TAMPA — Storm QB Jason Boltus likely could describe every nook and cranny of Amalie Arena's ceiling after last week's game against San Jose. That's because he spent the vast majority of the night on his back.
Boltus was mugged all game by the SaberCats' defensive front and Tampa Bay's offense couldn't get on track until it was too late, losing 36-27 to fall a game under .500 on the season.
"When you go back and look at the tape, some guys played well up front and then one or two guys who did not play so well," Storm coach Lawrence Samuels said. "As a whole, we just made some blocking assignment mistakes."
Boltus was sacked a season-high five times and was knocked down nearly two dozen more. Predictably, his stat line looked just as ugly: Boltus finished 21-of-39, was picked off once and fumbled twice, with one of those leading to a safety on the final play of the first half. Through three games, the Storm is tied for the league lead in most sacks allowed (nine).
"But it wasn't just one phase of the offense that didn't play well," Samuels said. "It was a combination of a lot of things. Receivers not being in the right spot, not executing. A lot of things went wrong."
Although he wouldn't tip his hand, Samuels said there would be some changes up front tonight when the Storm takes on visiting New Orleans at Amalie Arena. Tampa Bay signed four-year veteran OL Chris Jamison this week.
"You have to make adjustments," he said. "Anytime you have a performance like that, you have to move some guys around."
Transactions: In addition to Jamison, the Storm also signed DL Frank Mays (6 feet 9, 295 pounds) this week. To make room, Tampa Bay placed defensive backs Nick Addison (Spoto High) and Randall Burden on inactive reserve.
Attendance issues: Tampa Bay is not just off to a shaky start on the field. Traditionally one of the league's top draws, the Storm has averaged 9,157 fans through its first two home games. Tampa Bay averaged 11,402 last year, a far cry from 1993 when it averaged a franchise-best 20,469. And the Storm will have some stiff competition this weekend. Tonight's game with New Orleans is sandwiched around Lightning playoff games and the Rays hosting the Yankees.