Inside info – Dom polska örnarna

Nu börjar det ju dra ihop sig till landskampen mellan Polen-Sverige som spelas nu på lördag, den 2 februari kl. 17:00 i Polen. Här under kommer en sammanställning av den polska truppen från Adrian Fulneczek, en polsk journalist (@fulu77), som har gett oss en bra inblick i de polska laget.

Matchen kommer att visas på nätet och än så länge verkar det vara www.sport.tvp.pl som gäller för sändningarna.

The Polish Eagles

On Monday, the The Polish American Football Association (PZFA) named the 30 players who will face Sweden in the first senior international game in the history of our nation, on Saturday, February 2nd. Here are some of the names you should keep an eye on in the Polish squad.

…but first, a short introduction. As you probably don’t know, football is some 20 years younger here than it is in Sweden. The first league season was played in 2006 and only 4 teams competed. Luckily, from then on, the only thing we’ve been experienced is the – well publicized – rapid growth. This year will have teams competing in 4 Divisions and finally a league for juniors. Last autumn the first couple of female teams came to existance and are hoping to create a league of their own soon.

Now, to the game itself. The initial roster was 70 players big. The cuts were made by Head Coach Maciej Cetnerowski of the reigning Champions Of Poland, The Gdynia Seahawks. It shouldn’t surprise you that this team has most players in the line-up, then. Another fun-fact mentioned by the PZFA: excatly half of the players called up have higher education. Well, might not mean much (Fitzpatrick went to Harvard after all), but just so you know, you are not fooling this bunch easily…

As for our players, to be honest with you, I’ve never seen any of them in an Arena Football game as… we do not play indoor football here in Poland. Keeping that in mind I’ll try to point out some names for you and where possible, add some highlights, etc. I’m returning the favour here, as Coach Leo Billgren, helped me a great deal in the same way with Swedish players, in an article I prepared for the first printed – and available in newsagents all around the country – Polish magazine about American Football: Extra Point. See? Rapid growth, I told you.
Below, the players with shirt numbers they’ll be wearing during the Poland-Sweden game:

#20 Sebastian Krzysztofek (RB / WR) – the smallest player in the lineup (176 cm) is also the all-time leader in points scored in Polish league games. Since 2006 he has a total of 428 points scored, so a bit more than 61 Tds. He achieved that after having to miss almost a season with a horrific injury which he got over and came back even stronger. One of those small, agile backs who are every West-Coast coordinator’s dream. Not sure how he gets these yards with his size (the best O-line in Poland might have something to do with it), but he always does. Extremely dangerous as a receiver coming out of the backfield, too. But anyway, see it for yourselves: here are his 2012 highlights, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzvHr20NfMQ (low quality).

#8 Krzysztof Wydrowski (QB) – one of only two QBs in the roster. The other one is Bart Zemanek from the York Lions who I haven’t had a chance to see yet. As for Krzysiu, he wrote on his Facebook, somewhat ironically, that ”the quarterback with the worst technique” survived another time in the national team (we had junior international games). He’s a big quarteback (196 cm, 108 kg), who’s mostly a pocket passer with a strong arm. Won the MVP prize in 2010 and for a long time has been considered the best Polish QB (although the new generation is catching up quickly). Last season his team was the only one in the top 4 which did not choose to have an American quarterback – they could, but elected to stay with Wydrowski. (Which didn’t pay off eventually because of his back injury, it will be interesting to see in what kind of form he is these days).

#42 Łukasz Omelańczuk (FB) and #49 Gaweł Pilachowski (FB) – too guys listed as running backs in our roster, but in their clubs both playing full-backs and being the best in business. Omelańczuk for years paved the way for ex-MVP and double best RB winner, Jakub Płaczek – they were both part of the strongest ground and pound offense in Polish history. ‘Omel’ can also get a lot of tough yards himself as he has incredible speed and great size so good luck trying to tackle him in the open field. Pilachowski is and for 7 years has been the fullback for Sebastian Krzysztofek (see above), which speaks for itself, I guess. A bit shorter, but very strong, suprisingly agile, great for the the 2 RB sets, also a great target for checkdowns.

#14 Grzegorz Mazur (WR) – if you are a DB, I’m sorry to inform you that this guy will burn you. The fastest receiver in our league. Looks a bit like Andy Dalton so you’ll recognize him easily when he’s celebrating on of his TDs in the endzone. Great in the return game*.

*same goes for #2 Zbigniew Szrejber (WR)

#89 Grzegorz Janiak (TE)– listed as a receiver, but actually one of the best tight-ends in the league for years. What’s interesting, he was he’s quarterbacks favourite target on the Warsaw Eagles offense, even though there were American receivers on the field. Not exactly a Tony Gonzalez, but a Dustin Keller with more speed, for sure. You’re not bringing this guy down easily (check 0:32 in his old highlights https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwwhdupNuQg).

#19 Filip Mościcki (QB/WR?) – listed as a receiver, was the quarterback and biggest star of the non-existant now Kraków Tigers. Started he’s career as a wideout and often said how he enjoyed that. Now he moved to Warsaw to play for the Eagles (runners up last year) and that’s probably going to be his role. I’m actually mentioning him just in case he does a Jerome Simpson on somebody – remember, I told you first that’s coming.

 

#71 Babatunde Aiyegbusi (OL) – I’m not excatly good with lineman, but this is a guy who’s first of all the biggest in the team (206 cm, 150 kg) and secondly, somebody who turned a lot of American scouts’ heads during the Euro-American Challenge (Europe vs USA game we hosted in Warsaw, with 20k tickets sold). There were even rumours of him getting a chance at college there, but he reportedly elected to stay.

 

Defense, collectively. Again, not really one of my strong sides and what’s even worse, all of the players called-up are really good at what they do, so I’d have to mention a lot of name. Look out for #17 Paweł Świątek, safety, always a great leader, who loves to punish the opponent (2009 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yc_JW0MFAG8). And he’s nicknamed Nasty. Aside from that, these defensive backs will be trying to pick off a lot of passes with #4 Krzysztof Wis (actually again a safety, but anyway), his teammate  #22 Kamil Mogielnicki and #29 Jakub Muraszko having the best chance to do so. In the D-line everyone will be hunting for sacks, hope they can put a good performance in against a experienced O-line.