New QB, New Results? Baltimore Brigade Season Preview 2019


Jack Corcoran, Staff

As the Arena Bowl ended, and the red, blue, and white confetti fell, the Baltimore Brigade walked off their home field of Royal Farms Arena not as champions, but as the runners-up, falling to the upset-minded previously 2-10 Washington Valor, 69-55.

The Brigade vaulted themselves into the top of league standings last season, improving from their 4-10 inaugural campaign to a 7-5 regular season where they beat the defending champions, the Philadelphia Soul, on aggregate scoring in the AFL semifinals to earn their spot in the Arena Bowl.

After losing QB Shane Carden after a record-setting rookie campaign, the Brigade signed 2017 AFL MVP Randy Hippeard who ranked second in the AFL in 2018 with 61 touchdown passes against an AFL-low 5 interceptions. Hippeard left in the offseason to sign with the expansion Atlantic City Blackjacks.

Other key free agent losses include wide receivers Quentin Sims and DJ Stephens who both left to join the Albany Empire, and kicker Mark Lewis who departed to join Hippeard on the Blackjacks.

Replacing Hippeard is Shane Boyd, Carden and Hippeard’s backup in the first two seasons. The 36-year old started the season off strong, completing roughly 80% of his passes against a perfect 6:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio in the Brigade’s 59-51 revenge win over the Washington Valor.

The biggest free agency move the team made was to bring in veteran receiver Joe Hills, fresh off back-to-back 1000-yard receiving with the now-defunct Tampa Bay Lightning in 2017, and then the Albany Empire last year.

With two new expansion teams with the Blackjacks and the Columbus Destroyers expected to struggle and the Philadelphia Soul dynasty crumbling due to injuries and age, the Brigade should join the top 3 of the league with the Valor and the Empire with a trip to the Arena Bowl in 2019.