17 °C London, GB
16th July 2019

AAF: Commanders @ Fleet Preview

I’m no San Diego fan but even I’m getting frustrated with the number of times I hear about how Mike Martz is the saviour of football given his role in the greatest show on turf from 1999-2001. An era of football that had more to do with the expertise of Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk than it did Mike Martz.

All we were told throughout the pre-season is how the Fleets offence will be modelled after the greatest show on turf. We were supposed to be bearing witness to a high-flying offence not seen in professional football since Peyton Manning took the Broncos to Super Bowl 48. Unfortunately the bubble seemed to burst for San Diego after a single regular season game in the Alliance.

The Martz way of playing is less about wholesome football and more about lineman trying to impersonate turnstiles, whilst QB Mike Bercovici has become the most famous man in the Alliance after suffering what can only be described as an earth shattering beheading at the hands of Shaan Washington, causing what is in my opinion the very moment which cemented the AAF’s place as Footballs home during the off season.

Bercovici’s public execution resulted in him completely losing his head (pun intended) as he was eventually benched for Philip Nelson after throwing two interceptions. Whilst Nelson is a slight upgrade on the battered Bercovici, it didn’t take long for the former Golden Gopher to throw a pick of his very own.

I wrote about the implications of the Fleet last weekend if they happened to lose to the Atlanta Legends and despite horrific conditions, poor wide receiver play and some awful game management from the sidelines San Diego finally came back to ensure a victory.

On the brighter side of the rock Ja’quan Gardner managed to become only the second player in AAF history to take his rushing yards over the 100 mark. Combined with Terrell Watson the Fleet ran the ball 10 times in the last 11 plays of the game, with 15 overall carries split between them.

In San Antonio, they’ve had little trouble with Logan Woodside taking command of the offence in strong fashion. On the surface, Woodside is an efficient passer with a tendency to make the odd poor judgement, which unfortunately has cost him 3 interceptions compared to his lone touchdown pass.

Mekale McKay is showing the world exactly what made the Colts take him on as a UDFA in 2016. with 21 targets and over 100 receiving yards, it doesn’t take a genius to notice that McKay is Woodside’s go-to guy from the line of scrimmage.

The problem with McKay is that he drops the ball far too often, an issue for any athlete with aspirations of playing as a wide receiver. Out of the 21 targets flung his way, McKay has only kept hold of 7 of them.

The two quite clearly have a semi-decent understanding of each others game, what I’m looking to see over the coming weeks is whether they can improve their on field chemistry and take this obviously effective partnership to a whole different level.

Kenneth Farrow has looked dependable so far this season, in week one he struggled as he produced just 37 yards in 14 carries but as we entered week 2 his game certainly improved significantly.

Against the famously explosive Orlando Apollos, Farrow racked up 74 yards on his way to finding the endzone. Luckily for the Fleet, one of the areas they have exceeded all expectations is on their ability to stop the run.

Nobody has managed to notch up more than 50 yards on the floor against the fleet whilst no combination of backs have taken 100 yards off of the Fleet as a collective.

I’m expecting a very balanced game that is well matched across the board. The Commanders will set the tempo early on relying on the passing game to eventually cause damage on the ground.

The Fleet will use Ja’quan Gardner to their advantage on the ground as they look to open up room in the passing lanes. I can see Gardner taking over 20 touches on Sunday night in a game that’s very close to call.

Prediction:

San Antonio Commanders 15 – 22 San Antonio Fleet

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