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Storm Lose Record-Breaking Receiver, Questions Loom As Season Approaches

Connor Akeman
Friday January 23, 2015

Much like most of the teams around the Arena Football League, the Tampa Bay Storm have had a fairly eventful offseason. However, for the Storm, it hasn’t come without losing some key players on the offensive side of the ball.

Of course, the offseason began for the Storm when the team acquired QB Jason Boltus from division-rival Orlando back in September. The signing was a necessary move for a Storm team that struggled with quarterback play all last season.

In fact, Tampa Bay shuffled around five quarterbacks on and off the roster throughout the course of the season. Randy Hippeard, now with the Predators, started the majority of games and while he did show some slight signs of improvement, Hippeard led the Storm to just an 8-10 record completing 58% of his passes for a little over 4000 passing yards.

Perhaps the most alarming development of the Storm offseason thus far though is the lack of wide receiver depth. Joe Hills, who led the Storm with 28 touchdowns and over 1200 receiving yards last season, is now a member of the cross-state rival Jacksonville Sharks. Tampa native and down field threat Amarri Jackson has left for the defending American Conference Champions, Cleveland Gladiators. And finally, fan favorite and star kick returner Michael Lindsey has confirmed he also will not return to Tampa Bay for the 2015 season.

While it may have been an important move to bring over QB Jason Boltus, it may be in the Storm's best interest to provide him with at least a few offensive weapons.

Tampa Bay's number one receiver right now? Aging veteran T.T Toliver who very well could be in his last season. Toliver played in 12 games for the Storm in 2014 and caught 16 touchdowns.

One step forward, and in this case, three steps back. While the season is still a smidge over 2 months away from kicking off, there is no questioning the holes that now exist on this Storm team.

For a Tampa Bay Storm franchise that hasn't captured a division crown since 2003, some of these moves beg the question. Is this more of a "revamping" or is this is a complete "rebuilding"?

Connor Akeman is a freelance sports writer and aspiring radio broadcaster who resides in Tampa, FL. A Tampa native, he considers himself emotionally invested in the Rays, Buccaneers, and Lightning by enjoying season tickets to all three teams. He has followed the Storm since the early Tim Marcum days and can remember attending his first ever Arena Football game in 2007. Studying Mass Communications/Journalism, Connor graduated from the University of South Florida in May 2017. He has spent time with and has been published by the Orange County Register in Anaheim, CA as well as other outlets. He currently contributes to of SB Nation. You can follow Connor on Twitter @ConnorAkeman.
The opinions expressed in the article above are only those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts, opinions, or official stance of ArenaFan Online or its staff, or the Arena Football League, or any AFL or af2 teams.
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