TAMPA — The Storm's game programs just got a bit tougher to read.
Tampa Bay signed QB Brian Zbydniewski on Wednesday, and he is expected to back up Grant Gregory on Friday at Philadelphia.
"He's a kid that we have been looking at and had some communication with," Storm coach Dave Ewart said. "It took some coaxing to get him out here, but we're happy to have him."
Zbydniewski, 29, has some AFL2 experience and appeared in one game last season for Arena League champion Spokane. He played at the same college as LB Eric Ortiz (NAIA Belhaven) and with WR Huey Whittaker and DL Richard Clebert in Spokane.
"I know Huey gave him a call," Ewart said. "He's from Fort Walton Beach, so a few of the guys are familiar with him."
Ewart said it will take Zbydniewski some time to become acclimated with the offense. He said Zbydniewski likely will see five or six plays against the Soul.
More offensive moves: The Storm also signed OL Alfred Peterson on Wednesday. To make room, it released QB B.J. Hall and placed WR De'Cody Fagg on injured reserve.
Bolstering the defense: The defensive side of the ball gets a boost this week with the return of Ortiz and lineman Tim McGill.
Ortiz dislocated his elbow in the season opener against New Orleans and has been on injured reserve. Ewart said Ortiz will start on defense and be used in the "heavy" package on offense.
"He doesn't like wearing the apparatus they gave him," Ewart said. "But he'll be ready to go."
McGill, a first-team All-Arena selection in 2010 and a finalist for defensive player of the year in 2008, re-signed Friday.
"Tim is going to make our defense better," Ewart said. "He's still working his way into shape, but he'll get the start Friday."
A new dimension: The Storm will face something Friday it has seen little of so far this season: a scrambling quarterback.
Ryan Vena took over for an ineffective Justin Allgood and got his first start of the season last week. In a 53-46 loss to Orlando, he rushed three times for 47 yards and two touchdowns.
"He likes to tuck and run it a bit," Ewart said. "We have to be ready for him to handle it around the goal line."
Vena has 12 rushes for 59 yards and six touchdown for the season. In 2010 for Iowa, he ran for 272 yards and 22 touchdowns on 80 carries.
"We're going to have to keep our passing lanes tighter against him," Ewart said. "We have to keep him in what we call the can and not let him get loose outside."