When you are a team coming off back-to-back losing seasons it only makes sense to make some major changes to the roster. Tonight the Pittsburgh Power took their first steps towards revamping the roster that will be on the field for the 2014 season.
Everyone knows to be successful in the AFL you need a quarterback. If you can add a former league MVP at the position, you are doing something right. Even though he had a down year last season you still have to be excited to see Tommy Grady being assigned to the Power today.
“Lynn Swann and I could not be more pleased to welcome Tommy Grady to the Pittsburgh Power family, said Power Co-Owner Matt Shaner. “Tommy is a superstar quarterback who will lead our franchise to unprecedented success. This is just the first of what will be many positive moves on our part this off-season as we build the foundation for a ArenaBowl Championship for the City of Pittsburgh,” Shaner said in a Power press release.
Grady set the single season AFL record for passing yards (5863) and touchdowns (142) in 2012 and helped the Utah Blaze make it to the National Conference championship before they lost 75-69 to the eventual league champion Arizona Rattlers. His size (6’7”) helps him see over the defensive line and make accurate passes downfield. Although he’s prone to throw an interception or two per game, he often makes up for it with plenty of touchdowns to go with it. Grady dealt with a finger injury for much of last year and it will be interesting to see how well he has recovered from that.
The Power were also assigned one of Grady’s favorite targets in 2012 1st team all-arena wide receiver Aaron LeSue. LeSue (pronounced Luh-sway) caught 154 receptions for 1787 yards and 55 touchdowns, which is the third highest touchdown total for a season in league history. LeSue also produced 62 receptions for 748 yards and 16 touchdowns in only 8 games before leaving the Utah Blaze last season to pursue a spot on the U.S. rugby team.
Also entering the mix at wide receiver is A.J. Jackson (6’6” 235 pounds). Jackson, who played collegiately at California University of Pennsylvania, had a brief run with the Power in the 2012 season. His size makes him a big threat anywhere on the field. Jackson had 31 catches for 308 yards and nine touchdowns in just six games for Utah last season.
The Power exercised rookie options on wide receivers Tyler Beiler, Kenny Stafford & Julian Talley (who is on the practice squad for the New York Giants), defensive back Ricardo Kemp, defensive lineman Eric Norwood, and kicker Julian Rauch. The Power also placed offensive lineman Beau Elliott and quarterback Steven Sheffield on reassignment today.
Overall I am pretty excited about these moves today as I feel they are a strong step towards giving this team the overhaul that many fans were hoping to see. Hopefully these are just the first steps towards building a championship team that the black and gold faithful can be proud of in 2014.
Photo courtesy of Rick Egan/The Salt Lake Tribune