They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, this is definitely true when looking at the USFL championship game. On the surface if you look at the statistics the quarterback play with spotty at best, but this really doesn’t tell the whole story. Aside from a couple bad decisions three to be exact the quarterback play was actually quite good on both sides of the ball.
Introducing Justin Arth
With this being said I wanted to get a professional‘s opinion. So who better to ask then a current professional quarterback? With that being said I asked Justin to break down the quarterback play from the USFL championship game from his perspective as a current free agent quarterback.
Having graduated from Texas Wesleyan, first got his beginning in the arena football game. In the arena world it is often times hard to eclipse a 70% completion rate due to the condensed field and passing lanes that you have to work with. However, Arth found success with the Peach State Cats. He was able to parlay this into an IFL contract, with the Tucson Sugar Skulls.
During this past off-season, Arth received consideration from six of the nine CFL teams, as well as multiple NFL franchises prior to what was viewed as a weak draft class. Instead it seemed league wide the NFL opted for veteran quarterbacks, which not only affected the draft but affected Arth as well.
With Justin Arth still looking for an opportunity in the season, we devised A way for him to showcase his football IQ. With this being said I wanted him to break down the USFL championship game in a way only a professional quarterback can.
J’Mar Smith, Stallions
An argument could be made that Smith was the best quarterback on the field during the championship game. With that being said Justin points out several strengths and weaknesses to Smith’s game.
-when he missed, he missed high, avoiding interceptions, but overthrew a WR in the endzone.
-accuracy has improved as season has progressed.
-makes good decisions
Despite both back up quarterback‘s having to enter the game, there was not the dramatic drop off that everybody might have thought there would be. McGough was actually his teams first round pick, so in Birmingham’s eyes, they were in capable hands. If you look at the numbers it will back this up.
Ultimately he would complete seven of 10 passes for 77 yards one touchdown, one interception, adding for carries for 15 yards on the ground as well. All in all a pretty solid performance for your would be back up quarterback in a championship game. Definitely solid enough to win the game as evidenced by the Stallions victory.
To quote Justin “Case Cookus was the star of the show” as he showed earlier in the year of Cookus is an above average game manager that times can take over a game at the USFL level. It wasn’t that long ago that he powered the office to a 46 point output, what still stands as the highest score all season long.
With that being said expectations for the Philadelphia stars quarterback we’re high. He was able to meet those high expectations, and play well up until an injury that ended his season. He ended up completing 17 of 29 passes for 222 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. By the time he exited the game he had a 117.9 QBR, and easily the best statistics in the game from the quarterback position.
KJ Costello, was the man that will catch all of the blame for the stars loss from their fans. The thing is aside from two bad decisions, Costello actually had a really good day.
When you look at his numbers, and you don’t consider the two interceptions, which of course is a biased view, he quickly looks like a competent QB. Going 5 of 9 for 65 yards and 1 touchdown. When you watch the drive in which he scores, he is playing extremely well. He moves the ball down the field, and hangs in the pocket to take a big hit delivering a beautiful pass for a touchdown.
Overall if you remove the three interceptions from the two back up quarterback that had into the game, suddenly it looks like the quarterback playing this game was actually quite pretty solid, with the two starters actually played extremely well.
The USFL needed a game that highlighted the best players they had to offer for fans, and that’s exactly what this game ended up being. Even with the back up quarterbacks entering the game this was still a highly competitive game all the way up until the end of the fourth quarter.
It wasn’t until there was less than 30 seconds remaining in the game that we got the answer as to who would be crowned the inaugural USFL champion.
Stay with USFL News Hub all off season.