Raiders - Madden 15 - Xpress Season Recap
I picked the Raiders because they're my team in outside of Madden; I enjoy trying to take them from basement dwellers back to being a competitive franchise. This year I had the added incentive of getting a team with tons of cap room and some stud rookies to build around. I won't dwell on the division too much as Pats' did an excellent job of breaking it down in his Chargers Recap - But I can confirm that it was very competitive and the other players are a great bunch of guys.
But I'd like to quickly thank Joe and Buncy for running the show, the AFC West gang for making the division great and other rivals like, Rayski, PacFish and KingJimi, who I've enjoyed some excellent games with.
My aim from the start was to steadily upgrade Derek Carr, Khalil Mack and co, and hopeful have a run at the playoffs. My D was awesome throughout the season, but my Offence sucked. I traded for Rashard Jennings before the season, he became the offense, bumbling forward for 1,100 yards and 8TD's – I had nothing else... I finished 9-7, but late season loss to the Bronco's cost me a playoff berth. I had a top 10 Defense and worst Offence in the league. :-(
Regression hurt a number of key players, unsurprisingly Charles Woodson, but also my number 1 receiver James Jones and my workhorse HB Jennings, so I had to find some replacements. In FA I brought in hard hitting FS Will Hill and gave Darrelle Revis a stupid contract (1 year 24 mil 50% 'bonused') to entice him to Oakland.
The year one draft class was easily my best:
Rd 1 – Dontaruis Samuel WR – 6'5” Rezone Threat that blossomed as my Offence improved. He had over 1,000 yards, 12 TD's and finished runner up to the imperious Kenny Stills as the AFC best receiver this last season.
Rd 2 – Spencer Hayden MLB – I switched to a 3-4 D after season one, and Hayden filled in as one of my interior linebackers. He's been constant part of a strong defensive unit and added a little thump.
Rd 3 – Deantre Francois RT – Day one starter, wobbly first season taking over from the disappointing Menelik Watson, but has become a solid presence on my O-line.
Rd 4 – Lucky Clarke LT – Project pick with elite strength, high run blocking and not much else. Backed up Donald Penn for 2 seasons, but started this term and picked up 12 pancake blocks against one sack allowed.
In the late rounds I snagged a couple of kick returners who proved useful.
Started badly with 3 straight losses to the likes of the Jags and the Pats, but things picked up once I settled on using the Colts playbook on Offence. The highlight of the second campaign was ending Evo's ungodly winning streak. (link to match report: http://maddenpfl.com...eek-11-reports/ ). A massive win, but it proved I could finally use my passing offence to win games, rather then relaying solely on tight D. Carr got injured late in season which scuppered my chances of making noise in the playoffs, but I finish 11-5 (from 0 – 3), won a playoff game and picked up the Xpress Coach of the Year award.
I was due to miss the draft so I traded my 1st and 2nd round picks to the Pat's for Stevan Ridley and Julian Edelman. I probably overpaid for the pair, but they made a massive impact on my offensive production adding balance and variety to my attack. That aside, there was little to get excited about.
Marked a change in philosophy from me as I began exclusivly focusing on Game Prep'ing Confidence, have spent seasons one and two boosting the XP for my young stars. All of a sudden with a range of weapons and a little swagger Derek Carr became top QB, and the offence began leading the team. I finished 12-4(think) and lost out on the AFC West title to Evo on tiebreakers, having split games with him for the 2nd year. Thanks in part to other players being on holiday, I made to the AFC Championship game, before loosing to the Patriots. An excellent season, but tinged with disappointment, as it mark the 4th time I've lost in the Championship game since being on the site, I've never played in a Superbowl.
With age catching up with Revis, I drafted Teran Dean CB, in the 1st round and picked up a tasty looking FS Demarco Dorsey. Both proved good additions, Dean in particular, who's elite size and athleticism has meant he's outplayed his good, not great, intangibles.
With Evo on a sabbatical I romped to the AFC West tile, finishing the year 14-2. With Revis now playing nickle CB my D has taken a small step back, but the offence has been even better; Carr picked up the AFC Offensive Player of the year.
Heading into the playoffs I'm hoping to go one better than last year and play in the Super Bowl. With such high goals disappointment is a real possibility, but I'm delighted with the progress my side has made over the four seasons. It would me awesome to go out on a high.