New defensive lineman Stefan Charles got into his first practice with the San Antonio Commanders on Wednesday.
The 6-foot-4, 324-pound defensive tackle from Canada, who signed with the team the day before, was easy to spot in drills with Commanders defensive line coach Jeff McInerney.
“How about the size. Holy smokes,” said Commanders general manager Daryl Johnston, who got his first impression of Charles while doing NFL television broadcasts. “He’s a player that I actually remember doing Detroit games. I remember him on Detroit’s defensive line.”
Johnston and the Commanders staff watched film of Charles against the offensive lines from the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars.
“He’s working through that guard-center-guard area and he’s doing really well,” Johnston said. “This was something that we had talked to coach McInerney about coming into the season being a little bit light in the D line probably in size and numbers. We only had five guys.
“We just felt it was time now as we see what some of the teams are doing, the running game is becoming important in this league. We wanted to get a little bit bigger up front and I think we achieved that with Stefan.”
The San Antonio Commanders announced Tuesday they added defensive lineman Stefan Charles.
The team also announced linebacker Kennan Gilchrist was waived.
From the Commanders news release:
Charles, a native of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, has four years of NFL service, spanning 49 total games. He spent the 2013-15 seasons with the Buffalo Bills where he appeared in 37 games with two starts and made 48 total tackles along with 5.0 sacks. He was a member of the Detroit Lions in 2016, playing in 12 games with 12 tackles. Charles spent the the 2017 offseason with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the 2018 offseason with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Charles attended the University of Regina in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, where he played Canadian Interuniversity Sport football with the Regina Rams. Following the 2012 CIS season, Charles was ranked as the second best player in the Canadian Football League’s Amateur Scouting Bureau final rankings for players eligible in the 2013 CFL Draft.
After going undrafted in the 2013 NFL Draft, Charles was drafted by the Edmonton Eskimos with the 10th overall pick in the 2013 CFL Draft. However, he elected to sign a free agent contract with the Tennessee Titans instead of joining the Eskimos.
The San Antonio Commanders recorded their first defensive touchdown in franchise history in Week 2.
Here is the scene Sunday:
The Commanders had just boosted their lead to 21-17 over the Orlando Apollos in the third quarter after a Nick Rose field goal. The Apollos have a second-and-16 at their own 19-yard line.
Apollos quarterback Garrett Gilbert drops back in an obvious passing situation. Commanders linebacker Jayrone Elliott gets to Garrett from his backside, hitting Garrett in the right shoulder and arm. Garrett, who was set to throw, has the ball jarred up in the air.
Joey Mbu, moving in from his defensive line position, gets around the pile of Garrett, Elliott and Apollos offensive lineman Aaron Evans. The 332-pound Mbu scoops up the ball and takes off for the end zone – setting off a celebration in the Alamodome.
The touchdown and the successful two-point conversion gave the Commanders a 29-17 lead with 8:10 left in the third quarter.
That, however, was the last time the Commanders scored. The Apollos put up 20 points in the fourth quarter to take a 37-29 victory.
Two members of the Orlando Apollos were named AAF players of the week after their performance against the San Antonio Commanders on Sunday.
From the AAF news release:
Offensive player of the week:
Orlando QB Garrett Gilbert.
Gilbert completed 19 of 28 pass attempts for 393 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 134.5 passer rating, leading the Apollos’ to a 37-29 come-from-behind win over the Commanders at the Alamodome.
Defensive player of the week:
Orlando CB Keith Reaser.
Reaser had two tackles, three passes defensed and a 38-yard interception return-touchdown with 7:02 remaining in the fourth quarter. Reaser’s late pick-six broke a 29-29 tie and proved to be the game-winning score.
Special teams player of the week:
Birmingham DB Jamar Summers.
Summers recorded three tackles and forced a fumble on punt coverage in the third quarter that was recovered in the end zone by LB Shaheed Salmon for the Iron’s first touchdown of the game, sparking a second-half comeback victory at Legion Field Stadium.
The Birmingham Iron and Arizona Hotshots, winners in the opening week of AAF action, both won close games over the weekend.
The Hotshots went scoreless in the first half before coming back to beat the Memphis Express 20-18. Arizona quarterback John Wolford completed 14-of-22 passes for 194 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Hotshots also used three running backs to pile up 209 yards rushing.
Logan Woodside was the San Antonio Commanders’ starting quarterback for the second straight game.
And Woodside did indeed get off to a good start as the Commanders put up touchdowns on their first two possession on Sunday at the Alamodome.
But the Commanders didn’t score an offensive touchdown the rest of the game and the Orlando Apollos rallied in the fourth quarter for a 37-29 victory.
“They’re a lot of Tampa-two (defense),” Woodside said. “It made it hard on us. We really had to be patient to pick and choose our spots to take our shots and just tried to move it down the field.
“They made a good adjustment the second half. Played some zone. Dropped some guys out of there. Credit to coach Spurrier and that defensive staff for what they did. They made it hard on us.”
For the game Woodside completed 20-of-39 passes for 223 yards. He threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Evan Rodriguez. Woodside’s longest passes of the game were for 29 yards to De’Marcus Ayers and also 29 yards to Mekale McKay.
In what was the most crucial play of the fourth quarter, Woodside threw an interception that Orlando’s Keith Reaser returned 38 yards for a touchdown to put the Apollos in front for good.
“It’s off coverage. We ran a 10-yard out route, something we do every day in practice,” Woodside said. “I have all the confidence in the world to throw it to Mekale McKay. Threw a good ball, threw it on time. He just made a play.
“That’s football. I’m not going to stop throwing it because he made an interception. He just made a really good play and all credit to him.”
The San Antonio Commanders made a temporary change of quarterbacks Sunday.
Marquise Williams entered the game in the second quarterback and played for one possession in the Commanders’ 37-29 loss to the Orlando Apollos at the Alamodome.
Williams completed 2-of-4 passes for 3 yards. His completions went for a 6-yard gain and 3-yard loss. He also ran with the ball three times for 32 yards including a 17-yard gain.
The Commanders got a 50-yard field goal from Nick Rose at the end of the drive to extend their lead to 15-8.
“I think Marquise, as you saw, made some plays,” Commanders coach Mike Riley said. “We should have put him back in the second half and lost track of what was going on there when he should have gone back in. But we’ll continue to do that with him.”
Here is the official play-by-play for the Commanders’ possession with Williams at quarterback.
San Antonio Commanders at 12:53
1-10-SA 25 (12:53) (Shotgun) M.Williams left guard to SA 25 for no gain (T.Parks; E.Okine). New QB #12 Williams
1-10-SA 25(12:21) (Shotgun) K.Farrow, II right tackle to SA 27 for 2 yards (R.Davis, Sr.; G.Newberry).
2-10-SA 25(11:48) (Shotgun) M.Williams scrambles up the middle to SA 42 for 15 yards (W.Hill, III).
3-8-SA 27R11(11:08) (Shotgun) M.Williams pass incomplete deep left to D.Ayers.
1-10-SA 42(11:01) (Shotgun) K.Farrow, II left guard to SA 48 for 6 yards (T.Parks; J.Evans).
2-10-SA 42(10:22) (Shotgun) M.Williams scrambles right end to ORL 35 for 17 yards (L.Gunter).
3-4-SA 48R12(9:36) (Shotgun) M.Williams pass short left to A.Moore to ORL 38 for -3 yards (L.Gunter).
1-10-ORL 35(9:10) (Shotgun) M.Williams pass incomplete short middle to G.Ward, Jr..
2-13-ORL 38Timeout #2 by SA at 09:05.(9:05)
3-13-ORL 38(9:05) (Shotgun) M.Williams pass short left to A.Green to ORL 32 for 6 yards (L.Gunter) [A.Moten, Jr.].
4-7-ORL 32(8:24) N.Rose 50 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-S.Daly, Holder-J.Zema
ORL 8 SA 15, 10 plays, 43 yards, 4:33 drive, 6:40 elapsed
After the one possession, starter Logan Woodside returned at quarterback.
“We think that they both should play by really what they’ve done,” Riley said. “I failed on that the first game and we decided just to go put him in the third series of the game today and we should have done that the second half too.
“I’m not really suggesting too big of a drama part of this thing. I wouldn’t do it if I thought it was hurting our team. I think he’s earned that position to play. We kind of look at the bulk of the work that was done from mini-camp all the way through.”
The Commanders, who scored touchdowns with their first two possession of the game with Woodside at quarterback, didn’t score an offensive touchdown the rest of the game.
“I do think Logan is our starter. I like him,” Riley said. “But I think Marquise, as you saw, can give us a change of pace.”
Any football team loves to make a statement early in the game by running the ball successfully.
The Commanders did that on Sunday night on the legs of Kenneth Farrow II. The Commanders’ opening drive lasted 10 plays and went for 59 yards while burning almost six minutes off the clock.
Four of those first 10 plays were runs by Farrow. He carried the ball for 4 yards on the Commanders’ first offensive play. He also had carries of 8 and 6 yards on the drive before scoring.
Farrow pounded and then hurdled his way to a 15-yard touchdown run for the first points of the game with 5:57 left in the first quarter. Farrow hit the end zone head first and had to get some assistance before walking off the field.
Farrow returned to the game and led the Commanders in rushing with 74 yards on 13 carries (5.7 yards per carry). He also caught two passes for 25 yards.