TAMPA — First came insult. Then came the injuries.
The Storm has lost the first three games of the season by an average of 32 points and now it's dealing with a host of injuries as it prepares for a matchup with Jacksonville on Sunday at Amalie Arena.
"We've been fighting through it," Storm coach Lawrence Samuels said. "It's part of the game."
Tampa Bay has started seven different players on the front four through the first three games. Game 1 starters Ben Ossai (concussion) and Isaiah Tuiasosopo (lower body) didn't play last week, and fullback Undra Hendrix has been released. In fact, the only starting lineman to play all three games is Tyler Moore. But for as good as the former Countryside High star was last season, he has been equally as inconsistent this year.
"This unit hasn't been able to gel together since the first part of the season because of having different guys in there doing different things," Samuels said. "We acquired Anthony Parker late in the week and he had to play in the (Arizona) game for us."
Ossai is set to return today, but Andrew Miller (concussion), acquired in a trade with Arizona before the season, was hurt in the first game, hasn't played since and will not suit up again today. Miller was placed on injured reserve after the first game, and Tuiasosopo is on inactive reserve.
"We're getting some of these guys back, and they're going to be healthy, so we should be a little bit better up front (Sunday)," Samuels said.
Though the Storm has given up only four sacks through the first three games, its quarterbacks have been under constant duress.
"Not making any excuses or anything but the injuries have really plagued the offensive line," Samuels said. "These type of injuries that really get you to scrambling (for healthy bodies)."
Another area hit especially hard is wideout. Julius Gregory, who emerged as a breakout rookie star last year with 98 catches for 1,036 yards and 27 touchdowns, has played just one game this year and will miss the next few weeks with a sprained knee.
"We miss (Gregory) dearly on the offensive side," Samuels said. "It's glaringly showing."
Gerald Young, who will also miss a couple of weeks with a foot injury, was working as the No. 3 receiver before going down. More important, Young was brought in to be the net man on returns, and his injury thrust defensive back Cameron McGlenn into that role.
"We don't really like our middle guy on defense out there returning kicks," Samuels said. "But Cameron was a big surprise during the Arizona game and had some big plays on kickoff returns."