He finished the week with 7 correct results whereas I may as well have flipped a coin with a disappointing 5.
Game week 5 has been remarkable before a ball has even been kicked so I'm looking forward to getting my teeth into it. With that in mind...

Miami at Alabama

MH: GM Garcia will be feeling pretty good after leading Miami to victory in his first game in charge. The problem with that victory is that it took overtime to beat an Atlanta team that has imploded. Sure, they hadn't lost their players but the GM had already been dumped and the fire sale announced. That can't have been good for morale and yet they took Miami right to the limit. Alabama are a much better outfit than Atlanta, even before all that's happened. With Ortega back fit they are capable of giving the best teams in the league a game. Miami are far from the best in the league. Alabama win relatively comfortably.

SB:That was a friendly welcome to the league for GM Garcia. I think it's fair to say that Atlanta have downed tools this season. In fact, Mr. Crowe has gone on such a trade bender that I doubt they will recover from this for years to come. GM Garcia has walked into his own rebuild, but Miami are a lot further along with the process and the first victory under his tenure will boost morale down in sunny Florida. With some teams already deciding to throw in the towel, a second win might not actually be welcomed by the new GM in Miami, who is likely to have one eye already on the draft, but they need to start building rapport with their fans if the team is to have a future at all.  Garcia's come into the HIFL with a strong reputation, so there are potentially good times ahead for fans in Miami. Not this week, however. Even with a RB under centre, Alabama are looking the strongest they've been since the GM Reya era and will have enough to win this game.

DC at Atlanta

SB: This game is a gift for GM Jon and his beleaguered Cobras. They got embarrassed and cruelly exposed by the Monsters, but Atlanta are such a disaster at the minute that I'd even pick Seattle to beat them. This game couldn't come at a better time for DC and I'll be betting my house and Mark's house that they come away from Atlanta with the W.

MH: I already touched on Atlanta but there's just so much to say on the subject. They've already ripped the heart out of this team... and the lungs... and the liver. I don't seen a plan there apart from hoarding draft picks for future years. The thing is, they need a base to build from first and they just don't have that anymore. They'll need to hold onto Ezekiel Elliott and build their team around him if they're to have any hope of being relevant in the next few seasons. This should be an open goal for DC but GM Jon has hit the panic button this week with a monster trade that completely ruins the cohesion of his o-line and weakens his defensive front 7. All a response, perhaps, to the humbling at the hands of Michigan's d-line. A lot of teams are going to be shown up by Michigan, though, and I'm not sure DC needed to make this trade. It may work out in the long run but it feels very reactionary to me. Still, this is the week to do it with a gentle trip to Atlanta. DC will win this one.

New Jersey at Cleveland

SB: Both of these teams joined in the trade frenzy this week, but I don't think either made any significant change to what they already had. New Jersey might find that the trade produces a marginal improvement next season, but that might be for a different GM if results don't improve quickly. I don't see that happening against Cleveland. If the Mustangs get ahead early, this could be a carbon copy of the game against St.Paul this past week: if the Dragons are forced to turn to Pate, the ball hawks in Cleveland will feast on his errant passes. I've managed to get all of my New Jersey predictions wrong for this article, so fans of the Dragons will be delighted to see that I'm picking Cleveland to win a blowout.

MH: I said last week that the Dragons had to win because they faced a very tough run of games that could define their season. They didn't and now they travel to a Cleveland side who will be riding high after an almost complete game against St Paul. GM Kirk has decided to prepare for that game by making yet another destabilising trade during the season. It might be something Wrong with Todd we don't know about but Kirk seems to have inherited GM Phoenix's obsession with trading QBs. I can't work out what New Jersey are doing this year. If they were looking to make something of this season then using Todd to push Pate and trading draft picks for talent made sense. Trading for a QB with potential makes sense if they're building for the future but they also need to draft well for that. I don't think Kirk knows what his plan is yet this year and that is going to hurt the Dragons. This offence is still a work in progress but Cleveland's defence is not one to be learning against. The Mustangs win this comfortably.

Seattle at Kansas City
MH: I get criticised for being critical of this Kansas defensive system. In all fairness, I still don't like it. The secondary is problematic and the linebackers aren't good enough. That said, it doesn't really matter because their offence is on another planet this year. They may struggle against elite teams but they'll win far more than they lose. You can add this one to the win collumn. Where to start with Seattle? I was pretty shocked at the way GM Phoenix hung his QB out to dry in his press conference. Carmazzi was an easy target but the issues go a lot deeper. QBs are all about rhythm and when they get sacked 7 times in a game they are not going to be able to produce. They need support but if Seattle don't trust the QB why is Brown only getting 15 carries against Tombstone? The offensive line was the problem there but Phoenix has traded the good pieces to DC. I hope Dak has good health insurance.

SB: Kansas City are on fire right now wheras Seattle are a hot mess. I don't think any other GM would have been able to get elite players like Wright and Houser onto their team in mid-season, but GM Phoenix has ripped up his roster to do it. I'll be surprised if he lasts the week. Kansas City roll all over Seattle and probably shut them out as well.

Rapid City at Lincoln

SB: Mark has used the word "efficient" to describe several teams and performances this season. Efficient is exactly the wrong word to use to describe Lincoln. The Pride are 2nd in total offence per game (4th in rushing yards and 3rd in passing yards) but languish down in 8th for points scored. The picture is even worse on defence where they rank 12th for points allowed but 1st in yards allowed. This shows that they have trouble punching the ball into the endzone and stopping the opponents from doing the same. That's a big problem against Rapid City who rank in the top three of every single catagory except passing defence (8th). Bloom could have some considerable success in this game, but he's going to have to find a way to be more ruthless once they reach the red zone if Lincoln are to have any chance of winning. Rapid City struggled to overcome Orlando and I think that will be the case again here... but they'll manage it. Rapid City will win a tight game against Lincoln but we should see Lincoln's points scored trending upwards and points allowed going the other way in the near future.

MH: Efficient is exactly what you have to be against Rapid City if you want to get anything from the game. I agree with Sean, Lincoln are very talented but their youth goes against them in games like this. When I look at them this year I see St Paul from last season. I think they'll grow into the season as Bloom grows into his role. This game has come too early for them though. Rapid City by 10 but Lincoln give a good account of themselves.

San Antonio at Long Beach

MH: There's something of Jekyl and Hyde about both of these teams. They have moments where you think it's clicked for them only for both teams to go on to disappoint. There are pieces to like on both rosters and they should be better than they have been so far. This game all depends on which will be Jekyl and which Hyde this week. Despite what the stats say, I think San Antonio's offence has slightly more going for it, they've just faced some tougher defensive sides so far. San Antonio win, probably in overtime.

SB: Most of the games this week have an obvious winner, but not this one. It's very difficult to predict this game because I'm struggling to decide which team is the least uninspiring of the two. San Antonio and Long Beach are two teams who don't do anything particularly well but don't do much badly, either. Long Beach have averaged more points scored and less points allowed, so I'm going to give them the edge in this season's Battle of "Meh."

Orlando at Music City

SB: Something has been stinking in Music City. They arguably have the best QB, the best stable of RBs and the best WR corps in the league. Their offensive line has a hole at guard and another one at centre, but nothing catastrophic. They're one of the few teams where a 3-4 makes sense and their secondary is frightening. They should be winning games and pushing Orlando and Alabama close, but they're not. Trevor Jose got hit so hard and often against Alabama that he thought his name was Schweinsteiger and put in one of the worst QB performances you'll see all year. Their RBs are getting nothing done and their defence could do nothing to stop Ortega and co running right through them. Being left high and dry by your GM at the start of the season can't be good for morale, so we'll see if GM Rebel can spark them to life. If he can, I think Music City are actually a bad match-up for Orlando and have a very good chance of upsetting them. Orlando don't run the ball well and don't defend well against the run, either. If Music City establish the run and keep Jose on his feet to make those huge passes he's still making every week, they have a really good chance here. The safe bet is to back Orlando who are looking like a real force in the east and looked great against Rapid City, but I just can't ignore how bad this match-up is for them. Music City pull off a win that puts the rest of the league on notice.

MH: Music City should be a lot better than they are. They're not. After the mess GM Rebel left in Atlanta I just don't see how there can be any immediate impact in Music City. Orlando, on the other hand, are riding high and surely playoff bound. They couldn't beat Rapid City but there's no shame in that and on another day they might have. This will be easy for them in comparison.

Michigan at St Paul

MH: Michigan's offence has been flattered by the easy ride DC gave them. They aren't that good and their o-line is still a weakness. Defensively they are still very flawed behind that Monster line. Carr is a QB smart enough to expose that. It's a good trade from Gooch and one that I think will see immediate results. St. Paul shock Michigan in a tight game.

SB: With the addition of Carr and Back, St. Paul suddenly have an offence. Granted, Carr isn't going to drop bombs downfield but he's accurate and careful with the ball and Back is the kind of talent that makes things happen. Carr will be walking into a lockerroom with a lot of familiar faces, so I expect him to settle quickly. Quickly enough to help the St. Paul defeat Michigan? That's not the only question that needs an answer. St. Paul's struggles on offence have been well documented, but their famous defence has sprung a few leaks this season. They rank 10th in points allowed and 17th in yards. Michigan have a top 5 offence so far this season, so even if the new additions to the Lynx can improve offensive production, it won't be enough. The Monsters have been something of a surprise package so far this season, but it won't be a surprise to see them win this one.

Oakland at Tulsa

SB: Oakland looked like a completely new team in their victory against New Jersey as they were energised by GM TJ's return. It could be the start of a revival... or it could have been. Oakland are ranked 19 in points allowed and 18th against the pass, so their GM's decision to trade away their stud CB for some cheap contracts and draft picks is a clear indication that the Silverbacks are preparing for the offseason already. That decision is going to bite them immediately as they travel to Tulsa, who have the 4th best passing attack in the league. Oakland are going to come down with a hard crash and I expect to see plenty more of their most talented players heading to pastures new in the coming weeks.

MH: As much sense as Sean makes about Oakland I have a suspicion that GM TJ will bring about a revival of some sort in the remainder of the season. There are rumours of unrest in Oakland but there is still a long way to go in this season. That said, they have been rotten in all but 1 game this year. Tulsa, on the other hand, have had some bright moments and their pass attack is still pretty powerful. Unfortunately their run is nowhere near as convincing and their defence is just shy of awful. It's a tough one but those defensive stats for Oakland are hard to ignore so I have to agree with Sean that Tulsa, flawed though they are, win this one.

Tombstone at Las Vegas

MH: This week's primetime game is set to be a thriller in the West... or a snooze-fest depending on your preferred brand of football. It promises to be a defensive battle and something of a chess game. Right up my street then. These two teams are very well matched and that should make for a competitive game. It won't be an offensive shootout but that just means that every play and every point will count. If I wanted to just see points I'd be watching basketball. In this game the outcome really could come down to one moment of magic or one mistake. Looking at the offences I'd say the latter is more likely.

SB: Tombstone had an easy exercise game against Seattle last week, but they still struggled to score points despite seemingly dominating the game. It's yet another example of underperformance from an uninspiring team. Robles still seems to need a lot of carries to put up his customary big numbers on the ground but he's not doing much at all with passes coming his way. It all strikes me as a team who knows its time is coming to an end just going through the motions.

MH: I don't see why you're surprised by the struggles of this Tombstone team. Behind Tibbetts they have nothing at WR so everything goes through Robles. That's what this team has been about for years. It makes them very one dimensional and easy to predict. Stopping Robles isn't easy but if you do then there's little else to worry about. I don't see why we're talking about offences here though. Vegas haven't got one either. 

SB: Las Vegas are 3-1 but they are not a 3-1 team. They have had an easy schedule so far, due to being in the weakest division, and that has masked their problems. Their defence is amongst the best, particularly against the pass (1st), which makes one wonder why they traded away so many picks for a CB. The last few seasons, Las Vegas have had very mixed results with a pass heavy attack, but they appear to have given up on it entirely. Some fingers are pointing at May and fans are calling for Shelley but, aside from Pitts, their WBs stink. Their ground game is top 5, but it takes a lot of carries to get there and they don't put enough points on the board.

MH: Vegas don't particularly have to put many points on the board with a defence like theirs. That front seven is still very impressive and it's well supported by their secondary. They're not geared up to go out there and outscore the opposition. Vegas are built to stifle their opponents and to grind out narrow victories. It's a risky strategy but is working out well enough so far. I think they have Tombstone's offence well and truly covered here so I don't see them giving up too many points. I can't see Tombstone giving up many either though. Less than 30 points total in this game looks like a good bet to me. I can't help but think that Tombstone would suit a 3-4 better than they suit 4-3 but they are getting great results from their system as it is. Again, they seem to be well positioned to stifle Vegas in this one which sets up an intriguing game. Mistakes could be the difference and May seems prone to the odd one so with that in mind I'll side with Tobstone, probably in OT.

SB: I can't pick both teams to lose, so I'm going to reluctantly side with Las Vegas' defence to get them through this game once again. Duke isn't going to have much success and everyone knows what to expect from Robles by now, so I'm picking Vegas to win a primetime game that will have most people switching over to something else.


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« Reply #72 on: August 13, 2017, 03:58:25 PM »

It's been awhile since I went back to my roots as a columnist, but with the trade fever going on in the HIFL, I think I caught it and spent that last two weeks staying up trying to figure out the trades every team needs to make, but I'm not a GM so the cap is foreign to me and thus money is hard to figure out. So instead I stayed up last night to declare the biggest trade chips teams should move, not just the biggest, a team's biggest trade chip may be a young player, but they should build around them, not move them. So without further ado, here are the biggest trade chips teams should look to move before the trade deadline. NO ONE IS SAFE

First, allow me to give my condolences as others in the league have to the families of Charles Todd, Security Bob, and GM Eddie Phoenix. Starting this off with a big name. Hector Houser is a top 5 all-timer and he's stuck playing second fiddle to the most empowered non-QB in the history of the league, Darren Pierce. Jose Mackey wasn't this empowered and he was, allegedly, having relations with GM Reya. For a player as good as Houser, he deserves better. Its up to Arnold Reigns, who may want Houser as a mentor to his #1 pick wideout, but a player like Houser would get a great haul for a rebuilding team. They've got two first round picks already, and Houser, with a lot of years left on his contract, could pull in two more and a young player.

ATLANTA WARRIOR: LB Carlos Gallaraga
Here are the players who have over 40 sacks over the last 37 games: Waylon Hagan, Timothy Cobb, Bruce Wilkinson, Carlos Gallaraga. Ever since becoming a Warrior, Gallaraga has seen his sack numbers go up and go up big time. He's averaging a sack a game this year. Pass rush is the most important part of a defense, and Gallaraga is right up there with the big names, but at such a discount. This is his last year on the contract so expect Gallaraga to seek that elite-pass rusher money, which means Atlanta should get at least a pick early in the draft for Gallaraga

NEW JERSEY DRAGON: WR Michael Griswold
This season is a wash for New Jersey, which many expected as GM Kirk saw an exodus of players through free agency and trading away Trevor Jose and John Spurgeon and not exactly replacing the talent, and whether or not GM Kirk's knows this or not, I'll lean towards the not, his team's season is sunk. At 1-4, and 3 of his next 4 opponent being division leaders in Alabama, Rapid City, and Las Vegas, the best move GM Kirk can do is to salvage for the future. He already brought in John Flynn, who could push Tashaun Pate for the present QB job, but looks to be the future at QB, but there's not much else around. I'm not sure if Storm Woods or Cleo Rickard is exactly a feature back, I'm not sure who on the defense is to be feared, especially in the secondary, a former strength of the Dragons. I do know that Michael Griswold and Christopher Mackey will be wasting some time over the next year while New Jersey gets younger, and Michael Griswold, with two years left on his contract, could be worth a move from a team in need of additional wideouts, be it a Tombstone or a Las Vegas. Griswold had 14 touchdowns just two years ago before being suspended last year for his inclusion in the Turpin Report, was on his way to another double digit season.

There's not much for Long Beach to trade, they're best players are young and should be built around, but having Henry Rios with Henry Watts manning the center position, a center as good as Rios could be moved to a team in need of interior line help, be it at Guard or center and with a couple guards going down in recent weeks, Rios is a name those teams should look. The price shouldn't be high, but a mid-to-late round pick for Rios who is in the last year of his deal should be enough to add him to a team's interior line.

Tulsa is a weird team to decide which way their trending. Sometimes they look like a playoff contender and sometimes they look bad, not seattle bad, but bad. The one constant for them is the potential they have for their wideouts to expose a defense's weakness and they've done that on occasion but the one guy who hasn't really is Andrew Espino. Espino has a way of making noise when no one is looking, and you'd think with Max Ramos and Rickey Lackey, Espino would make some noise but through the first 5 games he has multiple games of no catches. A slightly cheaper option than Griswold, Espino's track record isn't one that'll make you go "We have to get him now!" but if in need of help, he may be worth a look.

The best tackle playing today is on the block, so says the GM himself. I spoke about Gallaraga being a bargin, Britt is currently making half what he is worth. His career high for sacks allowed in a season? 5, his rookie year. Possibly the highest value on this list, given the elite skill, bargin price, and not a free agent until after next season. Why the decision to go public and confirm reports, I have no idea, but its known Britt is available, its going to cost a team, but the price is well worth it.

Similiar to Espino, except younger and more years on his contract. James has multiple catchless games this season, and been the clear third option behind Eddie Stands and Erik Pitts. You could make the argument it may serve Music City better to trade Stands, the better player in the final year of his rookie contract, to get a better haul for a team unsure of itself right now, but with Trevor Jose under center, you know he likes to find Stands, who leads the team in receptions with 23. Sure, Jose hasn't been the same Trevor Jose since he left in the third quarter of the week 1 win over Atlanta, but he's been good when he finds Stands and Pitts. Van Driver is not needed. Of the three 'not needed' wide outs, I'd still prefer Griswold, but Van Driver should be inquired about before Espino.

They traded away their best wideout for....not the best haul you could get, in fact, it was clear what Seattle got out of the deal, but why Miami made the move would make sense if they're also looking to trade William Brewster. Brewster, once the heir to the throne in Lincoln is on his 5th team. At Age 31, the days of potentially taking the leap are likely over, but not the days of him helping a team, like San Antonio. The Knights are reportedly unclear if Cardale Jones is the guy for them and a guy like William Brewster could make them not just a threat to make the playoffs, but to win the division.

ST. PAUL LYNX: RB Clifford Barbour
St. Paul moved their last best piece in Lynwood Hunter for Daniel Maxley, they didn't leave much in the cupboad should they need to make another move. With only their own seventh round pick remaining, this is St. Paul's team this year. Clifford Barbour is a vet running back that some teams who have seen a struggle in the ground game could bring in to give a jolt to the run game, but he won't bring back much for St. Paul, but more than what they currently have.

LINCOLN PRIDE: CB Theodore Schumacher
Originally I had Dennis Nelson here as I feel Theodore Schumacher is worth making a deal work, but GM Wrong has yet to really make a move towards doing that, giving me the message, the maker of shoes is going to hit the open market this offseason. He's played well enough to warrant a raise, and I imagine he'll get one, if Lincoln isn't keen on keeping him for future years, then trading him now is the move. He won't get the type of haul Joseph Mullins got, being on a one-year deal hinders that, but would I rule out a first round pick for Theodore Schumacher? No, but it's unlikely. But a second or third rounder with a player coming back to Lincoln? That seems likely should Teddy Shoes gets moved.

You were expecting Curt Robles weren't you? I wanted to, but Curt Robles is still the best running back in the game and still someone capable of carrying this Tombstone into the playoffs, but those kind of seasons aren't going to be happening much more, this may be the last one, so maybe in the offseason we hear rumblings of Curt Robles trades, but not now. Now, Tombstone doesn't have anything to move. They can't afford to move any single player and they just traded away their first, along with Lynn Malone, to get Steve Wright. Not the move I would have made, but, if Tombstone tries to focus on shutting offense down, their offense should be able to do more if asked less, but if that's not the case and Tombstone won't be able to make the playoffs.

SAN ANTONIO: DE David Seymore
GM Gravedigger made a great move a couple offseasons ago, in trading for the vastly underrated David Seymore. A top level pass rusher on a great contract has played up and above that contract. Last season, David Wilson, a similar player to Seymore, was signed to 3 year, 11 million dollar deal with some money put in for promotional purposes. Seymore is just as good and arguably better than Wilson, without the injury history, I could see Seymore and his agent using that to get even more than that 11 million. With Oakman, David Cain and Christopher Chalmers on the line and Jack, Brady and Deal in behind them, San Antonio has the luxury of trading Seymore should they decide to, maybe to get the QB they need on offense, maybe to net them a first rounder as their first is in the possession of division rival Las Vegas.

DC COBRAS: WR Sam Crawford
I had to think about this one as GM Jon just showed his willing to move a necessity to fill another, but Sam Crawford is a player who some find themselves on an island defending Crawford. Crawford has a problem with dropping catches, totaling more than 50 drops over the last two years and change. BUT, when he catches the ball, he's undeniably a playmaker, as proven last year. 62 catches, 938 yards 7 touchdowns. If he cuts his drops in half, Crawford is a top 10 wideout. It's going to come down to Brett Myers or Sam Crawford for DC this offseason, and I think Crawford will be the harder one to justify paying as much as he'll draw, so better to get something for him than nothing.

Outside of George Britt, was there a more obvious choice? Michigan came into the year with low goals and while they find themselves on the right side of .500, they're a team that is flawed and has holes to fill yet, holes that a trade of Hagan would find. Hagan, the silent sackmaster, is a top 5 player in the league, no matter the position. Any team outside of Alabama, could benefit from getting Hagan, the question is, how much would come back for Hagan. He is a merc, so there is no promise you'll have him the following year. He's not a problem as much as his advocate, who can sometimes speak his mind too much, but Hagan is THAT good that its worth it all. Of all the trade chips, I think Hagan is the one who will be moved at the deadline no matter what.

Merv Patton has shown to make players better, reviving the career of Xaiver Best. I think Orlando has a couple issues on its roster, they took care of the pass rushing issue, but next season the full Cavanaugh contract kicks in. They have to either re-sign Brandon Logue or replace him and I think they would be a team that goes after Sam Crawford or Brett Myers for the money that Michael Hodge has now, so why not trade Michael Hodge and get some picks. Only three picks in the next draft, a Hodge trade could replenish their draft cupboard.

I'll be honest, I thought Ben Pipkin was going to be in a different jersey this season. Cotter, Knapp, Singh made a great linebacking corp for Cleveland, and Pipkin was good, but not needed, but GM Dazz gave him a new contract but also promoted him, which is all I've seen of Pipkin in a Mustangs jersey this year, because I haven't seen him on the field. Cleveland's talent is why they're leading the North East, depth is nice and they don't need to move Pipkin, they can hold on to him should Knapp walk in the offseason, but should they need to make a move, Pipkin is the most attractive piece they could part with with the least about of resistance.

Two of the biggest free agents this year belong to the current Alabama roster in Bruce Wilkinson and Jarvis Botts, I could see Commissioner Jr. be the one between these two to get moved, but I think Bruce is more important to Alabama and thus, Botts should be the one that gets moved. We've seen the price of a top tier corner, and while Botts is a free agent after the year, you're not trading for Botts if you don't think he is the missing piece and thus, you're willing to pay what he'd be worth if he had another year. At least one first rounder and a player. I can see a team like Kansas City making that move should they decide this is their best chance at winning a title this year. I should add, a source close to the Nighthawks organization told me Bama may keep both which makes Timothy Cobbs expendable, and that would bring in an even better haul, but I don't think you trade Cobbs until you have both Botts and Wilkinson under contract past this year.

Unlike the other QB on this list, Michael May is helping his team in their playoff push, but some think Michael May is hindering them with his inabilty to keep the ball out of opposing defender's hands and they should give the reigns to Stephen Shelley and if you do that, you don't just bench May, you have to move him. A free agent at the end of the season, the writing is on the wall for May, his time in Vegas is drawing to a close and be it more weapons for Shelley or another top flight defensive player. But why trade for May if the writing on the wall? Those exclusive rights and that franchise tag. I could have said the lower of the New Jersey and Seattle first rounds, but that's no fun.

KANSAS CITY BRUINS: Long Beach First Rounder
Rapid City runs a Scorched Earth offense, but can beat you with their defense, Kansas City runs up the score to make the opponent predictable. When their opponents aren't predicable, KC has struggled to defend. Look at Lincoln and Rapid City and you'll see that if Kansas City wants to compete with Rapid City for the division title, if anyone can, they're gonna need to slow them down and they have two first round picks, but the Long Beach first rounder looks to be on its way to a top 5 pick. Add that with their own, should they want to improve the defense, they can without moving their

They don't need to trade anyone or should trade anyway, they're 5-0 and seemingly unbeatable. They don't have a flaw, unlike the 13 win streak Jersey Dragons who had a weakness to Omar Sasser, and there is little but themselves that could stop themselves from repeating.


Jeremy Martin and Jose Pruitt are free agents this year. Jeremy Martin is sure to get a contract similar to Curt Robles and Pruitt should see a contract like Caleb Smoak. Add in the fact the entire offensive line is up for free agency, Clint Dickey is a free agent as well as Luis Brown and Clayton Salmon. There's not enough money to keep all those guys together, SOMEONE has to be gone and Martin would fetch the largest haul without sacrficing the most. Take one of the linemen out, and Martin and Pruitt would suffer. Take Pruitt away and the whole thing sinks. Take Salmon or Brown away, and you have a weaker defense and turn into Kansas City, take away Clint Dickey and you're asking Ralph Brown and Matthew Grover to step up and I'm not sure they could. Martin is the one to move IF GM Gates wants to salvage the future. But they way it looks, they'll have all these guys back next year going for a three peat and I for one praise our new Inferno overlords.

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« Reply #73 on: August 16, 2017, 05:17:12 PM »
Welcome once again to the View from Across the Pond. Next week we have some Yanks hoping to humble myself and Sean but this week you're stuck listening to our ramblings. Though, having said that, our records speak for themselves. Both of us got 7 right last week and both of us have results to gloat about. I predicted the St. Paul game almost exactly how it went and Sean predicted a Music City revival I didn't see coming. Overall, though, there weren't many surprises last week. I don't really see many this week either but let's get started anyway.

Cleveland at Alabama

MH: We start with Cleveland's trip to Alabama. I think Alabama are a pretty decent team, though they rely too much on Ortega to get their offence working. If he gets shut down then they don't produce. By shut down I actually mean if his run game is shut down. Ortega is not a passing QB and that is going to be a huge problem against a secondary like Cleveland's. Bama only scored 14 against a poor Miami team. How are they going to score against the Mustangs? Cleveland are coming off the back of a few great performances and I don't see them slowing down this week either. Can Alabama slow down their run and hold Smoak in check? No, to put it simply.

SB: Cleveland made easier work of their win last week than Alabama did. The Nighthawk offence only showed up for one quarter, so they have their defence to thank for victory once again. Ortega is far too wasteful with his passes and doesn't make enough big plays with his arm to make his lack of accuracy worth the risk. He really needs to show that he can be more consistent passing the ball and that he can do more than just run the ball and throw interceptions if he wants to be taken seriously as a QB. It's starting to look like he'd have a better career as a full time RB. I'm beginning to think that Alabama are simply flattered by a weak division and that they will disappear against good teams and that I might have been a bit hasty when I compared GM Pancho's Nighthawks to the great teams of the past. We'll get a good idea of where they stand after Cleveland roll into town this week. Cleveland picked apart the once mighty Dragons' defence, but they still struggled to score the amount of points that their dominance deserved. They've undoubtedly got a very good team there, but I'm not sure the coaching is getting the best out of their offence. That won't be a problem against a low powered offence like Alabama's, but it could hurt them in the post-season. Cleveland win this one to stake their claim as the best team in the East.

Long Beach at Miami

SB: Last week, Long Beach had no offence and failed to score a single touchdown against San Antonio. Adding Hunter and Spurgeon has helped to drastically improve an area of their roster where they were embarrassingly short on options and now gives Wright someone he can actually throw the ball to. It'll likely take some time for chemistry to build, but expect them to start moving up from their position as the worst passing offence in the league. The question is, will that happen against Miami? It could. Miami's defense is middle of the park and picking off Ortega two times doesn't mean much. I'm not sure it matters, though. When Miami traded away Houser for a clutch of mediocre players and some picks, they did the opposite of Long Beach. They still have good players for Brewster to find, but their passing numbers halved from week 4 to week 5. It was a trade that had most people scratching their heads and most definitely puts a dent in their short-term prospects. This is a tough one to call, but Long Beach made a good trade and Miami made a bad one, so I'm going to reward the Mermen with the win this week. 

MH: Miami are still a mediocre team. There's no getting around that. They're probably more mediocre now than they were last week. It's a good project going forwards but it's not a team that is going to be doing much this year. Long Beach also have their problems though. They were embarrassed last week, there's no other way to put it. They should be better than they are but that passing game is just rotten. The changes may have some impact but I'm not convinced. It's difficult to pick Miami to win any game this year but I have a slight suspicion that they'll surprise Long Beach this week.

Atlanta at Michigan

SB: You'd have to be drunk, or the town idiot, to pick anything other than a win for Michigan in this game.

MH: I'm not drunk... the latter is up for debate. Still, Michigan win despite their issues.

Las Vegas at Oakland

MH: Oakland have had something of a resurgence since GM TJ has returned. They took Tulsa apart and kept their offence very quiet. That's surprisingly easy to do this season. Las Vegas will be a much tougher nut to crack. Last week should have shown Vegas that they need to throw the ball more. Their run game needs far too many carries to produce the yardage but their passing game can produce when called upon. 2 TDs for the backup, that's pretty impressive. I just think the Vegas defence will be too strong for Oakland. Scorpions win a close one.

SB: Vegas and Oakland traded with each other a week before facing each other. An interesting way to prepare for a game between two former powerhouses in the West. The Scorpions improved an already stingy pass defence and just gave up some minor pieces to go along with a handful of their hoard of 1st round picks. A good trade for Las Vegas, right? Wrong. Those picks would have been much better used to pick up Hunter or Houser to give May a second option to pass to. As it is, no amount of trick plays or switching up QBs mid-game is going to turn Ponder, Sacledo, Miller or Rice into competent receivers. If Oakland shut down Corbett and Richmond stays close to Pitts (as he's probably been doing ever day in practice since the offseason) then they shut down Las Vegas. Oakland have woken up since the return of GM TJ and I think they will continue to build momentum with a big win against the old enemy.

Kansas City at Orlando

SB: Kansas' defence is bad. Their ground game is bad. Those two things are very bad if your next game is against Orlando. Orlando will have no problem bottling up Henry Force and their improved pass rush will have Mariota running for his life. Kansas City have been wonderful to watch as they've entirely ignored the defensive side of the game in favour of simply outscoring their opponents. That won't work against Orlando, who need to win this to stop a bad spell turning into a downward spiral. As much as I like the Bruins this season (and they are probably my favourite team to watch) I can't pick anything other than an Orlando victory... probably a big one.

MH: I'm pleased to see people, or in this case Sean, are seeing what I've been saying about Kansas all season. offensively they are very impressive but they can't defend. You can't build part of a defence and expect it to work and Kansas are learning that this season... I hope. I'm excited about this game, though. Orlando and Kansas (despite the terrible defence) are two of the most impressive teams in the league this year. It's going to be the game to watch this week. I want to disagree with Sean but it's very difficult to. Orlando are just too good offensively and are solid enough defensively to hold back Kansas better than they are held back. Orlando win a very entertaining shootout.

Tulsa at Seattle

SB: After the tragic events in Seattle, I doubt that anyone in that organisation is focused on this game or any other this season. I'm sure that the thoughts of everyone connected to the HIFL are with the victims' families. The season continues, however. With the late GM Phoenix, Seattle looked likely to finish the season 0-16 but his untimely death makes them certainties for that record now. Mr. Reigns has been quick to make some moves to shore things up, but I'm not sure anything can. With the way things are in Seattle, I think that's probably going to be true for years to come. Tulsa will win a game that nobody wants to play.

MH: I'm not sure there's much to say about this game. We're all shocked by the events in Seattle and our thoughts go to the families of those involved. Seattle will not win a game this year but that hardly seems important now.

San Antonio at St. Paul

SB: I praised GM Gooch for a smart trade last week, but I didn't expect it to pay dividends so quickly. He hasn't rested on his laurels, either. Adding Maxley improves a pass defence that has underperformed so far, not that it will be needed against San Antonio. Questions are being asked about Cardale Jones, despite an impressive performance last week, and there's even talk that the coaches in San Antonio have lost faith in him. I think the O-line should shoulder their fair share of the blame, but there's no doubt that San Antonio's offence needs to improve. This is another difficult game to call. Has St. Paul's offence improved enough to find success against a talented defence? Can Jones keep the ball out of the hands of St. Paul's secondary and find his targets? I'm really not sure, but I'll go with St. Paul to win in OT.

MH: Cardale Jones had a decent game last week so I don't see where the pressure on him is coming from. He threw 1 interception but 3 TDs and he threw for over 200 yards. Those are pretty good numbers for a QB under the spotlight. They needed him too because that run game took a lot to get going. How they will manage against an impressive St Paul secondary is another thing. The San Antonio defence has much more depth than Michigan, however, so it'll be harder for St. Paul to put points on the board. It's a tough one and should be a competitive game. I just think St paul will edge it. 

Lincoln at Tombstone

SB: Mark keeps trying to convince me that Tombstone are better than I think, but they didn't do him any favours in that task in the way they lost to the Scorpions. Yes, they just strengthened a top 5 defence but they're another team that's so busy making their strength's stronger that they completely ignore their weaknesses. Duke is the posterboy for mediocre QB play and Robles is in desperate need of some help after carrying that offence on his back ever since season 5. The good news is that Lincoln aren't a team who will make an offence work too hard. Bloom clealry has talent, but his propensity to throw wild passes gifts the opposition short field position and the their defence seems to incapable of stopping anyone at all from getting into the endzone. Just look at how Rapid City ran up a huge score without really dominating any stats category outside of turnovers. I think Tombstone will edge this one, despite their flaws, and pile more misery onto the Pride.

MH: Tombstone are better than Sean thinks. They're also worse than I thought. It surprises me just how much they're struggling this year. They were poor against Vegas last week... Robles in particular. He didn't get the carries he's used to and therefore didn't gain many yards. His strength is in his stamina, not his yards per carry. If they can't find ways to get him the ball then they find themselves in trouble. Lincoln have also struggled lately even though I've been predicting them to improve as the weeks go by. If they can get out to an early lead then they'll be fine against Tombstone. I like Bloom so I like their chances. Tombstone keep letting me down anyway.

Music City at DC

MH: Music City and Trevor Jose were much much improved against a talented Orlando team last week. If they can beat Orlando then there's hope for them again this season. I was not expecting that performance at all. DC also had a good offensive performance against Atlanta but that's not saying much really. The worry for DC was how badly their defence leaked against a team that is going through the motions. This will be a harder test for them and I think it will be too much for a team that is transitioning as the season goes on. GM Jon has ripped the spine out of this team and while I do think it will pay off in the long run, it's causing problems now. Music City will surprise DC this week.

SB: Music City did me proud last week by pulling off an upset that lesser pundits didn't see coming. Can they do it again this week? Yes they can. Music City are weak against the run and strong against the pass. DC has no running game and their QBs aren't going to frighten Music City's stacked secondary. DC will struggle to put up points and I think that Carlson and Pugh will have a breakout game against their unsettled front seven. Add in Trevor Jose and things don't look good for the two-time champions. Music City will continue their renaissance and throw their hat in the ring for an Eastern Conference wildcard spot... probably at the expense of DC.

New Jersey at Rapid City

SB: A primetime game this week for people who  like to watch public floggings. Rapid City did a number on Lincoln last week and it will be even worse for New Jersey. I've used the word mediocre a few times already, but that's exactly what New Jersey are on paper. They're not a mediocre team, though: they're bloody awful. Has a team ever scored 100 points before?

MH: A year ago this game mattered. These were the top two teams in the league fighting for superiority. Rapid City won that battle so convincingly I'm not sure when New Jersey will recover. This year this is simply another winnable game in Rapid City's quest for a perfect season. They won't achieve it but this won't be the one. I wish I could argue that the Dragons have a chance to upset things here but I have a reputation to think of. I think you are going a bit far with 100 points though. New Jersey still have a solid enough defence. It's much better than those of Tula or Seattle at least.

SB: 544 yards for Cleveland tells a different story. Spurgeon tore New Jersey apart (this season and last). Usher and Chandler tore them apart and Martin is about to have the easiest game of his season. Whatever strength the Dragons had on defence last season has seemingly been traded away and whatever pride they had left this season is about to be snatched away. Perhaps Rapid City will use this game to rest up, but that's the only way this game doesn't get very ugly.

MH: I think the game will be closer than you think... though it still won't be close. I just don't see New Jersey being blown away like that. Yes, they allowed over 500 yards last week but they kept the score down. They also managed to get to Caleb Smoak regularly and if they do that against most QBs they'll have decent success. They just need to redefine success this year. Their pass rush is good but that secondary is a problem. As is their defence against the run. these are real problems against a Rapid City team that run and pass with equal ease. The Rapid City defence is also one of the best in the league and their own secondary will be all over any mistakes by Pate this week. 

SB: I'll touch on Rapid City for a moment before I surprise you all by picking them to win. They are overwhelming favourites to win the Impact Bowl and go back to back. They could very well make history by being perfect all the way to the title. But this is it for their current team. They have far too many key players in contract years and none of them are likely to re-sign on team friendly deals. How GM Gates handles the offseason will determine if the Inferno are the new Nighthawks or just the new Cobras.

MH: Rapid City are too good for New Jersey this season. It's that simple. This won't be the massacre others predict though.


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« Reply #74 on: August 21, 2017, 10:48:08 PM »

Bruno and Jim break down the big games from Week 6, including Cleveland and Alabama battling for the title of Best in the East, Orlando and Kansas City in a close one and Tombstone's season falling apart. Roy Baker returns with his Baker Dozen takeaways from week 6 and his stupid stamp before Bruno and Jim preview Week 7's Game of the Week between Cleveland and San Antonio

Bruno Soulson, Jim Zebow
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GM Dazz

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« Reply #75 on: August 26, 2017, 11:59:11 AM »
Welcome to a very special edition of The View from Across the Pond. This week, as promised, we have a couple of Yanks who think they know better taking us on. So this week we would like to welcome Thadius Bone and Bruno Soulson to our humble predictions contest. It's not going to be easy for them, looking at our recent records. I'd say there weren't too many surprises but considering how many games we disagreed on I suppose at least one of us was going to find a few shocks. I doubt we'll see that happen this week though and I'd not put it past us picking all 10 games the same way. Probably not the most interesting week for our guests to join but let's get to it anyway.

This is your boy, Thaddeus Bone, host of the 3-Point Conversion on, and not related to who you're thinking of. I have a common surname, get over it. I'm celebrating the 25th edition of my weekly show by schooling my colleagues from Europe, who probably still instinctively confuse football with soccer! Haha, thanks for having me, my friends.

Rapid City at Alabama

SB: Rapid City didn't put up a record score as I predicted they would, but they did show that they could get into the endzone whenever they wanted in the second quarter against the Dragons. Besides, I think that they are playing it smart by backing off and conserving energy once a game is won. They know that there's still a lot of the season to go and that there are plenty of teams who would love to be the ones to ruin their streak. Alabama are one of those teams. The thing is, Alabama won't. I think that they can be categorised as a second tier team. They are more than capable of dominating games against anyone around or below their level, but Ortega is just too sloppy for them to beat the elite teams (Cleveland, Orlando and Rapid City). Rapid City's offence won't have it as easy as they've had it these last few weeks, but Ortega will gift them short field position often enough to get the job done.

MH: This one doesn't even need much analysis. Rapid City are one of the great teams with an elite defence and the ability to score almost at will. Alabama are Ortega and Ortega is going to be picked off for fun by Rapid City's secondary. He should be a lot better than he is by now, which can be said about a lot of the QBs from that draft. Alabama's defence must die a little inside every time they watch Ortega throw one away. Rapid City by a double figure score.

TB: You are kidding, right? "This one doesn't even need analysis"? Sure, but that's only because Alabama is going to win. Rapid City isn't going 16-0 folks, and this game is part of the reason why. They are on the road, and they are facing a defensive line that will seriously mess up that perfect offense. Rapid City has an average line, and now a banged up line with the injury to Gilbertson. Rapid City's offense works because of how quick Pruitt can get the ball out, but I don't see how this line is going to hold up against the top pass rushing duo in the league. Rapid City has benefited from beating up bottom tier defenses for the first 6 weeks. That changes this week. Look for Wilkinson and Cobb to team up and feast for at least 5 sacks en route to an Alabama upset.

BS: Before he dislocated his finger, Caleb Smoak was able to avoid the immense pressure of Alabama and was able to pick the holes of this Alabama secondary. You know what Rapid City has that Cleveland lacks: an incredible checkdown option. Jeremy Martin is capable of Curt Robles/Jose Mackey numbers and I think this is the game for it. That Alabama front seven is ferocious, but able to be dealt with the right personal, which Pruitt and Martin are. Add in the wideouts that Rapid City has and it doesn't matter. Thad doesn't realize this but the Boy Wonder and Cobbs had 4 sacks last week and they lost, the team had 8 and they lost. Cleveland has arguably the best back 7 in this league when you account for their backers ability to defend the pass, Rapid City is right behind them and this is going to be an easy 14 point win for Rapid City. 42-28.

St Paul at Atlanta

SB: St, Paul have had their issues this season, but you'd still have to be drunk, or the town idiot, to pick anything other than a win for the Lynx in this game.

MH: The improvement in St Paul since they brought in Carr has been impressive. Their defence has always been solid enough but that offence was rotten for the first quarter of this season. Everyone could see they were missing a QB but it's only now that we see just how badly they needed that upgrade. I like this new look St Paul a lot. Doesn't really matter against Atlanta though. I'm still not drunk and still not the town idiot. I don't think. St Paul win, obviously.

TB: Let's face it. Hotlanta is a mess. This is a team that doesn't know who they are. I don't even know who their quarterback is at this point! St. Paul takes it, and the only question here is if they pitch a shut out or not. With that monster secondary, yes, yes, they do.

BS: I may be drunk or the town idiot but lemme tell you why St. Paul is about to get upset by Atlanta. Ezekiel Elliot vs the nickel defense. St. Paul runs a nickel defense and the nickel is great against the pass but  even with a backer like Carol Lang, Zeke gonna FEAST. There's one thing Atlanta can do despite its struggles and it's "run the gawd dang bawl" as the ol ball coach would say. St. Paul's offense is stronger than it has been in the past but if Atlanta does what it's capable of doing and keeps John Carr on the sidelines while having long scoring drives Atlanta walks away with a win. I think they do just that. 20-17 Atlanta.

Tulsa at Kansas City

MH: If you'd asked me about this game at the beginning of the season I'd be enthusing about the offensive shootout we were about to see and predicting a back and forth thriller. It's still partly accurate. Both of these teams have horrible defences. However, only Kansas really have an elite offence. Tulsa have been under-performing this season. Rumours are that it's due to a lack of interest from their own GM but the problems started in the offseason when that roster was built. They have parts of a great offence but their ground game has really been letting them down. That makes them too predictable and easier to contain. Kansas won't be holding them back particularly well but their offence will tear Tulsa apart. This will be a high scoring game but it will still be pretty one sided. Kansas by some distance.

TB: A lot of my colleagues in the media think that this game is going to be a shoot out, with two terrific quarterbacks helming pass first and pass often offenses. The thing is, Kansas City is out scoring every team in the league, except Rapid City, by two touchdowns a game. You can keep up with them if your defense is good, because Kansas City's is below average. The problem is, Tulsa's defense is worse, so KC will be winning this one by a comfortable margin when all is said and done

SB: Reports in America suggest that GM Franchise hasn't been giving Tulsa his full attention. It didn't hurt them much against a team deep in mourning and their record is a respectable 3-3. Their offence hasn't been quite as good as I expected this season and their defence not quite as bad. Neither are good enough to handle Mariota, though. With a QB in the sort of form as Mariota has been in so far this season, it's hard to pick against them in any game. I made that mistake against my better instincts last week and have no intention of doing so again. Kansas win this and Mariota puts up some more MVP numbers.

BS: Track meet warning. Christopher Allen maybe the difference here because it sure as hell ain't the defenses in this. Kansas City has been unable to get anything going on the ground and I'll give the edge to Tulsa's front 7 against Henry Force and Matt Ackerman, but if we are to say the passing attacks are a wash, then Christopher Allen is the guy to put Tulsa on his back. He's wanted a chance to have his own team and him to be the guy on an offense, his chance is now in this game against the second best team in the west and potentially the league. I think Kansas City gets the win, but it will be closer than some will give Tulsa credit for.

Las Vegas @ Lincoln
BS: One team lost in the last minutes and one won in the last minutes last week. I don't think we'll have the same case here. I think after blowing a 21 point lead, Vegas comes out strong behind the strength of their defense. We saw O'Rouke struggle against Vegas, and while he lacks the explosiveness that Carl Bloom has, Bloom lacks the care for the ball O'Rouke has. I think we'll see multiple turnovers from the top rookie QB and Vegas will take advantage of that and walk out with a win. 30-20

TB: When I look at these two teams, I see phantoms, specters, and the likes. A lot of the time, Vegas looks like the 4-2 division leaders they are. Other times, they look like they should be 2 and 4. Lincoln sometimes looks great behind Carl Bloom, and other times looks like a bottom tier team. Still, while it would be the sexy position to take Lincoln, unlike some other potential upsets this week, it is hard to point to one thing Lincoln does well enough to say they could beat Vegas. Anyone picking Lincoln to upset isn't counting on Lincoln playing well, they are counting on Vegas to screw the pooch. While they are certainly capable of it, they at least have the semblance of a complete team and should win this one in an ugly game.

MH: Las Vegas are a team I can't work out. They have May, who is a reliable and talented QB, but they haven't built a proper WR corps for him to pass to. They don't seem to trust him either. He completed 14 of his 18 passes last week but they still gave a lot of the ball to Shelley and he only managed 5 from 11. Had they stuck with May they would have won that game. Their running game is a bit of a mystery too. They have talent there in Corbett and Neuman but the interior of their line is weak. Really weak. That's why it takes so many attempts to generate any yards on the ground. They can be great, and their defence generally is, but then they just implode. This last week was a great example. They should have won but threw it away. Lincoln have been on a horrible run of form though. Even though they beat Tombstone, that was a very fortunate victory by the way, they have been very very poor. I still believe they have a bright future but I expected to see more of that by now. Bruno is right about the key to this game. Turnovers. Bloom gives up too many and Vegas will capitalise on that. I just can't back Lincoln against the Las Vegas defence. Vegas will win a scrappy game.

SB: When I saw that Las Vegas had made a trade, I thought GM Metro had finally decided to add a WR or strengthen his o-line. He traded for a FB. That's one trade for a (admitedly good) CB they didn't need and now another for a FB they don't need. I suppose the idea is that a good FB will help lead the RBs through the congested line, but it's just as likely to leave an extra body in the way if a team gets as little push on the line as Vegas does. I happen to agree with Mark that the Scorpions will have more success if they let May loose. Lincoln are a team who is not there yet. A rookie combination at QB and RB places a ceiling on what they can expect and who they can beat. I really want to pick them because I like the potential and the energy I see there, but Las Vegas' d-line is full of monsters who give even the most experienced offences nightmares. I think Lincoln will be game early on but will buckle under relentless pressure. Bruno is picking scores, so I'll do the same. 27-17 victory for Las Vegas.

Oakland @ Long Beach
SB: "Long Beach may not have the talent of Vegas" Famous last words from GM TJ or an accurate description of an upcoming opponenet. I'm picking option 2 and Oakland to win this one comfortably. 20-10

BS: It's always fun when a GM chirps an entire team, and that's what GM TJ did in his presser saying Long Beach wasn't as talented as Vegas. They're not, but still fun to hear it. GM BD responded with comparing their common opponent in Vegas but Oakland won their game against Vegas while Long Beach didn't. Vegas has more talent than Long Beach but Long Beach doesn't think that and you’re gonna see that in this game. It's going to be a defensive struggle with Oakland coming out with the victory 14-13.

MH: Oakland's revival should have taken a big hit last week but they dug deep and turned it around. That fight had been missing from them for the first weeks of the season but GM TJ seems to have them working hard again. That's surprising after the rumours of a mass exodus in the making there. Oakland weren't spectacular but they took their chances and that is what it takes in this league. Long Beach had a more straight forward game last week and they executed pretty well. Their numbers weren't spectacular but they were good enough. The problem with that is that good enough against Miami won't be good enough against Oakland. Can Long Beach up their performance for this one? Maybe after the war of words in the press but I'm still not convinced. They just don't have an offence. Oakland by more than 7.

TB: I know Miami isn't a good team, but it's time we in the media give Long Beach a little more credit. GM Black Death, notorious for over paying players and making ridiculous trades, 100% won in his trade with Atlanta and St. Paul. St. Paul also did well, and Atlanta is the real loser. The Mermen matched talent by picking up Dockery to fill in for Maxley, and finally gave someone for young quarterback Johnathan Wright to throw to for the first time in his career. Before that trade, I'd say Oakland and Long Beach were evenly matched, with Long Beach's tough defense against Oakland's stout offense. But let's face it, Oakland's defense isn't great, and Long Beach upgraded their offense. No longer are they evenly matched, and that's why the Mermen will win this game.

DC @ Miami
MH: DC have been struggling lately, in fact they've been struggling all season. That defeat to Music City last week will have hurt them badly too. Their defence couldn't hold Jose and Music City back in that first half and their offence couldn't protect Crawford. They'll use the injury as an excuse but Crawford hasn't been getting the support he needs all season. Rizzo may prove to be an upgrade in the end but it was still a sorry mess last week. Fortunately Rizzo gets a chance to ease himself in against a Miami side that is still mediocre in all areas. DC win, just.

BS: We always mention Seattle and Atlanta as cake walks but honestly Miami is just as bad, especially offensively. D.C. has issue of their own on offense but defensively they'll be just fine against a lackluster Killer Whale offense that lacks a lot of killers. 24-9 is your final here with D.C. Getting the win.

SB: I'm not as down on Miami as Bruno and Mark, but I am not a fan of Brewster, who is vastly overpaid for what he brings to a team. DC are vulnerable this season, particularly after GM Jon threw Crawford to the wolves, but they have a very gentle schedule that masks a lot of their issues. This won't be a classic. I'm picking DC to scrape a 17-14 victory.

TB: GM Jon is always a friend of the show, and I am feeling good about DC's prospects after last week. Now, you never want to see a guy injured, and I would never suggest that GM Jon was looking to see Crawford injured. But GM Jon is brilliant, he needed Crawford out of the way so that Rizzo can finally take over the Cobras. With that said, DC should win here. Yes, Miami has a good defense, but they are bottom of the league offensively. DC wins, and Rizzo has a chance to build momentum for his young career.

Seattle @ Michigan

MH: Seattle are understandably just there to make up the numbers now. Dak is going to be wishing he wasn't, though. It's going to be painful to watch. Do I even need to name the winner?

TB: Ahahahahahaha. Next.

SB: I will try to be a little more respectful than our distinguished guest... Here goes: Seattle have absolutely no hope of winning this or any other game. They are biblically terrible. I think Dak might have undiagnosed short-sightedness, considering the amount of interceptions he throws. Add in Michigan's pass rush and Seattle's lack of anything resembling motivated talent and this game is a massacre. 0-50 seems a conservative prediction.

BS: Let me be the one who talks a bit about about Seattle and try to talk myself in to picking them, but it'll be hard. Michigan is a team that just lost their best tackle and had already given up more than 20 sacks on the season, and recently acquired Sean Johnson has a knack for finding the QB as does top 5 career pass rusher Gabriel de la Rosa. Add in Bill Cleary and you have a solid to good pass rush and for a team who relies so much on the pass as Michigan, there's a chance Gio Hill is gonna take some hits that could affect his play, and if Giovanni isn't going, this Michigan team isn't either. But yeah, Seattle's offense has no identity and is lacking any production. I'll predict Seattle plays the absolutely perfect game they can, but it wouldn't be enough as Michigan wins 17-10.

New Jersey @ Music City

TB: What is there to say about this match-up? Pate's noodle-arm is serving up balls to the likes of McIntyre who is in top Impact Bowl shape (he drops a lot of balls). Fans may be calling for them to start their new rookie QB...but why would you do that to him? He has already lost his rookie season by being traded, you just can't do that to a rookie QB. If he plays, it'll be setting him up to fail. Music City meanwhile is moving through the motions of an offense that should be much better behind Trevor Jose, but is somehow near the bottom of the league in offensive output. Luckily, Music City's biggest weakness in the offensive line doesn't play to New Jersey's strengths, as they have an underdeveloped pass rush. Look for Music City to win this, but I don't feel confident about this one. You have to think this is a game New Jersey can steal. What a time we live in, musing about the Dragons of all teams struggling for wins.

SB: Music City look like they're in with a shout of making the playoffs. New Jersey look like they're in with a shout of watching whoever has their 1st rounder making the first overall draft pick. Trevor Jose will be itching for some revenge after being dumped by the Dragons without much ceremony (or much in return) during the off-season and he's definitely got more going for him than "Noodle Arm" Pate. The Dragons appear to have forgotten to take a defence with them on their extended road trip, which makes another humiliating loss very likely indeed. I'll be generous to the neutered Dragons and say they only lose by 3 TDs. 10-31

MH: I think this game is going to be more interesting than some other pundits are predicting. It certainly won't be a 3 TD margin like Sean predicts. New Jersey just came off what looks like a bad loss to Rapid City but a lot of teams will find they suffer in the same way. The Dragons were actually quite competitive for large parts of that game. That second quarter and Pate's two turnovers killed them. I still like parts of this New Jersey team, though it's obviously a work in the very early stages of progress. I find myself agreeing with Thad though, I think this is a game New Jersey may well surprise people in. Music City have some very good pieces but that o-line lets them down, particularly on the inside. That front 7 is mediocre at best too. The Dragons have historically run the ball well and if they can do that here they can get a result. Fall behind to Jose and they're in big trouble. My gut just says New Jersey, just.

BS: Both of these two teams lack a certain, "mmph" to make them a team I truly care about. I mean that in the sense New Jersey isn't talented and we need to stop thinking of them as a talented underachieving team and just a bad team. Tashaun Pate isn't anyone's answer as a starter. Cleo Rickard and Storm Woods haven't been able to get going behind a line that has promise, but isn't what it use to be. And the defense lacks anyone to be afraid of, I don't think Felix Duran is bad, but theres a reason he was left in Jersey when Joan Swope took the job and the lack of talent on the defense is not helping. Music City is the far more talented team, but they lack something to make them a team worth considering a playoff contender. They have Jose with targets, solid backs to compliment Jose. The offensive line could be better, but defensively,  they have a secondary second to Cleveland only and the guys in the front 7 to take advantage of that and yet they're 3-3, second in the south east and in the final spot in the East side of the playoffs but I don't buy them as such. This game is a game Music City should win convincingly, I think they do, but I'm not confident they do. Music City 27, New Jersey 16

Orlando @ Tombstone

MH: Orlando have been in a real slump lately but their team is much better than that. I fully expect them to get out of that slump this week against a Tombstone side who are letting me down badly this year. They're another team that should be better but Robles is holding them back. That's not something I ever thought I would say. He is still an amazing talent but he's not as explosive as he used to be and there are a lot of RBs out there with better yards per carry figures. He's also half of their pass attack too and that is not going to work in a league like this. If you're that predictable against teams with any sort of depth in the secondary then you stand no chance. Orlando's secondary doesn't really fall into that category but their offence is still more balanced than Tombstone and just generally better. It'll be close but Orlando will be too strong offensively this week.

SB: Orlando have only lost their last three games by a combined 14 points (thank you HIFL Insiders) but they only won their first three by a combined 20 points (12 of those in the victory over Miami). They are a team that appears to play to the level of their opponents more often than one which imposes their own will. That's what's holding them back from being elite and what will keep them out of the Impact Bowl. They're better than most 3-3 teams but they're not on the same level as Cleveland or Rapid City. Crawford is a big loss for the Stampede as it means that teams can focus on stopping Patton. Speaking of Patton, he's only made 2 TD passes over 20 yards and that doesn't exactly scream difference maker and $24MM worth of talent. Having said that, Orlando will win because Tombstone are a terrible team. Just don't expect fireworks. 17-14

BS: As Sean said, Orlando is a team that seems to play to its opponent, and Tombstone is a team that I have said multiple times, has no potential improvement on the season. They can't make a move to get a QB to help their offense, Robles is too good a player to just sell without getting the absolute best for, Tibbets could be moved but how much for an expiring contract of an elder wide out could you get? Orlando, even without Courtney Crawford will be able to control this one and handle Tombstone with relative ease, 24-7.

TB: Some are down on Orlando after losing the 2-minute drill last week, but I'm not. They still have some of the best offensive talents in the league, and it's only a matter of time before Orlando catches up to the other top teams in the league. I don't see Tombstone winning here. GM Justin is finding out the grass isn't greener on the other side. The problem in Tombstone is simple. The team had one identity, built around Curt Robles, and GM Justin wants something else. As a GM that's his right, but the team has been playing the Robles game for years, you can't force them to change over night. Orlando bounces back big time. They have had one of the toughest schedules in the league, and would be at the top of their division if they had a softer schedule.

San Antonio @ Cleveland

BS: As reported on HIFL Insiders, Cardale Jones seems to have lost his spot as the starter in San Antonio, I don't know who is throwing the ball, as my sources are unsure at this time, but even with David Jordan starting for Cleveland, Cleveland is the better team. That defense should be a nightmare for whoever is under center this week for the Knights. James Taylor should find the ball in his hands more than once this week. A bright spot for San Antonio in this game, that defensive front is STRONG and will make it hard for Patrick Usher to find room to run into the next level, which will make David Jordan struggle on some longer throws to get outta third down. It won't be enough as Cleveland will score at least 2 defensive touchdowns 27-13 is the final with Cleveland winning in primetime.

SB: The HIFL has a serious problem with attracting talented QBs and this game is going to highlight that issue even more. Reliable sources have it that Jones is being pulled and Cleveland's backup options are not very inspiring. We're going to see a game where the QB that gets punished the least for their mistakes, wins. That's not good news for San Antonio. Bruno makes some good observations about San Antonio's defensive strengths, so I'm going to focus on my favourite subject, the offence. Whoever steps in for Jones wasn't the first choice at the start of the season and hasn't been taking snaps with the first team. No matter how good he might be (he's not) he will need a lot of help from the rest of the team. San Antonio have actually been quite consistent running the ball, averaging 124 yards and a rushing TD per game. They don't give up many sacks either. That will help ease the pressure on the QB. They could have some success on offence, but running the ball doesn't win games in the HIFL anymore and whoever they have throwing it is going to up against that Cleveland secondary. I'm giong to give them an above average game on the ground and say 2 rushing TDs. Unfortunately, there won't be any passing ones, except the two they give to Taylor and Co. Cleveland win 21-14.

TB: I'm taking San Antonio. Why? Because no one else is. That's it. Lone wolf pick. My colleagues are right, last season this would have been a great game, and that's probably why the schedule makers put it in prime time. Unfortunately, San Antonio has regressed to the mean. Still, unlike some other games out there, a San Antonio upset isn't out of the realm of possibility. Both teams are starting back-ups quarterbacks, yes. But, do you know which coaching staff has the proven experience to overcome the backup QB carousel? That would be San Antonio. They made the playoffs last year while rotating a few QBs in and out. We just don't know what the Mustangs look like without Caleb Smoak. Maybe they fall apart. If they do, I win the week.

MH: 2 seasons ago this was a very interesting game and deserved a spot on prime-time. This game though... not so much. My colleagues have been focusing on the potential change at QB in San Antonio. The only reason why that matters is the fact that we get to call this the "The Battle of the Backups". Beyond that, it really doesn't matter which of San Antonio's QBs get the call this week. None of them will be able to keep the ball away from that Mustangs secondary, as the others have said. With Cleveland also relying on a suspect QB this week we're going to see interceptions and errors throughout. It's going to be an ugly game to watch. What makes this game interesting to a masochist like me is the defensive battle between these powerhouse units. The thing that really excites me is the contrasting styles. This game will give us some insight into whether that old adage of great pass rushing always beating great coverage is true or not. I expect to see Jordan on his back a few times this week but Jones/other will remain on his feet, though potentially being rushed into making poor decisions. That's what this Mustangs rush does and it serves up the easy picks for Taylor et al. I may have been wrong about this being a poor choice for prime-time. It's a well balanced match-up, with Smoak taken out of the picture, and it's hard to pick either way. With Smoak, Cleveland win this by 15-20 points. Without him, I'm not so sure they win it at all. Thad makes some very good points about a Smoakless Cleveland being an unknown quantity. He almost has me convinced but I have to agree with the others. Both offences will struggle to score but the Mustangs defence is more likely to make up for it with a couple of TDs of their own. Cleveland ride their secondary to a tight victory in a game full of errors.

Mark Hansen, Sean Brosnan, Thadius Bone and Bruno Soulson

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« Reply #76 on: August 28, 2017, 12:12:12 AM »

Here We Are Now

             Welcome HIFL universe to a column that will explore the ever-changing HIFL universe.  In this column we will take a look at all news positive and negative going on around the league. First let me introduce myself, my name is Xavier Lucas and for the past few years I have covered many events both sporting and in entertainment. My earlier career focused more on the entertainment side of sports as I covered many different and unique wrestling promotions such as HWA, RFW and the recently defunct but highly successful Code Red Wrestling. At the closing of the doors of CRW I took my talents to sports. I was quickly introduced into the highly competitive, cut throat and yet sensitive athlete point of prospective. My first stint was with the also now defunct FBL. 

             Let’s start by acknowledging that we are living in a world right now that is on the brinks and coming apart at the seams. The pressures of living out our daily lives have created sub cultures within our societies. Each sub-culture with their own ideas and agendas. Each want to be noticed in one way or another. Don’t you just hate it when you bring something that happened in a game and some hipster ask you how can you let meaningless games distract you from the injustices of the world? I do too. See, in some weird want to punch a hipster in a face way, he’s  kind of right. We do let sports distract us; I think that’s the point. I won’t go into a history lesson but if we take sports back to the days of the coliseum we see a spectator sports being played by servants and slaves. The great battles and chariot races within the confines of the coliseum walls were looked upon by the poor who used these games as a distraction. The rich who viewed these games as a leisure time activity in which most made money from. Not much has changed except the chains that bind these players today are in contractual form and worth millions.
In the bigger picture, sports is sports. Games played by adults in front of people for money. Ultimately, when compared to what has transpired in our country over the last 150 days or so some might even say we are living in a very delicate time. The education gap has widened due to the increasing divide among classes. Jobs are paying less while asking people to do more. Not even a Master’s degree is good enough anymore to walk away with a 100k paying job. Our country is in shambles and though sports are what we look to escape those realities, sports is not guarded from the everyday business of life.

            With all that said, sports do something that nothing else in this world does. Not even the most perfect Christmas gathering on the perfect snowy Christmas day where every child has a present and every adult looks on with glee while they sip their spiked egg nog wearing goofy sweaters. Sports unite fans and foes alike. Sports can bring a city to it’s knees while bringing a country to it’s feet. It unifies the people.

             In sports there are no classes being divided. The richest guy and struggling guy are both wearing the same overpriced jersey. There are no Education gaps, the nun, priest, construction worker and MIT student can all call out percentages of wins, losses and the average of their favorite ball player from 15 years ago compared to today’s player. There are no races, no creeds, no religion and no gender. The Muslim, the Mormon and the cowboy are both calling their opponent faggots…together, unified.
            We have come to go as far as to make sports part of our favorite Holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, 4th of July. Each of those days connected to one sporting event or another.  Now we can argue which sport is truly Americas sport but if we look at stats and facts there is no other game than Football. That’s not an opinion, television ratings, merchandise sales, ticket sales and most importantly news coverage. Again, there are those who can debate otherwise but I am not here for a debate. I am here to talk about the shift that is happening in sports and for conversation, football.

             I am now currently working behind the scenes of the High Impact Football League under the watchful and professional eye of Commissioner Wilkinson. I have decided to throw my hat into the editorial world in light of the recent tragedies that occurred in a Seattle office.  I believe it is as important as ever to start a column that will really look into the physical and mental state that our players, GM’s and coaches go through in the course of a season. I feel it is important that we acknowledge the delicate and sensitive state of the game we are in.

             Far too often as fans, we look at professional sports and we tend to put our athletes on the highest of pedestals. I like to call them Karma Mules. As fans we feel that because these men and women are making millions to play a game, they now must pull our baggage. We want them to carry our load and care about us. We forgo the rational and logical fact that these men and women are in a business that requires them to put their bodies and minds through rigorous systematic conformity year in and year.

            As a society, we all search for that red pill.  Sports do this for us. We grasp on to a team and or a player and unload our baggage and call it fandom. We unload our own personal short comings and failures and place them on the shoulders of those we root for hoping for that small grain of pleasure to feed off of. This is why we become even more distraught when our teams lose. When they lose it feels as if we lost.

        We celebrate championships as if though we had our hand in it. We pray for a score as if though the powers that be our wearing our team caps. We curse the officials as if they have their own Las Vegas agenda.  When we (our team) lose, we come up with conspiracy’s all while screaming how we could do a better job, both playing and coaching.  Hell, it’s good to be a fan, except when tragedy strikes.
When tragedy hits home we suddenly put away our fan hats and put on our psychologist, doctor and lawyer hats we achieved through google. We completely ignore the fact that we yelled and screamed for a winner. We wore paper bags over our heads and watched as athletes took years from their lives to entertain us. I know, they make millions, we all say “Just give me a quarter of what they make and I can do the same job or better” truth is, we cannot. This is why we cheer for them.

      Now, like the hard hat guy or the face painter I am, like you a professional fan. Not of any particular team, but of the process. I love looking at how dynasties are built and the reasons they crumble. I am fascinated by the process in which a team goes from 2-14 to 14-2 in the course of three years. I absolutely sit in amazement as I watch teams build foundations and create something from nothing. This is why I feel everything wrote in this column is important to what I am about to discuss.

           We have just witnessed what the absolute darkest side sports have to offer. We are part of what happened in Seattle.  When we discuss sports we tend to marginalize the parties involved.  Let’s take a moment and think about this, there a fan sitting in the first few rows of their favorite sports team. He has on the marquee players Jersey, the big foam finger and the construction helmet with the team’s logo to prove how much of hardcore fan he is. He turns to his left to high five his son and then turns to his right and tells his buddy how he hopes his team wins but hopes the player on the other team scores four times for his fantasy team. Game ends, the fan’s team wins but he feels compelled to yell at his franchise QB, “Why could not you throw two more TD’s” And there you have it folks.
If we want to know that happened in Seattle we have no further to look than at ourselves. 

         Let me say that I absolutely do not condone the actions taken by Charles Todd and Reggie Lawson. I have the deepest sympathies for all families involved. We hope that all our athletes have been mentally preparing for the profession they chose since they laced up their first pair of cleats. But who can prepare for the pressure that team would drive men to get guns and walk into their former employer’s office with intent to threaten, hurt or worst, kill. This is not the image we paint of our athletes, except this is what sports is. Sports is a game within a game within a game being played by men who make much more money than I do. As a fan I think, “What’s the fuss,  guys get traded and released all the time” does it make it right? Absolutely not, but it’s what happens.

        Twenty years ago above average players were not being traded; they were not being cut four games in and benched after two poor starts. These things weren’t happening because television ratings, jersey sales and the need for advertisements were not the focus. Teams didn’t own their own networks. Only the Marquee player would have a Jersey for sale and maybe Toyota ran some ads and gave away cars at sporting events when a guy threw a ball real far. Now every player has their own jersey, mug, headband and shoe deal. Nearly every team shares a network with their counter parts in other sports. Last but not least among all other advertisements and sponsors, we have Starbucks in a football stadium.

           You want to know what drove Todd and Lawson to want to kill GM Phoenix, well, it’s simple. He took away their marketability. Now, I am not saying it’s all GM Phoenix fault for he was not the first to cut nor trade these players but something happened. Somewhere along the line how G Phoenix dealth with people, mingled in his circles, treated those he felt maybe were below him. Somewhere along those lines, in the back rooms of gossip and rumors between players and fans, two guys made Phoenix the poster child for all that is wrong with our sports. But was Phoenix really any different than those before him? Both Todd and Lawson still had bright futures with HIFL that will never be played out on the field

      As someone who has been covering sports and sports entertainment let me say that we all love when an erratic, eclectic mad scientist comes around. Some character walking off the beaten path trying to fly as far away from straight as possible. We have trouble figuring out is that just an act or is this person really that out there.  That person makes things interesting. He gives us a ton to write about.  From where I sit Phoenix was a genius, and genius are never understood while they were alive. It’s only through their passing that people start to see what they were doing made sense. I don’t know. Please, I am not calling Phoenix Einstein, but his record shows more surprise outcomes then one would believe.

             I overheard a GM speak a few weeks back and he said “Phoenix doesn’t do things and hope they work, he does what he thinks is right and I respect that”. And that is who GM Phoenix was except not everyone is built the same way. For his brash remarks, unbalanced style of GM’ing or his up and down hot and cold way of talking to the media, his team and coaches it surprising that GM Phoenix was never fired or punched in the face.  Phoenix became a GM of the moment. Not ever wanting to be outdone in free agency or in the draft he would move one piece then the next and as other pieces began to crumble he worked even harder to put more pieces in place. Some which did not fit and some that did not belong but he kept going, piece by piece.  At times it seemed to work, but only because GM Phoenix did not value what could be, but he valued what was. For all the entertaining moments he brought the media GM Phoenix ultimately became the saddest message of all.

       For all GM Phoenix did wrong; from how he handled players, coaches and management, GM Phoenix never was fired. He spoke his mind and was never involved in any scandals like the one the HIFL dealt with this past off season. He was never beat up in his office. What happened to GM Phoenix was much worst, he was killed.  Killed in his office in a situation that should have never occurred. This brings me to the biggest and yet most delicate observation.

       Where was  HIFl’s warden of the league, King of the overreacting sting, a man known to all HIFL employees as just, security Bob. Well, due to his tight schedule and constant travel from stadium to stadium, The pressure this man faced to make sure his job was done perfectly put him in a bad situation. A statement made by Seattle's PR manager Starr Bucks states that Security Bob did not arrive on the scene until the situation had already escalated due to a delay in his flight. Let me stop myself, this column is not about Security Bob but more about what we have been talking about, pressure brought on by our jobs.

      Bob was a good man who lost his life in a meaningless and tragic twist of events. See, Bob was as pressured as any benched QB, Gm on the Hot seat or recently cut player. Bob was HIFL’s top security guard and was responsible for all security throughout the league. It seemed like no matter where you looked Bob might show up in the drop of a dime. Why? Because he was great at his job. So great, he would move from city to city, stadium to stadium to train and organize all security for the entire league. HIFL made Bob their #1 guy. This was a man who bounced from city to city every other day. From the water boy to the concession stand server everyone knew Bob. It's who he was. HIFL will miss Bob because of all that happened in that Seattle office, security Bob was the one person who did not deserve to die. The pressure of needing to be the best took three lives from this planet and one from the game.  Bob was survived by his wife and son.

        To end my segment, what I’ll call the Seattle Stand-off.  If anyone ever seen the Good, the Bad and the Ugly know my reference. What occurred was truly a good, bad and ugly situation except it’s hard to find the good in all this bad and all this ugly. Be sure to read my next editorial “Here We Are now” we will be discussing the fast approaching trade deadline and rumors. I even got some owners to speak about the tragic events and the state of their franchise. Until then, my name is Xavier Lucas, and.....

“Here we are Now”
« Last Edit: August 28, 2017, 11:40:41 AM by Eddie K »

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« Reply #77 on: August 30, 2017, 05:14:26 PM »
State of the Franchises

One of the toughest parts of being a general manager is balancing the win-now requirements of ownership and their fan-base versus the long term health of the franchise. We have seen owner’s hire general managers recently that fit their vision (Sir Curry bringing in the perpetually going for it GM Black Death, while Music City hired the perpetually absent GM Rebel) but has this worked out for them with either the success they’ve experienced to date or the outlook for the future of the franchise.

In assessing the state of the franchise we used four key factors to evaluate them; current standing (is this a team who can win it all this year), draft capital (can this team build through the draft or make trades to acquire a key piece), salary cap space (can they afford to retain key pieces and augment them with savvy signings) and talent (needs no explanation). This is no way shape or form a “Power Rankings” (we’ll leave that for Super Sailor Quinn) but instead, consider it if you had to buy a franchise today, which one was most likely to bring you success.

#20: Seattle Rhino’s

The only thing that could bring this ranking up is if they managed to bring GM Jon home. Though they’ve managed to add some draft capital recently, it has come at a cost of most of their existing talent. This is a team without a quarterback (Dak is not the answer), an offensive line that looks like it could be used to strain spaghetti, and a couple contracts that look like they have the potential to be albatrosses: as much as I love Hector Houser, that contract looks worse every day that passes and Darren Pierce is currently on track to pass Carmazzi as the biggest bust in HIFL history. While they will have a ton of salary cap space in the off-season owing to the fact they have 20M in dead money this year, the specter of Eddie Phoenix may haunt their pursuit of top FA’s. It’s tough to evaluate this coaching staff given the level of talent; Andy Graham was excellent in Vegas as an OC but for what they are paying this coaching staff (including 3MM for head scout William Stone) one would expect better results. If Arnold Reigns wants to turn this show around he might need to reach into his pocket for some buyout money and show love to an established GM who can turn the show around.

#19: San Antonio Knights

While I would never want to bet against Bo Action, things look rather bleak going forward in San Antonio. There is talent on the roster to be sure (Shawn Simon and David Cain are All-Pro Talents) however a number of players they have signed to large contracts have been good but not great for them (Oakman, Jack, Lewis and Randolph are all quality players but none should be making 8MM). Making these contracts even worse is that it means they are likely going to lose at least two key players this off-season with Seymore, Deal and Carlson all looking at big raises and San Antonio likely being only able to pay one. Given they do not pick in the first two rounds of the draft, resigning a player like Seymore also likely precludes them from spending on a quarterback which is likely to deep six this team another year. This is an example of a team that bet on a young quarterback and added talent around him but given that 12 Gauge looks to be more like water pistol, it might be time to hit the reset button in San Antonio.

#18: Long Beach Mermen

Consider this ranking the belief that though they are currently tied with Lincoln for the wild card and Las Vegas for the division (missing both on tie breakers) this is not a playoff team, nor does it have the talent to compete with Rapid City. Changing head coaches has done little to spark this team and it still to me is the embodiment of Jeff Fisherism (read: 7-9 Bullshit). Jonathan Wright is locked in as the starter despite having done very little to show he is the man – while the fully guaranteed deal to Bruiser Elliott could hamstring this team if he is unable to get his act together. Having traded Maxley for what is essentially two rental players (Dockery + Hunter) leaves this team in a bind going forward talent wise – especially when their best player Stephen Leake just saw Wright make 11MM long term and is sure to value himself beyond that. I just see this team not having a ton of impact players now and are going to lose a few that they have in the off-season without means to replace them only having 1 pick in the top 80 come the draft coupled with their salary cap fine from earlier this year. The only thing that might help this team is the fact that Sanchez and Leblanc are two of the better coaches in the game.

#17: New Jersey Dragons

There are two schools of thought with New Jersey; one is that they are a victim of their own success, each off-season they seem to lose two or three top players or coaches who are now key contributors on other teams. The other side though shows the fact that GM Kirk has eschewed the draft historically and then been forced to pay exorbitant prices to get back in (last year’s deal with Disgraced GM Mike Powers for Juan Oher as an example). While I agreed with GM Kirk’s approach last off-season to begin remaking this team (offloading some aging veterans for younger pieces/draft capital) the returns have been less than stellar at best (and Tashaun Pate and his exorbitant contract at worst). This New Jersey team to me is a lot like Long Beach, where they have some good but not great pieces but the main difference being the salary cap space this team possesses. If they can dump Tashaun Pate (and I would not rule out him being amnestied) they could have close to 50MM to spend. The question is whether John Lynn is going to be a legitimate quarterback in the HIFL and whether the top players are going to want to play for GM Kirk after his crusade last season.

#16: Tulsa Celtics

This Tulsa team is tough to figure out. The roster is very top heavy but there are no albatross contracts (although Espino making 6MM as a slot receiver is close). That being said this is a team that has struggled with effectively the same roster the last two years and given that they have very few expiring deals will likely look the same next year (the year after that is a different story with half the team expiring). There coaching is also suspect (with both Bradley and Beast overpaid for their contributions while Jingle is in the last year of his contract) Given that this team doesn’t look to break five hundred this year and with no real avenue to change (I don’t see Espino returning more than a mid-round pick in trade, while their other top players would just create another hole) this is a team that is banking on GM Franchises surprising track record in the draft (Mooney, Oliver and Shore) to net another top player or two and hope that is enough to get enough talent to feast on an otherwise weak division to get it done. The one thing GM Franchise might consider (if he survives) is to let Jingle go and attempt to bring in a new coach and change the mood in that locker room. If he does – look at Ricky Tarr from Alabama as someone who could possible help that defense out … it doesn’t hurt that players love playing for him.

GM Metroll

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« Reply #78 on: September 01, 2017, 01:27:08 PM »
#15: Music City

GM Rebel inherited a team that needs a lot of work. They were the big winners of the off-season, making a move to acquire Trevor Jose at the cost of former first round pick John Frederickson and potential star running back Storm Woods. That move hasn’t paid off as they don’t look like they are going to push for contention this season and might have nothing left to show for the move if Trevor Jose feels he can go somewhere else and win his second title (and there will be no shortage of contenders pursuing him this off-season). On the roster there’s a number of solid players; the receiving corps in particular stands out while Shane Barkley is an All-Pro caliber corner but there just is no depth to the talent and a number of black holes on the roster. The offensive line has never recovered since the Noah Rose trade while the line-backing corner is led by an aging and overpaid “Tacklebot” and a similarly overpaid Billy Zepeda. The one thing they have going for them is the ability to make some changes in the off-season. They will have salary room to play with, draft picks to use, and the chance to bring in a coaching staff more likely to fit their current setup. Ultimately what might be the biggest question for this franchise is if they picked the right GM for that objective.

#14: Atlanta

This is a team that gets a zero on current position but if I personally were to take over a team as a GM; this might be the team that appeals the most to me. Vega Del Rio might never be an impact maker but he showed he could be an effective game manager and make the odd play last season with St. Paul. Zeke has shown the potential to be an elite dual threat back, Eric West might be the best slot receiver in the game, and Walter Turner is the reigning defensive player of the year. Where this team gets the ranking is the fact it is wide open; the tear down has given them a plethora of picks that would make GM Metro jealous and they might only add to it by moving Johnson and Howes this year. Noah Rose might be the best offensive tackle and must get franchise tagged but if they can get two firsts for him they might have the ability to complete overhaul this team. It’s a work in process but this time next year this team could be in the top 4 depending on who becomes the GM … early bets favor GM Metro simply because they have more draft picks than Las Vegas currently.

#13 Miami

GM Garcia inherited a good situation in Miami; great coaches and a former GM who protected the draft capital. What it hasn’t had so far necessarily is results but that may not be too far behind. The biggest thing for Miami is the young talent on controllable contracts. Freese looks like a future stud, Chow, Garza and Albert can grow together and form an elite linebacker core and their defensive backfield has the makings of one of the top in the league if they can add an elite shutdown corner. GM Garcia also did himself well to move the Houser contract when he had the opportunity (although he failed to recoup what was originally moved to get him). The next step is a few of the bad contracts which kept this team as low as it is. Carl Long at 4MM for a backup TE is tough on the cap and while Mark Bello and Earl Craven are nice pieces they are not worth a collective 11.75MM. The pieces are here, the draft picks abound, and GM Garcia has a history of doing yeoman’s work. There’s some projection here but next year this could be a top five team.

#12: Tombstone

A team with this much talent shouldn’t be ranked this low; but a team with this much talent should not be last in the weakest division in the HIFL either. The prospects for the future don’t look better as even though GM Justin has done an admirable job of adding young talent to the roster in Smith, Rich, and Gary Hunter, there’s also a lot that is getting up there in years and is likely on the decline phase (Alvarado, Cope, Pullen, Tibbetts) and while there departures will free up cap space it is unlikely to result in the same talent these players had once upon a not so distant time. Also of concern is the fact that their quarterback position is unsettled (Reginald Duke might look better in the Royal Court as opposed to the huddle) while Curt Robles may be entering his decline phase at 16MM per year. GM Powers may have had this team correct; a stout defense and then Curt Robles but all that wear and tear on his body has begun to show. Another concern is the coaching staff; John Rudino is the highest paid coach in the game while yet to win an Impact Bowl title. Beyond him though his assistants leave something to be desired. Hindsight being 20-20; GM Justin should have pounced on Vic Leblanc as soon as he hit the market as that might have been a difference maker this season.

#11: Oakland

GM TJ may have finally gotten one over on GM Metro. Fleecing him in the Joseph Mullins trade and then beating them on the field. The biggest concern I see with Oakland is an 8-8 record this season. This is a team that two years ago looked at itself as an IMPACT Bowl contender but has since been passed in the loaded North West. GM TJ made some savvy moves in the off-season to bring in a potential QB of the future and dump the atrocious Tashaun Pate contract – but as far as proven impact players in this league they have two under contract going forward; and one is looking to be traded in George Britt. There’s also concerns that this coaching staff is mediocre at best and not necessarily suited for a rebuild which is what this looks like given GM TJ’s hedge bet has not paid off. Going forward though there’s cap space, room to make some moves with a dozen expiring contracts, and the crown jewel of the Mullins trade, the pick from Las Vegas that is all but guaranteed to be a top three pick. This is a team that’s regressing but has the pieces to stop the slide that a Tombstone doesn’t.

#10: DC Cobras

From back to back champions – to the bottom half of the league? Almost. This ranking may make things seem more bleak than they actually are but DC has built themselves up for a make or break year … without a quarterback worthy of that confidence. DC has left themselves with no draft capital to speak of and while the team has significant amount of talent, they currently are on the outside looking in at the playoffs. Going forward this team can count on Stephens, Glass and Smith but seemingly every other impact player (Kirk, Gomez, Si’Lo’Ha and the rest of their revamped O-Line) are free agents at the end of the year. And in much the same position as the team above them the cap space they have is unlikely to allow them to replace all the talent they lose and have effectively mortgaged their future in terms of draft capital. The one thing this team has though that not many others have on this list is a coach who is on the track for a Gold Jacket at the Hall of Fame as well as the potential answer at Quarterback. While Rizzo remains unproven his salary and age does not preclude them from going out and signing someone if he struggles for the rest of the year as opposed to a Reginald Duke.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 02:49:57 PM by GM Metroll »

GM Metroll

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« Reply #79 on: September 01, 2017, 05:07:31 PM »
#9: Orlando

How does a team with Mervin Patton end up this low? There were some original iterations of this list that had them as high as 6th and as low as 12th so the average seems to fit which is what I believe this team to be. I still believe this is a team that is holding onto a little bit of their surprise run from two years ago with the secondary of Glass, Schumacher and Rose but this is an entirely different squad. There’s a few nice pieces on this team in the secondary still but otherwise it seems thin in the front seven and trading a first for Mario Cavanaugh seemed shortsighted as I do not see him as a difference maker. I think the offense gets more credit than it deserves. I like Patton but not as the highest paid player in the league. Zebow and Soulson had it right when they didn’t mention him in the elite quarterbacks. Again, he made a reputation protecting the ball when Glass was winning games in the secondary. The Coaching is good led by Buyers and Jackson and will have this team perpetually contending for a playoff spot but I think they are closer to that than a championship contender. I also don’t know where this team gets better to bridge the gap. I think Justin Holt will hold out heading into the final year of his contract looking for a raise and that will eat into much of the cap space that opens up from Hodge leaving … but how do you replace his production at wide out then? And with no first round pick the draft becomes more of a crapshoot.

#8: St. Paul

A tough one – this is effectively the same team that shocked the world last year; but as a result carries much of the same stigma of that team; that father time had yet to lose. McCaffrey and Maxley are studs and GM Gooch’s first step in the off-season should be to extend both as they will only get more expensive. The biggest question is where does that cap space come from as GM Gooch has made a habit of making splashes the last two off-seasons and that spending might be catching up to him. The other consideration for this team is who is going to be the quarterback going forward? I think it was a shortsighted move to trade Del Rio for Carr; who has yet to prove himself despite multiple opportunities as much more than a game manager. That works for a team who lives by its defense (look at Vegas losing a couple games each year because of Michael May’s interception habit) but if that is this teams identity trading a promising young defensive end in Hammer and a 2 for Back makes very little sense. I love the coaching staff and the defensive talent; this is a team that on paper compares with any of the ones ranked above it; its sole reason for this ranking is the question mark at quarterback and ability to improve on their current roster with no draft capital worth mentioning for next year.

#7: Lincoln

The surprise of the season to this point. The Lincoln Pride look to be a playoff contender this season on the back of an outstanding defense that just snuffed out the Las Vegas Scorpions vaunted (read: sarcasm) offense and broke Stephen Shelley. One could only imagine what they’d do to Marco Schweinsteiger. GM Wrong has done a good job of adding talent to the roster (raiding Vegas’ defense), Carl Bloom has shown glimpses of potential around his rookie struggles (the Rapid City game effectively encompasses him in one package) and with five of the first sixty picks in next year’s draft there’s lots of ability to add to their core. The biggest question mark is also potentially their biggest potential as well and that is the salary cap room and that is going to open up with expiring deals; Teddy Schumacher has been great but will look to make bank on a long term deal this off-season and players like Hill, Taylor and Seaton are all looking at raises. Expiring deals of Lawrence, Whitney and Cox on offense give them some space to play with but the question will be do you simply keep the strong defense and allocate cap their – or do they look to add a bookend tackle to protect Bloom and then add a big playmaker on the outside.

#6: Michigan

Michigan could have flipped with either St. Paul or Lincoln and it wouldn’t have been out of place. Some might consider the 5-2 record a surprise but the absolute pillaging of Lincoln to get Gio Hill gave this team something is missed sorely last year (a QB who knew which team to throw too), while adding an elite target in Soriano to throw the ball too meant this team was always going to have a good offense, and the fact that they have played both Atlanta and Seattle so far helps as well. All that being said, it’s difficult to win football games and there’s a lot to like about this team. It starts with Harry Bryce, who piloted a GM Phoenix (R.I.P.) team to the playoffs and then John Maxfield has done a great job with this defense (aided by adding Waylon Hagan) to take advantage of the fact that shy of Smoak in Cleveland, there is not a “scary” offense in the North East. The biggest question going forward is what this team looks to do; at 5-2 they are in prime position for a playoff run and you know GM Pow Pow is looking to make a statement after he went GM Bye Bye in Tombstone and with 2 1sts he has the ammo to make something happen. Otherwise this team is unlikely to change much next year; Hagan leaving naturally opens up some cap room but resigning Ramos, Sanderson, and Wallace will eat into a large chunk of that room, while an extension for Gio Hill might need to be considered given he is underpaid in todays HIFL, and that doesn’t mention the cap space needed for the aforementioned first rounders but as this team builds chemistry and continues to see improvement from their recent draft picks in McKeown, Rojas and Soriano (which is a scary thought) they might improve enough to be a top 3 team next season.

#5 Cleveland

Too me this is an all-in year for Cleveland. They’ve got a hell of a team (for my money the best in the east) but there doesn’t seem to be a massive need on this team that can be filled by a rental player. The core of this team has been together since the Pearl Harbor days and GM Dazz has filled in around the edges with some astute trades (McReynolds and Usher stand out). Caleb Smoak is the best quarterback in the league and the depth at that position gives this team a big boost. I wouldn’t necessarily want Jordan or Carmazzi as a starter today but both have shown at least flashes of being able to win a game versus Schweinsteigering it away. Going forward there’s some concerns – there three best lineman are all free agents along with Christopher Knapp and James Taylor. What is different for them though is how they’ve managed their cap setup to account for attrition. They need to bring back Taylor at all costs but Knapp isn’t a must keep given their linebacker depth, Nathaniel Kim has never panned out, and while Kevin Chandler is a nice complimentary piece we have seen before that a rotational back can be found late in free agency and come in and produce when given a chance.  Add in some elite coaching and I think this is a team that has the cajones to compete over the next couple of years.

#4: Alabama

If I said all those nice things about Cleveland and how they are the best team in the east and can compete for years to come how come Alabama is ranked higher? Call it a bit of projection or being an armchair GM but I feel like Alabama is a year away. It starts with getting a new offensive co-ordinator and then the aerial attack. I know some worry about Ortega’s penchant for interceptions but with Giles, Beckham and Dobbins making plays you can live with that. It’ll be like Las Vegas in Season 6 throwing the ball around but with a running QB who can make plays. Forsaking the run game gives them the money to sign Wilkinson and Botts keeping the defense intact. At that point all bets are off with the ultimate wild card for this team in GM Pancho having two first round picks and an ownership that is sure to be itching for a championship who knows what’s going to happen. If I was Leroy Herron I wouldn’t get used to being in Alabama as I can see GM Pancho amnestying him and using those two firsts to take a run at James Taylor. Wilkinson and Cobbs creating havoc and forcing throws up for him to get … as Fiddy once said “I’m laughin’ straight to the bank wit’ dis!”

#3: Las Vegas

What? You thought they’d be ranked higher? They very well could be; Losses to Tulsa on the final play, to Oakland by a single point, and then the blood bath game against Lincoln don’t necessarily stand out individually but this is a team that has made a habit of losing close games in recent years. Losing their slot weapon in the first week hurt (especially given what they did against Rapid City last year with the slot game). That might expose the only knock on this team but it could be a fatal flaw. Otherwise this is a team with a stock pile of young talent (both on their active roster and injured reserve), a plethora of draft picks (Metro is the GM … naturally) and maybe most importantly the only key player they have leaving in free agency is Michael May (and it is debatable whether he is a key player or holding this team back). This ranking might seem high given that Stephen Shelley is still relatively unproven but that defense has been scary ever since Metro took over and if Jarrett Corbett can find his mojo (whether he’ll replace Mike Myers as Austin Powers in the remake is unknown) this is a team that could look like the 2000 Ravens. Hot take here. John Pitts is traded in the off-season one year after signing a big money deal.

GM Kirk

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« Reply #80 on: September 01, 2017, 09:22:07 PM »
Welcome to the latest chapter of The View From Across The Pond. In Week 7 we had a couple of Yanks come along to show us how it’s done, with mixed results. Thaddeus Bone made some maverick picks and came away looking very smart indeed. Bruno Soulson showed why he usually lets Zebow do most of the talking on HIFL Insiders. There were upsets galore in a week that appeared to have a dearth of tight games and that tripped us up. Now it’s time for us to redeem ourselves in a much tougher week of games. Rapid City at Cleveland is the standout game, but there are plenty of other stories for us to sink out teeth into. So let’s get to it.... 

Long Beach at Kansas City

SB: I had fun debating with our American cousins as the HIFL entered the Twilight Zone, but not much success. It seems we were predicting results for backwards week, without any warning. This week, I can assure you that I learned nothing from the experience as I return to my favourite opinions about each team regardless of what they managed in week 7. The first game is an easy one in that regard. Kansas City have the most exciting offence in the league. Long Beach (who are undoubtedly better than I have given them credit for) don't have the most exciting anything in the league. Kansas win this game.

MH: Long Beach, along with a few teams, surprised me last week. Their defence is fine but they still have no offence so it was strange to see them score like they did. Their offence still didn't perform that well but somehow put points on the board. Other pundits seem to be praising them lately but I just don't see it. A one off, if you ask me, and they won't be able to repeat that against Kansas. Now sure, Kansas have their defensive problems but they are still one of the most exciting teams in this league and they will win many more games than they lose. Kansas win comfortably.

Oakland at Miami

SB: Long Beach might not be exciting, but they got the job done against Oakland in a game that the stats suggest they should have lost. That's why I'm not picking them to upset Kansas and why I'm not too down on Oakland despite their loss. One thing that has me concerned is the rumour out of the Silverbacks’camp that GM TJ is having a sulk and refusing to speak to anyone on the team this week. Considering what a huge impact his return had on Oakland's fortunes, another sudden disappearance could derail all their hard work. Miami showed that they are no pushovers with a very solid defensive display against DC. I don't think Oakland are much better on offence than the Cobras, so they might find it hard to punch through as well. I'm going to go against the result I think most punters will be backing and plump for a victory for Miami in this one.

MH: Sean is right, Oakland should have won last week. They completely outperformed Long Beach but couldn't execute. That must be very worrying for GM TJ. They've been on a good run but that sort of result can knock the confidence of a team. Miami are a very mediocre team, if that makes sense, but they beat DC last week in an impressive performance. Thing is, DC are a rotten team this year so it doesn't say much. If Oakland show up then Miami don't really have much chance against them. I'm not particularly convinced they will but I'll take a punt and say Oakland win this.

Atlanta at Music City

SB: Losing to New Jersey was a real setback for Music City. They're a team with elite talent that should be swatting the strugglers aside. I think the team is still not entirely comfortable with GM Rebel at the helm yet and that it might take an offseason of changes to settle him in. Facing the team you abandoned for greener pastures isn't ideal after an unsettling loss. I think that Atlanta will be up for this one and are likley to play way beyond their usual level. Good enough for the win? Normally I'd say no, but Music City are lousy with injuries at the moment so will be putting together something of a Frankenstein team to even compete. Atlanta get a rare win.

MH: Music City are a difficult team for a lot of pundits to get their heads around. They have some very talented players on their roster so people expect them to be good. They're not. The pieces just don't quite fit and they're really struggling to get the best out of the talent they have. There's probably a good future there but I just don't see them as a playoff team this season. I don't see any problems for them against Atlanta though. The only thing that makes this game interesting is the GM Rebel angle but Atlanta don't have the players there to make it competitive anymore. Music City win this relatively comfortably.

Michigan at San Antonio

MH: San Antonio had a good result against a wounded Cleveland side. They didn't have a particularly good performance though. To beat Michigan you need to be able to get past that line and target their secondary. None of San Antionio's QBs can do that reliably. They'll be busy running for their lives and tossing up some horrible stuff when they do get a throw off. Michigan may not be able to score much against San Antonio's defence but they'll get enough.

SB: This comes down to a simple question: Which is better, Michigan's offence or San Antonio's defence? For once, I'm going to back the defence. San Antonio win a tight, low scoring game.

St Paul at Seattle

MH: Have enough weeks passed for me to be mean about Seattle again yet? There's no point even talking about them until I can be. St Paul, no question.

SB: Seattle are the worst team the league has ever seen and their best player is injured. St. Paul have problems of their own but, even with a makeshift line, they won't have to worry about dropping a game this week.

Lincoln at Tulsa

MH: Lincoln may well have just had their coming of age game last week against Las Vegas. The Scorpions have had their problems but I've not seen May struggle like he did out there before. Shutting Vegas out is impressive but the offensive struggles were less so. I still like this Lincoln team and I like Bloom but they should have done better than that. Tulsa won't be holding Lincoln back like Vegas did but they'll be a bigger challenge offensively. I just don't like Tulsa's run game and I think that will keep coming back to haunt them week after week. in the spirit of strange results this season I'm going to pick Lincoln to scrape this one.

SB: Mark’s asking for trouble by making conclusions about teams based on last week. Both of these teams are banged up on defence, but only one of them is used to playing with a terrible defence. Tulsa have been surprisingly good against the pass but Lincoln are fairly balanced on offence. I think that this will be a bit of a shootout. My gut tells me that Lincoln's ground game gives them the edge, but I'm going to side with Sullivan's experience rather than a rookie QB. Tulsa... just.

Las Vegas at Orlando

MH: Vegas were awful last week. Truly awful. Their defence kept Lincoln out of the end zone so they must be furious with the way the offence let them down. How are they going to react this week? It's going to be tough against Orlando, though the injuries will help. It's tough to judge an offence when such key players are hurt but Orlando have been excellent on that side of the ball most of the season. Hillard came in and looked good after Patton went down as well so they'll be confident enough in him if he does have to step in again. I just think Orlando will still have too much for the humbled Scorpions.

SB: Las Vegas were embarrassed last week and failed to get on the score sheet. I think their college schemes had their players reverting back to their college level. The injury to Shelley is not something anyone wants to see but, like in DC, an injured QB forces them to make the right decision. May should not have been sharing snaps and now he'll get to show why. Orlando got banged up last week and will be fielding an injured general, if he suits up at all. Las Vegas have lost a gaggle of players as well, but not ones as important as Crawford and Patton are to Orlando. This is tough to call and my better judgment is screaming at me to pick Orlando, but good judgment can be silenced with a few glasses of fine whiskey and that's what's making me pick Vegas to bounce back with a bang.

Alabama at New Jersey

SB: New Jersey shocked a lot of people with an almost competent performance against Music City. They were bailed out by a big special teams TD and that's not something to rely on every week. Alabama took a huge scalp and will be full of confidence. Despite what GM Pancho said, one decent performance does not turn Ortega into a proper QB. He'll have to string a lot of them together to convince me that he's anything other than a fancy Wildcat option. New Jersey's defence looked better against Music City, but I think they lack the star power to stop a team like the Nighthawks. Alabama win this on the ground.

MH: I backed New Jersey last week because I thought they matched up well against Music City. I think they match up well against Alabama too. I know the Nighthawks are coming off a great result against a fantastic Rapid City team. I know New Jersey have been struggling all season. I also know that New Jersey have a solid enough o-line and a decent defence. Alabama built that victory by sitting back in coverage against Rapid City but you can't do that against a team that runs like the Dragons can. New Jersey won't be scared by Ortega either. He's prone to throwing interceptions and that is what will sink Alabama in the end this week.

Rapid City at Cleveland

SB: Two modern juggernaughts are knocked out of primetime by a couple of former heavyweights, but it doesn't make this game any less juicy. The teams are evenly matched in a lot of areas and it's tough to pick a winner here. Smoak should be back and he'll be keen to defend home territory against a top QB rival. Both teams are mostly fit and both teams are coming off losses that would have stung. Martin is clearly a level above either of Cleveland's RBs, but they work very effectively as a tandem. Cleveland have the best secondary in the league, but Rapid City are possibly no.2. I think that those of us making predictions might as well flip a coin to decide which way to pick this one... Heads... That gives the victory to the home team. Cleveland deep into OT.

MH: This isn't only the game of the week but it's the game of the season. The best team in the West takes on the best in the East. I'm excited, as should everyone else be. Rapid City's aura of invincibility was snatched away last week and they'll be keen to bounce back. Cleveland also had a disappointing loss they'll be looking to put behind them too so there's plenty of motivation on both sides here. A lot of people are picking Rapid City, and understandably so. Injuries to the linebacker corps are going to hurt Rapid City though and I can't see their interior line holding back Usher and Chandler without help, which will mean having to draw i the secondary. If Smoak gets options open down field he will pick you off all day. The same could be said for Pruitt but a full strength Cleveland defence is very difficult to score on and I prefer them in single coverage to Rapid City's secondary. It'll be a great game, back and forth all the way but I think the Mustangs pull away towards the end.

Tombstone at DC

SB: I don't even want to watch this game, let alone talk about it. Both teams have been stinking the league up this season due to being far, far past their sell by dates. DC are missing key players in Stevens and Arreola. Tombstone have one good player and he's just not firing. I'm struggling to think of anything to say. These are two bad teams and this is going to be a bad game. I think DC are less bad than Tombstone and Sasser is a weapon of mass destruction in his home stadium. That probably swings this DC's way. Mark, say something to get me excited about this one.

MH: Great games don't always have to be between great teams. A lot of the time those end up quite cagey affairs as neither teams wants to risk losing. DC and Tombstone have nothing to lose and they're both as bad as each other. That makes it competitive, and potentially exciting as a result. That enough to convince you, Sean? I'm not sure I'm buying it myself. Neither of these teams have been playing well this season. Their glorious history seems to be exactly that. DC's future probably looks brighter at this point but their present is bordering on embarrassing.  They don't run the ball well at all and their passing game is in a period of transition at the moment. Rizzo may be good next year but he's trying to feel his way into things in a pretty difficult situation. He needs support but... they don't run the ball well at all. The other major problem this week is the way they struggle to defend against the run too. They gave up a lot of yards on the ground last week and the same will happen with Robles pounding the line over and over again. I wish I could provide more insight than that but this game comes down to those points. The pass attacks aren't really worth talking about so it's going to be the Robles show in the end.

SB: No, still not convinced.


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« Reply #81 on: September 02, 2017, 12:21:25 AM »

Bruno Soulson and Jim Zebow are joined by Jimmy Minor to talk about the HUGE Alabama win over previously undefeated Rapid City as well as DC's continue fall in their loss to Miami and Lincoln's shut out win over Vegas before taking the good and the bad from the other week 7 games and previewing the Primetime game between Tombstone and DC.

Bruno Soulson, Jim Zebow, Jimmy Minor
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« Reply #82 on: September 05, 2017, 04:49:51 PM »
Season 9 - Second Quarter

- Johnny Quinn -

1. Rapid City (7-1); LQ: 1

2. Kansas City (7-1); LQ: 4

3. Alabama (6-2); LQ: 8

4. Michigan (6-2); LQ: 6

5. St. Paul (5-3); LQ: 13

6. Cleveland (5-3); LQ: 3

7. Lincoln (5-3); LQ: 7

8. Las Vegas (5-3); LQ: 5

9. Orlando (4-4); LQ: 2

10. Music City (4-4); LQ: 18

11. Miami (4-4); LQ: 15

12. D.C. (4-4); LQ: 10

13. Long Beach (4-4); LQ: 14

14. Oakland (3-5); LQ: 17

15. San Antonio (3-4-1); LQ: 16

16. New Jersey (2-6); LQ: 12

17. Tulsa (3-5); LQ: 11

18. Tombstone (2-5-1); LQ: 9

19. Atlanta (0-8); LQ: 19

20. Seattle (0-8); LQ: 20



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« Reply #83 on: September 13, 2017, 05:49:51 PM »
(Better late than never. All written before the results, as is probably going to be obvious)

You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, the Twilight Zone!

At least that’s how it feels after the week that has just gone. Welcome, HIFL fans, to the View From Across The Pond. I don’t even know where to start this week. I suppose it’ll have to be with admitting my humiliation in the predictions last week. I’ve not looked at the actual number because I’m that embarrassed but I’m pretty sure I got none of the results right. Sean had a slightly better week and has been rubbing it in every since. Unbearable, he is. This week we have another difficult week to predict. With so many trades in a single week it’s next to impossible to keep on top of them and even harder to judge each team… which is a recipe for another humiliation. Let’s get started shall we?

Orlando @ DC

MH: We may as well begin with one of the biggest shocks of the week. GM Jon being traded to Seattle at this point makes almost no sense for any side involved. Seattle are a mess, which I will get to later, and DC are a shadow of their former selves. They have a very good base to build on, though, and will be an exciting prospect for whoever takes over. They’re certainly in a much better position than Seattle and I actually think they could still turn this season around. Or they could have. No GM tends to mean a team coasts to the end of the season. DC will not win many but Orlando are in a difficult period themselves. I’m not sure what’s gone wrong at one of the most exciting teams in the league, but wrong it has gone. The current injuries certainly won’t help. DC’s secondary is probably too good for Hillard and Sasser is still Sasser so I think DC edge it at the death from 60 yards.

SB: At this time of the year, we usually talk about which GMs are going all-in and which ones have their eyes firmly focused on the future. In this game, we have one GM all-in and one owner focused on the future. Orlando have been dragged down into a battle with the North East division for a wildcard spot, whereas DC have sent their GM packing after another poor season and lack of commitment to the cause, or so the rumours go. The trade to dump GM Jon was a great one for DC and Seattle, but as this is a prediction article, I'm going to focus on what DC gained. DC got Hector Houser and Larry Herzog. With the two of them added to a passing attack that already contains Hightower and Myers, even Fred Hatton should have little trouble finding his targets. Orlando are in the dpeths of an injury crisis. Their running game got nothing going at all without Crawford and Hillard didn't look like someone they can lean on while Patton is out. Two backup QBs suiting up in a game once again. That makes this game a lot harder to predict, but I'm going to side with DC because their defence has more about them and the sheer number of options they have in attack. DC win.

Atlanta @ Lincoln

SB: Anyone who is expecting me to pick Atlanta in this game hasn't been paying attention. Lincoln win, obviously.

MH: Lincoln keep switching from ordinary to impressive this season. Either will be good enough to see off Atlanta. I can sort of see the logic of the fire sale in Atlanta but it’s probably gone too far and whoever takes over there will only have 1 player to build an entire team around. That is a long road to recovery awaiting them there.

Tulsa @ Michigan

SB: Every time I praise Tulsa, they let me down. Their offence has been sputtering and their defence, though better than most expected, is limited. Despite that, I'm going to back them again. Trading Hagan was a mistake and it's going to bite GM Powers quicker than he could have expected. Without the dominance of Hagan and his rivalry with Sanderson, the Michigan pass rush has been blunted. As Mark is keen on pointing out, Michigan doesn't have much beyond the pass rush. Tulsa's o-line isn't the best in the league and has been terrible at opening lanes for Allen, but Sullivan is still an elite QB and he has options for days. Tulsa will target Michigan's soft secondary and slice them up. Michigan's 6-2 record looks impressive, but it was built by Hagan and flatters the rest of that team. I expect to see Michigan fall back to earth in the second half of the season. Tulsa win.

MH: I’m going to start with some analysis before I go on a rant here. Tulsa are almost a good offence but are nowhere near a good defence. That is a terrible combination. It’s the lines that are their problem. They have half an o-line and no d-line at all. You can’t win anything if you’re losing the battle in the trenches. This problem at Tulsa is likely to spare GM Powers’ blushes this week. Up until last week he was my pick for GM of the season. What he’s managed with this Michigan team has been very impressive. After that Hagan trade, I’m not sure how he’s still in a job. That trade has to go down as the worst in HIFL history. Hagan is a sack machine and the heart of the Michigan defence. He was also probably their biggest trade chip. Now, had Michigan been struggling towards the bottom of the division I’d understand trading him. I’d expect Michigan to get something in return though. Instead, Michigan were fighting for the best record in the conference and potentially Impact Bowl bound. Not anymore. GM Powers has ripped out the heart of his d-line, which is their entire defence, and got absolutely nothing for it. Except a $20m hole in their cap. Hagan for a player who won’t play again this season and nothing else is just madness. They’ll say Seymore was part of the trade but it’s clear to me that those were 2 separate trades rolled into one to make them look better. Seymore is good for a sack a game but that’s 2 less than you’d expect from Hagan anyway. Awful, awful trade. Are Tulsa good enough to take advantage? No. A lot of other teams will be though. I agree with Sean, Michigan will drop like a stone.

Seattle @ Music City

MH: Music City have been swinging between good an bad all season, which makes them pretty average in the end. That’s pretty much how I judged them at the start of the season. GM Rebel has had more of an impact than I expected though and I can see them improving. It’ll take another season but there’s promise there. Where there isn’t any is in Seattle. It’s an interesting project for someone who doesn’t mind taking a long term view. I’m not sure that’s what GM Jon was hoping for quite so early though. This season is a write off and I think he understands that. It will still be a humbling second half of the season for the 2 time champion. Music City will win this one.

SB: GM Jon's arrival in Seattle should be a big lift to the team, but his decision to trade Tubbs away has already shown us that he isn't expecting much out of this season. You can't blame him because the team is still the complete shambles it was last week, but with two of their best players traded away. Despite having a two-time champion running things there now, I think Seattle are further away than ever from getting a win. Music City will do a professional job on a Seattle team that still isn't worth talking about until next season. Music City win.

St. Paul @ Oakland

SB: This is a tough one. Both teams are good when they're good and terrible when they're not. We've talked enough about Carr and the smart trades that GM Gooch has made and we've talked about the GM TJ effect in Oakland. I think that the positive bounce from TJ's return has run its course, though. He followed up a week locked away in his office with a pretty explosive press conference which criticised the offence and John Spurgeon in particularly. That can work with some people, but not confidence players like Sprugeon. Spurgeon doesn't handle pressure well, so I expect to see a fall in his production after being called out by his GM. For that reason, I'm going to back the Lynx. St. Paul win.

MH: GM TJ is right about Spurgeon but I’m not sure using him as a scapegoat in the media is the way to motivate him. He should be performing a lot better than he is though. Again, TJ is right about the poor run game hindering the passing game as well. He needs to find a way to fix it if Oakland are to be a successful team again. Building more than half an o-line is probably a good start. One side of it is elite but it seems the money ran out before Oakland could finish the line. Rumours of morale problems swirl around that organisation and that press conference is unlikely to have helped. What might help is the St Paul front 7 but the secondary is going to cause problems for a team relying on the pass. Oakland don’t have enough depth to take on the St Paul ‘Ball Hawks’. St Paul will win more comfortably than people expect.

Miami @ Rapid City

SB: Rapid City have just won the Impact Bowl with their two trades this week. They were already tough to beat but with Hagan and Putman joining and a 10% increase in their salary cap, they are now unstoppable. Season's over. Go home and watch some Lucha Underground, where Randy Orton is going to tear things up. The wrestling might be fake, but the competition is still more legitimate than what we have in the HIFL at the moment. Rapid City win this and every other game this season, whilst everyone at home shrugs their shoulders.

MH: I don’t even want to comment on this. Rapid City were dominant before the Hagan deal. They’re now just under $15m over cap and are now unbeatable. There will be no glory in success for GM Gates this year though and an asterix will forever sit alongside their title in the record books. Another doping scandal in the HIFL, except this time it’s financial. If you’re team is playing Rapid City and you’re looking for analysis from me I’m afraid you’re going to be disappointed this season. Rapid City win, obviously.

Long Beach @ San Antonio

SB: I just told you, it's all over. If I have to keep going, I'll take Long Beach. They're doing some quietly excellent work in Long Beach to rebuild the Mermen and have an exciting offence. I like an exciting offence. Long Beach win.

MH: I’m not going to sulk like my colleague but I can understand why he is. Long Beach… I’m not sure where he gets the exciting offence from. The defensive front 7 is where the strength is in Long Beach. Offensively they have absolutely nothing going for them. That will make a game against San Antonio very difficult. What I’m looking forward to is a great defensive battle between these two teams. I just think San Antonio are a more rounded team, though that’s not saying too much. San Antonio win a very tight one.

Cleveland @ Tombstone

MH: GM Justin is definitely making his mark on this Tombstone team but that’s something he should have done in the off-season. Too little too late for this year but he’s making some good moves for the post Robles era. I’m not sure how Kenneth Harrell is going to improve things when they couldn’t get Robles over 3.5 yards per carry though. DGB should be an upgrade at WR and Brewster is definitely an upgrade at QB. They will need time to gel though and that’s not what you need when facing Cleveland. The Mustangs come off the back of 2 disappointing losses but they’ll be ken to bounce back and they have a continuity missing in much of the league. Mustangs win.

SB: Apparently I signed a contract for the season and it doesn't end just because I announce the end of the season in week 8. Fine... Cleveland vs. Tombstone. If you trade away your entire offence right before a game against one of the best defences in the league, don't be surprised if you don't score any points. Cleveland win by 20, at least.

Las Vegas @ New Jersey

SB: Do Las Vegas have enough players to put out a full team? They've been hit hard by the injury bug and might even struggle to beat a team as bad as New Jersey. In fact, I'm going to risk my reputation and pick New Jersey for this one. . If Las Vegas bring their A-game, then New Jersey will get ripped open. If they don't, I see New Jersey sneaking it. As bad as the Dragons have been, they haven't shown the depths of incompetence that Las Vegas are capable of sinking to. New Jersey win.

MH: New Jersey will win this because their defence is competent and Las Vegas have no offence. The Scorpions may keep New Jersey below 20 but I don’t see how they even score 7 themselves.

Alabama @ Kansas City

MH: The big game this week should live up to the billing. Though perhaps that’s because it promises to be intriguing rather than exciting. Alabama, like Michigan or Tombstone, are built around a certain philosophy. Like those other teams, Alabama have traded that philosophy away. Or they’ve traded in a new one. I’m a bit confused on that point. Anyway, they’ve gone from using Ortega to do all of their running to bringing in the premier RB in the league’s history. How that will work when they’re both going to demand a lot of the ball is what will be interesting to watch. Ortega is going to have to start passing the ball more, which could be a disaster waiting to happen. Is Tibbetts better than DGB?

SB: Before the midweek trade, I would have had no hesitation in picking Alabama to win this game. Now, I'm not so sure. Tibbets was an excellent addition. He's averaging 96 yards per game and has scored 4 TDs compared to DGB's 58 yards and 2 TDs. That is exactly the sort of upgrade a contender should be looking at in the lead up to the trade deadline. He'll be traveling to a new city in the offseason but he'll help out Alabama immensely before he does. The signing of Robles was a statement by GM Pancho and that statement was: "I have a small dick." Signing Robles at this point of the season is like those guys who buy massive yachts or muscle cars with big, inefficient V8s under unnecessarily long bonnets. It's a penis extension which has actually harmed Alabama's chances. How can signing Robles harm a team? I hear you ask. Well, he harms them by taking runs away from Ortega. Robles has been averaging 3.65 ypc and c.30 carries per game. Alabama only run the ball a little over 30 times per game, so if Robles expects to get the lion share of that (which he will at $16 million), then that means a lot less carries for Ortega and Young, who are averaging 5.5 and 4.66 ypc. Harrel was having a quiet season, but that was fine when he had such dynamic partners. Actually, it was exactly what Alabama needed from him because he ran the tough yards and sucked up tackles, which drains a defence's energy. Robles will do that, but he'll demand the highlight reel runs as well... which his tired legs aren't capable of anymore. What GM Pancho has done is neuter his dual threat QB in favour of a shirt sales and he's now asking him to be an orthodox passer: his passing stats are only marginally better than Duke's. GM Pancho's move to sign Kirk is another example of him being blinded by a shiny thing. The consensus amongst scouts is that he's got a big future, but he hasn't shown much of that yet and he's going to want a big contract at the end of the season. Jeffries might not be a household name, but he was settled, on a team friendly deal and still had two years left on it after this season. I can't use the Stupid Stamp, so I'll award GM Pancho a Moron Medal instead.

MH: Kansas City are still one of the great teams this year. Their defence is still questionable but I think GM T-Bone was right not to weaken that immense offence to try to correct that. They just need to keep doing what they do well this year and to ride Mariotta as far as he’ll take them. Where that will be this week is victory over a confused Alabama team who will need time to settle. I’m really looking forward to this one.

SB: Kansas City have decided not to do any major surgery yet and I think that makes them the favourites for this. Mariotta is a man possessed and is dragging his team to victory after victory. If they strengthen their defence a bit more before next week's deadline, they could be a real force in the playoffs. As is, I think they have enough for Alabama. Kansas City win.

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« Reply #84 on: September 14, 2017, 07:06:47 PM »
Here we are now

Let me say hank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to give my little editorial a read. Now, last time I put pen to paper, or just mash keys on my keyboard really fast. I talked about the other side of all this glory and fame. The side that ultimately leads to tragedy. Was it an extreme case, yes, but one we should start paying attention to.

Now, going into this editorial business I wasn't sure what niche to approach. Should I do Predictions? I saw that was covered. Should I do progress reports on teams seasons? I saw that was covered. Should I do weekly break downs...Nope. I even considered a rumors page but considering the fickle nature of some of these HIFL GM's,I felt a rumors page would be even worst filler the this rant right here. So, I decided how about do something that hasn't been done and see where it takes me. I decided to interview some HiFl owners. I'll tell you, I would have a better chance interviewing the pope on a yacht sponsored by the Hell's Angel's than interviewing some of these owners. But, I managed to get through to a few and one in particularity Matt Adores. I felt I got lucky as didn't play the tight lip company man role and really opened up. Here it is...

Interview 9/11/17

Q: Three seasons ago you replaced GM Gravedigger with GM Phoenix, how do you feel that transition went?

A: Well before you get to firing Gravedigger, you have to go back to the start of Season 6.  When I decided to hire a GM for the team.  I had to deal with a drunk and ranting GM TJ who stormed in still drenched in booze and vomit.  At the same time I was introduced to GM Phoenix as well as GM Franchise, GM TyTy, and ultimately a very stubborn GM Gravedigger.  I ultimately went with Gravedigger, but his handling of the Brian Owen fiasco along with a very poor record of 4-12, which is tied for our worst record in franchise history ultimately lead to us moving on from him.  Turning to GM Phoenix the second time around was interesting.  He was a very unorthodox man with a very odd management style that lead to several conflicts and ultimately his departure, so I would say overall it was a disappointing tenure for him in Orlando.


Q: What did you think of how GM Phoenix approach handled people?

A: I think that is a question better suited for Drew Leventhal or the countless number of players he pissed off during his time in the league.


Q: During Phoenix's time with Orlando he took a pretty bad team and some say made them worst and still came a game away from the playoffs. His second year was even more challenging as a beef with Molina and Leventhal escalated leading Phoenix to trade key defensive players. Combine that with a freak accident to QB Kyle Acquino which led to the acquisition to Merv Patton, The stampede nearly won the division in the last game and nearly upset the undefeated New Jersey Dragons. Phoenix seemed poise to finally head to the promise land and an off season PR issue caused you to trade him with his prized acquisition Sam Rose. What was the final straw? why was he traded?

A: GM Phoenix had made too many enemies here in Central Florida and I was not a fan of having to pay PR or Salary cap fines and violations.  He was removed from the GM position and traded away for the same reasons as GM Gravedigger.  He poorly handled himself and our team, despite acquiring several very talented players.  Orlando was a power house that had been ridden down to the ground by GM Gravedigger's administration so to think that GM Phoenix rebuilt the entire team and took it out of decade of sorrow like GM Jon in DC is mistaken.


Q: Away from the Phoenix Saga, what were your thoughts on the proceedings, hearings and outcome of the steroid issue that occurred last season? Do you think it's still rampant int he league?

A: I trust that the league is handing matters and that the PED problems are subsiding, but I do not for a minute believe that you can completely eliminate it from the sport.


Q: Finally, what would you change to improve the league?

A: I believe the league is trending in the right direction, so I have no real vision of improvement outside of better GM's and an expanded roster.


Q: What was your thoughts on the steroid issues plaguing this league last year.

A: As I said, I believe the league is handling these issues to the best of their ability and have no further comment.


Q: You have mentioned relocating in the past, Are you still panning on relocation or is it situational depending on success of team, and where would you go?

A: We are committed to the Orlando area until the fans no longer want to attend our games and support our organization, and I believe that the great people of Central Florida are committed to their Stampede. I see a lot of green and gold on the golf course when I'm out and about.


Q: What do you think of the recent player protest in Tulsa?

A: Players deserve a voice when the man that bridges the gap between them and the owner is not interacting with them.  I do not agree with the manor of the protest, but the idea behind it was solid in my mind and if my players felt that their GM was not committed to them, I would want them to speak to me in some form as well.


Q: How do you think your current GM has faired so far?

A: GM Cory has been a fantastic addition to the franchise.  We have won a division championship and are trending back to our history of 10-win seasons.. The only downside I have with him so far has been his lack of availability with me during the mid-season evaluation process, but I trust that he will never let that happen again.  I see GM Cory as a man who can deliver a championship to Orlando, so long as he avoids pressing the big red button.

Thank you Mr. Adores, it was a pleasure and I gracious that you would take the time out of your day to speak to a nobody like me. Thank you for helping me jump start my editorial career.

Matt Adores: Your welcome, Good Luck. (Hangs up)

End Interview


I can't thank Mr. Adores enough for his time. Mr. Adores said a lot of things that makes me think. He said things pertaining to how GM's performed and how they treated players and agents. The fragile state of the game puts both GM's and Agents at a crossroads. It's a tap dance that seems Fred Astaire would stumble on.

Second, Mr. Adores mentioned the league needing better GM's and expanded rosters....Better GM's, Expanded Rosters.

Makes me think, I look around at all these teams looking for a GM who can get it done. Who can build a winner. Whoc an manage ego's in all areas of this game and I wonder an actual better GM is closer then most think. I have spent a lot of time covering sports and entertainment and one thing I learned is that with the dedication and focus anything is possible. I need to take my own advice, maybe it's time I expand my resume.

Well, until further notice, and unless something changes, I am still Xavier Lucas and...

Here We Are Now

« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 07:08:47 PM by Eddie K »


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« Reply #85 on: September 15, 2017, 02:33:39 PM »


As most focus on the trade deadline this week, it is sometimes nice to look forward beyond the hyperbole of trade analysis and look to something more tangible.  THE RECORD BOOK.   The HIFL has now had 8 successful seasons under its belt with each season making the records that withstand the test of time more and more meaningful to the players working hard to achieve that level of success and greatness.  So while sometimes may be looking to the off-season to rebuild or reload, and others begin thinking of magic numbers to clinch playoff berths to make a run at an Impact Bowl, PLENTY of players have their eyes glued to the stat books to see what they need to do to etch their names in history by setting a single season or career record before they head out for their off-season vacations. 

A few single-game records have fallen already this season thanks to amazing performances by a pair of talented veterans.  The players involved in this record setting games have seen their popularity profile boost significantly, not only in their home-cities but across national sports platforms, with Eugene McReynolds personally benefiting from his beat-down of his former team to the tune of his jersey becoming the number one selling jersey for the Cleveland Mustangs this season!  Meanwhile merchandise for a lineman isn't a huge expectation, but Joseph Worthington may never have to pay for an all you can eat buffet again for as long as he is a member of the Miami Killer Whales organization.

OLD RECORD: Elias Winstead (2010 - Season 1) 167 Yards (week 1 vs. Alabama)

NEW RECORD: Eugene McReynolds (2018 - Season 9) 198 Yards (week 5 vs. New Jersey)

OLD RECORD: Anthony Smith (2016 - Season 7) 13 pancakes (week 5 vs. Kansas City)

NEW RECORD: Joseph Worthington (2018 - Season 9) 15 pancakes (week 4 vs. Atlanta)

Now lets take a look at some of the records that are currently in legitimate danger of falling.

RECORD HOLDER: Steven Crawford - Long Beach (2014 - Season 5) 4,796 yards / 299.8 yards per game

Marcus Mariota - Kansas City 329.1 ypg - ON PACE FOR: 5,266 passing yards

Jose Pruitt - Rapid City 302.4 ypg - ON PACE FOR: 4,838 passing yards

While Mariota has put up phenomenal passing numbers this season which is evident by his eye popping yards per game numbers, but it has come in large part due to the passing attack having to cover ground for the teams lack of a run game.  Meanwhile Jose Pruitt's game could be even more impressive when you compare the two QB's passes per game.  Mariota is slinging the ball just shy of 40 times per game (38.9 attempts per game) which is just two more passes per game than his career average of 36.4.  Mariota is on pace to destroy Steven Crawford's 2014 record for attempts (591) with 622.4 passes being his projected total for the regular season.   He missed the mark by just one pass two seasons ago finishing the year with 590 tosses.  Meanwhile Jose Pruitt is reaching similar heights in passing yards on 10 less attempts per game, throwing the ball an average of 28.3 times per contest setting his own pace at 453 attempts on the year.

FINAL VERDICT: Both pass Crawford, but Mariota finishes as the first QB to pass for 5,000+ in a single season.

RECORD HOLDER: Trevor Jose - New Jersey (2016 - Season 7) 43 Passing Touchdowns

Marcus Mariota - Kansas City 25 passing TDs, ON PACE FOR: 44 Passing Touchdowns

Its a tight one here, as Mariota has had some big TD games to help boost his numbers, and while his passing TD percentage is at a career high (7.7% of his passes go for touchdowns)  Trevor Jose's epic 43 TD season featured one of the most eye popping TD percentages in history as TJ threw TD passes on 12.4% of his throws.  Mariota has only thrown 1 TD pass in two games this season and has thrown 4 or more three times, but it will still be tough for him to catch Jose's record this season.  Jose's magical season featured only one game where the MVP threw less than 2 TDs in the game (Wk 10 15/18, 270 yards, 0 TDs vs. Oakland) and 7 games with 3 or more TDs... oh and zero interceptions on the year.

FINAL VERDICT: Mariota falls short as the division opponents make adjustments and tighten down defensively.

RECORD HOLDER: Brian Beckwith - Oakland (2010 - Season 1)  1,796 Receiving Yards

Max Ramos - Tulsa  988 receiving yards, ON PACE FOR: 1,756 Receiving Yards

Wenzel, Tibbetts, Gorham, and Kidwell all tried in 2011.  Jonathan Johnson got close in back to back years in 2015 and 2016, and last season Hodge and McReynolds each entered the top 10, but Brian Beckwith's 1796 yard season still stands tall as the best ever.  With only 5 seasons (and 4 players) ever cracking the 1700 yard mark in a single year it seems improbable that the near 1800 yards receiving needed to top the record will ever be reached, but this year the Christian Sullivan to Max Ramos connection could at least push for a seat at the table. While his on-pace numbers show a player destined to miss the mark, you can argue that a week 3 stumbling block game of only 33 yards has skewed his numbers for the worst.  In fact, the trends show that over the last four contests Ramos has gained more yards than each previous performance, reaching 154 yards receiving this past week!  If he can maintain a 115-120 yard per game performance over the final seven games of the season then the record is all his... And the way he has been playing lately (119.75 yards per game over the last 4 games) then it is not too hard to predict that Ramos gets to take the title from Beckwith (who at 35 is still defying father time and playing for Lincoln.)

FUN FACT!  Brian Beckwith is the ONLY player in league history to post 1000+ yard seasons with 4 years of sub 200 yard receiving seasons in between. (1195 yards in 2012 for Oakland, out for season in 2013, 149 yards for Missouri in 2014, 27 yards in Las Vegas in 2015, Out of Football in 2016. 1051 yards in Lincoln last season).

FINAL VERDICT: Yet another year goes by that Beckwith's super-season goes un-topped

RECORD HOLDER: Timothy Cobbs - Alabama (2016 - Season 7) 27 Sacks

Bruce Wilkinson - Alabama - 18 Sacks, ON PACE FOR: 32 Sacks

Waylon Hagan - Rapid City - 16 Sacks, ON PACE FOR: 28 Sacks

Everyone's favorite arms race is at defensive end around the HIFL.  Bruce Wilkinson, the young and explosive pass rusher who plays opposite of the current record holder Timothy Cobbs (11 sacks on the year).  Meanwhile Nomadic Sack Mercenary Waylon Hagan continues his reign of dominance now joining the Western Conference Superteam in Rapid City after spending the first half of the season dominating offensive linemen alongside disruptive yet volatile team mate Philip Sanderson (also 11 sacks this year).  Hagan is now being asked to play DE in a 3-man front for the first time in his career, which could prove to be challenging, but Hagan has never been stopped before, and a 20+ sack season is still clearly on the horizon for the league's all-time Sack Master.  However Wilkinson, in his contract year, has dominated indiscriminately to the tune of a 2 sack per game average as well as leading all defensive ends in tackles with 51 so far this season.

FINAL VERDICT: Wilkinson can't maintain a 2 sack per game average, there is no way, but even if he drops a few games he can hit the 29 or even 30 mark and take the crown.  Hagan misses the mark after losing space-eater Philip Sanderson when he was traded from Michigan to Rapid City, now playing the 3-4 DE position for the first time in his career.

RECORD HOLDER: Clayton Salmon - Rapid City (2016 - Season 7) 28 Tackles for Loss

2Face Obaje - New Jersey - 21 TFL, ON PACE FOR: 37 Tackles for Loss

Tackles for Loss isn't the sexy stat that many look at in the box score, but stopping the run game before it can get started is critical for forcing longer down and distance, and Li-Ning Academy graduate 2Face Obaje has become the best in the HIFL at blowing up the run game. Obaje is a freak athlete and the son of Nigerian world class sprinter Danny Obaje. Originally discovered by Li-Ning through his ties to the UK U18 Rugby team, the lean mean TFL machine has quickly made his mark on the HIFL and only looks to get better.  His name "2Face" comes from a brief and ill-fated hip-hop career in England before signing with Li-Ning's camp.

FINAL VERDICT: This is all but a lock, barring injury I see no way that 2Face isn't the new TFL-King after this season ends.

RECORD HOLDER: Anthony Smith - DC (2017 - Season 8) 126 Pancakes

Anthony Smith - DC - 72 Pancakes, ON PACE FOR: 128 Pancakes

Nothing like some Me vs. Myself action!  Anthony Smith has long since established himself as the most dominant left tackle in football.  He has not allowed a sack since Week 10 of the 2016 (season 7) season, and has been a road grader in the run game as well.  Nothing can stop this man from a date with the Hall of Fame when he hangs up his giant sized cleats.

FINAL VERDICT: There is little reason to believe Smith won't top his own mark again, barring a change in pace in DC, which nobody sees happening with Sean Saint at the helm.

« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 10:52:38 AM by Talon »
GM Kirk [21|May 12:29 AM]:   When trade fever hits, math is the first casualty.

GM Dazz

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« Reply #86 on: September 25, 2017, 07:19:07 PM »
Welcome to the Deadline Day edition of The View From Across The Pond. At least we were expecting to bring you a special edition but it’s been a very quiet week comparatively. That makes our job of predicting what’s going to happen much easier so I’d like to thank all of the GMs for that. After the trade fever of last week we’ve seen teams take their final shapes and the few moves that have been made have been a lot more sensible than some of the madness previously seen. So how will each team begin the final run to the end of the season?

Tombstone @ Alabama

MH: At the start of the season I was a big fan of both of these teams. I spent hours trying to convince Sean every week that they were both contenders. For weeks both of these teams let me down. Sean and I were both very critical of Alabama last week but Sean seemed to touch a nerve so I'll let him respond to all of that. What I will say is what I said last week. Ortega is not a pocket passer and never will be. The reason we're so critical of him is because of his immense potential out of college. He should be better than he is by this point. What I want to focus on is Tombstone. With Brewster actually playing I thought they were looking good for a big finish to the season. Dak Prescott is not the answer to any question. With no QB the WRs aren't going to have much impact, no matter how good they are. Tombstone will have to rely on their run game... Oops. This game will see exes meeting up soon after the breakup and wondering what could have been if only they'd cling on a little longer. Alabama will win.

SB: I had a picture message texted to me by GM Pancho after his incredible meltdown in the press conference this week (Pancho's "Rafa moment"?), but I think it would be wise not to open it. I stand by everything I said, but I feel some clarification is in order. What he saw as a personal attack against his physical attributes was merely a metaphorical musing on his mental state. After winning the Impact Bowl in the first season of the GM Era and crowning himself king, GM Pancho was unceremoniously traded when his champions stank up the league the following season. After that, GM Pancho hasn't had any tangible success, so the only way for him to convince himself and others that he's still the man is to make waves in the trade market. He's done that each season, gaining inches (column inches) but not much else. The trade for Robles is a continuation of that. His criticism of my remarks was confused and not naive at best. I've never suggested bringing in help for Ortega in the running game: I've always maintained that Ortega is an elite RB struggling to be a medicore QB. A decent OT performance against NJ and a decent game against one of the worst defences in the league hasn't changed my mind on that. He's got another easy game this week against a team that won't win another for the remainder of the season. The game against DC and the games in the playoffs will tell us all we need to know about Ortega (and they will tell us that he's a RB). Alabama win.

DC @ Kansas

MH: I expected GM T-Bone to be a bit more active as the transfer window slammed shut but I'm pleasantly surprised that he wasn't. What they have there in Kansas is a team that works. It shouldn't with that defence but it does. He's tried to improve that without ripping up what's been working so well. Kansas would have beaten the GM Jon DC so they will dominate a rudderless version. Kansas in a blowout.

SB: I think GM T-Bone did enough before the transfer window slammed shut. He strengthened his defence and added a RB who fits his style far better than Force did. Rickard will take pressure off of Mariota and give him another option to pass to whilst Matthews give Kansas City a one man pass-rushing machine. With pressure now on the opposition QB, the rest of teh defence can look to make plays they haven't seemed capable of so far. Kansas would indeed beat the GM Jon DC and I think they'll win this game, but I also think that DC are stronger than they were under GM Jon. Kansas win, but not a blowout.

St Paul @ Vegas

MH: St Paul have quietly put together a playoff caliber team again this year. Like last year, I think they'll get stronger as the season goes on and they could steal a playoff spot at the end of the season (possibly from Michigan). They're another team that has been relatively quiet in the transfer market and that continuity is a good thing. Vegas are in all sorts of trouble. Fingers are pointed at the QB situation but that's extremely unfair. You can't have a WR corps as weak as theirs and then expect miracles from May. Give him someone to throw to. It's too late now and The Scorpion defence is in for another very frustrating run to the end of the season. St Paul win a low scoring game.

SB: St. Paul started slowly but they're gaining momentum and confidence week by week. I think they will gain a playoff berth, but at the expence of Orlando rather than Michigan. GM Gooch made the right moves early in the season and John Carr is looking every inch the QB that the Dragons hoped he would be (another who slipped through their fingers). As Mark says, Las Vegas don't look good at it's the WRs who are holding them back... or GM Metro's WR blindness. I honestly think that Metro has run his course in Las Vegas and that we'll see someone else using their mountain of draft picks next season. I hate agreeing with Mark, but the games so far have pretty much picked themselves. St. Paul win.

Seattle @ Oakland

SB: Oakland are in a tailspin, but Seattle are still Seattle. Oakland win.

MH: Sorry Oakland fans, you're not getting much analysis from me this week, either. Just enjoy your victory. GM Jon must be pulling his hair out. That is a tough situation in Seattle. I don't think Brewster is the answer but I can see that Jon is trying to revive their season by nicking a few victories. Give up and prepare for picking at the start of the draft. He should use these last games to simply assess his team and decide where to focus in the off-season.

Long Beach @ Orlando

SB: Orlando are hoping to have Patton back for this one and we've seen how desperately they need him during the last couple of weeks. If Patton plays, Orlando will still have to be at their best to win against Long Beach. Last week, I got laughed at for suggesting that Long Beach have an exciting offence, but what's not exciting about watching Wright, Belanger, Hunter and Darryl Spurgeon and Lynwood Hunter play? They have a resonably solid o-line and good options at TE. Sure, they're not performing to the level I think they're capable of but it's still exciting to wonder when they will have a breakout game and really click. I think it might be this week, so I'm backing them to overcome the wounded Stampede. Long Beach win.

MH: Patton will probably be the key to this one, as Sean suggests. I know what he’s trying to say about Long Beach but the truth is that they have an offence built of players who are average right across the team. The QB, WRs and RBs are ok but when you have that level of player in the skills positions the your line had better be built from stone. This line isn’t. Where Long Beach’s strength lies is in that defence. Normally I’d say Orlando would still be too strong for them but without Patton it’s a different story. I think it could be close and we’re likely to see errors on both sides. I’m just leaning towards Orlando, though I’ll be more confident if Patton plays. 

Tulsa @ Rapid City

MH: This will be ugly for Tulsa.

SB: No arguments here. 100 points and a shutout? Rapid City win.

Miami @ San Antonio

MH: Miami are a team that have improved since the start of the season. That’s most likely a direct impact of the direction and organisation hiring a GM has provided. Their players are still mediocre at best but they’re playing better than the sum of their parts. I’m still not entirely convinced by them though. I’m not entirely convinced by San Antonio either. Their experiments at QB haven’t really produced any results and they appear to be going back to what they started with. Jones isn’t terrible but he has the potential to be on an off day. He’s not exactly solid either, though. I think San Antonio rely almost entirely on their defence but with one like that they can lean on it to some extent. In the end, I think being the home team will be the difference here. San Antonio to win.

SB: Miami won a hard fought game against Oakland while San Antonio had one of their weeks where they look like a competent football team. With Almanza traded away, it looks like Jones has won the battle to start in San Antonio. I don't think he ever really looked bad enough to be benched in the first place. Miami are who they are at this point and I think that's good enough to beat San Antonio, mainly because I don't like San Antonio this season. Miami win.

Music City @ Cleveland

SB: Music City play as Trevor Jose plays and he's struggled against the Cleveland defence in recent times. TD Taylor looks back to his best after a couple of quiet games and the Mustangs are healthy. Everything points to a Cleveland victory, but the one question mark is over how quickly their new players will slot in. Elliott is a big trade and I know Mark is excited about that one, but does he upset the balance on offence. Paris Davis is another source of potential confusion as he has to integrate into the o-line, but that's been such a weakness for Cleveland that even a lost Paris Davis is likely to be an improvement. Freeman is a solid, if unspectacular addition but Hawkins is the real jewel of the crown in the trade with NJ. A look at his tackle numbers shows just what he's been brought in for, but Hawkins was a great player against the pass in college and the coaching in Cleveland could unlock his potential in that regard. I think the changes will see Cleveland stumble a little in this one, but there's no doubt they are stronger team now. Cleveland win, but not by much.

MH: Music City are at a bit of a crossroads in week 10. They’re not out of the playoff hunt just yet but it will take a strong finish for them to get there. The decision that had to be made was whether to make a push and bring in some reinforcements or to sell off the fine china in order to prepare for the future. In the end they did neither, though the rumours seem to suggest they were looking for a contender to take Jose so that probably says all you need to know. It was unlikely to happen as all of the contenders are in that position because they already have strong QBs. It may turn out to be better for them to be stuck with Jose, this season. Motivation may be a issue now but he’s still an elite player on his day. They’ll need him to be against Cleveland. Sean is right about Elliott, I am very excited by that trade. Usher was a very solid piece in that offence but Ezekiel Elliott is going to be one of the greats. Put him in this offence and we’ll see something special from him and them. There are issues on the line that need sorting but the Paris Davis move helps rather than hinders. I can see Sean’s point but for me, this Cleveland team is about as strong as they could be. They should win this one.

Michigan @ Atlanta

SB: Atlanta won a game! Can lightning strike twice? No. Michigan win.

MH: Without Ezekiel Elliott… not a chance. Though I like Patrick Usher and I think he’ll do a good job for them. It just won’t be enough this season.

Lincoln @ New Jersey

SB: I say the same things about Lincoln every week: they have a team with huge potential but they are raw this season. The loss against Atlanta showed how vulnerable they are and how quickly the confidence can be drained from them. I don't think that New Jersey can get at them the same way, although nobody knows whether Lynn will sink of swim in his first HIFL start. I've heard some rumblings of discontent over a mistake on the New Jersey team sheet this week, so we might see some backlash from that as well as them trading some important pieces to Cleveland. I'm disappointed that GM Kirk traded away Rickard as I don't think we saw the best of him in that offence and he's a far more rounded and exciting talent than Force. That was a sweet deal for Kansas City who managed to convince GM Kirk to retain salary in exchange for moving 5 places up the draft, at most. In fact, I think GM Kirk has come off worse on pretty much every trade he's made the past few seasons and fans might be getting sick of him being such an easy mark. There's a time and place for being a gentleman, but on the phone to other GMs is not it.

MH: Lincoln at New Jersey is hardly the game of the week but it should make for an intriguing encounter. I like bits of both of these teams and I think both have bright futures next season. This year they both need to temper their ambitions a little though. I did originally have higher hopes for the both of them for the second half of this season but they seem to be stuttering. The problem has been the same for them too… too many interceptions. Pate seems to have gotten that under control but Lynn is most likely to start as GM Kirk tries to shake things up. I can tell him the result of that already… more interceptions. It happens to all rookies so I can’t see Lynn being any different. He’s making the right choice, though. This season needs to be about next season and that means giving the rookie some real experience. New jersey will hope it doesn’t kill Lynn’s confidence like Carmazzi’s.

SB: This game hinges on whether Bloom is allowed to get into a rhythm and how Lynn reacts to pressure and the inevitable setbacks he's bound to face. Actually, I'm going to go against type and award the win to New Jersey's defence. They have more experience on that side of the ball and a few players who are having very good seasons, despite the team's struggles. New Jersey win, probably with a kick/punt return TD.

MH: This would have been a winnable game for New Jersey with Pate under centre. The trades aren’t as terrible as you think and there’s enough in that defence to keep them in it. That’s unlikely to be the case now though. I still like Lincoln’s offence and if Bloom can look after the ball I think they’re going to be fine. I don’t predict high scores for either team but a pick 6 from Lincoln seems more likely than the return TD from New Jersey to be the winner. Lincoln in a tight but entertaining game.

GM Lucas

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« Reply #87 on: September 27, 2017, 09:07:52 PM »

       Once again I have the privilege to say these four words, Here we are now. Last time we spoke, or I wrote and your read I had the amazing privilege to interview Mr. Matt Adores, Owner of the Orlando Stampede and was able to really get a picture painted from the top looking down. Sometimes I think we forget that the players and agents aren’t the only people with a voice. Obviously they are the talking heads; the one who make headlines and the ones we love to hate, or hate to love or love and or hate. I don’t know forget you read that last piece. My point is, Matt Adores gives us a taste of what many owners might be going through year in and year out as they deal with unpredictable GM’s, sensitive agents, hard nose stubborn coaches and players that can’t seem to get out there own way.

   With all that said, I decided to give a fair shake to all those who make it happen and threw out a fishing line to see who I could reel in for a GM interview and I believe I caught one of if not the biggest fish in the sea GM Jon. A successful Gm who made his name running the Seattle Reign with two championships, had a stadium named after him and took his talents to DC only to collect two more titles. After a successful run, GM Jon finds himself once again in the mail room of the league trying to work his way up to the top floor corner office and he brought me in on all of it. I had the honor of interviewing GM Jon as I hope to continue to interview other GM’s through the season and I got one hell of a lesson on what it takes to build a winner.
   Without further Adoo, I give you the interview with GM Jon.

(Xavier) : Let me ask, was the move to Seattle something you requested, were you hinting at possible return home for what could be your final run or was this a surprise?

(GM Jon) : It was definitely not something I requested, but I was considering a move to Seattle potentially in the offseason for family reasons. I requested to play out the season with my team in D.C., but Mr. Kiss had to make a business decision that he felt benefited his franchise, much to my disagreement. So yeah, it was a surprise to go to sleep as the GM of the Cobras and to wake up as the GM of the Rhinos."

(Xavier) : Do you feel you hit your ceiling in DC, that you accomplished all you could?

(GM Jon) : Not at all, I think we were building up the team while remaining contenders at the same time. We didn't need to go into a kick the bucket season like New Jersey needs to do because of poor management. There was a lot of success still to be had in D.C., I fully believe that.

(Xavier) : In your opinion, what is the key to building a successful franchise.

(GM Jon) : Good Question and I'm not sure I even know the key to that. You have to look at your personal and who you want to build the team around. Hire a coaching staff that is going to employ a system that will get the most of the players you want to build around. You need to have trust from the owner down to the bottom of your depth chart and work for the idea of a team goal over individual success.

(Xavier) : What do you think was the most important part of your success in DC?

(GM Jon) : Having the players that bought into our team philosophy led by Coach Saint, Coach Blank, and Coach Farmer. Guys like Larry Stevens, Anthony Smith, Christian Sullivan, Tom Barber, Herbert Smith, Brett Myers, Bobby Meeks, Steve Wright, Alfred Glass, Juan Kirk, Omer Sasser... I could go on and on and on... the most important part of my success was being apart of their success and I truly mean that.

(Xavier) : Do you find it more important to find a coach to match your talent or talent to match your coaches scheme.

(GM Jon) : I think they are both equally important and depends on the situation. If you have a team with no players, then you need find players to match your coaches scheme and strengths. If you have a team of some key players to build around, then you need to find a coach that is going to get the best out of them and put them in a position where they will succeed. You could have a talented group of players and coach that fits them in the wrong scheme and you fail... likewise you could have a talented coach but the wrong players to work in his scheme and you fail. I was pretty fortunate to have great players and a great coaching staff led by Coach Saint my entire tenure in D.C.

(Xavier) : What do you find to be the most important, team chemistry, relationship with coaches or relationship with agents.

(Gm Jon) : I think a good relationship with your coaching staff goes into team chemistry. I'll tell you this right now... you're not going to see many, if any, teams win championships without team chemistry. You need cohesion from the coaching staff to the captains to the rest of the roster. If everyone is on the same page, you're going to have your teams best product on the field.

(Xavier) : Finally, what advice would you give an up and coming GM taking over a, for lack of a better word, Bad Team.

(GM Jon) : I think the best advice is to not rush things. There is a common saying that says "Rome wasn't built in a day." and that couldn't reign more true when taking over a franchise in need of rebuilding. It's not going to happen over one offseason, maybe not even over two. Piece by piece you get things into place to make a team competitive and if you're lucky enough like I was in D.C., the stars align and you win a championship... or in my case two.

(Xavier) : Thank you GM Jon for that lesson. I feel like a GM in training just getting out of class. I wish you the best of luck in Seattle and I hope to see you again soon.

(GM Jon): Thank you.

            As someone who has been around a long time in the business of sports I have never had a GM open up that way. He wasn’t afraid to share any tips or secrets. He was very upfront and almost as if though he wants other GM to succeed. This might sound like a knob fest but the truth is, the business of HIFL has always intrigued me and watching what GM Gates is doing in Rapid City, the rising Success of GM Gooch and GM Dazz, The comeback success story of GM Powers and the steady success GM Pancho seems to riding on is very encouraging, damn near motivating to use another word. Every league will have their Eddie Phoenix’s, well maybe not quite like Phoenix but every league will have their GM’s that are far gone, that are unpredictable and many leagues will have their GM Rebels and GM Justin’s, guys who really try who just seem to have that string of bad luck that they can’t recover from.

        With all that said, I truly believe each Gm that is employed by the HIFL will find success at some point. Will they hold on to it?, we will have to wait and see. Until then, we will worry about the present because the future is tomorrow so let’s focus on what we have here, what we have now.


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« Reply #88 on: October 04, 2017, 05:54:26 PM »
Welcome once again to another addition of The View From Across The Pond. I don’t know about Sean but, after last week, I’m feeling a lot better about myself. I was starting to worry that GM Pancho was right and that we really didn’t know anything. Those weeks around the trade deadline are notoriously difficult to predict, and so it proved with some horrible results for me in particular. However, we both seemed to get back into the groove of things this past week as the league has once again settled into its rhythm. The standings will really start to take shape now and it will soon be apparent who will be going to the playoffs and who will be picking early in the draft. So with confidence renewed, let’s get stuck in.

Seattle @ Atlanta

MH: I'm not afraid to admit when I'm wrong. I was convinced that Seattle would end the season 0-16 so congratulations to them for avoiding that. Brewster seems to have solved the QB issue in the short term but their problems go much deeper than that. There are too many to cover in this article. Still, I think they have a chance to gain another confidence boosting victory here against the Frankenstein's monster that is Atlanta this season. At the risk of looking stupid I'm going to predict a very rare Seattle victory.

SB: You'll get no argument from me on this one. Seattle win.

Kansas City @ Las Vegas

MH: What happens when a team with no offence plays a team with no defence? Kansas City win.

SB: Kansas City play football the way I love to see it played. Get the ball in your QB's hands and let him dominate the opposition. Mariota is having one of those rare seasons where everything works and the receivers are always where he needs them. Las Vegas are having the opposite sort of season. The only thing keeping Las Vegas in the playoff hunt is that there are only three good teams in the entire Western Division, with Las Vegas sat at the top of the rotten heap of the rest. The Las Vegas defence is tough, but as Mark says, they have no offence at all. I very rarely pick a strong offence over a strong defence but I'm going to make an exception for this one. Kansas City win.

Lincoln @ Michigan

MH: This is a difficult one to judge. Michigan's defence has looked great recently but they've had a comparatively easy run of games. I still think there's nothing behind that line in Michigan so if you can get past it you should find some joy against that secondary. Offensively they're decent without being great. The question I have is whether the game against New Jersey was a break out game for Bloom or just another false dawn. I really like this kid so I'm inclined to say the former. If Lincoln can keep him on his feet then they can cause an upset here. He has the mobility for it too. I'm just not convinced by that o-line yet. Flip a coin time here. Michigan are home so I'll back then to win.

SB: I think that Mark is a little behind the curve on Michigan: they are a very good team. The pass rush allows them to get away with having a weaker secondary because the opposition QB is never settled enough to make accurate throws and their aggressive defence bottles up the run as well. Hill is looking strong at QB and his options are solid, if not spectacular. Are they likely to win the Impact Bowl? No. Are they likely to beat Lincoln? That's tougher to answer. My initial instinct is that Lincoln are too young, too raw and too inconsistent to beat a properly good team... but they are 5-0 on the road. I don't know what it is about playing in front of the home crowd that makes them seize up, but they seem to thrive in a hostile environment. I'm going to pick the upset here. Lincoln win and finally start getting the praise they deserve.

Rapid City @ Music City

MH: Music City had a decent offensive showing against Cleveland last week. Trevor Jose was excellent and they put enough on the board to beat most teams. Their problem was a complete lack of run game. They just couldn't get it going and it made them easier to defend against. Unfortunately, decent wasn't enough to beat Caleb Smoak and Ezekiel Elliott. They won't face offences like that every week. They face Pruitt this week. It will be another brave performance in a loss for Music City.

SB: The HIFL is a QB league. There isn't a single team winning games on the ground anymore, so to blame Music City's struggles on the ground for their loss is a bit of a head scratcher. The problem for them was that Cleveland are the better team on offence and defence. The same is true of Rapid City. Rapid City win.

San Antonio @ Oakland

MH: I liked San Antonio at the start of the season but I don't like them so much now. They've got a strong defence on paper but the struggles at QB have derailed their season. Cardale Jones has the makings of a quality player but a lack of trust has hurt his development. It's been disappointing. That said; I like their chances against Oakland. That team is in a funk and I don't see a way out. The TJ bounce is well and truly over and I don't think a return from him would have the same impact again. San Antonio win.

SB: It's good to see Mark's eyes have finally been opened. Their defence does look good on paper, but the coaches are clearly not getting through to the players and their offence is underpowered, to put it mildly. Oakland look better on paper than their performances have shown, but they seem to be having a Brewster moment with GM TJ. Joking aside, it's a very worrying situation in Oakland with their GM missing. He's the driving force behind that team and a popular character in the league. Without GM TJ at the helm, Oakland are heading full steam towards an iceberg. San Antonio win (but don't look convincing while they do).

Long Beach @ St Paul

MH: St Paul had a very impressive outing last week, though that comes with the caveat that it was against Vegas. I heard GM Gooch raving about a great win against a great team. Vegas are half great and half awful which adds up to a mediocre team. St Paul did a professional job against them though and should get some credit for that. In Long Beach they come up against a similar team to Vegas, though slightly better offensively. Sean has been trying to convince me Long Beach's offence is exciting but I just don't see it. They'll struggle against the Lynx Ball Hawks (TM). In fact, I think St Paul match up well against Long Beach in all areas. St Paul, possibly by 14.

SB: Not much analysis needed here. St. Paul are a god team from the Eastern Conference. Long Beach are not one of the three good teams from the West. St. Paul win comfortably.

New Jersey @ Tombstone

SB: A couple of seasons ago, this would have been a potential Impact Bowl game, but both teams have fallen on hard times this season. Coach Stark's Dragons have a perfect record against Coach Rudino's Outlaws. These are not the same Outlaws. With Tibbets, Robles, Duke and Brewster all gone, this is definitely a new team... but new doesn't always mean better. Dak is obviously not the starting QB that Tombstone wanted, but he looked better than anyone expected against Alabama and he won't have to worry about interceptions against a defence that hasn't taken one away since week 4. Tombstone have scored more and allowed fewer points than New Jersey, although not by much. And that's all the positives I can think of for the Outlaws. What I haven't mentioned yet is that they are on the longest losing streak in the HIFL and haven't won a single game at home. They played Alabama close, but that's what happens against a team with no QB and a broken RB. New Jersey keep letting me down but, as bad as they are, they aren't as bad as Tombstone. New Jersey get a rare win.

MH: Tombstone are another of the teams I liked a lot at the start of the season but have since gone on to disappoint. I understand GM Justin wanting to put his own mark on the team and k think it will work out better long term, however it was all done rather half heartedly in the off-season. Tombstone, like New Jersey, are in a season of complete overhaul of the GM's making. Both of these teams should have been better this season but neither GM had a clear view of where they wanted to take their franchises. That is most clearly shown by the complete mess they've both made at QB and it's no coincidence that Dak Prescott has worn both jerseys this season. I just think New Jersey's offence is further along in its development. If Pate was starting I'd have little hesitation in picking a Dragons victory. He knows the team, the playbook and was just getting into his rhythm when GM Kirk yanked him. With Lynn though... I think Tombstone edge it. As good as Lynn looks, rookies have a history of being error prone and I think Tombstone are better placed defensively to capitalise on that. As Sean pointed out, that Dragons defence couldn’t catch a cold. Turnovers will be the difference here.

Miami @ Tulsa

SB: GM Franchise admitted this week that he tried to improve his team, but couldn't. I believe that he should have been a seller rather than attempting to buy at the deadline but, other than the players his team is built around, he didn't have anything another team would want to trade for. And so, Tulsa still look at least 2 seasons away from a competitive team. Miami's 5-5 record suggests that they are competitive already. Duke to Randolph or Craven looks potent and their defence is ranked 4th in the league for points allowed. Tulsa have some good players here and there, but that's not enough to beat a good team. Miami win.

MH: I want to be positive about Tulsa. I really do. GM Franchise is working hard to build a powerhouse here but his vision of what that is, much like GM Metro in Vegas, doesn't work in this league. If you pay huge salaries to a few players you end up having to pick budget options in other places. Both teams invested in only 1 side of the ball and it shows. Put Tulsa's offence with that Vegas defence and it's a completely different story. That's why the cap is there, though. What you have instead is superstars playing next to guys who wouldn't make a college bench. Miami are going about it in the complete opposite way. There is nothing spectacular in Miami but they are a much more rounded team, and it shows. I've always said they were average and that 5-5 record backs me up. Average is good enough against Tulsa. Miami win.

Orlando @ Cleveland

MH: What a game this promised to be. These are probably the two best offensive teams in the East. I would say the two best but people will point to Michigan (wrongly). Patton and Smoak are in the top tier of QB but they have very different styles so it will be fascinating to watch. I could talk for days about this game and I strongly recommend everyone watches it. I'll keep this brief, though. Sean is wrong about the run game not mattering in this league. I know GMs Dazz and Cory will agree with me too. Orlando haven't looked the same through the middle of the season and Cleveland beat Music City despite Jose out passing Smoak in all areas but TDs. The difference is a strong run game. The run gets 1st downs and it shortens the field. It also draws in coverage and opens up the play action. The difference between these teams this week will be Ezekiel Elliott. Cleveland will win a thriller.

SB: I could go into a load of analysis on this one and explain why I believe that Orlando are the most overrated team in the league, but it would be pointless to do so this week because my gut gives them the victory. There's just something unconvincing about Cleveland in the big games. They don't get enough pressure to force good QBs to rush and pass the ball to Taylor and their defence is mediocre when they don't get those turnovers. Patton is too calm and too smart to throw the game away, so I see him grinding out a victory here. It's possible that Crawford could be back for this one, which would negate the advantage Elliott supposedly gives Cleveland but they'll win even without a ground game. Mark resisted me when I said Tombstone and San Antonio were bad teams, but he's had to concede to my wise words. I suggest he does so more quickly on the issue of the irrelevance of running backs in the modern HIFL. Orlando win and make me look like a genius.

DC @ Alabama

SB: GM Pancho had another strange press conference and picked an odd week to double down on his xenophobic comments regarding my understanding of football, considering the very problems I pointed out reared their ugly heads. Yes they won the game, but they did so despite the poor performances of Ortega and Robles. 8 completed passes is a disaster for a starting QB and 69 total yards isn't a great look for a $16million double threat. Despite those limitations, Alabama still look good for another win because of one man: Burton Tibbetts. I can't praise GM Pancho enough for trading for Tibbetts, who is without doubt the best WR in the league. 135 yards and a TD on just 3 catches is incredible and the sort of performance that makes any QB look good, regardless of whatever else they do. It wasn't good enough to win the game on its own, though. Alabama were also bailed out by two big special teams TDs, not that you'd know about Botts' contribution from the press conference. An indication of a strained relationship between player and GM and that Botts is likely to be on his way at the end of the season, perhaps.

MH: I don’t want to get into a back and forth with the GMs. That’s not what we’re here for. However, it’s perfectly right to point out that Ortega has gone and shown exactly why we as pundits have been so critical. There are times when he looks like the real deal but far too often he has a game like that one against Tombstone. It was the typical Ortega performance. Great numbers on the ground but he looked exposed when he was forced to pass it. Also, it’s perfectly right to question what Robles is doing there. Ortega out ran him on fewer carries, had far far superior yards per carry and, honestly, it looks like Robles is holding Alabama back. We can’t spend all day talking about that though. Alabama won so I’m sure they’ll leave that one in the past, which is where we should leave it too. This week they face DC and it promises to be a very different game.

SB: Alright, alright, I'll get onto this week's game. Alabama haven't looked convincing in any of their three wins since the shock victory against Rapid City, despite the added firepower. They seem to be resting on their laurels somewhat and playing to the level of their opponents. They've gotten away with it so far, but could DC be the team to finally trip them up? Stevens and Glass make it a lot more likely that we'll see Ortega under pressure and throwing picks again. The question is whether DC's offence will be able to capitalize on those mistakes... and I just don't see that happening. I think Ortega could throw 4 interceptions and still win this one if he can find a way to get the ball to Tibbetts just a handful of times. Rizzo is prone to the odd mistake himself and isn't ready to put the team on his shoulders and drag them to victory. As much as it pains me to do so, I'm going to give this one to Alabama.

MH: What Alabama face in DC is a team that seems to have found its feet again in the wake of GM Jon’s departure. Usually the loss of a GM leaves a team in limbo and without direction but It seems to have galvanised this team. It’s been impressive to watch. I’m not convinced Rizzo is the man to lead a revival here this year but he’s showing some promise for the future. I expected DC to be on the wrong end of a blow out last week but they kept pace with Kansas pretty well… apart from in the third quarter. Alabama’s defence will be better than the one they just faced but DC still have the players there to cause problems for anyone. Rizzo doesn’t have to carry this team on his shoulders. In Mixon, Houser, Myers, Herzog they have a variety of weapons at their disposal and that makes them difficult to defend against. Will it be enough to topple Alabama? It’s a loss that’s been a few weeks in coming so I’m going to disagree and say Alabama finally trip up this week.

Sean Brosnan and Mark Hansen

GM Kirk

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« Reply #89 on: October 14, 2017, 05:41:01 AM »
Welcome once again to another edition of The View From Across The Pond. This week is a Sean Brosnan special, which suits me just fine because Mark Hansen's crowing about Cleveland and Running Backs has been insufferable. Besides, without his inane drivel to sift through, you might actually learn something this week. Let's get started.

Orlando @ Alabama

It's hard to look stupid when you only predict 1 game wrong, but these two teams combined to make me look ridiculous (that plus all of the RBs in the league taking my comments to heart and showing up for once). Orlando were terrible against Cleveland and were lucky to get out of the game with any points at all. Patton looked lost and their defence crumbled. Alabama, on the other hand, looked like potential champions. The way they took DC apart was a thing of beauty...and left me sneaking out of the pub I was watching it in before anyone recognised me. Credit where credit is due, Ortega and Robles worked together fantastically. Although Ortega couldn't get anything going with his legs, he spread the ball around the field like a real QB and gained over 300 yards through the air. He still needs to get his TD numbers up and improve the ratio against his interceptions in order to be talked about in the same conversations as Smoak, Pruit or Jose, but if the game against Tombstone was evidence for the prosecution, this was evidence for the defence. Robles looked like the Robles of old, but we need to see him do it consistently now. As for this week, the return of Crawford is huge for Orlando's offence and this is the sort of challenge that the team should relish after their humiliation last week. I see them giving Alabama a good game, but they'll ultimately fall short. Alabama win.

Miami @ Atlanta

Atlanta lost the Toilet Bowl, as it's being dubbed, so the offseason and new leadership can't come soon enough for them. Miami win.

Michigan @ DC

Michigan suffered a shock loss (which I predicted) and were lucky to even take the game to OT. They showed grit and determination (and all the other words you generally use to describe valiant losers) but they couldn't find a way to win. Mark was right to highlight Michigan's relatively easy schedule, but that changes now. I still think that they are a good team and will hang on in there for the chase to the no.1 seed in the East, but I don't make them favourites for it... not without Hagan. This could be a tough one, but Michigan should be too strong for a rudderless DC. Michigan win.

Tombstone @ San Antonio

It won't come as a shock to hear that I won't be watching this one, but I'm still contractually obliged to talk about it. San Antonio are somehow still have a shot at the playoffs, so they need to win games like this one. Tombstone have lost their last 7, so they're just playing for pride at this stage. I see this being pretty similar to San Antonio's win over Oakland, with the Knights controlling most of the game before allowing Tombstone to get back into it at the end. San Antonio win, but with some drama at the end.

Oakland @ Seattle

GM Jon's easy Season 9 schedule continues with another free win. Oakland are in deep trouble, so Seattle's mini-revival continues. Seattle win.

New Jersey @ St. Paul

Now we get to the first proper game of the week. New Jersey have been rotten and the Lynx have been on a role, but New Jersey's offence has woken up since Lynn took over QB duties and they've given good teams a run for their money. Their defence is still giving up big chunks of yards, but John Carr isn't a big chunk kind of player, so it will take time for the Lynx to march down the field. Obviously St. Paul deservedly go into this as favourites, but these games have always been tight down the years. New Jersey have the British connections so I really want to pick the upset, but I just can't do it despite trying to talk myself into it. Cuevas is a big loss and St. Paul have home advantage and more to play for. St. Paul win, in OT.

Long Beach @ Tulsa

SB: It's getting harder and harder to keep talking up the Long Beach offence, particularly they only manage a couple of FGs to go with a safety. Tulsa's offence hasn't been doing much either, despite their reputation for being an offensive powerhouse. The only teams with lower scoring offences than Tulsa are Seattle and Atlanta, which is something some pundit have completely missed... not to mention any names (Mark Hansen). If you put Tulsa's offence with Las Vegas' defence, as was suggested in this article just last week, you'd have a team even worse than the current Scorpions. In short, don't expect fireworks in this one. I'm going to back Long Beach to win, with a safety in OT after a scoreless 4 quarters.

Music City @ Lincoln

SB: It seems like Music City might be forced to abandon the ground game again this week after George Carlson demanded to be released and ended up suspended instead. With that news likely setting the lockerroom ablaze, Lincoln should be a lock to win this one. The thing is, Trevor Jose is still Trevor Jose and Lincoln are terrible in front of their own fans. It's one of my more maverick picks, but I'm going with the Kings. Music City win.

Cleveland @ Las Vegas

SB: The Mustangs have the best defence in the league at the moment and the 3rd best offence. Las Vegas' fabled defence ranks 2nd in the West, but would only be good enough for 6th in the East. Their defensive woes have been well covered here and elsewhere. Whatever way you look at it, Las Vegas are in for a long, tough day with very little chance of any reward. Cleveland are going to walk this one. You'd have to be mad to back anything else. Cleveland win.

Rapid City @ Kansas City

SB: What a treat we have in store for us during Prime Time this week. The two top offences in the league go toe to toe in what is quite likely to be billed by many as the game of the season. Yes, we had the reverse fixture in Week 1 and Rapid City won it without too much trouble, but Mariota has been on fire since then and Rapid City's secondary is banged up. Trevor Jose showed that a talented QB can find a way to score on the Inferno and I expect Kansas to have even more success taking it to the air. Having said that Rapid City aren't short of firepower and they have plan Hagan to deal with troublesome QBs. So much talent on display and so the no.1 seed to play for... I'm excited.

I think the league and the networks need Kansas City to win this game. If Rapid City do the double over the Bruins, then the Western side of the playoffs is going to look far too predictable and people are going to find something else to do until the Impact Bowl. Unfortunately, I think that's the way that this is going to go. Yes, Rapid City struggled to kill off Music City last week, but too much has to go perfectly for Kansas to pull this off. Rapid City can afford a few slip ups and still see out the game against a reasonably leaky Bruins defence. Kansas have to punish every mistake and take every opportunity that comes their way and, as good as they are, I just don't see it happening. I think Rapid City will get out to an early lead and then take the foot of the gas just long enough to make the game look close, but they will always be in control as they have been pretty much all season. Rapid City win.

Sean Brosnan

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« Reply #90 on: November 09, 2017, 03:45:06 PM »
(Sorry for the delay on this. It's posted before I've looked at any of the results though)

Welcome to another edition of The View From Across The Pond. Luckily for you all, I’m back so you don’t need to put up with another Brosnan special. There were a few shocks last week, not all of them on the field. Huge news coming out of Tombstone with GM Justin imploding after misinterpreting the rules. That’s not the only big news with player power once again rearing its ugly head. It’s a shame to see a player force his way out only to find himself getting paid big money to play for 4 games. How will these things impact on the results? Let’s find out.

Tulsa @ Las Vegas

MH: This game is one of a few this week that I had down as a good time to be doing something else. However, the shock victory for the Scorpions last week has me paying a little more attention. This one might actually be a good watch, if you have a fetish for defensive football like I do. Vegas did a great job of getting at Caleb Smoak and Ezekiel Elliott last week and I think they'll have even more joy this week. Tulsa are reliant on the passing game so could find themselves in a lot of trouble. However, if they can get at the Vegas secondary then they could unlock the Vegas defence. It will come down to how well their line can hold up the Vegas pass rush. Not very well is the answer. Vegas win a game that is more interesting than it should be.

SB: I don't have a fetish for defensive football or any particular interest in it whatsoever. This game is one to watch because it has two great QBs of the past throwing to a bunch of muppets who couldn't even catch a cold this season. The excitement will be in seeing which of Sullivan or May is able to throw passes so perfect that even your grandmother could catch it. May will have a lot more time to pick out such passes, but he hasn't shown that he's able to so far this season. Sullivan will have more hands on him than a pretty actress in a Hollywood hotel suite, but he's used to that from his time in DC. Will he be rushed enough to give Vegas the win? The game against Cleveland suggests so, but I'm not cnvinced. Coach Jingle will want this win bad, and I think he'll get it. Tulsa win against division leaders who are only there by default.

Oakland @ Lincoln

MH: I don't think there's much to say about this game really. Oakland had a good run when GM TJ made his surprise return only to slump spectacularly after his less surprising vanishing act. It's a real shame because TJ is a very talented GM. That Oakland team is just cruising now towards a major overhaul in the off-season. Lincoln, on the other hand, are a team I like a lot. I see bright things in their future, including a comfortable victory here.

SB: Oakland are done for the season and have a long offseason ahead of them. Lincoln win this at a canter. 

Atlanta @ Long Beach

SB: This week is full of terrible games. Neither team have been any good this season but Atlanta are easily the worst team in the league. I feel sorry for Patrick Usher being sent there to be the only player worthy of being called a pro footballer. Long Beach win and you'll be able to hear Usher crying himself to sleep right across the country.

MH: This really is a game I'm going to avoid this week. There is next to nothing to like about either of these teams. Long Beach will win due to their decent defence and the fact that Atlanta only have Patrick Usher as the sprinkles on their turd. That's more of a Sean line. Apologies for that.

Alabama @ Miami

SB: Jamie Ortega is really growing into his role as a QB first and RB second. 6 TDs and 5 of them scored with his arm is not something I expected to see this season, so I have to give credit to him for making the most of the weak opposition he's faced lately. We'll see in the playoffs if he's as good as his recent performances make him look and I am actually hoping to be proven wrong about him. Robles' job on that team still confuses me, though. Is he a full time WR now? He's taking touches away from Tibbetts and Dobbins but his production there makes it hard to argue he doesn't deserve it. Maybe it's time in his career to consider the switch and let Young and Ortega carry the load on the ground. It'll be easier on his body and he's looking like a superstar reborn at the moment. As for Miami, they're good but they aren't Alabama good. I expect them to finish the game a lot closer than Orlando did, but they won't win. Alabama win one of the few good games of this week.

MH: I know GM Garcia gets upset when I call his team average but that's exactly what they are. They're a solid team but there's no real magic there and that's something you need if you're going to take on the top teams in this league. Yes, they'll beat a lot of the rest but it's not enough to deserve any real praise. Miami are the team by which the others can judge themselves. Beat Miami and you're a good team, lose and you're a bad team. Alabama, despite their problems, have to be considered one of the elite teams in the league and that means trouble for Miami. Alabama win but not by a huge amount.

St. Paul @ Michigan

SB: Another good game and an important one for the playoff picture. Michigan have struggled since trading away Hagan (and only managed one sack last week) whereas St. Paul's trades have seen them go from strength to strength. Michigan's offence still looks good, but it's no good scoring close to 30 points if you give up 31. I think that St. Paul will be able to keep Michigan's pass rush at arm's length and Carr is a smart enough QB to find the gaps in coverage. It'll be back and forth, but I just don't think Michigan's defence can match St. Paul's blow for blow. St. Paul win.

MH: Michigan were made to look good by a very easy run of games through the middle of the season. Back against their division rivals I don’t think they have enough talent on offence or in the secondary to make an impact. I can honestly see Michigan losing all of their remaining games and falling out of the playoff picture. Trading Hagan away looks worse and worse every week. St Paul win this comfortably.

San Antonio @ Music City

SB: Music City have had their season blown up by a disgruntled player and morale has got to be in the toilet. You all know what I think of San Antonio by now, but not pissing off their entire roster is probably good enough preparation for this game. San Antonio win to pile on the misery.

MH: Music City had a lot going for them before the dramas of the past couple of weeks. I still think they do. Their strength was at QB anyway and Carlson was hardly putting up pro-bowl numbers when he was there. I don’t think he’ll be that big a loss to them and getting rid was the right move. San Antonio are strong defensively but they’ve still got a weakness at QB and it will cost them this week. Despite everything, I like Music City for this one.

Orlando @ New Jersey

SB: If this game was earlier in the season, everyone would pick Orlando without hesitating. Orlando's recent record causes one to pause for thought. New Jersey aren't exactly pulling up trees, but they have played some very good teams close (and also got blown away by Lincoln). New Jersey give up a lot of yards on the ground, but is that a problem against Orlando? Will the humiliating loss to Alabama sting Orlando into action, or crush them under the weight of what might have been? Orlando are an enigma, but you know what you're going to get from New Jersey: strong running, competent QB play and mediocre defence. That should be enough against the Orlando of the past few weeks, but I just have a feeling we're going to see the early season Stampede make a return (just too late to have any hopes of making the playoffs). New Jersey have let me down too many times, so I'm picking Orlando to win.

MH: Orlando looked excellent at the start of the season but as the weeks have gone by their defence has been revealed for the horrible mess that it is. Some big big losses lately have to be making them question themselves and I think this is one of the few games left that New Jersey can win. I think they will, too. Orlando will need to take a long look at themselves after blowing it this season.

Tombstone @ Rapid City

MH: This doesn’t even need any analysis. Rapid City, obviously.

SB: Tobstone were bad with GM Justin at the helm and they aren't going to be any better after his meltdown and rage quitting this week (I think that's what the kids say). Rapid City win by 100 points.

Kansas City @ Seattle

SB: Seattle have had a good few weeks against teams that gave up on the season weeks ago, but they are still terrible. Signing a player who threatened to score against his own team isn't likely to boost morale, but picking up Rasheed is a big move for their defence. GM Jon is doing the right things but he can only applying lipstick to a pig until the offseason rebuild. Kansas are a real force of nature and they should blow Seattle away.

MH: I completely disagree with Sean. I do not know what GM Jon is thinking at this point. He’s won a few games this season and restored some pride in Seattle but their fans must be screaming at their TVs when they see the moves he’s making. This season is no longer about victory or glory for Seattle, it’s about next season now. What should be happening is GM Jon taking a look at his players and coaches while he prepares for very early draft picks (it’s not just the first round you need to think about in that situation). Victories are the last thing Seatte need right now so why is GM Jon bringing in veteran players for the season? Madness. They’ll lose to Kansas though, much to the relief of their fans.

DC @ Cleveland

SB: I think most people expected DC to collapse after GM Jon was pushed west, but they seem to have gotten stronger instead. The players they traded him for have been good additions and the team is looking strong on both sides of the ball. Not strong enough to take down Cleveland, though. I think it's clear that you need to get into Smoak's face to keep him from picking you apart, but the 3-4 DC run isn't suited to that with the players they have slotted into it. Michigan had a lot of success against DC, despite losing, and I think Cleveland are better on offence than the Monsters. Rizzo isn't going to have it easy against the most dangerous secondary in the league and I don't even know who runs the ball for DC. The Cobras are the team I'd put forward as the yardstick to measure yourself against and Cleveland are in the upper echelon who should be good enough to beat them.

MH: The Cobras have looked more like their old selves lately and it’s a good sign for whoever takes over there next season. That is an exciting project and I’m sure there will be a number of applicants. Possibly even from GMs you’d not expect. They’re not anywhere near the finished article and Sean’s right, Cleveland will be too strong. Las Vegas showed that a great pass rush can disrupt the Mustangs enough to restrict their scary offence but DC don’t have that ability in them. The 3-4 is also a bad way to counter the Mustang run game. Everything Cleveland does is built on the back of that and I can see Ezekiel Elliott feasting this week.

SB: The loss to Las Vegas has really thrown a big question mark over Cleveland for me, and Coach Roy in particular. That was a game where the defence they were up against were so one dimensional that an OC worth his pay packet should have found a way around it. The fact that Cleveland were stopped in their tracks and couldn't out pace the miserable offence that Las Vegas have makes me think that the playoffs are going to be short for the Mustangs... who really shouldn't be happy with anything less than an Impact Bowl appearance. If they can't get their act together in these last few games, I think you'll see GM Dazz and a lot of Cleveland's stars looking to pastures new in the offseason. Maybe even DC. Cleveland should win this, but the DC fans might be getting a look at their future this week.

MH: Now that would be a GM move people aren’t expecting. I do think you have a point there though. Like in Rapid City, this feels like an all-in season for Cleveland. They have a lot of guys in final years of contracts and some of them are big stars who will be asking for big money. I don’t see how this Cleveland team gets held together after this season. GM Dazz is not scared of a rebuild though, as we saw in Pear Harbor. I don’t agree that Cleveland have so many question marks over them. They’ve lost disappointing games before but they have a tendency to bounce back so I’d not want to be in DC’s shoes this week.

GM Dazz

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« Reply #91 on: November 25, 2017, 04:08:10 PM »
Here we have the missing Sean Brosnan predictions. Mark Hansen went missing in deepest darkest London and was unable to contribute for the second week this season. Poor form.

Alabama @ Atlanta

SB: GM Pancho and Alabama seem to be keen to continue our feud because everytime I say they're looking like a championship team, they go out and lose the next game to team they really should be beating. Pancho has tried to take the heat off his players by shouldering the blame for that one, but it doesn't diagnose the problem because his receivers looked focused and on point despite his error. Far more worrying for him should be the way his defence and Ortega let him down. This was one of Ortega's mediocre QB performances with a sluggish performance running the ball thrown in as well, which adds weight to the idea that he's just a flat track bully. On the plus side, Robles continued his impressive transition to a full time WR. Forest Young is going to have to show that he's more than just a change of pace back if that's the idea going forwards, though. The good news for Ortega and Alabama is that they face the worst team in the league.

St. Paul @ DC

SB: I'm running out of interesting things to say about these two teams. St. Paul are as dull in their consistency as GM Gooch is when he's thanking St. Paul's official noodle partners for the superior nutrition they provide during team lunches, and DC don't have a leading personality to talk about while they just get on with quietly playing good football. I like both teams and I think they're both playing well. St. Paul are playing slightly better than DC and will win this game with a consistently solid performance.
Michigan @ Long Beach

SB: Michigan continue to look short of quality (and we all know where that went) but shouldn't have any trouble knocking off a Long Beach team with nothing left to play for. Long Beach beat Atlanta last week, but a high school team could do that and Michigan's offence should be far too good for them. I have a feeling that Michigan are going to miss out on the playoffs, but a win here will keep them in contention for another week.

Cleveland @ New Jersey

SB: Only a drunk or a masochist would back New Jersey in this one. New Jersey are Tombstone/Oakland/Atlanta terrible whereas Cleveland are playoff bound. This will be a massacre.

Kansas City @ Oakland

SB: Kansas City have a fantastic offence powered by a soon to be record breaking QB and league MVP. Oakland have lots of terrible players on long, expensive contracts. Only one of those things leads to victories and optimism for the future. Kansas City win and Oakland fans are left wondering if their team will ever win a game again.

Miami @ Seattle

SB: Miami have the best defence in the league. That's pretty good for a supposedly mediocre team that others should be measuring themselves against. I've been telling Mark all season to get on the Miami bandwagon but yet he still resists. Another bandwagon worth jumping on is being constructed in Seattle. Yes, signing expensive players from free agency when your season was over almost before it began isn't exactly a standard formula for building a franchise, but it brings fans into the stadium and shows potential recruits that the Rhinos are a team going somewhere. GM Jon will probably miss out on the top pick, but he'll be up near the top of the order where there's more value anyway. For this game, it'll be a good chance to see how far Seattle have come, but Miami will be good enough for a vital win to keep the pressure on the teams in the NE.

Music City @ Orlando

SB: I predict a tight game, probably won in the dying seconds by some jaw dropping turn of events. For that to be true it will have to be a close one and I think that's a fair assumption to make with these two teams. Orlando have looked ordinary since the half way point, but they looked more like their polished selves against a lackluster Dragons team (a term I use in the loosest sense). Music City have lost four in a row and I don't think they will turn that rotten form around in this one, despite some late game heroics from Trevor Jose. Rumour has it that Jose is thinking about packing it all in at the end of the season, which would be too soon as he's spent this season showing how much he still has to offer a good team. Orlando win this but it's too late to get back into serious playoff contention.

San Antonio @ Tulsa

SB: Tulsa's loss to Las Vegas will have stung, but they didn't look outmatched against division leaders and would have done some damage with more of the ball. Tulsa's offence gets yards in chunks but struggles to make much headway if the deep passes don't come off. San Antonio's defence just had the perfect preparation for this game against Trevor Jose and took two of the elite gunslinger's passes back to the house. I think San Antonio's D will mostly contain Tulsa's attack and pounce on any missed passes, but their offence is still rotten enough to make this a tough game to call. San Antonio are tied for the division lead and are on a three game winning streak, so I'll give this game to them. It won't be pretty, though.

Las Vegas @ Tombstone

SB: If San Antonio do the job against Tulsa and somehow find a way to beat Alabama, the SW division could go down to the last game... but it won't. Las Vegas have a gimme here and an another easy game against Long Beach the following week. Alabama will beat San Antonio and ruin the last bit of excitement in a turd of a division. The Scorpions will be thankful that the season is coming to such a gentle close for them.

Lincoln @ Rapid City

SB: This game was rightfully moved to Primetime due to its apparent importance to Lincoln's run to the playoffs, but they're already in because I've just shown you that San Antonio aren't going to catch them. The only question left to answer in the West is which "City" will be knocking Lincoln out of the playoffs in a couple of weeks. My money is on Kansas, so this isn't even a playoff preview. Something exciting... think of something to get excited about... err... I still don't have anything interesting to add. Bloom looks like he might have something about him and Rapid City won't be this good again next season, but Bloom isn't going to cause Rapid City's elite defence any problems and Rapid City have a team that can give 110% because they have a team worth 110% of the salary cap. Rapid City will cruise to a victory here and probably have both eyes on more important games to come.

GM Dazz

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« Reply #92 on: December 06, 2017, 04:52:54 PM »
Welcome to what will be the final regular season addition of The View From Across the Pond. With the end of the year in sight and playoffs around the corner we have put together a special edition for you all to enjoy/struggle through. We’ll be doing things a little differently this week. Sean and I will be taking each team in turn, assessing their season and finally predicting their final 2 games in one go. There really have been a lot of ups and downs this year for a lot of teams. Let’s find out who can be pleased, who should hang their heads in shame and who still has something left to celebrate.


MH: At the start of the season it would have been difficult to imagine Michigan in the position they're in now. They play in the toughest division in the league (on paper) and they led it through most of the season. That they did so due to a schedule in which they played mostly teams with losing records will be ignored by the history books. The reason they won't reach the playoffs is because they don't have enough balance in their defence. They are too reliant on their front 7 and are weak in the secondary. That might have been ok if they still had Hagan but I'm afraid that trade will come back to haunt them. A valiant effort though. If Cleveland can protect Smoak I can only see 1 winner in week 15. The final game against New Jersey should be more straight forward. The Dragons defence won't be able to contain Hill so the Mustangs will finish 1-1 but it won't be enough.

SB: There's no doubt that Michigan have made giant strides under GM Powers' stewardship but I'm not as surprised as Mark about where they stand in the rankings. DC haven't looked the same since they lost Sullivan and New Jersey were in turmoil after the scandals that rocked them at the end of last season. Finishing behind Cleveland and St. Paul seems about right to me. The schedule certainly helped, but they have taken some big scalps along the was as well. The Hagan trade has definitely placed a ceiling on what they can achieve this season, but it was the right move for the long term interests of the franchise. I agree about the defence being lopsided, but it's done well enough this season and is not alone in having a weak secondary (which seems to be an epidemic in this league). I'm going to agree with Mark that Michigan will finish the season 1-1. I'm going to disagree about the order of those results and the assertion that they will miss the playoffs. Cleveland are vulnerable to Michigan's style of play and I just have a feeling in my gut that the Monsters will lose the last game of the season to the Dragons. They only need to win one game to make the playoffs, though. Miami won't win out and Michigan own the tie-breaker, so that's Michigan through as long as they can beat the Mustangs or the Dragons.


MH: if you look at the standings and their record then Cleveland have had a good season. They sit top of their division, are fighting for home field advantage and look good for the playoffs. Dig a little deeper and there are some cracks there. You have to call 2 of their losses disappointing. Both of those (Michigan and Vegas) came from the same weakness, a lack of strength on the o-line. They need to sort that out if they want to win it all. There are a lot of positives though. The defence has been outstanding and Caleb Smoak has had an excellent year. The signing of Elliott has added extra bite to the offence too. They'll fall just short of top in the East again though. I just get the feeling St Paul will beat them. 1-1but playoff bound.

SB: Cleveland have had a good season. No, they shouldn't have lost to Las Vegas (Michigan with Hagan were a match for most teams) but it's far too harsh to criticise them for losing a few games when they have the highest scoring offence in the East and the 2nd tightest defence. Their tendency to switch off for occasional games will be a worry, but the regular season is about getting to the playoffs and putting yourself in the best position possible to progress to the big game. One game back from Alabama and equal with St. Paul, with a game against the Lynx still to come, is a good position to be in. I've already predicted that Michigan will beat them, so I have to stick by that. I think Mark's wrong about the loss to St. Paul, though. St. Paul are good, but Carr vs. Smoak is the most one sided battle since the McGreggor/Mayweather farce. Cleveland will finish 1-1 and the no.2 seed in the East.

Long Beach

SB: Long Beach have struggled in the weakest division in the league, so I don't see any way to dress this up as a successful season. They've been treading water for a few years now and their next Impact Bowl appearance appears to be a very long way away indeed. They have great coaches and a few superstar players (on expiring contracts) so this really needed to be the year they kicked on. It hasn't happened and I foresee a new GM and complete rebuild in the not too distant future. Here's another team that will finish 1-1, but only because they have a free win against Tombstone coming up in the final week.

MH: Unlike Sean, I've been critical of Long Beach all season. What's frustrating about them is that they should have been a lot better than they were. Sean is right, they've been playing in a very weak division and yet they haven't been able to capitalise on that the way Las Vegas and San Antonio have. The Mermen have a decent defence (which should be better considering the talent they have), but offensively they have been poor all season. It's not too surprising considering the players they have but a halfway decent offence attached to that defence would have made a good team. It has to be disappointing for everyone involved. Sean is right about the Tombstone game though, it's a free hit so they'll finish the season 1-1. The reason they'll lose to Vegas is because Vegas are better at being half a team than Long Beach are.

Las Vegas

SB: To of their division and likely to make the playoffs, but they have their terrible division to thank for that. This season can't be called a success for them unless they pull off a miracle and make it to the Impact Bowl. The offence has been hit by injuries, but that excuse doesn't really cover up just how bad they are on that side of the ball even when fit. Michael May is possibly starting his final two games and his WRs should probably be starting their last ones as well, for all the use they've been. We've praised the defence all season and there's no question that they have relied on that side of the game to get results. This offseason is a big one for GM Metro and he has plenty of draft picks to retool this team. Two straight forward games to see out the season, so I'm making the Scorpions my first 2-0 team.

MH: I actually disagree with Sean about Las Vegas. They've taken some impressive scalps this season and do currently sit top of their division but they have a horrible offence. I mean truly horrible. There is nothing to like about it at all. Fortunately for them their defence has been outstanding this season. It won't quite be good enough. The reason they won't make the playoffs is because San Antonio are also strong defensively but they have a marginally better offence. Only 1 team makes the playoffs from this division as I think Lincoln have already done enough. Vegas will beat Long Beach but I actually fancy San Antonio for the all important final week clash. In the end, a failure to reach the playoffs will be a massive failure for this organisation. I do agree that this could be a big off-season for GM Metro... in DC. 1-1 for Vegas.


MH: The recent revival at Seattle has been nothing short of impressive. GM Jon seems to have tapped into the potential that was there and has made some shrewd signings that have helped turn their fortunes around. And I am going to continue to be very critical of him for it. Their season was over long before he arrived and they are better off, for the future, losing games this season. GM Jon is a proud man, though. He's also brought pride back to the city... unfortunately for them. This short termism is going to hurt them next season and the season after. Still, credit to him for showing that he can win with a team that has no right to. I think the revival will end here though. There is too much riding on this game for Lincoln and they are going to be that bit quicker to the ball and that bit harder in the tackle. Rapid City in week 16... well it's Rapid City. Seattle are my first 0-2 team... though I wouldn't be too surprised to be proven wrong.

SB: This is another team we fundamentally disagree on. GM Jon has absolutely done the right thing by strengthening the team with players other teams would have been desperate to sign and building a team people can actually take seriously. Sure, Seattle will drop down the draft a few places, but now they have a team that free agents might actually want to play for. There are a lot of talented players, franchise players, who wil be available after the draft and that's where GM Jon can use his reputaion and the restored pride in the city to work his magic. The season has gone from being an abomination to a positive step for Seattle and the switch from disaster to compitance is probably a much better advert for them than an average season would have been. I think Seattle will beat Lincoln but will obviously get run over by the Rapid City juggernaught. Another 1-1 team.


MH: For me, Lincoln have probably been the most impressive team this season. They have a very young team there and nobody really expected them to compete like they have been. Their inexperience has shown occasionally, such as last week against Rapid City, but their quality is there for all to see. They outplayed Rapid City last week but penalties and turnovers cost them dearly. Improvement there will come with time and I think they'll be Impact Bowl bound next season. This season I think they've already done enough to get into the playoffs. In fact they may actually have done enough mathematically with Vegas and San Antonio playing each other in week 16. Either way, this has been a great season for them. I think they'll beat Seattle but it's hard to look past Kansas in the final week. Another 1-1 team.

SB: I like the team in Lincoln a lot. I like that Bloom struggled early on but has grown into his role. I like the way the team has improved and stuck together throughout the season. I like the youth on the roster that gives them the potential to become one of the regular contenders over the next few seasons as the recent powerhouses crumble and rebuild. Mark's right about them being playoff bound already but, as bottom seeds, that's where the adventure will end. It's been a fantastic season for Lincoln and I'm excited to see how they progress from here. They won't win another game this season, though. 0-2.


MH: it's a good thing I got so drunk... I mean lost... last week because I was prepared to admit that I was wrong about Miami. Then they reverted to type against Seattle. The Seattle story is great for the media but they're still not a very good team. Miami should have won that game but an embarrassing offensive no-show ruined any chance of that. They really are a middling team. Their defence is alright and their offence can be. Like Sean said though, they lack any star quality and it holds them back. I do think they'll improve next season with the right moves though. I also think they have a shot at the playoffs despite their mediocrity. I agree about them beating Music City but I also think they'll beat Orlando. A surprise 2-0 team.

SB: A lot of the teams that propped up the league last season have improved drastically this season. Miami are a good example of the type. Their stength has obviously been their defence, which has been phenominal. It's needed to be because only Atlanta have a lower scoring offence. I personally think that Miami are a good team but their terrible o-line and lack of difference makers is holding them back. Those are problems GM Garcia didn't get to address, so expect a more rounded team next season that will be banging down Alabama's door in the SE. To round out this season, they'll beat Music City and lose to Orlando. So, another 1-1 team.

Music City

SB: Music City had so much potential at the start of the season, but GM Rebel will probably be the first to admit that he's blown it. I still back him over suspending Carlson, but capitulating to the pressure as soon as his prima donna player kicked up a stink in the press has ended Music City's season. Trevor Jose deserves better than this. The good news is that Music City have a lot of talented players still on their books next season and they'll have cap space once Jose moves on. This season was a missed opportunity and a backwards step, but it's not been a complete disaster. Having said that, they are going to finish 0-2 for a 7 game losing streak at the end of the season and probably a new GM.

MH: the reason Miami will beat Music City is because they've downed tools. I normally like the way GM Rebel works but this has been an awful season for him. I actually applaud his creativity against Rapid City earlier this year and think he was right to stand up to Carlson. Unfortunately being right isn't always a virtue in this league. These players don't seem to be playing for GM Rebel anymore and I think it'll be pastures new next season. The GM market is going to be busy this off-season. It's a real shame though. There's a lot to like about Music City and this should have been a playoff season for them. They'll end it 0-2 though.


MH: the end can't come soon enough for Atlanta. I pity the GM who takes over there. Usher is about the only positive thing they have. 0-2.

SB: RIP Atlanta Warriors. 0-2.


MH: Wow. The collapse in Orlando is up there with the great batting collapses of every England cricket team in history. The season started with so much promise too. It's hard to pinpoint any decision or mistake that caused their fall either. They should have been targeting an Impact Bowl this season. Now it's a new defensive coordinator and new defensive backs. They'll end 1-1 but it should have been so much better this season.

SB: I think Mark must have his beer goggles on again if he can't see what decisions lead to Orlando's mid-season collapse. Paying Patton $24million left nothing in the bank for squad depth. When he and Crawford were injured, Orlando were forced to turn to players you'd never heard of and probably still haven't. Losing Crawford clearly exposed that reliance on just two players: Patton is a talented game manager, but he needs ground support to win games and he just didn't have any for a big chunk of the season. You can't call this a successful season, but many teams fared worse. I think they'll be 2-0 over the next two games and spend the offseason wondering what could have been.


MH: I've spoken at length all season about Alabama. The ultimate one man team. Not surprising for a team with Robles on the roster but it's not Robles carrying them. They are top of the Eastern Conference but at times they've played like a college team. Their fortunes rise and fall with Ortega's performances. At times he looks like a world beater and at others he looks like a rookie still trying to find his feat. It's odd. He really should be more consistent by now but when he's on his game he is almost unstoppable. Robles has proven to be a shrewd addition, but as a WR. Who would have thought? Alabama have had a very good season and there's a good chance that will become a great season. For me it's between them and Cleveland to represent the East this year and I'm leaning towards Alabama... if Ortega shows up for the playoffs. They'll take momentum into the playoffs though with a 2-0 finish.

SB: Mark, you don't half talk some nonsense sometimes. Alabama are a one man team? We might need one of those American interventions if the booze keeps affecting your work like this. Robles, Tibbetts and Dobbins are a three headed monster at WR, and Block adds another lethal weapon to their pass attack. Forest Young has been a revelation who's allowed Robles to make his transition to full time WR. We haven't even talked about the defence that's just as stacked with talent. Ortega doesn't make this team tick, but he does have a tendency to hold them back. He hasn't looked entirely convincing against a good defence yet, but he's going to have to beat two or three to win rings for his team. That's what they need for this season to be a success, but either St. Paul or Cleveland will stop them in their tracks. San Antonio will be the last proper test for Ortega before the playoffs. I don't expect that he'll pass, but Alabama will still find a way to win. Music City will be brushed aside with ease. 2-0.

San Antonio

MH: I think San Antonio are a better team than people (Sean) give them credit for. Yes, their QB situation has been farcical at times this season but their run game has been solid enough. Where San Antonio's strength lies is in their defence, like many in that division. The thing that lifts them above the others is that their offence actually functions. Not brilliantly but it does enough to take advantage of the low targets their defence sets for them. It's why they will snatch the last playoff spot from Las Vegas in the end. They won't make it past the first round, of course. Still, they can be satisfied with their season if they do reach the playoffs. 1-1 should just be enough.

SB: No they aren't. San Antonio's offence sucks and their vaunted defence is inconsistent. On paper they should be a top unit, but they go missing far too often. Yes, their offence is better than Las Vegas' but they will be a game back going into the last week and they have already lost to Vegas this season. The pressure and the doubts will be paralysing and they will fall flat on their faces. Still, not a bad season and they should get another run at a weak division again next year. 0-2.


MH: Tulsa are one of those teams that I didn't think could get any worse after last year. They have. Not only do they not have a defence worthy of the name but their offence has struggled to get anything going this year. The defence last season was so bad that a complete overhaul was required to correct it. GM Franchise tried to do some minor surgery but all he did was sprinkle glitter on his defensive turd while weakening the offence Tulsa were completely reliant on. I thought the quality of QB and WRs would be enough to carry them to a respectable position but without any support from the run that was always going to be a struggle. I think they have to be very disappointed with their season. Fortunately for GM Franchise, they finish the season against the two teams that are probably worse than them. They'll go 2-0, somehow, and gain some confidence that they don't deserve. They'd be better off losing both games though and hoping to salvage things in the draft.

SB: Tulsa just didn't take any steps forward this season. By all reports, their head coach is having an existential crisis and their star players are eyeing up possible moves in the offseason. It's not been good and a complete rethink will probably be needed in the off-season. In the HIFL, standing still means going backwards. Let's see if GM Franchise has learnt that lesson. He'll want to.write thank you cards to Tombstone and Atlanta for these two gifts he's getting the next couple of weeks. 2-0.


MH: Things should have been so much better this season. I think letting Robles go will be good for the franchise in the long run but this season has been nothing short of a disaster. They could be an interesting project for an ambitious GM though. 0-2.

SB: Couldn't have happened to a more deserving team. 0-2.


SB: Oakland are in deep trouble. Perhaps even as much as Atlanta. They have a roster full of bad players on long contracts and guys on big money who haven't stepped up this season. When you look at the roster, the team should have been doing a lot better regardless of whether a GM was in place or not: just look at DC. That raises question marks over most of the guys in Oakland and I don't think there will be too many GMs looking to clean up that mess. To make matters worse, anyone worth keeping on the roster is in a contract year or will be next season and the guys with lengthy contracts are the ones a new GM would want to dump. This season has been a wasted year and it's not going to get better any time soon. 0-2.

MH: There is something rotten in the state of California: Oakland. They are a terrible terrible team and, as Sean rightly points out, it will take 3 years to sort them out. The amnesty clause will be the new GM's friend. 0-2

Rapid City

SB: This is a tough one to call. They have the equal best record in the league, but they are behind Kansas in the standings and haven't looked as dominant as their roster suggests they should have been. They've had some injury trouble, but nothing too problematic so it's a little generous to point the finger there. I suppose the only measure for the success of Rapid City's season will be if they are holding the Impact Bowl trophy at the end of it all or not. I suspect not (NJ are the only Eastern Conference team to lose the Impact Bowl and they won't be there this season). I'm going to say that Rapid City's season has been a bit disappointing but it's still a long way from being over. Obviously they will win the next two. 2-0.

MH: If I need an intervention I think you need some anti-depressants. You can't be anything but positive about this Rapid City team. Their scorched earth offence married to tat powerful defence makes for a team that will go down in history amongst the greatest. In fact, I think they deserve a place in the Hall of Fame as a unit. That ugly Hagan trade has taken some of the shine off their season but overall they are the team to beat. I fully expect them to cap their success with another Impact Bowl. They'll cap their season with a 2-0 finish.


SB: DC looked pretty mediocre, if not poor and then they made an inspired trade. I don't think that anyone would have predicted that DC would get better after GM Jon left but that's exactly what happened. It's hard to put a finger on why, but perhaps the players and coaches just needed to be given the chance to do things their own way. The next GM is going to find a contender waiting for them, that's for sure. DC have not done particularly well in New Jersey over the years, so I'm going to make predict 1-1.

MH: this is up there with the big surprises of this season. DC should have been contending this year. That can be seen by the way they've played recently. Letting GM Jon go was right for everyone. The next GM will need to take this team to the Conference game as a minimum next season. They'll beat New Jersey. 2-0

New Jersey

MH: I was sure New Jersey would grow into this season and finish around 500. The offence did, though they were held back by dropping Pate as he was hitting his stride. It was the right move at the time though. This season was done by week 4 and they needed to plan for the future. I'd only be mildly surprised if GM Kirk is there rather than in DC next year. There's hope in New Jersey but it could hardly get worse after this season. They lose the last 2 to complete an awful season in the perfect way

SB: Well, it's been nothing short of a disaster. Going from the Impact Bowl to one of the worst teams in the league (they really are terrible) takes a special sort of incompetence. Mitigating factors would be the player revolt in the off-season and trading away their two star players for some magic beans... but both of those problems were caused by GM Kirk. I think he might survive the owner's meeting at the end of the season based on past performance, but he'll be sitting on a very hot seat next season. Getting John Lynn was a positive move, as was adding some Force to the ground game, but the defence has been appalling and the sacking of Coach Duran was long overdue. Basically, the season has been a shambles and that roster needs major surgery (without any draft picks to use). Despite all of that, the final two games are grudge matches and we've seen how teams play way above themselves in those situations. I'm going to make the maverick call of predicting a 2-0 end to the season for the fallen Dragons. Still doesn't mean that I think they are any good, though.

Kansas City

SB: Team of the season right here. They have the (soon to be) league MVP, the most exciting offence and a terrible defence which makes them a huge amount of fun to watch. If you are going to build half a team, the Bruins are evidence that you really should focus on your offence. Has this season been a success? Absolutely. They will struggle to win the Impact Bowl with that defence, but they have energised the league and completely wiped away any trace of the once dour ground and pound team of the Coach Haas era. The best news is that almost their entire offence is already tied down to lengthy contracts, so the Bruins are only just getting started. I can't wait to see where they go from here. 1-1 because St. Paul are a much more balanced team than the tough defences that Kansas have come across in the West.

MH: Sean is probably right about Kansas City being team of the season. I’ll be honest, I thought Kansas were going to be a bit of a novelty this year. I was expecting big scores in big losses for them against the top teams. It turns out I was wrong. I was very critical of the way they were set up defensively at the start of the season. I’m still critical of it now. In the end, though, it hasn’t mattered. The offence in Kansas has been outstanding… record breaking in fact. It’s been a joy to watch and they’re a team that will have neutrals tuning in week after week. It has been a great season for them and could be even better. I just think they’ll fall short in the Conference game against a rampant Rapid City. They’ll finish the regular season on a high with 2 victories though. 2-0

St. Paul

SB: I called them boring last week, but what I meant by that was that they are a team that has been consistent and avoided drama all season. Then they dropped a game I fully expected them to win. Is there a chink in their armour? Will an upset cost them the confidence and momentum that has carried them so far this season? They lost to a Sasser kick in the swirling winds of DC, so I'm going to say no to both questions. I think that the Mustangs are all that stands between the Lynx and the Impact Bowl, but I also think that the Mustangs are a lot like the Lynx but a little bit better in almost every area. Alabama will be the no.1 seed and Michigan no.4, so that makes week 16 a preview of the first round of the playoffs for St. Paul. It's a mighty test and huge for the mental battle. I've already predicted that Cleveland will win it, so I can't change my mind now. St. Paul will finish 1-1 and fall at the first hurdle in the playoffs, but it's been a great season for them and GM Gooch. They will be there again next season.

MH: St Paul have basically repeated last season… which is certainly not a bad thing. They were slow to get going but what really impressed me was the way GM Gooch identified the weakness and went out to correct it. Bringing in Carr was a brilliant move and it gave St Paul a solid base on which to build their game. He’s not spectacular and he’s not the type to frighten an opposition but he’s reliable. He’s also had great support from a strong run game and o-line. The St Paul team is very well balanced and it’s why they’re flying high once again towards the end of the season. Their main rivals this year, as it was last year, are The Mustangs. They had the mental edge over Cleveland last season and those two victories at key times then could give them the mental edge again this year. I don’t think St Paul will end Cleveland’s season again but I just fancy them in week 16. 1-1 after a loss against Kansas.

SB: As a bonus prediction, I'm going with Kansas City vs. Cleveland in the Impact Bowl with the trophy heading back to the East.

MH: For me it’s Rapid City and Alabama in the Impact Bowl with Rapid City repeating as champions.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2017, 04:44:08 PM by GM Dazz »

GM Dazz

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« Reply #93 on: December 12, 2017, 04:02:25 PM »
You may have  thought you’d escaped us with the end of the regular season but alas, Sean and I are back to bring you the View of the Playoffs from Across the Pond. This is when every snap of every game matters and every mistake can mean the end of a season. That makes things very hard to predict as you’ll see some guys play above themselves while others wilt under the pressure. It’s hard to know who will do which but we’ll give predicting that a go.

San Antonio @ Kansas City

MH: Of all the playoff games this is probably going to be the most one sided. San Antonio scraped through to the playoffs in the weakest division in the league. Kansas romped through in one of the toughest. On paper this one is quite intriguing. In San Antonio you have a defence that is up there with the best. Unfortunately the offence isn't up to much at all. In Kansas you have the best passing attack in the league married to a mediocre defence. What will make this game so one sided is that the gulf between Mariota and the San Antonio defence is much larger than the gulf between Jones and the Kansas defence. There are just too many mistakes in the Knights offence. Kansas will win a highly entertaining, but ultimately one sided, game.

SB: San Antonio certainly have it all to do and their previous meeting in week 2 didn't provide much evidence to suggest that they have even the slightest chance of winning this. The thing is, San Antonio have grown a lot since then and their defence isn't likely to be so accommodating this time around. Myles Jack is starting to really find his groove and their secondary has playmakers right through it. The playoffs are a funny beast, so I wouldn't expect this one to follow the script from week 2. Having said that, I picked Kansas to go all the way to the big game just last week, so I'm going to have to go for them. Kansas City just about survive a scare and win by a score.

Lincoln @ Rapid City

SB: This is where I give Lincoln a pat on the head for making it this far and say nice things about their future before making the obvious choice and going with Rapid City. Lincoln have already lost to Rapid City twice and didn't look close to them in either game. People say that it's tough to beat the same team three times in one season, but I don't think that counts when you're obviously a class above them. Rapid City at a stroll.

MH: This is another game we fundamentally disagree on. Lincoln looked competitive against Rapid City last time and actually outplayed them for large periods. I think Rapid City overlook them st their peril. I've been very impressed by the way Lincoln have gone about things this year and they've deserved their place in the playoffs. This game will be much closer than people think. I do expect the extra experience to win out for the defending champs in the end though. Penalties and errors cost Lincoln last time and they will again here. Next year will be huge for them.

Michigan @ Alabama

SB: The East is really tough to pick because any one of the teams is capable of beating the others and winning the Impact Bowl. Of all of them, Alabama are the ones most capable of devestating football but also slapstick comedy. I think they are a championship calibre team running towards the endzone with their laces untied. They might make it all the way, but they are just as likely to trip themselves up. I think Michigan are a good enough team to pounce if that happens. Do I think it will happen? Yes, actually. Michigan don't have a roster as stacked as Alabama's but they are far less volatile. I just have a feeling that they are going to make fewer big plays, but fewer mistakes and that the mistakes will ultimately decide this one. I'm not confident, but I'm going to stick my neck out and back Michigan.

MH: Something tells me this will be a great game. I've been critical of Michigan all season but they've stepped up in big games and that sets them up well for the playoffs. I still don't like their secondary but if they can get enough pressure on Ortega they could get the upset here. It all depends on which Ortega shows up. If it's the future hall of famer then Alabama should have the edge but if college football Ortega turns up and throws 2-3 interceptions then it's the end of the season for them.  I'm going to be kind and predict the former and an Alabama victory.

St. Paul @ Cleveland

MH: This is a repeat from week 16 so you'd possibly expect a repeat result. St Paul ran riot against that questionable o-line and had Smoak on his back got half the game. They still couldn't win though. I don't think their offence is good enough to trouble Cleveland so they'll need to get to Smoak again this week. Cleveland must know it's coming so you'd expect them to gamelan for it. I can't see St Paul having the same success again and I think the Mustangs will put up enough points to sneak it again. This is the one I'm least sure about though.

SB: Another matchup where one team has had all of the success in the regular season, but not as decisive as earlier examples. Both teams have stumbled a bit towards the end and they're pretty evenly matched. I could go back and forth on this all week, but I picked Cleveland to win it all in our previous edition, so that's where my money is this week as well. Cleveland win, probably in OT.

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« Reply #94 on: December 18, 2017, 02:32:58 AM »

Oh it’s the most wonderful time …. Of the year!  Happy Holidays you say? BA HUM BUG!! Never mind that shit … here comes the HIFL OFF SEASON!!  This off season provides us with a new wrinkle that most GM’s weren’t planning for; expansion!  The addition of four new teams has brought new starting opportunities, room for coaching advancement, and a dreaded alternative to most teams’ free agent plans.

The first hurdle that current team and GM’s have to overcome is the expansion draft.  We’ve had expansion drafts before but this time we have a new rule made by Commissioner Talon Wilkinson where teams are allowed to protect a certain number of players but within those players will be an elite super protection.  What’s the difference you ask?  Those super protections are the only sure fired way to guarantee those players remain on your roster.  Then what’s the problem you ask?  Well, one player from your protection list may be left exposed.  According to the ruling a player that is protected and not super protected can still be drafted in the first two rounds of expansion. If a player is selected this locks the rest of the roster as super protections.

Now with 4 teams drafting that leaves 8 candidates that can be snatched away from the rosters of teams.  So who are the best players available? This article will try to map out who the best players are to steal from a team’s protection list.
Now before you get worried about some big name players left of this list – this list doesn’t include players that weren’t protected at all and therefore are allowed to be drafted after the first two rounds.  That doesn’t mean that they still won’t be taken in the first two rounds but for the purposes of this article let’s assume they won’t.
Now given most teams protected any and all possible franchise QB’s if you are looking to build an offense it will have to be at other positions.  So if you are looking offensively who would you look at?  Well if you are looking at RB because you want to have a workhorse back look no further than Kenneth Benjamin.  He’s already got experience working with inept QB and for an expansion franchise you might just need the workhorse back until you can find your franchise man.

But what’s a RB without an offensive line to make the holes for him?  Everyone knows if you are looking to build an offensive line you start at the LT position and work your way inside.  While you could go G or C if you wanted to there are plenty of T talent available that you could build your line around … including championship experience – something an expansion team needs plenty of.  The top three T I have targeted are Joshua Love, Daniel Ford and Ralph Nutter.  Nutter might be the most attractive on this list as he has been on both title teams for the Rapid City Inferno.

Now for those looking to think outside the box and make a big splash – and you truly believe in the mantra of best player available … then go no further than WR Michael Hodge.  He might not be the best attitude to have in your locker room but if you get him his reps he is hands down the most talented WR available through the expansion draft. It’s a dangerous move but if it pays off – it will be huge.
That covers the offense but what about those of us who like defense?  For me, the defensive side of the ball is much deeper in terms of talent though it can dry up quick depending on which player gets selected.  Of the 8 players selected 6 of them belong to just two teams meaning as soon as one player gets picked the others are out of the running.  So instead of position breakdown’s I’ll start with the two trios of players.
Alabama has some prime defensive talent available and you can have your choice between CB Juan Kirk, CB Jarvis Botts, and LB Diego Brown.  The only downside to Botts is that he isn’t captain material but he is the more proven talent between the three.  Diego Brown has shown some bright spots at LB having a career year last year but regressing in this past season.  Juan Kirk has yet to truly be given the chance to be #1 and some have to question is it because he is best paired with another great CB or does he have what it takes to be a franchise CB.  Despite those concerns they all represent the top talent available defensively in the draft.

Cleveland presents a similar problem – Depending how you want to build your defense you can start out at CB with Frank Cooney, DE with Bismack Embiid or at LB with Stephen Cotter.  Each one presents its own problems because Cooney while being a talented CB was surrounded with talent on that Cleveland defense and you have to wonder if putting them on an island may mean he finally gets exposed.  Bismack Embiid still hasn’t found his right spot … is he a 3-4 LB or a 4-3 DE?  Maybe with the right coach he can really let loose.  Last but certainly not least is at LB Stephen Cotter.  The Cotter’s troubles have been well document by both the league and his own mouth.  He’s a human hype machine and that might scare some people away but the talent cannot be denied. For those that wondered if his talent would drop after the PED positive that certainly hasn’t been the case.  It would take a strong GM to be able to deal with THE Cotter but much like Hodge the move could pay off much sooner than other talent.

The other two defensive talents that round out our article are FS Walter Turner and DE David Seymore.  Both represent strong solid pieces that would anchor that position for seasons to come.  Seymore comes with the added touch of coming off an Impact Bowl appearance as well as championship experience from his time in Long Beach.  Walter Turner certainly has talent and it is really a crime that he wasn’t super protected unlike a certain RB that retired.  GM Lucas may live to regret that decision.

And there are plenty of names we didn’t touch that will be available in the rounds after the first two.  One thing is for sure – it has never been a better time to be an expansion team.

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« Reply #95 on: February 01, 2018, 05:52:44 PM »
Season 9 is in the books and GM Gates and the Rapid City Inferno are now back-to-back Impact Bowl Champions!  It goes without saying that Rapid City has a bulls-eye on their backs now as every GM looks to catch-up with a dynasty in the making.  It's that time of year where the action is in the front office instead of on the field and this offseason has been as exciting as ever.  As teams are gearing up for training camp, I'd like to discuss a few things about the upcoming season as we fans wait until Season 10 begins.

HIFL Expansion

First talking point is the expansion of the HIFL.  Four new teams have been added in Charlotte, Milwaukee, Portland, and St. Louis.  I believe the timing was right for an expansion and to make things even better it shifted some of the divisions.  Expansion teams normally struggle out of the game, however GM Gates and Rapid City are proof that if built correctly expansions can be morph into a serious contender in no time.  Based on the personnel moves thus far I believe all four expansion teams will be competitive this upcoming season and will not be an automatic win for other teams.

The Year of the Rookie Quarterback

The Season 10 draft saw a plethora of quarterbacks drafted and a handful of those quarterbacks will find themselves as the starter once the season begins.  By my estimate and predictions, there will be 5 rookie quarterbacks name the starting quarterbacks for their teams at the start of the season with that number potentially increasing to 7.  The 5 teams I think will start rookie quarterbacks are Atlanta, Milwaukee, Music City, Tulsa, and San Antonio.  The other two teams that might join the fray are Tombstone, who might end up going with Michael Hendrick who just might have the biggest arm in all of HIFL, and Miami who I could see inserting Julius Ervin as the starter instead of Reginald Duke.  I believe that is a QB competition worth watching during the preseason.

New Divisions

As mentioned earlier, with the expansion the divisions have shifted.  In the northeast you have Cleveland, DC, Michigan, Milwaukee, New Jersey, and St. Paul.  I believe this will be one of the toughest divisions, if not the toughest, in all of HIFL.  I believe St.Paul and Michigan will fight it out to determine the division champ.

The southeast division comprises of Alabama, Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Music City, and Orlando.  The odds on favorite are Alabama to be crowned division champs, but there will be some stiff competition from Orlando and Miami with the expansion Charlotte Crowns possibly posing a threat.  If I had to choose right now my pick would be Alabama.

The northwest division is made of Kansas City, Lincoln, Portland, Seattle, St. Louis, and the two time Impact Bowl champions Rapid City.  My pick, with pretty much everyone else's, is on Rapid City.  Despite KC's magnificent season this past season, I don't believe they have done enough on the defensive side of the ball.  GM Jon is building Seattle but is probably another two seasons away.  My wildcard team here are the Lincoln Pride.  I believe GM Adam Wrong and his team put up a valiant effort but finish two games back of Rapid City.

The southwest division is filled with rivalries with Tombstone, Las Vegas, Long Beach, San Antonio, Oakland, and Tulsa.  This division is probably the most wide open and has no clear cut winner.  I believe it is a three-team race between Las Vegas, San Antonio, and Oakland.  Long Beach has an outside chance but when the dust settles I believe it Las Vegas and Oakland will be the top two with only one game separating the two.  I just flipped a coin and it says Las Vegas will win the division crown.  San Antonio will be in the mix, but I believe the rookie QB will keep them from repeating as division champs.

That is all for now, so I hope everyone enjoys this as we all anxiously await until the start of training camp.  Until next time.....

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« Reply #96 on: February 19, 2018, 10:21:41 PM »
Good evening folks,

Howard McAfee here excited and amped up about HIFL Season 10!  Training camp has finally come to an end and the preseason is upon us.  The vaunted Quinn Power Rankings are coming soon so I would like to take this little bit of downtime to give my offseason reports by division. 

I will start with the defending champions and the Northwest Division.

Rapid City Inferno -   Well what can I say...the rich keep on getting richer.  Do everything running back Jeremy Martin has re-upped for another four years and GM Gates drafted a heck of a back-up in Richard Council.  Not to mention the offense just got even more powerful with the addition of one of the best receivers the HIFL has ever seen in Alberto Kidwell.  A Kidwell/Dickey/Brown trio is down right scary.  Opposing defenses are going to have their hands full.  The offensive line is above average and should give Pruitt enough time to work his magic.  I can easily see the Inferno breaking the points record this season

The defense has some playmakers in Gaskins, Lightner, and Upton.  However, I will say the defense is the weak link, but that's obvious given the offensive firepower.  The defensive line is the biggest weakness in my opinion and outside of Gaskins and an inconsistent Salmon, I'm not sure how they are going to pressure the quarterback.  Good news is their offense can outscore anybody, so that will always be in their back pocket.  Only other issue to note is there is grumblings within HIFL circles that Ralph Brown may want out based on the addition of Kidwell.

All in all, I dare to say the Inferno are the cream of the crop once again.

Kansas City Bruins - GM Bone and the Bruins had a coming out party in Season 9, especially Marcus underpaid Marcus Mariota.  Speaking of which, Mariota is in his contract year and is in line to get PAID!! next season.  GM Bone has some cap room, but not nearly enough to give Mariota a contract in which I will estimate to be $25mm.  The Bruins have some money coming off the books after this season but it's going to be tough to pay Mariota and fill the other holes that will arise on the team.  I wouldn't be surprised if we see some big trades from the Bruins in the offseason.  With that being said, GM Bone has addressed the running game issue and has a damn good offensive line to help clear the running lanes.  Holiday and Fowler are a dynamic duo and give Mariota two of the best receiving targets in the game.  This Bruins offense is in the same league as the Inferno and as fans we are lucky to be able to see them play twice a week.

Like the Inferno, the Bruins weak link is the defense, however I am more alarmed about their defense.  Outside of a good pair of corners in Cassidy and Richards, the secondary is lackluster and will give up a ton of yards through the air.  Arthur Matthews is a good pass rusher, but outside of him there is no push on the defensive line.  The Bruins will literally have to depend on their offense to bail them out and win every game.  I believe it's only going to get harder in the future once Mariota gets his contract.  There will not be enough money to add help to the defense. 

Lincoln Pride - GM Adam Wrong has done a helluva job since becoming GM of the Lincoln Pride.  He is a meteoric rise and he has put together a damn good team for Season 10.  Carl Bloom is going to shine this year and if he can limit his interceptions we will be talking about him in the MVP conversation at the end of the season.  Jerry Jarvis and rookie Junior Jones are a great compliment to each other and will help out Bloom.  A solid receiving corps and decent offensive line will give the Pride their best offense yet and will legitimately scare defenses this season.

GM Adam has made some great additions to overall improve the defense.  There is solid talent all over the defense with a Harlow and James Hill wreaking havoc on the defensive line.  Resigning Schumacher was a no brainer and he and Nelson are a great 1-2 punch in the secondary.  I have to tell you…I love what GM Adam has done with this team….or I might should say his girlfriend.  My sources are telling me that GM Adam’s girlfriend has actually been making some of the decisions in the past two drafts.  Not sure how true that is, but I will keep digging and let everyone know.  The future is bright in Lincoln and the fans have plenty to be happy about.

Seattle Lumberjacks[/b – Once Seattle traded for GM Jon he turned their season around and finished the season out strong.  That momentum coupled with the rebranding of the franchise has the fans buzzing.  GM Jon is a two-time Impact Champion so he has proven that he knows how to build a team and he is continuing that in Seattle.  It appears as those GM Jon just might be the William Brewster whisperer and should continue to get the most out of the veteran QB.  The running game got an upgrade with “The Classic” who still appears to be able to handle a full-load.  However, the offense is going to go as Darren Pierce goes.  The Lumberjacks have to find a way to get him the ball…and give it to him a lot.  Let him make plays.  That will be the key. The line is solid at both tackle positions, but needs some upgrading everywhere else.

The defense is the big question mark for GM Jon.  Yes, stud safety Sam Rose is in the back of the secondary and they have a couple of good linebackers in Lai and Sanderson, but the rest of the defense is pretty weak.  Rasheed is a decent pass rusher but there is not enough talent on the line to help make up for a lackluster secondary outside of Rose.  It might be a tough couple of seasons on the defensive side of the ball because GM Jon doesn’t have much cap room to play with in the offseason unless he makes some trades.  I look for Seattle to give up a bunch of points, but they will be a very competitive team and much better than last season.

Portland Brewers[/u] – An expansion team with a rookie GM….however do not let that fool you.  GM Andre might be new to HIFL, but he has been conducting business like a seasoned vet.  He signed Steven Crawford as the franchise’s first starting QB which is a big move.  Crawford is a future hall of famer and as we all know has had some injury issues in the recent past.  But if GM Andre can get 75% of the old Crawford then this team will be ultra-competitive.  Kevin Chandler is a nice compliment to Crawford and will be able to shoulder some of the load when needed to.  Nothing great at wide receiver, but rookie Lawrence Gordon has the makings to be one of top 10 receivers in the league soon enough.  GM Andre has assembled a competent offensive line and if they can protect Crawford they have a fighting chance.  They won’t light up the scoreboard, but I can see this being a clock-management style offense that will keep them in games.

GM Andre proved he has the gonads to be a GM in HIFL by his trade for Juan Kirk.  Absolute brilliant move! He is the best player in the secondary by far and quite possibly the best player on the entire team.  Outside of him the defense appears to be weak.  Much like others in the division, the defense is going to be the Achilles heel.  Luckily the pressure is not there since Portland is an expansion team and GM Andre has the cap room to make a big free agency splash next offseason.

St. Louis Stallions[/u] – Another expansion team, but being led by veteran GM Vincent Foxworth III.  The offense, led by Douglas Barnhart, appears as though they will be able to put up some points.  Rookie Leon Bell will be Mr. Everything out of the backfield and coupled with veteran RB turned WR Lynwood Hunter and James Dodds, Barnhart will be salivating at the weapons he has at his disposal.  A decent offensive line will give Barnhart the time needed to find his options. 

On defense GM Foxworth has assembled, in my opinion, one of the best defensive lines in HIFL.  Elliott (if he can stay out of trouble), Gonzales, and Bright are going to cause a lot of trouble for offenses this season.  Sydney Council has the raw talent to be a special pass rusher and what better way to hone his skills with a talented defensive line that will allow him to take advantage of one-on-one matchups.  The Stallions have a solid linebacker corps and a very good and young secondary highlighted by rookie James Porter and second year man Rodney Greenwood.  There may be some growing pains, but the future is bright for this Stallions team.

Projected Division Standings[/u]
Rapid City (13-3)
Lincoln (12-4)
Kansas City (12-4)
Seattle (8-8)
St. Louis (6-10)
Portland (5-11)

That is all for the Northwest Division.  Tomorrow I will feature the Northeast division.

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« Reply #97 on: February 20, 2018, 12:25:48 PM »
Good morning ladies and gentlemen, Howard McAfee here again with my preseason report.  Last night I talked about the Northwest Division and this morning I will be discussing the Northeast Division.

Cleveland Mustangs - Caleb Smoak and Ezekiel Elliott.  A combo that would make any offensive coordinator drool.  Eugene McReynolds and rookie wideout Henry Golden give Smoak to viable options and this Mustangs offense has the ability to put up some scary numbers.  Even better news is the fact that Cleveland just might have the best offensive line in all of HIFL.  Caleb Smoak will have all day to throw and will put up MVP numbers this season.

The Mustangs will field a solid defense anchored by Turnover Taylor.  McAllister and Hawkins...yes, the Carl Hawkins that GM Kirk is begging to have back after some gentlemen deal with GM Dazz, create a solid secondary that will make it hard to pass on.  Christian, Embiid, Cotter, and Alvarado is part of a front seven that will only help the secondary be even better.  This is a very complete team who just might win the East.

St. Paul Lynx - GM Gooch has done an amazing job since landing the job in St. Paul.  This current team is by far his best and might just land the team in the Impact Bowl...possibly, it will depend on the offensive line which I will get to in a minute.  Carr, McCaffrey, Back, and Stands is a great nucleus for the offense.  Difficulty will be providing protection and running lanes so that the offense can operate up to its potential.  The offensive line will be a struggle point for St. Paul and could handicap the offense.  Make matters worse, St. Paul will have some cap issues that will limit their ability to upgrade the line for next season.

Waylon Hagan and David Wilson are potentially the best pass rushing duo in the HIFL.  Between the two of them, 40 sacks is not out of the fact 50 might not be out of the question.  Daniel Maxey and Andrew Roderick give the secondary a much needed boost.  Outside of them two the secondary will struggle and the potential for allowing huge passing yards is very possible.  However, with the pass rush this team has the secondary will catch some breaks.  Like the offense, GM Gooch is going to struggle to update the defense for next season with the cap issues.  Maxey is in his contract year and my guess will easily command $13-$15 million in his new contract.  Then again, if they do not resign Hagan then they can do some updating.  There will be some difficult decisions on the horizon for GM Gooch, but look for him to have this team competing at the highest level.

Michigan Monsters - One point.  That's how much Michigan lost by in the Impact Bowl.  GM Powers had a revenge season for the ages and has by all accounts resurrected his career.  He has put together a team with even more talent and has a good chance of going back to the Impact Bowl.  Giovanni Hill, Roger Freedman, and Colt Soriano are a great trio to lead this offensive.  Rose, Jett, and Smith are a great foundation for an offensive line that will help the offense put up some points.  The big question mark is the receiving corps outside of Soriano.  Not much to get excited about, but they are competent.  Someone will have to step up during those games where Soriano will see double coverage.  The lack of a real #2 receiver could come back to eat the Monsters (like what I did there?). 

GM Powers has assembled one of the better front sevens with Franklin, Seymore, Wallace, and Steed.  They will be relied on heavily because the secondary is going to cost this team a couple of games during the season.  Woods is talented, but is aging and naturally strong safeties aren't the greatest in coverage.  Going forward, GM Powers is going to need to upgrade the secondary to keep this team a perennial championship contender.  That might be a little tough considering they will have roughly $42-45 million in cap space next season and Hill will want a considerable raise...I'm projecting closer to $18-$20 million and Freedman will command in the $8-$9 million range.  They need to upgrade at receiver, potentially linebacker, and in the secondary.  Money will become tight and some tough decisions will have to be made.  Luckily, Freedman can become expendable with Hartley on the roster so letting him test free agency will free up some cash.

D.C. Cobras - In a somewhat stunning move, GM Dazz fled Cleveland for DC.  With that being said, he has inherited an incredibly talented team and has made some great additions as well.  I look for Corey Rizzo to have a breakout season in this his third season in the league.  Tank Mixon will continue to bulldoze people and this team boasts the best receiving corps in the league, hands down.  The offensive line is pretty damn good too....this offense is going to surprise people and will be one of the Top 5 offenses in the league.  Mark my words. 

Larry Stevens and Alfred Glass....need I say more?  A decent defensive line and a secondary that could possibly be the best in HIFL gives GM Dazz a fine defense that will frustrate a lot of offensive coordinators.  The weak link of the team is the aforementioned defensive line but I believe the back end of the defense is good enough that there won't be too much pressure on that line.  However, that will need to be an area of focus for next season.  However, like most of the teams I've reviewed thus far, cap room is going to make it very difficult to make a considerable upgrade.

New Jersey Dragons - GM Kirk and the Dragons are coming off a very disappointing season.  It was a busy offseason for GM Kirk as he made some additions to team, including former Dragons.  With that being said, I do not believe it is enough to get the team back to its usual form of dominance.  The QB position is going to keep this team from making any real noise.   Lynn and Pate are a far cry from Trevor Jose and quite frankly both are back-up quality at best.  Force and Woods are a great tandem in the backfield, but without a strong passing game teams will be able to stack the box and stifle the run.  Schwarz and Griswold are great receiving options but the rest of the pantry is nothing to get excited about.  To compound the issue, the offensive line is not the greatest and some of these teams will have Lynn running for his life.

Defensively things aren't much better.  Rosado, Obaje, Stringer, and Cuevas are solid but the front seven as a whole needs some upgrading.  I foresee this team struggling to put constant pressure on the quarterback.  The secondary is the strongest part of the defense with Keefer and rookie DeJesus as solid starting quality corners.  Only question is going to be what will the learning curve be like for DeJesus as a rookie.  Cantrell provides some insurance on the back end, but I see this defense really struggling at times.  I wouldn't surprised if they allow over 25 points a game.  GM Kirk will have roughly $41 million in cap room for next season and he needs to allocate at least $15-$18 to get a top-tier quarterback to lead the offense in the future and upgrade the receiving corps and the defense. 

Milwaukee Barons  - GM Strike is back in the HIFL as the leader of the expansion Barons.  GM Strike made it a point to put together a high octane offense and that's what he has potentially done.  Robert Marshall is teamed with his college coach which should make the transition easier.  This offense will go as he goes.  Cleo Rickard and rookie Forest Walker are a good one-two punch in the backfield.  Steven Jackson, as long as his dad stays out of the way, should dominate even as a rookie.  I see the Marshall-Jackson connection to be one to watch for the foreseeable future.  GM Strike has managed to put together a solid offensive line which will help Marshall go through his reads.

While the offense has the potential to be electric, the defense is going to struggle...MIGHTILY.  I don't want to say GM Strike said to hell with the defense, but it looks like it.  I'm not sure how they are going to stop anybody, literally.  I'm predicting this defense will allow 35 points a game, maybe more.  Unfortunately the Barons are going to lose a lot of games because of it.  On the bright side, they have plenty of cash and will be able to make upgrades for next season.

Projected Division Standings
Cleveland (12-4)
DC (11-5)
St. Paul (11-5)
Michigan (10-6)
New Jersey (6-10)
Milwaukee (3-13)

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« Reply #98 on: February 20, 2018, 04:37:26 PM »
I'm back again to talk about the Southwest Division...I'm trying to get these damn things done before the famous Quinn GM Power Rankings Poll comes out so we don't steal each other's thunder...however I'm old and have to type with my index fingers. 

I are my views on the rivalry filled Southwest Division:

San Antonio Knights - GM Gravedigger and the Knights found a way to win the division in S9 and look to repeat, but they will have some competition.  With that being said, GM Digger stirred the pot early on when he traded for the #1 pick in the draft and went with Keenan Daley.  It was no secret that the team needed to upgrade at the QB position as Cardale Jones just wasn't the answer and that's what happened.  Daley has the size and arm to be really good so it's all about how he adapts.  However, I will say that I'm not a fan of giving him $13 million a year...I think that's a little too steep, even for the number one pick.  Luckily for the rookie he has an arsenal of weapons around him in Kenneth Benjamin, Shawn Simon, Rickey Lackey, and rookies Miguel Strong and Ziggy Thigpen.  The offensive line could use some more talent, but overall it is a solid bunch that has youth on its side.  I  believe we will see bigger numbers from the Knights offense this year which will couple nicely with a good defense.

Speaking of defense, the line isn't spectacular, but they have talent.  Oakman is the x factor as he has all of the tools physically to dominate, he just needs the technique to really become a feared presence.  Myles Jack and Doyle Brady are two young linebackers that are some of the better ones in the game.  Jarvis Botts...WOW!  $20 million....GM Digger has gone all out this offseason.  The secondary is solid and will hinge on the output they will get from the #2 corner slot.  A big positive for the Knights are they have youth and can develop a lot of these players.  On a bad note, Lackey, Oakman, Jack, and Brady are all in a contract year.  My guess is they let Lackey walk in free agency and throw that extra money at Myles Jack who will land a contract in the $12-$15 million range.  I would recommend letting Oakman walk as well so they can resign Brady who will look for a nice pay raise.  They need more depth in the secondary, but not sure they will have enough money to make an impact.

Las Vegas Scorpions - GM Metro and the Scorpions had a disappointing season and look to turn their fortunes around.  My sources are telling me that GM Metro is on the hot seat and if S10 does not prove to be a good season that he will be looking for a new gig.  At first glance, it's hard for me to gauge how this team will turnout.  On offense, the QB position continues to be the area of most concern has Stephen Shelley remains the starter.  Corbett and Zeller will be productive and Pitts, Mackey, and Ponder are a formidable three-headed monster at receiver.  The issue is I'm not so sure Shelley has the talent to get them the ball enough.  Harry Ham returns to the offensive line, but other than an again Bergstrom this is an area of improvement for the Scorpions.  The more I think about it the more I believe there are going to be some woes with the offense this year and they will struggle to score at times.

With the lack of stellar talent on offense, the Scorpions make up for it on defense.  Mayo, Barclay, and Nutt are part of a defensive line that will cause fits.  Goulet and Carrier are tough linebackers who can get the job done.  There needs to be some depth upgrading in the future, but those two will carry the burden for now.  Mullins is a bonafide #1 corner and the rookie Mojica should be a great complement.  Nothing really to write home about with the rest of the secondary, but the pass rush should help ease some of those pains.   The defense is going to have to carry the team on their shoulders this season.  Looking ahead, GM Metro...or whoever the GM might be next season, is going to have a tough time improving the team.  They don't have a lot of money coming off the books.  All of the expiring contracts are minimal amounts.  Zeller is going to get a raise that the team won't be able to afford.  They will need to improve at QB, but they don't have the money to really improve.  GM Metro will need to use you his savvy trading skills to make some moves to really improve the team.

Tulsa Celtics - GM Franchise is back in his third year as GM of Tulsa and the team made some strides last season.  I'm not as optimistic as I once was about their continued improvement because of some poor fiscal management, the team had to trade Christian Sullivan.  In return, they got a rookie QB who has the size you love in a quarterback, but obviously is unproven.  There aren't too many better in the running game than Christopher Allen and the addition of rookie Scott Berg looks to be a good one.  The receiving corps isn't great, but there is talent there with the rookie Bacon looking like the #1 option.  They have a decent offensive line, but with a rookie QB and rookie WR the offense is going to lean heavily on Allen.

The defensive line is going to struggle at times and will be overpowered by superior offensive lines.  The size is there, just not the greatest talent.  Luckily, GM Franchise has assembled one of the better linebacker groups in HIFL.  The secondary isn't much to write home about and with what appears to be a lack of pass rush, the defense is going to really struggle at times to contain certain offenses. GM Franchise will have some wiggle room in terms of cap space for next season and if Berg is a decent season I will look for them to move on from Christopher Allen for financial purposes.  A solid foundation is there, but they need some upgrades and will have a few dollars to improve the team even more.

Long Beach Mermen - GM Black Death returns at the helm, but my sources are telling me he's on the hot seat as well.  Not too long ago this team won an Impact Bowl, but haven't done much since.  Based on what I've seen, I'm of the opinion that nothing much is going to change.  In my humble opinion Jonathan Wright is not the quarterback of the future and it is time to move on from him.  He should be amnestied at the end of the year.  There is no reason to keep him on board as a backup at the amount of money he is making.  Lawrence Bates is a great addition at TE and he should take some pressure off of Michael Hodge.  The rest of the corps is okay, but I believe Spurgeon is the X factor.  The offensive line is average, but GM Black Death hit a home run by drafting Matthew Neill, he should be a cornerstone tackle for years to come. 

The defense should be cause for concern for GM Death.  They should have a decent pass rush, but not as good as it can be as the interior of their line is in need of a severe upgrade.  Stephen Leake is gone and their linebackers are mediocre at best.  Ross Dockery, Philly Crowell, and Jason Mason are a solid group in the secondary but the rest of them are once again, mediocre at best.  All in all, this defense is just not that good.  Luckily for them, the quarterback play in the division is not the best so they should fare okay in the division.  There is some money coming off the books at the end of the year, in roughly the $35-$38 million range and even more if they amnesty Wright.  QB is the first need to go along with DT and LB. 

Oakland Silverbacks - GM Justin takes over in Oakland and is charged with turning around the struggling franchise.  A lot of what this team does will depend on the development of James O'Rourke and how he adapts to the new scheme.  Clifford Barbour is adequate and looking to prove himself.  LeRoy Brown can be a home run threat anytime he touches the ball.  Taylor returns as the #1 receiver and rookie John Young is glazing fast and will stretch the field.  The biggest strength of the offense is the offensive line, which is probably the best in the league.  Rookie Patrick Ortiz will fit in well and give them a big push on the interior.  Should everyone adapt to the new scheme and O'Rourke limits his interceptions, the offense has a chance to average 25+ points a game. 

The defense is a bit of a wildcard for GM Justin.  He drafted arguably the two best defensive tackles in the draft, with Talon Wilkinson II looking downright dominant.  Kawann Douglas will help provide what should be a healthy pass rush for this defense.  Schwartz and Brady are solid linebackers, but there is a huge talent dropoff after those two.  The secondary is going to be a challenge with Kevin Stevens being average and rookie Alan Molina being thrust into the #2 role.  His development as the season progresses is going to be key.  GM Justin is going to have to find a way to get rookie Roy Roberts on the field as he as the makings to be a big play maker.  The back end of the secondary is solid and can make a real difference during crunch time.  Improving the secondary and linebackers is going to be tough with the small amount of money coming off the books, but I look for them to amnesty Ronald Roberson to free up some cash.

Tombstone Outlaws - GM TJ II is, for now, the new headman in Tombstone.  There is talent all over this team, it's just a matter of well they come together.  Vega Del Rio looks to get the starting nod at QB, but I'm not so sure he's the QB of the future.  Harrell returns and is a competent back that runs the ball hard.  DGB is all the talent in the world, but as we all know, his behavior will determine how good he is going to be.  The offensive line is one of the better ones in the league and they hope to have Bob Roush return to his pre-injury form. 

Rich and Garrett are good, but the defensive line lacks depth and talent outside the two of them.  Getting pressure on the QB is going to be tough.  Steve Wright and Gary Hunter are tackling machines and Jody Smith and Thibodeaux are a good combo in the secondary.  Ginn and Abel are solid and give the Outlaws a strong secondary.  The pass rush is going to be the deciding factor in how good this defense can be.  They have quite a few expiring contracts, but no one of real value that they need to keep.  There will be some spending money for next season to improve the defensive line and adding depth at linebacker.

Projected Division Standings
San Antonio (11-5)
Oakland (10-6)
Las Vegas (9-7....I'm predicting GM Metro will either leave or get fired at the end of the season.)
Tulsa (7-9....GM Franchise will be on the hot seat at the end of the season.)
Long Beach (6-10...GM Death will be fired at the end of the season.)
Tombstone (6-10)

GM Justin

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« Reply #99 on: February 21, 2018, 09:27:34 AM »
I'm back at it again folks, my old decrepit fingers are still pounding away at the keyboard to give you my final preseason report for the Southeast Division.  So, without further ado....

Alabama Nighthawks - GM Pancho has loaded this team with serious talent, but the questions will remain...can they win when it matters most?  The uber talented Ortega is in his contract year and will be looking to get paid majorly next season.  He has proven his talent and the value he brings to the team, but turnovers remain an issue.  If he can reduce his turnovers then the sky is the limit.  Curt Robles, Burton Tibbetts, and Joseph Dobbins....scary...absolutely scary.  The weapons are there for this offense and they have the ability to put up some big numbers.  However, I do not believe Robles is as effective as he can be because Ortega takes away his touches.  The offensive line is solid, but the interior is a question mark and could cause some problems against teams with dominant defensive lines.

Speaking of a dominant defensive line...the Nighthawks have the most dominant d-line with Sanderson, Wilkinson, and Cobbs. Those three will be terrorizing QBs all season.  Even the best offensive line in the world is going to have issues blocking these guys. The linebacker group leaves a lot to be desired, but the d-line will help them look like stars, not to mention an overall solid secondary who also will be propped up by the d-line.  As I mentioned, the talent is there...they just have to win when it matters most.  In my opinion, this is GM Pancho's win now season, because he is going to run into cap issues next season and keeping all of this talent together.  As mentioned, Ortega is going to command a huge guess would be anywhere between $15-$20 million.  If Dobbins doesn't retire he may take a discount to come back, but the money still won't be there.  The team needs to upgrade at linebacker and guard but again, there is no money.  GM Pancho has gotten over $46 million a year invested in his defensive line and if he doesn't want to break it up he is going to have to move some pieces.  Leroy Herron and Eddie Cook could be moved for cheaper options.  Maybe Robles can be convinced to take a pay cut, but I doubt it.  It's going to be tough for GM Pancho after this season.

Orlando Stampede - GM Cory and the Stampede are coming off a disappointing season where they did not live up to expectations.  Merv Patton is, well...Merv Patton.  He's an All-World talent and with him at QB the team always has a chance to win.  However, I'm not too thrilled about his options at receiver outside of Xavier Best.  But again, Patton's talent will allow him to hit these guys in open spaces.  Crawford will carry the load running the ball and with a solid offensive line he should have a solid year.  This offense will put up some big numbers this season, but might struggle a little against teams with a top-tier secondary.

The interior of the defensive line is average, but the team should get a good pass rush out of Cavanaugh and Sauer should Cavanaugh not request a trade.  I hear there are some grumblings so its definitely something to keep our eye on.  GM Cory has put together a solid linebacker group with Cervantes and Cochran and Justin Holt is a giant in the secondary who is going to be an absolute monster.  The back end of the secondary outside of Bowles is in some serious need of upgrading in the future.  GM Cory has quite a few expiring contracts that will come off the books for next season so he will have some cash to spend to upgrade at the safety positions and at wide receiver.

Miami Killer Whales - GM Garcia and his coaching staff got a lot out of a less talented team last season.  Even better news is GM Garcia worked hard this offseason to add more talent to the team and he did just that.  I'm not overly thrilled with Reginald Duke, but he's a game manager and should keep the team in games offensively.  Ralph McClure is a decent running back, albeit a little on the small side.  A decent receiving group will help make Duke's life a little easier as well as really strong offensive line.  I like what GM Garcia has done here.

The defensive line is solid and will get pressure on the quarterback and be strong against the run.  The team could use some depth at linebacker.  Outside of Chow, there is a huge drop-off talent wise with the rest of the group.  The secondary isn't the greatest in the league, but it's a solid group that should be able to defend well against the pass.  The team has money coming off the books after this season and GM Garcia is going to have to use it wisely because he will need to resign Joseph Worthington who, in my opinion, is going to be looking for a pay raise in the $12-$14 million range.  GM Garcia will also need to spend money at LB and CB.  With that being said, I like this team and I like their chances to make some real noise in the division.

Music City Kings - GM Rebel looks to rejuvenate his career with a Music City team that has some real potential on offense.  Rookie QB Michael Meek is set to start and from what I have seen, he has the goods.  Sure, there will be mistakes, but I believe he will have a solid rookie campaign.  He will be supported by a strong rushing attack and Pitts, Grover, and Ruiz are a solid trio of targets at this disposal.  The offensive line is solid and Mark Prince is a quarterback's best friend on the blind side. 

On defense, the line isn't loaded, but there is big talent there in Stacy and Donaldson.  Their pass rush is all going to depend on how much Donaldson continues to improve.  I believe they will struggle at times to sack the quarterback, but they will be solid against the run.  The linebacker group is solid overall and looks like it could possibly be Chris Blevins last season.  If so, GM Rebel should make sure to retire his jersey.  Shane Barkley and Alfred Maggard are one of the better cornerback duos in the league and they will be needed with the lack of a good pass rush.  The back end of the secondary needs to be addressed in the offseason as an upgrade is needed.  Good news for GM Rebel is that he has some cap room now and will have more in the offseason.  His top priority should be resigning Shane Barkely who isn't going to be cheap.  He also needs to address the safety positions as well as DE and WR.

Atlanta Warriors - In an amazing twist of events, GM Lucas has found a way to get himself banned from trading.  He has to ask for permission of his owner before he can trade.  Talk about a wild offseason, however I will say he has managed to put together a decent team.  The offense will struggle at times with rookie QB Thomas Mazza as the starter and a group of receivers that isn't that special.  I would say mediocre at best.  They have four running backs on the active roster and it looks as though rookie Daniel Collins will get the nod as the starter.  There is some talent on the offensive line that will give Mazza time to throw the ball and will open up some running lanes.  Mazza has the physical tools needed to succeed so his maturation throughout the season is going to determine how good the offense can be.

Christopher Chandler anchors the defensive line and will be hunting down QBs at will.  However, the rest of the defensive line is a question mark.  Larue is decent opposite Chandler, but the interior is super young and there are going to be some growing pains.  The addition of Leake is a big boost to an otherwise average group of linebackers...though I must say Leake is overpriced at $18.5 million.  But, I understand GM Lucas' need to make a splash and that's what he did.  The entire secondary is average as well and while Eric Evans and James Cavanaugh look to be solid corners, they are rookies and there are going to be some mistakes.  Quarterbacks in this division are going to have some big games.  I can see Patton throwing for 500 yards easily.
There are a bunch of areas that need to be improved in the future, I just don't think there is going to be enough money to make a huge impact.  If I were GM Lucas I would consider trading Chandler...well let me rephrase that.  I would consider asking my owner if I could trade Chandler.  You could net a player or two of need at other positions as well as 1st round draft pick.  This team will be picking early in the draft so they can draft his replacement.  I would say consider trading Leake as well, but no other team is going to take on that contract for a linebacker who in all honesty, has never played anywhere close to the contract he received.

Charlotte Crowns - Our fourth expansion team went out and hired veteran GM Theo Greenside to run the team in its inaugural season.  I have to say, at first glance this team looks to be very good for an expansion team.  They made a big splash when they traded for Christian Sullivan.  He is a great leader for this offense, not to mention he is a damn good quarterback.  John Spurgeon is a good pick up in the expansion draft as he looks to rejuvenate his career.  Lewis and Ramos are very good targets and for a quarterback like Sullivan he is going to utilize and get the most out of both of them.  The offensive line is solid from top to bottom and will give Sullivan time to throw the ball all over the field.

The defensive line is the weak link and needs to be addressed before next season.  I don't foresee a meaningful pass rush and they don't stack up well against the run either.  This is going to cause them to struggle and playing against teams with superior o-lines are going to run all over this team.  However, the team makes up for it with a nice complement of linebackers and a solid secondary.  It should be noted that the secondary is going to get tested time and time again without a pass rush.  There are three rookies in the secondary which could haunt them at times.  Charlotte will have some cap room for next season, but their main goal is to resign Sullivan and Dotson.  Resigning both is going to be very expensive and is going to eat up most of the cap room.  I think they let Ramos walk in free agency to free up his cash.  I would let Gregory Neal walk as well because he will be 30 next year and probably on a decline talent wise. 

Projected Division Standings
Alabama (12-4)
Miami (11-5)
Orlando (10-6)
Music City (7-9)
Charlotte (4-12)
Atlanta (3-13)

That is my final preseason report.  Now my fingers can take a long, deserved break.  Season 10 is here folks!