Three weeks into the season, the Birmingham Iron remain with the Orlando Apollos in the ranks of the unbeaten. Week 3 featured the Iron traveling to Atlanta for their first away game of the season against the winless Legends. The matchup went almost to script as the offense struggled (save the three touchdown runs by Trent Richardson— RTR), while the defense took command with three interceptions, a fumble recovery and a turnover-on-downs. For this article, I would like to discuss former Alabama QB Blake Sims and an Iron defensive player that has been unparalleled: Jamar Summers.
I must admit that I love the story of Louis Perez; it is hard not to like him as he has not been to blame for any misfortunes as he has only thrown one interception-- although he has yet to toss a touchdown. One can defend him, however, by pointing out that in the Red Zone, Trent Richardson gets his number called quite a bit, as he remains the only Iron offensive player to score a touchdown (6 TDs). Perez did have a touchdown pass dropped in the end zone in week 2 and was the victim of a handful of dropped passes versus the Legends. Against Atlanta, Perez was 17/31 with 160 passing yards to go along with his lone interception. This is by no means a bash on Louis Perez, but a bit of "thinking-out-loud," if you will, from a biased Alabama fan. That being said, I would like to see HC Tim Lewis give Blake Sims a shot under center.
As many of you are aware, Blake Sims was the starting QB for the Tide in 2014 under Nick Saban. A native to the state of Georgia, Sims stands an even six feet tall. But do not be misled by his stature! In his lone season as a starter, Sims proved himself to be a dual-threat QB passing for 28 TDs and 10 INTs while rushing for an additional 7 TDs. As fate would have it, the Crimson Tide QB received no love from the NFL as he went undrafted and drifted about as a free agent before signing with the Canadian Football League. Sims played for a few other minor teams and even participated with the practice squad of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a short period before being released. Sims’ career has unfortunately been less than stellar since parting from the University of Alabama.
However, given his experience in the competitive SEC along with his dual-threat abilities, it is plausible to consider Sims may have what it takes to advance the Iron offense to the next level. The final decision is up to Lewis of course, but I think I am safe in assuming most of us Bama fans want to see Sims in action.
Jamar Summers is a name you will be hearing a lot. Summers played college for the Connecticut Huskies and one season for the Pittsburgh Steelers before being cut and finding himself playing for the Iron in our great state. Summers is taking full advantage of his second chance, courtesy of the AAF, as his defensive efforts during the first three weeks are a large contributing factor for the Birmingham 3-0 record. According to a commentator on CBS sports, Summers has only allowed four catches through week 3. He has accumulated seven solo tackles while also leading the team with two interceptions..
Man-to-man or zone, press coverage or playing soft, it doesn’t matter. Summers has the defensive football instincts that can give wide receivers fits. He has been great at reading plays, and his ability to position himself on the ball is reflexive... He did get beat on a deep ball against the Legends for one of the two passes he surrendered but hey, nobody’s perfect, right? If you are going to throw in the direction of Jamar Summers, you better have the likes of Julio Jones lined up on the outside, because this CB has been impressive.
Standing at 3-0 the Birmingham Iron are one of only two remaining unbeaten teams in the opening season of the AAF. Anyone who has watched any of the first three games by the Iron will convey that the defense has been impressive with the mind of Tim Lewis and the ability of Jamar Summers at the helm, but the offense requires some tweaking. Perhaps the problem is the new play clock rule (the 35 second timer begins at the end of each play, not once the ball is spotted) that rushes the offense to pick plays, less time for audibles, etc. Maybe a trial run for Blake Sims will give this Iron offense the spark it needs to better move the ball downfield. This week the Iron will host the San Antonio Commanders for a week 4 showdown.
Only time will tell who the last unbeaten will be, and I hope it will be the Iron.
Until next time folks. Roll Tide and Forge On!