Bears News: Previewing the USFL: Pittsburgh Maulers

Bears News: Previewing the USFL: Pittsburgh Maulers

by - Senior Writer -

At long last, we have reached the final team in our USFL preview series as we head back out East to the North Division. It is all about the Pittsburgh Maulers this season, who have as much hype behind them as anyone entering the year.

That is hard to believe when you look at a team coming off one of the worst seasons in the league that helped them earn the No. 2 pick in the USFL draft. However, with a new look that saw them ditch the Purple and Orange for the traditional Pittsburgh Black and Gold, there was already a sense of excitement in the air.

Throw in their games being played at Canton, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, fans will be making the short drive west to create what could be a hostile environment. Another reason fans are excited and the anticipation is building is having Ray Horton as Head Coach as he takes over for Kirby Wilson.

Horton was widely regarded as one of the more respected defensive coaches in the game and was often considered a candidate for a head coach opening. For whatever reason, that opening never came in the NFL, but he gets to live out that dream now.

Horton has done his best to put a solid staff together, although most of the guys he picked are small names. However, if this coaching staff is on the same page, and can gel together quickly, this team could go from worst to first.

For that to happen, you need your players to deliver, especially at the QB position. Not only do the Maulers have James Morgan ready to go, but Troy Williams, also. However, the No. 2 pick in the USFL draft comes with the most hype in QB Lindsey Scott Jr.

The former Incarnate Word QB is a human highlight reel that eclipsed 70 total TDs this season. Scott still has his name in the NFL draft portal as he could be drafted, but the Maulers own his rights should he stay in the USFL, as he could become the PJ Walker of this league.

A big reason why fans are so high on Scott is that his favorite target from college Taylor Grimes has joined him. Taken in the fourth round of the USFL draft, Grimes is a 1500-yard receiver and has a knack for getting YAC. We have seen what college teammates have done in the NFL, and if these two can come close to that, look out, USFL.

Grimes will have plenty of talent around him, including Tre Walker and Bailey Gaither. A former practice squad guy, Gaither is eager to prove he is good enough to play in the NFL, and this is his chance to show it. While the passing game has a ton of promise, it could be the running game that takes center stage this season, as the Maulers have a good two-headed monster to lean on.

Madre London will be the go-to RB this season as he will be the lightning in the backfield.

Then you have the thunder in Garrett Groshek, who can also play a vital role in the passing game out of the backfield.

If everything goes according to plan, this offense has a chance to be one of the best in the league, but it will be up to the defense to match it. This was an area of concern last season, and even with a defensive-minded head coach, I wonder if this was addressed.

331-pound Olive Sagapolu will be a load in the trenches and should have his way with ball carriers running up the middle. Former Chicago Bears practice squad member Terry Beckner will also be a force up front, giving the Maulers two Maulers in the middle.

Despite a ton of talent on this roster, no one may be as talented as the former Washington Commanders LB Reuben Foster, who will lead the LB group this season. Despite coming away with just 84 tackles and two pass deflections in six seasons, Foster is far more talented than many LBs in this league and could use that to his advantage.

Safety Eric Burell is another talented player and could be the best safety in the USFL.

Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, there is still a 10-week season to be played, but look for Pittsburgh to be the most improved team this season.

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