Anytime someone is sent to IR or cut, I'll make a note of it, and I'll include the corresponding move I made to fill the hole. I'll also have an end of season list of all players that won awards, and a list of all players that made the Pro Bowl.
When it comes to contract stuff, I'll mention any extensions during the season, but Free Agent moves will come after the Award list, as it impacts the next season. Finally, I'll recap the draft, who I picked and the grade each player has (which corresponds to his potential grade).
Let's get to it.
Week 1 - W 59-3 at Packers. Drew had a massive game, throwing for nearly 500 yards against a team that was over matched from the start. The ground game was also a big boost, with over 200 yards on the day. All told the offense racked up nearly 800 yards against Dom Capers' unit.
Week 2 - W 49-0 vs Bears. Defense was the key here, as the line sacked Cutler 8 times. Couple that with two back breaking interceptions early and you have a recipe for a blow out. Before this game I traded Darren Sproles to the Bills for Johnny White, and a pair of third round picks. I couldn't afford to pay so much for a guy who was just running back kicks and getting third down carries. Ingram and Thomas were the work horses, and Sproles was a decoy. White does nearly the same things and is cheaper by about $13 million. Easy trade.
Week 3- W 24- 21 vs Texans. Lost Jermon Bushrod for the season, signed Ed Wang, who was with the team in the Preseason.
Week 4- w 22-17 at Jaguars, This one was harder fought than I was ready for. The Jags have a very good running game and were able to control the tempo early. Brees led the comeback drive in the final 2 minutes.
Week 5- W 22-21 at Panthers; Hartley won this game, nailing his 4th field goal with time expiring to take home the win. Drew only threw one TD against a very good Panthers defense.
Week 6- W 40-13 at Buccaneers; This was one sided and over before halftime. Bucs scored twice in the final 7 minutes of the game, but it was too little, too late. Traded Zach Strief to Jaguars for 1st round pick (2012), 2nd round pick (2012), and 1st round pick (2013), because he was getting exploited. I didn't expect such a big haul for an 85 OVR RT, but I guess the Jags were desperate. I'll take that pick and use it to get Strief's replacement next year.
Week 7- W 28-14 vs Colts; Porter had a pick 6 to seal the deal as the Colts were driving to tie it at 21 in the 4th, netting him DPOW for the NFC and NFL.
Week 8 - W 37-14 at Rams; Trap game? Nope. Offense did the trick, running game was amazing.
Week 9 - W 31-14 vs Buccaneers; Swept the Bucs in another blowout. They scored early but we controlled the rest of the game. Lost Pierre Thomas and Aubreyo Franklin for the season, signed Laurence Maroney and Ma'Ake Kemoeatu in corresponding moves. Tough to lose a pair of starters like that, I'll need Ivory and Rogers to step it up.
Week 10 - W 19-6 at Falcons; defense was the kingmaker here, with Atlanta being surprisingly stout against the pass. Running game got it done.
Week 11 - Bye week. Extended Jimmy Graham at 6 years, 35 million. I made this move to free up cap space for Sedric Ellis' extension next season, as he is a first rounder and an impending free agent. If you remember, I have a house rule that forces me to keep first round picks for 10 seasons, unless they retire first.
Week 12- L 34-41 vs Giants (Monday Night); The Bye week curse is back. Came out flat and never recovered. I hope to see them in the playoffs.
Week 13 - W 23-3 at Lions; This was a good confidence booster for the defense after getting hammered by the Giants. Hope they can build off of it.
Week 14 - W 23-3 at Titans; Back to back. Huge day for the defense again, as they controlled the number one rushing attack in the league and kept the offense under 150 yards.
Week 15 - W 37-13 at Vikings; Another week, another top tier running game shut down. The front seven are carrying the load right now and it shows. Locked up Home field in the playoffs with this win and a 49ers loss.
Week 16 - W 24-9 vs Falcons (Monday night); Brees hit his stride here, throwing for 3 TD's, 450 yards and only missing on 3 of his 35 attempts. Big win heading into the final week of the season.
Week 17 - W 31-15 vs Panthers; Swept the South in style and closed out the season in the throwback uniforms at home. Heading into the bye healthy and ready. A good feeling.
Season Results: 15-1 First NFC South, First Seed NFC thru Playoffs.
Divisional Round - W 35-16 vs 49ers; Before this game, during the bye I cut Maroney, and signed Mike Hart. I wasn't happy with Maroney's production late, and he wasn't executing on runs. Hart will be a nice 3rd down option to spell Ivory late in the game. The 49ers were a shell of themselves and came into this one with a 1-5 record over the last 6 weeks. They barely beat the Giants in the wildcard and they had no chance here.
Conference Championship - W 38-20 vs Packers; Dom improved his defense since week one, but not enough. Rodgers had some fire early, but the front seven locked him down with 5 sacks in the second half. Lost backup Tackle Pat McQusitan for season, signed Reggie Wells for depth.
Super Bowl 46 - W 28-20 vs Ravens. This was a close one, and the Ravens defense came to play. Drew had another huge game here, going 35-40 with 413 yards and 3 TD's. The ground game closed it out in the 4th quarter and Ingram put a bow on the season, finishing with 118 yards and a TD. Looking forward to next season, and a chance to win it in the Superdome.
On to the awards and such.
Drew Brees - MVP ( NFC, NFL), Offensive Player of the Year (NFC, NFL), Best QB (NFC, NFL), Super Bowl 46 MVP
Marques Colston - Best WR (NFC, NFL)
Jahri Evans - Best OL (NFC, NFL)
Tracy Porter - Defensive Player of the Year (NFC, NFL), Best DB (NFC, NFL)
Fired Carmichael, G. Williams
Hired G. Eddington as Def. Coordinator
Hired I. Cummings as Off. Coordinator
A quick note here, the CPU fired those guys, and they weren't in the list of available or in NFL coaches. It's not what I wanted, I liked the guys we had in place, but sometimes the game screws you. I suspect these new guys were randomly generated since most fans don't pay attention to coaches in the league.
It's still a pain to deal with. I hope it doesn't happen going forward.
Medical Facility upgrade
Authentic Merchandise Booth upgrade
I like to get a couple of stadium upgrades after every season, mostly just to do it. I think that this, along with the revenue system, is a holdover from more detailed Madden franchises in the past. The upgrades don't seem to do anything, and while I always take a flier on the Medical Facility and Nano Grass, I really don't think it matters.
No sponsorship deals. I'm not selling out the Superdome to anyone.
Resigned Chase Daniel to a 1 year deal
Resigned Pierre Thomas to a 3 year deal
Resigned Jo-Lonn Dunbar to a 1 year deal
Resigned Shaun Rogers to a 1 year deal
Terrelle Pryor, QB
Stanley Havili, FB
Kelcy Griffin, FB (UDFA)
A.C. Pierce, HB (UDFA)
Patrick Turner, WR
Cedric Watts, WR (UDFA)
Julius Thomas, TE
Jordan Cameron, TE
Taje Miles, TE (UDFA)
Jack Cemento, LT (UDFA)
Shamare Glover, LT (UDFA)
Allan Freeman, LG
Joshua Holmes, C (UDFA)
Darick Rucker, RG (UDFA)
Al Woods, LE
Eric Lloyd, RE (UDFA)
Shyquawn Diggs, FS (UDFA)
Geoffrey Walls, SS (UDFA)
Steve Hauschka, K
Chas Henry, P
The players grade (his potential) will appear in parentheses after his school. As a quick note, any first round picks must stay with the team for 10 seasons. It's my house rule.
1(4, from Jaguars): Arsenio Northe, LT, Oregon(B); I needed a new tackle after trading Strief to the Jags. This is the pick I got and I used it on his replacement.
1(32): Nico Marcotte, DT, Oregon (B); Another Oregon Duck was the pick here, mostly because I let Franklin walk in Free Agency. I wasn't going to overpay a fading player.
2(36, from Jaguars): Verlon Justice, QB, New Mexico State(B); Potentially Drew's successor, I want to give him a few seasons to grow, like Rodgers and Favre in Green Bay. I don't need a QB here, but it helps to have an eye to the future.
2(64): Marquee Norris, WR, Tennessee(A); This was a pure luxury pick. I wanted to bring in a guy to replace Colston in 3 years, and this is the guy. Turns out to be a grand slam of a pick and projects to be better than Megatron. Awesome pick here.
3(84, from Bills): Isaic Mays, CB, Eastern Oregon (A); Another mid round gem, Mays is supposed to be a Revis level potential player. He starts with an 81 OVR and I grabbed him purely to fill my 5th CB slot.
3(96): Max Armstrong, LOLB, Akron(D); What a massive let down. This guy had amazing measurables at the combine, but I didn't scout him enough to see the truth. A real authentic Saints pick here. I'll be looking for an OLB next year too.
4(128): Jerome Grove, RT, Citadel(B); A nice surprise in the 4th round. Good depth and a nice possible trade chip later on.
5(160): Thomas Price, RE, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point (UW Stevens Pt.) (A); Wow, what a steal. This guy is a monster at 6'4 338 and is built like a nose tackle. I may be able to transition to a 3-4 sooner than I thought. Will Smith won't be back in 2 years with Price on the roster.
6(192): Brandon Morris, CB, Duke (B); The rich get richer. I now have 6 CB's all with B grades or better. Life just got real hard for QB's in the NFC South.
7(224): Griffin Barletta, DT, Missouri State(A); A 2nd round graded player fell all the way to Mr. Irrelevant. You bet your ass I'm taking a flier on this guy. I need a 4th DT since I'm still running a 4-3 for now, and Barletta will suffice. Man, what a steal. This might be the best draft ever. I bet next years will suck.
That's all for year one. Check back next week for year two and how the Saints did in my version of 2012. Until then, thanks for reading.