Spokane Shock coach Andy Olson programs his phone with contact lists for each position so he has an inventory of available players should roster moves become necessary.
In what is becoming an all-too-familiar scene for the Shock, Olson has been dialing through the list of quarterbacks after losing starter Carson Coffman to a knee injury in the first half of Saturday’s loss to Arizona.
Making matters worse, No. 2 quarterback Warren Smith was already sidelined with an injury. The Shock went through similar situations last year when Erik Meyer suffered a broken collarbone and in 2012 when Meyer missed virtually the entire season.
“It’s crazy,” Olson said. “What’s crazier is this is the first year I felt like I had two starters and they’re both hurt. We lost both within seven days.”
The Shock turned to Jarrett Brown, who was released a couple of weeks ago in training camp but was still in the area. Brown fumbled the snap on his first play but the Shock rallied within 50-43 before falling by 17 to the three-time defending Arena Football League champions.
Olson was optimistic that a quarterback with AFL experience will be signed in time to participate in today’s practice. It’s likely Brown or the newcomer will start Saturday’s home opener against Philadelphia.
If Brown ends up starting, Olson said, “I’m not looking for home runs, not looking for a lot of deep strikes. Fumbled snaps were a huge issue so we’re going to look into the shotgun (formation). He’s capable of moving the ball, he just needs to relax.”
Brown finished 8 of 12 for 84 yards with one interception and no touchdowns. He rushed for 19 yards and one score. Coffman passed for three TDs and 156 yards prior to his injury.
Brown’s last official game action came in 2009 as the starting quarterback at West Virginia. He was on the San Francisco 49ers practice squad briefly in 2010 and was a reserve for the CFL B.C. Lions in 2013. Brown spent an injury-plagued season last year with the Shock.
“It’s been a while,” said the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Brown, who ran the 40 in 4.53 seconds and had a 34.5-inch vertical jump at the 2009 NFL Combine. “I didn’t think I played well so there are a lot of things that I replay over and over in my head from Saturday’s game, just reliving the moment and correcting those things.”
Olson anticipates being without Coffman and Smith for at least the next two games. Spokane has a bye week after facing Portland on April 9. Coffman apparently suffered an MCL injury that won’t require surgery. Depending on the severity, recovery time is 3 to 5 weeks.
Olson said there were several bright spots from the opener, including the fact that his young team battled back from a 23-point deficit.
“I really like that we rallied behind ‘JB’ (Brown),” Olson said. “Often times when you’re in Arizona you see that ‘Here we go again attitude’ but there was none of that, nothing but positive and let’s get after them.”
Olson added that “physically we’re as good as anybody. Mentally we have to continue to rep it and rep it. That’s why we practiced 2 1/2 hours (Tuesday).”
Defensive end James Ruffin was impressed with Spokane’s roster.
“I went up to Coach Olson and told him this team is very talented,” Ruffin said. “We need to get better with the mental part.”
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