2010-2011 WESTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEW
Welcome to the Lion’s Den Chicago, better known now as the LFL’s Western Conference. The west will feature three 2009 / 2010 Playoff teams with Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas as well as Seattle who if it were not for a complete collapse by San Diego in the season’s final game would have also been Miami-bound. Despite a tough 2009 season early reports from San Diego’s Mini-Camp are extremely encouraging for Seduction Nation as they look to round out the best conference in the LFL. Here are reports on each of the five Western Conference teams heading into the 2010 / 2011 season.
CHICAGO BLISS – Collapse does not describe what happened to Chicago in the Lingerie Bowl. Touted as the No.1 ranked team most of the season the Bliss were coasting along with an undefeated regular season and easily handled the Miami Caliente in the Western Conference playoffs. In the post-season, everyone from the coaching staff to the players in Chicago started to blur the lines between arrogance and confidence which proved costly as they lost to the No. 4 seeded Los Angeles Temptation in Lingerie Bowl VII. In the early off-season there has certainly been a lot of development as the league office wasted little time in releasing former Head Coach Keith Hac and his staff as well as several players under commissioner Mortaza’s zero-tolerance rule as reports surfaced of off-the-field league policy violations between a player and coach as well as internal fighting amongst teammates. Two weeks ago, the league announced the hiring of legendary Fighting Illini linebacker Matt Sinclair who has deep ties to Chicago football and will certainly bring a much-needed no nonsense approach to the 2010 Bliss team.
Despite not finishing with a championship Chicago did win the Eastern Conference behind a consistent No. 2 ranked blue-collar offense that included the best backfield in the league with 2009 Offensive Player of the Year Saran Dunmore and fan favorite Tasha ‘The Tank’ Pryor. The Dunmore/Pryor backfield averaged a league high 121.4 yards per game which was aided by a 6 yard average per scramble by the quarterback Elle Cartabiano who finished the season with 120yds. The passing game struggled with Cartabiano at the helm despite a passer rating of 116.0 she lacked the arm-strength to stretch the field.
Defensively Chicago received rave reviews about their front three of defensive end Nikki Lee, middle linebacker Brooke Finneke and defensive end Summer LaViolette who were marketed as the ‘Triangle of Doom’ although there was not much doom for opponents who rushed for nearly 100yds per game against the Bliss front three. Finneke struggled with tackling as Lee and LaViolette were seldom seen in the opponents backfield. The Tank’s move to the defensive side of the ball should really aid the Bliss defense, Pryor finished last season with 2 sacks.
BOTTOM LINE: Look for Chicago to be tested early with a season/home opener against Dallas on Sept 10th. Fielding a franchise quarterback with a big arm and better use of one of the most under-rated receivers in the league in Bre Junea could yield just the passing game Bliss nation was missing last season. Better tackling on defense as well as improved coaching could lead to Chicago to winning the west.
DALLAS DESIRE – One word describes the Dallas Desire 2009 / 2010 season, ‘underachieve’. Easily the most loaded roster in the league with a franchise quarterback, two solid running backs, speed/height and hands at wide receiver not to mention the most talented defensive line-up in the league was not enough as the wheels came off late in the season for Dallas. Fans of Desire Nation had high hopes as the team was a pre-season No.1 ranked team and carried that ranking for most of the season until a New Year’s Day massacre in Seattle. Dallas already had several key injuries going into the Seattle game which was compounded by two of their All-Fantasy player known as the Twin Towers safety Toni Kelley and wide receiver Candis Mosley missing the team flight and being suspended for the game by the league. The team never rebounded from the Seattle loss which divided the locker room and led to an eventual Western Conference playoff loss to Los Angeles.
Despite great talent on both sides of the ball Dallas finished the season with a 3-2 record and a very average No.5 ranked offense and No.4 ranked defense. The 2010 season is a welcomed sight in Big D with a move into the legendary Cotton Bowl as well as returning 90% of core players from the 2009 roster.
BOTTOM LINE: Discipline and an appreciation for the opportunity is sorely needed in Dallas to compete in a very tough Western Conference in 2010. Talent-wise, this remains the deepest roster in the league with the luxury of both a complete offense and a solid defense. Look for breakout seasons from Brenner, Mosley, A’se, Kelley, Garrett and Haner. Dallas should focus on building it’s front line in the off-season.
LOS ANGELES TEMPTATION – The crown rests in Tinseltown as head coach David ‘Biz’ Bizub and Temptation Nation came on late in the season as the hottest team in the league in route to a Lingerie Bowl championship. LA made a crucial season-changing move after a tough loss in Dallas by benching quarterback Joey Davenport who struggled with the rookie quarterback Ali Eastlake. The team was already a Ferrari offensively just requiring a driver in a quarterback that could simply manage the game, not necessarily having to win the game. With Eastlake at the wheel and the Brunette Bandits of RB Alisha Lucik, RB/LB Monique ‘The Ax’ Gaxiola, RB/S Stephanie Psick and RB/LB Michele Jacot there was no stopping the league’s hottest team going into the Playoffs.
Los Angeles did lack the big play on offense without a cannon-armed quarterback and little speed at wide receiver, LA used the old-school approach of pounding the football with the Brunette Bandits. When they say championships are made on defense, never was that more true than last season’s Lingerie Bowl champion. LA simply over-achieved with an aggressive persuit-oriented defense which included a pair of All-Fantasy linebackers in Jacot and Gaxiola a dominant front line player who played all-world in the Playoffs in Reese Matthews aided by two great secondary players with Psick and newcomer corner Christina Coker.
BOTTOM LINE: The defense will look to add a pair of pass-rushing defensive ends with the loss of Reese Matthews. Offensively, the addition of a big-armed quarterback and speed at wide receiver would make LA a complete team and a favorite to repeat.
SAN DIEGO SEDUCTION – With three coaching regimes in the same season, San Diego was set up for failure. The team showed glimpses of hope on offense but struggled with a ‘soft’ front line, an out-of-shape quarterback and very few quality skills position players. Defensively San Diego could not stop anyone giving up 113 points in three games. In the off-season the league named Los Angeles offensive coordinator Eddie Chan as head coach with the defense being led by Patrick Kelly. Despite a horrendous 2009 season early indications from various sources indicate San Diego’s recent mini-camp has yielded a pair of strong quarterbacks and several standout defensive players.
The offense will need to improve upon it’s measly 12 points that it scored in three games last season while the defense needs more physical play and stronger athletes.
BOTTOM LINE: San Diego inherited a great offensive mind in new head coach Eddie Chan. 2010 success will be predicated on the maturation of a roster that will primarily consist of rookies with most of last season’s roster being overhauled. Do not be surprised if this team is competitive this season.
SEATTLE MIST – Easily the most under-rated team in the league despite consistent play in 2009. The heartbeat of this team is centered around arguably the best all-around player in the league in RB/S Katie Ryckman, The Mist missed the post-season when it lost a heart-breaking tie-breaker to Los Angeles barely missing the 2009 / 2010 Western Conference playoffs. The team’s success was primarily a product of an incredible No.1 ranked defense that allowed a league-low 97.2 yards per game masterminded by 2009 All-Fantasy coach Chris Michaelson.
Seattle could have ended their season in Miami if it had a vertical passing game, too many times passes landed short of their target due to a weak-armed quarterback in Natasha Lindsey. More use of Ryckman via screens and reverses would have also helped an offense that finished the season ranked No.9 with only 119 yards per game.
BOTTOM LINE: Returning the nucleus of its defensive roster will certainly place Seattle in position if the offense can add a franchise quarterback with a big-arm and a couple skills position players. Seattle is certainly poised for a championship Cinderella team run much like 2009’s Los Angeles team. A big LFL opening night showdown against the LFL Champion Los Angeles Temptation at home will serve as an early indicator.