The Red Dragons have had RFL championship pedigree even before Coach Davis arrived in San Diego. Great leadership, tremendous talent and a supportive city and fan base. Since the arrival of Coach Davis, something has been added to the way this team plays and it starts with an attitude. “The beauty about football is that you get to physically punish someone from whistle to whistle without consequence.” This being a statement from a Collegiate All American Offensive lineman. That statement was stated almost 20 years ago from now Red Dragons head man Coach Davis. The marriage of the Red Dragons physical hard hitting play and the mentality of a mind like Coach Davis just seemed right.
The old saying of if it aint broke, don’t try to fix it. The Red Dragons have had one of the most dominant defenses in the RFL for a number of years in which that has led them to 2 RFL championships and Coach Davis has not wanted to mess with that recipe. Other than the addition of OLB Jack Higgins (Coach Davis 1st ever pick in the RFL) no other Red Dragons draft pick has made much of an impact on the defensive side of the ball. With veterans on the cusp of retirement, wanting a change of scenery or regressing to a lack of satisfactory production it is time for new ingredients to be added to the pot.
The first domino has fallen and that was DE. Mike Luke. “Mike was a great player for us and we wish him well on his new team.” Davis on the trading of Mike Luke to the Chicago Tigers for WR. Hunter Jones. In needing to get younger on the defensive side why trade a top DE for a non-position of need? This move by Davis and the Red Dragons could be questioned by many because they also gave up a 2nd rd pick (6th as well) and Jones will have to fight for targets in a room that already touts McIntosh, Kid, Desmond and not to mention the other half of the twin towers in Deon’tae Compton.
With Luke now gone, there is a void on the defensive front and Willie Nellie feels the door has been opened for him to make an entrance for himself, for his team, the fans and RFL community. When asked about the open spot Nellie replied “Do I think I’ve earned the starting spot? I’ve put the work in practice, but at same time that’s for Coach Davis to decide and I respect any decision coach makes. Like I said earlier I’m here to do what’s best for the team and play the best role that I can for our teams success.”
Expectations for the 3rd round pick hasn’t changed, first comes the team success…. “I believe team success is the number one goal always and the personal accolades will come with team success.”
Coach Davis has been impressed with Nellie in practice, with that combined with Luke’s lack of production through the first quarter of the season. The decision looked inevitable and was made for itself.
“Willie has come in and continued to work hard and impress our offensive line during practices and our coaching staff thought he could be a jolt to our dline” Davis said. They say you play like you practice, if the stories out of San Diego about the young pass rusher have any truth to them. We should be expecting to see him get the first shot at taking over the vacant spot on the Red Dragons defense.