Injuries, departures leave Shock shorthanded
Spokane is keeping its training staff and the Arena Football League offices busy.
The Shock were so depleted near the end of Friday’s 84-63 loss to Utah that they only put seven players on the field for a kickoff. Nobody else was available to reach the eight-man limit. The Shock used seven different players at the jack and mac linebacker positions.
At Tuesday’s practice, the number of players watching (11) was catching up to those suited up (20).
“We have some work to do,” coach Andy Olson said. “We have some bodies coming in to help us out. We have to get some two-a-days in here to facilitate practice and keep the reps off some of the main guys, but it’s a long season and it’s part of football.”
Injuries are the primary issue. Among nine roster moves Monday – remember, there are only 21 players on the active roster – linebacker Beau Bell was placed on injured reserve and he may be joined by offensive lineman Palauni Ma Sun, who watched practice with ice on his knee. Olson said Ma Sun probably won’t play in Friday’s home game against New Orleans.
Receiver Adron Tennell, the team leader with 54 catches and 661 yards, and defensive lineman Brandon Sharpe have been suspended for one game by the league.
“Tennell did something on the bench that was caught on film and it was a dumb mistake and he has to sit out a week because of it,” Olson said.
Sharpe was ejected from the game after inadvertently making contact with an official.
With Ma Sun ailing and Cory Brandon signing with the San Diego Chargers, former Shock lineman Chris Pino is expected to arrive in Spokane for Thursday’s practice. Shannon Tevaga is eligible to return from injured reserve, but he will have to pass some tests today.
The defensive line, minus Sharpe, faces a similar predicament. Jonathan Williams (shoulder) left Friday’s game and a couple others were in and out of the lineup. That led to some unusual combinations on the line and at linebacker, where Bell went to the sidelines in the first half.
“Knee, back, shoulder, can’t name just one spot (with Bell),” Olson said.
Bell is expected to join the B.C. Lions of the CFL at the end of the month so his time with the Shock (IR is a mandatory four-week stint) could be over.
There is no relief on the schedule. Spokane’s two bye weeks are long gone.
“Losing two offensive linemen and two defensive linemen, that’s where we have to figure out what we’re going to do,” Olson said.
It’s probably unfair to judge from Friday’s game with the injury situation, but the Shock generated very little pass rush in their first game without Jeremy Geathers (CFL). “It’s the name of the game,” Bell said. “We have to have some guys step up and if we bring anyone else in the coaches are capable of helping them learn the game and get after the quarterback.” … Quarterback Kyle Rowley was intercepted three times by Utah in the first half. “He had two poor decisions,” Olson said. “On one he didn’t see a DB and on another one he was trying to force it going into half.”