Arena Football League Jacksonville Sharks

JACKSON-ville

The 2001 Baltimore Ravens of the NFL had an unusual quirk: three players with the last name of Lewis (LB Ray, RB Jamal, and WR Jermaine). In 2016, the Jacksonville Sharks went one step beyond, using four players with the last name of Jackson (Jack linebacker Alvin Ray, defensive back LaRoche “Action”, wide receiver Roger “Spiderman”, and defensive lineman Dexter).

While the end result wasn’t near the same (Ravens won the Super Bowl, while the Sharks fell in the conference title game), all of them had their own major contributions throughout the season.

On offense, with the shear depth at wide receiver, Roger had issues seeing the field. He featured in the first five games of the season, but only registered ten catches one, and never hit the 100-yard mark in a game.

Even with 28 catches for 268 yards and three scores, the return of London Crawford and the exploits of Tiger Jones and Joe Hills throughout the season, Roger found himself out of the starting lineup more often than not.

While he did return for the Week 18 matchup against the Tampa Bay Storm, his six catches for 71 yards and two scores didn’t translate to a playoff appearance.

On defense, Alvin Ray, Dexter, and LaRoche shined in moments where the unit as a whole had a rough season. LaRoche, in his second stint with the team, finished second with six interceptions (one behind Greg Reid, and one-third of the team’s total), and finished third on the team with 77 total tackles while also finishing tied for second with ten pass deflections.

Alvin Ray, who had his biggest moment in the playoffs against the Orlando Predators thanks to his six-yard pick-six to keep the Sharks in the game, did finish fourth in total tackles (55.5), batted down three passes, caught two more as interceptions, and recovered two fumbles, anchoring the second level of defense that should see some improvement with a new coach in 2017.

Dexter was good enough to register at least a half tackle in every game this season, only missing one and totaling 23 (good enough for fifth on the Sharks), but was only one of eight players to register at least a half sack, and led the team with 4.5 (out of a total of 17, showing the team missed Joe Sykes, who set the league record in 2015 with 18.5 by himself).

All four of them will want to forget the 2016 season they had, but will all be looking forward to 2017, where they hope to have one more thing in common: a championship ring.

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