Thursday, March 17, 2011

Power vs. Barnstormers Preview: Keller's Take

Weidman already did a great job of reviewing Week 1 and previewing Week 2, so I'm just going to add a couple of thoughts.
  1. The offense looks like it's way ahead of the defense.  I expected their timing to be a little off in the first game and I definitely didn't expect them to score 52 points.  That's a nice surprise and I think they have some solid players on that side of the ball.
  2. To go along with #1, the defense has some issues.  The front five has some talent, especially linebacker Caleb Bostic and definitely end Neil Purvis.  Purvis is the best player on the defensive line by far and made some key plays, both as a pass rusher and defending the run.  The cornerbacks are the problem.  I don't think it's time to start cutting guys, but the Power basically have two options: Sign better players or get to the quarterback faster.  This week, I'm thinking they need to overload blitz to Purvis' side and blitz the one guy that they're allowed to send.  This will at least make the opposing quarterback make a decision faster and could force some turnovers, which would be very welcome.  Whatever passing yards and touchdowns they give up, the offense can probably match it and it's doubtful they can do much worse than they did against the Soul.
  3. Bernard Morris is a talented player, but he's still green and still has some holes in his game.  He stares down receivers, which led to the pick-six that ended the game in overtime.  He holds the ball too long when his first option is taken away.  If his first read is open, he's very good at recognizing it and releasing, but he showed a tendency to go all Roethlisberger and hold the ball when he needs to go through his progressions.  This led to the safety in the fourth quarter.  Those two items can be fixed with time, practice, coaching, and experience.  Morris is still young and he's still learning.  The one hole in his game that can't be fixed is that he doesn't put a lot of zip on the ball when he has to throw it farther than 20 yards.  He floated a ball and threw it short in the first half of the game against the Soul, missing a sure touchdown pass that could've blown the game open.  If other teams in the league catch onto this fact -- and they're bound to -- then they can sit on routes and not worry about getting burned deep.  It could be, though, that he was a little tight in his first game and was trying to be too precise and put too much touch on the ball instead of just going out there and winging it.  Maybe he can make Iowa pay if they try to camp out on short routes and he's able to beat them deep.
  4. The Power have a dance team.  They're called the Sparks.  They are worth the price of a general admission ticket.  Weidman has said that we will get pictures and post them.  So, stay tuned for that.
As far as the Barnstormers are concerned, I don't know much about them.  As Weidman pointed out, there's not a whole lot we can learn from the first Power game and Iowa had a bye in Week 1.  I think this is a game the Power can definitely win, especially if the crowd is behind them like they were last week.

As far as a prediction is concerned... uh, give me some time.  I don't know enough about all the teams yet -- even the Power -- and the scores in this league are very unpredictable.  But, the games are also extremely entertaining, so right now I'm just going to enjoy the ride.

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