The New Jersey Generals fell short in their bid for an opening night win, ultimately losing to the hometown Birmingham Stallions by a score of 28-24 after statistically dominating the first half. This game was hard fought though, and there are lots of positives we can take moving forward. Let’s dive right into some of the good and bad we saw.
A big question going into this game was the Generals quarterback situation. First round pick Ben Holmes got injured in the already shortened camp, forcing them to bring in Luis Perez. All things considered, he did extremely well finishing the game 13-18 with 143 yards and 2 touchdowns. Most of that was in the first half as we barely saw Perez in the second half, which was dominated by their change of pace quarterback De’Andre Johnson.
Johnson was only 3-8 passing the ball with 59 yards, but it was made obvious that he was in there to be a force in the running game. He finished as the teams leading rusher with 12 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown. Johnson also showed glimpses of a pretty strong arm the few times they let him throw the ball, as shown throughout his career though accuracy is a problem.
So where does this put them going into week 2? It is very doubtful that coach Mike Riley had planned to completely switch quarterbacks in the second half, and the only struggle Perez really seemed to have was throwing the ball down field. There were some underthrown balls that the Generals were fortunate not to have picked off. We will have to wait and see if Johnson gets some more throwing reps in practice this week, and if that is the direction they will choose to go. Riley basically abandoned the passing game in the second half, and the Generals finished the game with 26 total passes against 44 rush attempts.
Now looking outside of the quarterback play, everything else seemed pretty solid for The Generals. Their offensive line struggled at times in the first half, but really started opening some holes for the running backs as the game progressed. Darius Victor and Trey Williams finished with a combined 28 carries and 120 yards. A true speed back could really help them. Randy Satterfield looks to be the teams top threat at wide receiver, contributing 5 catches for 100 yards. I also think we will see KaVontae Turpin break out at some point as well with some big games, he is an outstanding athlete. The defense was also solid, especially in stopping the Stallions running game which was held to a total of 22 carries for 72 yards. They did however only have one sack, which I think needs to increase. Especially early in this league where offenses are still trying to gel. Overall though, this team has the talent to make a serious run in this league if they continue in the right direction.
Do you think the Generals will rebound when they take on the Michigan Panthers this Friday? Let us know down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.