by Cole Pepper
The Sharks have experienced about every time of game and streak you can imagine in 2013. They started the season 6-0 and were the last team in the Arena Football League to lose a game.
But as in the outdoor game, as the quarterback goes, so goes an Arena team. First, Bernard Morris began to struggle–especially against some of the top teams. Head coach Les Moss made the move to sit Morris down and start R.J. Archer. That didn’t work. Back to Morris. Then he was injured. The Sharks then signed Kyle Rowley who started two up-and-down games before being replaced with Archer late in last week’s victory over Cleveland.
So where does that leave the Sharks now? Archer will start Saturday night against Orlando. And of all the irony, the man who led the Sharks to the Arena Bowl championships two years ago will be under center for the Predators.
Aaron Garcia retired, then un-retired and returned to the game and has played with three teams since. He started this year for San Jose and then was traded to Orlando in April. Since joining the Predators, Garcia has been sharp, leading the league in passing yards per game, averaging over 300 yards per game in his 8 starts with Orlando.
Slowing down Garcia is one challenge for the Sharks. The other, is getting to Garcia. Orlando has allowed only 11 sacks this year, third fewest in the AFL. Jacksonville got the pass rush going again last week, and the Sharks lead the league with 34 sacks this season. They’ll need to get to Garcia, who is known to wait until the last moment to deliver the ball.
Another obstacle for Jacksonville this week is the retirement of Jeff Hughley. Hughley had a shot in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers camp earlier this year, but was not signed to the team. He returned, injured his hamstring and had not been as much of a factor since. Expect London Crawford and Josh Philpart to get more playing time at wide receiver to compliment Jeron Harvey and Markee White.
Kickoff is 7:00pm Saturday. The game will be televised by CBS Sports Network.