Why Jackson Morrill should start at X for the Whipsnakes

By Adam Lamberti | Aug 26, 2023

At the trade deadline on Tuesday, the Whipsnakes acquired attackman Jackson Morrill from Chrome.

At first glance, you would think Morrill would run out of the box with the Whipsnakes attack unit of Matt Rambo, Zed Williams, and Will Manny seemingly all but set. 

Morrill can then invert or play in a 2-man game with Rambo or Williams, a staple of the Whipsnakes offense as they have generated the 2nd most shots from X in the league this season.

But I would argue to have Morrill start at X attack this week for the Whipsnakes, his ‘natural’ position.

A True ‘X’ Guy for the Whips

Like all good X attackmen in the PLL, Morrill is both a scorer and feeder. He has 23 points in 2023 with a balanced 11 goals and 12 assists this season.

The Whipsnakes lack a true ‘X’ attackman as Williams, Manny, and Rambo do most of their damage from the wings and are not what I would deem true facilitators of an offense.

Manny would be the likely candidate to come out of the box, as he already has experience receiving a short-stick this season if Morrill were to be behind the cage.

Inserting Morrill into the starting lineup is not because of what Manny, Rambo, or Williams have done wrong - it is more so about what Morrill does right.

Quick and Correct Decision-Making

This season, Morrill has the 2nd most passes per game (32.4), the 5th most touches per game (36.6), and the 4th best shooting percentage (39.3%) of offensive players.

But perhaps the most important stat is his lack of turnovers. 

Whereas other touch leaders in the PLL like Rob Pannell and Dhane Smith have 38 and 23 turnovers on the season, Morrill, respectfully, has 9.

In other words, he lets the game come to him and in turn, makes everyone around him better.

And for the Whipsnakes, this is a much needed trait if they want to win a third championship.

If you look at the Whipsnakes offense, they’ve been a good unit. They’ve scored double digit goals in every game this year and have a lot of weapons to choose from. But sometimes it feels as if the ball gets stuck in someone’s stick for a beat too long.

It’s for this reason Morrill is such a good pickup for the Whipsnakes. He knows his role on the offense, and his best asset will be putting players in optimal positions to attack and score.

The issue with Chrome was that they didn’t have sufficient offensive weapons around Morrill to capitalize on his ability to move the ball quickly. It will be a different story on the Whipsnakes.

Reading and Manipulating the Defense

Morrill is extremely gifted at reading situations and manipulating the defense to do exactly what he wants them to do.

If there is a second of hesitancy within a defense about who is sliding or playing who in a 2-man game, Morrill will make them pay with a quick decision.

Additionally, we’ve seen teams short-stick Morrill (similar to Will Manny) to double-pole a midfield. Like Manny, the strategy has backfired for teams as Morrill has shown the ability to create a scoring opportunity for himself when on a short-stick.

Closing Thoughts

I think the Whipsnakes offense might operate a tad more efficiently if we see a high-IQ player like Morrill at X. He elevates an offense without anything too flashy by knowing his strengths and weaknesses very well and playing within himself.

If I’m the Whipsnakes, I try Morrill out at X to see how the offense runs this week, being the last week of the regular season and a playoff spot already clinched. Morrill will create opportunities not only for his fellow attackmen, but also midfielders Tucker Dordevic, Brad Smith, and Mike Chanenchuk.

And if Morrill messes with the ‘mojo’ of the attack unit this late in the season, then you still have an elite invert option out of the midfield in Morrill, who played there last year for Chrome. It’s a win-win.