After concluding a 6-4 playoff campaign in 2022, the New Orleans Breakers set their sights on achieving new heights in the upcoming 2023 USFL season. Prior to the season, Head Coach Larry Fedora made the decision to step down from his position, prompting the Breakers to appoint John DeFilippo, a seasoned NFL assistant coach with a strong offensive background, as his successor.
The New Orleans Breakers commenced the 2023 season with remarkable momentum right from the outset. During the initial four weeks, their performance evoked visions of a championship-winning team. Progress was as smooth as gliding in a vintage 1970 Cadillac, taking down opponents with ease. It seemed that the Breakers were on the verge of dominating the league all the way to the Championship.
Wes Hills in three weeks:
389 rushing yards 5 YPC 8!! TD
On top of that, he's proven to be a valuable blocker & receiver out of the backfield for the @USFLBreakers. Simply unstoppable.
However, as week five arrived, the journey took a sharp turn, presenting a series of challenging obstacles. The team suffered three consecutive defeats, a disappointing outcome following their impressive 4-0 start, including a remarkable victory against arch-rivals, the Birmingham Stallions, where they achieved a season-high score of 45 points.
The final three weeks of the season represented a make-or-break phase for the New Orleans Breakers. Every game became pivotal, as losing would eliminate their playoff aspirations. Facing two divisional opponents to conclude the season posed a formidable challenge. Although the offense encountered difficulties, it was the exceptional performance of the defense, led by Vontae Diggs, that rose to the occasion, propelling the Breakers to three consecutive victories, ultimately securing their place in the playoffs.
How about those @USFLBreakers? A broken play results in a pick six for Vontae Diggs, who's had an outstanding season for New Orleans so far.
Unfortunately, the New Orleans Breakers encountered their worst performance of the season at the worst possible time. Pitted against the eventual champions, the Birmingham Stallions, they appeared disoriented and incapable of finding their footing. The offense failed to generate any significant momentum, while the defense succumbed to a season-high score of 47 points.
This significant setback brought an unfortunate end to what initially appeared to be a promising season for the Breakers, resulting in a modest improvement to a 7-3 record in comparison to the previous year.
QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson
McLeod Bethel-Thompson, the Breakers’ quarterback, deserves special recognition. Returning to the United States after a few years playing in the CFL, Bethel-Thompson showcased an outstanding season worth celebrating. While he faced challenges during the mid-season stretch, his veteran experience shone through as he rebounded admirably. Arguably, Bethel-Thompson emerged as the Breakers’ most outstanding player this season.
RB Wes Hills
Running back Wes Hills deserves some credit as well, setting multiple USFL records in 2023:
While his production slowed down towards the end of the year, Hills was a reliable force for the offense all year long. His eight touchdowns through three games to begin the season was remarkable to watch.
HC John DeFilippo
Assessing Coach DeFilippo’s inaugural stint as a head coach, I would assign him a B+ grade. Although there is room for improvement, his performance was commendable overall. He displayed an aptitude for making necessary adjustments, even if they did not always yield the desired outcome. Considering it was his first experience as a head coach, I believe he performed admirably well.
It's been a remarkable season for @USFLBreakers HC John DeFilippo, facing much adversity yet pushing through it all. Post-game, he spoke about how much this team & the #USFL opportunity means to him.
In addition, he did all of this while dealing with serious health issues coming into the season – showcasing his resiliency and strength at the position.
In closing, if the New Orleans Breakers aspire to become a championship-caliber team, they must make strategic roster changes during the offseason. Enhancements to the offensive line, safety positions, and potentially the defensive coordinator role are imperative. Implementing these adjustments could be the key to finally overcoming the Birmingham hurdle. Additionally, I eagerly anticipate the team’s future games in New Orleans and remain hopeful that this will come to fruition in the 2024 season.
What are your thoughts on the New Orleans Breakers 2023 USFL season? What does the team need to improve upon moving forward? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!