|Last 3 Games||1-2||-1||3-0||2-1||58.7||29.3||327.3||(7.6)||1.3||55.0||32.0||271.7||(6.4)||1.3|
|Offense (All Games)||53.0||23.2||20.8||30:37||9-38||(4.4)||22-35||63.6%||274||(7.8)||44-312||(7.1)||(5.9)|
|Opponents Defensive Avg.||49.7||24||19.6||30:13||7-21||(2.8)||22-34||64.6%||258||(7.6)||41-279||(6.8)||(5.6)|
|Offense Road Games||61.0||33.0||24.0||26:56||10-24||(2.4)||26-35||74.3%||358||(10.2)||45-382||(8.5)||(6.3)|
|Defense (All Games)||52.6||27.2||18.0||29:23||7-18||(2.7)||22-35||64.7%||225||(6.5)||41-243||(5.9)||(4.6)|
|Opponents Offensive Avg.||50||25.9||18.9||30:47||6-19||(2.9)||22-34||65.7%||245||(7.1)||41-263||(6.5)||(5.3)|
|Defense Road Games||62.0||28.0||26.0||33:04||4-9||(2.2)||37-47||78.7%||364||(7.7)||51-373||(7.3)||(6)|
|Last 3 Games||3-0||+2||1-2||3-0||66.3||32.3||262.0||(7.3)||0.7||52.3||27.7||280.3||(7.1)||2.7|
|Offense (All Games)||60.8||30.8||20.8||30:32||9-23||(2.5)||20-30||64.9%||242||(8)||40-266||(6.7)||(4.4)|
|Opponents Defensive Avg.||52.5||25||19.7||30:19||7-21||(3)||23-35||65.3%||247||(7.1)||42-267||(6.4)||(5.1)|
|Offense Home Games||65.0||28.0||19.5||30:40||6-26||(4)||19-30||65.0%||234||(7.8)||36-260||(7.1)||(4)|
|Defense (All Games)||48.0||27.8||16.8||29:28||7-27||(4)||20-32||60.9%||257||(8)||39-284||(7.3)||(5.9)|
|Opponents Offensive Avg.||47.4||22.9||17.8||30:41||6-18||(2.8)||22-35||63.3%||248||(7.1)||41-265||(6.4)||(5.6)|
|Defense Home Games||45.0||24.5||14.5||29:20||6-6||(0.9)||20-33||62.1%||263||(8)||39-269||(6.8)||(6)|
|Average power rating of opponents played: CLEVELAND 44.2, PHILADELPHIA 41|
|4/22/2017||@ TAMPA BAY||61-62||L||5||W||103||O||10-24||26-35-358||1||4-9||37-47-364||1|
|5/20/2017||@ PHILADELPHIA|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|5/27/2017||@ BALTIMORE|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|6/3/2017||@ WASHINGTON|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|6/10/2017||@ PHILADELPHIA|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|6/16/2017||BALTIMORE|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|4/15/2017||@ TAMPA BAY||56-52||W||-12.5||L||105||O||17-25||22-31-251||2||5-40||20-33-292||1|
|5/20/2017||CLEVELAND|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|5/27/2017||@ WASHINGTON|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|6/10/2017||CLEVELAND|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|6/17/2017||TAMPA BAY|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|CLEVELAND: The Cleveland Gladiators had arguably the most magical run in the history of the Arena Football League two seasons ago when they went from doormats to the penthouse, a 17-1 season capped off with a trip to the ArenaBowl. The Gladiators came up a game short of their goals that year by losing to Arizona, and the 2016 season ended up being a little more disappointing at just 7-9. |
With 2015 Assistant Coach of the Year Ron Selesky now in charge of the roster, a huge overhaul, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, has Cleveland back in the saddle as a legitimate contender to perhaps host the ArenaBowl for the second time in the last three seasons.
For as talented as his defense was a season ago, Selesky knew that he needed to add some experience to his young guys. Darryl Cato-Bishop, Arness Ikner, Alvin Ray Jackson, Rayshaun Kizer, Willie McGinnis, Terence Moore and Kent Richardson are all players with at least three years of AFL experience, and they are expected to step in and bring some of the confidence that only comes from having actual game reps. Kizer was the best of the haul even though his interception numbers have tapered off in recent years. He is still largely regarded as one of the top cover men in the League.
Brandon Thompkins, arguably one of the most valuable wide receivers and kick returners from last season, has also changed addresses, joining McGinnis, Moore, Richardson, C.J. Cobb and Larry Brackins in their moves from Orlando to Cleveland.
One of the top rookie defenders from a season ago, Joe Powell is now in the NFL with the Bills. It's a big loss for the Gladiators, as Powell picked off five passes last year and returned three of them for scores, but with all of the veterans who are coming to Cleveland, Powell probably won't feel missed.
A potentially sticky situation is brewing at the quarterback spot should anything happen to Arvell Nelson. Nelson started the season as the backup quarterback last year, first to Chris Dieker, then to Dennis Havrilla, but he took over in May and threw for 70 TDs with 11 more on the ground. Should anything happen to Nelson, Dieker and Havrilla are both gone. Veteran Shane Boyd was brought in to be the team's backup after serving behind Nick Davila in Arizona, while Tanner Marsh will also have a chance to compete for the backup role.
Quentin Sims busted onto the scene last year for the Gladiators. He proved to be great around the end zone, scoring TDs on 27 of his 92 receptions. Collin Taylor finished seventh in the League last season with 1,437 yards, and the combination of these two with Brackins and Thompkins could make this one of the most dangerous receiving corps in the AFL.
|PHILADELPHIA: There was never a doubt that the Philadelphia Soul were up against a mountain of a challenge in ArenaBowl XXIX. They were the decided underdogs in the game on the road against an Arizona Rattlers team which had dominated in recent years, playing in the championship game five times in six years. Yet no one told the Soul they were supposed to be intimidated or even fallible in the ArenaBowl, and they left Glendale as 56-42 victors. |
The goal of the offseason for any team is to make your roster better, but in the case of the Soul, when you're at the top of the mountain, the goal is to merely replicate the success of the prior year. Not surprisingly, Clint Dolezel has brought back as much of the roster as possible from the 2016 season, and that arguably makes Philadelphia the team to beat in 2017.
Dolezel loves to incorporate his ground game into his offense, and whether it was Derrick Ross, Tommy Taggart or most recently, Jeramie Richardson, the Soul always had one of the top rushers in the League. This year, the fullback spot will be turned over to Mykel Benson, a man largely accepted as one of the best all-around players at the position. Benson has reached double-digits in touchdown rushes in each of his last four seasons, and he'll figure to reach that point again in 2017.
Dan Raudabaugh has maintained his status as one of the elite quarterbacks in the AFL for quite some time, and he'll be the first to tell you a big reason for his success is his offensive line. Though Wayne Tribue is back to anchor that line this season, All-Arena linemen, Adam Smith and Neal Tivis are both gone. Granted, John Martinez was fantastic last season with Portland and Orlando, and he should fit in nicely at one of the guard spots, but if there's a potential bone of contention in a roster that is returning the majority of its roster, it's here along the offensive line.
Seven of the eight starters from last season's defense are back in the saddle, and that's a great thing for a unit that led the league in interceptions with 25. Joe Goosby was initially picked up by Baltimore in the Brigade's expansion draft, but Dolezel couldn't stand to ultimately lose the man he refers to as, "hands down the best Jack Linebacker in the Arena Football League." Within weeks of the expansion draft, the Soul made their move, trading future considerations and a claim order pick to Baltimore to get its All-Arena Jack back.
On the other side of the ball, Raudabaugh is obviously the key piece to the puzzle. He's one of the nine men to ever throw for 600+ touchdowns in AFL history and with good health this season, he will likely become the tenth to throw for 30,000 yards at some point in the next few months.
|Last Updated: 2/20/2018 11:40:52 PM EST|