May 04, 2008

We're Entering Jim Mora Territory Here

THE PLAYOFFS? Don't talk to me about the playoffs! You kidding me? I just hope we can win a game.

-- Jim Mora

I AM SADDENED to report the Manchester Wolves (1-4) lost yet again this weekend. Not only have they lost four games straight, they lost their latest home game to the Daytona Beach Thunderbirds, who at 0-5 coming into the game were the worst team in the entire af2 league.

True, I know the Wolves are suffering from injuries. Our starting quarterback was out with a separated shoulder; our best cornerback has been out with a concussion; we have a one-time lineman, whom we're due to sign again soon, who just had hernia surgery. That said, these are three (3) out of twenty (20) players, and we can't win games if the other 17 don't perform up to par.

Things aren't entirely bad, of course. Our line play today seemed to significantly improve -- although I wonder how much of that was actual improvement as opposed to better circumstances, i.e., not playing a very good opposing squad. But our defensive backs continue to perform subpar and today, that just killed us, along with various blunders our backup quarterback made. It's tough to win games when basic facets of the game -- such as the snap from center to quarterback -- are not executed with perfect precision. It's also tough to win games when your defensive backs -- although they had brief moments of glory today -- blow their coverage assignments, as annoyingly happened more than once. As for penalties -- don't get me started on the penalties. Penalties are prima facie evidence of ill-discipline.

Still, today was a day in which everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Consider what happened near the end of the first half. The score was Daytona Beach 22 - Manchester 20. Daytona Beach, in its own territory and facing a fourth down, decided it would attempt a field goal. The kick was blocked, flew into the air and into the arms of one of our defensive backs, who proceeded to run it back for a touchdown to great acclaim. Now that Manchester was up 26-22, the Wolves smartly decided to go for a two-point conversion. Unfortunately, our quarterback's pass was intercepted, and Daytona Beach's player ran it back all the way for a safety. Ugh.

The frustrating thing about this game was that it was a game we should have won and needed to win. We could have beaten this team. When you get off to a slow start in a season, you need to win games against weak opponents to help ride out the games against strong ones. But we blew it. We blew it so bad, in fact, that the af2 highlighted the game and Daytona Beach's upset on their Web site, adding insult to injury.

It certainly isn't going to get any easier, either. Next week, we get to play the hated Florida Firecats down in Florida. This normally would not be too bad, except that Florida is one of three undefeated teams in the 29-team af2. The week after that, back at home, we get to play the Tulsa Talons, who at 6-0 are the best team in the entire league and the defending ArenaCup champion.

I know hope springs eternal, and I am hopeful Manchester will be able to right the ship soon. But this is shaping up to be a rather tough year.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at May 4, 2008 10:12 PM | TrackBack
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