It's not NFL football, but in the dead of February, if draft stuff isn't doing it for you, the new Alliance of American Football (AAF) made its debut this past weekend.
I watched minimally, but it didn't seem like a bad product.
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Maybe it actually has a chance to stick around. I'd love that. The NFL has been missing a developmental league. It's a perfect spot for talented players who might have futures in the NFL but need a little seasoning. Rosters get cut from 90 to 53 every September, so there are plenty of talented football players not on NFL rosters. Having them stay in the United States instead of going to Canada is pretty cool.
Anyway, if Eagles fans watched the games this weekend, they heard plenty of familiar names. Here's a brief recap of how some former Eagles fared in their AAF debuts:
San Antonio Commanders 15, San Diego Fleet 6
WR Greg Ward Jr.: Now with the San Antonio Commanders, Ward was with the Eagles in 2017 and 2018 on the practice squad. The former University of Houston quarterback is making the transition to receiver, so a developmental league where he can get a ton of playing time is great for him. He had a big first game, catching five passes (on nine targets) for 65 yards. He had a long of 37 yards.
CB De'Vante Bausby: The former Eagles cornerback had a good debut with San Antonio too. He had three tackles, two passes defensed and an interception. Remember, less than a year ago, he was taking first-team nickel reps with the Eagles.
DL Winston Craig: He had three tackles and 1½ sacks for San Antonio.
DL Danny Ezechukwu: The defensive lineman was with the Eagles during camp last year. He had one solo tackle for the Commanders.
RB Terrell Watson: Who had the last Eagles rushing touchdown of 2016? Yup, Watson from Azusa Pacific. He didn't do much in his debut, rushing for 10 yards on three carries in San Diego's loss to San Antonio.
CB Ron Brooks: Brooks was once the Eagles' starting slot cornerback in 2016, but a pretty serious injury ended his time in Philly and he hasn't been in the NFL since. The 30-year-old had three tackles, two passes defensed and an interception in his AAF debut for San Diego.
Orlando Apollos 40, Atlanta Legends 6
DB Jerome Couplin III: The former Eagles cornerback played safety for Orlando and had a tackle and a QBH.
QB Aaron Murray: The former Georgia quarterback didn't start but got some action for Atlanta in its 40-6 loss to Orlando. He completed 4 of 7 passes for 38 yards and an interception.
WR Seantavius Jones: You might not even remember him, but Jones was with the Eagles in 2016. He never even practiced with them. He had three catches for 43 yards for Atlanta.
S Ed Reynolds: The Stanford product had four tackles in Atlanta's loss.
Birmingham Iron 26, Memphis Express 0
QB Christian Hackenberg: One of the biggest names in the league, Hackenberg didn't have a great debut. He completed 10 of 23 passes for 87 yards and an interception as his Memphis Express were shut out, 26-0, by the Birmingham Iron.
LB Quentin Gause: The former training camp player had a tackle on defense and another one on special teams.
P Brad Wing: The Memphis punter had five punts on the day, averaging 46.8 yards per punt. His long was a 54-yarder.
Arizona Hotshots 38, Salt Lake Stallions 22
TE Anthony Denham: The former Eagles and Texans tight end had five catches for 59 yards in Salt Lake's 38-22 loss to Arizona.
CB C.J. Smith: Carson Wentz's NDSU teammate had two tackles and a pass defensed for Salt Lake.
CB Dexter McDougle: It's hard to believe McDougle was actually on the Eagles' roster in 2018, but he was. He had one pass defensed for Arizona.
WR Josh Huff: Not a great AAF debut for the former third-round pick. He had one catch on five targets for just three yards for the Arizona Hotshots.
WR Freddie Martino: No catches and one target in his first game.
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