Donovan Porterie’s Arena Football League initiation last week came after just three practices. The Spokane Shock quarterback has more practices and film study under his belt, but his second assignment figures to be much tougher than his first.
Porterie, expected to make his second start in place of injured Erik Meyer, and the Shock visit two-time AFL champion Arizona today. The Rattlers (8-0) haven’t lost to the Shock at US Airways Center since 2010, a span of six games, including a pair of blowout playoff victories. Arizona thumped visiting Spokane 68-49 in March.
“The hardest part for (rookie quarterbacks) is the reads,” Shock coach Andy Olson said. “They’re going to throw a lot of different things at you that they normally don’t do. They’re going to disguise and try to break off coverages, and those are the ones that end up getting you because he’s not used to seeing them.”
Porterie’s on-the-job training continues against a talented defense stocked with AFL veterans. He’ll be without standout receiver Adron Tennell (foot), who was placed on inactive reserve. Porterie had five touchdown passes but four turnovers in a home loss to Pittsburgh last week.
“We’ve had trouble beating them with Erik,” Olson said. “I can imagine it’s going to be the same with another quarterback. We’re going to have to catch everything thrown our way, we have to be able to out jump and outplay them on defense and hope in fourth quarter we have a chance to win the game.”
Spokane’s defense, one of the best in the league statistically, faces a difficult challenge against the AFL’s most productive offense. Ex-Shock quarterback Nick Davila is having arguably his best season. He’s tossed 65 touchdowns with just four interceptions. His passer rating of 133.2 is tops by nearly 13 points.
Arizona has scored at least 61 points in seven games.
“They capitalize on mistakes better than anybody I know,” Spokane defensive lineman Terrance Taylor said.