It’s a rematch of two 1-1 teams. The Fleet is looking for revenge and the Commanders are looking for the sweep.
The Commanders dominated San Diego defensively in their last matchup, and Mike Martz will be looking to change that. A lot of pressure will be on Phillip Nelson to perform better than he did last week against the Legends after only putting up 142 yards and an interception in bad weather.
The defense has only given up 13.5 points per game this season, but I would expect them to be more challenged this week with San Antonio coming off of a 29 point performance. It’ll be interesting to see if Frank Ginda gets reps after A.J. Tarpley practiced in a limited capacity for most of the week.
Every week there are things every team needs to do to pull off a victory.
Here are three things the Fleet need to do so they can come away with a win in part two of this newfound rivalry.
1. The defensive backfield cannot allow the big play
In San Diego’s first matchup against the Commanders, Fleet defensive backs did not look great despite their two interceptions. They gave up almost 15 yards per catch and if our defensive line can’t get pressure on Logan Woodside I would expect much of the same. Woodside looked pretty good against the Apollos when he had time, throwing for 223 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
The Commanders also have great wide receivers who can all stretch the field. It’ll be interesting to see who Kameron Kelly replaces this week and how he fares. I’d expect him to match up with Mekale McKay, who has seen a majority of the Commanders targets through the air. The defensive back group needs to be at the top of its game Sunday.
2. The wide receivers cannot drop passes
Last week against Atlanta, the Fleet receivers dropped at least four passes, halting drives and not allowing Phillip Nelson to get in any rhythm. It was really wet during that game, but receivers still need to catch the football. I expect Martz to air it out early and often, and if this team wants to succeed with that type of offense they have to catch the ball. It will help that it isn’t pouring as well.
3. The offensive line needs to protect the quarterback
This group of offensive lineman played better last week, only giving up three sacks against the Legends. While that’s still not great, it’s better than the seven they gave up in their first matchup with the Commanders. Shaan Washington, who had a big game against the Fleet, is out but the offensive line isn’t off the hook. To allow Martz to air it out like I am guessing he will want to, Nelson needs to have time to look downfield. Martz’s scheme calls for a lot of long drop backs and deep routes, which means protecting the quarterback is paramount. If the Fleet gives up more than four sacks, I would expect an outcome similar to week one.