TAMPA BAY – It’s Monday and it’s the final week of Storm training camp. With only five days left to prove their worth, the camp participants are looking for any edge to show they belong.
“We need to show that we can make plays,” said rookie defensive lineman Max Nacewicz. “We need to know our responsibilities every day. We have a lot of great veterans out there that are helping us and making the transition easier.”
“We’re a young group in the secondary,” said rookie defensive back Damond Smith. “But we’re gelling together and I’m looking forward to seeing how things are going to be this final week.”
One of the best ways to make an arena football roster is by playing special teams. It is one of the three phases of the game and is equally as important as offense or defense.
“Special teams is one of the most important aspects of the game,” said wide receiver and kick returner Michael Lindsey. “Whether it’s kickoff coverage or return, we all need to know our assignments. It could mean the difference between winning and losing.”
In arena football, special teams should never be overlooked. With the use of nets, a bad bounce could spell disaster for the return team. A poorly handled catch off the net on kick return could mean a net recovery for the coverage team, leading to serious swings in points.
“In a game like arena, anything can happen on these plays,” said Nacewicz. “You can’t take any of the plays off. You just have to run to the ball and make something happen.”
With just a week left, the players are hungry to leave a lasting impression. One can make a positive impression by going all out on special teams. It could be the difference in making the final 24-man roster.
Media Day: The Storm will be hosting its 2017 Media Day this Wednesday, March 29th. This will give the media an opportunity to observe practice, which will run from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. All media in attendance will have access to players and staff immediately following practice at 12:00 p.m.
Player Spotlight: Today, the spotlight is put on kicker Mark Lewis. Lewis joins the Storm after spending the past six seasons with the Orlando Predators. A future AFL Hall of Famer, the Altamonte Springs native is a three-time All-Arena selection (2007, ’15-’16) and a former AFL Kicker of the Year.
Knowing that it needed help on special teams, the Storm made it a priority to acquire Lewis. He finished the 2016 season third in extra point percentage, connecting on 90.2% (111-123) of his attempts. Over the course of his career, Lewis has made 1,173-of-1,310 (89.5%) of his extra point attempts and gone 107-of-196 from field goal range. Look for him to continue his stellar career with the Storm this season.