In professional sports, it is extremely difficult to win a championship, let alone back-to-back titles alongside a perfect record. The Temptation accomplished both in 2010 en-route to the LFL’s first-ever undefeated season at 6-0. The team are not only in position to three-peat and solidify their place as the league’s first-ever dynasty, but have bolstered an already veteran-rich roster and improved its coaching staff.
When the Temptation return to the field this week against Minnesota, they will be without a staple on the sideline: Three-time Lingerie Bowl Champion Head Coach David ‘Biz’ Bizub, who resigned his post after nearly 10 seasons with the league to join the LFL broadcast team. LFL experts would argue that Bizub’s 2009 and 2010 rosters won in spite of and not because of his coaching, as both rosters were loaded with talent and poised for greatness from day one.
Enter Chris Salerno.
If the last-name sounds familiar, it should. Chris is the father of Los Angeles’ 2010 ‘Rookie of the Year’ sensation, QB Ashley Salerno. Salerno joins veteran defensive coordinator and current co-head coach Tui Suiaunoa, who some regard as the best defensive coordinator in the league. Suiaunoa’s coaching will play a key role in 2011 as the league has lifted defensive rule restrictions, which enables more aggressive schemes to flourish.
Amongst the player ranks, the saying ‘the rich get richer’ applies perfectly to this Back-to-Back Lingerie Bowl champion team that returns all key veterans while drafting instant impact rookies in wide receiver Jasmine Bencas, wide receiver Amirah Leonard and running back Chelsie Hart.
Joining a great rookie class are a dynamic nucleus of veterans led by perhaps the best all-around quarterback in the LFL . Ashley Salerno will be complimented by 2010 break-through running back Melissa Marguiles and All-Fantasy Wide Receiver Gegi Van De Walker.
Look for a bounce-back season for 2009 All-Fantasy Wide Receiver Stephanie Psick, whose performance slipped in 2010 but has re-committed herself this off-season, though she will not be available due to suspension this game. Rookie wide receivers Bencas and Leonard will instantly upgrade this potent offense and provide Salerno with great targets. The only weakness to this offense could be the front line, which lacks size and consistency. The release of front line tackles with size in Lutasha Bradley and Zipphora Chase could hurt the 2011 squad. All-Fantasy center Nathalie Jahnke needs to add size and show more consistency as a pass-receiving option.
The defense could be complimentary to this team’s great offense or prove to be its Achilles’ Heel. Lacking size could spell trouble in a western conference that features Chicago’s ChrisDell Harris, Minnesota’s Leekplay Paye and Seattle’s Kam Warner. Anchoring this defense for a third season is All-Fantasy Middle Linebacker Monique Gaxiola, who is also unavailable for this game due to suspension, and free agent pick-up Audrey Latsko, who is an absolute terror for opposing offenses at defensive-end.
Overall, the 2011 Los Angeles Temptation are locked and loaded for another Lingerie Bowl run as Salerno matures into the premiere quarterback of the LFL.
STRENGTHS: ATHLETICISM, DEFENSIVE COACHING, VETERAN LEADERSHIP
WEAKNESS’: HANDS, SIZE
ROOKIES TO WATCH: JASMINE BENCAS — (WR), AMIRAH LEONARD – (WR/S) , CHLOE BUTLER — (RB)
FREE AGENT PICK-UPS: AUDREY LATSKO (OL/DE) | AMBER REED (RB)
FREE AGENT LOSSES: JOEY DAVENPORT (QB)
FANTASY FOOTBALL IMPACT PLAYERS: ASHLEY SALERNO (QB), AUDREY LATSKO (OL/LB) | GEGI VAN DE WALKER (WR)
(OFFENSE) Quarterback A, Running Back B, Center/Tight Ends C
(DEFENSE) Defensive Line/Linebacker B, Safety/Corner Backs C+
HOW TO BEAT THIS TEAM:
- PRESSURE SALERNO WHILE CONTAINING HER IN THE POCKET.
- STACK THE LINE AGAINST THE RUN.
- ESTABLISH BALANCE IN RUN/PASSING GAMES TO FORCE DEFENSE TO PLAY CONSERVATIVELY.
LFL360.com STAFF PREDICTION: 3-1, FIRST PLACE in Western Conference
LFL Power Ranking; #1