Quarterback Adam Kennedy jumped right in when he signed with the Arena Football League’s New Orleans VooDoo last season.
Three VooDoo quarterbacks had been injured, and there were seven weeks remaining in the season when Kennedy arrived. He had just been waived by the NFL’s Chicago Bears.
“I arrived on a Wednesday and was the starting quarterback that Saturday,” Kennedy said. “It was a big adjustment. I literally knew nothing about the rules.”
When the VooDoo faces the Jacksonville Sharks at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Smoothie King Center, it will be as though last season was his preseason.
Kennedy is starting over, and so is the VooDoo. After back-to-back seasons of 5-13 and 3-15, New Orleans hired Dean Cokinos as coach. Cokinos has brought an offense that is more familiar to Kennedy.
“It incorporates more (traditional) football routes, more NFL/CFL football concepts in the way the receivers break off routes,” Kennedy said. “In the AFL, the routes are built to round stuff off that you don’t do in the NFL.
“It’s taken some getting used to for some of these guys who’ve only played in the AFL.”
Kennedy has weapons: four-year veteran receivers Larry Beavers, who has been an all-Arena League pick, and Chris Duvalt, saying they are “fabulous.”
Cokinos, who has coached the Arena League’s Georgia Force, said Kennedy is doing fine. He said it’ll probably take his entire team about two games to get acclimated to his system, which is focused on fast play, even by Arena standards.
“Our offense is about stretching the field vertically and horizontally and putting a lot on the quarterback,” he said. “(Kennedy) and I spoke weekly during the offseason, watched video online and talked about our offense for four or five months. He’s very smart; he’s got good quality attributes you want.”
Kennedy came to the VooDoo because the offensive line’s pass blocking was like a sieve last season, although things did get better.
“At the end, they brought in Kevin Ashak and (Richard) Muldrow, and they performed well last season,” Kennedy said. “And we have a new guy, (320-pound blocking fullback R.J.) Bibbs, who looks really good.”
Kennedy looked really good against the Sharks last season. In his only victory, 36-35 in Jacksonville, he was 18-of-36 for 176 yards and four touchdowns, plus one rushing. That came in the last game of the season.
“They needed to win to get home-field (advantage) in the playoffs,” Kennedy said, smiling. “They guaranteed the victory, and that fired us up. They had a packed house. It was a fun game, back-and-forth.”
But the Sharks may be even better this season, Cokinos said.
“They went out and got a lot of veterans,” he said. “They’re going to be good early for sure. We’ve got our hands full.”
NOTE: There will be a retirement ceremony for former VooDoo defensive lineman Marlon Favorite, a former LSU standout who was on the Saints practice squad during the team’s Super Bowl season.