The Baltimore Brigade began this season struggling on offense, without a quarterback and facing questions about themselves. With the season winding down, it’s safe to assume they have found an answer.
Quarterback Shane Carden has stepped in after head coach Omarr Smith benched Chase Cartwright on opening night against the Washington Valor and brought instant offensive results to the Brigade. On the season, he has thrown for 2,735 yards, 53 touchdowns, and only 12 interceptions, while leading Baltimore to a 4-6 mark in 2017.
Carden has not only helped the Brigade offensively, but he’s also thrown himself into the conversation for rookie of the year. Carden took over for a quarterback who was struggling in Week 1 at Washington and an offense that looked like it was in for a very long year.
While the Brigade are only averaging 49.25 points since he became the starter, he has shown signs of consistency, leading them to 50 or more points in four of his first five starts. Not only that, but Carden has played well enough to keep the Brigade in third place in the AFL playoff race. They currently sit far behind the Tampa Bay Storm and Philadelphia Soul, but are ahead of the Cleveland Gladiators, who are currently in fourth place.
Another thing to keep in mind: Carden has done this without the services of wide receiver Reggie Gray, who retired in the middle of the season. The receiving corp for Baltimore is not the biggest group of names, but Carden is finding ways to get it done week in and week out for the Brigade, and he’s giving the team momentum as the playoffs get closer and closer.
He made his case clear against the Philadelphia Soul, the lone undefeated team in the league. Carden threw for 271 yards and five touchdowns in this game, proving he is not only the front runner, but the clear-cut winner for the 2017 Arena Football League MVP award.