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-I am not sure this isn't the deepest and possibly most talented Squirrels team ever.Commissioner wrote:EVANSVILLE FIGHTIN' SQUIRRELS
With most teams, there can be a range of expected and acceptable outcomes to a season. In Evansville, it's long been known the team only has one acceptable outcome. If they don't win the OIFLCup Championship, the past season was a failure. And while this team isn't as dominant as the 2010 Squirrels were (and they're not), an OIFLCup is never out of the question when you're talking about Evansville. They drafted well, they traded well, they signed guys in free agency well, and they, while expensive, have never outspent their means. "Oh, guys are getting old?" Sure, might be a problem elsewhere, but Squirrels fans aren't worried. Nor should they be.
Riley Pennington, who is now 9-1 in his playoff career with more passing yards than all but six guys in the playoffs, returns to resume a career that's quickly becoming an automatic invitation to Brinkhaven upon retirement. Regular season stats will never be a major factor in Evansville, because they go 26 deep, and everyone will play. Marshall Raybold, Zidan Hoover, and (to a lesser extent) Lewis Vogel form a deadly three-headed running back tandem that is as good as any in the league. The receiving corps is killer as well, with J'Ron Perry, Chevron Gamal Rastafari, Michael Djordjevic, and youngsters Joe Farda and Asaad Moore helping rotate around Jay Yerkes, who's averaged 101 catches a year over the past three years. Yerkes will be dancing into the Hall of Fame someday, and this year will just cement that. Never mind the OS combo of Stanley Isaacs and Dion Sanders (who had such a camp that he's going to make the roster, where he was an almost sure cut beforehand), who will provide relief.
Evansville's current OLDL tandem goes eight deep, with any three of the eight able to start on most teams. King James Boston hopes to continue a career that hasn't been as "Boddy-like" as had been hoped when he was drafted, but he's been very strong for the Squirrels. Jonas Wile, Leonard Zadovsky, Stephen Fox, Pat Rogers, Fidelis Ziemann, Tyler Heyl (who has not aged well)...a strong line for the Squirrels, and it makes everyone's job easier.
The Evansville defense will again be pretty strong. Rastafari may have found his sweet spot now here in Evansville, and he may still be a backup. Yerkes doesn't have numbers because no one throws to him...that's why Theo Kiwi (possibly a top-5 DB right now) gets them...because they do throw to him. Perry, Vogel, and Jerold Hayhurst will also cause headaches for opposing offenses, not to mention having Boston (38 sacks last three years) there to make just that much more noise. Maybe not the best defense in the OIFL, but they're pretty strong.
Oh yeah, Olin Cringle has 195 more points kicking in the regular season than any other player. So if the offense does sputter, they're getting a guy who hits on 59% of his field goals. Cringle also has 42 more points kicking than anyone in OIFLCup Playoffs history.
Squirrels head coach Eric Geno, who has four rings (two with the Detroit Gargoyles), knows what it takes to win. "Everyone can say nice things about us. Everyone can say how we're guaranteed ever...there's no guarantees. We screw up once in the playoffs, we're done. We did it against St. Louis last year. There's no margin for error, and these guys know it."
While Evansville will be favored more often than not, the schedule isn't exactly easy. Wisconsin and Detroit still live in their division, and they get to travel to Corpus Christi, Fort McMurray, St. Louis, and Tucson. Texas and New England also come to town. They'll be well tested when the postseason comes.
Yes, you can mark it down. Evansville's a playoff team. Maybe even the top seed in the AFC again. There's not going to be some let down like the old Gargoyles after they got popped in the round of eight (2005, Cleveland Thunderbolts). "They ended my first dynasty in Detroit," said Geno (Evansville beat Detroit in the 2006 first round). "We won't have that happen again."