Memphis Showboats Sign QB Josh Love, Waive Cole Kelley

Memphis Showboats Sign QB Josh Love, Waive Cole Kelley

The Memphis Showboats have made a change at quarterback. Former Michigan Panthers QB Josh Love is signing with the team, replacing Cole Kelley who was waived on Tuesday.

Josh Love’s USFL Career

This is an intriguing move for multiple reasons. Josh Love has been in the spring football scene for the past couple of years, starting his career with the Pittsburgh Maulers. He threw for 440 yards and two touchdowns with the team, but was let go midway through the season.

Then, Jeff Fisher and the Michigan Panthers came along and picked him up. Love got to start for Michigan in a week seven matchup against the New Orleans Breakers, and played quite well, but the team fell just short in overtime. Love also suffered an injury that game, which stifled the rest of his 2022 season.

In 2023, the Panthers saw a coaching change with Mike Nolan taking over. Nolan decided to roll with Josh Love who was well acquainted with OC Eric Marty’s system, and things went well to start. Michigan opened up with a 2-0 record, and Love actually set a modern USFL record in their week one win over Houston.

However, the next seven games would prove to be a rough go. The Panthers went 1-6 across that span, which resulted in Josh being benched for E.J. Perry in week ten. Still, he had some solid performances, and even won USFL Offensive Player of the Week in week seven.

Josh Love finished the 2023 season with 1,553 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. Truthfully, while Love at times made some poor decisions, the offensive line in Michigan struggled for large chunks of the year. Josh was sacked 15 times in nine games. He’s proven he can provide a team with solid play, and is a nice addition to the Showboats QB room as a backup.

Cole Kelley Waived

What might be a surprise to many is the release of Cole Kelley. Cole started in eight games for the Memphis Showboats in 2023, taking over for Brady White. Kelley fit perfectly into Todd Haley’s offensive scheme, and was a huge part in their five game winning streak during the season.

However, with the increased competition in the United Football League, there isn’t room for everyone. The Showboats acquired Case Cookus and Troy Williams after John DeFilippo took over for Haley in Memphis. Both are extremely talented signal callers in their own regard.

Cole, while performing well with Memphis for the most part last year, didn’t seem to be in perfect shape coming into Training Camp this year. At the same time, his lack of mobility isn’t ideal, especially in a scene where quality offensive lines are hard to come by. Considering Case and Troy were likely QB1 and QB2, Kelley now has a chance to get picked up by another team, with Love joining the fold.

Kelley threw for 1,533 yards, seven touchdowns, and eight interceptions during the USFL’s 2023 season. He also added two scores on the ground.

Final Thoughts

For the Memphis Showboats, this move makes sense. Josh Love has been a starter at this level before, and can provide the team with valuable minutes if his name gets called upon.

Generally speaking, GM Dennis Polian and HC John DeFilippo did an outstanding job revamping this unit for the 2024 UFL season. They have three new faces at the quarterback position. One can argue that each addition is an upgrade from what Memphis had a season ago.

In other Showboats news, the team cut down their roster on Sunday, releasing 16 players. On March 23rd, the team will make their final adjustments down to 50.

What are your thoughts on Josh Love joining the Memphis Showboats? Will Cole Kelley find a new home in the UFL? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!

  1. Truly an interesting development. I wasn’t overly impressed with Cole Kelley last year, but wasn’t sure if that was scheme or something else. That stated, before the merger I was interested in seeing what steps he would take in year 2. Well now we know that at least this situation wasn’t a good fit. As far as Josh Love goes, he truly has all the tools. Even when Michigan players didn’t believe, he gave them hope. He as an accurate and strong arm. He has mobility and isn’t afraid to put himself in harm’s way, but not reckless either. The lone problem I could see is his propensity to stare down receivers,(a very large one indeed), leading to interceptions and then, finally, losing his team. John D. is known as a quarterback guru and unless a lot of knowledgeable people have that wrong, he with Love’s hard work, should easily be able to take him to the next level. All 3 of these quarterbacks have heart and have all raised their teams at one time or another. I think serving under John D. will only help each of them. Hoping for expansion next year allowing at least two of these players start elsewhere. I watched the Breakers last year, John D is a pro coach, knowing when to kick the field goal and when to go for the goal line. He managed the game accordingly and I imagine he will teach the QBs in the same manner. None of these QBs were afforded this type of coaching on their previous teams. Do your work gentlemen and become the best quarterbacks you can become. You never know, it might actually lead you to another gig within the sport.

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