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RonaldVennegoor
Deventer Devils

  RonaldVennegoor owns a supporter account   RonaldVennegoor acts as Mentor for beginners

Joined: 2020-11-12/S40
Posts: 75
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posted: 2020-12-14 13:25:36 (ID: 100155318) Report Abuse
Good to see replies from Dragons 2 coming in!

And re use of english, that should never ever be a reason not to post. As Jonny said, English is second language to most and even if spelling is not correct, really, who cares!? I don't care one bit, as long as I kinda know what you are trying to say, I am happy
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Corsica
Cargese Dolphins

Joined: 2020-10-26/S40
Posts: 1
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posted: 2020-12-15 09:39:07 (ID: 100155343) Report Abuse
Will not try to go up this year.. My team is too Young.. we will see next season what s going on


cheers guys



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Jonny Utah
Chelt Nam Bobbers

  Jonny Utah owns a supporter account

Joined: 2015-02-18/S15
Posts: 1397
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posted: 2021-01-05 14:51:41 (ID: 100155948) Report Abuse
Welcome back to another episode of Blowing Smoke

Jonny: We're diving head first into the Dragons Lair today and looking at the D1 from head to toe. We've got everything from dominating veterans marching towards Elite to new bloods looking for a foothold in this tough league.

The AC appears the stronger of the two conferences, three division leaders have Elite experience and are looking strong, so can the Stars break the mould and make their first appearance in the Elite? They look good to me Roel, what do you think?

Roel: Well, as they say, you are what your record says you are. At 9-2 they are definitely a top tier team. Are they good enough to get to the bowl? Let's have a closer look at the AC to answer this.

I feel that the team to beat is Erudite Linstock in the AC. Their metrics are all top 5 and they have beaten Stars already this season. However, I find TDD to be an accurate comparison tool as well. For those who do not know, the TDD stands for TouchDown Differencial. It is basically TDs scored minus TDs conceded.

If you use this metric, then Erudite and Stars are on exactly 29. Their game was also decided by less then one TD. So yes, I do think Stars definitely have a shot at getting to Elite this season.

However if you look at TDD, then their are two teams on top with a TDD of 32 and those are the current number one (France 2018 **) and fifth placed Panthers. The Panthers also beat Erudite earlier this season. So are the Panthers better than their record says they are?

Jonny: Panthers right now probably are better than the record, those three losses came early in the season, two of those losses were by a combined total of 5 points, they could easily be 10-1.

Panthers biggest win came against Viper, on paper they should easily win that game, but Viper have really impressed me so far this season, putting together a solid campaign during the building process, they look like a team on the verge.

One thing that's going to in some ways hinder, on others push them to be better is being in a division with France 2018*, I should know, I shared the NC North with them and the Jackalopes, the division was brutal and so much fun!

We also had the Steamrollers in there at one point, this team is now deep into the rebuild. Average age of 19 and $63k on wages, these are the foundations and the start of what could be a really fascinating story, I'm looking forward to the Steamrollers and Devils crossing paths

So, looking at the stats Roel, which players in the AC are standing out for you? Here's an interesting one I noticed, Felix Meyer, QB for Quack Attack is leading the league in pass yards, but also has taken the second most amount of sacks in the league!

Roel: Staying with sack statistics, LB Nicolas Bethea of the Jackalopes is having his best season so far in his last year as a pro (he will retire at the end of the season) and is leading the league with 18 sacks in 11 games! He will leave a massive hole in his depth chart. There is one other stat related to sacks that I wanted to point out. In their first season in Dragons 1, Blakedown Bolts are putting the hurt on opposing QBs. They are currently ranked 3rd with 45 sacks. Very impressive.

However the one stat that blew my mind was the following: There are two teams that are leading the rushing TDs stat...with their QBs!! Rio Stars and Tampa Bay Bandits both have QBs that have scored 19 and 18 TDs with their legs! I did some digging on Rio Stars as he is leading the league and he often has a QB run on 1st down and goal. However in recent games, he has also sprinkled in some successful 3rd and goals in there.

Have linkleo911 and Lucky Clem cottoned onto something here?! Will we see this more often now in the league and the biggest question: how do you stop this? Looking at his stats, he has 41 rushing attempts for 2.9 yards average, so not great. But at the goal line? It does seem a legit tactic there. What are your thoughts on this?

Jonny: I remember when the QB rush was added and Tampa were the first team I really noticed making the most out of it. Depending on exactly how lopsided tactics work, it could be a great way to get yards when you really need them. Of other teams haven't noticed what these guys are doing, they might now

I'll bet on the leader in rushing yards over TD's though, I feel justified in that by the leader in yards being the Mülheim Seahawks, the only 10-1 team in the NC and a safe bet at this point for the number 1 seed. They also lead the league in pancakes by a huge margin, take note people, never underestimate the importance of a solid o-line!

It'll be interesting seeing who goes up from the NC, other than the Jackalopes, none of the contenders have been to Elite and there's no clear favourite, from what I can see, right now. Although most impressive record so far has to go to Moraira Moors, their wages are extremely low yet they're competing with the top teams, they lost to the Bandits, but only by 1 point, and yes, the game winning TD did come from a QB rush
I like the Moors PB, it's geared towards the pass with just enough runs to catch defenses out and stop them playing all out pass D, smart and we'll utilised

I'm wondering though whether it's time for the Torpedos to push through to the bowl, I've always credited them as being the team that forced the Bobbers to make the necessary changes required to get to Elite. I'll be cheering for them, but I'd like to see a Linstock Jackalopes Bowl, simply because of those sack numbers we spoke of, the number top two in sack could make for a brutal finale

On to the "difficult subject" now of who goes down! I think we can safely say the Steamrollers are on their way to D2, not a bad thing though, Aneez knows the game and with some solid draft picks and the war chest that comes with the amount they're saving, they'll be back with a vengeance. But who are the teams on the verge Roel? Do you see anyone that could beat the drop this season and use it as a springboard for future success?

Roel: There are a surprising number of high wage teams at the bottom of the league. Olympic Wildcats have a wage bill of 6 mill. I would say that is a concerning fact, and I worry for their financial future. In fact, there are not many teams that stand out in a positive way here I'm afraid. There are still teams that have not fully built their stadium yet for example.

If I have to choose one I would go for Lagos Marines. They invested heavily in their coaching staff and have one of the youngest and brightest head coaches in the league. HC Karim Abbas is just 33 year old but very experienced and rated at 100 CP. Quite the hire by the Marines. This makes me think they studied the game and are on a upward trajectory. Their record is not showing however so I am going a bit out on a limb here.

Talking of interesting teams, the one I am quite interested in is Nottingham Outlaws. Managed by BUUURNS, who has been in RZA since 2013, went through a complete tear down but now seems on the way up. He is in an incredibly tough division; last season he was finished bottom of the AC North...with a winning record of 9-7. He would have won the NC West with that, instead he ended up bottom of his division! But I think that tough competition also has an upside in that it drives you to try harder and get better results in the long run. Then consider the managerial experience he has, he should be able to claw his way up the league and be a challenger sooner rather than later.

But the NC definitely is the weaker of the two conferences, that is for sure. Mülheim Seahawks is on a different level. So talking of teams like the Torpedos, Janitors and Saints - why have they never made it to the very top? What is holding them back?

Jonny: There's probably going to be many very small answers to that, the easiest thing to say would be firepower, maybe a slight extra investment in wages could put any, or all, of them in the next tier. As always this comes with the disclaimer of "most things I say are mildly educated guesses and should not be taken as fact"

A quick glimpse at the Janitors makes me think they could probably rest their starters a bit more throughout games, players on ever snap are going to be very tired by the 4th quarter, this depends on their depth though.

Saints could be the opposite, almost an equal split between a lot of players makes me think focusing a bit more on the best players could help. They do need to cut down on their interceptions, they're not the worst, but turnovers are damaging, more rushing attempts or team focus on building the team pieces to excel in the passing game could be the key.

Torpedos are similar, I think small changes could make the difference, they got space to spend more money, investing across the team could make the slight difference required. Digging deep into their game against Moraira Moors could be interesting. As I've said, Moors are doing great with low wages and an average team rating of just over 72. One game never tells the whole story, but it's where I'd start.

Speaking of singular games (I wondered from the start what tenuous link we'd use to get here ), we have a new segment for Blowing Smoke! Roel suggested Epic Games from the history of RZA, and I thought it was a brilliant idea

Going back to the Season 29 NC Championship game between the 15-1 Steamrollers and the 13-3 Panthers, it had all the ingredients to become an epic game and the close final score was probably within predictions, but how it happened was something else!

Roel, without knowing the final score, what would your predictions have been before this game?

Roel: I did look back at the general stats that season and I noticed an interesting side to this game. Panthers had the no.1 rush offense while Steamrollers had the no.1 rushing defense. Using my non-scientific TDD metric, it is Steamrollers with 82 and Panthers with 76. Panthers ended up 6th in the league but their TDD is 2nd highest (behind Steamrollers) so I would think Panthers had a stronger schedule perhaps and I would predict this to be a slight edge for Steamrollers but not more than one TD. So how did it turn out then Jonny?

Jonny: Panthers started strong, first drive of the game resulting in a 25 yard TD pass to Alvin Delagarza. Steamrollers responded with a rush for negative yards, backs against the wall already? Heck no, 2nd and 11 and Thobias Støvring gets himself an 81 yard TD to level up the scores! 7-7 and we haven't played 5 minutes yet.

After a field goal for the Panthers, holding the 'Rollers to a 3 and out, a 66 yard Panther TD drive and a Steamroller fumble, the early battle of wills was leaning hard towards the American black cats. Down 17-7 the Underachievers needed someone to step up and flip the momentum, another Panther TD would have been catastrophic. Up steps Nicolai Jensen with a huge interception and all of a sudden 'Rollers have the ball in great field position with under 4 minutes to play. Taking almost 4 minutes to stretch those 29 yards, 'Rollers make it 17-14 with little time left for Panthers to do any damage.

Entering half time there's only 3 points in it, but the reality was the Panthers were moving the ball better and, outside of the interception, their defence was playing better. If it carried on like this Panthers would have a text book win. Someone needed to light a fire under those Steamrollers at half time, I think someone did just that.

So Roel, what happened next?

Roel: Well, if aneez gave a hair dryer treatment during half time, the offensive unit must have been outside the locker room as they start the second half with a 3 and out. They get 8 yards on the first play but then can't progress the 2 yards needed for a new first down. So they punt and the Panthers offense tread onto the field once more.

'Roller fans are expecting the worst now. The first plays confirm what happened in the first half; the Panthers O is working like a well-oiled machine. However at the 42 yard line, disaster strikes. CB Malan Chander jumps the route, picks of the pass and runs 53 yards for a pick six. the Rollers D had the opposing QBs number already in the first half, and lo and behold, they do it again. The Steamrollers are in front for the first time this game.

Panthers QB Hamish Mair composes himself as he takes to the field once more. Surely this was a temporary set back. They are dominating this game. And the drive again starts well, picking up a first down with his first throw. However unbelievably, at the 42 yard line, the coach calls for the same play that was picked off just over a minute ago. CB Malan Chander can't believe his luck as again, he correctly identifies the play that is developing in front of him. Without hesitation he jumps in front of the receiver and he intercepts the ball. Again, no one is able to catch him and he scores another pick six! Surely Malan Chander made history here by scoring two defensive TDs in under two minutes. The Steamrollers defense has well and truly bailed the offense out here and the momentum has swung convincingly away from the Panthers.

And it shows on the field. The Panthers offense cannot do anything the next drive and have to punt after just four plays. On comes the 'Rollers offense and they start to pound the Panthers D with 8 runs out of 12 plays to score a TD. The score is now 35-17 and the Underachieving Steamrollers must have wrapped the game up with this lead, right Jonny?!

Jonny: I would have put money on it, Steamrollers didn't score on their next drive, but they took four minutes of the clock, with an 18 point lead and only eleven minutes left in the game they punt the ball to the Panthers 35.

Panthers stick with the running game, a bold decision with the scores the way they were, but it worked, they powered their way to a TD, 10 yard rush, 14 yards, 'Rollers defence couldn't stop them. A three and out and the Panthers get the ball back for another long drive.

Again the Steamrollers defence couldn't stop the running game, but I thought they were doing enough, an 11 point lead and making sure not to give up anything over the top was how I would have played it. They gave up points but time was running out for the Panthers. What the Panthers did was give themselves a chance. Panthers TD, score is 35-31, they cut it down to 4 points, but there's only 25 seconds left on the clock and Steamrollers have the ball.

What happened next Roel? Steamrollers ran out the clock and advanced to Elite, right?

Roel: It has to be right? There are 25 seconds left on the clock. The team that is four points ahead has the ball. There is no way in high hell that they can lose this game. In RZA with 25 seconds you get 2 or 3 plays off, at best. The Panthers have to cause a 3 and out and receive the punt and then score a TD with one play basically. It really is impossible. Unless...well, let's drop into that moment and see what happened...

The ball is on the 25 yard line. The 'Rollers QB surveys the defense. They seem to be showing no blitz. A run is the safe option here. But perhaps a short underneath pass is better seeing how defense has lined up? But a first down would really kill the game off. The left WR is lined up in a favourable match-up, perhaps...? The ball is snapped. The QB has to make a decision. He throws... He tries to lead the receiver over the first down marker but in doing that he inadvertently has overthrown the receiver just a bit. The CB finds himself suddenly in a place to make a play on the ball. He reaches and is able to grab the ball just in front of the onrushing WR. And suddenly the roles have switched. Offense becomes defense in the slit of a second. The WR desperately tries to tackle the CB but with a shake of his hips the CB is able to escape the lunging WR. He is free! The end zone is a mere 30 yards in front of him and nothing but green grass between him and the end zone. Off he goes and two seconds later he scores a defensive TD. The extra point is good and with that the score is now 38-35 in favour of the Panthers! What a turn around, impossible has become possible!

The 'Rollers do get the ball back and run the play they should have played, a run over the center. And with that the game is over. The Panthers have scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and taken the unlikeliest of victories right from the jaws of defeat.

That is the end of the first Epic Game review. I don't know about you Jonny, but even though this was twelve seasons ago, I can feel the adrenaline rush through me when I am retelling this game. It must have been amazing / awful feeling to be in the stands that day depending on who you supported.

Unless you have anything else to add, I will hand it over to you to close out this edition of Blowing Smoke.

Jonny: We've all been on the receiving end of one of these, and if you haven't then heads up, it's one it's way!

There is one last thing to add though Roel, we've blown our budget and gone against all travel restrictions to send Rufio to the Netherlands!

Rufio, what do you have for us?

Rufio: Rufio here! As the beat reporter for RZA I'm sure some of you have noticed I do my homework when it comes to researching teams. Recently I got wind of an up and coming team and wanted to check them out. So for the next 2 days I'm Rufio on the scene for Blowing Smoke! I'm a big fan of underdogs and team building so I decided I had to check it out... plus I've never been to the Netherlands so perfect excuse to discover an awesome part of the world. So off to Deventer I went!

And Wow. This place is super fucking weird. There's clearly a lot of excitement about this team... A.Whole. Lot. Like scary amounts.... literally. I'm not sure all the hellspawn paraphernalia was team related, actually I'm pretty sure this stuff was here long before the Deventer Devils came to town. Anyhow, I really wanted to check out the new facilities, (I heard the youth training is tops in the world) and meet some of the personnel if I could, but I couldn't even get near the stadium. Unfortunately, there was some mask party going on. Dark smoke and loud songs filled the sky. I decided to turn in and headed to the hotel.

The hotel was beautiful, brand new, but almost ancient in it's ornate decoration. Once atop the incredibly soft bed I decided to pass out early, but the constant chanting outside made that impossible. Also, the room was really hot... far too hot to sleep comfortably and the thermostat was set as low as it could go. I called down to get some assistance but nobody spoke English.... or in any language it seemed. Just grumbles and hisses. I toughed it out and decided to go over some of the week's games for my power rankings article that already will have come out by the time you read this... or my obituary if I don't escape this place.

My trip was just a short stay so I decided to risk fate and get back to the stadium in the morning if I could meet the new owner Roel before I had to jet back. Once I arrived I was denied access, but I did see some front office personnel walking in to the stadium in long robes surrounded by 6 women dressed in white cloaks singing. If that wasn't a sign to stop researching the team I don't want the next hint. I decided to use the rest of my time exploring the town of Deventer. I've been to plenty of smaller cities across the world, and this place had a nice charm to it. The people were very friendly and incredibly supportive of the Devils. The small bed and breakfast owner, Grietje, has lived in this town for 78 years and "Couldn't be more excited to have all the new people moving in, they've really brightened up the town." Apparently the city population has grown 15,000 people in the last 3 months. If little old ladies approve, who am I to disagree? Also, I want to keep living so that's the end of this investigative report! Deventer is beautiful and has possibly the most.... dedicated fanbase I've come across.

Good luck to Roel and his undertaking.... and to all visiting teams.

This has been Rufio on the scene for Blowing Smoke in the Netherlands have a great RZA week!

Jonny: Thanks Rufio, and thanks to everyone for who's made it this far for reading.

I'll end this one with a "GO DEVILS GO!" Because who would dare rooting against that team?!
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ChoadW
Budapest Janitors

Joined: 2019-04-22/S34
Posts: 89
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posted: 2021-01-05 15:06:47 (ID: 100155951) Report Abuse
Hahha! What an effort!

I can tell you, right away, what keeps me back: Offensive PB (which also affects the defensive side, they have to be on the field more than they optimally should). I cannot seem to figure out what works properly. If I change something major, it usually screws everything up, so I just go back to what's working semi-decently, but that's not good enough.

I usually have 50-55 man rosters, with at least 1 but mostly 2-3 quality backups for most positions. Also, slowly figuring out what makes certain players good at certain positions (at least I'm telling myself that). Keeping wages down going well, so I'm not running into money issues while I'm trying to fix what the non-roster related issues are.
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linkleo911
Rio Stars

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Joined: 2019-01-16/S32
Posts: 503
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posted: 2021-01-05 16:48:53 (ID: 100155960)  Edits found: 1 Report Abuse
Hey guys thanks for spreading my QB-run tactics!

Great lines (as usual). But you are a bit late as my Stars are 10-2 now and number 2 in AC. Big games are coming against France 2018 and the Mulheim Seahawks so keep your eyes on it as those matches may change the whole season story.



Edit: One more point: I think you get confused by the Mulheim teams. The pancake and rushing yards leader is the Steelers (5-7) not the Seahawks (11-1) which is leading the NC.

Last edited on 2021-01-05 16:58:39 by linkleo911

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Lucky Clem
Tampa Bay Bandits

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Joined: 2017-11-15/S27
Posts: 213
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posted: 2021-01-05 22:48:14 (ID: 100155968) Report Abuse
ChoadW wrote:
Also, slowly figuring out what makes certain players good at certain positions (at least I'm telling myself that).


Hopefully you knew this was out there if not you need to check it out... About 1/3 down this page is a list for training your players, based on their position.

https://redzoneaction.org/football/index.php?page=home&subpage=blog&postid=100000222
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Jonny Utah
Chelt Nam Bobbers

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Joined: 2015-02-18/S15
Posts: 1397
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posted: 2021-01-06 08:20:23 (ID: 100155977) Report Abuse
linkleo911 wrote:
Hey guys thanks for spreading my QB-run tactics!

Great lines (as usual). But you are a bit late as my Stars are 10-2 now and number 2 in AC. Big games are coming against France 2018 and the Mulheim Seahawks so keep your eyes on it as those matches may change the whole season story.



Edit: One more point: I think you get confused by the Mulheim teams. The pancake and rushing yards leader is the Steelers (5-7) not the Seahawks (11-1) which is leading the NC.


We were late, things took long that we expected. The Mülheim mix-up was my fault, I realised at one point, changed a name but forgot about the stats part. Apologies to the Steelers and Seahawks
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RonaldVennegoor
Deventer Devils

  RonaldVennegoor owns a supporter account   RonaldVennegoor acts as Mentor for beginners

Joined: 2020-11-12/S40
Posts: 75
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posted: 2021-01-07 10:53:10 (ID: 100156019) Report Abuse
Love the scouting trip to Deventer. Watch the next blog post from Devils is all I am gonna say now...
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Rufio13
Space Kraken

  Rufio13 owns a supporter account

Joined: 2019-08-14/S35
Posts: 230
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posted: 2021-01-07 17:01:23 (ID: 100156025) Report Abuse
RonaldVennegoor wrote:
Love the scouting trip to Deventer. Watch the next blog post from Devils is all I am gonna say now...


It's a beautiful, if not unsettling, place.
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