Storm Pushes Panic Button as Season Reaches MidpointSam Sez
June 19, 1997
TAMPA, Fla. - Everyone knew that something was going to happen. A change had to be made. The Storm had played its way to its worst starting record in team history. Nothing seemed to be going the Storm's way. The offense faltered. The defense buckled. The kicker couldn't kick straight.
First Storm head coach Tim Marcum addressed the need at kicker. Tampa Bay cut kicker Terry Belden and brought in Rich Fall to replace him. This was before Saturday night's loss to New Jersey. After that loss, the real changes took place.
The Storm got rid of three linemen: Kent Wells, Flint Fleming, and Michael Kerr. In return, the Storm got linemen Jim Hoffman from Arizona, David Wilkins from Milwaukee, and Tony Woods from free agency. Now some of you may be wondering about these deals. After all, Kent Wells was last season's AFL Lineman of the Year. Flint Fleming hadn't done much but had a good offensive game against New Jersey, catching 2 passes for 29 yards and 1 TD. Michael Kerr had made his presence felt from time to time on the defensive side of the ball.
One of the big motivating factors, interestingly enough, may have been money. Marcum made some cryptic comments after the game that the team was not getting enough out of some of their big-money players. With a defensive line that only had one sack coming into Saturday night's game, it is not surprising that this was the focus for Marcum's axe.
Some of you might wonder about who the Storm got in return. "Who are these guys?" you ask. Well, I'll tell you. I have no idea. I've never heard of any of them. When you have followed the league as long as I have, this is not a good sign. This was probably more a case of Marcum trying to add by subtraction. He probably hopes that getting rid of Wells and the others will help the team more than the play of the three brought in.
Fortunately for the Storm, the New York Cityhawks will be the opponent on Saturday night. Up until this year, if you saw a team with a 2-5 record coming to face the Storm at home, you knew that it was a guaranteed victory for the Storm. Now, nothing is a sure bet. If the Storm is able turn things around against New York, it will still have the second half of the season to make a run at defending its Arena Football Championship.
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