Chrome Offseason Recap
By Joe Keegan | May 29, 2020
The Chromeback starts now.
Jesse Bernhardt (Entry Draft), Tom Rigney (NCAA Draft), Matt Gaudet (trade with Whipsnakes), James Barclay (trade with Whipsnakes), Foster Huggins (trade with Whipsnakes), Reece Eddy (NCAA Draft), Donny Moss (Entry Draft)
Red, white, and blue defense
Jesse Bernhardt joins a defense already featuring Will Haus, Joel White, and John Galloway. The last time these four played together, they won a gold medal in Netanya. Defensive chemistry is important in this league – maybe more important than offensive chemistry. The Redwoods relied on their trust to play an aggressive slide-and-recover scheme; the Whipsnakes’ familiarity allowed them to tailor gameplans and matchups to each individual defender’s strengths.
Expect a blend of schemes and gameplans from this Chrome defense. Galloway likes to keep it simple – one or two rules per opponent. The week-to-week constants: Forcing X attackmen to beat them one-on-one. Bet on rookie Tom Rigney (Army) to take a lot of those top matchups without help.
Chrome allowed more two-man game goals per game (2.3) than any team in the league last summer. Short-sticks like Will Haus give them options when defending those actions. Haus can switch onto elite attackmen; he’s like a fifth pole on the field. Whether they switch more or push the picker around as they fight through, look for the Chrome to improve their pick-and-roll rules.
One- and two-finisher lineups
Off-ball finishers are like big men in the NBA. They roll to the rim, absorb contact, and throw down lobs. The Whipsnakes had success late in the season injecting Jay Carlson into the center of their offense. Chrome has the opportunity to run two finishers in the same lineup: lefty Ty Thompson and righty Matt Gaudet.
Chrome had the league’s most efficient six-on-six offense in 2019 because of their ability to win one-on-one matchups. Jordan Wolf, Justin Guterding, Ned Crotty, and John Ranagan have strong dodge-to-shoot games from all areas of the field. They demand a slide – but players like Thompson and Gaudet are tricky to slide from. Leave them before a second slide is ready, and they’ll finish.
If defenses are slow to slide from Gaudet, Chrome can dare them to slide from him by moving him around the formation. He can pick for Wolf à la Jordan MacIntosh. Or he can mirror MacIntosh, who has an underappreciated dodging arsenal but hasn’t had a picker since Chrome dealt Wes Berg. It will be interesting to see how Chrome moves Gaudet around, and how often he and Thompson share the field.
Two-way midfielders dominated on the shorter fields last summer. They will be even more important this summer; shorter rest periods will favor teams with versatility that thrive in unsettled scenarios. Chrome lacks two-way players. Most of their offensive midfielders are actually attackmen (i.e. Crotty, Matt Danowski).
Depth in the middle of the field will be a question mark with this roster. The SSDM stable runs deep – James Barclay can pick up a short-stick in case of emergency, too – but what about the offensive side? Crotty, Danowski, MacIntosh, and Ranagan is a strong-but-thin midfield unit. Can Simon Mathias, Gaudet, Thompson, or Chris Bocklet run out of the box? Who takes faceoffs when Connor Farrell needs a rest? There are a ton of question marks in the midfield. This team is built for six-on-six success on both sides of the field, but can it win in between the arcs?