We are two weeks into the inaugural Alliance of American Football season and there have already been some star-making performances. Players on both sides of the ball are playing at a level that will surely catch the eye of NFL scouts.
On the other hand, there are players who have had ample opportunity to impress and have failed to do so. These three players have name recognition to casual football fan, but have not lived up to the expectations. Here are three of the biggest disappoints in through the first two weeks of the AAF season.
3. Matt Simms, Atlanta Legends Quarterback
2 games: 60.4% completion percentage, 286 yards, 1 TD, 3 interceptions
The Atlanta Legends are off to an 0-2 start to their season. The offense has struggled to get going, and quarterback Matt Simms has had a rocky start. Simms, son of former New York Giants signal-caller and two-time Super Bowl winner Phil Simms, has seemed overwhelmed by the Orlando and San Diego defenses. Atlanta’s rushing attack has shown promises, especially halfback Lawrence Pittman’s carries in limited opportunities. If Simms can start completing his passes at a higher clip and do a better job stretching the defense with deep passes, the Atlanta offense can turn their game around. If he can’t, it might be time for Atlanta to switch to former Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray.
2. Christian Hackenberg, Memphis Express Quarterback
2 games: 50% completion percentage, 189 yards, 1 interception, 44 rushing yards, 2 rushing TDs
Memphis quarterback Christian Hackenberg has been struggling to provide his offense with a spark. The Express have scored only 18 points in total through two games, and it can’t be blamed on the run game. Halfback Zac Stacy has had two stellar games to start the season, but Hackenberg can’t get into rhythm. Hackenberg was a second-round pick of the New York Jets in 2016 but wasn’t able to lock down the backup job there. Many viewed his starting job with the Express as a way for Hackenberg to play himself back into the NFL. The former Penn State quarterback needs to improve his accuracy and make big plays with his arms and not just his legs to avoid losing his starting job in the AAF.
1. Matt Asiata, Salt Lake Stallions Halfback
2 games: 6 carries, 8 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble
Matt Asiata, the former Utah Utes and Minnesota Vikings halfback, has the most name recognition and pro experience of the Salt Lake running back group. Asiata rushed for 18 touchdowns and gained almost 2000 scrimmage yards in five years with the Vikings. So far this year, Asiata has not impressed in Salt Lake’s two losses. He hasn’t been the featured back in the Stallions offense, losing carries to Joel Bouagnon and Branden Oliver. Asiata also had a costly redzone fumble against the Iron, halting a key first-quarter drive. The powerful Asiata will have to be more impactful in his limited carries going forward, or he’ll risk being lost in the shuffle in the Salt Lake offense.