The AAF Needs an Offensive Infusion

Two weeks into the Alliance’s infancy one thing is certain, this league needs an offensive infusion. For a league that is trying to gain the attention of casual football fans, having multiple teams struggle to clear the 200 yards per game hurdle is a hindrance. While teams such as the Hotshots and Apollos have been putting flashy offensive performances, the league as whole needs to showcase offensive ability and not so much defensive prowess. Die-hard football fans can live with defensive struggles but high scoring shoot-outs are what is going to gain the attention of casual fans.

Taking a quick look through the AAF stats page on their website, it’s clear to see why teams like the Arizona Hotshots and Orlando Apollos are 2-0.  Each team has adopted a faster pace modern-day offense.  The Hotshots are looking to utilize their mobile quarterback and above league-average skill players. They tend to lean on run-pass option plays for a large amount of their offensive play-calls. This is a trend that has taken the NFL by storm in recent seasons.  It only makes sense that the best offensive team in the AAF follows suit. The Apollos struggle to move the ball on the ground, so they air it out thanks in part to their QB Garrett Gilbert, who’s completed 64.2% of his passes for 620 yards in two games. The San Antonio Commanders have had their share of offensive success as well.  The Commanders are averaging 381 yards per game and 22 points per game. Largely because they have been the beneficiary of good receiver play.

Garrett Gilbert, Apollos QB

So…you might ask. Who needs to elevate their offensive output?

The answer to this question is simple just by looking at the numbers. The Memphis Express are struggling to break the 200 yards per game mark, coming in at 213.  This is just not going to put butts in the seats.  The obvious answer for how this team could improve is to look elsewhere at quarterback.  Christian Hackenberg simply isn’t getting the job done. When he isn’t fighting with coaches on the sideline, he is struggling to throw the ball downfield. At this point, Memphis is wasting good games from feature-back Zac Stacy.  If Memphis continues to struggle with Hackenberg under center then it would not surprise me to see each week’s promotion to be “Dress as an Empty Seat” night at the Liberty Bowl.

Another team that must improve their offensive gameplay is the Atlanta Legends.  Things were looking good for them in week 2 as they jumped out to a 9-0 lead against the San Diego Fleet, but quickly let the game slip away.  They could not move the ball and struggled to get any points on the board for much of the game. The Salt Lake Stallions have shown flashes, but just haven’t been dynamic enough. There is reason to believe they can improve, but they need to find ways to stretch the field and put points on the board at a much higher rate.

While there is a reason to be optimistic that the Alliance can succeed, there is a big glaring concern with several teams.  Fans are looking for favorite teams to jump on board the bandwagon and right now scoring less than 10 points per game, plus averaging less than 250 yards per game just isn’t enough. Let’s hope that in Week 3, the playbooks open up and teams are more comfortable with each other. If not, I would hate to see the television ratings for an Atlanta Legends and Memphis Express match-up in the future.

Follow me on Twitter @jnschel

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