The Spokane Shock remain in the market for a quarterback but for now they’re preparing for Sunday’s road game against unbeaten Arizona with rookie Donovan Porterie at the helm.
Porterie had mixed results in his Arena Football League debut with five touchdown passes and four turnovers in a 52-41 loss to Pittsburgh last Friday. He had just three days of practice before taking his first snap.
“Donovan played about the way I expected,” coach Andy Olson said. “A couple of his (three) interceptions probably could have been avoided, but those are the growing pains and learning of the game. He was a little better (Tuesday) than he was in the game.
“We’re never going to stop looking. It’s not that we don’t believe Donovan can do it, but we’re always going to try to make this team better. We’ve been on the phone a lot trying to get things done with other teams. Still nothing official, but working on it.”
Two veteran quarterbacks changed teams Monday. L.A. acquired Aaron Garcia in a three-team deal that sent J.J. Raterink to Iowa.
“The biggest issue is there isn’t a developmental league, no af2,” Olson said. “And anyone with two solid guys on their roster isn’t willing to give up that backup because it’s going to hurt their team and they realize how important it is to have a good backup.”
Teams in Spokane’s division and conference are reluctant to trade with the Shock for obvious reasons. Western teams seem to have the majority of capable quarterbacks. The asking price from opposing teams is often steep, requesting two or three starters in return.
There just aren’t many quality quarterbacks available. Several AFL all-time greats retired in the last few years.
“There are 14 starters and there are probably five or six I’d want to play for me and believe we have a chance, and maybe three or four backups that can get you through a game,” Olson said. “There’s really not much to pull from.”
Porterie tossed a 7-yard TD pass to Mike Washington on his first attempt. Porterie finished 17 of 37. The Shock were 3 of 8 on third downs and 1 of 3 on fourth downs.
“When he made a five-step drop the way he should and stepped up in the pocket every time it was a completion,” Olson said. “When he shortened his steps and rushed it every time it was an incompletion or an interception. So what we’re focusing on is footwork, footwork, footwork. When his footwork is good he’s actually pretty good.”
Standout receiver Adron Tennell was sporting a walking boot on his injured left foot. He has an appointment today to determine a course of treatment, but it appears he’ll be sidelined for a while.
“That’s a tough one,” defensive tackle Terrance Taylor said. “He’s one of the best, if not the best in the league. We have other guys that have to step up.”
Tennell has 48 receptions, sharing team-high honors with Brandon Thompkins, and a team-leading 12 touchdowns.
Rashaad Carter will probably replace Tennell in the starting lineup. Carter also took some reps at quarterback late in Tuesday’s practice. He stepped in at quarterback when starter Erik Meyer was hurt against L.A.
Spokane placed reserve quarterback Dennis Havrilla on recallable reassignment. He was signed last week and didn’t play in Friday’s game. … The Shock activated defensive back Antareis Bryan, who was with the team last year but didn’t appear in any games, from other league exempt. … Defensive back Paul Stephens sat out practice. He’s expected to join the CFL’s B.C. Lions in the near future. Former Shock general manager Ryan Rigmaiden is director of U.S. scouting for the Lions.