Marquee Matchups: at Philadelphia (Week 6), Jacksonville (Week 8), Pittsburgh (Week 17)
Outlook: The Iowa Barnstormers enter their first season competing in the East Division. The team made waves during the offseason by trading away “America’s Quarterback” JJ Raterink to the LA KISS and picking up former Chicago Rush signal caller Carson Coffman. Coffman will compete with last season’s backup, Brian Reader, and rookie Alex Carder for the starting job. Whoever earns the job will be fortunate enough to have the talents of wide receiver Marco Thomas on the outside. Last season, Thomas led the Barnstormers in receiving and rushing yards and ranked fifth in the League in receptions (142). To help solidify a more productive rushing attack, the Barnstormers executed a trade with Arizona that sent veteran Mac linebacker Darnell Carter to the Rattlers in exchange for rookie fullback Cody Johnson. Johnson played in 51 games during his college career for the Texas Longhorns and ranks fifth all-time in rushing touchdowns. Iowa also brought in Jamarko Simmons from San Jose. Though primarily a receiver, the big-bodied Simmons has also lined up at fullback during his three-year AFL career. Defensive end Mike Lewis will once again serve as the anchor of Iowa’s defensive unit. Lewis, who was named to the All-Arena Second Team last season, ranked second in the League in sacks (12.5) and forced fumbles (6). In the secondary, Iowa hopes that defensive backs Ter’ran Benton, De’Mon Glanton, and Jason Simpson can continue building on the two years they’ve played together and become one of the AFL’s elite units.