Donovan Morgan tied one VooDoo receiving record last week and came within a yard of reaching another.
This weekend, Morgan will try to accomplish something just as important to the Arena Football League franchise: end its current losing streak.
After three consecutive road games —- part of a seven-game skid dating to Week 2 — the VooDoo (1-7) host the Chicago Rush (4-5) at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Last Saturday, Morgan played in his second game back after missing three games with an abdomen/groin injury. Teaming with quarterback Kurt Rocco, who made his own return from injury (MCL knee sprain), Morgan caught 13 passes for 255 yards and five touchdowns. The receiving yards were within a yard of the franchise record. His five TDs, which tied a single-game VooDoo record, marked his first multi-score game since April 12 and doubled his TD receptions in 2013.
Morgan now leads all VooDoo receivers with 506 yards and 10 TDs.
It’s the kind of effort Morgan said he expects of himself, and expects to have more often. After all, he was traded to his hometown franchise, from the Philadelphia Soul to help the VooDoo enjoy many of the successful moments he has in the AFL — from Philadelphia and Tulsa to Chicago, where in 2008, he was the AFL Rookie of the Year.
The challenge of working Morgan back into the offense appears to be settled. Now, the goal is to keep the rest of the receivers in the game too. While Morgan enjoyed a career day, Courtney Smith managed just three catches for 24 yards and one score. Brent Holes had three catches for 17 yards. Derek Lee finished with two catches for 13 yards. Smith and Jeramie Richardson tallied the VooDoo’s only other receiving scores (two).
Protecting the quarterback
The VooDoo have struggled at times this season protecting their quarterbacks. Good news for the VooDoo is that Chicago has struggled to get in backfields.
The Rush have 10 sacks this season, tied for 11th in the league. The VooDoo rank seventh in the AFL (13). Jacksonville leads the league with 27 sacks.
Defensive lineman Darrell Campbell leads the defense with three sacks. During last week’s 56-49 loss to Arizona, middle linebacker Tyus Jackson and defensive lineman Brian McNally had one sack apiece.
League Commissioner Jerry B. Kurz wrote an open letter this week to fans addressing a post-game fight May 18 between coaches from Jacksonville and San Jose.
San Jose SaberCats defensive coordinator Cedric Shawn Walker was released from a Florida jail Sunday after being arrested and charged with battery of a person 65 years or older and simple battery following San Jose’s 57-36 road win, according to the Florida Times-Union.
“Many of the emails and calls have demanded either the suspension or termination of our San Jose assistant coach,” Kurz wrote. “Some have threatened to boycott games until discipline is handed down. A number of fans urge that ‘he must be guilty, because he was arrested.’ ... I believe we must wait for the legal proceedings and independent investigation to run their course.
“I am pleased that our Jacksonville staff member has been released from the hospital and is on the road to recovery.”