NEW ORLEANS — Quarterback Kurt Rocco blamed himself for the VooDoo’s offensive woes during Sunday’s 51-45 overtime win against Orlando, a myriad of mistakes that he hopes will be corrected before Saturday’s home game against the Iowa Barnstormers at the New Orleans Arena.
Against Orlando, Rocco completed just 18 of 40 passes for 220 yards. He did throw three touchdowns, including a game-winning score to New Orleans native Courtney Smith. But his third-quarter interception, safeties in the first and fourth quarter, and late throws plagued his performance.
“Regardless if I got rid of it or not, I was getting hit,” Rocco said. “I got hit high, I was getting knocked on the ground. Ask any quarterback. That puts a little pressure on you. I think I had to get my feet moving a little faster.”
And his arm.
Not that all the blame should fall on Rocco, in his third AFL season and second with the VooDoo (1-0). The VooDoo entered this season opener bruised at receiver, a factor that showed on game day. At times, receivers didn’t know who was at what position or what route they were supposed to run.
This explained why even when the read was there, the throw was there, sometimes, the receiver was not.
“First game of the season, everybody’s got to get the jitters out,” Rocco said. “As time went on, we became ourselves.
“We’ve just got to keep on practicing. It’s going to come in time. We’ve got a little drop off at times and miscommunication, but I promise you as time goes on, we’ll get better.”
Also, the VooDoo offensive line allowed Orlando to get to Rocco more than the group would prefer.
This week’s opponent, Iowa (1-0), is coming off a 63-41 win against Chicago. Quarterback J.J. Raterink threw for 257 yards and seven touchdowns. Iowa’s defense forced three turnovers, led by defensive back Ter’Ran Benton, who earned league defensive player of the week honors with an outing that included five tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. He also scored off of a net recovery.
Rocco plans to be ready.
“I think as of now and the rest of the season, that timing is going to start clicking,” he said. “Right now, we’ve got nothing else to do.”
Defensive back Delvin Breaux survived his first game in the Arena Football League — not bad for the New Orleans native who never played college football. His only football action in nearly seven years — dating to his senior season at McDonogh 35 High School — occurred in flag football leagues in Baton Rouge and last year with the Louisiana Bayou Vipers, a Hammond-based semi-pro team.
“To come out after six years and play in a professional football game against professional athletes? I think I did pretty good,” said Breaux, who started.
Defensive back Demarcus Robinson’s 11 tackles against Orlando lead the AFL after Week 1, according to the VooDoo.
VooDoo defensive back Eddie Moten has been named the Arena Football League’s Cutters Catch of the Week.
Moten’s game-winning interception in the end zone sealed the VooDoo’s win against Orlando. Moten finished the game with 41/2 tackles.
Although the VooDoo defeated Orlando in their season opener, the VooDoo (ninth) are ranked one spot below Orlando in the first AFL Power Rankings of the season. Five teams with regular-season opening losses are ranked ahead of the VooDoo.
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