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Commanders lend hand to Operation Homefront

Commanders lend hand to Operation Homefront By Jaylon Thompson / The Alliance SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Commanders partnered with Operation Homefront to bring a little joy to the community. On Friday, a platoon of Commanders helped distribute Legos for children on military bases across the southwest. The Legos will be sent to 19 locations in Texas and Louisiana. In December, Good Morning America donated 8,000 Lego sets and now the toys are ready to find a home. “We are giving back to our military families and also our kids,” Operation Homefront program coordinator Rebekah Reyes said. “(Children) are part of it, and they sacrifice as well. This is a little happiness to them and a thank you for what you give as well.” Several players were eager to give back to the community. They arrived early to help set up boxes and bond as a unit. According to linebacker Nick Temple, the opportunity to help those in need was something he couldn’t turn down. “I just want to give back to the community wherever I am at to let them know it’s not all about football,” Temple said. “It’s more than football as it’s for the kids. I am always willing to give back to kids and see a smile on their face.” The Commanders hope to continue helping in the community. This is the first step as they build a relationship with those in the surrounding San Antonio area. “The bonding that we have will stay with us on and off the field,” Temple said. Reyes agrees. She is happy that The Alliance is making a difference to those that need it the most. “It’s amazing that they are out there and are helping the community and supporting our military families,” Reyes said. # # # Jaylon Thompson covers the Atlanta Legends for The Alliance of American Football. You can follow him on Twitter @JaylonThompson. # # # The Alliance of American Football’s inaugural season begins February 9 with two 8 p.m. games on CBS: The San Diego Fleet at San Antonio Commanders, and the Atlanta Legends at Orlando Apollos. Get your tickets here.      

Commanders’ Mike Riley pleased with all four quarterbacks through two weeks of camp

Commanders’ Mike Riley pleased with all four quarterbacks through two weeks of camp   By Cole Thompson, San Antonio Commanders Team Reporter   SAN ANTONIO — On most NFL rosters, a team will carry two active quarterbacks with another waiting in the wings on the practice squad. The Alliance won’t have a practice squad, allowing a third and possibly fourth quarterback to remain on the active roster during the inaugural season. After two weeks of training camp and working hands on with his quarterbacks, San Antonio Commanders coach Mike Riley will have a tough decision to make when it comes time to pick his final selections for the team’s 52 man roster. “I’ve got four guys that are good players and have earned the chance to play,” Riley said. “This is going to be interesting to see who improves moving forward. It’s an open question for me right now.” Each quarterback on the Commanders roster comes with some NFL experience along with several traits that make them unique. Protected with the fourth overall selection in The Alliance’s “Protect or Pick” QB Draft, Dustin Vaughan (West Texas A&M) has the size, arm accuracy and leadership skills that any roster would love to have on the field. Vaughan spent the 2014 NFL season as a member of the Dallas Cowboys where he was named to the active roster as the team’s third-string quarterback. “Dustin has come as advertised,” Riley said. “He’s going to be special and he’s a really good quarterback.” Selected in the second round, Marquise Williams (North Carolina), brings the size and pocket presence awareness that many teams believed he possessed while as a member of the Tar Heel program. Add in his dual-threat ability and the former five-time ACC Player of the Week has the intangibles to keep drives alive and convert with his legs and much as his arm. Williams spent the 2016 season working with the Green Bay Packers before joining the Canadian Football league as a member of the Saskatchewan Rough Riders (2017-18). A former standout for the Toledo Rockets, Logan Woodside was selected by San Antonio just one pick after Williams. During his junior season, Woodside led the NCAA in touchdowns (45) and finished among the top 10 in passing yards (4129) and completion percentage (69.1). Following winning the 2017 MAC Offensive Player of the Year, Woodside spent the start of 2018 NFL season as a member Cincinnati Bengals. “He’s a really good player,” Riley said. “He’s talented and he’s got a ton of savvy. He’s got an understanding of the position and is extremely competitive.” While best known as the local talent from the UTSA, Dalton Sturm is much more than just a feel good story. After missing all of minicamp due to elbow surgery, the former Roadrunner has come out and won over the approval of his coaching staff. Making accurate throws and using his legs, Sturm has the ability to make defenders miss behind the line of scrimmage, allowing his receivers time to break free. Riley has been pleased with Sturm’s rapid improvement and could see him taking over the quarterback room […]

Commanders Camp Three Quick Hits: Mekale McKay is ready for live action

Commanders Camp Three Quick Hits: Mekale McKay is ready for live action   SAN ANTONIO — As the sun finally appeared in the big Texas sky, Dustin Vaughan delivered another spiral down the sideline. The former West Texas A&M quarterback has been consistent with his receivers all of training camp. On a fade route, Greg Ward Jr. (Houston) dives in the open field to make a beautiful grab. The wide receivers unit on the sideline cannot hold back their excitement as Ward Jr. stands and pumps his chest, ending the second week of the San Antonio Commanders training camp on a high note. Training camp is halfway done and with it, tough decisions will have to be made Commanders coach Mike Riley and his staff. Here are Thursday’s training camp notes: Mckale McKay is looking ready for the season opener De’Marcus Ayers (Houston) and Speedy Noil (Texas A&M) might have had strong weeks of camp but McKay hands down had the best day of the practice from the wide receiver group. The former Cincinnati wideout made every catch during individual drills and one-on-one with the quarterbacks Thursday afternoon. During the team’s scrimmage, McKay hauled in a pass from Vaughan on a fade route, overpowering the defender to make a fantastic grab. The drive would end with a touchdown to John Diarse (TCU) on a quick slant route. While depth chart isn’t set just yet, McKay is making a case to become the permanent starter on the outside.   2. Marquise Williams’ legs are going to make him dangerous Quarterbacks that are mobile tend to have a longer career in football due to their ability to make defenders miss under pressure. That could be the case for Williams (North Carolina) as his legs have helped keep plays alive during offensive drills. During team scrimmage, the 6-foot-1 signal caller maneuvered through pressure set by the defensive line and picked up several fist downs. When his receivers were well guarded, Williams’ legs carried him forward, keeping the drives alive. With the quarterback battle still in a dead heat, the former Tar Heel could be gaining traction moving into the third week of camp.   Joel Lanning looking smooth in coverage   Some players struggle making a position change while others thrive the second the first whistle is blown. Joel Lanning would fall into the second category as his skills in coverage have impressed during the second week. The quarterback turned linebacker was smooth with his feet against the running backs during seven on seven drills, breaking up several passes. Improving as a tackler, the former Iowa State star has become a key part of Jim Grobe’s defense and could be in line for a starting role by the end of camp.   The San Antonio Commanders are in training camp throughout January. The Alliance of American Football’s inaugural season begins Saturday, February 9, when the Commanders host the San Diego Fleet at the Alamodome. You can get your tickets at: SanAntonioCommanders.com/tickets

Orion Stewart growing under Jim Grobe’s defensive structure

Orion Stewart growing under Jim Grobe’s defensive structure   By Cole Thompson, San Antonio Commanders Team Reporter   SAN ANTONIO — When the Baylor Bears signed Jim Grobe a one-year contract to return to football in 2016, he wanted to establish a safe and innovated system. While there, Grobe became close with several players, including strong safety Orion Stewart. Two years later, the pair have been reunited in San Antonio, ready to lead the Commanders defense to an unforgettable inaugural season. “It’s so great to be back with coach Grobe,” Stewart said. “Having a familiar face always helps and he knows what I’m capable of doing on the field. It’s good to have somebody you know.” A three-year starter for the Baylor defense (2013-16), Stewart helped the Bears defense post three 10 plus win seasons, including two trips to the New Year Six bowl games (Fiesta Bowl 2013, Cotton Bowl 2014). When Grobe arrived, he wanted his new players to feel comfortable in their surroundings. Knowing his tenure would be short, Grobe elected to keep the same personnel system in place for players to best show their skills for NFL scouts. In his senior season, Stewart would finish with a career high 51 tackles, four pass deflections and six interceptions. In San Antonio, Grobe’s 3-4 defense might be different for Stewart, but he’s learning quickly under his former head coach. “The system is different, I’m not going to lie,” Stewart said. “Coach didn’t want to change much up [at Baylor in 2016]. But knowing how coach works is helping succeed right now.” Undrafted in 2017, Stewart spent several seasons bouncing around the NFL before making San Antonio his permanent home. Stewart was best used in the preseason for the Denver Broncos (2017), Buffalo Bills (2017), Washington Redskins (2017-18) before making the active roster of the New York Giants (2018). While Stewart’s action in the NFL has been limited, his role will be key to help the Commanders defense find a rhythm before the start of the first snap. In his mind, Stewart can already see the Commanders defense being one of the top units in The Alliance. “We’ve got a lot of attitude on this defense,” Stewart said. “We have ball players that are eager to make plays and they’re going to fly around. You’ll hear a lot of pads banging this season.” For Stewart, The Alliance is a second chance for him to continue his NFL career. Currently in place to perhaps start as the team’s strong safety, the former Bear is looking to make big time hits and hear the sounds of pads keeping his dream alive. For now though, Stewart is just ready to hit someone other than his teammate. “I love the sound of hitting,” Stewart said. “I love this game of football and I’m just glad I get to wake up, tie my laces and get ready to go.”       The San Antonio Commanders are in training camp throughout January. The Alliance of American Football’s inaugural season begins Saturday, February 9, when the Commanders host the San Diego Fleet at the Alamodome. You […]

Commanders Camp Three Quick Hits: safeties shine in midweek practice  

Commanders Camp Three Quick Hits: Safeties shine in midweek practice     By Cole Thompson, San Antonio Commanders Team Reporter SAN ANTONIO — As the quarterback battle continues to rage on at Central Catholic, the San Antonio Commanders secondary decided to have their way Wednesday afternoon. As the Commanders entered the training camp practice in shells, defensive backs coach, Bill Bradley made sure his players went full speed attacking the ball during team drills. Here are Wednesday’s practice notes:   Strong safety situation The Commanders secondary has outshone the rest of the defensive front over the past several practices. Wednesday however, all eyes turned to safety position, who performed admirably during 7-on-7 and team drills. Free safety Derron Smith (Fresno State) displayed excellent concentration, snagging an interception off a pass deflection instigated by cornerback Jordan Thomas (Oklahoma). Strong safety Orion Stewart (Baylor) was looking to hunt for tackles as he delivered several pops along with a pass breakup. While several members of the secondary are fighting the injury report, Stewart and Smith has consistently been productive during drills.   Kenneth Farrow II could become lead back The Commanders running back room is filled with plenty of playmakers. While some are great between the tackles and others are better pass catchers, Kenneth Farrow II (Houston) might be the most balanced runner through two 11 practices. During running drills, Farrow II displayed quickness and strength, avoiding two tackles and collecting a first down. In pass drills, the former Cougar caught every pass including a seam route over the defenders head. Nothing is set in stone but Farrow II has plenty to be hold his head up following another strong day.   Nick Temple is going to shine Although not the largest of linebackers, Nick Temple (Cincinnati) has the heart and drive that will keep him around for quite some time. The 5-foot-10 defender has been taking starting reps at outside linebacker and made his presence felt in coverage. During the team reps, Temple broke up several passes and collect another interception on a circus route intended for the running back. Although his size might not allow him to become an elite pass rusher, his speed and coverage skills should keep him trending towards the top of the depth chart moving into the weekend.          The San Antonio Commanders are in training camp throughout January. The Alliance of American Football’s inaugural season begins Saturday, February 9, when the Commanders host the San Diego Fleet at the Alamodome. You can get your tickets at: SanAntonioCommanders.com/tickets

SAN ANTONIO COMMANDERS ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP WITH H-E-B

SAN ANTONIO COMMANDERS ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP WITH H-E-B   SAN ANTONIO – JANUARY 15, 2019 – The Alliance of American Football’s San Antonio Commanders have announced that Texas-based grocer H-E-B has joined the Commanders as a founding partner. “H-E-B is a San Antonio and Texas staple,” said Commanders President Vic Gregovits. “Having H-E-B join as a founding partner for our inaugural season is another example of the Commanders and the Commanders’ brand becoming integrated into the San Antonio community. “We have created a partnership that will be an integral part of our fan engagement, starting in their neighborhood store and culminating with unique experiences on game day.” “H-E-B is proud to support the San Antonio Commanders as they kick-off the inaugural season of The Alliance of American Football in the Alamo City,” said Cory Basso, H-E-B Group Vice President of Marketing & Advertising. “We are thrilled to be a part of this new chapter in professional sports for San Antonio. We wish the organization success this season as we, along with fans, welcome the team to the San Antonio community.” H-E-B will be the presenting partner of the Commanders’ inaugural game and patron a limited edition t-shirt, which will be given away to 20,000 fans on February 9 when the Commanders host the San Diego Fleet at the Alamodome live on CBS. In addition, the Alamodome’s H-E-B Plaza will feature the H-E-B Tailgate Zone, a premium tailgate experience with all-you-can-eat food with a cash bar. The experience comes with seats between the 25-yard lines on the east side of the Alamodome. Season tickets for the H-E-B Tailgate Zone are only $100 per game. Call the Commanders’ ticket office at 210-944-0504 or email sales.commanders@aaf.com to take advantage of the offer. Fans can guarantee their limited edition t-shirt by purchasing season tickets or tickets to the inaugural game during the Commanders Open House event on Saturday, January 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those making a purchase during the Open House will receive a voucher to redeem on February 9. NOTE: Current season ticket members and previously purchased game one ticket buyers will have a t-shirt voucher automatically loaded onto their account (one per seat).   About the Commanders’ Open House Join the San Antonio Commanders at the Alamodome on  Saturday, January 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for an Open House, including a #CommanderCamp open practice from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm, followed by fun-filled activities. Guests are welcome to view the player locker room and enjoy on-field games following practice. Plus, hear about a variety of ticket packages, scope out seats and have questions answered about all things San Antonio Commanders. About H-E-B H-E-B, with sales of $25 billion, operates 400 stores in Texas and Mexico. Known for its innovation and community service, H-E-B celebrates its 113th anniversary this year. Recognized for its fresh food, quality products, convenient services, and a commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability, H-E-B strives to provide the best customer experience and lowest prices. Based in San Antonio, H-E-B employs over 110,000 Partners in Texas and Mexico and serves millions of customers in more than […]

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