Whereas the Washington Valor decided to go with a veteran at the quarterback position, the expansion Baltimore Brigade opted for a rookie in Shane Carden.
Carden put up some eye-popping numbers while playing for the East Carolina Pirates. During his senior year, Carden led the NCAA in pass completions and attempts, while finishing second in passing yards. Throughout his career, he completed 66.6% of his passes for 11,991 yards and 86 touchdowns to only 30 interceptions.
Despite all the success, Carden never got a shot at the next level, spending just one training camp with the Chicago Bears before looking for an opportunity elsewhere. After other short stints in the German Football League and Canadien Football League, Carden found himself with the Brigade.
He didn’t start the opener against the Valor, but came in relief and recorded five total touchdowns in the losing effort. Even with so many scores in the middle of a small comeback attempt, there was definitely room for improvement.
That improvement would come in the Brigade’s first win, as Carden threw for efficient 159 yards and six touchdowns against the Cleveland Gladiators.
Last week, against the Philadelphia Soul, Carden threw for five touchdowns but two interceptions – one of which was returned back for a score.
Carden has shown the ability to throw the ball back in college, and always seemed like an ideal fit for the Arena League. At ECU, he has shown some duel-threat ability, something that is needed at times in the AFL. In college, Carden ran for 24 touchdowns (even caught one), to go along with the 86 passing scores.
Despite his inexperience, Carden has the skill set and upside to be a star in this league. Losing Reggie Gray is a big loss for the team, especially Carden, who could always look out and find one of the league’s most prolific pass catchers on his side.
Three games into the season now, Carden has thrown for 604 yards with 14 touchdowns to four interceptions while completing 64% of his passes.
The turnovers could be cut down, which would go a long way with staying in games. Carden has turned the ball over nearly twice a game, with four interceptions and one fumble lost. He has fumbled two other times, but Baltimore was able to recover.
Finally, Carden and the Brigade will get an opportunity to play in front of their home crowd, as the Tampa Bay Storm come to town.
Tampa Bay Sign Trio of Players
Speaking of Tampa Bay, the AFL website has announced that the Storm has signed three players to their roster. Defensive backs Paul Stephens, and Anthony Shutt along with receiver Josh Bush will join the Storm with plenty of experience to offer.
Stephens and Schutt both played with the Orlando Predators. Stephens, over the last two seasons, has recorded 75 tackles, 12 pass breakups, and six interceptions. Shutt has 15 pass breakups, three interceptions, three fumble recoveries and a defensive touchdown over the last three years with the Predators.
Bush offers a special skill set that has almost become a lost art. Back in the ‘ironman’ days where AFL players would play on both sides of the ball, Bush has experience in playing both offense and defense.
As a receiver, Bush has totaled 454 receptions for 5,543 yards and 99 touchdowns. Adding that to a receiving core that already features Joe Hills AND with the way Randy Hippeard has been throwing the ball, makes the Storm that much more dangerous.
On defense, Bush has also recorded three interceptions and 167.5 tackles in his career. A true triple threat, Bush also has 14 kick return touchdowns in his career.
Players of The Week
A pair of Philadelphia players were honored as Players’ of the Week. Receiver Ryan McDaniel caught all five of Dan Raudabaugh‘s touchdown passes against the Brigade. He totaled eight receptions for 124 yards along with the five touchdowns.
Dwayne Hollis recorded 6.5 tackles but also recorded his league-tying best third interception of the season, returning it for a touchdown.