“It usually takes a year or two for a quarterback to adjust to being here,” Hodgkiss said. “Sonny is definitely improving and will be a key to our success this year.” Hodgkiss also says the effectiveness of the offensive line will be another key. “Having our line stay healthy and be productive is as important as anything to this team,” Hodgkiss said. “We have to keep Cumbie protected and give him time to make throws.” Avengers owner Casey Wasserman also thinks this team can put last season’s struggles behind them. “Losing taught us a lot last year,” Wasserman said. “We have a young team, and we keep getting better. We’re excited.” [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The Avengers understand tonight’s season opener against the San Jose Sabercats at Staples Center doesn’t simply represent the first game of a new season. For an arena football team that went 5-11 last year and missed the playoffs for the first time in five years, it’s more important than that. The Avengers want to bury last year for good. Furthermore, they want to take the first step on a path they hope leads back to the postseason. “Last year was a down year,” Avengers coach Ed Hodgkiss said. “We need get off to a fast start and install some confidence.” One of the keys to the season will be how second-year quarterback Sonny Cumbie, who started 12 games last season, adjusts to the Arena Football League after an up-and-down rookie year. “This year, I’m getting the reps to be a starter right away, unlike last season,” Cumbie said. “It’s going to make all the difference in the world.” The former Texas Tech quarterback was part of the Red Raiders’ traditional pass-heavy attack, in which he threw for 4,742 yards in 2004, good enough for sixth all-time in a single NCAA Div. I-A season. “It’s a lot different playing in here; this a quaterback’s league.” Cumbie said. “You always have to come with your A-game or your team will suffer.” Hodgkiss is confident Cumbie will have a productive season.