PHILADELPHIA, PA – It’s been a tough start to the 2015 season for the Jacksonville Sharks, a team that was a favorite to make an ArenaBowl trip this season with a plethora of new and dangerous weapons on the offensive side of the ball.
On Sunday night, former Philadelphia Soul All-Arena receiver Anthony “Tiger” Jones made his return to the Wells Fargo Center to face his former team as a member of the Sharks.
While Jones had a historic performance catching the football against his former Philadelphia teammates––racking up 239 yards and 5 touchdowns on 13 receptions––the end result was a third straight loss for Jacksonville, 63-52.
Jones, who played for the Soul from 2012-14 and was named to the All-Arena squad twice during those three seasons, set the Sharks’ franchise single-game record for receiving yards at 293.
In his three games this season, Tiger has caught at least 10 passes for 124+ yards and 10 total touchdowns, but that doesn’t mean he’s content with how the season has started in Jacksonville.
“It doesn’t really mean much when you don’t come away with a win,” Jones said in a post-game press conference. “We just gotta stick together and keep working. It’s a long season.”
The off-season additions of All-Arena players such as Tiger Jones, QB Tommy Grady, WRs Joe Hills and Prechae Rodriguez and FB Derrick Ross propelled Jacksonville to the top of the list of contenders in the American Conference. But with an 0-3 start heading into their Week 4 match-up with San Jose, frustration appears to have set in.
“It really didn’t matter who we had to play, we were focused on getting the win. Unfortunately we didn’t get it.”
Quarterback Tommy Grady tossed for 346 yards and eight touchdowns with zero picks while FB Derrick Ross added 32 net rushing yards on the ground against his former teammates. But a couple of key fourth down stops and a late fumble recovery allowed Philadelphia to pull away with an 11-point victory in their home opener in front of 9,043 fans.
“It’s a lot of different things. We can’t just point to one or two things. We just have to pull it together and continue to work. That’s it, that’s the bottom line,” Jones said of his team’s rough start to the season. “It’s not going to get any easier. We’ve gotta turn around and play Friday against a good team in San Jose and they’re going to come into our house and try to make us 0-4. We just have to do our part and make sure this doesn’t snowball.”
As Jones and Ross’ former team turns around from an 0-3 start last year to a very impressive 3-0 start in 2015, the Sharks are facing the possibility of starting off the year with an 0-4 mark if they don’t improve on some of the mistakes they made in Sunday night’s tough loss.
As for Philadelphia, quarterback Dan Raudabaugh (988 yards, 22 TD, 2 INT this season) looks to add onto his incredible 2015 success as the Soul play host to the defending Conference Champion Cleveland Gladiators next Saturday night.