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UFL Week 3 Preview: Key storylines, best pass-rush reps from Week 2 and more

2X002TC ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 06: Arlington Renegades quarterback Luis Perez (12) prepares to take the snap from Arlington Renegades center Jake Lacina (68) during the USL football game between the Arlington Renegades and the St. Louis Battlehawks on April 06, 2024 at The Dome at America's Center in St. Louis, MO.(Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

PFF has you covered for UFL grades and analysis this season. Be sure to check out our Week 2 Team of the Week and player awards.

This article will serve as a preview for the upcoming week of UFL action with rotating sections. Ahead of Week 3, we’ll examine the four matchups and take a look at some of the highest-graded pass-rush reps from the previous week.

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Week 3 Preview

D.C. Defenders (1-1) @ Arlington Renegades (0-2)

Time: 1 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 13

Can the Defenders’ notable CB duo contain Renegades QB Luis Perez?

Gareon Conley and DeAndre Baker are familiar names to NFL fans as former first-round picks looking to revive their careers with the Defenders. They are off to a good start, having allowed a combined three catches on 10 targets into their coverage for all of 17 yards. Birmingham’s elite duo of Mark Gilbert and Lorenzo Burns have more ball production, but Baker and Conley are proving better at limiting yardage.

Facing those cornerbacks is one of the league’s most productive passing attacks, albeit one that has been unable to secure Arlington its first win of the season. Quarterback Luis Perez remains potent with the ball in his hands, sporting the second-best PFF overall grade among quarterbacks (79.2) despite the team’s record. Dating back to last season’s championship run, he has earned a 65.0-plus PFF overall grade in six of his past seven outings.

Memphis Showboats (1-1) @ Birmingham Stallions (2-0)

Time: 7 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 13

The UFL’s best takes on a reeling Showboats squad

Close games abound in the UFL, but Birmingham has established itself as the UFL’s frontrunner under head coach Skip Holtz. A second straight defensive masterclass, featuring 25 quarterback pressures, five forced incompletions and a forced fumble, propelled the Stallions to a Week 2 win over the Michigan Panthers, despite subpar quarterback play. Opposing squads should be frightened that Birmingham’s passing attack can go 13-of-27 for 141 yards and an interception and still win.

A Week 2 collapse of epic proportions resulted in the Showboats’ first loss of the season, and now it’s about bouncing back against a fearsome Stallions team. Memphis held a 16-0 lead over the San Antonio Brahmas in the third quarter and a 19-8 edge with less than a minute to go. Although the Showboats secured a fourth-quarter interception of quarterback Chase Garbers, the defense let up 23 second-half receptions on 29 throws into a player’s primary coverage for 275 yards, three scores and 14 first downs. That is not a recipe for success.

Houston Roughnecks (0-2) @ Michigan Panthers (1-1)

Time: 12 p.m. ET, Sunday, April 14

Panthers QB EJ Perry will look to overcome Houston’s effective pass rush

The Roughnecks are winless largely because of inconsistent quarterback play — not poor defensive showings. Houston is home to two of the UFL’s 10 highest-graded players at interior defender and edge defender, having tallied the most combined sacks and quarterback hits (22) of any team thus far.

Meanwhile, Panthers quarterback EJ Perry is looking to continue improving against pressure. He earned the league’s lowest PFF pressured grade (22.3) in Week 1 against the Battlehawks after going 1-of-5 with an interception in such situations, but he looked better in Week 2 on his way to a 62.2 pressured grade.

St. Louis Battlehawks (1-1) @ San Antonio Brahmas (2-0)

Time: 4 p.m. ET, Sunday, April 14

Prepare for an early-season premier QB battle

The Battlehawks’ A.J. McCarron and the Brahmas’ Chase Garbers are the undisputed top signal-callers in the UFL thus far, both carrying 70.0-plus PFF grades and throwing for four-plus touchdowns and 400-plus yards. St. Louis is a Jake Bates 64-yard field goal miss away from joining San Antonio at 2-0.

With both quarterbacks playing at a high level, this game may come down to which receiving corps can help out its quarterback more. Battlehawks receivers have dropped a league-high eight passes — four more than the next-closest team — but continue to produce. Brahmas receivers lead the league in yards, yards after the catch and touchdowns.

Highest-Graded Pass-Rush Plays from Week 2

EDGE Maximilian Roberts, Memphis Showboats (Q1: 0:23)

Roberts beats Brahmas left tackle Chuck Filiaga here with impressive hands before speeding to quarterback Chase Garbers and forcing a fumble. Roberts’ 90.7 PFF pass-rushing grade in 2024 is tied for the top mark among edge defenders.

DI P.J. Hall, Memphis Showboats (Q2: 4:12)

Maximilian Roberts gets the sack on this play, but watch the big man Hall in the middle. His get-off is quicker than every other defensive lineman, and he powers his way through the left guard and running back to force Brahmas quarterback Chase Garbers off his spot. Hall’s 77.2 PFF pass-rushing grade ranks fourth among interior defenders.

DI Jalen Redmond, Arlington Renegades (Q3: 12:06)

We are without a publicly available video of this play, but Redmond’s effort earned him a high grade. He swim-moves past the center and dives at quarterback A.J. McCarron’s legs for the sack. Redmond owns the second-best PFF overall grade (90.1) among interior defenders through two weeks.

EDGE Taco Charlton, Birmingham Stallions (Q1: 4:23)

Again, we are without a publicly available video of this play. Charlton wreaked havoc in Week 2, coming up with three sacks and four total pressures. On this play, he utilizes a nasty spin move on Michigan Panthers left tackle Ryan Pope to pressure quarterback EJ Perry, who gets the ball out just in time.

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