Arena football may be known for all the offense scored in it, but having some dominant defensive talent can go a long way towards separating a team from pretender and contender status. The Power have been very focused on the defensive side of the ball but until today, they were still looking for a strong presence in the middle of their defense.
The Pittsburgh Power announced today that they have been assigned 1st team All-Arena jack linebacker Alvin Ray Jackson. Jackson was a monster in the middle of the New Orleans VooDoo defense last year with 14 interceptions, which tied him with for the league lead in that category. In two seasons in the AFL, he has amassed 22 interceptions overall. The team announced this is a three year deal for Jackson.
“Alvin Ray makes any defense he plays in better,” remarked Power Head Coach Derek Stingley. “My defense is his defense; it’s the defense where Alvin Ray cut his teeth in. He knows all the checks, he understands all the situations like down and distance, field awareness, time and personnel.”
Stingley also commented on the impact Jackson will have in the turnover department.
“He’s a playmaker, his instincts are almost always spot on,” Stingley said.
This was something the Power really struggled with last year but the signing of Jackson, along with defensive backs Sergio Gilliam (six interceptions) and Chris LeFlore (nine interceptions), gives the Power defense a few ballhawks who will cause some serious havoc for opposing offenses in 2013. Jackson and LeFlore both ranked in the top ten in the AFL last year in interceptions.
The Power still have 13 open roster spots for the 2013 training camp roster and are hopeful that standout wide receiver and kick returner P.J. “Superman” Berry will also return to the team once he comes off the league’s injured reserve list. By rule he is not eligible to sign with any team until then.
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Photo Credits: AFL