While they didn’t reach the Championship, the New Jersey Generals had arguably the most consistent season of any team in the USFL. They finished the year with a 9-1 record, winning nine straight heading into the postseason.
When it comes to pure talent, New Jersey has plenty. Mike Riley put together an incredible team, from top to bottom. During the USFL’s 2022 season, the Generals were one of the most enjoyable groups to watch, as they provided viewers with excitement week in and week out.
Let’s take a look at what went well for New Jersey in 2022, and what the future holds for the North Division powerhouse.
Elite Quarterback Play
Without a doubt, New Jersey featured two of the USFL’s best quarterbacks. While they both had very different playing styles, Riley found a way to use both in unique ways. His two-QB system worked quite well, and Riley made the right adjustments as the year went on.
To start with, DeAndre Johnson was a stellar athlete to watch all year long. His development as a passer was made evident in the USFL. Johnson was certainly taking over that QB1 role during the first several weeks. One of his best performances came in week five, when the Generals bested New Orleans in exciting fashion.
However, the offense took a turn in week six, when Johnson got injured. While Luis Perez was a key part of Riley’s scheme, his usage was trending downwards halfway through the year. That all changed in their game against Houston, as Perez led the team to a last second comeback.
With all-access audio, you can get a closer look at a game-winning drive than ever before 👀🔥
With Johnson sidelined, Perez filled the starting role – and was exceptional. He threw nine touchdowns to only one interception in the regular season, serving as the USFL’s most accurate signal caller.
Even when DeAndre recovered from his ankle injury, Perez maintained his QB1 position – and for good reason. The offense settled into his calm yet effective leadership style. The spring league journeyman was sensational in the USFL, to no one’s surprise.
To start with, Darius “thick thighs” Victor was a force to be reckoned with all year long. His ability to break down opposing defenses was a sight to see, and he won Offensive Player Of The Year because of it.
Offensive Player of the Year @yungvitov has been a force to be reckoned with all season long for the @USFLGenerals 😤🎖
However, we can’t forget about Trey Williams. Williams was an excellent piece to fit with Victor, as the two acted as a powerful one-two punch. Trey was second in the USFL with 579 rushing yards, putting on a show consistently.
Something that isn't being talked about enough: @twll3 finished the @USFL's season second in rushing yards. Dude has been crushing it week in and week out. Averaging 4.9YPC on 12 carries per game.
Once again, Riley knocked it out of the ballpark with his signings. Victor and Williams were unbelievable all year long, and elevated New Jersey’s offense to a whole new level.
Speaking of elevation, we can’t ignore what KaVontae Turpin accomplished this season. The league’s MVP was absolutely incredible from start to finish. After week three, Riley made more of an effort to get Turpin involved in the game plan – which proved to be a very smart decision.
The USFL's MVP just signed a THREE YEAR deal with the Dallas Cowboys.
All year long, his presence was felt in a major way – which ultimately landed him an offseason deal with the Dallas Cowboys.
Generals – Stacked With Talent
As we continue down the roster, it’s insane to see just how much talent these New Jersey Generals possessed in 2022. Alonzo Moore, for example, was a spectacular wide receiver. He paired well with Turpin, adding a different element to the offense.
Still waiting for Alonzo Moore to get that NFL call. Moore was an absolute baller for the @USFLGenerals in 2022. He's got size, strong hands, smooth route running – nothing but a playmaker in the #USFL. pic.twitter.com/zC4nm1oo6i
Meanwhile, Darrius Shepherd and Cameron Echels-Luper were excellent in their own regard. Both contributed at a high level throughout the year. Shepherd, in particular, became a major target for both Perez and Johnson down the stretch.
The New Jersey Generals featured some of the USFL’s best offensive lineman. Garrett McGhin, for instance, was fantastic. He was a part of the inaugural All-USFL offense, and is now with the New York Giants.
New Jersey also boasted a defense that was capable of doing incredible things. In fact, many of their wins in 2022 can be attributed to a key stop, or turnover, that this unit produced.
.@SupaScoob in the right spot at the right time‼️ OUR BALL
Without his leadership, impressive playcalling, and intricate development of his players, the Generals would not have seen the same success that they did in 2022.
What’s Next For New Jersey?
It will be interesting to see how Mike Riley, and the rest of the Generals staff, approach this offseason. There are some holes that need to be filled, especially on the offense. With Turpin and Perez both pursuing NFL opportunities, New Jersey will have to look to others to make an impact.
Now, the team did sign QB DaJuan Neal – who could turn out to be a major asset. Neal lit it up in the Indoor Football League over the past couple of years, winning IFL MVP two seasons ago.
Free Agent Signings: • OL Bruce Trigg, NC Central/Morgan St. • QB DaQuan Neal, Elizabeth City St.
Here’s the thing for New Jersey: this 2022 roster is capable of winning a Championship. They were the best regular season team this season – and still have a lot of the same pieces.
As for special teams, a steady kicker would be welcomed. New Jersey worked with multiple kickers in 2022, but never found someone who took command of the role. On the other hand, Brock Miller was a beast of a punter – and should absolutely return, if no NFL opportunities present themselves.
If Riley can keep most of this group together heading into 2023, while adding a couple of valuable pieces, they will be in excellent shape. Contending for a championship in year two is certainly on the table.
At the end of the day, New Jersey just couldn’t execute in the playoffs, which ended their season. Philadelphia’s defense stepped things up in the postseason, ultimately costing the Generals their Championship hopes.
That being said, it was a very successful season for the New Jersey Generals. They built something special in the USFL, and now will turn their sights towards 2023 with their eyes on the prize.