Week 2 saw the USFL Quarterbacks broaden the gap between the haves and have nots of quality quarterback play in the league. While teams like the Stallions, Panthers, Stars, and Breakers have a solidified QB1, teams like the Generals, Maulers, Showboats, and Gamblers are still looking for consistency at the game’s most important position.
Ryan Willis and Terry Wilson begin our rankings with Honorable Mentions. Wilson was used as a gadget player this week for the Gamblers accounting for 1 rushing attempt for -6 Rushing Yards. Willis came enter the Showboats 42-2 loss to the Stallions in a similar fashion as Cole Kelley in our Previous Rankings. Willis did a nice job of running the Showboats Offense, much due to the rushing ability of Alex Collins however only went 1/4 for -2 passing yards. Willis who many thought would be a stronger competitor, has had a large fall since his days of the Spring League where he won a championship and was the league’s MVP.
10. James Morgan Pittsburgh Maulers Previous Ranking #12
Stats: 8/14 54 Passing Yards 0 TD 1 INT 3 Rushing Attempts -6 Rushing Yards 2 Fumbles
Morgan’s time as a starter may be running out after suffering from 3 turnovers in the Maulers week 2 loss vs the Generals. In what could be viewed as a “defensive slugfest” for the majority of the game, was in truth just ugly football by the Maulers offense that fans have become accustomed to viewing. Despite Morgan’s “established” pedigree, due to a lackluster rushing game, and ineffective offensive line it may be time for Coach Horton to strictly relay on backup Troy Williams for remainder of the season.
9. Troy Williams Pittsburgh Maulers Previous Ranking #13
Stats: 11/16 70 Passing Yards 0 TD 0 INT 2 Rushing Attempts 13 Rushing Yards
As the saying goes if you have two Quarterbacks you have none, and the old mantra bodes well for the Maulers in week 2. While Williams did put together a more efficient passing attack in Canton, much of that can be due to Maulers WR Isiah Hennie being fed the ball, through screens and short passes. For 12 games fans of the USFL have continued to see Maulers Quarterbacks struggle, and at this point it doesn’t seem like that is going to change. While Williams does provide Pittsburgh with a much-needed spark, the Maulers continue to struggle on Offense, despite strong defensive performances from Rueben Foster, and Boggie Roberts.
8. Brady White Memphis Showboats Previous Ranking #7
Stats: 15/25 141 Passing Yards 0 TD 1 INT 2 Rushing Attempts 12 Rushing Yards
White continues to struggle in back-to-back weeks checking in at the back half of our Quarterback rankings. With the Showboats showing clear regression after the loss of Jordan Ta’amu from 2022, the Brady White experience has been less than desirable in the team’s return to Memphis. As White continues to struggle during a 10-game game season, one might wonder when Todd Haley makes a change to Ryan Willis or Cole Kelley in hopes of the Showboats staying competitive for a playoff berth.
7. DeAndre Johnson New Jersey Generals Previous Ranking #8
Stats: 9/13 100 Passing Yards 0 TD 0 INT 4 Rushing Attempts 12 Rushing Yards
Johnson showed a bit of improvement in week 2, utilizing his Tight Ends and Cameron Echols-Luper to get to the 100-Yard threshold through the air. While Johnson wasn’t incredibly dynamic during week 2, he managed to put together an effective turnover free performance enroute to a victory for the Generals giving his Head Coach Mike Riley his 192nd in his career.
6. Dakota Prukop New Jersey Generals Previous Ranking #6
Stats: 4/8 36 Passing Yards 1 TD 0 INT 1 Rushing Attempt 9 Rushing Yards
Like Johnson, Prukop was most effective when mobile and finding Cameron Echols-Luper in the short game. While Prukop did only complete 50% of his passes, he did manage to lead the Generals on two touchdowns drive one through the air and the second on a Darius Victor rushing TD. With a baby on the way Prukop, put together a “good but not great” performance, in front of his family giving the Generals a win going into week 3.
5. Kenji Bahar Houston Gamblers Previous Ranking #10
Stats: 18/30 266 Passing Yards 3 TDs 3 INTs 1 Rushing Attempt 9 Rushing Yards
Bahar put together a roller coaster of a game for the Gamblers, and while Houston did improve through the air tremendously, a lot of it was negated by some less than stellar and untimely interceptions. While Bahar did leave several points on the field, he did manage to show tremendous chemistry with Justin Hall and Anthony Ratliff Williams giving Gamblers fans hope for the remainder of the season. With the Gamblers getting ready to take on the Memphis Showboats who are fresh off giving up 42 points to the Stallions Bahar may have a chance to “get right”, and lead the Gamblers to their first victory of the season.
4. Case Cookus Philadelphia Stars Previous Ranking #1
Stats: 29/44 283 Passing Yards 0 TD 2 INTs 2 Rushing Attempts 12 Rushing Yards 2 Fumbles 1
After a strong week 1 performance, Cookus was under complete duress in week 2 against the Michigan Panthers dominate Defensive Line. Cookus surrendered 3 turnovers, being an overwhelmed Offensive Line, that had no answers for the Panthers Defense. Cookus often times found himself throwing off his back foot and looked to be in pain for the majority of the game. As the Stars continue to attempt to make their 5th consecutive championship appearance, they’ll have to figure out how to keep Cookus healthy behind an underwhelming offensive line.
3. Josh Love Michigan Panthers Previous Ranking #2
Stats: 15/30 174 Passing Yards 1 TD 2 INTs 2 Rushing Attempts -2 Rushing Yards
Love’s stat line took a bit of hit in week 2, due to drops (7 by MICH WRs), and unfavorable elements. Both Love and Cookus, were regripping the ball mid play in hopes of being more efficient with led to some timing issues between them and their receivers. Regardless, Love made the right the decisions for most of the night, despite throwing two interceptions, which could be attributed to the elements rather than paly scheme. Overall, with Reggie Corbin having his 2023 coming out game Love and the Panthers are in the drivers seat for the Northern Division going into week 3.
2. McLeod Bethel-Thompson New Orleans Breakers Previous Ranking #3
Stats: 23/34 261 Passing Yards 2 TDs 0 INT 2 Rushing Attempts 8 Rushing Yards
McLeod Bethel-Thompson continues his American revenge tour by winning a shootout vs the Houston Gamblers. MBT has found a connect with Sage Surratt who’s emerged as the USFL’s top pass catcher picking up where Sal Cannella left off. With the emergence of Running Back Wes Hills the Breakers are putting together a well-rounded offensive attack that is being captained by the former CFL All-Star.
1. Alex McGough Birmingham Stallions Previous Ranking #4
Stats: 21/28 301 Passing Yards 4 TDs 0 INT 6 Rushing Attempts 32 Rushing Yards
For those not on the “beat” there were a lot of questions surrounding Alex McGough and his accession to the QB1, with J’Mar Smith out of the rest of the regular season. With McGough making his 4th career start in the USFL the FIU alum dazzled, continuing to be a force through the air, and the ground enroute to Offensive Player of the Week Honors in week 2. Despite injuries to Smith, Bo Scarbrough, and Marlon Williams, the Stallions Offense continues to dominate with McGough at the reigns of Skip Holtz’s team.
April 25, 2023 at 10:56 pm
Great article Pat. Lots of great points. As a matter of fact all those great points and I don’t disagree with any of them. There are some points I would like to drill down with, however. I think as bad it was with both James Morgan and Troy Williams they both seem to have talent. There was a time James Morgan was utterly in rhythm throwing pass a handful of passes on time and in exactly the right place. They were moving the ball. To me, this gives Morgan the win between the two this week. The problem with Morgan is when he was out of rhythm he was awful. Whereas Morgan is the perfect practice, player Troy Williams needs practice, like he has been sitting too long. The coach had to learn each players shortcomings and play to each player’s strengths. So I would be ok with whichever route they go. Again, I liked Morgan better as he showed the Maulers he could move them, but to keep a team he would need to learn to protect the ball and to learn pocket presence. If 4-5 weeks no one looks better, I would like to see Chase Fourcade. He is not stale as he played college recently. He is a complete playmaker, making most of the big plays for Nicholls. As far as the Generals go, I agree what you mean about the two QB system. The only problem is which one would you say is hands down the guy.