3 Takeaways from Apollos’ first scrimmage game
Last night, the Apollos took another step forward in their quest for the inaugural Alliance of American Football title with an ultimately close 31-28 win over the San Diego Fleet. Though information on the scrimmage is sparse, here’s takeaways we’ve gleamed from the various reports.
Garrett Gilbert is your QB1
While the team hasn’t released an official depth chart, it is becoming increasingly clear that Garrett Gilbert is the starter at the quarterback position. Reports from training camp have confirmed that Gilbert is getting more reps in practice, and he started the scrimmage. Team Reporter Tom Alexander has also said the offense seems to click more with Gilbert at the helm. All that adds up to your Apollos first-round QB pick being the starter week 1 against Atlanta.
Concerns about play quality
One of the most important things the Alliance needs to succeed is quality football. While the Apollos defense looked strong in the scrimmage, generating seven sacks and forcing four turnovers, I have to question the opposition. Are the Apollos just that dominant, at least compared to the Fleet, or is it the Fleet were just incredibly rusty early on? San Diego did respond to score 22 points in the 4th quarter, so I’m inclined to think it was just rust.
Still, a gap this big early on in talent has this writer worried. I want to see the league succeed more than most, and know all too well how the importance of quality football for all teams is to the success of a league. It may initially put butts in seats if the Apollos absolutely wreck their opponents, but four turnovers a game is a lot. Hopefully this is a (slight) aberration.
One of the themes of Tom Alexander’s reporting has been the importance of speed to the Apollos on both sides of the ball. That team speed shined bright on Sunday night. Part of the reason the defense was able to generate so many sacks was the speed of the front seven. Even more so, speed played a big part in the offense. Just take a look at this play from Ish Hyman:
That kind of speed is available throughout the receiving corps. It’s going to win the Apollos a lot of ball games.
It’s Only Preseason
It’s important to remember that this was just a preseason game. The team still has a lot to work on ahead of roster cuts on the 31st and the first game on February 9th. It’s great to get the win, but this one doesn’t count.