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KISS shakes things up with roster but the losses roll on

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#KISS has lost eight games in a row despite attempts to shake things up with dramatic roster changes

It seems the more things change for the KISS, the more things stay the same.

The KISS shook up its roster last month in an attempt to pump some life into its waning inaugural Arena Football League season.

The team traded away its starting quarterback, J.J. Raterink, and acquired veteran Aaron Garcia to take his place. The KISS also got rid of defensive leader Andre Jones and wide receiver Markee White, who remains second on the team for receiving yards.

But a month after the roster shakeup, the KISS' losing streak has only gotten longer. Entering Saturday's game against the Portland Thunder, the KISS had lost eight consecutive games.

"There was a lot of turnover, basically a brand new offense was brought in," said Garcia, who has had eight passes intercepted in his first three games. "Sometimes you can come in and it's a similar offensive system. That hasn't been the case here.

"A collective improvement needs to happen."

It might be difficult for the team to improve with such a high rate of turnover. Of the five wide receivers who started for the KISS on Saturday, only one — team leader Donovan Morgan — was on the roster the first day of the season.

Coach Bob McMillen said the roster changes were necessary given the team's poor play, particularly on offense.

"People could look at it as change is a good thing or change is a bad thing," he said, adding that Garcia, an 18-year veteran, holds the AFL record for passing yards, completions and touchdown passes.

McMillen said Garcia is slowly taking charge of the offense after being paired with receivers who are more attuned to his game.

But Garcia knows the pressure is on to win games.

"We feel like we've made some improvements, but our measure of success is winning and losing and we've lost three games," said Garcia of the team's record since he joined the KISS.

The KISS can still make the playoffs — even with a losing record — if it strings together some wins in the final games of the season. And that has been McMillen's goal all along.

"I know it's not a typical win record, but as long as we get into the playoffs," he said.

Go to latimes.com/sports for results of Saturday night's KISS game, which ended too late for this edition.

james.barragan@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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