Former Brown University running back Michael Malan is playing in NFL Europe with the Scottish Claymores this spring. Today's is the fifth in a weekly series of first-person accounts from the allocated Patriots fullback as he pursues his NFL dreams while living in a hotel in a foreign land. This week the Claymores dropped a tough 33-27 overtime decision to the Frankfurt Galaxy. Malan carried the ball once for two yards and had one reception for nine yards, but led the way for two 100-yard rushers. Claymores tailback Ken Simonton rushed for 132 yards, while Maurice Hicks rolled for 100 yards for a Claymores team that put up 500 totals yards of offense. The Claymores have now lost two games in a row and sit at the bottom of the standings with a 2-4 record.
Any time you lose in overtime it is tough. I can't tell you what is wrong with us or why we are 2-4 when we definitely should not be. We just have hit a bit of bad luck. Some things are just not going right. We are piling up a ton of yards as an offense. I think the coach told us today that we are statistically the best offense in the league, but we are just not putting the points on the board. We've hit a bit of bad luck. We just haven't put the ball in the end zone as much as we need to. We have also been unsuccessful in the kicking game the past couple of weeks and that I think that has hurt us. But we can't blame anything on that, we just need to point more points on the board as an offense.
I am not going to lie and say everyone is as gung ho as they would be if we were 4-2 and at the top of the league. So there probably are some guys who have shifted their focus a bit to personal development. But I think the guys on the team realize, and should realize, that it is not over yet. Last year a team with a 6-4 record made it to the World Bowl, and I think it will be the same way this year. So hopefully we can go 6-4 and maybe have a shot at making the World Bowl. Right now there are three teams at 4-2 and three at 2-4, so we definitely have a chance. It's important for us this week to win against Rhein and to score more points against Rhein than they've scored against us so that we would win the tiebreaker with them. Then we will have to beat Barcelona in a few weeks to beat them in a tiebreaker. So the teams that are ahead of us in first place, if we beat them by more than they beat us then we will win the tiebreaker against them and hope that they lose one other game. It is definitely realistic that we could get things rolling and make it to the World Bowl.
I think the whole time you are here you have to think about both your own attempts to make an NFL team as well as your job here for the Claymores. You have to think about making sure you are ready to make the team when you do come back to the U.S., but also try to do everything you can to win games right now. It's hard not to think about the NFL when you are over here and to just think about NFLE. Every guy who is here, their goal is to make it in the league. So I think throughout the season you think about what you need to do to make your NFL team. I think I have done a good job in balancing those two things so far.
Honestly, over the last few weeks the success in the running game has been all on the tailbacks' shoulders. The just did a great job this week. They made big plays. I think Maurice (Hicks) had something like a 60-yard touchdown run on a reverse. I had a nice view of it from the sideline. Then Ken (Simonton) had about a 60-yard gain on another play that I was cheering from the sidelines. So they are just playing great football right now and that is mostly the reason for the two 100-yard rushers that we had last weekend. But I definitely take some of the credit for how the running game is going at this point. It's a good thing for everyone on the offense. I'm sure it will raise the attention of some of the scouts and get us all looked at a little bit closer.
I went to Ireland over the last couple of days and it was great. We got to do a lot in a two-day span there. There was definitely a lot of walking. We had the two days off from practice. It wasn't very restful doing all that walking, but it was a lot of fun. My girlfriend and I were just basically a couple of tourist types over there. We were just hanging out in the Temple Bar (Dublin's cultural quarter), which is like the central location over in Dublin.
I think a lot of the guys tried to get away the last couple of days as well. I think a lot of them went Edinburgh (Scotland) and a lot of guys went down to London (England). A lot of the guys just got away from football over the last couple of days, which I hope is a good thing. I think there is no question that we needed the time off after two tough losses in a row in games that we should have won.
On fellow Patriots allocate and Claymores teammate Scott McCready
He is doing very well over here. He has just been incredibly productive (18 receptions for 306 yards and three touchdowns in six games) and if you can do it over here you definitely have a shot of being successful in the NFL. There have been good receivers to come out of this league, receivers that put up numbers and then make it as a fifth wide receiver on an NFL team. I know he is incredibly driven and motivated to make the Patriots. I am sure he'll have a shot at that. I think he is just a very tough receiver and I think he is good after the catch because he is tough to tackle. He's got a pretty good stiff arm when he is running out in the open field.