Give Tri-Cities Fever coach Adam Shackleford some credit.
He hasn’t stood pat with this season’s roster, despite going 11-2 with one regular-season game left -- a 7:05 p.m. contest Saturday at the Toyota Center against the Wyoming Cavalry.
Of the 25 players on the opening-night roster in February, 16 remain with the team -- and one, receiver Giovanni Stanley, was released by the Fever at midseason and brought back this week.
Shackleford said the tinkering has been a matter of necessity.
“This is the first time we’ve had a 25-man roster,” he said. “We’ve had to make sure our numbers are adequate at every position.”
Before this season, Indoor Football League teams were able to carry a 30-man roster. But to curb costs, the league owners voted before the 2012 season to pare the roster number to 25.
Shackleford cites last season’s run to the IFL championship game in which the Fever was so battered that only 20 healthy players suited up for the contest. So he’s trying to make sure he has depth at every position.
In the past few weeks, he has signed a kicker in Brady Beeson and added a linebacker in Frantz Joseph.
This week, the Fever re-signed Stanley and signed receiver Jamar Howard.
In turn, the team released linebacker Josh Bey and receiver Sean Creadick.
Howard spent some time with the New York Giants this year when Super Bowl hero Hakeem Nicks got hurt.
“(Howard) was released from Giants minicamp,” Shackleford said. “He and Gio Stanley give us some tall targets.”
Howard is 6-foot-5, while Stanley, who spent some time last year with the San Diego Chargers, is 6-4. Add the 6-4 Tre Young, and the Fever has a trio of towering receivers to go along with speedy little guys Steven Whitehead and Edward Berry.
Throw in running back Dennis Kennedy, who can catch a pass as well as anybody, and Tri-Cities quarterback Houston Lillard has plenty of options in the passing game.
In other words, there is depth at receiver.
“It’s about time,” Shackleford said. “I’ve been paper thin at receiver all year. We’ve been having (defensive back) Lionell Singleton practicing at receiver a lot this year.
“It’s a nice combination (of tall and small receivers), but we can’t play them all. We’re going to have some depth going into the playoffs.”
The deadline for player moves is midnight June 19.
w The Wyoming Cavalry, which left at 10 p.m. Thursday by bus to get here for the game, signed Pasco High School graduate Stacy Edwards this week at defensive back.
“Stacy came down here for a couple of days,” Cavalry coach Dan Maciejczak said. “He played for me for about seven years. Stacy knows my system.”
The Cavalry is somewhat depleted by injuries, and Maciejczak wanted a little veteran presence to finish the season strong.
w The Cavalry (4-9) will play its season finale Saturday.
It’s also the first time in Maciejczak’s 11-year indoor football league career that one of his teams will not reach the playoffs.
“I’m not doing very well with that,” he said. “I’m not excited about it. It’s just been one of those seasons where you have a lot of injuries. In the past, we’d find ways to make plays, and this year, we haven’t. It is what it is.”