On Wednesday, the Michigan Panthers announced the signing of San Jose State quarterback Josh Love, who had been released by the Pittsburgh Maulers a day prior. This came after the Maulers signed quarterback Vad Lee to be the new backup behind Kyle Lauletta.
In their week four game against the New Jersey Generals, which was also their fourth consecutive loss, Lauletta got his first start at quarterback. Love had been the primary signal-caller for the first three games, but with the production on offense lacking, head coach Kirby Wilson wanted to give their first-round pick his shot.
Lauletta was assumed to be the day one starter early on, but Love ultimately won the job. In three appearances with Pittsburgh, he completed 40 of 74 passes for 440 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Lauletta was the only quarterback used in week four, completing 15 of 32 passes for 169 yards. While it wasn’t an outstanding performance by any means, it appears the Maulers feel comfortable with him leading the way for the rest of the season.
From the Panthers’ perspective, Love brings added competition for the starting job, currently held by first overall pick Shea Patterson. Patterson struggled last week against the Philadelphia Stars, finishing the game with just 67 passing yards and 3 interceptions. His backup, Paxton Lynch, is currently dealing with an ankle injury that he suffered in week three. Lynch had gotten the start in that matchup, which happened to be against Josh Love himself, but was quickly replaced by Patterson after being unable to return to action.
Of course, the USFL has been known for two-quarterback systems this season, with teams like the Generals being a prime example. Perhaps a similar situation will play out between Love and Patterson, with one being used more heavily in the ground game. It’s also unclear what will happen to Lynch, since most teams aren’t keeping three quarterbacks due to the small roster sizes. While this signing raises a lot of questions for both teams involved, only time will give us the answers as the league continues to develop.