Images: San Antonio Commanders / The AAF
I tend to not write in the first person very often, but after re-watching and charting every offensive snap the San Antonio Commanders took in their 15-6 victory over the San Diego Fleet, I think it makes sense to do so for this post.
First, I want to make clear that there are three sides to every football game and I do subscribe to the idea that they are of equal importance. However, I’m limited in my resources and time so I decided to focus primarily on the offensive snaps the home team took this week. One thing that cant be over looked though is how thoroughly the SA defense stood up San Diego in the 2nd half.
And just for fun lets take one last look at this beautiful Shaan Washington hit:
Alright. Now to business.
By my count, San Antonio executed 46 passing plays, 34 rushing plays, and 6 kicking (punting / field goal) plays Saturday night.
It didn’t take a tape day to realize QB Logan Woodside has an arm and some strong offensive weapons. Woodside threw for 255 yards on the day, completing 18 of his 36 passes while also throwing 2 interceptions. Woodside’s longest throw was a 46 yard pass to Alonzo Moore at the end of the third quarter, which would set up a 3 yard touchdown run from Kenneth Farrow II.
Woodside’s two interceptions came at terrible moments for the Commanders. The first was thrown on a 3rd and 10 play from their own 25 yard line near the end of the second quarter. This field position would set up the second of San Diego’s two field goals on the night.
The second interception came in the 3rd quarter on a 3rd and 5 play from the Fleet’s 15 yard line. Obviously giving up the ball is bad. Giving up the ball in the red zone is a potential game killer. Luckily SA’s defense and a touchdown roughly 6 minutes later would be all SA would need, but the 24 year old Toledo product will likely look to minimize those risks when Orlando comes to the Dome later this week.
Overwhelmingly, Head Coach Mike Riley’s team deploys at least one tight end, often times two. In the fourth quarter, the Commanders only broke from 11 or 12 personnel one time, on a 5 yard QB rush by Woodside with 4:20 left in the game. The tight ends were used in multiple roles, doubling as full backs and also running receiving routes when needed. Having the extra blocker gave Woodside a phenomenal pocket from which to work, especially in the first half when the Commanders ran 28 passing plays.
Former TCU player Cole Hunt looks to be a dual-threat TE after proving he has the ability to catch and block, though he did appear to suffer a leg injury late in the second quarter as his cleats got caught in the Alamodome’s turf while running a route. He did return to the game. Hunt finished the night with 4 targets, making him the most targeted TE and fourth highest-targeted player for the Commanders.
One game sample sizes are not great. But based on what we saw Saturday, the Commanders are going with a running back by committee.
The three headed monster primarily included the aforementioned Kenneth Farrow II, San Antonio product Aaron Green, and former Minnesota RB David Cobb. Farrow led the group in touches with 14, with Cobb rushing 9 times and Green rushing 6 times.
However, Green led the group in yards with 43, almost half of which came from a 21 yard off tackle run in the 2nd quarter.
On the receiving side, Mekale McKay led the team in targets (12), receptions (5), and yards (80) despite being heavily covered by the San Diego defensive backs.
McKay’s jersey was available in the pro shop before the Commanders had ever taken the field, and for good reason. The former Cincinnati receiver is one of many AAF players to make it to the closing days of an NFL training camp, only to not make the final roster.
On Saturday, it was clear San Diego viewed him as San Antonio’s number one wide out threat. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him double covered as the season goes on, opening up work for fellow receivers Greg Ward Jr, Alonzo Moore, and John Diarse, and even TE Cole Hunt who came close to reeling in a pass in the end zone.
San Antonio is being overlooked as a powerhouse for the likes of Arizona because they didn’t have a blow out victory in week 1. But as Woodside settles into his starting QB role, the Commanders have proven they have the offensive talent to be contenders in the league’s inaugural season.