Carolina Cobras make initial splash in NAL

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Since the Carolina Cobras have entered the National Arena League (NAL) on December 4, they have taken the league by surprise, but haven’t even played a single game yet. Who have they signed and how dangerous could they possibly be? Here is the Carolina Cobras first week recap.

Carolina Cobras First Week Recap

The Carolina Cobras have already made a huge impact in the league and they haven’t even been in the league for a calendar week yet.

To start things off, the Cobras named Billy Back as their Inaugural Head Coach. To get a real understanding on how good Back is, click here.

Back is 71-27 in the regular season and 8-2 in the post-season, counting bowl/championship games.

Offense

Fans of the league instantly knew this team would be somewhat good. Later on, they signed their Quarterback from the Wichita Falls Nighthawks of the Indoor Football League (IFL), Charles McCullum. In 2016, McCullum was named the IFL MVP, completing 273-of-390 passes (70%) for 2,959 yards, 56 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. McCullum also rushed for 132 yards and 11 touchdowns. This addition alone would make this team be a great team, but it isn’t quite enough to win playoff games.

Another standout player that the Cobras have signed is 2016 IFL Offensive Linemen of the Year, Jordan Mosely. In 2016, Mosely played for the Green Bay Blizzard This will help McCullum have time to find his receivers and make big plays.

A key receiver to watch this season is Wide Receiver from the Wichita Falls Nighthawks, Jordan Jolly. In 2016, Jolly played in 14 games, recorded 95 catches for 987 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Defense

The Cobras like balancing their offense and defense, singing Defensive Back Michael Green. 2015 was the year he got IFL Defensive Rookie of the year. He had 114 tackles, two sacks, four forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. Leading the league in interception return yards, Green got 159 yards.In 2016, Green recorded a total of 86 tackles, 10 interceptions for 62 yards, 10 pass breakups, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries for 17 yards.

Finally, the Cobras have signed Two-Time All-IFL Defensive Linemen Walter Thomas. In 2017 with the Nighthawks, Thomas had 27 tackles and five sacks.

Other Signings

The Cobras have signed nine rookies, five being defensive backs, one defensive lineman, two wide receivers, and one defensive back/wide receiver mix.

How Dangerous Will Carolina Be?

It is too early to tell how scary and dangerous the Cobras will be, but the team is building some serious chemistry and is looking like heavy favorites when it comes to who will be the best new team in the NAL.

The schedule hasn’t came out yet, which is another reason why they can’t really be compared to anybody, but many can expect more wins than losses in the upcoming season.

Issues With Players From Other Leagues

While the chemistry is building up real fast and it’s looking very promising for them, there is one slight issue. The fact that every single “star” player comes from the IFL is scary. Not scary as in other teams should worry. Scary as in there are rule changes that could take some getting used to.

One thing that is different in the NAL that the IFL doesn’t have is the kickoff points. While this may not be a big difference, it is actually more intense and a lot of games can be determined by a simple “Deuce”, which is the ball going in the uprights on a kickoff.

A major difference that the NAL and IFL have is the defense. In arena football, there is an imaginary box that the Jack Linebacker can’t move out of unless the ball has been moved around. In indoor football, there is something called the “Alley Rule”. That is an imaginary box that is at the line of scrimmage and goes five yards back on the defensive side. This line is only the width of the two outside linemen on the offense. Nobody other than defensive linemen can be in this box or line. This ultimately limits the number of times a team can blitz and/or makes it harder to blitz.

With this rule being changed for some of the players, the Cobras offensive linemen have to be careful. There will be more than just three people rushing the QB at one time.

With the IFL rule not being in the NAL, you could expect the Cobras to blitz more than any team in the league. Their players finally have the chance to get close to the offensive line and bring the pressure.

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