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Jacksonville Sharks are a broken record playing the same bad tune

Dom Errico
Monday April 13, 2015

It’s been another week and another poor showing for the Jacksonville Sharks. This time it was the Philadelphia Soul handing the Sharks a loss and now the Sharks are staring down the barrel of an 0-3 start with the 3-0 San Jose SaberCats heading to town.

Let’s be honest, this team is way too talented to be winless at this point of the season, and so much of the pain they’ve feeling is self-inflicted. Once again penalties are a huge part of the story as the Sharks continue to collect yellow flags at such an astonishing rate that they’ve qualified for a discount at Tooker Flags.

It’s not just the usual defensive penalties that most teams deal with in the AFL, but I counted at least four high motion offsides penalties and that simply cannot happen. It shows a lack of awareness and timing on the quarterback’s part. It’s also putting the team into an excessive amount of third and fourth down situations and they just aren’t converting them all.

You can see in the team’s demeanor that they are playing at a chippy level. There’s plenty of late hits, pushing and shoving and a lack of urgency when down several scores. One has to question whether these guys are fully into the games right now.

Defensively, they did manage a few stops against Philadelphia but not until the game was well out of hand. No team has given up more points in the AFL this year than Jacksonville which is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on a less than perfect offense.

Special teams continues to be a problem as Julian Rauch missed a PAT and had another one blocked. On top of the missed kicks, he was nowhere even close on his onsides kick attempts. Some of his poor kicking might be attributed to rust as he was making his first appearance of the season so hopefully things improve going forward.

The bottom line is that this team has way too much talent to be playing this poorly s one has to start questioning the leadership of the Sharks. I totally get that Les Moss has an ArenaBowl title and won four straight division titles to start off his career, but last year’s Sharks were 7-11 and this all-arena loaded team has yet to find the winner’s circle. Something is getting lost in translation and Moss better figure out his message soon while there’s still plenty of time to right the ship.

Moss isn’t alone in the blame game. Quarterback Tommy Grady, a former league MVP, needs to get things worked out with his receivers and start moving the ball easier. Putting yourself into too many fourth down situations is a recipe for disaster and the Sharks have blown up a few times as a result of it.

First and foremost is the defense. They just aren’t imposing any will on the opponents in the trenches or on the field. The pass rush has been fairly nonexistent and defensive stops have been a complete rarity.

There’s plenty of blame to go around with this team and the division is slowly slipping away early. Orlando already has a two game lead in the standings and a win over the Sharks so there’s a lot of ground to make up. A win over the San Jose SaberCats would be a great confidence booster but it would take a whole new tune to pull that off right now.

Hey DJ, spin a new record will ya?

Dom formerly served as a pregame host and color analyst for Pittsburgh Power broadcasts on TribLive Radio and also spent a year as their public address announcer. He has served as a fill-in host and guest for AFL Tonight. He now covers the Jacksonville Sharks for ArenaFan. Just call him "The Voice" of reason. Follow him on Twitter @SteelCityVoice.
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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