After a wonderful year for the Copenhagen Towers, it is fair to say that expectations were met. But how and why did 2017 pan out as it did? Let’s take a look back.
The year 2017 has just ended. And what a year it was for the Towers team. Everyone remembers the Mermaid Bowl victory, the Friday Night victory and our first win in Vejle. Seasons don’t always go as you plan, but this time around it seems liked everything went according to plan. Here are some of the stories you might not know.
A lot happened to our offense in 2017. Points scored increased by just 3 points per game from 2016 (36,3 points vs 39,9). However, the points per game against the Razorbacks and the Gold Diggers drastically improved from an average of 18,7 in 2016 to 37,2 in 2017. A tremendous achievement against two defenses that had former NFL players on their roster.
But what really happened to make this offense work so well?
Offense line improvements
Even from the start of the season, there was a significantly different feel to how the offense worked. It all seamed faster and more aggressive. It started with the offensive line that brought in three “new” faces. RT Andreas Hansen, a former Tower who had been away from football for a year, had an amazing season.
Having quick feet and aggressive play, he was a great asset to our offensive line. And when he moved from LG to RT, after the unfortunate loss of RT Rasmus Thejl, it seemed like he found his ideal position.
With Hansen on the right side, former defensive lineman Peter Malmos came out of retirement and took over the RG position from an injured Jørgen Schultz. Peter Malmos has an incredibly aggressive and physical playing style. Peter Malmos started the season as our DL coach and was very successful as a coach. Few had expected him to be as good a guard as he was.
But the most important move on our offensive line, and maybe even our entire offense, was probably bringing in C Joachim Christensen. A former D1 player, with a journeyman background as a player for the Avedøre Monarchs, the Copenhagen Tomahawks and the Søllerød Gold Diggers, he has been a tremendous upgrade to our offensive line. Quickness, strength, aggressive play and leadership describe Joachim, and he has been a big part of an improved offensive line that helped produced the 2017 league MVP.
In the 10 regular season games this year, our offense rushed for 1.900 yards and 24 TDs.
Speaking of MVP, Dayton Winn, was the 2nd player in recent Towers history to be awarded the prestigious award. Not since our WR coach Casper Bo Jensen played RB, have we had a weapon quite like Dayton. Don’t be fooled by his small stature and long hair. The guy is a stud! His rushing stats are absurd. He rushed for an average of 13 yards per carry and scored a TD on every 5th rushing attempt. He also contributed heavily as a returner, where he gave the offense incredible field positions. He also doubled as a receiver, where he forced defenses to respect him and gave room to our young RBs.
New faces and competition
While our rushing offense was incredible, it seamed like the passing game was even better at times. With over 2200 passing yards and 34 TDs thrown in the regular season, the QBs, WRs and TEs heavily contributed to our offensive success. WR Victor Staun had a tremendous first month as a NL player, but sadly his season was cut short by a horrible ankle injury. Before his injury, Staun produced 236 receiving yards and 5 TDs in just 2 NL games. Amazing numbers from the young player. Another great story was WR Aske Troen, who once again proved himself to be the top WR in Denmark. He averaged a TD in every single regular season game. This wasn’t lost on the Søllerød Gold Diggers, who used double coverage in the entire Mermaid Bowl to take him out of the game. TE Philip Thue Nielsen blossomed in the Mermaid Bowl, after his late arrival from Herlev Rebels. The big target had a couple of amazing catches and it seems like he has found a home at the TE position. The WR corps had help from junior player Jakob Green, younger brother of our captain Kristoffer Green, who produced a memorable 4 TD performance against the 89ers.
All this passing game success came of the hands of two great Danish QBs. Patrick Hargett and Kasper Skyum are both long time members of the Towers organization. Their seasons have been greatly impacted by the competition at practice. Kasper Skyum enjoyed a phenomenal first part of the season, where he had his most memorable performances against Gold Diggers and London Warriors. Kasper Skyum’s wedding in late august gave room for Patrick Hargett, who finished of the season with a bunch of amazing games. Especially his Friday Night Game against Gold Diggers and the semifinal against the Tigers will be remembered for years to come.
Improving a 2016 defense that only allowed 11,9 points per game, seemed like a difficult a task. But with some key changes and some amazing player performances, the defense let in just 10 points per game in the 2017 season. What made a great defense even better?
While the offense had a lot of unknown faces, the defense consisted of mostly familiar faces. But the player development was of the charts. On every position, there were players who improved tremendously during the 2017 season. That development was largely driven by the addition of Niels Roest to the defensive coaching staff. Niels Roest, a former Towers DB and LB, took on the role as DB coach and ass. defensive coordinator. In that capacity he devoted practically all his time to trying to develop players. A task he succeeded in. Peter Malmos was, as mentioned, the DL coach when the 2017 season started and helped develop our defensive line to new levels.
Team defense and great additions
The biggest key to our defensive success in 2017, was the improvement in understanding how to play as a team. In every game, the defense seemed prepared and was rarely caught in bad situations. Being at the right spots, knowing assignments and tackling as a team are attributes that describe the Towers defense all season long.
To play team defense you need to have 11 players who know what to do and can execute when called upon. The 2016 Towers defense had a lot of talented players and in 2017 a couple of additions made the team even better. DE Mikkel Stilling returned from a football hiatus, which made a good defensive line great. He is one of the premier run defenders in the league and his presence was felt from day 1. Adding DT Andreas Heide was the icing on the cake.
The biggest addition in 2017 came from our own U19 team. LB Sebastian Ledgaard was a big part of our defensive success. Not since LB Mark Terkelsbøl, have we had such an impactful player move from our U19 team to our senior team. Ledgaard led team in tackles, while he finished high school as an all-A student. Ledgaard is fast, physical and smart, and will be a big part of the Towers defense for years to come.
Looking back at 2017, one could argue that the Towers have one of the best rosters in team. But 2018 looks even better.
Dayton is coming back
The reigning National League MVP, our very own Dayton Winn, has put his signature on a new contract with the Towers and will once again be a key part of our offense and special teams.
Players returning from injury
Kristoffer Green, Stefan Johansen, Martin Ballegaard, Victor Staun, Edin Mahmutovic and many more are fighting to get back in the Towers uniform, and we cannot wait to see them back in action!
A couple of farewells
Saying goodbye to great players will always hurt. Jannik Linden, Lau Mikkelsen and Sverri Finnson, will not be found in Towers helmet next year. Lindén and Mikkelsen are both former team captains, and will be missed greatly. But both players have left the Towers in good hands, and the culture they brought to the team will continue.
Fortunately, both players remain within the Towers organization as Lindén will join our very talented group of live stream broadcasters and Mikkelsen will join our staff as a WR coach.
Saying goodbye to Sverri is tough. Not only is he one of the biggest talents in Denmark, he is also a great teammate and leader. Fortunately Sverri is not quitting football, he is leaving to go play football in the US, and we wish him all best.
DL Mads Marquad, TE/WR Jesper Hansen, LB Frederic Grønhøj and DB Daniel Karkov have already committed to play for the Copenhagen Towers in 2018. All 4 players bring a lot of NL and national team experience along with a hunger to win.
From our U19 squad we will have the pleasure of bringing in several key players, who helped bring in a bunch of great results the last 3 years. Most recently was the 2017 European Championships silver medal, and a Development Bowl silver medal. Players like Asbjørn Carlsbæk, Christian Berg, Alexander Mylsted, Jakob Bækgaard and Gustav Scholz will all help the Towers team, and they are all hungry for gold!
The 2018 season cannot come soon enough….!