Elway: Soul will be a real Crush test for Colorado

Posted: March 22, 2007

John Elway, co-owner of the Colorado Crush, says tonight's game against the Soul will be a barometer for how much work his team still needs to do to become a contender.

It's a flattering approach for a Soul opponent to take. Especially when that team is the Crush, which has won consecutive Central Division titles and was the AFL champion in 2005. Colorado also has beaten Philadelphia soundly each time they've played.

"This is a test game for us," said Elway. "The teams we've played have not been the highest caliber. This is a big test to find out exactly where we are against a Philadelphia team that is very good. If you look at the league's powers - the top two teams - you're looking at Dallas and you're looking at Philadelphia. This is a good chance for us to compare ourselves and see exactly where we are. Obviously, every game is important, but this is even more important because we're going to find out exactly how good a football team we are."

Soul quarterback Tony Graziani, however, is a little skeptical.

"I ain't falling for that," said Graziani, sensing a sandbag was being tossed his way. "I've been around too long."

Elway actually was being sincere. Colorado is 2-1, all at home, with lackluster wins over Kansas City and Arizona after being upset by Grand Rapids.

Meanwhile, the Soul has ridden the league's highest scoring offense to two impressive road wins, albeit against inferior competition (Nashville, Grand Rapids). Tonight, they will try for the first 3-0 start in the team's 4-year history. They're an 11-point favorite, according to the fellas in Vegas.

"We both consider ourselves good teams, but we're a little unsure because of the competition," said Soul coach Bret Munsey. "This will be a great chance to measure where we are at and to see where we need to get better. I expect Colorado to come in here and play hard, play like a champion. It should be a dogfight for four quarters."

Colorado has won all four games in the series, including last year's 48-38 win at the Wachovia Center.

Elway is most concerned about his team's offense, which ranks 15th (out of 19) in scoring. One reason is that the team is still adjusting to assistant coach Chris Boden. The former Villanova star is a first-year quarterbacks coach for the Crush and handles the play-calling.

"They know they're a good football team," Graziani said. "They've won a championship. They're still the measuring stick and we haven't beat them. But we're going to be ready. We're playing well. We just want to control the ball and not make any mistakes because our defense is going to get some stops." *

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