KEY ADDITIONS: WR Andrae Thurman (Milwaukee), WR Jackie Chambers (Kansas City), WR Alvance Robinson (Utah), WR Armand Robinson (Kansas City), DB David Richardson (free agent), K Carlos Martinez (Georgia)
KEY DEPARTURES: HC Doug Plank (Orlando) WR Donovan Morgan (New Orleans), WR Jeff Hughley (Jacksonville), DB Kent Richardson (NFL), DL Dusty Bear (Jacksonville), MLB Justin Warren (San Jose)
KEY FREE AGENTS: WR Larry Brackins
MARQUEE MATCHUPS: at Arizona (Week 1), at Orlando (Week 2)
PROGNOSIS: The Philadelphia Soul will begin the 2013 season just as they closed out the 2012 season: facing off with the Arizona Rattlers. This time, however, the Soul will be without a few key components of that ArenaBowl XXV squad. Most notably, Clint Dolezel takes over for Doug Plank at head coach for Philadelphia. Dolezel served as the team’s offensive coordinator last season, guiding the Soul to the top-ranked scoring offense in the League. The three top performers for that scoring unit – quarterback Dan Raudabaugh, fullback Derrick Ross and receiver Tiger Jones – all return for their third seasons with Dolezel. Absent from the Philadelphia lineup, however, will be Donovan Morgan, who was traded to the New Orleans VooDoo over the offseason, and Jeff Hughley, who returned to Jacksonville in free agency. Filling in will be receivers Andrae Thurman and Jackie Chambers. The team also acquired a pair of Robinsons – Armand and Alvance – from Kansas City and Utah, respectively. Chambers, an All-Ironman team selection from a year ago, will likely take over the kick return duties, while the other three will look to fill the holes left by Morgan and long-time veteran Larry Brackins, who remains a free agent. On the defensive side of the ball, Second Team All-Arena defensive lineman Bryan Robinson figures to lead the charge again this season. Philadelphia will also return eight-year veteran defensive lineman Dustin Barno and the team’s leading tackler, Jack linebacker Joe Goosby. The Soul will be without 2012 Defensive Back of the Year, Kent Richardson, who was placed on Other League Exempt after signing with the Cleveland Browns. Fortunately, Philadelphia retains Rayshaun Kizer, who is averaging 13 interceptions a year in his AFL career. Kizer will lead what Philadelphia fans hope will once again be a very opportunistic secondary. In the kicking game, the team added AFL veteran Carlos Martinez. Though the Soul attempted just one field goal in 2012, the trusty leg of last season’s leader in three-point conversions should be a welcome asset.