Off a 9-1 inaugural season that ended in heartbreak, the New Jersey Generals are confident this is their year. They began year one with a loss and ended year one with a loss. Sandwiched between those two losses were nine consecutive wins, good enough to tie the Birmingham Stallions for the best record in the USFL. Coming off such a successful season they are hungry for far more and looking for revenge.
According to some reports, they will get an opportunity at that, starting in week one where it all began last year, in Birmingham. More importantly, they will have two intra-division games against their biggest rivals, the Philadelphia Stars. From top to bottom New Jersey is devastated with how their semi-final matchup against Philly went last June. Numerous Generals including GM Billy Devaney, Wide Receiver Cam Echols-Luper, and Defensive Tackle Toby Johnson spoke on wanting to atone for last season’s biggest gaffe.
Bolstering their efforts is the highest retention rate in the league at over 80% according to Devaney. To go with this, they have kept all their coaching staff together outside of Defensive Coordinator Cris Dishman, which is no doubt a big loss. Despite all the positives, they have lost some key pieces as well, like 2022 USFL MVP KaVontae Turpin and Wide Receiver Darrius Shepherd. Those two receivers accounted for over 43% of the Generals receiving yards and five of their eleven receiving touchdowns. Production that will be missed without question.
Additional losses within the offense like Quarterback Luiz Perez and Offensive Tackle Garrett McGhin are also holes that need to be filled. The front office and coaching staff have been hard at work replacing their lost talent with signings at these positions as well as defensive line and defensive back. The Generals ranked dead last in the USFL with only ten sacks recorded last season, so they have attacked the pass rush in free agency. Their philosophy is clear in their signings, they want to continue to be the best running team in the league and improve their sack totals from last year. New Jersey knows the game is won in the trenches and that’s exactly where they lost in the playoffs. They were dominated at the point of attack.
Daquan Neal is the most intriguing new signing the Generals made all off-season and should provide great competition for DeAndre Johnson. Previously Neal played in the IFL for the Tucson Sugar Skulls and Iowa Barnstormers where he won MVP in his 2019 rookie campaign. In his three seasons he threw for 6,817 yards, 138 touchdowns, and only 19 interceptions. He also adds mobility which is more inline with DJ and could provide immense value in the run game. The Generals seem ready to RPO and zone read teams to death in 2023. They have a good quarterback battle brewing, or possibly more of Mike Riley’s patented Two-QB System.
With key additions and a massive retention rate the New Jersey Generals are out for revenge and should be primed to be atop the North Division in the USFL once again. They’ll be housed in Canton this year with the new-look Pittsburgh Maulers and should have some stiff competition in what is shaping up to be a strong division top to bottom. Only time will tell but from the look and sound of it, the Generals are ready to make up for last years disappointment.
What do you think the New Jersey Generals record will be at the end of the season? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below or join the conversation on Discord.