In Week 1 of the 2024 season, several UFL offenses struggled coming out of the gate. Those struggles are a combination of many of the teams in the UFL still working to build chemistry, and with preseason games, it can be easier for teams to re-create game conditions for their offenses in training camp. For the teams that struggled on offense, the blame for those offensive struggles tends to fall on the shoulders of each team’s quarterback. For many fans, the most important stat for a quarterback is whether or not their team wins the game. Other quarterback rankings can also focus on the potential of a quarterback for success.

In reality, the primary job of a quarterback is to take their offensive scheme and find ways to get the ball to the weapons around them. To accurately judge how well a quarterback played, it is essential to find an objective metric for determining the success of each quarterback in their respective system. With that in mind, the metric that we have chosen to evaluate quarterback performance is their quarterback efficiency rating, with the understanding that the quarterbacks that play most efficiently tend to give their team the best chance to be successful.

Let’s look at each quarterback’s performance in Week 1 with the frame of reference of their efficiency ratings and how well each quarterback leads their offense.

 #1 Chase Garbers, San Antonio Brahmas (1-0)

When Chase Garbers was named the starting quarterback for the Brahmas, many were surprised that he had beaten out Quintin Dormady for the opportunity to lead offensive coordinator AJ Smith’s offense. Garbers responded to his doubters by playing the most efficient game in the UFL in Week 1, earning a quarterback rating of 155.5.

Overall, Garbers did a good job of getting the ball to his weapons and showing good composure during his first start in his professional football career. He completed 19 of 25 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns, and he also added a rushing touchdown on the goal line. Garbers’ leadership was critical in the Brahmas’ upset victory against the DC Defenders.

#2 AJ McCarron, Saint Louis Battlehawks (0-1)

McCarron came into the UFL season expecting to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league. The Battlehawks offensive line struggled to provide him with consistent protection or establish the Saint Louis running game against the Michigan Panthers, which limited McCarron’s ability to elevate the Battlehawks offense. Despite those challenges of the offensive line, McCarron earned a quarterback rating of 131.7.

While McCarron could not overcome the weaknesses of his offense against Michigan, he played a solid game. McCarron completed 24 passes on 37 passing attempts, resulting in 216 yards and two touchdowns. Even under pressure, McCarron played with poise and did not turn the ball over to the Panthers.

#3 Matt Corral, Birmingham Stallions (1-0)

In the UFL season, most fans expect the Stallions to continue their dominance of spring football after winning back-to-back USFL championships. The only question about the Stallions coming into the first week of the UFL was, who would be their starting quarterback? Matt Corral was the first quarterback allowed to lead the Stallions offense, and he responded by earning a quarterback rating of 143.7.

Corral completed 12 of 21 passes for 201 yards, resulting in one touchdown and one interception. Corral ran the ball four times for 25 yards on the ground, leading the Stallions to a convincing victory against the Arlington Renegades.

#4 Jarrett Guarantano, Houston Roughnecks (0-1)

Guarantano is a good example of a quarterback who plays better than his supporting cast. Overall, the Houston offense struggled with ball security, including a fumble that led to a defensive touchdown for the Memphis Showboats. Despite his weapons struggles, Guarantano performed well, earning a quarterback rating of 138.99.

Guarantano completed 16 of his 21 passing attempts for 157 yards and ran the ball twice for 22 yards. While Guarantano did a good job of managing his offense and giving his team a chance to steal a comeback victory, he did not throw any interceptions and failed to throw any touchdown passes.

#5 Luis Perez, Arlington Renegades (0-1)

Over the last several years of spring football, Luis Perez has become a model of success. Most recently, he led his Renegades to a 2023 XFL championship. While the Renegades struggled to sustain offensive success against the Birmingham Stallions in Week 1, Perez played a solid game with a quarterback rating of 136.7.

Perez completed 19 out of 28 pass attempts, which resulted in 214 yards and one passing touchdown. Additionally, he ran the ball for six yards on two rushing attempts. While playing a solid game against the Stallions, he threw one interception in their loss.

#6 Case Cookus, Memphis Showboats (1-0)

Despite the Memphis offense failing to establish its running game, Case Cookus was able to play consistent football and lead his team to a victory against Houston. Cookus earned a quarterback rating of 104.6 while completing 23 out of 40 passes, resulting in 209 yards and one touchdown. Cookus also ran the ball four times for 16 yards, but he also threw one interception. Despite the turnover, Cookus was able to play well enough for his team to open the season with a win against a division opponent.

#7 Jordan Ta’amu, DC Defenders (0-1)

The DC Defenders and 2023 XFL Offensive Player of the Year, Jordan Ta’amu, came into the first week of the UFL with high expectations. While the DC offense failed to find a rhythm and struggled to score points, Ta’amu played well enough to earn a 95.0 quarterback rating. Ta’amu completed 25 passes on 45 attempts, resulting in 235 yards, but he failed to throw a touchdown pass. He did run three times for 10 yards.

#8 EJ Perry, Michigan Panthers (1-0)

The Michigan Panthers surprised those who follow the UFL when they could pick up an 18-16 win against the Saint Louis Battlehawks in their home opener. While the Panthers did what they needed to do to win the game, including a 64-yard game-winning field goal, Panthers quarterback EJ Perry struggled at times. While working to find a rhyme, Perry earned a quarterback rating of 94.9 while completing 12 out of 24 passes for 176 yards. Perry turned the ball over twice with two interceptions and failed to throw a touchdown pass in the win against Saint Louis.

Follow me on X: @AaronSauter7

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Aaron Sauter
Aaron Sauter is a 23-veteran high school football coach that is also an fan of all levels of football. He is especially interested in alternative football leagues like the CFL, UFL, and IFL. Aaron enjoys analyzing innovative schemes on offense and defense during his free time.

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