TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Storm defense has struggled this season against a second-year Arena League quarterback (Tommy Grady) and a backup forced into action due to injury (Kurt Rocco).
Wait until the Storm gets a load of who's under center this week.
Tampa Bay will attempt to snap its two-game losing streak Friday against division rival Jacksonville and Aaron Garcia, the most decorated quarterback in Arena Football League history.
"He's one of, if not the best ever," Storm coach Dave Ewart said.
The 40-year-old Garcia, in his 17th AFL season, has thrown for more yards (45,787) and touchdowns (981) than any AFL quarterback. Garcia, named the league's offensive player of the week after going 17-of-19 for 308 yards and eight touchdowns in a 64-33 win last week against New Orleans, is the only quarterback on any professional level to have accumulated 1,000 total touchdowns and has logged more than 26 miles passing in his career.
"He's like the Brett Favre of the AFL," Ewart said. "He's as good as it gets, and the guy has seen and done it all."
Gregory to start: Tampa Bay's quarterback carousel continues this week as Grant Gregory returns under center. Gregory, who went 16-of-29 for 186 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions against Utah in Week 2, came on in the fourth quarter last week and finished 7-of-11 for 68 yards a touchdown with 21 yards rushing.
"He led us on a nice drive down the field last week," Ewart said. "Grant has intangibles. He gets (the offense) in and out of the huddle. The guys listen to him, and I think they believe in him."
Potts waived: The Storm released QB Mike Potts on Tuesday after a dismal performance against Cleveland. Potts, who went 16-of-30 for 169 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions against the Gladiators, started in Week 1 at New Orleans in the lone win of the season so far. Dixie Hollins alum B.J. Hall was re-signed and will back up Gregory this week.
Injuries: DB Wondy Pierre Louis (ankle) and DL Richard Clebert (shoulder) were nicked up against Cleveland. Pierre Louis had to be helped off the field in the fourth quarter but practiced this week and is expected to play Friday. Clebert missed some practice this week and Ewart said there's a "50-50 chance" he'll play against Jacksonville.
Attendance: Perhaps the only thing more pathetic than the Storm's play Sunday was the attendance. Tampa Bay, which led the league last year with a home average of 14,621, drew an announced 7,939 for its home opener. The Storm likely will have another low turnout Friday thanks to the Rays playing their season opener that night at Tropicana Field.
"I have enough problems to worry about on the field," Ewart said. "I can't be worried about what's going on in the stands."
Go Green: Fans who bring six cans or plastic bottles to the Waste Services of Florida table located on the West Plaza of the St. Pete Times Forum receive a complimentary general admission ticket. Additionally, fans who ride their bicycle and park it on the West Plaza also get a free ticket to the game.