The Omaha Nighthawks’ offensive linemen went back to work Monday, determined to fix a unit they say is in need of a little fine-tuning and not a major overhaul.
The Nighthawks are coming off their worst offensive performance of the season, a 228-yard effort in a 22-10 loss to Las Vegas. Overall, Omaha has hardly been consistently overwhelming, averaging 281 net yards and 19 points a game.
“As a unit, we have just not been consistent,’’ offensive tackle George Foster said. “We do some great things, and then we do some not-so-great things.
“We just have to get more consistent, and then we’ll be fine.”
Omaha does rank last in the five-team United Football League in total offense (287 yards per game) and net yardage (280.7).
The Nighthawks also are fourth in rushing offense, having rushed 59 times for 184 yards and an average of 3.1 yards per attempt.
Omaha rushed for 65 yards against Las Vegas, which almost doubled the previous game’s output. The Nighthawks finished with 36 yards, on 19 carries, in a 20-17 win over Sacramento on Oct. 2.
“We want to run the ball,’’ center P.J. Alexander said. “We want to do a lot of things, but we have to get better as a unit.’’
Alexander said the difference between success and failure on many plays is a fine one.
“It’s been one guy here or there, one little step here or there,’’ Alexander said. “There is no one major factor that you can point out.
“It’s been one little thing that has thrown us off track,’’ he added.
“We know we have to be better, we want to be better and we’re working to get better.’’
So is the Nighthawks’ front office. Omaha has acquired 330-pound tackle Adrian Jones, who has started 26 of the 55 games he has played in the National Football League with the New York Jets and Kansas City.
Jones, who played college football at Kansas, had been in training camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers before being released in late August.
“Good offensive linemen are hard to find, and a guy like Adrian could come in and give us a shot in the arm,’’ Omaha General Manager Rick Mueller said.
To make room on the roster, the Nighthawks waived Donovan Raiola, who had been Alexander’s backup at center. Raiola had seen limited action in one game.
Overall, Mueller said he’s not discouraged by what he has seen from the offense but that the unit has to avoid penalties and turnovers that have plagued it in the past two games.
“That’s what is upsetting,’’ he said. “At the end of the day, we didn’t play that badly against Las Vegas.
“But penalties and turnovers were the difference in that game.’’
Omaha scored a touchdown on its first possession, then appeared headed for another when Eric Green’s interception gave the Nighthawks the football at the Las Vegas 32-yard line. The drive ended when Ahman Green fumbled at the Locomotives’ 8-yard line.
Quarterback Jeff Garcia also threw two interceptions, one of which Isaiah Trufant returned 27 yards for a touchdown.
Omaha got a field goal on its third possession to take a 10-3 lead. The Nighthawks then failed to make it past midfield on eight of their last nine possessions.
“I think it all comes down to execution,’’ tackle Dan Gay said. “It’s just little things.
“I know I’ve had my faults on that. It’s sometimes 10 guys doing the right thing and one guy doing something wrong that can mess up a whole play.”
Omaha has five regular-season games remaining, starting with Saturday’s contest at Hartford. There is still plenty of time, Foster said, to get things ironed out.
“When we do, we’re going to score a lot of points,’’ Foster said. “We were on the verge of it last game, but we got derailed a little bit.’’
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