July 28, 2009 - arenafootball2 (af2) - Manchester Wolves
MANCHESTER, NH-- Brian Jones, who last season came out of retirement to quarterback the Manchester Wolves in the arenafootball2 league playoffs, is the team's new quarterback once again as the Wolves begin their quest to win an ArenaCup.
In a situation that can only be termed deja vu, Jones (6-3, 210) is being called upon again to lead the Wolves in the playoffs after the starting quarterback suffered a broken bone in live game action. In 2008, the four-year af2 veteran came to the rescue after James Pinkney broke his leg in the first round playoff upset win against the South Georgia Wildcats. This season, Jones will replace Mike Potts, who broke the pinky on his throwing hand in the team's regular season finale.
When the No. 7 seeded Wolves take on the Midwest Division Champion and No. 2 seeded Barnstormers in Iowa on Friday night in the first round of the 2009 American Conference playoffs, Jones will make his first start in almost a year, having played his last game of pro football on August 16, 2008 when the Wolves lost to the eventual ArenaCup Champion Tennessee Valley Vipers in the American Conference Championship.
Last year, Jones was the Wolves regular season quarterback early on and played in two games before suffering a serious injury to his throwing shoulder that forced him to spend the majority of the regular season on injured reserve. When he got the call to come to the rescue right before the Wolves 2008 conference semi-finals against the No. 3 seeded and Midwest Division Champion Blizzard in Green Bay, there was no rust on him.
He performed brilliantly, leading the Wolves to a come-from-behind touchdown with 1.2 seconds on the clock and then tacked on the 2-pt conversion for the 55-54 upset win. His heroics saw him recognized by the league as the af2\'s Offensive Player of the Week. In his two 2008 playoffs games, he had a 95.29 efficiency rating with 50 completions of 76 attempts=2 0with 4 interceptions and 10 touchdowns.
The Wolves and Head Coach Danton Barto, who has termed Jones another coach on the field, are supremely confident in the quarterback. Since Jones and Coach Barto won the ArenaCup in 2005 with the Memphis Xplorers and he played for the Wolves in the past, he knows Barto's offense and system inside and out. Moreover, Jones has an established synchronicity with veteran Wolves wide receivers Steven Savoy and Emery Sammons and is experienced at handling the snap exchange with veteran center Darnerius Watson.
In his rookie Arena Football League season with the Las Vegas Gladiators in 2007, a team also coached by Barto, Jones played in 15 games and started 6 of them, including the season finale. He completed a team-high 152 of 238 passes for 1,824 yards and 25 touchdowns. In 2008, he was in training camp with the AFL\'s Columbus Destroyers, had a brief stint with the New Orleans Voodoo of the AFL, and threw one incomplete pass with the AFL Arizona Rattlers. He has been named af2 Schutt Offensive Player of the Week five times in his career.
The University of Toledo graduate is marrie d with two children and makes his home in Memphis, Tennessee.
The Wolves have also signed Liam Coen (6'2, 225) from UMass as the team's back-up quarterback. Willie Copeland, who had been listed on the depth chart behind Potts, also suffered a broken bone in the season finale and will miss the playoffs with a fractured ankle.
Coen, a native of Newport, R.I., was the Minutemen team captain and was an All-American and National Player of the Year Candidate as a senior. He has been called the best quarterback in UMass football history according to his college head coach and he led UMass to the National Championship game as a sophomore. He holds nearly every UMass quarterback passing record for a game, season, and career.
This marks the first professional football experience for Coen, who is said to be a very quick study, and he will benefit from playing behind a seasoned veteran like Jones.
The Wolves quest for their first af2 championship begins with th e first round on Friday night. Kick-off for the playoff game against the Iowa Barnstormers is 8:05 PM and the game can be seen on NIFTYty.com. There is no charge to watch the Wolves on the internet and the link may be accessed through the league web site at www.af2.com or the team site at www.manchesterwolves.com.