We’ve made it to the midway point in the USFL’s season, and while the New Orleans Breakers (3-2) have had their ups and downs, they’re still in a pretty good spot heading into the back half of the season.
Despite losing 2 of their last 3 games, New Orleans has shown they’ll be a threat down the stretch with how talented the roster is on both sides of the ball. However, if the Breakers want to lock up a playoff spot and be considered a serious contender in the highly competitive South Division, they’ll have to eliminate the turnover issues.
Kyle Sloter & The Breakers Offense
The Breakers have the USFL’s leading passer through the first half of the season, Kyle Sloter, but he also leads the league in turnovers. In 5 games, Sloter’s thrown for 1,226 yards, 7 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and has lost 2 fumbles, with turnovers costing them both of their losses. Part of this is due to Sloter playing a bit banged up, but the turnovers need to be cleaned up regardless.
With the help of wide receivers Jonathan Adams and Johnnie Dixon, along with tight end Sal Canella, the Breakers have averaged 238.4 passing yards per game so far this season. Additionally, the Breakers have had the league’s most pass-happy offense (192 pass attempts) while allowing the 2nd fewest sacks (5) in the USFL. Their run game’s been great as well, with the league’s 2nd best rusher in Jordan Ellis racking up 389 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground so far this season.
A Talented Breakers Defense
On the defensive side of the ball, New Orleans has been one of the better units in the league, allowing the 2nd fewest passing yards (766) and 3rd fewest rushing yards (540) in the league. Additionally, the Breakers have the 3rd most sacks (11), the 3rd most interceptions (5), and are tied for the 3rd most fumbles forced (4) in the USFL. New Orleans is also 1 of only 2 teams who’ve recorded a safety on the season.
While there’s plenty of talent across the Breakers’ defense, some of the team’s top players so far include defensive ends Davin Bellamy and Shareef Miller, defensive tackle Kamilo Tongamoa, linebackers Jerod Fernandez and Vontae Diggs, and defensive backs Adonis Alexander and Aashari Crosswell.
New Kicker After 3 Games
Through the first 3 games of the season, former AAF, XFL, and NFL kicker, Austin MacGinnis was leading the way on special teams. However, after poor performances in each of those games, missing 3 field goals and 3 PATs, the Breakers decided to replace him with former NFL, CFL, and AAF kicker, Taylor Bertolet.
Bertolet played college ball at Texas A&M and spent time with various professional football teams since 2016, including the LA Rams, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Salt Lake Stallions (AAF), Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, and Hamilton Tiger-Cats (CFL) before signing with the USFL’s New Orleans Breakers before the teams Week 4 matchup.
So far, Bertolet’s been a much more consistent option in New Orleans’ kicking game, with his only missed field goal coming on a blocked kick, and converting all 4 of his PAT attempts.
Final Stretch Of The Season
The Breakers have some things to keep working on, particularly eliminating Kyle Sloter’s turnovers, but the team’s shown with their high-powered passing attack and stout defense they can be competitive with anyone in the league.
With matchups against two of their division opponents coming late in the season against the Birmingham Stallions and the Tampa Bay Bandits, we should be in for an exciting playoff race for the Breakers. However, they’ll first have to keep Kyle Sloter’s turnover problems from costing them one of their next two games against Vad Lee’s Pittsburgh Maulers, and Shea Patterson’s Michigan Panthers.
While the Breakers’ next two games appear to be relatively easy at first glance, Shea Patterson and the Panthers are coming off their best game of the season passing the football, and the Maulers are only starting to figure things out with their newly signed quarterback Vad Lee at the helm.
Week 6 – vs. Pittsburgh Maulers on Sunday, May 22nd at 9:00 am PT on FS1.
Week 7 – vs. Michigan Panthers on Saturday, May 28th at 6:00 pm PT on FS1.
Week 8 – vs. Birmingham Stallions (Date TBA)
Week 9 – vs. Tampa Bay Bandits (Date TBA)
Week 10 – vs. Houston Gamblers (Date TBA)
Breakers Team Stat Leaders
- Kyle Sloter – QB – 110/192 (57.3% comp) – 1,226 Yds – 7 TDs – 7 Ints – 4 Fum/2 Fum Lost
- Jordan Ellis – RB – 95 Att – 389 Yds – 2 TDs – 1 Fum
- Jonathan Adams – WR – 34 Tar – 17 Rec – 273 Yds (67 YAC) – 2 TDs
- Johnnie Dixon – WR – 43 Tar – 22 Rec – 237 Yds (61 YAC) – 4 TDs
- Sal Canella – TE – 36 Tar – 19 Rec – 230 Yds (53 YAC) – 0 TDs
- Taywan Taylor – WR – 15 Tar – 13 Rec – 179 Yds (41 YAC) – 0 TDs
- Shawn Poindexter – WR – 21 Tar – 11 Rec – 132 Yds (32 YAC) – 1 TD
- Aashari Crosswell – S – 8 Tackles (6 Solo/2 Assisted) – 1 Interception – 1 Pass Deflection
- Adonis Alexander – CB – 20 Tackles (12 Solo/8 Assisted) – 1 Interception – 1 Pass Deflection
- Vontae Diggs – LB – 43 Tackles (29 Solo/14 Assisted) – 1 Interception – 1 Pass Deflection
- Jerod Fernandez – LB – 50 Tackles (28 Solo/ 22 Assisted) – 1 Forced Fumble – 1 Pass Deflection
- Davin Bellamy – DE – 17 Tackles (11 Solo/6 Assisted) – 4.5 Sacks
- Shareef Miller – DE – 12 Tackles (8 Solo/4 Assisted) – 1.5 Sacks – 1 Force Fumble – 1 Fumble Recovery
- Kamilo Tongamoa – DT – 17 Tackles (8 Solo/9 Assisted) – 1.5 Sacks – 2 Pass Deflections
- Taylor Bertolet – K – 4/5 FGs – Longest 50 Yds – 4/4 PATs – 16 Total Pts
- Austin MacGinnis (Released after game 3) – K – 2/5 FGs – Longest 31 Yds – 4/7 PATs – 10 Total Pts