Spokane has made a trade it hopes will resolve its quarterback issues, but it came at a steep price.
The Shock dealt standout defensive end Khreem Smith and center Antonio Narcisse to Utah for quarterback Erik Meyer and center Raymond McNeil. Meyer, the former Eastern Washington Eagle, was Kyle Rowley’s backup in Spokane most of last season.
Spokane also traded defensive lineman Terrance Taylor to Pittsburgh for future considerations.
Asked about giving up Smith, one of the best defensive players in the Arena Football League, Shock head coach Rob Keefe indicated that other moves are in the works.
“You’re going to see why we did this in about two days,” said Keefe, declining to elaborate. “You’re only seeing the beginning stages of what this is about.”
Spokane fell to Kansas City on Saturday, dropping its second straight game without quarterbacks Rowley (shoulder) and Bill Stull (knee). Casey Hansen, who started the last two games, led Spokane to just one offense-generated touchdown in the first half. Keefe said the status of Hansen and backup Steven Sheffield “is yet to be determined.”
The Shock have a bye this week and then entertain Philadelphia. Rowley and Stull are on injured reserve and will miss at least one more game. The acquisition of Meyer seems to indicate neither quarterback will be ready for Chicago on June 18.
“That’s probably fair to say,” said Keefe, who has declined to put a timetable on Stull’s or Rowley’s return. “But it’s a matter of winning now. We feel like Erik is a starting quarterback.”
Meyer was 18 of 28 for 274 yards and five touchdowns in two games before his 2010 season was cut short by injury. He hasn’t attempted a pass this season as the backup to Tommy Grady.
McNeil was with the Milwaukee Iron last season.
Smith is third in the league in tackles for loss (9.5) and tied for third in sacks (7). He has forced three fumbles and blocked five kicks. Narcisse has started most of the last two seasons.
Despite a 4-7 record, Spokane still has an outside shot at the playoffs. Utah (5-5) is one of the teams Spokane is chasing, and Keefe said, “I don’t think we could beat Utah without a quarterback.”
The Shock have held four straight opponents to 51 points or less, but are 1-3 during that stretch.
“The defense is doing a hell of a job,” Keefe said, “but right now we just can’t move the ball.”