It's that time again gentlemen. Time to take a look around the TMFL. This week we will take a look at how the season ended, the off-season and a look ahead to the 2013. We have a new addition to our panel of writers this year in Mr. Trey Eidson. Don't expect many punches to be pulled from him And now... onto the discussion. Our Panel of Experts: Matt Keller, Buffalo Rumblings Shaun Mason, WaitingForNextYear.com Matt Wood, Stampede Blue Michael Timpe, The Arch Rival Trey Eidson- Mile High Huddle Jesse Rockwell (Host), The Black and Yellow Beat JR- Our first question revolves around how Season 1 ended. The New England Patriots captured the Super Bowl crown. So the question for the 2013 season is... how do you stop them? MW- Coach Gyrene blew them out in the playoffs in the last file (was it the SB?), so it can be done. The TMFL Patriots are much like their real life counter parts, as Brady is sometimes seemingly unstoppable. He is surrounded with lots of weapons and you just have to pick your poison on defense. You can't take away everything. Blitzing often is probably not a smart option, rely on your front four for pressure and bend but don't break on defense. You can only hope that Brady forces a pass or two and your secondary gets lucky. The more your offense can keep Brady off the field, the better. That can't hurt either. JR- Their TEs are incredibly dangerous and like you said, there are a ton of weapons at their disposal. Pittsburgh hasn't played them yet, but from those I talked to, no matter what you take away, they find a weakness. You have to be able to guard Hernandez and Gronk who will abuse you if you let them. Unfortunately, its nearly impossible to cover both. I do think the loss of Welker really hurts them, although they brought back Randy Moss and drafted a scrub in the 5th or 6th round, this is a definite downgrade. MW- What Josh really excelled at was mixing up coverages. I know he didn't blitz a lot, and he would do things like audible the flat defenders into a buzz zone in a cover 3 look. When you can do that with enough iterations, Brady gets confused and throws picks. I think that is how he beat him so badly, he was also great at taking away whatever crutch you had on offense. MK- We do the same thing and it doesn't matter what coverages you run if your guys don't make plays. When we put guys in purple/buzz zones, they still have to guard the deep corners and such, we can't do it all manually. Thats what makes the Patriots so good, you can't take away everything. MW- Oh I know, we try to do the same. we're not always quick enough. If you give Madden vets only default coverages they've seen a million times, you don't stand much of a chance MK- The Pats are going to take what you give them. I don't see anyway they don't make another run at it this season. My only theory as to how to beat them is just like any other team, keep the offense guessing when you're on defense and keep the ball out of their hands as much as possible when you're on offense. Thats not easy to do of course but thats a winning formula no matter who you're playing. SM- About the Patriots, I'm not sure it isn't just a case of word of mouth scaring people. But Cleveland played them once and they didn't score a touchdown on us, We ended up losing because a fumble got returned for a TD. TE- I personally think you have to somehow stop the two headed monster that is Gronk & Hernandez. That NE playbook has so many plays & looks with the two TE's that it's tough to stop. They just picked up Randy Moss who did basically nothing in San Francisco so that'll be interesting to see how he is used in his return to Foxboro. I was openly unhappy with how many looks Gronk got when we faced off last season but ultimately it's on us to stop Phil. Like you guys said, he just has too many weapons and ways to beat people. You have to play nearly perfect to beat NE. Brady looks for those TE's first and then has plenty of other options if they are taken away. You have to play near perfect to beat them, he is in all our heads before we even kickoff these games... and he knows it. MT- I think the Patriots have to be favorites to win it again, I just don't see anybody out there in the AFC beating them. Peench and his Giants will be right there as well. They play pretty similarly, and have very potent passing attacks that can bring them back from any deficit. As long as they're not making mistakes, both of them are incredibly tough to beat. We've only played the Patriots in a pre-season game, so I don't have much info on how to beat them. My best guess would be to try and force him into mistakes, some mixed coverage like the other guys said. JR- Next question... The biggest award winners are Coach of the Year and MVP. The Saints coach received COTY and QB Ryan Tannehil from Miami won MVP. What are your thoughts on these selections? MW- For Coach of the Year I think you could make an argument for the Saints, Patriots, or Chiefs. They all finished 14-2 and had great seasons. It's hard not to lean towards the Patriots as they won the SB. I think Tannehil had a great season, but I just don't agree with him being awarded MVP. Maybe it's a seniority thing, but the kid has to win a few playoff games first. MK- CotY, IMO, should go to the guy who does the most with the least. Transforming a bad team into a good one > winning games with a loaded team. Not saying the Saints are loaded by any stretch of the imagination, but thats a good team. I would have personally looked for a team/coach that really overachieved. The Cardinals come to mind obviously but with their coach resigning, you can't give it to the guy that steps into that situation. MVP is so tough. It always goes to offensive players it seems.... I want to see a defensive guy win it once. Whether its a LBer, CB, S, pass rusher... I don't care. Just anything on defense. Given the numbers Tannehill put up though, he certainly seemed deserving. MW- Yeah I would have said Cards all the way if Gyrene didn't leave, that was impressive. TE- That's tough to say, you have a lot of candidates in these award races. Capp isn't a bad award winner because that defensive isn't all that great and he found ways to beat guys & shut down some of our better offenses. As far as MVP, I think the only thing that kept Cam Newton from winning this award was the fact the coach went on hiatus and the team lost it's final two games allowing the Giants to sneak in. Cam had 5+ games where the guy had 4+ touchdowns and only threw 2-3 incompletions. You have to look at the teams who get to the post season & which team relied on one guy the most. Miami hasn't seen the post season since 2008 and a rookie QB took them back & who knows what could've happened had the coach been in town. It's a tough say but I don't think you can go wrong with these two winners. JR- I actually agree with Keller on COTY... It should goto the coach who did the most with the least. That would be either Baron in KC or Zac in Carolina. I never thought either team would make the playoffs but they did. Also LSU Truth did a bang up job with the Dolphins. MVP? Do not agree with at all. I would have gone with Forte, Brady, Big Ben or Cam for this one. SM- As far as coach of the year, it's hard to argue against capp34 last year, they had a great season and just couldn't punch their ticket in the playoffs. Tennehill? Who knows with LSUTRUTH. MT- Coach of the Year would have to be Baron to me. There's not a ton of talent on that Chiefs team, and he brought them within a game of the Super Bowl. Definitely did the most with less in my opinion. I agree with Jesse on Forte for the MVP. The dude had a huge year, and led the Bears to the Super Bowl. If I remember right he had upwards of 1,600 yards and a good amount of touchdowns as well. Just a solid year for the best team in the NFC. JR- Who are your winners and/or losers in free agency? MW- Kind of a toss up because I don't all of those players that well, I'm gonna go Seahawks. JR- I really like the browns signing of Felix Jones and Hankerson. The Cardinals addition of Welker was huge and adds another threat with Fitz. But the question is...who throws them the ball? MK- The Giants are already trying to find a suitor for a QB...whether thats Manning or Tucker Marshall, I'm not sure. A few teams that jumped out at me for one reason or another. Some of these teams just filled some key holes, some just added quality depth. To me the top winner is Cleveland though. Cardinals signings of Welker and LaRod Stevens-Howling. Brandon Moore was and underrated signing. Browns - Felix Jones, Brandon Tate, Erik Walden, Arthur Jones, Delanie Walker - I mean those guys are all going to see the field for the Browns these are not just depth players necessarily. Browns did a nice job upgrading their roster. Miami - Clint Sintim, Atogwe, Sherels can run, Tavares Gooden is always athletic. Nice haul of talent. New England - Big names. Moss and Brady back together. Umenyiora to try and amp up the pass rush. SM- As far a FA goes, I like what the Eagles did. Lawdog is positioning himself well TE- You can't go wrong with Cleveland or New England, to feed off our first topic, how to beat NE? You don't allow him to sign superstars in the off-season. He scooped up Mathis to add to that secondary, Umenyiora & Randy Moss. I mean who the heck let's this even happen. As far as the Brownies, pretty solid pick up with Hankerson if they can get him to hold on to the ball. Felix Jones & Brandon Tate are also good pick ups for that offense. T-Rich will have some help finally. MT- I really liked Lawdog's offseason. He added 2 solid starters in Chung and Henderson, and obviously everybody knows about the draft he had. I don't think anybody came close to adding the volume of quality players that he did. MK- Who's the candidate for GM of the offseason? I think I gotta go Lawdog... what'd he end up with something like 4 second round picks? He's got that team turned around and moving in the right direction in a hurry. His Deuce coaching connections seemed to have helped him a great deal, but still. MW- He did execute a lot of smart moves, but come on, don't try and be cute here. With your rookie signings that easily goes to you. MK- We will defer to LSU's comment about my class. Its no better than what Peench or some of the other great offseasons from the previous file. I'm not going to get into specifics though. The only comment I have about Buffalo's draft is the same public statement we made before. I've already deleted my solo file that contains the scouting information going forward. If I don't have that information I can't be tempted to use it. JR- What are your thoughts on the big draft day stories? MW- Unfortunately We missed a lot of the draft talk/trading besides scrambling for our picks because we ad a lot going on here. My best assessment is that the Eagles and Bills held other GMs hostage and blew the rest of the draft classes out of the water with their haul. I think OMlawdog got 1, 2, 3, and 4th round picks for this year and next from Raidernation to move up and get the QB he wanted. Overpaid much? Keller used his base of knowledge of the draft class to trade down wherever he pleased and still picked up talent. If you're not cheating, you're not trying, I suppose should be the motto in Buffalo. Belichick would be proud. Also the CPU seemed to do a decent job on auto picks for other Coaches, just not Shaun. God hates the Browns. JR- Personally I feel that Buffalo had a huge advantage in this draft that other teams do not have. Although I hold them culpable, the game itself allows for this to happen and at the very least, randomization of player names needs to take place. Still though... I think it's a bit unfair. In Cleveland a horrible outcome for the Browns due to technical difficulties. They did not get the guy they wanted more than anything, and this really hurts them moving forward. Once again... blame the game because either a) allow for a draft board in game or b) allow for multiple commisioners so a draft can be paused. Finally, this was an excellent draft for Philly and I applaud them for making such a splash in their 1st offseason. The Raiders GM certainly overpaid, and will feel the repercussions for years. MW- I still can't believe the Raiders over paid like that, sheesh. TE- "Kellergate" IMO isn't as big of a deal as everyone is making it. I mean damn, they are the Bills. They were honest and upfront about the situation and it's not like they reached the entire draft. I'm not going to get into this too deep but he's gotten rid of his source and it shouldn't be a problem down the road. Cleveland as a franchise just has no luck, is it a surprise to anyone that they had technical difficulties on draft day? It's just fitting for them. They were on the phone with DeAngelo McClaine telling him he was the guy they were taking and boom, the phone dies and then Shaun's assistant abruptly texts the wrong guy. It's just a sign that it's not meant for Cleveland. So much went on in the first round with all the trades, I simply got lost. I know the Eagles guy seemed to be drafting someone every other pick, at least it seemed so. He's building that franchise up and from what I hear it shouldn't take him long at all. It's worth it, he got a stud with that LB Dozier and a solid 2nd round with the Kendall Hill, Drew Fuller & Davis Jolly. It was well worth the trading for Philadelphia. JR- Next question which is a couple of questions in one.. Give me a loser, a winner and thoughts on a pick your team missed out on or was happy to get. MW- OMlawdog wins the draft. Raidernation gets the 86 ovr QB, but they have shot their team in the foot for years to come with shipping off all those picks. We really should have picked up CB Anthony Gotzmer in the third, he went early in the fourth (to OMlawdog), and now we're stuck with a 30 yr old CB in our nickel and dime sets. SM- Winner? Lawdog. Loser? Cleveland? Do I even need to go on? Fuck. MK- Lawdog is a clear winner. The Raiders are the losers. The Bills were overall happy with the draft obviously but if there was one position they were targeting that we didn't get it was corner. We thought corner was really deep in this class and we thought we'd be able to try and take a chance on a guy here or there but it just never fell that way. We ended up taking 3 wide receivers as a result, with varying success. The secondary will have to continue to holdup without additional influx of talent. JR- I thought cornerback was really deep too, but they just kept FLYING off the board. It's one reason Pittsburgh drafted a stud RB. If guys are gonna play the pass, we'll go run heavy instead SM- If Matrix can throw the ball with Sanchez or Tebow he will do OK. JR- Yeah he had a great offseason. And McKnight was running back of the year last year. So he knows how to run the rock. As for best draft? Agree with the Philly pick, but also like the draft by Jacksonville and Baltimore. Baltimore adds two very good pass rushers, and DT Hargrove was better IMO than Christmas. Jacksonville (although CPU picks) were much better than expected and addressed huge needs in the secondary. As for worst drafts? Once again, outside of Oakland I feel Dallas and New England had the worst drafts. Dallas really struggled, and New England honestly didn't make themselves that much better. We are Really upset Pittsburgh did not get Jason Judge. A couple of trades were in the works, and he actually went 1 pick before they would have traded up to SF. Also very suprised how good the FS out of Pitt Jemale Hall looks. I knew he was good, but he is an excellent pick by the Jets. Also CB Shannon Wynter we really wanted, and seeing now that he has SS development makes me not picking him a little disappointed. MT- I would say Lawdog had the best draft by far. He ended up with something like 7 guys rated > 70. Can't beat that. I echo everybody else's thought's on the loser. Oakland gave up a ton to get Farris. He better be a stud. A guy St. Louis missed on that we really wanted was Bar'ee Lane. I scouted the guy out at 97 speed, A Accel and Agility, 84 man, and 73 zone. Was really hoping to snag him in the 3rd round or so. I'm not sure how he ended up or where he went, but I think he'll be solid. MK- We also had Bar'ee high on our board Timpe. Definitely another swing and miss by the Bills there. TE- Best Draft? Keller, I kid I kid, Lawdog definitely gets the thumbs up for all his young talent Worst draft? Probably Dallas, Brian didn't have a lot of time to scout or look over the talent in the draft. As for what happened in Denver? We really wanted CB Jalen Cooper, it was silly of us to think he would fall to 18 but still, I was sad to see him go. We're shocked at my own WR that I took in the 7th round. Crenshaw, he may not be a great WR but he's fast as all get out & will be exciting in the KR & PR game JR- Give me some division Champions MK- AFC East winner is obviously the Pats JR- I dont know about New England this year. Looking at their free agency recap, loss of Welker and the poor draft, I like Miami a bit better this year. SM- AFC North Champ is Baltimore. Eric is back and taking it serious. He has a talented roster and is good enough to win most of the time. MW- AFC South Champion... This one is really tough, we all play each other so close and we're fairly even talent wise. I'm going to go with the Colts, they added a few key pieces in FA and through the draft that will hopefully give them the edge to pull off more of those close ones. JR- That division was down to the wire with like 2 games left last year. I was not looking forward to that first round matchup with Tennessee, so Im disappointed in you after you blew it MT- As for the NFC North Champion, I think the Bears have to be the favorite again. Losing Urlacher will hurt, but that offense is going to be awfully tough to stop still with Jeffrey getting a year of progression under his belt. NFC South winner will be the Saints again. With their weapons on offense, and overachieving defense, I just think they'll be incredibly tough to beat. I like to believe Atlanta will be back again this year and that rivalry will be renewed, but following the Bucs 30-3 week 1 win over the Dirty Birds, maybe I'm wrong an it'll be Quiet Storm and his Bucs up there challenging for the NFC South crown. TE- Man this is kinda tough, the entire NFC West had a losing record outside of what Gyrene started in Arizona. I'm going to go with the 49ers as they are the most talented roster other then Seattle who is still somewhat young. JR- The NFC East is an easy one. The Giants are easily the best team in that division. Although I feel Philly will take a step forward, until the Giants take a step backward, I like them to go very deep in the playoffs again. The AFC West is a tough one. I like some of the moves Denver made, and feel that if they don't beat themselves, they have a chance. Going out on a limb here and picking the Broncos. JR- Thanks everyone for your time, and I apologize to our readers for the lengthy read. It was an eventful off-season and tons of topics to discuss. See you around week 4..