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Who the heck will play QB for the Shock in 2015?

Jeffrey Giuliani
Wednesday January 21, 2015

For the first time in three years, the Spokane Shock will enter training camp without knowing who will start at quarterback. Erik Meyer entered each aforementioned season as the undisputed starter. Though injuries kept him off the field almost all of 2012 and parts of 2014, the 2013 Arena Football League MVP was clearly the Shock’s best option under center.

The 2015 season is very different. Meyer is no longer in Spokane, having left for the San Jose SaberCats in the offseason. This led to a cavalcade of quarterbacks ending up in Eastern Washington, all vying for the starting gig.

At this point, all signs point to an open competition. With training camp under two months away, here’s a look at each quarterback currently on the Shock’s roster.

Arvell Nelson

If you were to pick one quarterback to be the odds-on favorite to start for the Shock on opening day, it would be Nelson. Playing primarily as a linebacker in 2014 for the Pittsburgh Power, Nelson returns to Spokane after spending 2013 as Meyer’s backup. He showed flashed of promise in his last action with the Shock, throwing five touchdowns on 20 attempts after Meyer had been pulled during blowouts. Nelson is familiar with Andy Olson’s offense and can play multiple positions. It’s unknown whether he can be a consistent starter for an 18-game season, but he has shown potential in limited opportunities.

Jarrett Brown

Another understudy of Meyer, Brown returns to the Shock after spending 2013 unable to play due to injury. Brown would have been in line to start after Meyer’s collarbone injury last season had he not been hurt earlier that week in practice. Thus, Brown is an unknown commodity. He showed promise at West Virginia, leading the Mountaineers to a 9-4 record in 2009. However, he posted a paltry 11-9 touchdown to interception ratio. How his game can translate to the arena game remain a mystery.

Warren Smith

Maybe the most intriguing option for the Shock in 2015 is Smith. The University of Maine product comes to the AFL after two seasons in the PIFL. His 2014 campaign for the Trenton Freedom was one to remember. Smith passed for 2,589 yards and 46 touchdowns, adding 364 yards and nine touchdowns rushing. However, there isn’t a huge precedent of quarterbacks coming from other indoor leagues and having success in the AFL. Chris Dixon, maybe the greatest indoor quarterback of all time, never really stuck in the AFL. Smith’s acclimation to the arena game will be something to watch, but the potential is there.

Carson Coffman

Bringing more experience than all other quarterbacks on the roster combined, Coffman comes to the Shock with two years of starting experience. After spending 2012 as Tommy Grady’s understudy in Utah, Coffman was tabbed by the Chicago Rush as their starter for 2013 and led them to a division title. After the Rush closed down operations, Coffman landed in Iowa and had a season with mixed results. After spending the offseason playing in the FXFL, Coffman returns to the arena game. Coffman could be the safest option for Olson, but has his ceiling already been hit?

This might be the most intriguing storyline to follow as the AFL season inches closer. AFL teams usually carry two quarterbacks, meaning two of the discussed quarterbacks likely won’t be on the roster come opening day. Who will land the starting job?

Jeffrey Giuliani is a sports journalist from Renton, Washington. He is a senior at Western Washington Univeristy where he is studying journalism. Giuliani is currently the sports editor for his college paper, The Western Front and hopes to move on to a daily after obtaining his degree. This will be his third season covering the Spokane Shock for ArenaFan.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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