Quarterback a position of luxury for the Express
By Dylan Rubino, Memphis Express Team Reporter
SAN ANTONIO – It’s a luxury when a football team has one or two starting caliber quarterbacks on the roster, but for the Memphis Express, there are four of them.
Zach Mettenberger (LSU), Brandon Silvers (Troy), Christian Hackenberg (Penn State) and Troy Cook (UT-Martin) are all duking it out in training camp to win the job under center for the season.
It’s a tight battle between the four signal-callers and all have made progress in their own ways. It’s a competitive battle, but the four of them have formed a tight group and pick each other up every single rep at practice.
“It’s good camaraderie we have out there,” Mettenberger said. “You got to have friends, but at the same time we have to push each other to be better. All of us have done that so far.”
The ball didn’t hit the ground much in 11-on-11 drills as all the quarterbacks looked sharp and have seemed to build a good rapport with the wide receivers. That relationship didn’t just start on the practice, but off the field and in the meeting rooms.
“When Mike (Singletary) hired me and gave me this title, I wanted to put the quarterbacks and receivers in the same room,” offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach David Lee said. “It’s really sped us up in our improvement and it’s been showing on the field.”
Silvers and Mettenberger both looked sharp for the second day in a row in 11-on-11 drills. Silvers went 4-for-4 in the first session and hit wide receiver Xavier Rush on a deep pass down the left sideline. Rush made a juggling catch on pass thrown high and kept his feet in bounds.
Silvers has made big plays throughout the beginning of camp, but he’s knows there’s more work to be done.
“This all goes back to mini camp. We had good practices there and we got comfortable with everybody,” Silvers said. “We got four good quarterbacks out there as well as good receivers. You try and work after practice a little bit and kind of get used to each other.”
Silvers is the mystery coming into camp with Cook, Hackenberg and Mettenberger garnering most of the attention, but that doesn’t faze the Troy product and just looks to prove himself on the field.
“We’re all just out here trying to make the team and just got out there and compete,” Silvers said. “We all played at different schools, some bigger than others. We’re all here and it doesn’t matter where you went to school, but the best guy is going to get a job and I’m having fun competing with everybody.”
It’s been hard for all of the coaches to determine who is the leader in the clubhouse for the starting quarterback job. Lee has seen drastic improvement from all four quarterbacks throughout camp and looks to see improvement in the future.
“Their footwork looks good, they’re framed up real good and they’re taking the proper drop,” Lee said. “They’re throwing the football on time and accurately. Receivers are making good catches and the quarterbacks are throwing the ball away from the defenders.”
“What I’ve seen so far is just really good competition. Nobody is really stepping out in front of the other,” head coach Mike Singletary said.
- Tomorrow brings the first day of full pads at practice and the players are excited to strap it on and show what they’re made of. “Guys are always excited about pads until they get them,” Singletary said. “You really do find out who the real football players are.”
- Rush stood out among the receivers at Day 3 of practices, reeling in multiple passes and stretching the field vertically.
- Defensive back Terrell Bonds had a pick-six during 11-on-11 drills.