Wait a minute. What's going on here? How on earth am I off to a 2-0 start with my San Francisco 49ers? Not only are they the worst team in the league, but I gutted a significant part of my team in hopes of building for next year, and turned over about half of my team in the process. Sure I brought in a handful of guys who can contribute right now, but this is still the worst club in the league.
There are a couple of caveats. My initial plan was to play on All-Madden, but consecutive 50-3 (give or take a few points) blowouts convinced me I wasn't ready. Nonetheless, I didn't fare much better on All-Pro, getting shut out by Cowboys (shameful) and managing only a garbage time touchdown against the Chargers. I also gave up about 75 points in the process, and had my starters in for the duration of both games. Things were not looking up at this point, and a 0-16 season felt like a real possibility.
Second, my two wins are over the Cardinals (their new stadium is nice) and the Rams.
Still, I'm confounded as to what has just happened. Surely it's a stroke of luck, and my team will come crashing back down to video game reality in Week 3 against Philadelphia. If not, I might have to re-evaluate my initial plan, which was to suck badly for the first season, load up on draft picks, and clear as much cap room as possible going into the off-season to try and acquire a lot of young talent, and a couple of pro-bowl caliber free agents.
To bring you up to speed, here was my training camp:
I made the crucial decision to abandon Mike Nolan's 3-4 defense, and installed my preferred 4-3.
I traded away the following players who figured to be starters, or see a lot of action: Kevan Barlow (who didn't compare me to any dictators), Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Newberry, Bryant Young, Anthony Adams, Jeff Ulbrich, Derek Smith, Walt Harris, Tony Parrish.
I acquired the following players in trades: DeAngelo Williams, Taylor Jacobs, Kris Mangum, Jason Spitz, Raheem Brock, Maake Kemoeatu, Boss Bailey, Marlin Jackson. I also signed a couple of rookie free agents - RB Michael Robinson and FB JD Runnels. I then promoted David Baas (C), Isaac Sopoaga (DT), Brandon Moore (MLB) and Chad Williams (SS) into the starting lineup.
I'm at the maximum 10 picks in next year's draft. I have one in the first, two in the second, four in the third, one in the fourth, and two in the fifth.
After re-signing a handful of would-be free agents to extensions, I have $47 million in cap room, and that figures to go up in the off-season when I let a bunch of backups go. While my draft picks will take up at least $20 million of this, the only starters I need to re-sign are Arnez Battle (I'm not yet convinced he's worth the $4 mil per season he's asking for), and Mike Adams (who won't cost much if I decide to keep him). That should leave me with over $30 million to play with on the open market, which will hopefully be used to add an impact wide receiver and/or upgrade my offensive line.
Somewhere in between, I got outscored about 175-13 over the course of four games. Alex Smith threw zero touchdowns, and about 10 picks.
Here's what has happened in the two regular season games:
Alex Smith has looked positively Montana-esque at times, despite throwing 3 picks in the first two games. He atoned for it with 2 second half touchdowns to rally against the Rams, including a 96 yarder to rookie Brandon Williams in the final two minutes.
My active, speedy, 4-3 defense has put a ton of pressure on our opposing QBs.
Brandon Moore quickly justified his insertion into the starting lineup with an 11 tackle performance against the Rams.
The offensive line held steady from left tackle to center, though the right guard (Eric Heitmann) and right tackle (Kwame Brown) have looked shaky in pass protection.
DeAngelo Williams ran all over the Cardinals defense (he netted over 90 yards), but was less effective against the Rams.
I'm still unsure how exactly I'm off to a 2-0 start. I can think of three possible explanations:
1. All-Pro level is ridiculously easy.
2. The Cardinals and Rams really suck.
3. I would make a fantastic general manager.
While I would like to think it's #3, it's most likely a combination of #1 and #2, but who knows? What I do know for sure is that after a frustrating first day, I am once again excited about playing Madden.
And to correct a comment in the last Madden thread, there is the hit stick in this version.