Feb. 14, 2013
Happy Valentine’s Day, AFNation! The AFL has seen its share of great “pairs” over the years – from Clint Dolezel and Marcus Nash to Mark Grieb and James Roe, there’s no denying the chemistry some quarterbacks seem to have with their receivers. In a passing League, that relationship is essential for success. With that (and the day) in mind, we take a look at some established tandems, potential pairs and even currently unattached passers for the 2013 season.
Tommy Grady and Aaron Lesue – There was no better combination in the AFL last season than this Utah Blaze duo. League MVP Tommy Grady passed for 142 touchdowns, with Aaron Lesue hauling in 56 of them. Despite the addition of several talented receivers to the Blaze roster this offseason, don’t expect anything to disrupt this connection in 2013.
Dan Raudabaugh and Tiger Jones – The Philadelphia Soul’s record-setting duo was lights out during their 16 games together in 2012. Raudabaugh and Jones connected for more than 2,000 yards and 47 touchdowns last year and will figure to do more of the same in their third season together this season.
Gino Guidugli and Reggie Gray – Reggie Gray has certainly lived up to his “Big Play” moniker thus far in his two seasons with the Chicago Rush, but the franchise’s all-time touchdown leader will have to adjust to a new arm throwing him the ball this season. The “Italian Stallion” Gino Guidugli is headed to the Windy City in hopes of building some chemistry with the two-time Second Team All-Arena receiver.
Jordan Jefferson and Mike Washington – Sparks will fly in Pittsburgh this year when rookie quarterback Jordan Jefferson connects with top receiver Mike Washington. Washington has caught 229 balls for 2,851 yards and 64 touchdowns without the benefit of a steady hand at quarterback over the last two seasons. The talented passer from LSU should provide the Power with some much needed stability at the position in 2013, which could translate to even bigger numbers for “The Joystick”.
On the Rebound
J.J. Raterink – “America’s Quarterback” may be on the market for a new favorite target if perennial All-Arena receiver Jesse Schmidt does not return to the Iowa Barnstormers in 2013. Though replacing Schmidt would be no easy task, Iowa does have some potential playmakers on the squad. Darius Reynolds, Marco Thomas and Collin Taylor are all intriguing options.
Stephen Wasil – Stephen Wasil and the Tampa Bay Storm lost their top target from a year ago, Prechae Rodriguez, to the rival Orlando Predators in the offseason. Though Rodriguez is hardly the first man to trade jerseys in the heated “War on I-4” rivalry, his defection could be difficult to get over. The team brought in free agents Greg Ellingson and James Hardy to compete with holdovers Michael Lindsey and Joe Hills, but which one will develop into Wasil’s number one is anyone’s guess.