Spokane Shock defensive back Alex Teems won’t play a down this week, but he can help out in the scouting department.
Teems, sidelined with a hamstring injury, played with Raymond Philyaw with AFL Cleveland in 2008. Philyaw is now the starting quarterback for Bossier-Shreveport, which puts its 2-0 record and No. 4 ranking on the line against the No. 9 Shock (1-1) Saturday in the Arena.
The 35-year-old Philyaw, who has also played for Albany/ Indiana, Chicago and Kansas City, has completed 72 percent of his passes and tossed 16 touchdowns with zero interceptions for the BattleWings.
“If there’s an AFL Hall of Fame, I’m pretty sure he’d be going into it,” Teems said. “His reads are good and he throws to a spot. Most quarterbacks throw to a receiver. He pretty much knows arena football like the back of his hand.”
Philyaw’s resume is somewhat similar to Milwaukee’s Chris Greisen, who had nine touchdown passes in a season-opening win over Spokane.
“We’ve got another AFL veteran quarterback coming in, a couple of AFL receivers and (P.J.) Berry was an All-af2 guy, which is what we saw in Milwaukee with (receivers Tiger) Jones and (Damian) Harrell and Nate Forse, who was an af2 standout,” Shock coach Rob Keefe said. “I played against Ray three times when I was in Philly. We’re going to try to throw a lot of things at him to make him think so the defensive line can get home.”
Spokane’s line got home for four sacks in last week’s rout of Utah after getting skunked by Greisen’s quick release in Week 1.
“Utah was a lot more five-step (drop) and they didn’t seem like they were fine-tuned as much,” Shock linebacker Aaron Robbins said. Robbins and linemen Ben McCombs, Jerry Turner and Richard Clebert all registered sacks.
Spokane’s offense also bounced back after some opening-game missteps. Kyle Rowley had six touchdown passes and backup Erik Meyer was sharp on two late possessions. Raul Vijil, who had a fumble and an ill-timed lateral attempt, had three touchdown catches and returned a kick for a TD.
“That (bouncing back) is what you have to do at this level,” Vijil said. “We had a good week of work, just refocused and I flushed that (last) game out.”
Like Teems, Vijil will see a familiar face in an opposing jersey. Defensive back Roshawn Marshall was on Spokane’s 2008 team.
“It helps a little, you learn their tendencies and maybe you can attack that,” Vijil said. “At the same time, he’s probably saying the same thing.”
Utah’s Brandon Hampton returned two kicks for scores. After that, Spokane squib-kicked or booted the ball into the seats, giving Utah possession at its 20. Keefe wasn’t pleased with the tackling, but he noted that the E Center’s lower ceiling and tight nets gave Hampton a head start.
“The ball gets there quicker and it comes out farther. He was catching them at the goal line and we weren’t across our opposing 20 yet,” Keefe said. “Then you’re creating a gap and it makes him look like a speed demon.”
Vijil said the nets were so tight “if they would have been flat, we would have been jumping on them like a trampoline.”
Keefe said he’ll have “no problem” kicking to Hampton when the teams meet next month at the Arena.
Keefe was impressed with the play of DL/FB Harrison Nikolao, WR Eddie Thompson and particularly DB Rod Mosley. The three didn’t suit up Week 1. “Rod made a case for the starting job, but we’ll see how the week goes,” Keefe said. … Spokane will practice in the Arena for the first time this season on Friday. … Keefe on the quarterbacks: “Kyle put the ball up and he put it where it should be. Erik should have been 9 of 11, but we dropped one ball.”