Quarterback Adam Kennedy experienced part of the New Orleans VooDoo’s disappointing 2014 season, joining the Arena Football League franchise late in the summer. The season ended with a 3-15 record that included a seven-game losing streak.
Kennedy returned this season to lead a rebuilt roster under first-year coach Dean Cokinos.
Because of this, Kennedy understands the importance of ending this season’s early struggles. After starting the spring with a season-opening win against Jacksonville, the VooDoo (1-3) has lost three consecutive games heading into Sunday afternoon’s matchup against the Philadelphia Soul (4-0) at the Smoothie King Center.
Kickoff is 3 p.m.
“I feel like we need to win,” said Kennedy, who has passed for 878 yards and 14 touchdowns with three interceptions.
“Last year, we went through such a long losing stretch that it kind of kills your team, kills the crowd. So we definitely need to avoid that this year.”
The VooDoo ranks last in the AFL in scoring (37 points per game). Philadelphia leads the league (62.5).
This is about more than winning.
It’s about setting a foundation. Expectations of excellence.
The VooDoo has failed to play consistently on offense. Last week’s 42-13 loss at the Tampa Bay Storm served as the worst example in franchise history, with the team setting a mark for fewest points scored in a game, as well as failing to score in a half for the first time.
“It doesn’t feel good at all,” rookie receiver Marcus Smith (20 receptions, 257 yards, three touchdowns) said of the three-game losing streak. “We don’t want that to become a culture, that anything happening now is the same as what’s happened in the past. A lot of guys in our locker room have bought in. We have a positive mindset. We believe in the system. With the hole we’re in, we know we can get out by standing up for each other.”
Last Saturday, offensive miscues included poor pass protection, penalties and dropped passes. Which is why Smith, a fourth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2008, said that sometimes, the VooDoo’s biggest challenge is getting “out of our own way.”
The Soul, one of two undefeated teams in the Arena Football League, will likely attempt to pressure Kennedy or backup Brian Reader, who entered late last week after Kennedy was injured. While the quarterbacks were sacked just twice against Tampa Bay, the Storm’s hits reached double digits.
“If we can get in there and put pressure on the young quarterback ...” Soul coach Clint Dolezel told KYW Newsradio. “We don’t know who’s going to play, their starter (Adam Kennedy) got hurt down toward the end of the game (last week). It doesn’t matter, it’s just about what we do. And if we can get after them, we’ll be good.”
Last Saturday, Philadelphia beat Cleveland 63-48 with quarterback Dan Raudabaugh passing for 262 yards and seven touchdowns).
Raudabaugh leads the league in passing with 1,250 yards and 29 touchdowns.