BREAKING NEWS: Chris Siegfried Fired as Offensive Coordinator in Orlando
The Orlando Predators promised their fans that they are going to win games this year, and it appears as though they are ready to go to the ends of the earth to make that happen. Earlier this week, the team relieved Offensive Coordinator Chris Siegfried of his duties. It is unknown at this time who is taking over for the team as the play caller for this week against the Tampa Bay Storm.
Plank will be the fourth different play caller that the Predators have had in the last 12 months. Almost a year ago to the date, Orlando fired Rob Keefe as the team's offensive coordinator, replacing him with Ben Bennett.
The Orlando franchise has always been one modeled off of consistency. Under the direction of Head Coach Jay Gruden, the team was generally ranked in the top half of the league in scoring and in total offense. Since the restart in 2010 though, the Predators have been one of the more dismal offensive teams in the game. Under Head Coach Pat O'Hara, Orlando ranked ninth in scoring (54.1 PPG) in 2010 and eighth in scoring (55.6 PPG) in 2011. The 2012 team, coached by Brett Munsey, went through three different starting quarterbacks over the course of the year, and it ranked second to last in the AFL in scoring at 42.8 points per game.
This year's team was full of promise at the outset. Bringing in QB Kyle Rowley brought the team a proven signal caller that won the ArenaBowl in 2010. Along with Rowley came the additions of WR Prechae Rodriguez and WR Amarri Jackson. Jackson and Rodriguez combined for 2,665 receiving yards and 52 touchdowns by themselves. The top two receivers for Orlando last season totaled just 2,069 yards and 47 scores between them.
Unfortunately, the offense really became stale with Siegfried calling the plays. In the game against the Philadelphia Soul in Week 3, the Predators didn't score their first offensive points until the 6:44 mark of the third quarter. By that time, Rowley was on the bench after going just 9-of-20 through the air. Orlando is averaging just 46.7 points per game, ranking 10th of the 14 teams in the league.
"The offense just wasn't getting the job done," Minority Owner Scott York said to ArenaFan. "We need to score some points."
The problems on the scoreboard might be worse than they seem. The Predators already have turned the ball over eight times this season, including six picks by Rowley. The veteran was picked off on the final play of the game against both the San Jose SaberCats and the New Orleans VooDoo, and had either gone for a touchdown, those defeats would have both landed in the win column.
The team is only averaging 7.0 points per game in the second quarter, arguably the most crucial quarter in arena football games. The squad also has only scored on five of its 10 possessions in the fourth quarter and overtime, and in there includes throwing the two interceptions to end the game and a catastrophic safety against San Jose that turned the tide of the game. The offense as a whole has just 18 touchdowns on 28 completed possessions, and that most certainly isn't going to cut it.
The end result for the Predators is an ugly 0-3 start to the season, marking the second straight campaign in which the team has gotten out of the blocks in the first month of the season without a victory. Matters are only going to get more difficult through these next five weeks, as the team has to take on the Storm on Saturday, followed by four straight road games against the Arizona Rattlers, Pittsburgh Power, Spokane Shock, and Philadelphia Soul. The first home game off of that stretch comes against the Jacksonville Sharks, who are almost certainly the best team in the Southeast Division.
All hope isn't lost, though. After that horrid stretch of games, Orlando plays seven of its final 10 at home at the Amway Center, and it only has to leave the Sunshine State once more for the whole season for a trip to Cleveland. The better news is that someone has to get into the playoffs out of the American Conference. The combination of Orlando, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland has just one win thus far this season, and one of the four is guaranteed a playoff spot this season.
The Predators also pulled off a trade with San Jose this week, acquiring OL Terrence Campbell in exchange for DL Terrance Carter. WR Josh Bush was placed on injured reserve, perhaps giving way to WR TT Toliver, who has yet to play for Orlando this year.