02/27/2014 7:55 PM
ST JOHNS, Fla. – The Jacksonville Sharks returned to the practice field on Thursday, holding a morning workout at Plantation Park in St. Johns County. After two consecutive grueling practices in pads, the Sharks conducted a no-hitting workout on Thursday to help players manage the physical toll of training camp.
Despite the lack of contact, Thursday’s lengthy workout served as a great chance for the Sharks work through valuable reps on offense, defense and special teams. For the offensive and defensive linemen, the lack of shoulder pads led to an emphasis on technique, helping rookies and veterans alike master the skills they will need in game situations.
While preparation remains focused on the season as a whole, the Sharks have one eye on Sunday’s scrimmage against the Tampa Bay Storm. It will be the first time that the 2014 team matches up against true opposition, and will be an eye-opening experience for many of the rookies who are new to arena football. But it is not only the rookies who are looking forward to Sunday.
“I love being out here at training camp, but it’s always nice to put it all together and start cheering our defense on as well,” veteran quarterback Kyle Rowley said. “We’ve been going against them for a few days now, and to all be walking the same direction is always a nice feeling.”
Nearly a week into camp, competition is high as players battle for a limited number of roster spots. At the end of the week, the Sharks will need to reduce the active roster to a total of 28 players prior to Sunday’s scrimmage against. With Thursday’s practice in the books, players will have just one more full workout to impress the Sharks’ coaching staff before the first roster decisions must be made.
Kyle Rowley was one of the last Sharks to join the team in 2013, coming aboard after the halfway point in the season. Thrust into a starting role just five days after joining the roster, Rowley provided a spark for the Sharks down the stretch, particularly in the team’s Week 15 matchup against the Orlando Predators. Coming on in relief of an injured R.J. Archer in that game, Rowley accounted for five touchdowns in Jacksonville’s 62-55 victory over a division rival.
Back in the fold for 2014, Rowley brings championship experience to the table. In 2010, his first AFL season, Rowley led the Spokane Shock to an ArenaBowl XXIII victory over the Tampa Bay Storm, establishing a then-ArenaBowl record with nine touchdown passes in that game. With 309 AFL touchdowns to his name, Rowley is geared up to compete for the Sharks’ starting job this season.
In the midst of his first training camp with Jacksonville, Rowley is pleased with the way the team has progressed so far.
“I think things are going good. The thing I especially like is the team chemistry,” Rowley said. “It seems like we’re bonding as a team, and that’s a big part of week one. But as far as execution goes, I actually think that we’re ahead of the ballgame as far as that goes too.”
The Sharks are scheduled to return to the practice field on Friday morning. Friday’s practice will be held at Plantation Park, located at 3060 Race Track Rd. in St Johns. Practice is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m.
About the Jacksonville Sharks
The Jacksonville Sharks are members of the Arena Football League (AFL). The ArenaBowl XXIV and four-time South Division Champions are presented by Sea Best Seafood and play all home games on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. Season Tickets for the 2014 season are now available, two tickets for as low as $185. To purchase your season tickets or for more information, please call (904) 621-0700. Follow the Sharks on facebook at facebook.com/jaxsharks and on Twitter @jaxsharks, as well as the Attack Dance Team at facebook.com/sharkattackdance and Chum at facebook.com/chumsharks.
About the AFL
Since its inception in 1987, the Arena Football League has showcased a fast-paced and exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets across the country. The ESPN family of networks and CBS Sports Network will nationally broadcast AFL games each week for the entire season. The AFL schedule then culminates with the ArenaBowl Championship game live on ESPN.