Arrow-right Camera

Spokane Empire

For slumping Shock, Talons are just what the doctor ordered

Thu., June 19, 2014, 9:30 p.m.

Spokane, losers of five of its last six games, host 1-12 San Antonio at the Arena on Friday

San Antonio’s 1-12 record is the worst in the Arena Football League.

The Talons have lost seven straight games, all by double digits. They’ve played four quarterbacks. Their best receiver is hurt.

Spokane Shock coaches and players know these things and they’re saying all the right things about not taking the Talons lightly when the teams collide tonight at the Arena.

“We’re not too far ahead of them,” quarterback Erik Meyer said. “We’re under .500 and we have a lot to prove.”

Spokane (6-7) lost five of its last six games with three different starting quarterbacks as Meyer recovered from a collarbone injury. Meyer, who returned last week to play in the fourth quarter, has had a full week of preparation for San Antonio.

Spokane has struggled offensively without Meyer. Standout receiver Adron Tennell injured his left foot May 11 and he’s still wearing a walking boot. Center Ryan Cave signed with Montreal in the CFL. The Shock traded starting receiver Brandon Thompkins and starting offensive lineman Duke Robinson.

“I came back this season because this is a championship team,” offensive lineman Patrick Afif said, “and I still think it’s a championship team. Last year we barely had any injuries. This year we’ve had injuries, lost guys to Canada and things have happened. I still feel like we have all the pieces, it’s just getting our timing down.”

The Talons rank last in scoring defense (59.2) and 13th out of 14 teams in scoring offense (43.1). Quarterback Matt Bassuener has handled most of the snaps the last two games, tossing four touchdowns and four interceptions. Receiver D.J. Stephens has put up big numbers (66 receptions, 938 yards, 17 touchdowns) but he’s been on injured reserve since May 21.

Former Shock linebacker Micah King has made 171/2 tackles, including 21/2 tackles for loss.

“We’ve lost our last two games,” coach Andy Olson said. “Everyone realizes we have to step up our game right now. Every game matters and we need to get on a roll if we want to go deep in the playoffs.”

Click here to comment on this story »