Pre-Season Review: Most Improved Players

With the pre-season in the books, it’s time to take a look at who rose above the fray to show their skills, who was the most successful at improving their skills, and determine the roster of the first OIFL Press’ Pre-Season MIP Team.

First, lets look at the gains made by players on each roster:

ARIZONA: Total Earned – (0.8)
WRDB Roger Friedman (0.2)
OLDL Lloyd Ruff (0.2)
OLDL John Dulisse (0.2)
OLDL Charles Cuff
OLDL Lywon Rogers
BALTIMORE: Total Earned – (0.5)
WRDB Paul Rollman (0.2)
DS Cave Johnson

OLDL Wade Michael
OS Vincent Gerard III
CHICAGO: Total Earned – (1.0)
QB Jim Holcombe (0.4)
RBLB Dyen Johansen (0.2)
DS DeAngelo Penzel (0.2)
OS Je’Qual Kelly
DS Jim French
D.C.: Total Earned – (1.6)
DS JeQuavion Lawrence (0.3)
OS Ronconaghuey Moss (0.3)
QB Mark Kingseed (0.2)
OLDL Mario Tenore (0.2)
RBLB Grant Ward (0.2)
WRDB Matt Marion
OLDL Germarion Schulz
OLDL Sam Morris
OLDL Stephen Czerwinski
EUGENE: Total Earned – (1.3)
QB John Hunkele (0.2)
OLDL Randal Bohannan (0.2)
WRDB Jemequaerion Kob (0.2)
WRDB Pepe Silvia
WRDB Chuck King
OLDL Greg Mack
OLDL Mark Heisler
OLDL Richard Townley
DS Je’Quan Diek

RBLB John Zaruka
EVANSVILLE: Total Earned – (0.2)
RBLB Amaro Zilanawala
QB Michael Whalen
FORT McMURRAY: Total Earned – (1.3)
RBLB Art Tribbey (0.4)
DS Ralph Lee (0.3)
WRDB Jim Osbon (0.2)
WRDB John Jackson (0.2)
WRDB Tom Blevins
DS Ralph Lee
FORT WORTH: Total Earned – (0.6)
OLDL Dale Harding (0.3)
OLDL Rick Smith
RBDB Don Sochowitz
WRDB Alan Rendfrey
HUNTINGTON: Total Earned – (0.8)
DS Paul Boyd (0.2)
WRDB Rex Kuntzelman (0.2)
WRDB Del Kautz
WRDB John Jackson
OLDL Robert Kern
DS Levaughn Haywood
INDIANAPOLIS: Total Earned – (1.0)
OLDL Robert Pauly (0.4)
RBLB Raynor Baz (0.2)
WRDB Richard Hollenback (0.2)
OLDL Kwamie Weindruch
DS Spiro Pappas
LINCOLN: Total Earned – (0.6)
OLDL Louis Warren (0.2)
OLDL Chuck Munson (0.2)
OLDL James Marcs (0.2)
LONDON: Total Earned – (0.2)
QB Rudolph Zinger
RBLB Jack Jones
LOS ANGELES: Total Earned – (0.4)
WRDB Donald Avery Hall (0.2)
QB Willy Robertson
RBLB Ross Franklin
MAYKOP: Total Earned – (0.6)
WRDB Iridor Human (0.2)
OLDL Clark Abbott (0.2)
OLDL Geronimo Jennings
QB Bob Maino
NEW YORK: Total Earned – (0.1)
QB Petr Kopfstein
OHIO: Total Earned – (0.5)
RBLB William Lee (0.3)
WRDB Bob Tomlinson (0.2)
OSLER: Total Earned – (0.5)
RBLB Jack Conley
OLDL Norman Kunsky
DS Jack Schneider
WRDB Jim Tusing
K Rick Williams
PHILADELPHIA: Total Earned – (0.6)
DS Andy Plewa (0.2)
WRDB B Fortney (0.2)
QB Don Kelly
RBLB Rich Braskett
PORTLAND: Total Earned – (1.0)
OS Brad Ross (0.2)
WRDB Bert Marovich (0.2)
WRDB Balon Arryn
WRDB Maurice McSwain
RBLB Sam Phillips
OLDL Eltiden Long
OLDL Patrice Cirspinski
DS Brad Ross
RUIDOSO: Total Earned – (1.2)
DS Mario Hernaiz (0.2)
QB Benjaymond Cannon (0.2)
RBLB Burt Nowak (0.2)

OLDL E. Guidetti (0.2)
OLDL David Prettenhoffer
OLDL Gordon Duffield
OS DuQuavion BrownLee
DS Mario Hernaiz
SACRAMENTO: Total Earned – (0.8)
DS Larry Yergeau (0.4)
OLDL Cann Blitzem (0.2)
OLDL Will Blitzem
WRDB Stephan Ginez
SAN ANTONIO: Total Earned – (0.7)
WRDB Ed Continenza (0.4)
OLDL Bill McNeely (0.2)
WRDB Quan Knoy
SAN FRANCISCO: Total Earned – (0.4)
WRDB Jonathan Oakley (0.2)
WRLB Vernon Burkhead
WRDB Marq Torres
SEATTLE: Total Earned – (0.6)
OLDL Duane Prewitt, Jr. (0.2)
QB Demarion Poole (0.2)
OLDL Bruce Hayden
WRDB M.J. Rose
ST. LOUIS: Total Earned – (0.8)
K Tony Maloloyon (0.3)
RBDB Dave Formento (0.2)
QB Shane Bollings
OLDL Skip Svarth
OS Piedmont Moss
TEXAS: Total Earned – (0.6)
WRDB Domingo Domenech (0.2)
WRDB RiQuan Peck (0.2)

OLDL Wilfred Laurence

QB Pete McLeod
VANCOUVER ISLAND: Total Earned – (1.7)
DS Allen Gerard (0.4)
OLDL Jack Wreight (0.3)
RBLB Billy Brawn (0.2)
OLDL Gust Richards (0.2)
OLDL Ray McIntyre
WRDB Danny Darrington
WRDB Miquel Simpson
QB James Bordain
DS Darby McBride
K Luis Galarza
WACO: Total Earned – (1.0)
QB Stan Kirby (0.2)
WRDB Ken Wortman (0.2)
WRLB Wayne Dodge (0.2)
OLDL Mark Childs (0.2)
OLDL Norman Dickerson

RBDB Gubb Karter

WISCONSIN: Total Earned – (0.3)
QB Kimane Domena
WRDB Juwon Mack
OLDL Mantis Toboggan
GAINS and PAINS
The biggest winner of the pre-season appears to be Vancouver Island (1.7), followed by DC (1.6), Eugene and Fort McMurray (1.3 each), Ruidoso (1.2), as well as Chicago, Indianapolis, Portland and Waco (1.0 each).
The least fortunate teams this pre-season seem to be Omaha (no improved players), New York (0.1 total team improvement and injury to RBDB Reid), Chicago (injury to DS Penzel), Ohio (three pre-season injuries)

 

MOST IMPROVED PLAYER (MIP) TEAM

With all the improvements tallied up, next let’s take a look at the Pre-Season MIP (Most Improved Player) Team, made up of the players in each position who showed the most improvement over camp. Priority was given to who earned the most improvement, but in the case of a tie priority was given to the perceived likelihood that the player would make and have an impact on their team in the regular season.

OIFL Pre-Season MIP Team:

(* = tied with other players not on the roster for most improved)

QB: Jim Holcombe (CHI – 0.4)
RBLB: Art Tribbey (FM – 0.4)
WRDB (2): Ed Continenza (SA – 0.4), Roger Friedman* (AZ – 0.2)
OLDL (3): Robert Pauly (IND – 0.4), Jack Wreight (VAN – 0.3), Dale Harding (FW – 0.3)
OS: Ronconaghuey Moss (DC – 0.3)
DS (2): Allen Gerard (VAN – 0.4), Larry Yergeau (SAC – 0.4)
K: Tony Maloloyon (STL – 0.3)

Honorable Mentions are also being given for these players, who are expected to be major players on their roster and made good use of their time this pre-season.

QB’s Demarion Poole (SEA – 0.2) and Stan Kirby (WAC – 0.2) – These two young starting QB’s set a great example for their teammates coming in and making best use of their time in camp.
RBLB William Lee (OH – 0.3) – Lee will be in the starting lineup this year from day 1, and did nothing but assure Commando fans that he will excel in Hice’s old position.
DS’s JeQuavion Lawrence (DC – 0.3) and Ralph Lee (0.3 – FM) – These rookies will be getting some good time in the defensive backfield from day 1; Lawrence as the top backup on a contending DC roster, and Lee as a starter for the expansion/returning Fatmen. Their pre-season performance will give coaches, teammates and fans comfort that they can do well in this vital role.
OTHER THOUGHTS:
The Blitz were the only team to have two players make the MIP Team roster. If you count the honorable mentions, then Vancouver Island would be joined by DC and Fort McMurray. While most of the MIP team will only see the field as reserves barring injury, multiple starters made the honorable mentions list, which has to have their coaches and owners pretty pleased.
Each week, 28 players were noted for their significant improvement. The results of the pre-season show that six players were recognized for their significant improvement in both weeks: QB Jim Holcombe, RBLB Art Tribbey, WRDB Ed Constineza, OLDL Robert Pauly, and DSs Allen Gerard and Larry Yergeau. All told, 50 players received this recognition during the pre-season. League insiders are curious to see how many of them make their respective rosters, and hope to determine how many of them made it (at least in part) due to the recognition.

 

Care to share your thoughts? Go to the OIFL Forum and share them with fans worldwide!

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Entry Draft Round 1/2 Review

With the first two rounds down and the hunt for sleepers and hidden gems now about to begin I thought this was a good time to review the first two rounds of the entry draft. I decided to forgo grading here; with rookies it’s just too early to tell I think. Feel free to share your own thoughts.

BALTIMORE:

Summary – Graves will need a little development to be a real contributor on the field, but in a couple years he could be a great player with some good camps. Fox might offer more immediate returns with a good rookie camp, and could be a nice addition to a young ascending WRDB roster.

Picks – RBDB Steve Graves, WRDB Gilbert Fox

 

CHICAGO:

Summary – Burtchaell could become a strong defender, and has the tools to contribute offensively. Could eventually play LB and DB. Holcombe is a different kind of QB from Albertini, but with training and focus could eventually be the heir apparent.

Picks – WRLB Larry Burtchaell, QB Jim Holcombe

 

DENVER:

Summary – Friedman will have some tackling issues, but could become a shutdown corner making it less of a concern. Will make some immediate contributions this year. Dulisse and Gaulke are good players to develop for the future.

Picks – WRDB Roger Friedman, OLDL John Dulisse, DS Bob Gaulke

 

DC:

Summary – DC focused on finding heirs for players who are beginning to get up there in age, and might have them with this class. Smyka might take O’Neill’s spot, and Lawrence & Moss will likely get some playing time off the bench.

Picks – DS JeQuavion Lawrence, QB Mark Kingseed, OS Ronconaghuey Moss, OLDL Sam Morris, OLDL Steven Czerwinski, K Stephen Smyka

 

EUGENE:

Summary – Townley was a great conversion to OLDL. Kob will need some work but he has potential. Not sure if the roster will have room for Zaruka as a RB, but it could be worth a try to convert him as they did Townley.

Picks – RBLB (to OLDL) Richard Townley, WRLB Jemequaerion Kob, RBLB John Zaruka

 

EVANSVILLE:

Summary – Zilanawala is a good pick, but the Squirrels are loaded at RB. Still, I’m sure he fits into their plans or they wouldn’t have picked him. Kettelle has some growing to do on offense, but Evansville can afford to invest in him.

Picks – RBLB Amaro Zilanawala, OLDL Jim Kettelle

 

FORT MCMURRAY:

Summary – Osborn could be a star and should see the field this year. Phillips joins a pretty strong group of QBs, especially by expansion team standards. Could eventually take over for Walls.

Picks – WRDB Jim Osbon, QB Ken Phillips, DS Ralph Lee

 

FORT WORTH:

Summary – Sochowicz will give the United more flexibility on defense, and Harding give them another young lineman to work on building up.

Picks – RBDB Don Sochowicz, OLDL Dale Harding

 

HUNTINGTON:

Summary – Huntington added good depth to their line here. Kern is an athletic lineman who could immediately step on the field. Taylor doesn’t have Kern’s athleticism but is a good leader and sound fundamentals. Both are good pieces for the future.

Picks – OLDL Robert Kern, OLDL Kaushik Taylor

 

INDIANAPOLIS:

Summary – Pauly will need to grow a bit on both sides of the line but a good camp could take care of that. Has the intangibles and athleticism to be great once his growing is done.

Picks – OLDL Robert Pauly

 

LINCOLN:

Summary – Graper is one of the best WRDB’s in this draft and should add some depth for the Lightning. Dowling is a great pick at the end of round 1. Munson likely needs to be a sleeper to make it.

Picks – WRDB Larry Graper, RBLB Myqual Dowling, OLDL Chuck Munson

 

LONDON:

Summary – It’s unlikely all of these RB’s make the roster, but they’ll have solid young depth at this position for sure. Pharr and Tolosa have a chance to make the roster, but Tolosa might be from the outside in.

Picks – RBLB Jack Jones, RBLB Derk Mattocks, WRDB John Pharr, RBDB Dan Albright, RBLB Chip Dennison, WRLB Carlos Tolosa, RBDB DeJuan Duffey

 

LOS ANGELES: No Picks

 

MAYKOP:

Summary – Maino is their QB of the future, and could potentially beat out Johns if they decide to make the future now. Arthur and Dolan will help add some young depth to the roster, and the experience will help them for the future.

Picks – QB Bob Maino, OLDL Jeff Arthur, RBLB Pat Dolan

 

NEW YORK: No Picks

 

OHIO:

Summary – Hagler gives them a future to replace Tyler. He might need some training but he won’t be needed this year.

Picks – OS Bud Hagler

 

OMAHA: No Picks

 

OSLER:

Summary – Osler has a group of vets to cover the starting lineup currently, so no one here NEEDS to play, but Tusing could contribute right away, at least on offense, and Brown gives some versatility with the ability to play TE as well as OLDL.

Picks – WRDB Jim Tusing, WRDB Donald McGill, OLDL John Brown

 

PHILADELPHIA:

Summary – Philly was aggressive and got 4 first rounders, 5 in the top 40 and 7 total picks. The moves largely paid off, as they got some good picks here. Fortney I think will be the biggest contributor this year, but the others will make contributions in due time.

Picks – RBLB Rich Braskett, WRDB B Fortney, DS Jan Barnhill, OLDL Paul Alkaranafil, OS Gary Barrett, WRDB Kenneth Bush, WRDB Mywell Scott

 

PORTLAND:

Summary –

Picks – QB John Berger, OLDL Eltiden Long, WRDB Burt Maravich

 

RUIDOSO: No Picks

 

SACRAMENTO:

Summary – Yergeau was a solid pick for the Rampage. With Hill beginning to get up there in age Yergeau could be an excellent replacement.

Picks – DS Larry Yergeau

 

SAN ANTONIO:

Summary – The Rattlers saw some value in the receivers when their picks came. With Degan and Gentili getting into the aging part of their career some replacements will needed down the road. Knoy might get on the field first but Continenza will be the bigger star down the road.

Picks – WRDB Quan Knoy, WRDB Ed Continenza

 

SAN FRANCISCO: No Picks

 

SEATTLE: No Picks

 

ST LOUIS: No Picks

 

TEXAS: No Picks

 

VANCOUVER ISLAND:

Summary – The Blitz had 3 first rounders. Hamilton gives them another good young back, but he likely won’t see the field with Buchanan and Brawn ahead of him. Bergeron and McBride will need some more time to be field worthy but could be good players down the road.

Picks – RBDB Paul Hamilton, WRLB Bob Bergeron, DS Darby McBride

 

WACO:

Summary – Childs could maybe make the rotation with a good camp this year. Snelson is making the switch to RB, and will need some speed work but could be good down the road. Haslet could be the best value pick, and will have time to develop behind a pretty good starting group.

Picks – OLDL Mark Childs, WRDB Bill Snelson, DS Tom Haslet

 

WISCONSIN:

Summary – Harris will be a star in a few years with the right focus. Kinney will need to take some time but he has it right now. Good picks for a team with its best years ahead of it.

Picks – RBLB Foxwell Harris, WRDB Terry Kinney

Dispersal Draft Review

Thought I’d share my thoughts on how teams did in the dispersal draft. Feel free to share your own or comment on mine. I’ll likely also do a combined summary/review of Rounds 1 and 2 of the entry draft. Hope you enjoy!

Baltimore: Overall Grade – B+

Summary – Michael wasn’t the biggest name available, but this was a solid pick for a team that is building for the future as much as the present. He is talented now, and will be for a long time. He also bolsters a line that needs help if Beland and Gunn are to perform up to their capabilities. If Baltimore can lock him in long term this will go down as a strong pick.

Picks: OLDL Wade Michael


Chicago: Overall Grade – B-

Summary – With the players on the roster neither player is likely to see much playing time. Chavayda does give a talented young player to groom as a replacement for Fleming, Nash, or Graham who are all near or at the point of aging. A young trainable OLDL is always nice, but the Blues have a couple of them already so I wonder if they might have benefitted more from one of the vets available at the time. Overall though they are solid additions to the roster.

Picks: WRDB Ike Chavayda, OLDL Barry Sheldon


Denver: Overall Grade – C+

Summary – Cuff wasn’t the best overall OLDL available at the time in my opinion, but he is a solid pick for a new team looking to gather young talent to grow for the future. Westin, White and Sanchez continue that trend. Slevin is a pretty good value for where he was picked in the draft. Overall Denver may have left some talent on the board that could have helped them in the short term, but with the right moves in the future could be well off in the long term.

Picks: OLDL Charles Cuff, RBLB Willie Slevin, QB Eldriel White, OLDL Jordan Westin, WRDB Steve Sanchez


DC: Overall Grade – N/A

Summary – I’ll refrain from grading myself; anyone can feel free to judge my picks. I will say that Poley gave me some options to make moves on my OLDL without hurting overall talent too much, and Ward might be my RBLB of the future if I can keep him around long enough.

Picks: RBLB Grant Ward, OLDL Felton Poley


Eugene: Overall Grade – B+

Summary – Bieniek along with Ledbetter gives the Knights a strong young one-two punch at the RB position. Ledbetter was the only RB on the roster, so now with two the Knights may be poised to feature the running game more often. Was also a good value pick at #24.

Picks: RBLB J’Quan Bieniek


Evansville: Overall Grade – A-

Summary – Nothing but the OIFL Cup is good enough for the Fightin’ Squirrels, and with a roster beginning to age their time is now. Framed in that view especially, this is a great draft for Evansville. Both of these players provide strong depth and were among the most talented available later in the draft. If not for their age and contract values they would have gone much earlier.

Picks: OLDL Rasheed Daves, WRDB Doc Garrett


Fort McMurray: Overall Grade – A

Summary – The Fatmen had a great draft in my opinion. Walls was a great pick towards the end of the draft, and he with Kutchzinski and McMasters will slot right into the starting lineup and could stay there for a few years if contracts are renewed. Brown and Blevins give them some young receivers to develop in the future.

Picks: WRDB Gary Kutchzinski, OLDL Rozzy McMasters, QB Rusty Walls, WRLB John Brown, WRLB Tom Blevins


Fort Worth: No Picks

Huntsville: No Picks


Indianapolis: Overall Grade – A

Summary – Was one of the top players in the draft in a position of need for the Racers. Can’t argue against this pick in any way.

Picks: OLDL Mark Loiselle


Lincoln: Overall Grade – B+

Summary – Tomlinson is a good young lineman who happens to have a great long term contract. With a good camp or two he will be a fixture of the Lightning line for a long time.

Picks: OLDL Harry Tomlinson


London: No Pick


Los Angeles: Overall Grade – C+

Summary – Stoss is a pretty good young lineman, but with Mason getting up there in age and Franklin in the last year of his contract one of the RB’s could have been a better choice here. While young lineman are always good to have that is something the Matadors weren’t lacking coming into the draft.

Picks: OLDL Thomas Stoss


Maykop: Overall Grade – B+

Summary – Their first three picks currently would make up their starting lineup, and it’s not a bad group. With a good TC they could make a young respectable starting lineup. Nelson isn’t amazing in any one area, but could provide depth at WRDB, WRLB, and DS. For having no picks within the top 30, this was pretty good draft.

Picks: OLDL Daiki Takechi, OLDL Victor Shober, OLDL Gabriel Wilson, WRDB Stuart Nelson


New York: Overall Grade – B

Summary – The defending champs managed to get a quality player to help them defend the title. He’s a little aged and costly, but that isn’t a major concern here.

Picks: OLDL Bryant James


Ohio: Overall Grade – C+

Summary – With a DS group that is getting pretty old some reinforcing was needed here. While Clardy isn’t the youngest himself, he is talented which will help out in the short term while younger players are found and trained.

Picks: DS Troy Clardy


Omaha: Overall Grade – A+

Summary – Is there any argument about these picks? Maybe contract cost, but Omaha appears to be in a position to afford it.

Picks: OLDL Bill Steffey, WRDB Bernhard Schraeder


Osler: Overall Grade – A-

Summary – A couple years ago this would have been a stellar draft. This year it’s not stellar, it’s still pretty darn good. McPherson, LaCrosswell and Lewis will hold down the specialist positions for the immediate future. They’ll need replacing in a year or two, but for now they’ll help keep Osler respectable and competitive on the field. Daoust can provide help off the bench as a WRDB or DS.

Picks: QB Juan McPherson, WRDB Cyrell Daoust, DS Harold LaCrosswell, OS MiQuale Lewis


Philadelphia: Overall Grade – B+

Summary – With a much fuller roster than most new teams they had some flexibility in approaching this draft, but Philly still found some good players to add to the roster. Trudeau, Rhodes, and McGee are all good enough to possibly win spots in the starting lineup. If not, they should at least make solid contributions on the bench or fetch a decent trade return.

Picks: DS Walter Trudeau, K Tajik Rhodes, OLDL Speedy McGee


Portland: Overall Grade – B-

Summary – Pouliout is unlikely to break the starting lineup with Lowe on the roster, but he is a good young back who can provide solid depth off the bench and a little insurance in case something happens to Lowe. An argument could be made that OLDL would be the better way to go given a few older players on the roster in that spot.

Picks: RBLB Michael Pouliout


Ruidoso: Overall Grade – A+

Summary – This is a draft that could get the good people of Ruidoso excited about the new Kids on the block (sorry about that, couldn’t resist). Shanklin and Nowak instantly make this offense respectable on the ground and threatening through the air. They also will improve the defense. Right struggles with tackling but is pretty strong in coverage.

Picks: WRDB Jetta Shanklin, RBLB Burt Nowak, DS Diamante Right


Sacramento: Overall Grade – A

Summary – These two picks instantly make the Rampage a better team. Kenney is a star talent on both sides of the ball. Ginez isn’t on that level but will provide solid depth off the bench. This was also depth that they needed, so on the basis of need and value this is a win-win situation.

Picks: WRLB Joe Kenney, WRDB Stephan Ginez


San Antonio: Overall Grade – B+

Summary – His age and contract bring my grade down a little bit, but Thomas has the skills to potentially break into a pretty good starting lineup on a pretty good Rattlers squad. That makes it a pretty good pick for being about halfway down in the draft. That said, if older, costlier players were on the table there might have been some better ones available at the time.

Picks: OLDL Eric Thomas


San Francisco: Overall Grade – B+

Summary – I like this pick; he isn’t too old or too expensive and he has some talent to him. A good camp or two could push him from good to elite. If they can get him re-signed then this could be a real good pick.

Picks: OLDL Pumpkin Forest


Seattle: Overall Grade – C+

Summary – Seattle has plenty of people on the roster right now so need is tough to quantify here. There are a couple players I would call a better value at this time, but not many.

Picks: RBLB Michael D. Brake


St. Louis: Overall Grade – B

Summary – Given the ages of Maugham, Cruise and Kettlewell, Johnson meets a need pretty well. Given his talent compared to his age and contract the value of the pick is also pretty good.

Picks: DS Curtis Johnson


Texas: No Pick


Vancouver Island: Overall Grade – A

Summary – Both of these are excellent picks for a young roster like the Blitz. Henderson is nearing elite status in terms of talent, and Simpson is a young player with a lot of potential who could be real good in a couple years. With young players the key is keeping them around long enough to benefit from their growth.

Picks: OLDL DaQuan Henderson, WRDB Miquel Simpson


Waco: Overall Grade – A+

Summary – Yates gives Kirby an elite target to throw to, which the Warriors truly need. He’s beginning to get up there in age but will be a top talent for at least the length of his contract (which might be just a year, but could be more). By modern standards the contract is not even that bad. Great pick for them.

Picks: WRDB Eric Yates


Wisconsin: Overall Grade – A

Summary – If they lose him after this year it’s still a decent pick, as he’ll be a major boost on defense this year. If they can sign him to a long term deal, this becomes a great pick. He is not yet overvalued, so they’ll hope to keep him that way, and he has his best years ahead of him which is a great sign as he’s already close to being an elite DS.

Picks: DS Ryan Potter

What do you think of the draft? Feel free to comment or discuss on our message boards!

The Coaching Shuffle Begins

With the playoffs underway, a story line that has nothing to do with what will happen on the field this weekend is beginning to unfold, as coaches begin hitting the unemployment line and looking for new homes.

The past week it was announced that long time head coach of the St. Louis Rush Kelvin Anderson resigned his position, with no announced plans for his future. The San Antonio Rattlers also parted ways with Offensive Coordinator Bruce Malloy. Following their parting ways with the league Kansas City’s coaching staff is available, and additional moves are also rumored, though sources cannot comment on any specific teams at this time.

As the playoffs continue to play out, it is possible that more moves will be announced by teams who haven’t been eliminated. Teams who are could make the decision to change their staffs, possibly to take advantage of moves made by other teams.

This process starts at a good time for the newly announced Osler Rebels, who now have a solid group of coaching candidates to choose from as they begin to staff their franchise.

Battle of Unbeatens Lives Up to Hype

When the 11-0 DC Conspiracy traveled to Austin to face the 11-0 Texas Terrors, fans of the OIFL the world over were eager with anticipation. Rarely does pro football get to see a battle of unbeaten teams this close to the post season. The commission himself was quoted calling the game “one of the bigger “record-wise” regular season games on record”. Coming into the game both teams had strong victories and were looking on top of their game, and it showed on the field. Texas and DC were the numbers 2 and 3 ranked teams respectively for average points allowed (Kansas City being #1), so many expected a lower scoring game by indoor football standards. In that respect the game lived up to expectations. On one of the first plays of the game saw DC score a safety after Van Nostran recovered a fumble in the endzone and was tackled. This play- which cost Texas start RBLB Markelle Cox for the game with a concussion- set the tone for a tough defensive struggle which ultimately led to a 32-30 final in favor of DC.

That is not to say the game lacked big plays on offense; there was too much talent on the field to contain for the whole game. After the initial setback, Texas was able to score the first two touchdowns, the 2nd of which was run by RBDB Moulton Coulier. After DC worked back into it Texas reclaimed the lead with a Jet Sweep TD run by former Conspiracy WRDB Achilles Bryon. DC then responded with a 9 yard run to the endzone by RBLB Corey Palso. Palso later added another TD run from 20 yards out, which Texas answered with a 20 yard pass when Nostran hooked up with his former Boston teammate Norm Whittington. From there, it became a battle of the kickers.

DC had a short field goal blocked. Texas then completed a 47 yard attempt, but a false start took it back and K Gary Hoffert couldn’t connect from 50 on the next attempt. This gave DC another chance, which K Brian O’Neill used to redeem himself from the blocked attempt by converting from 28 yards out with 2 seconds on the clock to take the go-ahead lead. A DC squib kick ran out the clock to finish off the game.

One team that had to be watching very closely was Kansas City, who after this week remains one of two undefeated teams following a win against expansion Indianapolis. While the Tigers will not play either team in the regular season, both are potential playoff foes- though to face Texas both teams would need to make to the OIFLCup. Another team watching closely was likely Evansville, who will be facing both DC and Kansas City in the coming weeks and could have a major say in how the East playoffs shape up. San Antonio also had a major interest, as the Texas loss helps to keep them alive in the race to win the Southwest division, though Texas would need to falter a couple more times for the Rattlers to overtake them.

Moving forward, the Conspiracy will be taking on their divisional and geographic rival Baltimore Breakers in DC’s Oculus Center, and Texas continues their home-stand against the Vancouver Island Blitz

Trade Deadline Deals – An Analysis

This year’s trade deadline was pretty quiet, but a few deals did get finalized that could have an impact on the playoff race.

New York gets:  H Jackson, $750K @ Y/E unless they win the OIFLCup Game
Virginia gets:  C Cuff, C Daoust

Thoughts: This deal works pretty well for both sides. New York wants to go for the Cup and Jackson gives them the top quality WRDB depth needed to pull it off. Virginia gets a future star in Cuff, and a WRDB who can keep the Hawks competitive in the short term while they build up for the long term.

Huntington gets:  C Pierce
London gets:  J Cain, HUN E2

Thoughts: With Pratch and Pierce both declaring for FAFFA they were going to lose one of them, at least this way they get something in return. That said, Pierce is definitely the most valuable piece in this deal. If they can lock him up long term after using the tag Huntington did really well here.

Omaha gets:  V Bloom, O Quicksilver, 2017 E1, 2018 E2345
Los Angeles gets:  D Hall

Thoughts: Following the earlier trade for dos Santos & his rise to stardom, now trading for Quicksilver the Blackhawks are now one of the deeper teams in the OIFL at RBLB. Bloom gives them a strong weapon on offense, and the picks will be a big help for Omaha’s continued growth. The Matadors on the flip side get a rookie in Hall who is primed to be a top player in a couple years, which could help with a few of their vets looking to free agency.

D.C. gets:  J Mouton, E2
Los Angeles gets:  R Franklin

Thoughts: Franklin has a ton of potential, and will make a strong successor to RBLB Carl Mason. While DC traditionally doesn’t use RBDB’s, Mouton gives the Conspiracy a versatile new weapon to utilize going into the playoffs, and if DC can keep him past the franchise tag he’ll be a top talent for years. This deal could be great for both sides.

2016 Declaration Day Results, Thoughts

The 2016 Declaration Day has come and gone and the results are in. Last year’s day was a turning point for multiple franchises. Chicago was easily the most hurt, as nearly 25% of their roster declared including multiple All-Star caliber players. While no one was hit quite so bad this year, some big names could potentially hit the market.

See who made out well, and who didn’t, and who is likely to be getting franchise tagged this year.

TEAM BY TEAM BREAKDOWN

Baltimore – Players Declared: RBLB Davion Strachan

While Strachan is a big name and his declaring isn’t a good sign for the Breakers, he also holds a player option that would net him a 30% pay raise. Whether he claims it not remains to be seen. If he doesn’t, expect the Breakers to franchise tag him.

Chicago – Players Declared: OLDL Joe St. Germain

St. Germain is an interesting one for the Blues, who have to be happy just to only have one player to deal with this year after last year’s declaration day. St. Germain is a good young player, but is he good enough to be worth the franchise tag, especially with Chicago having a young line overall? If he gets the tag or hits the market he’ll make more than he’s worth, so Chicago will first get to decide if the paycheck is worth what he’ll bring to the table.

DC – Players Declared: OS Michael Killawa

This is not a surprise. Killawa was being groomed as the replacement for longtime DC OS Marcus Cribbs, but then the Conspiracy signed OS Tommy Fairchild to a long term deal which sealed Killawa’s fate as a backup for as long as he’s in DC. He has the talent and will likely seek a chance to start elsewhere. With DC’s existing payroll and his backup role don’t expect him to receive the franchise tag from a franchise that has never used it.

Eugene – Players Declared: None

What can I say? They lost no one, so a win here for a franchise with some big momentum after a couple down years.

Evansville – Players Declared: WRLB Joe Farda, WRLB John Owen

Evansville is in a tough spot here. Both these young players are similar ages, same position, and similar amounts of potential. Are either of them worth a franchise tag? Tough to say…but they only have the ability to keep one off FAFFA, if they choose to. Given the average age of their top 3 WR’s I’m guessing they’ll want to, though they do have other younger backups so the need to keep one isn’t severe.

Fort McMurray – Players Declared: None

Good for them.

Fort Worth – Players Declared: None

Ditto.

Huntington – Players Declared: None

Ditto.

Indianapolis – Players Declared: RBLB Raynor Baz, DS Anthony Torres, QB Kimane Domena, OLDL Jay Thiel

This could hurt the young franchise a bit, as Baz and Torres are starters currently. Thiel is their best blocker off the bench, but getting up there in age. Domena has talent but with Hiruma as a starter losing him won’t be a disaster.

Kansas City – Players Declared: OLDL Kadeem Davis, OS Ward Soto

Both are capable players, but older and not a killer to KC’s depth. Davis could be worth a franchise tag for one year, but Soto will hit the market for sure I reckon.

London – Players Declared: OLDL Wayne Pratch, DS Craig Pierce, QB Nick Stokes

This one hurts. Pratch and Pierce are both premier players at their positions in their prime. Stokes is one of the best backups in the league. They will almost for sure utilize the frachise tag, the question is who gets it. Given the other players on the roster I predict Pierce gets it.

Los Angeles – Players Declared: WRDB Chaunceu Hoxie, RBLB Dacarreay Peaches, RBDB Jonas Mouton, RBLB Olly Quicksilver, WRDB Shane Andrews, K Alan Morre

This hurts as well. Hoxie is a top player, but given the immediate trade rumors it sounds like he might be on the outs. Mouton- who received a franchise tag last year- is looking to hit the market again. Will he get the tag with another year of aging on him though? Most of the other backup RBLB’s are also looking to go, but with Mason’s increased age and contract status maybe using the franchise on Quicksilver is the better way to go.

Memphis – Players Declared: OLDL James “Snacks” Jones, DS Paul Kwiatkowski

Snacks might not be worth a franchise tag but he is a tough player to lose; he a good younger player who adds depth to a pretty good group of linemen who’s weakness is already their depth. Kwiatkowski is young and has some potential but will be a career liability as a tackler which lowers his career ceiling as a DS.

New York – Players Declared: WRLB Blake Spielman, DS Greg Blatenberger

Both of these players have team or mutual options for next year, so this isn’t too big of a deal for the Mean Machine. They just have to decide if either player is worth keeping for the future.

North Dakota – Players Declared: WRDB Je’Quan Moscot

He’s a young receiver who’s aged well and has potential so it wouldn’t be good for a franchise looking to rebuild to lose him. That said, he’s not without his deficiencies and they may decide to save their cash for free agency.

Ohio – Players Declared: RBDB Earvin Hice, K Jacob MacLagan

Given Hice’s age he likely wouldn’t have received a long term deal anyways, so franchising him could be a good way to go. I guess the only way he doesn’t get it is if Ohio decides to rebuild and go young.

Omaha – Players Declared: QB Jamarco Angermeier

They have a good young starter at QB, so while Angermeier is a good player, he’s expendable.

Portland – Players Declared: QB Derek McConnell

Morrow is getting older so they might not have wanted to lose him, but with Morrow extended for 2 more years they have time to secure a new long term heir to Morrow’s throne.

Sacramento – Players Declared: WRLB Sam McGinley, DS Allen Gerard

It’s not the worst hit, but for a young expansion team having two young players decide they prefer the open market isn’t great. McGinley has plenty of team options so he can be kept around. Gerard might not be worth the franchise tag but Hill will need a replacement in a couple years if Gerard is allowed to walk.

San Antonio – Players Declared: WRLB Tiago Lucena, DS Laray Schmyik

The Rattlers have made it publicly known that Schmyik will either get a trade or the tag, so Lucena is a near sure thing to make it to FAFFA. He’ll need some work on defense but he has potential as a WRLB.

San Francisco – Players Declared: QB Eze Ekebi, WRLB Scott Howden

Both players are likely to hit the market. Ekebi is expendable as a backup QB. Howden has potential but might be too weak on defense to ever truly earn playing time. His future might be as an OS.

St. Louis – Players Declared: WRDB Aherion Willet, K Brian Nordhoff, DS Daryl Yell, DS Pat Govan

Willet is having a strong year but further aging will hurt him on the market. If the Rush were making a Cup push I’d say he could get the tag for one year, but with them appearing to go towards a rebuild following the Greywacz trade I’m guessing they trade him or let him go.

Seattle – Players Declared: None

Not surprised, those long term deals won’t make this day a major concern for several years at least.

Texas – Players Declared: OLDL Greg McConnell

McConnell is a strong player and unless aging kills him will be again next year. Texas is a Cup contender, so he is almost a sure franchise tag.

Vancouver Island – Players Declared: RBLB Ted Gervasi

They have plenty of backs including the best in the league. He’s good as gone.

Virginia – Players Declared: OLDL Felton Poley

Poley is getting up there in age but the Hawks are potentially in win-now mode for next year depending on how this year ends up going, so I think a tag is a likely possibility.

Waco – Players Declared: None

Cool beans.

Wisconsin – Players Declared: QB Jason Stackhouse, QB AT Citro

Both QB’s want to leave town. One is a young All-Star level player with championship experience, the other is a quality but older backup. Who do you think they keep?

PREDICTED FRANCHISE TAGS

RBLB Davion Strachan – Ultimately why say you won’t consider resigning, then take a player option? He wants out I reckon, and the Breakers will want to keep him around.

WRLB Joe Farda – The Fightin’ Squirrels have some young talent at WR, but are also getting old at the top of the depth chart, so they keep who they can for the future.

OLDL Kadeem Davis – He’ll be a strong player for at least one more year, which makes the tag make sense here.

DS Craig Pierce – Top DS’s are harder to replace than top linemen, and London has some young guys to grow at OLDL on the roster making Pratch (barely) easier to let go.

RBLB Olly Quicksilver – Mouton is the best of the RB bunch that declared, but Quicksilver is the future and will be needed pretty soon, maybe next year.

RBDB Earvin Hice – Ohio’s window likely closes (at least for a short bit) if they lose him. Keeping him keeps the window a little more open.

DS Laray Schmyik – Trading isn’t what it was in this league, so I’m not sure they get what they want for him. But they are in contention and want to stay there, so either they get proper value for him or they pay to keep him.

OLDL Felton Poley – Poley is a top player that the Hawks can develop their line around, and replace in a year or two with younger capable talent they’ve developed while not losing out on the field.

QB Jason Stackhouse – Stackhouse is a franchise QB. You do what you need to do to keep him.