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Arena Bowl Champs? Baltimore Brigade 2018 Season Preview

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Jack Corcoran, Staff

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After last year’s mainly successful inaugural Baltimore Brigade season, many fans were left clamoring for more. Despite finishing with a 4-10 record, the Brigade were able to make the playoffs by beating out the Washington Valor, also in their inaugural season, as they finished with a 3-11 record, finishing fourth in a five-team league.

However, once in the playoffs, they lost sans- AFL Rookie of the Year QB Shane Carden, who was out with a concussion, 69-54. The Brigade housed many top-notched players, with Khreem Smith winning AFL Defensive Lineman of the year and Defensive back Josh Victorian being awarded with an All-AFL Second Team nod.

Despite the playoff berth, the Brigade had many holes to patch in the offseason. They had the AFL’s worst defense, allowing a league-high 54.1 points per game. Also, they had major players leave for different teams, with Smith and leading-receiver Reggie Gray leaving to sign with the rival Washington Valor, and losing Carden to retirement.

They replaced Carden and Gray with former Tampa Bay Storm teammates Randy Hippeard and Kendrick Ings, who won the 2017 AFL MVP and an All-AFL First Team nod, respectively. To shore up their defensive backfield, signing All-AFL First Team DB Virgil Gray to form a scary pairing with Victorian.

All in all, the Brigade should have an improvement over last season. While Shane Carden was a good quarterback, the inconsistencies that rookies show were glaring, and Hippeard should fix that. The back end of the defense should be improved, while the front seven could still use some work. The running game should still be worthwhile for them to turn to, with fan-favorite Rory Nixon returning.

With the second and third place teams in the Tampa Bay Storm and the Cleveland Gladiators suspending operations, and the new team, the Albany Empire, still trying to build their roster competitively, the Brigade should continue their upward climb towards a championship. While not quite at the level of the Philadelphia Soul, the Brigade should slide up into second place in the league with a 10-4 record, with a trip to the Arena Bowl on the horizon.

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Arena Bowl Champs? Baltimore Brigade 2018 Season Preview