The 2017 version of the Cleveland Gladiators has not done much this season. Cleveland, a team that many thought would be on pace to be the second best team in the Arena Football League, is now 0-3 and in the basement by themselves.
It’s easy to be negative for a team with a donut in the win column, but three different games started with three different players at quarterback in each game pretty much sums things up. When the player with the most success that is also a multi-threat type play caller such as Arvell Nelson, is not even on the team in week one, negative things can happen and they have.
However, in Week 3, Arvell Nelson got his first start of the season and was responsible for eight total touchdowns and a near comeback win, but that was not enough as the Tampa Bay Storm defeated the Gladiators 62-61.
With a loaded team, especially at wide receiver, the one – two punch of Collin Taylor and newly acquired all around threat wide receiver Brandon Thompkins, everyone thought deep touchdown passes would occur on the regular. Those kind of numbers have not totally came to fruition. Thompkins did not see any action the last two weeks, although he is on the active roster this week. With so much activity from under center, it has proven to really slow down an offense that has struggled to get going early in games, except in last Saturday’s night game last game when the Gladiators got out to a fast start and were even up by 20 points early in the second quarter, yet they were also down 10 with 8:01 still remaining left to play in the game.
On the positive side, Cleveland somehow has scored the second most points (150) in the league, despite not scoring more than 14 points in the first half of their first two games. Cleveland has also given up the most points (160) although those numbers did not have All-Arena linebacker Rayshaun Kizer playing defensive back at all in the last two games.
In a season with one less home game this year compared to last season’s eight, and two of the Glads first three games have already been played at the Quicken Loans Arena, and the inability to play a complete game. Its starting to feel like there is reason to panic. Even if Cleveland can rally from their slow start and earn the fourth and last spot in the playoffs or better, Cleveland is not scaring anyone right now. Matching with the likes of the the current champs, the Philadelphia Soul, or as we have been reminded a couple times already this season, the Storm do not fear the Glads no matter how the game starts out.
This week, yet another home game so the pressure will be on. They will face off vs the Washington Valor. Washington looked very strong in the first half over the Baltimore Brigade in week one, going on to win.
Last week coming off a bye, a similar start, but they barely fell to the Soul. Cleveland will likely need a strong start to stay in the game with a talented passing offense led by veterans Erik Meyer and Mike Washington. Not many thought Cleveland would be talking must win in week four but here we are.