The Birmingham Iron took the field in their Alliance of American Football debut against the Memphis Express last Sunday and offered up the most impressive defensive performance of the weekend. The Iron blanked Memphis, 26-to-0, holding the team to 202 total yards, including 99 net passing yards, behind a strong effort from cornerback Jamar Summers and the team's secondary.
As a team, the Iron defense made Memphis quarterbacks Christian Hackenberg and Brandon Silvers look uninspiring throughout the game. Hackenberg hit on only 10 of his 23 pass attempts for 87 yards and one interception for a 58.5 overall grade, third-worst among 10 qualified quarterbacks. Silvers didn’t fare much better after taking over for Hackenberg by completing three-of-four passes and also throwing a pick. His overall grade for the game was 43.9 in limited action.
The play of Summers was noteworthy among many standout performances throughout the AAF’s introduction weekend. The 6’1” cornerback out of the University of Connecticut went undrafted before signing with Pittsburgh Steelers for a training camp audition last season. Summers eventually failed to make the 53-man roster but appeared in four preseason games producing a 65.6 overall grade and a 67.4 coverage grade. In his preseason action, he allowed only three receptions on 10 targets with two pass breakups on 85 coverage snaps.
In his AAF debut against Memphis, Summers generated the highest coverage grade of the weekend at 90.7. With his shutdown ability on full display, he allowed one catch on three targets for negative-two yards with one interception and one pass breakup en route to a remarkable 2.8 passer rating allowed. Behind his 87.4 overall grade, Summers helped the Irons achieve the second-highest team defense and coverage grades for the weekend at 77.9 and 81.4, respectively.
Moving forward, the Irons will look to slow down the Salt Lake Stallions in Week 2 of the AAF. As for Summers, he’ll look to string together back-to-back lockdown weeks at his cornerback position in hopes of continuing to draft an NFL-caliber resume for teams to consider this summer.