From a team that went 9-9 last season to a franchise record 12-2 so far this season, the Philadelphia Soul have given themselves and the city of Philadelphia confidence to win a championship after clinching the American East division for the third time in four seasons.
Strengths – Offense: After Philadelphia’s heartbreaking loss against Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs last season, Soul head coach Clint Dolezel told Arena Insider that the team were going to move on from veterans (Tiger Jones, Derrick Ross, Rayshaun Kizer, Emery Sammons) and create a younger team. The notable young additions that the Soul made were WR Shaun Kauleinamoku, Marco Thomas, Harvey Binford and Lonnie Outlaw. Thomas is third in the league with 1,464 yards, and 34 touchdowns.
Weakness – 1st Half: Starting off slow in the first half has started to become a habit for Philadelphia. Other than performing better and coming alive in the second half, Dolezel noted last week that it is typical for teams to start out slow to test out the game and that it was not a main concern for them.
However, once the postseason begins, the Soul will have to be able to play all four quarters and not just the second half especially with the level of competition that will likely arise each round.
Offense (A) – QB Dan Raudabaugh is currently the front-runner to win MVP this season with his league leading 3,988 yards, 94 touchdowns, 9 interceptions and a 122.87 quarterback rating. For a team that dismissed All-Arena stars such as WR Anthony ‘Tiger’ Jones and FB Derrick Ross (Jacksonville), Raudabaugh has put the team on his back and formed the Soul to have one of the most dangerous offenses in the AFL.
Defense (B+) – First year defensive coordinator Derek Stingley has come in and revamped a once vulnerable backfield that includes James Romain and Kent Richardson. So far this year, Romain and Richardson both combine for 14 interceptions. Stingley and assistant coach Phil Bogle also worked up the defensive line that ranks #4 in the league in sacks.
Coaching (A) – The 2015 season is arguably Coach Dolezel’s best coaching year. One of the strategies that he implemented are his unexpected and sometimes successful onside kicks during the game that would essentially put the Soul in even more control to dominate their opponents . Dolezel confirmed to reporters back in April that the onside kicks are “a weapon for us. We always run it.”
Week 15: Bye
Week 16: vs Cleveland Gladiators
Week 17: @Jacksonville Sharks
Week 18: Bye
Week 19: vs New Orleans Voodoo
Week 20: @ Cleveland Gladiators
The entire Arena Football League will be on a bye this week (Week 15) but the Soul return back to the playing field when they face the Cleveland Gladiators (July 11th) at the Wells Fargo Center. If the Soul come out victorious, then they will lock up home field advantage throughout the postseason