One of the more underrated storylines of Week 1 of the USFL was the quarterback play of the New Jersey Generals. Luis Perez did his best impression of Doug Flutie, ending the game with a passing line of 13-18 for 143 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Given Perez’s play, it was surprising that the Generals rolled out another quarterback in former TSL Seals great DeAndre Johnson. Johnson’s passing line was not so great as he only completed 3 of his eight passes for 59 yards, but he made his mark on the ground. Johnson ran for an efficient 98 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown, ending the week as the USFL’s leading rusher.
Despite both quarterbacks’ stellar play, the Generals lost after a late Stallions’ score. Despite the unorthodox nature of the two-quarterback approach, it would be wise for the team to stick with it.
If anything, the Generals are taking a page out of one of the most successful FCS programs in the country in recent years. The Dartmouth Big Green have operated under a similar two-quarterback approach as the Generals. In 2017, 2018, and 2021, Dartmouth had a predominantly running quarterback and a passing quarterback split duties. Below is a breakdown of their quarterback play in those seasons:
|Passing Quarterback||Pass Attempts||Passing Yards||Passing Touchdowns||Non-Sack Rushing Yards|
Could it be that Mike Riley took a page out of Buddy Teevens’ book out in Hanover? Possibly. Despite the unorthodox approach, Dartmouth went 26-4 in the three seasons listed. Of course, the old addage says “if you have two quarterbacks, you have none,” but Perez and Johnson supplement each other so well. Additionally, Johnson is a competent passer, so the Generals offense will be far from one-dimensional with him in the game.
While mobile quarterbacks are here to stay, we have yet to see a team employ a frequent two-quarterback system featuring a strong running quarterback and a passer who works almost exclusively in the pocket in pro football since the Wildcat craze of the late 2000s. I am not saying DeAndre Johnson is Ronnie Brown, but this frequent use of the wildcat package could work wonders for the Generals.
All in all, the development of the Generals’ playbook to cater to the strengths of their quarterback duo will be one of the more interesting developments of the season.