ArenaBowl XXVI Rematch Preview
The past two years the Philadelphia Soul have won the Eastern Conference and the American Conference Championship easily. The Soul have also lost to the Arizona Rattlers in each of the last two ArenaBowls. The Rattlers seem to be the Soul’s kryptonite.
One week after beating the Jacksonville Sharks 89-34 in the 2012 conference title game, the Soul were beaten by the Rattlers 72-54 in the ArenaBowl. In 2013, the Soul lost in Week 1 to the Rattlers 66-52, again in Week 11 64-57, and once more in the ArenaBowl 48-39.
So why can’t the Soul find a win against the Rattlers? Do the Rattlers have an answer for everything the Soul throw at them? Not exactly. The Soul seem to beat themselves against the Rattlers. Soul QB Dan Raudabugh threw three picks in ArenaBowl XXV, and in ArenaBowl XXVI, Raudabugh threw two more. K Carlos Martinez missed three extra point attempts, and the Soul couldn't find a way to get down the field on the last drive for their 2013 season in Orlando.
KEYS TO THE GAME
For the Soul, they must not turn over the ball, and they have to get the early season mistakes out early. Last year, Philadelphia went 2-3 to start out the year, equaling the amount of losses it had in 2013 in just five weeks. Of course, that first loss to last year was in an exact situation like this: Philadelphia came of an ArenaBowl loss, playing the Rattlers in Arizona.
The Soul have returned their core group of vets this year. After losing wide receivers Andrae Thurman and Emery Sammons this offseason, expect to see a new third receiver. Tiger Jones and Ryan McDaniel will return to the starting lineup, but you should expect to see a lot of Larry Brackins this year. ”Boogie” saw action in training camp as the third wide receiver as did Bryan Pray and V’Keon Lacy. Brackins and Lacy make up a dangerous red zone combo, while Pray upgrades the special teams, as he is a dangerous kick returner. I’d expect to see all three wide receivers in the game with Brackins getting a lot of time.
Expect two different different offensive lineman from the 2013 group that only allowed seven sacks, after All-Arena offensive guard Christian Johnson signed with the Arizona Cardinals and tight end Jason Jones was released in camp. That leaves Derrick Ross, Brennan Carvalho, Adam Smith, Jason Holman, and Wayne Tribue at the line this year. Ross and Carvalho weren't going anywhere, while Smith, Holman, and Tribue had to have good camps to make the roster. They all did. Considering Holman is a true “Ironman” football player, you’ll see him throughout the game at a lot of different positions. It wouldn’t surprise me if Holman was announced our starting quarterback and kicker one week. With that being said he’s perfect for coming off the bench, considering he can replace anyone. He’s like a sixth man in basketball. Tribue will likely start at tight end and Smith will get the go at offensive guard.