Marquise Williams sees time as Commanders’ QB

Commanders quarterback Marquise Williams played one series in the second quarter Sunday against the Orlando Apollos. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders quarterback Marquise Williams played one series in the second quarter Sunday against the Orlando Apollos. – photo by Joe Alexander
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.”

Daryl Johnston on why Logan Woodside became Commanders’ starting QB

San Antonio quarterbacks Logan Woodside (right) and Marquise Williams this week as the Commanders prepared for Sunday's game against the Orlando Apollos. - photo by Joe Alexander
San Antonio quarterbacks Logan Woodside (right) and Marquise Williams this week as the Commanders prepared for Sunday’s game against the Orlando Apollos. – photo by Joe Alexander
The San Antonio Commanders scored their only touchdown of the season opener on a 3-yard run.

That scoring run, however, was set up by the Commanders’ longest offensive play of the game – a 46-yard pass from Logan Woodside to Alonzo Moore.

The long pass was an example of why Commanders general manager Daryl Johnston said Woodside earned the starting quarterback position.

“When you have the opportunity to have explosive plays like we did to Alonzo Moore down to the goal line, that makes the offense’s job that much easier,” Johnston said. “So to have that faith, that trust to turn that ball loose and to know your wide receiver is going to go up and make a play or keep that defense from making a play, that’s a big step. We felt that’s where Logan had made strides toward the end of training camp.”

Johnston won three Super Bowl as a fullback with the Dallas Cowboys. His outlook on offense was influenced by former Cowboys offensive coordinator Norv Turner and the part long passes played in Turner’s approach. Commanders coach Mike Riley, while a big proponent of a strong running game, also includes long pass plays in his game plan.

“I love the way Mike constructs the vertical elements in this passing game,” Johnston said. “Logan is the one guy, and this is a phrase Norv always talked about, turn the ball loose. When you get one-on-one, we should win that. Logan is the one quarterback, and Marquise (Williams) is getting a little better at it, of trusting our guys in one-on-one situations – that they’re going to make a play and that nothing negative is going to happen.”

For the game, Woodside completed 18-of-36 passes for 255 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions and was sacked three times.

Woodside also completed a 37-yard pass to Greg Ward Jr. and a 22-yard pass to Mekale McKay.

“We consider one-on-one vs. our guys a win for us,” Johnston said. “Logan is the one guy who has really kind of bought into that. We’re starting to see Marquise do it a little bit more. And it’s the area we’re going to try to push Dustin (Vaughan) to, because I still really feel that Dustin throws the best football out here.

“When we’re in skelaton and we’re throwing on air, Dustin is outstanding. When we get into the team elements I’d like to see Dustin stretch the field a little bit more and be a more aggressive. We felt that was something Logan was doing that was going to benefit us.”

Commanders move from training camp to regular-season mode as opener looms

Commanders coach Mike Riley talks with receiver De'Marcus Ayers during Thursday's practice at Central Catholic High School. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders coach Mike Riley talks with receiver De’Marcus Ayers during Thursday’s practice at Central Catholic High School. – photo by Joe Alexander
For the first time since the roster was cut down to 52 players, the San Antonio Commanders hit the practice field at Central Catholic High School on Thursday morning.

The season opener Feb. 9 at the Alamodome against the San Diego Fleet is just over a week away. The Commanders braintrust is transitioning from deciding who will make the team to who will be the starters.

“It’s interesting. All of a sudden there’s a lot less bodies out there,” Commanders head coach Mike Riley said. “But it is, like a told them today, it’s like a new beginning.

“We had a great training camp. We’ve received great hospitality here in San Antonio. It’s a great to have this as our home city. We love that part of it. This feels and is a new beginning heading into the regular season.”

Riley said the coaches have seen enough to have a good idea of who the key players will be. That will be settled in the very near future.

“We’re close. We could actually do it right now today,” Riley said of deciding the starters. “But we don’t need to yet. We’ll probably have that pretty well set starting our game week next week.”

The most visually obvious change at Thursday’s practice was that the number of bright yellow jerseys – worn by the quarterbacks – was down from four to three. Dustin Vaughan, Marquise Williams and Logan Woodside took an equal number of reps in practice. Dalton Sturm, the fourth quarterback in training camp, is not on the 52-man roster.

Although Commanders general manager Daryl Johnston said on Thursday that Vaughan is currently the team’s No. 1 quarterback, Riley hasn’t named a starter yet.

“That position is certainly a key element in what anybody does in football,” Riley said. “We are fortunate to have three guys. We really had four. Dalton was a really tough cut. I think he’s a good player. I hope he resurfaces with the Commanders some day. But we’re in good hands I think with our quarterbacking.

“We haven’t named a No. 1 quarterback yet. We’ve let them all play almost equally as we’ve gone. (Vaughan) was the first pick and he probably got the first reps all through camp and into the (practice) game the other day.”

Commanders GM Daryl Johnston on cuts, 52-man roster

Commanders GM Daryl Johnston discusses the roster cutdown to 52 players for the regular season. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders GM Daryl Johnston discusses the roster cutdown to 52 players for the regular season. – photo by Joe Alexander
San Antonio Commanders general manager Daryl Johnston has lived through player cuts as a college and NFL player.

The former Dallas Cowboys fullback was on the other side of that on Wednesday when Alliance of American Football (AAF) teams announced their 52-man rosters, down from 75 in training camp.

“Today was one of the more challenging days I’ve been a part of,” Johnston said. “We started this journey several months ago. We’ve gone from 85 down into the 60s back up to 75 and now today we had to come down to 52. There were some really hard decisions we had to make. We think we picked a very competitive 52, but time will tell.

“They’re great guys. That was the thing that made it the hardest. We had good players but we had great guys.”

The Commanders kept three quarterbacks – Dustin Vaughan, Marquise Williams and Logan Woodside. The fourth quarterback in camp, former UTSA starter Dalton Sturm, did not make the 52-man roster. Johnston said the league recommends having three quarterbacks on the roster and AAF rules call for three quarterbacks to be suited up on game day. Vaughan finished training camp as the team’s No. 1 quarterback.

Johnston said some of the toughest roster decisions were at receiver, linebacker and running back. The receiver position was complicated by some players suffering injuries in training camp and a few players joining the team late in camp.

The decision at running back was influenced by how the team performed in practice games on Sunday and Monday.

“We were prepared to go in with three running backs,” Johnston said. “We saw how well we ran the football. We saw our physical the runners were. We decided four would be better. Then Trey Williams came up with a turf toe coming out of the game.

“Aaron Green did a great job on Monday night. I’m really impressed with him not only as a runner, but special teams is something that I don’t know how much of a part of his background that was, and he’s done a really good job of embracing special teams.”

Kenneth Farrow II, David Cobb, Green and Williams are the four running backs on the roster.

Update: I just heard from wide receiver Riley Smith, who is not on the 52-man roster. Smith said he is on the injured list and expects to be activated when he is fully healthy.

Commanders quarterbacks at practice at the Alamodome

Commanders quarterbacks threw in the Alamodome on Saturday as the team practiced on its home field for the first time. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders quarterbacks threw in the Alamodome on Saturday as the team practiced on its home field for the first time. – photo by Joe Alexander
For three of the San Antonio Commanders’ four quarterbacks, Saturday’s practice at the Alamodome gave them their first chance to work out at their home stadium.

Dalton Sturm played in the Alamodome as his home college stadium with the UTSA Roadrunners.

Dustin Vaughan, Marquise Williams, Logan Woodside and Sturm are in a four-way competition to be the Commanders’ starting quarterback. They are also fighting for roster spots if the team keeps less than four quarterbacks.

Nick Temple trying to make big impression with Commanders

Former University of Cincinnati lineback Nick Temple at San Antonio Commanders training camp. - photo by Joe Alexander
Former University of Cincinnati lineback Nick Temple at San Antonio Commanders training camp. – photo by Joe Alexander
A first glance at Nick Temple doesn’t make you think linebacker.

He might more easily pass for a running back or a safety.

But the 5-foot-10, 216-pounder from the University of Cincinnati has made an impression at San Antonio Commanders camp.

“I like Nick. He brings a ton of energy,” Commanders coach Mike Riley said. “He’s got some unique skills as far as his quickness on the edge and his ability to see stuff happen and make plays.

“He’s a little bit shorter but he’s not small. He’s pretty well put together. He’s got a lot of compensating factors for not being 6-5.”

Since his college days, Temple had a look from the Cincinnati Bengals and spend time with two CFL teams.

With the Commanders, Temple is focusing on his tackling and making more plays.

“I’m not the biggest guy, but I do know how to work my strengths and I work on my weaknesses,” Temple said. “I work on my weaknesses more. It all equals out here on the field.”

Temple’s player bio at Cincinnati:
247sports.com

Temple’s player bio from CFL
cfl.ca

Temple’s tryout with Bengals
cincinnati.com

Training camp report: Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019

After a day off from practice Friday, the team returned to the field at Central Catholic High School under clear blue skies and temperatures in the 60s.

Commanders quarterback Dustin Vaughan at training camp on Saturday. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders quarterback Dustin Vaughan at training camp on Saturday.
Quarterback competition

It looks like Dustin Vaughan is the leader in the four-way quarterback competition. Riley said not so fast. There is no depth chart yet and nobody has publicly been named the starter or first quarterback.

“At this point we’ve got a group of players, it’s a first-year team, a beautiful thing to see take place,” Riley said of the competition in training camp. “I just want to leave the door open so that all of these guys can think of it as an opportunity. The real depth chart doesn’t have to take place for a while.”

Former NFL coach Jeff Fisher was on the sidelines during Saturday's Commanders practice. - photo by Joe Alexander
Former NFL coach Jeff Fisher was on the sidelines during Saturday’s Commanders practice.
Faces on the sidelines

Alliance of American Football (AAF) co-founder Charlie Ebersol and former Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher visited Commanders training camp on Saturday.

Two new players

The Commanders have added offensive lineman Mason Gentry from SMU and wide receiver Greg Ward Jr. from Houston to the roster. The Commanders also terminated the rights of defensive back Tre Dickerson.

From the Commanders daily news release:

Mason Gentry

Appeared in 45 career games at Southern Methodist University along the defensive line … transitioned to
offensive line after college … made 107 tackles in college, including 8.0 for loss, 4.5 sacks and four passes
defended … undrafted in 2018 NFL Draft.

Greg Ward Jr.

Played in 49 career games at the University of Houston … played wide receiver and quarterback as a freshman
before switching to quarterback full time as a sophomore … amassed 11,080 yards and 93 total touchdowns at
Houston … 2015 Earl Campbell Award winner … ranked third in total yards, fourth in passing yards and 10 in
rushing yards at Houston … member of the Super Bowl LII champion Eagles’ practice squad in 2017 …
undrafted in 2017 NFL Draft.

Commanders quarterback Marquise Williams at training camp: photo gallery

Former North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams at San Antonio Commanders training camp. - photo by Joe Alexander
Former North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams at San Antonio Commanders training camp. – photo by Joe Alexander
Two days into San Antonio Commanders training camp, quarterback Marquise Williams feels at home in the team’s offense.

“I love the scheme. It’s similar to the scheme that I ran in college and also at the Green Bay Packers,” Williams said Sunday. “It’s a great scheme and I love it. A lot of RPOs and gives me a ton of time to throw it down the field. I like this offense. It’s working pretty well for us.”

Williams, who played in college at North Carolina, was picked by the Commanders in the second round of the Alliance of American Football (AAF) protect or pick quarterback draft. He is part of a four-way competition at the quarterback position in training camp with Dustin Vaughan, Logan Woodside and Dalton Sturm.

“I thought they made a ton of good plays,” Commanders head coach Mike Riley said of the quarterback play on Sunday. “When we got in that first skeleton period I thought they made a lot of great throws. I like the quarterback situation here a lot. These guys are very very professional for younger ages but you can tell they’ve learned a lot and they’re very easy to work with.”

Coaches everywhere

In addition to the eight AAF teams holding their training camps in San Antonio, the city is flooded with coaches. The American Football Coaches Association is holding its annual convention here.

Riley Smith update

Commanders receiver Riley Smith, who suffered a leg injury in practice on Saturday, confirmed on Twitter that he pulled his hamstring. Smith, who played in college at West Texas A&M, said Sunday he expects to stay with the Commanders while he rehabs.

Commanders add defensive lineman

The Commanders announced they added defensive lineman Richard Ash, who played three collegiate seasons at Michigan and his final season at Western Michigan. He spent two seasons in the NFL – 2015 with the Jacksonville Jaguars and 2016 with the Dallas Cowboys.

More good weather

The Commanders’ second day of training camp workouts was under mostly cloudy skies with a little sunshine. Practice finished with a temperature of 72 degrees.

Commanders quarterback Dalton Sturm at training camp: photo gallery

Commanders quarterback Dalton Sturm gets ready to cut loose a long pass to Josh Stewart on the final play of practice on Saturday. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders quarterback Dalton Sturm gets ready to cut loose a long pass to Josh Stewart on the final play of practice on Saturday. – photo by Joe Alexander
Former UTSA quarterback Dalton Sturm went through the first practice of San Antonio Commanders training camp on Saturday, taking part in the same drills as the other three quarterbacks on the roster.

That was important for Sturm, who didn’t throw during team mini-camp in December while he recovered by an elbow injury.

Sturm was part of a big connection on the final play of practice. Sturm completed a long sideline pass to wide receiver and former UTSA teammate Josh Stewart.

“There’s no doubt it’s a good sign,” Commanders head coach Mike Riley said. “It’s probably a comfort level for those guys to have somebody they’ve known for quite a while on the team so, one of the beautiful things to is as we’ve formed the team, these guys have are going to be getting closer and developing that relationship you need on a football team.”

The other quarterbacks in camp are Dustin Vaughan from West Texas A&M, Marquise Williams from North Carolina and Logan Woodside from Toledo. The four quarterbacks are competing to be the starter and probably for two or three roster spots.

“The best think about football is that it is a competition. No matter how you see it, it’s a competition with you vs. another quarterback or another receiver or whatever,” Vaughan said. “It’s also a competition when you build this team that you’re playing against somebody else, another team. We’re playing against San Diego on Feb. 9. We’re preparing for that.

“So in the midst of this there is always this competition but also too, we’re working toward a goal as a team. We’re looking forward to that.”

Quarterback Marquise Williams at Commanders mini-camp

Former North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams was selected by the San Antonio Commanders in the second round of the AAF protect-or-pick QB draft. He goes through drills at the Commanders' mini-camp in December at the University of the Incarnate Word's Benson Stadium. - photo by Joe AlexanderFormer North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams was selected by the San Antonio Commanders in the second round of the protect-or-pick QB draft. He goes through drills at the Commanders’ mini-camp in December at the University of the Incarnate Word’s Benson Stadium.

The Commanders open the inaugural Alliance of American Football (AAF) season on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019 at home at the Alamodome against the San Diego Fleet.

Who is the Commanders’ top quarterback?

Commanders coach talks about the team's performance in mini-camp after the final practice on Saturday. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders coach Mike Riley talks about the team’s performance in mini-camp after the final practice on Saturday.
After the final practice of San Antonio Commanders mini-camp, I asked head coach Mike Riley if anyone stood out as the top quarterback. He didn’t name a player, but his answer was interesting.

“Even if I knew I wouldn’t tell you right now,” Riley said. He laughed when he said that. “That’s a good question. It’s just something that we’re going to let play out through time.

“Once we get these guys and you go 75 at camp it’s really open competition once again. We want them all to feel like they have opportunity. When people feel like they have opportunity I think you get the most out of them.”

Earlier in mini-camp, Riley said he was pleased with the way the quarterbacks looked. He repeated that viewpoint after Saturday’s final workout.

“They did a nice job,” Riley said. “I think we got a foundation at that position that’s going to be good for us to carry over into camp.”

During the Alliance of American Football (AAF) protect or pick quarterback draft earlier this month, the Commanders protected Dustin Vaughan in the first round. They picked Marquise Williams in the second round and Logan Woodside in the third round.

The team protected former UTSA quarterback Dalton Sturm in the fourth round.

All four quarterbacks have participated in the mini-camp, but Sturm has not been throwing due to what has been called an elbow issue. Riley said earlier in the week that Sturm would not be throwing until training camp in January.

Commanders quarterbacks Dustin Vaughan (left) and Marquise Williams go through a passing drill Thursday during the first practice of mini-camp. - photo by Joe Alexander
Commanders quarterbacks Dustin Vaughan (left) and Marquise Williams go through a passing drill Thursday during the first practice of mini-camp.