Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sharks at Power Preview/Blaze Post Mortem

Okay, last week was painful and ugly.  I'm not going to sugarcoat it, because that's what it was.  The Power got their collective and individual asses handed to them to the tune of 64-33, and it's exactly how we didn't need to start the season.

I say the reason we lost is that this place was allowed to be open during the game.

However, it's pretty much what I expected to happen given who we drew for the first game opponent, and what the Power did during their off-season.  The Blaze was a good team last year, and they're still a good team this year.  Grady's still a giant with a laser arm, and the rest of the team still does what they do.  It's a fact of nature, and there' nothing the Power could do about it.

It was almost a clinic on offensive lines and special teams.  When the Power lined up for the attack, they looked like football players.  When the Blaze lined up, they looked like monsters.  Grady is somewhere around 6'7", and yet, he just looks just a little taller than the guys around him.  His O line protected him beautifully, and the pocket stayed generously open, giving him more time than a player like him needs.  Because of this, he didn't have any trouble connecting with his receivers and scoring.

The Power's line, however, just collapsed on most plays just the way I feared it would.  Honestly, I liked what I saw out of Jefferson - he's mobile, pretty accurate, and - once he got tired of eating turf - isn't afraid to run for it (he rushed for almost 20 yards in the opener.)  However, he got sacked four times.  Grady got hit once, and frankly, that's only because the Blaze were getting cocky at the end.  I've said it before and I'll say it again:  I don't care if we had started Tommy Brady to their Tommy Grady - if our QB keeps getting planted 4 times a game, he's going to have a short, winless career.

The other concern I've had is Special Teams, and those were also mirror images in this game.  PJ Berry's a wild man, and he's our fan favorite star...but the Blaze had his number.  He was getting nailed inside the five yard line most of the game.  Utah, on the other hand, started with prime position on most drives.

Our defense is solid (Jackson is looking like a prime pickup.)  Joystick and Superman can still catch - these areas are not a concern.  However, they also don't matter a lick if the Power doesn't clean up the O Line and Special Teams.  I want a QB to actually stick around a whole season and not go to greener pastures.  Speaking of which...

...The Sharks return to Consol this Friday, bringing back former Power QB Bernard Morris.  Remember him?  He's that guy that everyone said was a bum and couldn't get the job done our Freshman season.  He keeps getting sacked, he can't get the ball off, he's always injured...and then he took the Sharks to the post season last year.  He's a good quarterback, and on the right team, he's done well for himself.

Also, we'll be facing Jeff Hughley, whom you might remember from his scoring drives against us with the Soul last year, and our former DL Justin Parrish.  Hughley is the main concern, as he's their Superman (the technical term is "Ironman.")  He can run, catch, tackle, return - he's the whole package.  If the Power can shut him down - at very least on returns - they'll be getting off on the right foot.  Unfortunately, they also have Jeron Harvey and Markee White to catch.  That's a problem that hopefully Jackson, LeFlore and Wise can keep contained.

Other than that, it's going to be a matter of keeping the pocket clean long enough for Jefferson to make some decisions.  Yep.  That simple.  No problem, right?

I just hope the jackass with a big head isn't sitting in front of me again

Elsewhere in the League
The bright point in our loss is that we weren't alone.  Since both Philly and Cleveland lost, it's a three-way tie in our division.  The downside is that Philly still looks like a contender.  They stumbled a bit in the second half in their rematch against the Rattlers, but it was a much cleaner game than the Arena Bowl.  Arizona is already looking scary good.

Cleveland got throttled by the Shock almost as badly as we did by, we should at least be able to match up against the Gladiators.

The Talons kept the game close against the Cats and Garcia (Who now has 1200 career TDs.)  The beginning of the game didn't look like that was going to happen when the Cats jumped out 20-0, but then the Talons came roaring back, only to lose by a hair.

This week:
  • Hopefully the Ratts will slap the Blaze down for us Friday.  Judging by the two teams' performances last week, it should be a slugfest.
  • Game of the week is NOLA hosting the Barnstormers.  Both teams won their openers and play good, classic football.  They're well matched and not full of showboaters.  It's the kind of game I love to watch.
  • Sunday is Spokane and the Rush.  If nothing else, it doesn't feel like Sunday without the Rush.

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