For those who simply love football, you’re wing-man has arrived. The Alliance of American Football debuts February 9th, 2019. The new eight-team league is spearheaded by T.V. and film producer Charlie Ebersol and Hall of Famer Bill Polian.
Scattered around the new league are familiar faces from both the NFL and CFL, respectively. While there is some difficulty in making bold predictions about the teams and how they will fare, there are some players that should be familiar to football fans.
AAF: Sizing up the Memphis Express Offense
The training camp at the quarterback position was whittled down to two main men: Penn State alum Christian Hackenberg and former LSU star Zach Mettenberger. In the end, Hackenburg edged out the competition and has officially been named the starter for the season opener. In their last scrimmage game, Hackenberg was 9 of 15 for 128 yards and one touchdown.
Hackenberg hasn’t seen any live-game action since some preseason work with the New York Jets in 2017. Mettenberger will begin the season as the backup.
The running back trio for the Express offers more compact runners that can utilize a versatile offensive approach.
NFL practice squad veteran Terrence Magee will debut as the lead back for the Express for the season opener. Magee, an undrafted free agent signed by the Baltimore Ravens at the beginning of the 2015 season, has had stints on multiple practice squads prior to singing with the Express. He’s a compact runner that has never truly profiled as a pass-catcher.
Zac Stacy makes his triumphant return to American football after spending part of 2018 in the CFL. Of his three seasons in the NFL, Stacy found the most success during his rookie campaign. He finished the 2013 season with 973 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. He offers a low-to-the-ground, downhill style of running with a decent ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Stacy will serve as the complementary back to start the season.
Tennesee alum Rajion Neal rounds out the running back trio. Neal was an undrafted free agent for the Green Bay Packers in 2014 and has since also been on multiple NFL practice squads. Neal and Stacy are both set up as change-of-pace backs and likely to receive passes out of the backfield.
The wide receiving core for the Express may be their most dangerous weapons. From the big-bodied outside target in Kayaune Ross, to the quick and shifty Fabian Guerra lined up in the slot, the Express look to focus on creating and exploiting mismatches. Ross stands in at six-foot-six and makes for a huge target on the outside. Reece Horn, (6’3″) and Damore’ea Stringfellow round out the outside receivers. Behind Guerra are Alton Howard and Dontez Byrd for slot-duties.
Last Word on the Memphis Express offense
Head coach Mike Singletary looks to employ a fast-paced offensive scheme built on mismatches and speed. The combination of size and athleticism from the wide receivers, to the speed and receiving ability of the running backs, the Express have an offense constructed to be versatile and score multiple ways.
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