Power beaten by San Antonio, drop to 1-4
The Power's triumverate of offensive coaches study film, formulate schemes and call plays designed to fool the defense and win games.
That's fine, but wide receiver Mike Washington has been around football long enough to know this:
Only the players can make it work.
For the fourth time in five games this season, the Power wasn't good enough Sunday, losing to the San Antonio Talons, 42-37, before a crowd of 6,688 at Consol Energy Center.
“You, as a player, have to execute at the best of your ability,” said Washington, who was at the top of his game, catching 13 passes for 133 yards and four of his team's five touchdowns. “All the time, taking no plays off.”
Power coach Derek Stingley, who last week seized on-field, play-calling duties from offensive coordinator Mike Tomczak, handed them over to assistant coach Jon Lyles, who joined the team last week.
The problems persisted against the Talons (2-3), who allowed 83 points last week to the Arizona Rattlers.
The Power (1-4) barely surpassed their Arena Football League-low average of 32 points, lost two fumbles and allowed five sacks of quarterbacks Jordan Jefferson and Shane Austin, increasing the total to 22 in five games.
Stingley even tried to “dumb down” some of the protections on the offensive line to simplify the game, but the Talons' pass rush remained effective.
“I see where one guy went one way, and the other three went the other way,” he said. “We can draw up any play we want, but all eight guys have to be on the same page.”
Washington wasn't pleased with the overall team effort that also included 10 penalties.
“You have some guys make the same mistakes since training camp,” said the Aliquippa High School product. “At some point, you have to take self-responsibility and overcome those mistakes. We have to learn how to be consistent mentally.” Now Stingley is uncertain about the future of the quarterback position. He took Jefferson out of the game in the fourth quarter after he suffered chest, and groin injuries, and he was pleased with how Austin led the team to two touchdowns in the final four minutes.
He said he doesn't know who will start next Saturday.
“I thought Shane was in a good rhythm,” he said. “We may have to revisit that next week.” Stingley is fortunate that Washington, who is averaging nearly 10 catches per game, is making the quarterbacks' jobs a little easier.
“If a team is ever going to play man-to-man on him and we can get the ball to him,” Stingley said, “he's coming down with it. He's playing with his heart.
“I just need a couple more guys who play just like that.”