June 22, 2011 in Sports

Shock faced with another QB decision

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The Spokane Shock quarterback carousel is back in motion.

Erik Meyer, who suffered a concussion in the third quarter against Chicago on Saturday, won’t play against New Orleans this week. With Meyer watching from the middle of section 115 at the Arena, Kyle Rowley, Bill Stull and Steven Sheffield split reps during Wednesday’s practice. Head coach Rob Keefe plans on naming a starter today.

“We’ll take the best two that have the best practice,” Keefe said. “If they only get 50 reps, make them count. We’ll see who responds and see who the team responds to.”

Rowley, who led Spokane to the Arena Football League title last season, started the first eight games before losing the job to Stull. The rookie from Pittsburgh led two scoring drives against Dallas before suffering a bone bruise and sprained knee ligament. Rowley re-entered but went down with a shoulder injury. With Rowley and Stull on injured reserve, the Shock turned to Casey Hansen, who went 0-2 as the starter, before trading for Meyer.

Keefe expects Meyer, 2-0 as the starter, to return next week and compete for the starting job.

Rowley said he isn’t worried about whether his right (throwing) shoulder can absorb a hit.

“If I get injured, I get injured,” he said. “That’s how I’ve played my whole career.”

As for trying to reclaim the starting job, Rowley said, “It’s a coaches’ decision who starts. It’s my decision to tear it up in every practice and every game.”

Stull, wearing a brace on his left knee as a precaution, has been running and throwing for a couple of weeks.

“I view it as, yes, it’s a competition, but I know my capabilities, I know where I was before and where I’m at now,” Stull said. “I can only control how well I perform.”

Sheffield was pressed into duty against Chicago and finished 4 of 11 with two touchdowns and one interception.

“It’s definitely been a challenge and obviously everyone has seen some ups and downs, but we all feel as a team it’s finally starting to come together,” offensive coordinator Andy Olson said. “We were happy with Steven’s play – there are obviously some things he needs to learn – but that’s the case with any rookie. We’re trying to find consistency with every quarterback we’ve had.”

Olson will tailor the game plan to fit the QBs’ strengths and exploit defensive weaknesses.“We run a similar system with every quarterback, but we made it a little simpler for the rookies,” he said.

Shock lose White

Spokane (6-7) is losing another standout to the UFL. Receiver Markee White has left to play for Hartford for the second straight season. Offensive lineman Ben Ossai has joined Las Vegas.

It appears the Shock will lose leading receiver Greg Orton to Omaha, possibly as soon as next week. Add in Raul Vijil (hamstring) missing his third consecutive game Saturday and Spokane has question marks at a position that has traditionally been outstanding.

Adron Tennell is returning from a hamstring injury and Chas Gessner practiced Wednesday. Shaun Kauleinamoku had two touchdown receptions and Emery Sammons one against Chicago.

Notes

The starting time for Spokane’s outdoor game against Utah on July 9, has been changed from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. … Spokane, Utah and Tulsa are tied for the last National Conference playoff berth. … Spokane signed former Linfield College standout Eric Hedin, a 6-foot-7 defensive end. Hedin led all NCAA schools with 22 sacks last season and earned Division III All-America honors. … Spokane didn’t crack the AFL’s weekly Top 10 rankings.


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