New Thunder Quarterback in the Card(er)s?

After his performance last night against the Sabercats and given the next opponents are the hapless Los Angeles KISS, I speculated a bit about whether or not Alex Carder might become the next starting QB of the Portland Thunder sooner rather than later. Check out the article on ArenaFan.

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Game Preview: Portland Thunder vs. San Jose Sabercats

This week I’ve been sick. Therefore, I don’t have as much to say about this game.

Let’s just say that the Sabercats have a significant advantage over every team in the league. That’s why they’re 9-0. It’s going to take perfection from an opponent to beat them, and the Thunder haven’t shown the ability to play a perfect game so far this season.

Maybe that means they’re due, but I’ll take San Jose, 68-42.

Game Day Breakdown: The San Jose Sabercats have an advantage in every way over the Thunder.

On ArenaFan: To Joe Goosby!

My new column is up on AFL drive stats. San Jose is still the best; Los Angeles is still the worst. The column includes charts detailing how many drives separate them from the rest of the pack, predictions for this week’s games, and praise of the Philadelphia Soul’s Joe Goosby, who had the best game I’ve heard of someone having:

  • Offense: 5 rushes, 4 yards, 3 TDs
  • Defense: 3 tackles, 2 FF, INT, defensive TD
  • Special teams: Blocked PAT, returned for a two-point conversion.

In honor of his performance, I am trying to start a “To Joe Goosby!” quote war this week among Arena Football fans in the style of a Bill Brasky sketch. My contribution:

Joe Goosby required the Storm to have permission slips signed by each player’s parents requesting that their child be allowed to score. Unfortunately, their father, Joe Goosby, refused to write such permission slips.

If you have a “To Joe Goosby!” quote idea, share it with me on Wrong Way Sports’ Facebook page, ArenaFan’s message boards, or on Twitter. I’ll share the best in my column next week!

Darron Thomas’ 2015 season cut short

PORTLAND – The Portland Thunder have placed quarterback Darron Thomas on injured reserve and will miss the remainder of the 2015 AFL season with a lower leg injury.

Thomas sustained the injury near the 6:00 minute mark of the second quarter in the Thunder’s 69-43 loss to the Orlando Predators last Saturday.

“Darron has been an integral part of the Thunder organization from Day 1,” stated owner Terry Emmert. “We wish him a speedy recovery, and look forward to seeing him back healthy.”

“It is a shame,” explained head coach Mike Hohensee. “He was just becoming the quarterback he wanted to be in this league. I know that if this team was looking for something to play for, this would be a good place to start. I hope I get another opportunity to coach Darron Thomas.”

In his three appearances this season, Thomas completed 38 of his 58 attempts, for 374 yards and 11 touchdowns. Thomas also carried eight times, for 11 yards, and an additional score.

Breaking Down: Portland Thunder vs. Road Crowds

In the last two Portland Thunder away games, there have been incidents where a player (or his equipment) initiates contact with the opposing crowd. Neither have been quite to the level of the Ron Artest Interactive Fan Experience*, but some are making it out to be a Thunder-related problem.

The situation reminds me of how Matthew Dellavedova has been getting pilloried as a dirty player by people unfamiliar with sports (and a media that likes creating narratives) after an event where Al Horford yanked him backwards over a player who had fallen, then Horford elbow-dropped him because when Dellavedova fell over Horford’s teammate, he had the temerity to fall into Horford’s legs (of course, this is what happens when a guy is pulling you toward him and you fall backwards over someone).

In this weekend’s game of Opposing Fans vs. Portland Thunder, Thunder wide receiver V’Keon Lacey caught a pass and turned the play upfield, where he was pulled into the wall by three or four Predators fans. After they successfully pulled him into the wall, stopping the play, one continued to hold him while another fan aggressively ripped at the ball. Lacey gave the guy ripping at the ball a push afterwards, getting himself ejected for the rest of the game.

You can’t call someone dirty or someone else out of control when others are the aggressors in the incidents. Dirty is Al Horford dropping an elbow to Dellavedova’s jaw (or leaping on him, then yanking on his arm and pulling him backwards until he falls over someone, for that matter). Fans are out of control when they’re reaching over the padding to tackle players.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Lacey, especially after his former teammate, Quincy Butler, got kicked off the team for actions that were more harmful and less provoked, but were also a complete accident, rather than intentional retaliation directed at a fan.

Player Quincy Butler V’Keon Lacey
Location Philadelphia Orlando
Incident Responded to a bad ejection call by throwing helmet; accidentally struck a fan. Responded to fans assaulting him on the field by pushing one; got ejected for pushing the fan.
Intentional? No Yes
Did the fan deserve it? No Yes
Damage Unknown; fan did leave game None
Reputation None; second AFL game Thunder’s top healthy WR
Result Kicked off team; anything beyond that is unknown at this point. ???

Will Lacey be fined, suspended, or even let go? Butler had zero capital built up in the league, so even though his incident was an accident, he was gone immediately. Lacey, hopefully, has built up enough goodwill that he’ll avoid a knee-jerk reaction punishment extending beyond what he’s already served.

One thing is for sure: Every one of the Predators fans involved should have been ejected from the game and have their season tickets revoked. Of course it will never happen, since front-row season tickets are expensive, the fans would want their money back, and every AFL team needs that income.

Unfortunately, this is where the league is right now – players, and the game itself, are less important to teams than a few out of control fans.

*Reference shamelessly stolen from the internet
**Thanks to shock_fanatic_06 on ArenaFan.com for finding video of the game online and thanks to Thomas O’Brien for uploading it to YouTube.

Game Preview: Portland Thunder (3-4) at Orlando Predators (4-4)

The Portland Thunder, fresh off a win against the Los Angeles KISS, head to Orlando in search of their first road win of the season on Saturday, May 23.

The Thunder are 3-0 against the worst two scoring defenses in the league, and 0-4 against the rest of their schedule…which happens to have contained the top four defenses in the league. The Predators are the third-worst scoring defense in the league, if you’re looking for signs that point to a Thunder win.

Wrong Way Sports' Game Day Breakdown, Thunder (3-4) vs. Predators (4-4). Orlando has an offensive advantage in everything but turnovers; Portland has a defensive advantage in everything but Drive Success Rate. Look out for Duane Brooks, who has two consecutive games with kick return touchdowns.

Continue reading Game Preview: Portland Thunder (3-4) at Orlando Predators (4-4)

Getting ‘Em to Do What You Want

With the exception of very few people in the world, people want to help others. Great! That doesn’t mean they’re actually going to help you out, however, especially if you’re asking them to do something that may take away from their goals (no matter how important it is to you!).

Use these few tips to help nudge ’em to your side. These apply to co-workers, bosses, teammates, friends, and even two-year-olds – it’s also basically what you’re doing when you’re doing marketing properly.

  1. Plan ahead.

Failure to plan is planning to fail, right? So, if you need to work with someone who’s busy, who has been difficult to sway in the past, etc., you’ll want to do a couple of things. First, evaluate whether this is something you need this person to do. If Sally is always busy and Adam has free time and Adam can get the same information, have Adam help you out.*

Secondly, if you know the person well, you should know what motivates them. When I was in the Washington Air National Guard, a couple of my Airmen were simply motivated by the desire to be the best. If I wanted them to do something, I’d simply have to suggest that a co-worker had done the same job faster/more accurately than they could probably do it. Others were more motivated by how their work would help the team. Some would do it if they saw it as a challenge; others felt comfortable doing a project if it was something they already felt they knew and could easily do. Figure out what motivates that person and get them to motivate themselves to help you.

  1. Ask in a timely manner.

Continue reading Getting ‘Em to Do What You Want

On ArenaFan: Measuring San Jose’s Success (And LA’s Lack Thereof)

How much better is San Jose’s defense (by far the best unit in the league) than Los Angeles’ defense (the worst unit in the league)?

The KISS would have to stop the next 69 opposing drives just to become San Jose’s defensive equal (if San Jose continues to force stops at the same rate). The KISS defense faces fewer than 10 drives a game, so that’s just about seven consecutive shutouts. We’re only eight games into the season!

For more drive-based stats, see my article over at ArenaFan.

(Pictured: the ninth stop of the season for the KISS. Again, we’re eight games into the season.)