Training Camp Preview: Atlas LC
By Josh Schafer | May 29, 2022
Atlas returns after a strong 2021 run led by a cast of young characters. Last offseason, Rubeor parted ways with some of the game's best offensive players of the past decade in Paul Rabil, Rob Pannell and Ryan Brown. The aggressive move appeared to be the start of a multi-year rebuild.
Then, the club went on to have its best season ever. With rookies Jeff Teat and Jake Carraway leading the offense, Ben Rubeor’s rebuild came together faster than most around the league thought it would.
Now entering the 2022 season, the question is obvious: Was it a fluke or is Atlas dominance here to stay?
2021 finish: 6-3
2022 Championship odds
Additions: Reilly O’Connor (Player Pool), Jakob Phaup (Player Pool), Koby Smith (College Draft), Chris Gray (College Draft), Max Wayne (College Draft), Brendan Curry (College Draft), Alex Rode (Player Pool)
Departures: Joel Tinney (Player Pool), Austin Pifani (Holdout)
PLL analytics guru Joe Keegan called his shot with a Jeff Teat prediction in this week’s 10 Man Ride (subscribe here) and I’ll call mine here. After missing the start of the season, Teat dominated the entire league down the stretch.
From scoring to his ability to facilitate and dish a creative pass, he’s probably the most dynamic player in the league. Another full year in the league should bring more moments like this. And perhaps, Teat’s first of several MVPs.
Camp Battle to Watch: The implications of adding Chris Gray
The NCAA’s all-time leading scorer fell to Atlas at the No. 2 spot during the College Draft. A good problem, of course, but it will have implications on how the Atlas stack their offensive lineup. Assuming Gray cracks the lineup, who’s the odd man out Eric Law or Jake Carraway? Watch for nuggets out of camp about which Atlas attack may be coming out of the box for offensive midfielder shifts.
The case for a Atlas championship run
Last year Chaos shut off Atlas in the semifinals by defending all three midfielders with a long pole. Atlas struggled to break through and didn’t have enough on attack to make Chaos pay. With the addition of Gray, it’s fair to assume Atlas’ offense will be just fine once it finds an identity with Gray and Teat playing together.
While the case could be made that Atlas could win any run-and-gun high scoring game this season, the largest looming question remains on Atlas backend where the team hasn’t had much support beyond its starting defensemen. With an aging Durkin anchoring the position, close defense will be a spot to watch for Atlas.