By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Ron Jaworski, the Philadelphia Soul Co-Owner and ESPN Monday Night Football analyst, recently took time to do a Question and Answer session with The Capital Sports Report. His interview is about the NFL and the Arena Football League.
TCSR: With your resume, could you be of any assistance to the NFL?
RJ: “You’re going down the wrong path. My plate is full right now.”
TCSR: Do you sense the fans frustration with the lockout?
RJ: “I think the Arena Football League is an option for those that love football. It’s nice that we don’t have to talk about all the legal stuff like desertification – we’re talking about things like ‘How’s your quarterback doing?’ or ‘How’s your defense doing?’ I love doing that. We all know that football, especially at the NFL level, is a big business and fans get tired of hearing about the lockout.”
TCSR: How do AFL players inspire to get to the NFL?
RJ: “This is their opportunity to show the NFL what they can do. It’s nice, because our first two games (were) on National TV (on the NFL Network). Every one around the NFL – the Scouting Directors; Personnel guys – are watching these games. They are watching film and waiting for the nugget that the Arena Football League could present to them.”
TCSR: How do you keep these AFL players motivated?
RJ: “There’s always a couple of players that move from the Arena Football League to the NFL, but they’re not always the Kurt Warner-type of caliber player. If you look at the roster of a 53-man roster, they’re all sprinkled with former Arena Football League players.”
TCSR: What makes you optimistic about this team?
RJ: “The coach. I think Mike Hohensee has done a terrific job of putting a team together in the short time that he’s been here. Coach (Brett) Munsey did a great job while he was here. He helped us win a World Championship. Coach Hohensee has been around this game his entire professional life. He knows this league and he’s a character guy. What I also like is how things have worked out from an ownership standpoint and with John Adams (Chief Operation Officer) and Tom Goodhines (General Manager/Head of the Communications Department), everybody has worked hard to put this team together. We’re all excited and we all feel good about it. I like the team, because it’s a veteran group that has AFL experience.”
TCSR: Is this league set up to be a quarterback league?
RJ: “Yeah, the Arena Football League is a quarterback’s league. The only time we hand off is to rest the quarterback’s arm. That’s pretty much it. You have to have a quarterback, and we have Justin Allgood, who has that quick twitch. When we’re in practice, the ball has come out of his hand really quick. In the Arena League, you have two Offensive Lineman next to the Center, so you must get the ball out of your hand quickly. In fact, I’ve had a number of conversations with Kurt Warner about this. In our first run here 8-years ago, I spoke with Kurt Warner and he said the most important thing in this league is that he gets the ball out of his hand quickly. Obviously, Kurt Warner learned that in the Arena Football League and that took him to the next level. Justin Allgood is that type of quarterback. He gets the ball out of his hand quick.”
TCSR: Besides the Quarterback position, what else is the strength of the team?
RJ: “I think a couple of things. From the wide receiver standpoint, Donovan Morgan is outstanding and we brought Larry Brackins back from our Championship team in 2008. I believe in the big, tall, strong wide receivers, so does coach Hohensee, so we have that kind of receiving core. On defense, we got a veteran group. I know how much you love the linebacker position; that our jack linebacker, DeJuan Alfonzo, is the best jack linebacker in the history of the Arena Football League. He’s a playmaker and he can roam the field. We’re an experienced, veteran group at linebacker and at secondary. Up front, we’re a little young and inexperienced, but we’re big and strong.”
TCSR: What are your thoughts on having to start 4 straight games on the road?
RJ: “I don’t care where we’ll play. The travel is a little big tougher, because we don’t have the budget that NFL teams have that they can fly on big planes and their guys can relax. It’s all about the guys and they love to play. When you’re around these guys, you can see how excited they are to be able to play football. It’s different – the NFL game is different. There’s something pure on how these guys love to play the game.”