Commentary

Plenty goes into making a great pass offense

The passing game takes more than just a good QB. It's a combination of the QB, receivers and O-line working together to execute a scheme created by the coaches. So who has the best passing offense in the playoffs? Gary Horton breaks it down.

Originally Published: June 26, 2008
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.

The passing game takes more than just a good QB. It's a combination of the QB, receivers and O-line working together to execute a scheme created by the coaches. So who has the best passing offense in the playoffs? Here's the breakdown:

1. Philadelphia Soul

This is the most efficient offense in the AFL, with only nine interceptions thrown all season and a QB rating of 127.7, tops in the league. The Soul complete 70 percent of their passes, do a great job of spreading the ball around and get everyone involved, especially Chris Jackson, their franchise receiver, and Larry Brackins, a great complementary receiver.

2. Utah Blaze

There is one thing that never changes -- Danny White will have a prolific and innovative offense. Led by QB Joe Germaine, the Blaze score 941 points and had three receivers -- Huey Whittaker, J.J. McKelvey and Aaron Boone -- in the top 10, all with more than 1,500 yards and they combined for 93 TDs.

3. Georgia Force

QB Chris Greisen has revamped a potent passing game with two new receivers, Carl Morris and Tiger Jones, and returning star Troy Bergeron. The Force has thrown 98 TDs and a league-high 4,964 yards, thanks to their great ability to spread defenses. It helps that they have an excellent offensive line that has given up only six sacks.

4. Cleveland Gladiators

This is a very smart and efficient offense led by a veteran QB Raymond Philyaw. The Gladiators don't turn the ball over or make a lot of mistakes and have made two relatively unknown receivers -- Robert Redd and Otis Amey -- into stars. This group really know how to exploit matchups.

5. Grand Rapids Rampage

The Rampage have a reputation of being innovative and QB James MacPherson does a nice job of running offense despite playing behind a shaky line that has allowed a whopping 29 sacks. He has one big-time receiver in Kenny Higgins, who has 1,552 yards and 34 TDs, and this is a tough offense for defenses to plan against.

6. Chicago Rush

With solid play by mobile QB Russ Michna and three go-to receivers in Damian Harrell, Donovan Morgan, and Travis LaTendresse, the Rush are not flashy but get the job done quite nicely. They spread the ball well and Michna's feet buy him time to break down coverages.

7. San Jose SaberCats

QB Mark Grieb is able to put up big passing numbers (100 TD passes) because of an outstanding trio of receivers -- James Roe, Cleannord Saintil and Rodney Wright -- who have more than 1,000 yards receiving each and at least 24 TDs. This is a high risk/high reward offense that will throw some interceptions, but it can also put up big numbers.

8. Dallas Desperados

QB Clint Dolezel calls his own plays and his ability to read defenses makes this the smartest pass offense in the AFL. The Desperados don't post huge numbers, but they seem to have the ability to come up with a big play when they need one. They are innovative and fun to watch.

9. Orlando Predators

Despite good statistics, the Predators' passing game seems to be a little unstable. QB Shane Stafford has put up solid numbers, but he plays for a perfectionist in head coach Jay Gruden. One problem is they have just one receiver, T.T. Tolliver, they can really count on for big plays. This is a pass offense that seems to turn the ball over and makes too many mistakes that stall drives.

10. New York Dragons

As QB Aaron Garcia goes, so goes the Dragons' passing game. When he has good pass protection, he can put up big numbers, but he gets hit a lot. He has three quality receivers in Jason Willis, Kevin Swayne and Chris Anthony, and while this isn't a highly rated passing game, statistically, it is dangerous, especially when the Dragons' defense is creating turnovers and giving the offense additional possessions.

11. Colorado Crush

This pass offense throws the ball more than any other in the AFL. But though the numbers look good, the week-to-week consistency is not there. Due to injuries, the only proven healthy receivers are Ben Nelson and Willie McQuinnie. Right now, it's just not a passing offense you can trust.

12. Arizona Rattlers

Even though QB Matt Sauk brought a spark to a struggling offense late in the season, he has struggled at times and this is the least stable passing games in the playoffs. The Rattlers have thrown 23 interceptions and with three QBs playing at different times in the season, there is no flow to the passing game.

Gary Horton, a pro scout for Scouts Inc., has been a football talent evaluator for more than 30 years. He spent 10 years in the NFL and 10 years at the college level before launching a private scouting firm called The War Room.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.

ALSO SEE