JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville Sharks continued the team’s 2014 training camp on Thursday, practicing on Sea Best Field at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena for a third straight day. The team wore shoulder pads for the third time in as many days, providing a physical challenge for players in the late stages of training camp.
As rain fell in Jacksonville all day, the Sharks were fortunate in being able to stay dry on Thursday. Working in the arena this week has benefited the team in both keeping a regular schedule and practicing in a true game-day environment. Following Thursday’s practice, Jacksonville quarterback R.J. Archer spoke on the subject.
“It’s always nice [to be in the arena], especially this week because it’s been cold and rainy,” Archer said. “So it’s nice to be inside, and it’s always good to have the walls up here so the DBs and receivers kind of get used to it.”
Thursday’s practice featured an emphasis on situational football, as Head Coach Les Moss and the rest of the Sharks’ coaching staff worked the offense, defense and special teams through a number of different scenarios. Working through these situations in practice is designed to prepare players for the myriad of circumstances that will crop up over the course of individual games and the season as a whole.
Quarterbacks in Focus
In 2014, the Sharks have the luxury of experience at the quarterback position. R.J. Archer and Kyle Rowley are each in their second seasons with Jacksonville and bring a total of seven years of experience in the Arena Football League. Having familiarity with the Sharks’ offense and the team’s returning receivers has benefitted both players in camp as they compete for the starting job.
Along with having Jeron Harvey (fifth season) and London Crawford (second season) back in the fold at wideout, the Sharks have also brought in a talented group of rookies who are looking to make an impact. On Thursday, Archer spoke about the work that these young players have put in so far.
“I think they’re doing a really nice job,” he said. “Everything that we’re talking about in meetings or in walk-throughs before practice they’re putting it on the field. They’re catching on really well.”
Rowley has championship experience in his past, as he quarterbacked the Spokane Shock to the ArenaBowl XXIII title during the 2010 season. With that under his belt, he knows the mindset that the team will need to have in order to reach its ultimate goal.
“[It’s] having the mentality where every day is the ArenaBowl,” Rowley said. “So that way, we know how to play in clutch situations. If you put that pressure on yourself every day, it doesn’t faze you when it happens.”
The Sharks announced several transactions on Thursday. The team has been assigned defensive lineman Oren Wilson, who began his professional career by spending time with the New York Giants during 2012 training camp. Wilson completed his collegiate career at Akron, where he totaled 38 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks as a senior in 2011. Before heading to Akron, Wilson spent three years at Michigan State (2007-09), where he played in 38 games with 26 starts. Wilson is native of Teaneck, N.J.
In addition to the assignment of Wilson, the Sharks also announced Thursday that fullback Jared McGriff-Culver has been placed on physically unable to perform, offensive lineman Manny Akah has been placed on refused to report, defensive back Keiron Jones has been placed on recallable reassignment and defensive lineman Isaiah Keyes has been placed on reassignment.
The Sharks will return to the practice field on Friday morning. Friday’s practice will be held at Plantation Park in St. Johns and is set 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.