Updated: Sep 9, 2022
Here at the USFL Network we have broken some big news in the USFL world, one of these being that Tim Lewis would be the Defensive Coordinator of the Houston Gamblers. Through an interview with Gamblers LB Donald Payne Jr we were able to learn and share (with his consent) that Tim Lewis was the acting DC. This news ties together a few draft picks and brings some interesting topics up.
Tim Lewis has a long resume of coaching in both college and the NFL, but possibly the most applicable experience he has is his time as the head coach of the Birmingham Iron in the AAF and as defensive backs coach of the St. Louis Battlehawks in the XFL. Lewis is no stranger to the alternative football scene and is an absolute steal as the defensive Coordinator of the Houston Gamblers. We have heard from both Donald Payne and Dominique Davis that Lewis is adapting his 3-4 defensive playbook from the AAF to the USFL, and that is fantastic news. In the AAF before it disbanded, the Iron were 5-3 and had a great defensive showing. In the Iron’s first game they shut out the Memphis Express 26-0. In their first three games the Iron gave up a total of 21 points to their opponents. If this is any sign of what we should expect from the Gamblers, there is much to be excited about.
The Houston Defense was in question by a few different sites covering the USFL, and with good reason, but Tim Lewis can bring some solace to those with doubts. The main issue that some had with the Gamblers defense was the secondary’s the tallest member is 6’ 2” tall being the safety Andrew Soroh. This is misleading to say as they have three other members of the secondary at 6’ 1” being safety Manny Bunch and the corners Howard Wilson and Stanley Green. Even if this is not enough to convince you that the secondary is fairly big enough, there is also the fact that Tim Lewis was a corner in the NFL and has coached defensive backs specifically for just short of 20 years of his career. The secondary is in basically the best hands they could be in this league.
A huge area of concern league wide going into week one is the player chemistry and understanding of the playbooks. The Gamblers took ILB Beniquez Brown with their first pick in the ILB round of the draft, and took CB Jamar Summers as their first pick in the secondary rounds. Both Brown and Summers were standout players on the Birmingham Iron’s defense in the AAF who was coached by, you guessed it, Tim Lewis. Beniquez Brown was the play-caller and leader of the Iron’s defense and was immediately a leader on the Gamblers defense as we were told by fellow LB Payne. This chemistry and full understanding of the playbook that Lewis is adapting to the USFL, will give them a head start going into their matchup with the Panthers week 1.
The last topic we would like to touch on is the backup quarterback for the Birmingham Iron who made a name for himself coming in off the bench in the XFL, Luis Perez. As Ben Holmes sadly suffered a broken toe, Luis Perez is stepping in to be the highly anticipated new quarterback for the New Jersey Generals. Being the backup QB for the Iron meant that Perez had many reps against the starting defense which was coached and called by Tim Lewis. It would be smart to assume that Tim Lewis has seen all of Luis Perez’s tricks and will have a good idea of what he will be up against in week 6 of the inaugural season of the USFL if he is the starter.