TAMPA — Quarterback Adam Kennedy came on in relief and played a big part in the Storm nearly pulling off an upset of Philadelphia last week. Saturday, he'll get a shot from the opening drive.
Kennedy will be under center when the Storm closes out its regular-season home schedule against Portland at 5 at Amalie Arena.
"I thought he played extremely well (against Philadelphia)" coach Lawrence Samuels said. "I prepare two quarterback every week because you never know."
It's been a wild ride for Kennedy this season. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder began the year as the Storm (1-13) starter but had two interceptions in each of the first two games. He left the second game with an injury and did not return. He hasn't started since.
"Adam stayed patient," Samuels said. "He's a veteran guy in this league who understands things."
Kennedy, 25, came in late against Los Angeles and led a touchdown drive on Tampa Bay's last possession in a 48-21 loss. Starter Jason Boltus went down with a back injury in the first quarter last week and Kennedy completed 17-of-26 for 241 yards, five touchdowns and an interception.
"I have confidence in both guys we have at the quarterback position," Samuels said. "They both have shown they can come in and lead this team."
Boltus will sit Saturday while his back heals. Samuels wouldn't comment about what happens when Boltus returns but indicated his decision could hinge on Kennedy's performance. Tampa Bay has one game after facing Portland (2-12) before the playoffs begin.
"You always go with who is playing well and who's playing at a high level," Samuels said. "We'll let all that pan out."
FORMAT CHANGE ... AGAIN: The AFL again tinkered with the playoff formula this week with a return to the traditional conference format. The AFL already made the decision to include all eight teams in the league into the postseason. The expected new format would mean the conference winners would be seeded first and second, with three through eight seeded regardless of conference. The league will switch back to No. 1 against No. 4 and No. 2 vs. No. 3 in each conference.
NOBODY BEATS THE BIZ: Count Samuels as a fan of old-school hip hop icon Biz Markie, who will perform after Saturday's game for Fan Appreciation Night.
"I grew up listening to his music," he said. "It's pretty exciting to see him in the house. It's going to be very exciting."