USFL 2023 midseason awards: Breakers dominate; former Chiefs LB tabbed as Defensive Player of the Year

And then, there were none. After a 4-0 start, the New Orleans Breakers suffered their very first loss of the 2023 season following a 17-10 loss to Memphis Showboats in Week 5. While the loss ended their best season, it did little to moisten what was a glittering start for coach John DeFilippo and his group. 

The Breakers have actually been the USFL’s finest group up until now, however whatever is still up for grabs as the league heads into the 2nd half. Each group in the North department presently has a 2-3 record. New Orleans has a one video game lead in the South department, with the Gamblers and Stallions simply one video game behind. Memphis closed the space in between themselves and the Breakers in the standings this previous weekend after holding New Orleans’ explosive offense to simply one goal.  

Before Week 6 begins, here’s a take a look at our USFL midseason awards. 


Winner: RB Wes Hills, Breakers 
Runner-up: QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Breakers 

Hills characterizes what the USFL is everything about. Despite an effective college profession and a short run of success in the NFL, Hills was mainly non-active over the last 2 years while playing in the Canadian Football League. After a long haul, Hills has actually lastly gotten his opportunity to be an included back at the professional level with the Breakers. To state that Hills has actually benefited from the chance would be a huge understatement. 

The league’s existing leader in hurrying backyards and hurrying goals, Hills set the modern-day league’s single-game records after acquiring 191 backyards and 3 goals on 34 brings in New Orleans’ Week 3 win over the protecting champ Stallions. A week later on, Hills ran for 2 ratings in the Breakers’ 20-17 win over the Generals. Even in defeat this previous weekend, Hills tallied 82 overall backyards that consisted of 7 catches for 46 backyards. 

“All the ups and downs, it’s great to see that I’m able to show the world and prove it myself that I can play,” Hills stated throughout a current interview with CBS Sports. “I’ve got a little game. It’s a good feeling. It’s a really good feeling.”

Offensive Player of the Year

Winner:  QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, Breakers 
Runner-up: QB Alex McGough, Stallions 

Bethel-Thompson leapt to the USFL this year after an extremely effective six-year run in the Canadian Football League that consisted of 2 Grey Cup triumphes. The future 35-year-old has almost 300 more passing backyards than the league’s second-leading passer, the Stars’ Case Cookus. Along with finishing almost 67% of his passes, Bethel-Thompson is likewise connected for 2nd in the USFL with 7 goal passes. 

“He’s a great leader, great person, even better father,” Hills just recently stated of Bethel-Thompson, who prior to the CFL bet 5 various NFL groups that consisted of a stint with John DeFilippo in Philadelphia in 2016. “He’s a great guy. It means a lot to be able to play with a veteran that has won championships and has been so successful at his position. … He came in and took control of the offense.”

Defensive Player of the Year

Winner:  DE Breeland Speaks, Panthers 
Runner-up: POUND Chris Orr, Generals 

The Chiefs’ second-round choice in the 2018 NFL Draft, Speaks has actually lastly reached his capacity as a professional gamer in the USFL. Speaks, who had fun with 5 NFL groups from 2018-21, presently leads the USFL with 6.5 sacks. He was tabbed as the league’s Defensive Player of the Week for a 2nd time this previous weekend after having 6 deals with and 2.5 sacks in Michigan’s loss to Pittsburgh. 

Coach of the Year

Winner:  John DeFilippo, Breakers 
Runner-up: Ray Horton, Maulers 

A long time NFL assistant who won a ring as the Eagles quarterbacks coach, DeFilippo is taking pleasure in a strong start to his profession as a head coach. His offense presently boasts the league’s passer (Bethel-Thompson), rush, (Hills) and receiver (Sage Surrett). The Breakers presently lead the USFL with approximately almost 354 overall backyards per video game. 

In a brief quantity of time, DeFilippo has actually produced a winning environment in New Orleans that might lead to the Breakers’ very first champion. 

“I love him,” Hills stated of his coach. “He blessed me with this chance to come here and display what I can do. He’s a genuine gamers coach. … He’s not wound too tight. He’s a quite laid back man, however when it’s time to focus up and he requires to reel us back in, he does that without any issue. 

“He has the team’s respect, by far. Everybody in that locker room loves him.”

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