NFLBP PLAYER NEWSLETTER ISSUE 1 PRE SEASON 1996

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the NFLBP player newsletter. Hopefully this should become a forum for discussion between coaches in our league. I am Robert Crowther, coach of the Oakland Raiders, and my ambition is to be newsletter editor - not newsletter writer! You can send contributions and opinions to me at the following address:

ROBERT CROWTHER
2 LILY TERRACE
EDINBURGH
EH11 1PN

Ideal contributions include player profiles, predictions for games/weeks/seasons, season so far summaries for your team/division, stats. I have included a player profile and some (wildly inaccurate) predictions in this weeks edition. Articles can be handwritten, typed, or on Amiga formatted or PC 3.5" 720K disks (ASCII text - please include stamped addressed envelope for return). The sooner you get them too me, the more chance they will have to be included in the next issue. I am sure you will all soon get bored of listening to me ramble on every week so get those contributions sent in now!

On another note, this newsletter can be either two pages on two sides of an A4 sheet, or four pages printed two to a side of A4. This will involve some experimentation, as far as what is readable. This newsletter is printed at 12cpi, which should be alright at normal size but might be hard to read if reduced. Alternatively I can print at 10cpi, but this will result in shorter newsletters - of course, if nobody sends any contributions this won't matter.

You will probably notice, as the weeks go by, my general tone is sarcastic interspersed with healthy doses of egotism. Things that I write will largely be expressed from my own point of view. I will try to avoid this newsletter becoming the 'Oakland Raiders Report' but I will need your help. Write and tell me what you would like to see in this newsletter. Some things are likely to be regulars, such as weekly previews and league leaders, because I will be writing them every week. Player profiles and such like will need your help. If you think you can do a better job than me feel free to tell me, just don't expect me to believe you ;-). However, it has been known for leagues to have two newsletters published on alternate weeks - of course, I've got dibs so you need to ask me nicely.

And now, on with the newsletter...

PLAYER PROFILE

Name: Robert Crowther

Fav Team: Oakland Raiders

Age: 25

Occupation: As little as possible

Gameplan Exp.: SEP Games: NFLP Chicago Bears, 3 full seasons, 3 div. titles, 1 superbowl; NFLAJ San Francisco 49ers, 1 full season, 1 cons. bowl, 1 div. title.

Favourite things: American Football; playing American Football (Lothian Raiders); reading; drinking; having a good time; generally trying to get a life.

Pet peeve: People who don't indicate when driving.

Favourite Films: Blade Runner; When Harry Met Sally; Life of Brian.

Favourite TV: Star Trek (all flavours); Friends; ER; Third Rock; Simpsons.

Favourite Music: Wonderstuff; Talking Heads; Ocean Colour Scene; Alanis Morrisette.

Favourite Authors: William Gibson; Greg Egan; Haruki Murakami; Douglas Coupland; Terry Pratchett.

Favourite Food: The kind in large portions.

Favourite Pets: Cats.

UNSCHEDULED PRE-SEASON TEAM RANKINGS

The top five in each category are listed, ranked by average yards per game. Nice if your team is listed, but not exactly important at this stage. Note that Washington, Detroit, Chicago, New England, Buffalo and Cincinnati have yet to play any games.

Top 5 Passing Off Top 5 Rushing Off Top 5 Offense
Denver Tampa Bay Denver
New Orleans Oakland Seattle
Seattle Denver Tampa Bay
Carolina Kansas City New Orleans
Green Bay San Francisco Kansas City
Top 5 Passing Def Top 5 Rushing Def Top 5 Defense
Kansas City Dallas Kansas City
Denver Tampa Bay Tampa Bay
Carolina Jacksonville Carolina
Seattle Philadelphia San Francisco
Arizona Oakland New York

SCHEDULED PRE SEASON PREVIEW

If these are horribly wrong, don't expect me to admit it. The author accepts no responsibility for the opinions expressed herein ...

Miami (0-1) at Arizona (0-1)

One team here is certain to break their duck. Miami should dominate the battle of the passing games, Arizona need to establish the run to have a chance. MIAMI BY 7.

New York (2-2) at Philadelphia (1-1)

New York have one of the most talented defensive units in the league. The key battle will be their pass rush against a thin looking Philly offensive line. If the Eagles can hit some deep passes they should sneak through, but unless they run the ball expect them to spend a lot of time going backwards. JETS BY 1.

Dallas (1-0) at New England (0-0)

No form for New England, while Dallas have won comfortably. The Pats pass defense looks good, while their offense should be able to exploit the Cowboy's deep pass coverage vulnerabilities. Dallas need to get yardage out of their running backs to stay in the game. NEW ENGLAND BY 7.

Washington (0-0) at Buffalo (0-0)

No form for either team. Washington have a scary looking offense but are very thin on defense. Buffalo should have no trouble running the ball and, if they do, their better balance should win out. BILLS BY 7.

Detroit (0-0) at Cleveland (0-1)

Cleveland were less than impressive last time out. I expect them to struggle unless they make better use of their passing game. DETROIT BY 7.

Green Bay (3-2) at Pittsburgh (2-1)

One of the highlights of this week's play. Both teams have had plenty of practice, Green Bay are coming off an overtime victory against the Raiders while the Steelers had their perfect record spoiled by the Broncos. Pittsburgh need to take advantage of the Packer's soft pass coverage. Green Bay should do likewise. I expect Pittsburgh's stronger ground game to give them the edge. PITTSBURGH BY 1.

Chicago (0-0) at Cincinnati (0-0)

First outing for both teams. Bengal defense looks weak up the middle, but can the Bears capitalize? They will have to, because their defense will struggle to contain the Cincinnati offense unless they can generate some pass rush. BENGALS BY 1.

Tampa Bay (1-0) at Jacksonville (0-1)

Bucs were very impressive first time out, while the Jags struggled to take advantage of all that offensive firepower. Tampa's ground game should take the sting out of Jacksonville's pass rush. An offensive explosion is necessary for the Jags to stand a chance. TAMPA BAY BY 10.

Seattle (0-1) at St Louis (1-2)

St Louis have slowly improved throughout the pre-season. Seattle depend on the passing game to establish the run. Expect some fireworks from the Seahawk offense but for the Rams greater consistency to win through. ST LOUIS BY 3.

New Orleans (0-1) at Kansas City (1-0)

Was the Chiefs defense flattered by Cleveland? Does the Saints defense have any chance of stopping the bomb? Highest scoring game of the day, he who laughs last, lasts longest. CHIEFS BY 7.

Oakland (1-1) at Carolina (0-1)

If you think I'm going to make any predictions about my own team - think again. Raiders run offense against Panthers passing game.

San Francisco (2-0) at Denver (1-0)

Was Denver's win over Pittsburgh a fluke? They certainly look thin on defense, but with nearly 600 yards of offense in one game that didn't really matter. Can they live up to that standard against the 49ers, who have had a very impressive pre season? I don't think so, but I have been known to make mistakes ... 49ERS BY 3.

NFLBP 1996 SEASON OVERVIEW

No predictions from me at this stage, you can wait till next week for that, just some general thoughts. First, between us we have had 480 points of nominal value to spend in building our initial rosters. These have been spent as follows: Offense 270; Defense 198; Special Teams 12. So it looks to me like we have a high scoring season in store. Only three teams used more points for defense than they did for offense while three teams are equally balanced (discovering the identity of these teams is left as an exercise for the reader - don't expect me to do all your research for you). The combined record of these six teams in pre season play (two have not played at all) is 7-5. The rest of the league is 9-11. Five teams seem to have abandoned the concept of defense altogether, three of these teams have played and managed a 2-1 record. This actually surprises me, but expect offenses to become less effective as we all get to know each other's playing styles and start using our keys effectively. The league as a whole seems biased towards pass offense, which is another thing which surprises me. It is a lot easier (and more efficient in terms of nominal points etc.) to maintain a strong ground game than a diverse passing offense. Defenses seem equally split between the 3-4 and the 4-3, but remember the 3-4 benefits DRO and DPS while the 4-3 benefits DRI and DBZ. Which you choose depends on how you intend to stop the pass - cover it well or blitz all over it. Whatever, the small number of squad strengths in the first season only magnifies the differences between the teams.

Here's to an enjoyable first season in the NFLBP! I wish you all the best of luck (except in games against the Raiders), remember we all start this season as equals - so whoever you're playing, you're in with a chance!

Rob.