The Tampa Breeze, who are attempting to return to the playoffs after a successful, but ultimately disappointing 2010-11 season, feature a bevy of veteran starters and star power that will make them contenders for a playoff berth once again this year. And thus far, the team has resembled Jekyll and Hyde, initially posting a disastrous 48-0 setback against the Philadelphia Passion but rebounding a week later behind the strong play of Game MVP Saige Steinmetz to down the Toronto Triumph 48-14.
The staple of Tampa’s offense is its running game, led by 2011 All Fantasy selections Tiffany Powers and Saige Steinmetz. Powers, who is expected to return after a two-game absence due to a one-game suspension and subsequent head injury, is one of the LFL’s career rushing leaders and Steinmetz (4 carries, 48 yards, 1 reception/12 yards, 2 TD) possesses great speed and evasiveness if allowed to get into the open. Should the Breeze choose to pass through the air, Bryn Renda (4 catches/41 yards, TD vs. Toronto) is a big-play threat for starting quarterback K.K. Matheny (8/12, 99 yards, 3 TD vs. Toronto), a veteran with the needed-skills to move the chains.
The success of this offense hinges on the development of its quarterback Matheny along with the continued high-caliber performances of Steinmetz and Renda as well as an impact game by Powers. The balanced, multi-set attack becomes vulnerable if defenses can key on the running game, forcing an average aerial attack to deliver.
The Tampa defense, led by 2009 Defensive Player of the Year and 2011 LFL All-Fantasy Co-MVP Liz Gorman, is a hard-hitting bunch, reminiscent of their NFL counterparts under Tony Dungy in the late 90s. Starting safeties Renda and Gorman provide possibly the best one-two secondary duo in the league, while Steinmetz and Courtney Wilder, who the Breeze coaching staff believes is one of the best players in the league, must be accounted for on every play because of their physicality and agility.
STRENGTHS: COACHING EXPERIENCE, RUNNING GAME, PLAY-MAKERS, SECONDARY
WEAKNESSES: PLAYER COMMITMENT, ROSTER DEPTH
FANTASY FOOTBALL IMPACT PLAYERS: LIZ GORMAN (S/WR) | SAIGE STEINMETZ (RB/DE) BRYN RENDA (WR/S) | TIFFANI POWERS (RB)
LFL360.com STAFF GRADES:
(OFFENSE) Quarterback — C, Running Back — A-, Center/Tight Ends — C+, Wide Receivers B+
(DEFENSE) Defensive Line/Linebacker B, Safety/Cornerbacks A-
HOW TO BEAT THIS TEAM:
- STOP RUN, JAM SHORT PASSING GAME; FORCE QUARTERBACK TO THROW MEDIUM TO DEEP ROUTES.
- KEY ON SHORT AND MEDIUM PASSING LANES ON OFFENSE, FORCE SECONDARY TO MOVE UP.
LFL360.com STAFF PREDICTION: 2-2, Third Place in Eastern Conference
Photo courtesy of Joe Petro, LFL National Director of Photography.