We have a request for a midweek, it will run on monday.
With the 2nd pick in the 2046 CFL draft, the Atlantic City Phantoms select quarterback Jared Graham.
With those words, a flash of hope was seen in Atlantic City. The Phantoms appear to have a young franchise quarterback to add to 2044 top pick WR Dan McLaurin. With a strong defense returning, the question is can this team rebound from a down year to fight for a playoff spot, or at least a .500 record?
Offense: The offense has some excellent talent but seriously lacks depth. WR McLaurin (67/67) and TE Barker (58/58) are excellent targets for the young quarterback. However, it will be up to the running game of RB Emack (46/46) and FB Diego Loupe (68/68) to grind out some yards to keep the pressure off Graham.
- Burt McGinnis - 11th year - 40/40 - NEW
- Amir Upshaw - 3rd year - 22/45
- Darren Connell - Rookie - 11/32 - NEW
- Jared Graham - R - 32/65 - NEW
- Amir Upshaw - 4th year - 10/18
- R.J. Large - R - 9/25 - NEW
The Phantoms had hoped that they could sit Graham behind McGinnis for a season but McGinnis decided to hold out for unreal money and was released. Now it is the Jared Graham show, ready or not. Upshaw must have some kind of drug problem as he has dropped from a promising signal caller to the scrap heap. Large was a flyer in the 6th round but must have already been hanging out with Upshaw as he is barely fit to carry a clipboard.
UPDATED Ex. Week 3 - QB Chris Boykin (6th year - 34/34) was signed to provide some insurance behind Graham. Graham is still the #1 QB but at least there is a capable backup now on the roster.
- Jeffrey Emack - 5th year - 46/46
- Julian Blake - 4th year - 38/38
- Ray Lang - Rookie - 31/31 - NEW
- Jeffrey Emack - 6th year - 46/46
- Julian Blake - 5th year - 37/37
- Donte Terrill - R - 34/42 - NEW
- Ray Lang - 2nd year - 27/39
Emack is coming off his sixth straight 1,100+ yard season and is still a viable #1 running back. ACI needs another good season if they hope to improve their record. Blake ran for 708 yards while averaging 4.1 yards per carry last season and has played better than his ratings indicate. Terrill is the surprise of the group after a strong training camp. Signed as an undrafted free agent, he looks to be another compliment to Emack while also being the best pass receiving back on the roster. A second round pick in 2045, Lang has not progressed as the team hoped but will still be given a shot to contribute.
- Diego Loupe - 2nd year - 60/72
- Deion Bishop - 10th year - 47/47 - NEW
- Zion Price - 6th year - 40/40
- Diego Loupe - 3rd year - 68/68
- Deion Bishop - 11th year - 38/38
- Zion Price - 7th year - 32/32
Atlantic City has always like fullbacks and tight ends. That trend continues with Loupe, a second round pick in 2044 who has become one of the best fullbacks in the CFL. Look for him to get more carries this season. A former 4-time first team fullback, Bishop brings experience and leadership while still being a force on special teams. Speaking of leadership, Price is a mentor who also provides exceptional special teams skills.
- Dan McLaurin - 2nd year - 68/68
- Jose Robinson - 9th year - 44/44
- Winfred Pearson - 8th year - 39/39 - NEW
- Tommy Price - 11th year - 39/39
- Jerald Francis - 10th year - 38/38
- Neil Fisk - 3rd year - 26/31
- Dan McLaurin - 3rd year - 67/67
- Jose Robinson - 10th year - 38/38
- Tyler Sporer - 8th year - 30/30 - NEW
- Jerald Francis - 10th year - 29/29
- Neil Fisk - 4th year - 20/24
McLaurin is the wide receiver that Atlantic City has been looking for but needs to take that next step with the young QB. In 2045, he caught only 42 passes in 16 games but has exceptional skills. Robinson has taken some ratings hits but is still a good #3/#4 receiver. Unfortunately, he is the #2 receiver on this roster. Sporer, who chose ACI over four other offers this offseason, was brought in for his punt return skills but will need to make some plays on offense. Francis has shown big play ability in the past and will also need to play above his ratings in order for the passing game to succeed. I am not sure why Fisk is still on the roster. Perhaps for special teams abilities because he really sucks as a receiver.
UPDATED Ex. Week 3 - Depth was brought to the roster with the signing of WR Corbin Cecrle (5th year - 31/31).
- Jeff Barker - 7th year - 60/60 - NEW
- Dan Shea - 8th year - 36/36
- Jeff Barker - 8th year - 58/58
- Dan Shea - 9th year - 29/29
- Jerry Smith - 2nd year - 19/36 - NEW
As I mentioned, ACI loves their tight ends. Barker was signed in 2045 to replace Carlos Polhemus and was a bit of a disappointment with only 32 catches and no touchdowns. Part of that can be blamed on the play calling but a turnaround is desperately needed. Shea enters the last year of his contract and continues to head south in the ratings. Smith is a good blocker who was signed for depth but is not what the team expected when he arrived in town.
- Bennet Lay - 7th year - 52/52
- Sherman Welch - R - 21/28 - NEW
Ouch! Lay was not resigned and the idea was to bring in someone via free agency but the Phantoms whiffed at all of their targets. Even in the draft, they were unable to find a true center. Welch, a 4th round pick, spent his entire college career at right tackle but has been moved to center and has been very unimpressive. Look for a new center to be signed in week 2 after the league roster cut down.
- LG - Sedrick Janjic - 9th year - 68/68
- RG - Dakota Carr - 5th year - 47/47 - NEW
- LG - Bart Zepeda - 9th year - 40/40
- RG - Richard Keith - 10th year - 33/33 - NEW
- LG - Sedrick Janjic - 10th year - 53/53
- RG - Richard Keith - 11th year - 52/52
- RG - Dakota Carr - 6th year - 39/39
- LG - Bart Zepeda - 10th year - 33/33
Janjic and Keith are a very good set of guards despite their age. There have been rumors about Keith and PED's but for now he has passed all drug tests. Carr is a good backup but not someone you would like to see with a lot of playing time. Zepeda is reaching the end of his usefulness in Atlantic City.
- RT - Carlos Urbanchek - 11th year - 53/53
- LT - Jose Finch - 7th year - 46/46
- RT - Corwin Gray - 3rd year - 34/34
- RT - Carlos Urbanchek - 12th year - 53/53
- LT - Brenden Ishii - 6th year - 32/32
- RT - Corwin Gray - 4th year - 41/41
- RT - Dan Walton - R - 14/37 - NEW
Urbanchek fits in perfectly with Janjic and Keith as solid offensive linemen. He just signed a new contract for two more years in Atlantic City, which may be the biggest signing for ACI in the offseason. Ishii was supposed to be the answer at left tackle when he signed with the Phantoms but his ratings took a hit in training camp. With right tackle Gray a better player than Ishii, it would not be a surprise to see Urbanchek at left tackle and Ishii relegated to a backup. Walton, taken at 2-2, so far looks like a bust.
- Caden Roberts - 4th year - 38/38 - NE
- Renaldo Burmeister - Rookie - 18/64 - NEW
- Renaldo Burmeister - Rookie - 19/40
Roberts left in free agency, leaving the job to Burmeister. During free agency, ACI decided not to sign a veteran kicker as they decided to give the kid a chance. In training camp, he took a bit hit in ratings so that strategy may change. Stay tuned.
UPDATED Ex. Week 3 - The decision was made to bring in some competition with the signing of Rich Dahlin (13th year - 53/53). This was not necessarily a knock on Burmeister who still has a chance to make the roster as a future kicker but this team needs a reliable kicker (Dahlin was 91.4% on field goals last season). It also doesn't hurt to gain some leadership from a former Hartford player, even if he is a kicker.
Coming soon - the defense.
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Sharks Coaches and scouts met today with GM Red Zone
to discuss the upcoming draft and decide what direction the team should go in.
It appears there are even more questions now than before this meeting.
A list of options was presented to Red Zone
and each option had some backing from either coaches or scouts.
1) Stay at 1.1 and Draft a WR
this is, if you are sold on Devante Brandon at QB
2) Stay at 1.1 and Draft a QB, and then deal QB Brandon
or let them battle for the job and deal one of them next season.
You can always Trade a Good QB, and having 2 isnt a bad thing
3) Stay at 1.1 and Draft a RB, CB, T, G, or DE
finish building the rest of the team and allow Brandon another season to develop.
A 2nd RB would allow the team to focus more on the Running Game, and Guard is not exactly a team strength.
A 2nd CB would make the pass defense better, and a LB would help the run defense.
4) Deal down and accumulate more Picks.
With a tight cap, this seems unlikely, but there are veterans that could be moved to open up cap room.
Option 3 is actually 5 different Options, depending on what Position is targeted, so there are 8 different ways the team could go.
What is the most likely scenario right now?
Red Zone evaded the question when reporters asked, but its no secret he was unsure about the Brandon Pick that was made right before he was hired, and he wasnt thrilled with the teams offensive production last season.
That comes down to either a lack of playmakers at WR or you have to blame QB Brandon.
A Stud RB would take the pressure off Brandon, if there was one in this class. Honolulu is looking at 3 RBs but they dont consider any of them to be a stud, and one is a Red Flag, something Red Zone usually avoids.
With pick 1.14 Honolulu can address a Guard or a Linebacker
What they will do at 1.1 is anybodys guess
If a team that needed a QB very badly came along and offered a young Stud RB and picks...they might be able to deal up to 1.1 Or maybe its a package of picks this yr and next with The Sharks moving down.
If a team made a serious offer for QB Brandon, that might make the decision very easy for Honolulu.