For the second time this season, the New Orleans VooDoo hope a late-week roster addition can lead to a gameday boost.
The VooDoo on Wednesday signed receivers Johnny Lester and Charles Gilbert to improve a VooDoo receiving group which will be without Larry Beavers, who this week was placed on injured reserve. Also, defensive lineman Michael Janac was placed on recallable reassignment.
Lester is scheduled to start, along with leading receiver Marcus Smith and Chris Duvalt.
The VooDoo (1-1) hosts Orlando (1-1) on Saturday night at the Smoothie King Center.
Lester has spent the last two seasons in the Professional Indoor Football League where he caught 123 passes for 1,487 yards with 32 touchdowns in Albany. Gilbert, meanwhile, caught 10 passes for 172 yards and three TDs last season for the Jacksonville Sharks. He spent two previous seasons in the PIFL in Knoxville and Columbus.
Last Saturday, the VooDoo fell 70-42 to the Cleveland Gladiators.
Earlier this week, first-year VooDoo coach Dean Cokinos, asked about Beavers’ outing against Cleveland, highlighted by a 58-yard kickoff return for a score, challenged him to make as strong of an impact on offense too, where he was part of a group of receivers that dropped several passes.
Now, with Beavers sidelined, the task is up to Lester, Gilbert, Duvalt and Smith (14 rec., 202 yards, two TDs).
Orlando is averaging 59 points per game, third in the Arena Football League. New Orleans ranks ninth (46.5). Last week, Orlando scored an AFL-record seven rushing scores en route to a 55-54 at Jacksonville
In a pass-first league, Orlando fullback/offensive lineman Michael Simmons ranks seventh in the AFL in rushing (36 yards, two TDs), and third among non-quarterbacks.
For the VooDoo, quarterback Adam Kennedy has proved to be smart with the football. Kennedy ranks second in the league in rushing (48 yards), while also ranking second in the league in completion percentage (68 percent) on 37-of-54 passing. He’s thrown for 465 yards with seven TDs and two interceptions.