Bye week blues are hitting the Swarm, but it’s hard to be too sad considering their historic 14-4 win against the Rochester Knighthawks last Saturday.
So while we rest up and prepare to watch three games this weekend – including two East Division teams – let’s settle in for the sophomore edition of the Swarm Mailbag. Please note all opinions here are my own unless specified otherwise.
Karen C. from Ridgeway, Ontario
Which Swarm players wear the best swag?
Jordan MacIntosh. By far and away the best dressed player on the Swarm – great hair, too.
All of the Swarm players dress to impress. The Thompson Bros. gear is always on point, Kevin Orleman wears suit combos that belong in the 70’s, and newcomer Sergio Perkovic has been giving MacIntosh a run for his money as best dressed.
That being said, they all wear blue and yellow pretty well.
Erik L. from Alpharetta, GA
What’s a typical week like for a Swarm player?
Let’s use a typical Saturday game as a reference for the guys since most of the games are played on those days. Guys will put in the work during the weekdays, knocking out their workouts and doing their best to rest and recover so they’re back at 100% for games. Most travel on Fridays, and teams try and get their weekly practice in that night. On Saturdays, guys do a morning shootaround at the Arena, sneak in one more pregame nap, then arrive back at the Arena a few hours before playing time to stretch and prepare for the night.
After the game, they celebrate the wins, get some rest, and then travel back home the following day. Rinse and repeat. Doubleheaders and Friday/Sunday games shift those schedules, but thankfully those are rare.
Don S. from Dacula, GA
When will we be able to see a real prediction of playoffs?
It’s a little early for playoff predictions given only six teams have actually seen action at the time of this writing, but that doesn’t mean lacrosse experts haven’t already ranked the 13 NLL teams – like ILIndoor or Lacrosse Flash did prior to the NLL Face-Off Weekend.
Given the NLL changed the postseason format to include the top seeds in each of the three divisions and two wildcard teams, the above are probably your best early indicators of where experts believe teams will be at the end of a season. Take the top 8 and roll from there.
My personal rankings of the 13 NLL teams look different than both ILIndoor and Lacrosse Flash’s, and I’m sure that it will also be wrong after 117 games are played. But that’s why we play the games – to find out the final result.
To answer the question, I maintain that teams need to play four games before we can have a good feel for who they are and what the future has in store for them.
How do you justify adding players to the roster that have never played box before?
I won’t always answer multiple questions from one person, but I liked these questions so much that I had to make an exception.
The biggest reason for adding players with little box experience is because the NLL is in an era of expansion, as indicated by the four teams added in the last two seasons. The normal pool of players is not deep enough to keep filling the additional NLL rosters which are surely on the horizon. Unconventional talent pools will have to be tapped to help keep up with the NLL’s growth.
It’s not like guys without box experience can’t play. John Ranagan and Matt Dunn are two recent examples that didn’t have box experience prior to playing in the NLL and have become solid defenders in the league. The Toronto Rock’s Tom Schreiber has established himself as one of the more dominant forwards in the NLL in just three seasons.
When Swarm Owner and General Manager John Arlotta adds a player with little box experience to the Swarm, he looks for two main areas: character and ability. Character is the most important quality for him, and ability is next. The field game doesn’t always translate to the box one, but you can tell which guys have the tools in place to succeed between the boards.
Dunn is one of the smartest field players I’ve ever spoken to, and his footwork and in-game judgement are top tier. It’s no surprise to me that he’s adapted to the box game as well as he has. Perkovic is a big and athletic short stick defensive middie in the field game, and his size is comparable to Dunn’s. I’m familiar with his style of play in field and wasn’t too sure what to expect once he finally got to play box. Watching him at Training Camp was a pleasant surprise, as his footwork and checking ability were excellent. He still needs experience playing, but he learned a lot between the first and second Swarm exhibition game, enough for Arlotta to place him on the Practice Roster.
Have a question you’d like answered in a future Swarm Mailbag? Submit your question at GeorgiaSwarm.com/Mailbag!