ARC South Outlook
Updated: Jan 17
Dreadnoughts, Armadillos, Miners (FKA Conquistadors), Bisons
The key to success in the RFL is growth. The offseason presents organizations with many avenues for growth, and possibly the most overlooked area for growth is a team's staff. An organization may elect to bolster themselves by changing staff, or the existing staff can bolster themselves through preparation and diligence. In either case, the growth of an organization's staff can be paramount to their success. After all, the right blueprint and game plan are what set the great teams apart.
We will explore several moves made by RFL teams throughout the offseason, in an effort to get you caught up on what’s to come for Season 6. We’ll briefly touch on moves made through Free Agency, Trading, and The Draft. We aim to highlight key acquisitions and departures, who may impact the future of a team. We will take a statistical approach to analyzing the teams’ Season 5 performances. And, we will look to analyze a team’s avenues to success for the upcoming RFL Season 6. We hope to touch on each team and their endeavor to obtain an elusive Relo Bowl.
The Dreadnoughts finished Season 5 with a 13-3 record, which was good enough for the playoff's 2 seed, and a bye week. They would move on to a close divisional round matchup against the Relo Bowl Champion Red Dragons, ultimately falling by one score (30-24). With many elite veterans in their late-prime, such as HB Javonte Gilliam, CB Roosevelt Mixon, CB Trey Sinclair, TE Omari Fort, FS Freddie Joyner, and DT Stanley McQuistan, the Dreadnoughts are in the middle of their championship window. The Dreadnoughts are a run-first team, with the third-best rushing attack in the ARC behind only the Red Dragons and Cougars, while their passing attack has fallen by the wayside (2nd worst in the ARC). The Dreadnoughts are a stout defensive team, having given up the 5th least amount of points in Season 5, but they were towards the bottom in yards given up. The Dreadnoughts infused youth into their roster with the first round selection of OLB Ricky Teutli, and they will look to compete for a Relo Bowl once again in Season 6. The only thing standing in the Dreadnoughts' way may be their ability to get more out of their fantastic defensive lineup, and a game plan to balance out their offense, using young QB Matt Jones.
Finishing 9-7, the Austin Armadillos had opportunities during Season 5, but were unable to put it all together. The story of the Armadillos is their inconsistency. While they had a top 5 offense in terms of yardage, they weren't able to turn that production into points consistently enough (7th in ppg). Seasoned Signal Caller Devin Wade showed an impressive step forward during Season 5, and the team may look to ride his upswing into playoff contention. Though Wade isn't without his inconsistencies, he has the weapons around him to succeed and develop: Elite TE Luis Luciano, veteran WR's Rashard Woodard and Maurice Darman, young star WR Jordy Johnson, wrecking ball HB Carlows Barry, and young speedster HB Trevon Hurd IV. This group will look to further expand upon their 5th ranked ARC offense for Season 6. Meanwhile, the Armadillos looked to invest on the defensive side of the ball to support their endeavors. MLB Joshua Moore may not have been the ideal pick for the Armadillos, but he will certainly improve upon a defense that gave up the 5th most points during Season 5. The key for the Armadillos as they move forward will be their ability to generate more pressure, considering they were the worst team in the ARC in terms of sacks. Ultimately, the Armadillos are a team with expectation that vary widely. There are a lot of ifs for this team that would need to go their way in order to really compete in Season 6.
Sacramento Miners (FKA Mexico City Conquistadors)
Also finishing 9-7, the then Conquistadors gave themselves a shot in Season 5, but failed to capitalize. The now Miners are a strong defensive football team, ranking 4th among ARC teams. Sporting a middle-of-the-pack offense, the Miners looked to fill in the gaps during the offseason. With the addition of DT Dominick Moore, the defense should look equally as good during Season 5. They also addressed their offensive needs by drafting TE Jimmy Bean, who may immediately slot into the lineup. The Miners didn't make any tremendous gains during the offseason, but they did get stronger. If the coaching staff can come up with a game plan that leans on their defense again, young QB Chum Lee can continue to develop in a lower pressure environment. This is a team that may be close to competing, especially if they see steps forward from their young playmakers. Expect HB Dmani Manuel to lead the way on the ground, and look for the Miners to potentially excel in season 6.
The Oklahoma City Bisons finished Season 5 with only one RFL win (5-11). The Bisons had a bottom 5 offense in the ARC during Season 5, as well as the second worst defense. Many attribute the Bisons' lack of success to their attempt to thrust young signal caller, Joseph Torres, into the starting role. Veteran QB Devin Hobert was the clear-cut top QB in that QB room, and he proved that with his play (10 TD's to 2 INT's and a 108.8 QBR vs Torres' 20 TD's to 7 INT's and 99.5 QBR). The organization's coaching staff clearly had plans to begin their transition to the younger signal caller, but this may not be the case in Season 6 after parting ways with their coach. Moving into the offseason, everyone expected the Bisons to invest heavily on the defensive side of the ball. The Bisons elected to move back in the draft from the 4th overall pick, trading to the cougars for ROLB Jevon Payne and the Cougars' 1st and 2nd round picks. Many questioned the move by the Bisons to move back from pick 4, which would've secured them a top-end playmaker on the defensive side of the ball. However, they elected to go with quantity, with the additions of Payne via trade and CB Shareef Underwood via the Cougars 1st round pick. Inevitably, the Bisons appear to be a team in turmoil. Nothing shows this more than using their 36th pick to select standout HB Tristen Pryce when they have established HB's Jae Morris and James Tomscha on the roster. With no clear-cut direction, the Bisons may be wasting their veterans' final years (Average age of starters is almost 30 years old). If the Bisons can put together the right gameplan to capitalize on their older talent, they could have a shot at competing in Season 6, though we don't think it's likely.
Keep an eye out for more division write ups as we get closer to the RFL regular season!