AIU

Philadelphia Soul: 2015 Season Preview

Credit: Plain Dealer

Credit: Plain Dealer

The Philadelphia Soul finished the 2014 season with a 9-9 record and a third-straight playoff appearance under head coach Clint Dolezel. Despite several key losses on offense, franchise quarterback Dan Raudabaugh will look to improve upon his solid ’14 campaign and lead Philly back to the postseason.

2015 Schedule:

Week 1: at Orlando
Week 2: at Spokane
Week 3: vs. Jacksonville
Week 4: vs. Cleveland
Week 5: at New Orleans
Week 6: vs. Portland
Week 7: vs. Orlando
Week 8: at Jacksonville
Week 9: at Tampa Bay
Week 10: vs. Las Vegas
Week 11: vs. New Orleans
Week 12: at Orlando
Week 13: at Los Angeles
Week 14: vs. Tampa Bay
Week 15: Bye
Week 16: vs. Cleveland
Week 17: at Jacksonville
Week 18: Bye
Week 19: vs. New Orleans
Week 20: at Cleveland

Key Additions: FB Tommy Taggart (Power), WR Shaun Kauleinamoku (Power), WR Dominique Curry (SaberCats), OL Shannon Breen (Gladiators), LB Beau Bell (KISS), LB Caleb Bostic.

Key Losses: FB Derrick Ross (Outlaws), WR Tiger Jones (Sharks), WR V’Keon Lacey (Portland), OL Wayne Tribue (Sharks), OL Jason Holman (Sharks), OL Brennen Carvalho (Rattlers), DB Rayshaun Kizer (Rattlers).

Season Outlook: Arena Football League Hall of Fame quarterback and current Soul head coach Clint Dolezel, entering his third season at the helm, has lost a lot of talent on offense this off-season––Ross, Jones, Lacey, Tribue, Carvalho and Holman. They have made three straight playoff appearances, but it’ll be quite the challenge getting back there for a fourth-straight time this season if they don’t have a few guys on offense step up and fill the voids.

Ross was shipped to Los Angeles (and then to Las Vegas) in exchange for one of the best linebackers in the entire league, Beau Bell, who will fit in well and is an immediate upgrade on defense.

Though the defense is now stronger from the Bell trade, the loss of Ross could be devastating for QB Dan Raudabaugh and this Soul offense, especially given his top WR Jones is gone as well. But FB Tommy Taggart, a member of the recording-setting Power franchise last season, seems to be fitting in well on Raudabaugh’s offense so far. Wideout Ryan McDaniel will get his shot at becoming a No. 1 receiver in the league due to the loss of Jones and V’Keon Lacey.

As for the offensive line, Dolezel is hoping that former Gladiators’ lineman Shannon Breen steps in and makes an immediate impact up front after losing three big-time pieces along the front line.

Philadelphia certainly has the coaching staff and the franchise quarterback needed to get back to the playoffs, but I can’t see them de-throning the Gladiators for the East title after losing such large offensive contributors from last season.

Prediction: 10-8 (2nd in East Division; snag fourth-seed in American Conference playoffs)

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