Prime opportunity awaits for Power

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In almost every conceivable way, a home game against the Orlando Predators is an excellent chance for a struggling Power team to get a win in what is one of the easiest stretches on its schedule.

Power coaches and players, though, believe they can't afford such a mindset, even against the winless Predators.

"Every game is a prime opportunity to get things going," wide receiver Mike Washington said. "Here in this arena, the record really doesn't matter. You can almost compare it to basketball a bit -- a series of runs and the next thing you know, the game turns like that in a matter of seconds."

After showing offensive improvement with a 46-point performance April 19 in a victory against the New Orleans Voodoo, the Power offense regressed last week in a loss to San Antonio, scoring 37 points and not passing the 30-point mark until the final minutes.

It was emblematic of a unit that has failed to gain traction for much of the year. The Power is last in the Arena Football League in scoring offense (33 points per game) and 12th among 14 teams in total offense (231.6 yards per game).

Scouting report

  • Matchup:

    Orlando Predators (0-5) vs. Power (1-4), 7 p.m. today, Consol Energy Center.

  • TV, Internet:

    ThisTV Pittsburgh,

  • Power:

    Coming off 42-37 loss April 28 vs. San Antonio. ... The loss marked the fourth time in five games the Power failed to score more than 40 points. ... QB Shane Austin was placed on injured reserve and replaced on the roster by Derek Cassidy. ... WR Mike Washington has an Arena Football League-high 9.8 receptions per game.

  • Predators:

    Coming off 82-42 loss April 28 at Arizona. ... Second-to-last in the AFL in scoring defense, giving up an average of 62.4 points per game. ... Traded for QB Aaron Garcia, who is expected to start today. ... WRs Prea Rodriguez and Amarri Jackson are among the top 10 in receiving yards per game in the AFL.

At least part of those offensive deficiencies can be attributed to a porous offensive line that has allowed AFL-highs in sacks (22) and yards lost on sacks (110).

"I don't care what level of football you play on -- if you don't have time or the ability to see downfield to make a completion, then the offense is going to slow down a bit," coach Derek Stingley said.

Those poor offensive showings have shifted attention away from what has been an excellent Power defense, one that is first in total defense. The Power also sports the league's best pass defense at 188.2 yards per game, more than 40 yards better than the No. 2 pass defense.

Partially because of the defense, the Power is just a game back of the first-place Philadelphia Soul in its division, a small silver lining in what has been an underwhelming start.

"Things are not going as planned, but it is in the back of my mind that we do still have a shot, even though that's more of a moral victory," linebacker Alvin Ray Jackson said. "I just want to get some real victories."

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Craig Meyer: and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG.


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