By AJ Francis
This offseason was filled with lots of anticipation and excitement. With the addition of the rookie draft and the new bit progression system, the league has been building up to possibly its most exciting season yet. Earlier this offseason, the league added two new teams and relocated/rebranded another one. The rebranded team became the Denver Nightwings.
The Nightwings are owned by Jeremy Vega, former wide receiver for the Vancouver Legion. Settling into their new home “Richard L. Snowden Stadium,” a tribute to Hall of Fame running back Richard Snowden, the small staff of only two people prepares for the season. As well as being owner, Jeremy Vega will also be their Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, and Defensive Coordinator. Alongside him is his trusted colleague, B.J. Armstrong, who will be the Club Manager for the Nightwings this season.
“The entire process of applying for a team & waiting to hear the results is one of the hardest things I have had to deal with. Owning a team was an immediate dream of mine upon finding the league. The fact that I was awarded a team this early over other applicants, who are great guys that deserve one as well, is not only an honor but means so much to me. Finding out I got a team was exactly how you would imagine, given you were in that same situation. You wouldn’t believe it! Anyone who applies in the future, just know the wait to hear the results is excruciating, but well worth it,” said Mr. Vega when asked about the process of applying for a team.
Early in his career, Jeremy Vega was awarded with a dream position, and now he and his staff are ready to put together an amazing season.
When the San Antonio Vaqueros disbanded, Jeremy Vega took the gamble and decided to take over their team and move them to Denver to become the Nightwings. “I’d say it was a 50/50 kinda thing. One part being that I wanted to take any and every chance I had at securing a franchise in this league and another part being that any opportunity to try and retain players that had already made a name for themselves and proven they can win would be better than starting from scratch. I’ll admit that I’d preferred to start from scratch in the sense that I wouldn’t be tied to another franchise forever, but I am happy with how everything has turned out and very happy with the first-year roster for the Nightwings.” The Vaqueros, in their last season, went 7-5 and slipped into the playoffs, losing in the first round to the Indianapolis Red Devils, 28-18.
Returning for the Nighthawks this season from that playoff roster will be: quarterback, Josh Miller; wide receiver, Logan Keel; defensive tackle, Bailey Bacca; cornerback, B.J. Armstrong and strong safety, Nicholas Warner. Players that have left from the San Antonio Vaqueros playoff roster include: Kicker, Austin Powers (London); wide receiver, Daley Holder (Baltimore); linebacker, Obi Okoye (New Orleans); free safety, Tom Taylor (Dallas); tight end, Ricardo Hernandez (free agent) and punter, Arminus Davis (free agent). A big name the Nighthawks will miss this season is pro bowl wide receiver, Daley Holder. Last season, Holder was 5th in yards (1450) and tied for 5th in touchdowns (12). He will be replaced by Jockamo Jones who was rated as the 8th best wide receiver last season, only trailing Daley Holder by 3 spots.
A big name the Nighthawks are retaining is quarterback Josh Miller. Last season, Miller only played 4 games, but showed tons of potential, throwing 11 touchdowns, only 4 less then previous quarterback Joey Langdon in half the starts, and 1146 yards, which is 70 more yards then any quarterback that played the same amount of games as him. The transition has been seamless thanks to Vega, who quickly was able to replace all of the players that left via free agency and the draft, while also putting together a very exciting team for this season!
The Offense: This season the Denver Nighthawks look to put on a show with their air attack. Quarterback, Josh Miller, and wide receiver, Logan Keel, will be returning at high silver values. Paired with them will be rookie running back, Jarrod McChesney, rookie wide receiver, Ken McCarro, and top-10 wide receiver, Jockamo Jones. The player to watch this season for the Nighthawks is easily Jockamo Jones. Last season for the London Knights, Jones placed 8th in yards (1258) and 7th in touchdowns (9). With Josh Miller starting at higher value then Jones’s former QB and Jeremy Vega’s great offensive mind, expect Jones to put up big numbers for the Nighthawks this season.
The Defense: When asked about his defense, Owner, Jeremy Vega, had this to say: “The player groups I am most excited to see would have to be the secondary. While I am excited about every player and the team in general, those guys back there are very talented playmakers. As the coach, if I can get them in the right positions every game, then there is no doubt they will carry this defense and show the league what the MileHighMadness is all about.”
With 32% of their cap space being allotted in the secondary, the Nighthawks will be a very difficult team to pass on this season. The player to watch on the defense will most definitely be B.J. Armstrong. Last season, Armstrong tallied 6 pass deflections and 3 interceptions. On top of being their highest valued secondary player, Armstrong will also be returning kicks this season. With a higher starting value this season, he looks to improve on those numbers and lead the Nighthawks secondary to a very good year.
Next Season’s expectations
Week 1: Vs Vancouver
Week 2: @ Mexico City
Week 3: Vs San Francisco
Week 4: @ Oklahoma City
Week 5: VS Las Vegas
Week 6: @ Vancouver
Week 7: Vs St. Louis
Week 8: Vs Sioux Falls
Week 9: @ Las Vegas
Week 10: Bye
Week 11: Vs Alaska
Week: 12: @ Sioux Falls
Week 13: @ San Francisco
The most intriguing matchups this season for the Denver Nightwings will be their Week 5 and Week 9 matchups against the Las Vegas Fury. This matchup has become known as the “Vice Wars”. These two teams are both new teams in the same division, looking to create a name for themselves and create a new league rivalry. These games will include an exciting matchup which will be rookie quarterback Tom Ramen, the 3rd overall pick, versus the stout secondary of the Denver Nighthawks. Audiences can expect that the secondary will create massive problems for Ramen in his rookie campaign and will help get this rivalry off to a heated start!
Another interesting tidbit about this matchup is that Fury quarterback, Tom Ramen, will be facing off against his son Tom Ramen Jr, a middle linebacker for the Nightwings. These two matchups are intriguing and will definitely be fun to watch this season. The expectations for the Nighthawks this season is to make the playoffs. We know they have the talent, bringing back most of their playoff roster from the Vaqueros. We also know they have the right coaching with Jeremy Vega being the sole coach for this team. Nighthawks fans can expect a great season for this new team and should be excited for next month!