Bolts DOA?

By Bamaslammer - Bolts Team Reporter

Bolts starting Quarterback Casey Weldon looks dejected in Bolts recent loss to the Demons.

... or are they MIA
By Sonny Sanders - Bolts Team Reporter

The authorities have issued an All Points Bulletin for the Birmingham Thunderbolts. The Bolts have been missing in action since beating the Chicago Enforcers on February 18.

As you peruse the Bolts roster you realize that this team has the talent to win it all in the XFL. Why then are they playing so badly? What is the problem? The offense has struggled all season. The special teams have only had one bright spot with Stepfret Williams running back a punt for a touchdown.

The defense has been the only positive aspect of the team. However, they have fallen apart in the past two games. After the Orlando game there was a sense that nothing worse could happen. Well Bolts fans, Murphy's law states otherwise. Against the Demons the Bolts not only played horribly but also were the victims of the most amazing assortment of misfortune that I have ever witnessed. From bad calls by the referees to freak plays and terrible weather.

Can a team suffer more on field adversity? One can recall the collapse of the Crimson Tide this past season and only hope that we are not witnessing a repeat of that tragedy. I feel truly sorry for the Birmingham players and coaches but I have to wonder about the mood of the fans. If a city truly deserved a good break when it comes to a professional football team then it would have to be Birmingham.

Once upon a time there was a great pro team in the Magic City. The Stallions of the USFL were very good and seemed destined for a championship until the league folded and shattered the dreams of the fans. The Fire was an average team and the Barracudas were not very good. The Steeldogs last season suffered through a rough season and were hammered in few games.

In the Thunderbolts hope was prevalent and it appeared that a great team would represent Birmingham. It now appears that the misfortune for Birmingham will continue. Birmingham is still in sole possession of second place in the Eastern division but is falling fast. If it were not for the fact that NY/NJ and Chicago were as bad as Birmingham then the season could be over now. I'm sure that hope will still be alive for a playoff berth but I have to wonder if anyone will show up for the next Bolts game. I hope that the Thunderbolts finally return from their hiatus and can beat the Xtreme. Birmingham cannot survive another disaster.

Birmingham - (5 March 2001) -- The Bolts were DOA upon arrival at San Francisco Saturday night. The game seemed a mirror image of the week before when the Rage dominated the game from start to finish.

Most notably the defensive line is getting blown off the ball consistently and the offense is simply not a threat to score. Defenses can stack the box because they don't believe QB Casey Weldon can avoid the rush long enough to get a pass off.

There is plenty of blame to go around.

Offensive Staff: Running off tackle left on first down 80% of the time is a little high schoolish. People are starting to openly question the hiring of Dave Arslinian a coach with no pro or big time college experience. He was sold as an offensive genius but there have been no flashes of brilliance as yet. Take away two gimmie TD's late in blowout games and the offense hasn't scored a touchdown since the first half of the Chicago game.

Casey Weldon: Everybody has a place in their heart for Casey. He took hits that would sideline most QB's and kept on fighting. But at some point you have to ask if taking hits qualifies you as a quarterback. The only offensive highlights the XFL ever shows of Birmingham is Weldon taking another shot to the chin. Several teams have switched to the backup QB this year with winning results. Perhaps it is time to see if a bigger stronger Jay Barker can get the offense moving. I realize that the touchdown Saturday was mostly due to the defensive back going for and missing an interception but the reason he missed that interception is that Jay put some smoke on that rope, something I haven't seen from the battered Casey Weldon.

Defensive Line: Coach Dinardo relied on local talent to help staff the DL. This may have been a mistake, as they appear to be badly overmatched. They do arrive with an attitude but they rarely arrive at all.

Offensive Line: These guys should donate their pay to Casey and Bostic. I don't see how they can look these guys in the face. One has to ask if OL coach Rich Rhodes is up to the task at hand, his last job was coaching Pelham High School.

Jerry Dinardo: As with all things blame must rest at the top. Dinardo hired this staff and drafted this team. They seemed to have good talent and kicked butt early in the preseason workouts. But they seem to be going backwards. Actually what is happening is that all the other teams (with the possible exception of the Hitmen) are getting better and moving forward while the Bolts are sitting still. This can only be coaching and the finger can only rest on one man, Dinardo.

Next up is Los Angeles. In my opinion LA is better than the Demons. The Bolts have got to change some things. The fact is that LA should and most likely will grind the Bolts into the turf at Legion Field Sunday unless Dinardo and his players and coaches can find something, anything to throw them off their game plan. Bottom line, The bolts have to score early and often. Chunk the conservative game plan, It aint working. If you're going to lose then dammit, go out in a blaze of glory. Chunck that rock!! We have two receivers that can burn anybody. You never know what will happen. Somebody falls down, somebody gets interference. It worked for Chicago Sunday, It can work for the Bolts. In my opinion Jay Barker has the physical skill to put that kind of game plan in motion. I'm not saying he is the better quarterback. I'm just saying that if anyone can turn this disaster around it is Jay Barker. Don't confuse the young college sophomore who led Alabama to a national championship with the man he is today. He has put up good numbers in Canada. He is bigger, stronger, can see the field better and runs better. And behind our offensive line running isn't just a job, It's an adventure.