While I can find joy in every lacrosse game no matter what the matchups or storylines are, not everyone can.
Well, I’m here to ease your concerns and give you a couple of things to watch for when you’re sitting at your TV, opening up Peacock, and watching some good old-fashioned lacrosse.
Here is what I’m looking out for on week two in Atlanta this weekend:
Are the Cannons the real deal?
I alluded to this in my week one takeaways article, but the Cannons looked really good last weekend. They were able to go down to the wire with a Redwoods team that is for my money the second best in the league. After a nice buffer game against the ill-prepared Waterdogs on Sunday, this 1-1 Cannons squad prepares to take on the back-to-back PLL Champion Whipsnakes on Saturday (NBC).
While they showed enough skill, cohesion and fight in them against the Redwoods, the Whipsnakes are a whole different animal. With a top-five player at every position on their roster it’s hard to game plan against them and damn near impossible to play against them once you step between the lines.
Do I expect the Cannons to win this game? No. However, if they can keep it relatively close and entertaining like they did against the Redwoods that will be enough for me to declare them real contenders.
My favorite matchups to look for are going to be Lyle Thompson (A, Cannons) vs. reigning defensive player of the year Matt Dunn (D, Whipsnakes), and Jack Kielty/Brodie Merrill (D, Cannons) vs. the past two reigning league MVPs in Matt Rambo/Zed Williams (A, Whipsnakes).
This looks to be the most interesting matchup of the weekend, buckle in.
Chris Hogan making his Cannons LC debut
Much has been made of former NFL Wide Receiver and Super Bowl Champion, Chris Hogan, and his comeback tour to the sport of lacrosse. Previously of Penn State men’s lacrosse, Hogan took his skills to the NFL where he bounced around practice squads until landing a full-time gig with the Buffalo Bills in 2012. He then went on to play for three other teams over the next eight years, most notably the Patriots where he won two Super Bowls.
After being released from the NFL in 2020, Hogan decided to pick up the stick again and begin his journey to the Premier Lacrosse League, where he was eventually able to make the Cannons’ 25-man roster. After being inactive last weekend, the Cannons have added him to their 19-man game day roster for this weekend, meaning we could very well see him get some action.
Now this is likely a PR move, having Hogan debut on the PLL’s first NBC Broadcast of the season that is. However, there really are no ways this can go wrong for the PLL. Here is how:
- Scenario 1: Hogan stinks and a national audience realizes that Lacrosse is no joke and the talent level in the PLL is much better than originally anticipated by casual viewers.
- Scenario 2: Hogan does great, gets the game day roster nod for more games down the line and adapts a following from NFL fans who want to follow his story throughout the season.
I personally will be rooting for scenario number two, but either way, the Chris Hogan saga is fantastic for the growth of the sport and the league.
Who bounces back? Chaos vs. Waterdogs
It is no secret that both of these teams stumbled out of the gates last weekend, each getting blown out in their season debuts. More than just getting steamrolled, they looked relatively horrible doing so. I know that sounds hard to do, but the Waterdogs and the Chaos looked completely lost out there on both sides of the ball.
These teams play each other on Friday night at 7 p.m. (Peacock TV) to kick off week two of the season. I hope that we will see a more established game plan for each squad and players fighting hard for that first win of the season. Chaos and Waterdogs each have two games this weekend which is a great get-right spot after starting off their seasons on the wrong foot.
It will be interesting to see how the Waterdogs offense looks after placing rookie attackman Michael Sowers on the injured list after suffering a blow to the head on Sunday and not dressing attackman Kieran McArdle. The Chaos defense isn’t anything to brag about, but maybe an infusion of change from their stagnant approach on Sunday is can lead to better results than against the Cannons.
While it’s not a death sentence, starting 0-2 in a short season like the PLL certainly is not ideal. I fully expect to see a lot of fight out of both teams on Friday night.
Only time will tell, and that’s why you watch the game!
TD Ierlan vs. Trevor Baptiste
There are plenty of matchups this weekend that are intriguing, but none more than the battle for faceoff supremacy between the two best FOGOs college lacrosse has ever seen.
The Redwoods play Atlas at 3 p.m. on Saturday (NBCSN/Peacock). While I don’t expect this game to be close given the effort we saw from Atlas in their 18-6 loss to Archers last weekend vs. how well the Redwoods are playing, but TD Ierlan vs. Trevor Baptiste is a must-watch matchup.
Ierlan and Baptiste come in second and third in faceoff winning percentage behind Joe Nardella of the Whipsnakes. Ierlan is winning 65.5% while Baptiste is winning 63.6% of total faceoffs.
This is about as even a matchup as they come at the faceoff X, and I’m sure it will be a dogfight until the final whistle. Come for the Atlas vs. Redwoods game, stay for the Ierlan-Baptiste battle at the X.
All-in-all, it should be a great weekend of lacrosse in Atlanta.
Thank you as always for reading, be on the lookout for my week two takeaways early next week.