Week three in the AAF has come and gone, and we learned a lot about both the teams and the league in its third week. This is going to be a weekly collection of views from the couch about the AAF games the weekend prior. Eight teams means at least eight views from the couch. Every week will include a quarterback rankings and a power rankings, this week even includes coach rankings. Often, those three lists will look remarkably similar. Let’s get into it. Here are the Views from the Couch from the AAF Week 3:
8 Teams/8 Takeaways
1. Iron Curtain
By far the best looking defense in the league. The Birmingham Iron defense held the Atlanta Legends to 3-12 on 3rd down and 1-3 on 4th. They held Matt Simms to 57% completions (he did have 303 yards though), snagged 3 INTs, forced 2 fumbles (recovered one), and only gave up 43 yards rushing. Jamar Summers looks like the obvious frontrunner for defensive player of the year (DPOY). His receivers have been targeted 8 times. In those 8 targets, he has allowed only 2 receptions for -1 yards, caught 2 INTs, and has one pass breakup. HE HAS AS MANY INTS AS HE HAS ALLOWED RECEPTIONS. He has also forced two fumbles. I know, I know, Stallions fans are going to lobby for Karter Schult, and he has been great. Summers has been better through 3 weeks.
2. Replaced QBs
Week three in the AAF saw two key quarterbacks get replaced. Unfortunately, the first was due to injury, but the second was because he sucks. Hotshots quarterback John Wolford got hurt throwing an INT in the 3rd quarter of their game against the Stallions, and he was replaced by Trevor Knight. This doesn’t look to be cause for concern because Rick Neuheisel, the Hotshots head coach, said that he is comfortable playing both. I wasn’t sold on Wolford. He was playing better this game than he did up to the same point in Week 2. I know Trevor Knight didn’t play well in relief (I think he started 0-6), but he settled in after that. He is only going to get more comfortable.
The other quarterback change was one that we should’ve seen earlier. Memphis Express starting quarterback Christian Hackenberg was finally benched, and Zach Mettenberger dropped dimes. Mettenberger led a ferocious comeback that was almost enough to catch the Apollos. Fun fact: He had more passing yards in the second half of this game than Hackenberg has had in any full game this year. Hackenberg is awful. Mettenberger looked great in the second half of this game. It was about time.
3. Spurrier Cruise
This weekend the Apollos announced that from July 12-15, HBC Steve Spurrier and his whole staff will be attending a cruise of the Bahamas that you can also go on! Just visit www.spurriercruise.com. Events include: Q&A Sessions, welcome receptions with the coaches, private excursions, dining with fellow fans and coaches (I’m not sure why this is included in the event list like you might not get fed on the cruise?), beach Olympics (do you get coached by Spurrier himself?), photo and autograph sessions (can you not walk up to the HBC and ask for a photo at the pool?), and “plenty of time to schmooze with the coaches” (THANK GAWD). This can all be yours. The low end of prices for lodging on this excursion is for an Inside Stateroom. What is an inside stateroom? I’m glad you asked. An Inside Stateroom is a 150 sq ft room with two lower beds convertible to one queen sized bed, a flat panel TV, private bath with a shower, and a safe. If you partner up, it’ll run you $1004. If you’re boating solo (get it, like flying solo but this is a cruise), it’s $1559. The most expensive room is a Junior Sweet with Balcony which has everything that an inside stateroom has, but it is twice the size (297 sq ft) and has a 94 sq ft balcony, a large sitting area, private balcony, and floor to ceiling windows. It is $1631 for two people, and $2734 if you go alone. I tried to find out what the meal packages add to the cost, or if it is all inclusive, but I didn’t want to fill out 3 pages of internet paperwork and get myself all excited like I could actually go on the cruise. If you want someone to go with you, and you want to fund their trip, hmu, I am available.
4. Running the Ball Leads to Winning
There was a theme this weekend: the teams that won had very successful running games, especially running backs. Here are the numbers (rushes/yards/TDs) for the teams that won:
- Salt Lake Stallions
- Joel Bouagnon 12/45/1
- Branden Oliver 15/40/1
- Orlando Apollos
- D’Ernest Johnson 13/79/1
- De’Veon Smith 8/52
- Garrett Gilbert 7/43/1
- Birmingham Iron
- San Diego Fleet
- Ja’Quan Gardner 12/122/1 (83yd)
- Terrell Watson 13/73
For contrast, here are the numbers (rushes/yards/TDs) for the teams that lost this past weekend. They correspond to the winning teams from the first list, i.e. the first team in this list lost to the first team in the previous list:
- Arizona Hotshots
- Jhurell Pressley 10/34
- Justin Stockton 5/13
- Memphis Express
- Sherman Badie 8/59
- Zac Stacy 14/29
- Atlanta Legends
- Matt Simms 2/27
- 14 carries total
- San Antonio Commanders
- Trey Williams 7/75
- Marquise Williams 5/33
- Kenneth Farrow 9/27
Some things you may have noticed from the two lists: no losing team scored a rushing touchdown, three out of the four winning teams scored multiple rushing touchdowns (Fleet), the Iron Hammer (Trent Richardson) scored 3 touchdown and none were longer than 6 yards, the winning teams don’t always run the ball efficiently (see: Iron Hammer, Stallions), but every team that won did so behind their running attack.
5. The WRs cannot catch
I don’t have the numbers, but it is absolutely ridiculous how much the receivers drop the ball. Literally. The Iron receivers especially. Justin Ferguson had a great take on this last Thursday on our radio show The AAF Report. You can listen to that here.
6. Coaching Rankings
- Steve Spurrier – Apollos
- The Apollos are on a roll. Spurrier is fun, and his guys are balling right now.
- Tim Lewis – Iron
- THAT DEFENSE (also great adjustments made in the second half to get Perez time to throw and get the offense clicking a bit)
- Dennis Erickson – Stallions
- The defense held them in the 1.5 games that Woodrum was hurt, plus what they did against the hotshots with Woodrum back gets Erickson my #3 spot.
- Rick Neuheisel – Hotshots
- He is only #4 because he had the balls to go with Wolford over Knight after a lot of people thought Knight was one of the better QBs in the league. We will see how he responds if Wolford is out for a long period of time.
- Mike Martz – Fleet
- I’ll admit, I thought Martz looked old in the first two weeks. His offense looked dated. He made adjustment to his awful QB, and he turned this into a run first offense. It doesn’t hurt that his team is 2-1.
- Mike Riley – Commanders
- He was outcoached in 4th quarter against Apollos, and he was outcoached by Martz on Sunday night.
- Mike Singletary – Express
- The only reason he isn’t #8 is because he FINALLY made the decision to bench the travesty that is Christian Hackenberg.
- Kevin Coyle – Legends
- The Legends committed 9 penalties for 102 yards and had 4 turnovers against the Iron. They look undisciplined. He also needs to play the #LegendSavior Aaron Murray.
7. QB Rankings
- Garrett Gilbert – Apollos
- 14/28 (50%) 207 yds 1 TD
- Not a stellar performance, but enough to keep him atop this list.
- Zach Mettenberger – Express
- 9/12 (75%) 120 yds 2 TD
- Yes, I did it. I know he’s only played one half. I know that he only threw 12 passes. Well, he completed nine of them, and two went for touchdowns. He was dropping dimes out there. He looks like the second best QB in the league.
- Josh Woodrum – Stallions
- 22/31 (71%) 178 yds 1 TD
- Something you’ll notice about my rankings: I like when QBs don’t make mistakes. Woodrum was great in his first game back from injury. He led the Stallions and looked to be in total control of the offense.
- Luis Perez – Iron
- 17/31 (55%) 160 1 INT
- He would be higher on this list if his wide receivers could catch. That would make his completion percentage higher, and it would change the fact that he still hasn’t thrown a TD
- John Wolford – Hotshots
- 14/22 (64%) 127 yds 1 INT 1 TD
- I wasn’t sold on his last week, but he was playing much better this week before the injury and INT. You never want to see anyone get hurt, so, while I might not be a believer, I hope he is back soon. Better QB play = better games.
- Philip Nelson – Fleet
- 17/25 (68%) 193 yds 2 TD 1 INT
- Not a bad showing from Nelson this week. He looked inept last week. I’m not sure if it was a horrid Commanders defense or more time as the starter, but he looked solid this week. It was very odd. I might have to apologize if he keeps this up.
- Matt Simms – Legends
- 28-49 (57%) 303 yds 3 INTs 1 TD
- He is still just fine. Just fine doesn’t win football games. If you proof of that check Atl’s 0-3 record.
- Trevor Knight – Hotshots
- 8/17 (47%) 95 yds
- I believe he started 0-6 and then went 8/11 for 95 yds. A week as the starter in practice and not playing special teams should serve him well.
- Logan Woodside – Commanders
- 12/23 (52%) 151 yds 1 TD 2 INT
- Not a good game for Woodside. He flirted with disaster over and over against the Apollos, but this week we found out what happens when he plays a defense that can catch.
- Marquise Williams – Commanders
- 4/4 (100%) 21 yds
- He isn’t a threat to throw the ball. They put him in to run. It isn’t a secret. If Woodside is actually injured, the Commanders are in trouble.
- Christian Hackenberg – Express
- 8/14 57% 2 INT
- Holy Hell. He is so bad.
8. Power Rankings
- Orlando Apollos 3-0
- This is too easy. They win again, perhaps closer than they would’ve liked.
- Birmingham Iron 3-0
- The Iron Curtain and The Iron Hammer led the team to victory again. We saw signs of life from the offense in the second half when they did smart things to get Perez time and space to throw.
- Salt Lake Stallions 1-2
- Karter Schult and Josh Woodrum have this team looking more like what people thought they’d see before the season.
- San Diego Fleet 2-1
- After the beatdown they put on the Commanders yesterday, I don’t see how this team, led by Ja’Quan Gardner and Philip Nelson(wtf?) aren’t in the top half of teams.
- Arizona Hotshots 2-1
- Starting QB changes are tough. I still have no faith in Rick Neuheisel.
- Memphis Express 0-3
- Mettenberger gives me hope.
- San Antonio Commanders 1-2
- The worse performance of the year goes to San Antonio yesterday. They looked horrible. SO BAD.
- Atlanta Legends 0-3
About the Author: I am Michael Pappas, aka THE @CouchPaptato, and these are Views from the Couch. Not necessarily my couch. Usually my couch…because I don’t often leave my apartment. I have a really great couch. Any couch is great though, I don’t discriminate. My home couch is in Dallas, TX, but for the last 5 years my butt has happily been couching in Auburn, AL. Hit me up on twitter or at email@example.com and let me know what the view is like from your couch. Or how stupid the view is from my couch.