A few weeks ago at practice Spokane Shock players did extra conditioning for an excessive number of penalties. On Tuesday, practice went on without the usual accompaniment of music blaring from a sideline speaker.
The only sounds were players communicating and coaches barking out instructions. Head coach Andy Olson wanted his team to face the music, not listen to it, after one of the most frustrating losses in franchise history.
“They didn’t really like that but I felt like we haven’t earned that right now,” Olson said of pushing the mute button on tunes. “We need to be serious, work hard and kind of change things up a little bit.”
Olson is looking for the right buttons to push to stop a 1-4 slide following quarterback Erik Meyer’s injury last month. Olson said this week is all about “no excuses, owning up to our faults, our mistakes and coming out and fixing them right away” with a division showdown looming at San Jose on Saturday.
Spokane’s stats before and after Meyer’s injury – and wide receiver Adron Tennell’s foot injury May 9th – are telling. In Meyer’s seven starts, Spokane was 5-2 (one loss to Cleveland on a Hail Mary on the game’s final play), averaged 59.1 points and allowed 43.7 points.
In the last five games, Spokane is 1-4, averaging 39.8 points and yielding 51.2 points.
“That’s a huge drop off,” Olson said. “I would think it’d be a little higher than that, hopefully in the high 40s. If we could get around 50 every game we thought the defense would keep us in the game. We just haven’t done that, plain and simple.
“With (Donovan) Porterie the first couple weeks obviously it was a little different. Last week was probably the worst offensive game we’ve played in years.”
The Shock didn’t score in the second half of Saturday’s 34-28 loss at Jacksonville. It was the team’s first sub-30-point game in five-plus seasons in the Arena Football League. Spokane was held to 20 points by Bakersfield in 2006 in its inaugural season of arenafootball2 and 28 points by Bakersfield in 2007.
Spokane failed to score three times on first-and-goal situations inside Jacksonville’s 5-yard line.
“After the game I had a very aggressive locker-room talk,” Olson said. “I just kind of called out the offense a little bit and said, ‘Hey, we can’t lose games when we hold a team to 34 points.’ That’s ridiculous.”
Spokane’s defense was outstanding with six stops, four sacks, eight pass break-ups and one interception. Jacksonville scored the winning points on an interception return with 4:36 remaining.
“It’s frustrating, just a loss period,” said linebacker Derrick Summers, who had three sacks. “It’s hard to really accept it sometimes, especially close losses, but at the end of the day you get another chance.”
Summers said the team hasn’t showed any signs of fracturing.
“We always have to work together,” he said. “There are going to be times when the defense might be down and the offense is up. You have to pick each other up. This is a team sport.”
- Erik Meyer: 142-219, 64.8%, 5 ints, 32 TDs, 1,544 yards, 13 rushing TDs
- Brian Zbydniewski: 66-112, 5 ints, 10 TDs, 810 yards, 5 rushing TDs
- Donovan Porterie: 34-66, 7 ints, 7 TDs, 346 yards, 1 rushing TD
- Rashaad Carter: 6-12, 1 int, 2 TDs, 114 yards, 5 rushing TDs
- Non-Meyer totals: 106-190, 55.8%, 13 ints, 19 TDs, 1,270 yards, 11 rush TDs
Center Ryan Cave had a tryout with the Montreal Alouettes. The Shock should know Cave’s status in the next two days. If Cave lands a CFL contract, Spokane will likely turn to Sam Tupua at center. … Olson said DB Fred Shaw, acquired in a trade with Philadelphia on May 29th, remains on the refused-to-report list.