Spokane Shock play host to No. 3 Chicago
Spokane Shock head coach Rob Keefe has seen enough quality play to be encouraged, but he needs to see more consistency to be completely sold on his 5-7 Arena Football League team.
“One game doesn’t make you a conqueror or king of anything,” said Keefe, referring to last week’s win over Philadelphia. “It just puts us in the right direction. We need to be consistent and match the intensity and focus we had last week. A true pro is able to duplicate it day in and day out. Hopefully we’ve had enough wake-up calls this season.”
After starting the season with three straight losses, the Shock are 5-4, but only once have they won back-to-back games. They’ll have another chance when third-ranked Chicago (9-3) visits the Arena tonight. The Rush have won four straight games to move past Dallas into first place in the Central Division.
“I feel like we’ve turned the tables, but it’s all about how we respond,” Shock defensive back Terrance Sanders said. “As long as we’re not settling and happy about one win we can put a string of wins together.”
Part of the optimism stems from the arrival of quarterback Erik Meyer, who passed for 332 yards and seven touchdowns against Philadelphia after being acquired in a trade with Utah earlier this month. Meyer’s second start comes against one of the AFL’s stingiest defenses.
Chicago is No. 1 in pass efficiency defense (85.4) and No. 2 in scoring defense (45.7 ppg). Opponents have a league-low 54 touchdown passes against a Rush secondary that has 27 interceptions, trailing only Orlando’s 29 and Arizona’s 28.
Rookie Vic Hall has 14 interceptions, already eclipsing the AFL single-season record, in just 11 games.
“They’re very, very aggressive, in your face, nothing deep and keep everything in front of you,” Keefe said. “Their defense is so good they can be patient on offense and not turn the ball over. This is really going to be one of those games where the first team to make that (big) mistake is when the game is going to be broken open.”
Spokane will lose offensive lineman Ben Ossai to UFL Las Vegas after tonight’s game. …Spokane didn’t make any transactions this week. Ex-Shock defensive back Nygel Rogers tried out, but the team didn’t sign him. … Chicago has three one-point wins. … Chicago has four former Shock players: receiver Charles Dillon, fullback Johnie Kirton, linebacker Kelvin Morris and defensive lineman Jeremy Geathers.