Ailing VooDoo facing Shock

NEW ORLEANS — The Arena Football League’s top-ranked passer is preparing to host the VooDoo, which holds the unfortunate label as the league’s worst defense.

The VooDoo (1-6) have lost their last six games. The Spokane Shock (5-3) have lost their last three games.

“Going up to Spokane, a loud environment, a very crazy environment — I love things like that,” VooDoo receiver Donovan Morgan said.

“That’s my turn on with football. Going to someone else’s environment where the crowd is crazy and just shutting them up. I think we’re going to go out there and compete at a high level and come back with a victory.”

Entering Friday night’s game at Veterans Memorial Arena, Spokane quarterback Erik Meyer leads the AFL with 2,318 yards and 57 touchdowns. Meyer has thrown just three interceptions for the league’s second-ranked offense.

During last Saturday’s 83-82 loss to Orlando, Meyer threw for 263 yards and seven TDs.

Meanwhile, the VooDoo defense, decimated by injuries — the same as its offense — has been unable to curtail its weekly passing challengers, plays that are made even harder when the VooDoo offense commits turnovers that give opposing offenses short paths to the end zone. Offenses are averaging 56.7 points per game against the VooDoo.

During last week’s 62-16 loss at the Iowa Barnstomers, VooDoo quarterback Bill Stull was sacked and stripped by Rodney Gnat, who returned the fumble 6 yards for a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

“Guys are still working hard. We’re trying to get through this,” VooDoo coach Pat O’Hara said. “We’ve had some injuries that have hurt us. Other people have to step up. At some point here, the light bulb has to come on. I think once we get one win, more will rattle off.”

Stull injured his left ankle last week and is out this week. If Rocco can’t start, Zack Eskridge, who opened the season as the backup, will play.

The VooDoo offense has suffered from timing issues since the team’s season-opening win against Orlando, their lone victory this season. Problems that predate injuries at quarterback and receiver. This season, three quarterbacks have combined to throw 14 interceptions.

Problems that Rocco hopes he can end. He is listed as probable for Friday’s game.

“We still have a chance to make the playoffs,” Rocco said. “We’re only one game behind the rest of those teams in our conference.”

Transactions

The AFL assigned defensive back Dwight McLean to the VooDoo. In a separate transaction, New Orleans also acquired wide receiver LJ Castile and offensive lineman Bryce Tennison in a trade with the Utah Blaze for future considerations.