Spokane hopes the old football adage about teams making their biggest improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 applies to the quarterback position.
Casey Hansen, out of football for more than a year, was thrust into the starting role following injuries to quarterbacks Bill Stull and Kyle Rowley. Hansen absorbed a number of punishing hits from Tampa Bay’s defensive front in Spokane’s 51-42 loss Friday.
Hansen’s Week 2 began with rest for his bruised body, hours of video study and the expected benefit of a full week to prepare for his second start against Kansas City on Saturday.
“I think it’s very possible to make a big improvement,” Hansen said. “I have the guys behind me and I’ve played in a game and I know what to expect. You learn from your mistakes and try to make sure you don’t make those mistakes a second or third time.”
Hansen fumbled twice and threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown, but head coach Rob Keefe was impressed with Hansen’s poise and command of the huddle. The coach said Hansen didn’t mess up one play call in the huddle.
“He did a pretty good job,” Keefe said. “Really it’s a practice for Casey this week. It’s all solely for him, he knows it rests on his shoulders. We’re still fighting for the playoffs, yet we’re still developing a quarterback at midseason to help us get there. It’s a unique situation.”
Hansen had difficulty when Tampa Bay began disguising its zone coverages.
“They started out in man, which is easier to read,” he said. “They just started throwing different zones at me and it was, ‘Who’s going to be high, who’s going to be low?’ I told Coach Keefe when we’re running 4-on-4 you need to throw everything you have at me. You learn faster by being thrown into the fire instead of watching it on film.
“I’d rather make my mistakes on the practice field than on game day.”
Hansen was still feeling the effects from Friday’s physical game.
“I took a little bit of a beating, but that’s football,” he said. “We’re going to be ready and I’m going to make sure I put my team in a good position to win.”
Standout receiver Markee White has been sidelined for more than two months after injuring his foot while making a touchdown reception against Cleveland. It’s doubtful he’ll play this week and his return date is uncertain. White ran routes at practice last week but experienced discomfort in his foot the following day. … Several players were walking around the practice facility with ice bags on ailing ankles or knees. The team is “probably the most sore we’ve ever been,” Keefe said. …Spokane announced last week that receiver Chas Gessner was released. The team clarified that Gessner was injured at the time and could not be released. He’s been placed on injured reserve. … Backup quarterback Steven Sheffield (illness) didn’t practice Tuesday.