05/25/2011 9:17 AM -
With the first half of the 2011 AFL season in the books, the Sharks are finally getting some much needed rest before they continue their mid-season road trip. The number one team in the AFL has certainly earned their rest after demolishing nine consecutive opponents, and breaking just about every franchise record in the process. The 2011 season has given the team and the city of Jacksonville a lot to celebrate. From Aaron Garcia throwing his 1000th touchdown to Derrick Summers shattering the franchise record for sacks in a season, the Sharks have reached past any and all expectations early this season. With that in mind, here is the mid-season report for the number one team in the AFL.
The Sharks currently have a 9-1 record (.900 win percentage), with 5 wins at home, and 4 wins away. The only loss of the season was away at Arizona. Jacksonville currently ranks in the top 3 in over ten major statistical categories. The Sharks are 2nd in scoring offense, averaging 63.7 points per game. Alternately, the Sharks are ranked 2nd in scoring defense, allowing an average of only 43.6 points per game. The leagues top ranking rushing defense has been rock solid all season long, giving up only 149 yards all season long. Another attributing factor to the number two scoring defense is the red-zone defense for Jacksonville. The Sharks defense has given up 30 touchdowns (less than 70%) and zero field goals all season long in the red zone.
A major contributing factor to Jacksonvilles 2nd ranked scoring offense is the teams passing efficiency. Led by Aaron Garcia (126.5 passing efficiency), the Sharks have the highest completion percentage (71.2%) and the league second highest overall pass efficiency rating (127.2). Sharks Kicker, Marco Capozolli, has made 5-7 of his field goals (71.4%) which gives the Sharks the third highest field goal percentage in the league.
All the team factors have come together to give the Sharks a +16 turnover margin, the highest in the AFL. Both lines have manhandled the opponents and lead the league in sacks for (26), and sacks against (4). Sharks Receiver Jomo Wilson, has accounted for 168 points in the 2011 season, the second most of any receiver in the league. Wilson also ranks second in the league in total touchdowns (28). Jeron Harvey has also made his presence known around the league, leading the team in receptions with 72 for 851 yards. Harvey also has 25 receiving touchdowns on the year.
The Sharks defense has grown exponentially since the beginning of the season. Linebacker Derrick Summers now has 8 sacks on the season, which ranks second of any player in the league. Summers also broke the Sharks single season record for sacks last week. Sharks Jack Linebacker Charles Hunt has four interceptions in six games played. At Defensive Back, Terrance Smith leads the team with 6 interceptions and 3 fumble recoveries, three of which were returned to the house for defensive scores. Also at Defensive Back, LaRoche Jackson and Micheaux Robinson rank in the top five in the league in tackles, Jackson (70.5) and Robinson (61.5).
Every team has weaknesses, and throughout the 2011 season, the Sharks have had a few exposed. The Sharks have the 14th ranked pass defense in the league, giving up over 280 yards per game. This has been an area of difficulty for the Sharks since the beginning of the season, but the teams has improved consistently with each game. PATs are another area in which the Sharks should look to improve. Jacksonville ranks 16th in the league in PAT scoring. Kicker, Marco Capozolli has made 64 of 84 on the season, but since switching holders in week 4, he has made 52 of 61 PATs. Although the Sharks have not played many close games this season, as Arizona has figured out the past few weeks, every point counts.
Jacksonville seems to have the 2011 season under control, but there are still many tough contests in the future. The Sharks have to travel to the West Coast, to take on the San Jose SaberCats, and they have to take the drive to Orlando, to play game two against the Predators. Also, the last game of the season, the Sharks will host the Spokane Shock, who have become known as the leagues Giant Killers, and they will look to make a huge run at the end of the season to defend their championship. The top team in the league will make the most of this bye week, and come back stronger than ever, ready to play the second half of the season.