Gridiron Gazette: Kats Edition Week 1

ALBANY, NEW YORK — The Nashville Kats, fresh off a resounding 47-12 season-opening victory over Minnesota, hit the road to the Capital Region of New York to face the Albany Firebirds on Thursday evening, a game to be broadcast on NFL Network and 102.5 The Game in Nashville. The Firebirds are coming off a thrilling 62-59 overtime victory against the Orlando Predators.

OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION: The Kats amassed 234 total yards during the game, with 216 of those through the air. The team completed 12 of 29 passes and averaged 6.2 yards per play.

ATKINS' ATTACK: Quarterback Ramone Atkins threw for 161 yards on 8-of-14 passing with four touchdowns in the season opener against Minnesota at Nashville Municipal Auditorium on April 27. Additionally, Atkins rushed for 13 yards on two attempts. Named the starting quarterback out of training camp, Atkins, the 2022 Indoor Football League Rookie of the Year, led the league in passing yards per game and ranked second in touchdowns (50) to interceptions (10) ratio for the Duke City Gladiators in 2022. Atkins also spent time with the Tucson Skulls of the IFL in 2023, starting all 16 games and finishing tied for third in completion percentage (65.1%). He scored 37 touchdowns to 11 interceptions and accumulated 1,984 total passing yards. The dual-threat quarterback also ran for 691 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns (credit Mike Organ, The Tennessean).

“I'M GETTING MARQUISE IRVIN'S NUMBER, THE BIG 8”: Despite sharing the same last name, first initial, and single-digit number, Marquise Irvin showcased his prowess, earning one of two Arena Football players to receive the Inaugural “Gamebreaker” destination status. Irvin made three catches for 56 yards and two touchdowns against the Myth on Saturday. Notably, in the first quarter, he secured a 40-yard reception, extending the Kats’ lead to 22-0. The other inaugural AFL Gamebreaker nod went to Southwest Kansas Storm wide receiver Marcell Barbee.

A former multiple all-conference performer at Mercer and native of Huntsville, Ala., Irvin (6-3, 215) set the program record in receiving yards in a season as a junior to only break his record the following season as a senior with 816 yards. In 2023, Irvin signed with the Green Bay Blizzard of the Indoor Football League and was named second-team all-league and team offensive MVP with 71 catches for 886 yards and 16 touchdowns. In 2021, Irvin signed with the Tucson Sugar Skulls of the Indoor Football League, but an injury ended that season and the following season. His overall professional stats in 21 games include 78 catches for 906 yards and 13 touchdowns.

MEADOWS LANDS TWO PICKS: Defensive back Trae Meadows led the team with a pair of interceptions and returned them for 23 yards. He also recovered a fumble resulting from a strip by Sedevyn Gray. Meadows brings tons of experience and a high level of play, having been named to the Indoor Football League All-Rookie Team and earning All-Conference USA First Team and honorable mention All-Conference USA selections during his time with Western Kentucky.

WIDE RECEIVER CORE POWER: Five receivers made an immediate impact for the Kats in the season opener, led by Irvin, who was one of three Kats to score a touchdown, with the others going to Charlie McClain and Braxton Haley. Cade Brewer, who needed just one audition before signing an NFL contract, led the core with 58 yards on three receptions. Haley averaged the most yardage on his opportunities at 31.5 per catch.

BREWHOUSE BLITZ: Join the Kats every Monday evening during the season from 7-8 PM as the team hosts its weekly radio show on 102.5 The Game. Host Greg Pogue, Kats head coach Dean Cokinos, and Kats Partner Jeff Fisher break down the previous game, look ahead, and chat with current Kats players. The Fisher & Friends segment brings former NFL players to discuss their time in the league with the Tennessee Titans and other franchises.