by Badr Ajlouni, Houston Hyenas Wide Receiver


James Cline likes to control the pace of the game. As a former high school running back who now coaches those that would follow in his footsteps, his experience on the field in real life has helped him set a course for glory in the virtual world as the owner of the Carolina Skyhawks. Cline’s team finished with a rough 1-11 record in Season 9, but he’s picked the team up, dusted off its shoulders, and refuses to dwell on the past – this team is ready for the future. Along with Mark Biddix as his Defensive Coordinator, Greg Reedy as scout and Beat Reporter, and AJ Francis as the recruiter and social media director, James Cline’s Carolina Skyhawks are gearing up for the fight of their lives in a particularly fierce Eastern Conference, with the Tallahassee Pride as their first test of the season.

[player_list id=”2231″ title=”” number=”999″ columns=”number,team,position,contractvalue,animations” orderby=”default” order=”” show_all_players_link=”0″ align=”none”]

While Carolina may have more star players on their defense, they’ve put their money where their mouth is – specifically, with their Social Media Director and star running back, A.J. Francis – and that’s to say nothing of a defense run by the quarterback! We’ve seen James Cline’s use of a strong, powerful back bring him success in the past with Johnny English, whose shoes A.J. Francis is expected to fill.  Last season, it seemed as though English wasn’t utilized correctly in build or plan, causing his final season to fall flat, but new blood in the backfield could possibly revitalize this important aspect of Carolina’s offense.

We saw the passing game in Carolina get better over the course of the season in Season 9 to compensate for the weaker running game.  Mark Biddix will be taking each game week-to-week instead of drawing up a detailed gameplan for the season in order to corral his rowdy group of defenders, which includes Sir Chappell as their highest paid secondary member, and leaves shutting down their opponents to an untested group of bronze rookies hungry for glory. Expect to hear plenty of trash talk from star cornerback Greg Reedy on and off the field, as his takeaways and takes will be featured in Carolina’s beat reports.

[team_standings id=”7366″ title=”Eastern Conference” number=”6″ columns=”” show_team_logo=”1″ show_full_table_link=”0″ align=”none”]

My analysis of this build still does not convince me the Skyhawks will make the playoffs in such a stacked conference as the East, however the addition of the Player Progression element does provide a wild card feel to the league as a whole.  No one really knows the impact it will have on the schedule or how it will change the effectiveness of the teams we already know.  Our preconceived notions of teams that finished poorly last season, like the Skyhawks, may be proven completely wrong.