Is There Any Hope for the Gladiators This Year?

Cleveland tries to get their 2nd win of the season when they face the 4-3 Chicago Rush

An average fan might look at the Gladiators and think “1-5? This season is over; no way Cleveland makes the playoffs”. Well, let me throw some hope at the great fans of Cleveland- In 2007 The Tampa Bay Storm started the year 0-5 and in the next two weeks became 1-6. Care to guess how they ended the year? If you said 9-7 and the #3 seed in the National Conference you are correct.

Don’t give up hope Cleveland, The Gladiators are in the weakest division in the AFL and at 1-5 they are actually in second place behind the first place Philadelphia Soul (3-3). There are currently only two out of seven teams in the American Conference that have records above .500 (Sharks 6-1 and Storm 5-3).

One of the biggest problems thus far for Head Coach Steve Thonn is how the defense has performed, “The biggest thing again, we have to put pressure on their quarterback. They have a young quarterback who hasn’t played much.” Thonn said. He is of course referring to Rush QB Carson Coffman, who played with the Utah Blaze last year never getting a start. This year Coffman has thrown for 1,619 yards 130-220, 35TDs and 7INTs.

The biggest worry for Cleveland should be Chicago’s start WR Reggie Gray who is 1st in the league in yards with 812 and 2nd for TDs with 20. He’s 5’11” 170lbs and can flat out fly. They need to look out for number 1 when he’s in motion he will burn you deep.

The players can’t do it without you Cleveland! You have to go to the games and cheer them on, get loud when they’re on defense! Show our opponents what it’s like to be in the Gladiators house! “Prepare for Glory” 

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Goodman Shines in Loss to the Sharks but Cleveland Continues to Struggle

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Gladiators star wide receiver Dominick Goodman dominated the passing attack, bringing in 3TDs and 118 yards of offense, but they couldn’t find a way to win this one losing 66-49 against Jacksonville.

Cleveland’s defense doesn’t look like the team they did in years past with a line that blew up the QB and a ball-hawking secondary. Instead, they have struggled to get turnovers with only 3 fumble recoveries, 0 interceptions and their defense rank at the bottom of the AFL.

The amount of penalties in this game was staggering, it’s hard to tell just how fair the referees were being, but Cleveland better go back to the tapes and work on better discipline.

The offense isn’t much better with starting QB Brian Zbydniewski at the helm. Against the Sharks he went 19-of-40 for 244 yards and five touchdowns, that’s less than half of his pass attempts completed. He showed some flashes of greatness connecting on a few touch passes, but he also seems to have some trouble with crossing patterns and deep ball accuracy. “Winning solves all problems in sports, if you win it makes everything fun; it makes practice fun, it makes preparation better.” Zbydniewski said.

This team needs a spark and they need it now, Goodman has been about the only consistent playmaker the Gladiators have had this season. With next week being a bye week, Cleveland will have an extra week to prepare for the 2-1 Philadelphia Soul who lead the division right now. This is a definition of a must win. If Cleveland can find a way to win it would put them in second place in a weak division.