The National Arena League (NAL) is one day closer to kickoff, which means that each team needs to have a preview for their upcoming season. We will begin with taking a look at the 2018 Jacksonville Sharks season preview.
2018 Jacksonville Sharks Season Preview
The Jacksonville Sharks have the most pressure out of any team this year, winning the championship game last year. They have to keep the ball rolling and continue their winning ways. All eyes are on the champion and everyone’s focus and goal is to beat the champions every chance they can get.
Jacksonville Sharks Roster
|2018 Jacksonville Sharks Roster|
|WR||Emughedi “Ify” Umodu**|
|OL||Moqut “Mo” Ruffins**|
|DB||Eddie Davis III*|
* – Player has arena experience; ** – Player has played for Jacksonville in previous years
The Sharks are stacked when it comes to experience. Their roster has 38 players. Of those 38 players, 28 of them have arena/indoor experience. Of those 28 players, 13 have played for the Sharks either last year or previous years. The Sharks obviously know what they are doing when it comes to having experience, especially the chemistry part of it. When putting it into a percentage, that equals 73% that has played arena/indoor football in the past. Of those 73%, 46% have played with the Sharks before. Putting the previous Sharks players numbers to the total numbers, that is 34% of the team that has been with the Sharks before. Not very many teams can say that they have done that.
What to expect during the 2018 season
Tommy Grady is a common name in Jacksonville, since he’s been playing in Jacksonville since 2015. Grady didn’t see the field for nearly three quarters of the season last year due to an injury in his foot/ankle.
Grady will be back to his normal self and throw touchdowns left and right on that 50-yard field.
With five of the nine receivers having experience (two of which playing for the Sharks before), we can expect some huge numbers from both Wide Receiver Jeron Harvey and Wide Receiver Emughedi “Ify” Umodu. Harvey should have Grady’s system down since he played with Grady in 2015.
Grady will be able to hit 4,500 yards and maybe even 70 touchdowns on the season, depending on who he chooses as his top receiver. With all the talent at receiver, there will be no stopping Grady and his targets.
Harvey will have at least 1,250 yards and 20 touchdowns. Umodu will have around 850 yards and 15 touchdowns. They will be Grady’s primary targets throughout the season.
When it comes to Andrew Opoku, Antonio Vaughan, Christopher Gilchrist, Jamar Howard, Montario Hunter, Trevor Kennedy, and Deontay Greenberry, Grady will try to figure out what they’re best at to effectively use them.
There are too many talented receivers for any defense to handle. Even if the opponent has enough corners, those corners won’t be able to cover all of the Sharks receivers. A couple corners might make the receivers quiet, but what about the other receivers? They will burn the corners every play.
Every single game will be a field day for Grady and his receivers, hints as to why Grady’s numbers are going to be high this season.
Fullback Derrick Ross has yet to be mentioned. Ross is a hero in Jacksonville. He has led the Arena Football League (AFL) and NAL in rushing almost every year he has been playing. He blew everybody out of the water last year with rushing. With the league going down to six teams instead of eight, expect Ross to do more this year. Ross led the league in rushes (110), yards (540), and touchdowns (25).
Ross should be able to get around the same amount of carries, about 600 yards, and 30 touchdowns.
Switching over to the defensive side, the defensive lineman will be able to hurry the quarterback, force a lot of bad passes, maybe even fumbles, and will be able to sack the quarterback multiple times this season. This defensive line will get around 18-20 sacks this season.
(Jack) Linebacker Charlie Hunt returns to Jacksonville in hopes for another championship victory. Last year, Hunt contributed a lot by having 36.5 tackles and seven interceptions for 147 yards and two touchdowns.
Hunt has some help at linebacker. He has JaJuan Harley, a former Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Gladiators, and Georgia Firebirds linebacker.
With this league stepping up in competition, there will be a lot more passing throughout the games, especially closer to the end of the games. Hunt, being the Jack Linebacker, stays in the middle of the field, which is an issue for quarterbacks since that is a common place to throw in football. Hunt will be able to have 10 interceptions on the season and maybe two or three touchdowns on those interceptions. When it comes to tackles, Hunt will be able to hit that 40 tackle mark.
Every single one of the Sharks defensive backs have had arena/indoor experience. Ross played with the Sharks last year and played outstanding. Even though he played in eight games, he still led the team in interceptions with eight for 112 yards and one touchdown. Ross also had 22 tackles.
This year, playing a full 16-game season, the defensive backs will be able to produce at least 13 interceptions and three touchdowns.
When it comes to the other defensive backs, the Sharks will have every single receiver shut down. They have six impact defensive backs that will change the game by shutting down the opponents receivers. Teams with great quarterbacks will really struggle against this Sharks secondary.
It’s still too early to tell what the record will be since each team is finalizing their rosters.
The Sharks secondary, quarterback, and receivers will be the story of the season, as they are beyond loaded on all of those positions.
Look for the Sharks at the number one spot for the majority of the season.
Will they win the National Arena Bowl this year? Only time will tell, but they are building a great squad and are quickly becoming early favorites, just like they were last year.