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Tampa Bay Storm's league-best pass rush could get better

TAMPA — So far, Tampa Bay has the best pass rush in the Arena League with 14 sacks. Wednesday, it got better.

The Storm re-signed DL Jermaine Smith, whose 40 sacks are seventh in league history.

"Jermaine still has that hunger," Storm coach Dave Ewart said.

Ewart said Smith, 39, looked "very sharp" during a two-day workout and he is expected to see extensive time Saturday against Dallas.

"We're playing him until his tongue starts hanging out," Ewart said.

Smith, whose seven sacks last season tied for fifth in the league with teammate Cliff Dukes, said he's excited to rejoin the Storm.

"I've been talking with some of the guys, and I'm ready to go," he said. "I'm in pretty good shape, but football shape is different. But I feel good."

To make room, the Storm placed DL Greg Taplin on injured reserve.

Cracking 50: New team president Derrick Brooks talked last week about Arena League games being a "race to 55 (points)." The Storm didn't get there in Friday's 51-48 win over Philadelphia but did reach 50 for the first time this season.

Grant Gregory, making his second start, was 23-of-29 for 211 yards and six touchdowns.

"You can see him getting more comfortable," Ewart said.

Ewart said part of the Storm's success can be attributed to paring down the playbook.

"We only ran about eight plays up in Philly," Ewart said. "We just kept it short and simple and had success."

Familiar faces: Four Vigilantes who will suit up Saturday played with the Storm last season: WR DeAndrew Rubin, DL Kelvin Kinney, LB Dusty Bear and DB James McCoy.

Running wild: Dallas FB Derrick Ross leads the league in carries (53), yards (224) and touchdowns (12).

"They run a lot of tosses, and (Ross) is legitimate running threat," Ewart said. "As a defensive coordinator, that can be scary because you're a little hesitant to bring guys up (toward the line of scrimmage)."

Kickin' It: Rookie Kyle Chilton had made only 3 of 7 field goals before his 30-yard winner Friday.

"I was confident in him," said Ewart, who criticized the Clearwater High grad after a 54-30 loss to Jacksonville on April 1 in which he made 1 of 3 field goals.

"The kid has talent. Otherwise, he wouldn't be here."

.Up next

Storm vs. Dallas

When/where: 7:30 p.m. Saturday; St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa

Tickets: (813) 301-6600, tampabaystorm.com

Tampa Bay Storm's league-best pass rush could get better 04/20/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 8:34pm]
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