Shea Patterson — the former two-year starting quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines — was released by the Michigan Panthers of the USFL this week. However, the former No. 1 overall pick was not unemployed for long and was quickly claimed off waivers by the New Orleans Breakers.
On the surface, the move comes as somewhat of a surprise. Patterson who just two weeks ago completed 27-of-34 passes for 304 yards in a close loss. And after overcoming an anemic 3-for-7 start last week, Patterson went 21-of-28 for 186 yards and one touchdown following a lightning delay.
But looking closer, the Panthers are in desperate need of a spark and consistency at the position. This season, the Panthers are the second-worst passing and scoring offense in the USFL. Despite having the second-best running attack, Patterson could not operate as efficiently as head coach Jeff Fisher would like.
Turnovers are what ultimately doomed the former Michigan stand-out. In the aforementioned game last week, despite playing well down the stretch, a costly interception late sealed Patterson’s fate and the third straight loss for the Panthers.
A change was needed at the position and a simple benching would have caused roster issues for the Michigan Panthers, so Patterson was let go.
Patterson is currently third in the USFL in passing with 973 yards, but he was completing at less than a 60% clip for a 1-5 team — tied for the worst record in the USFL.
Patterson will provide depth as a backup for the New Orleans Breakers whose starting quarterback, Kyle Sloter, leads the USFL with 1,318 passing yards. While a reserve, Patterson could see action as soon as this Saturday when the Breakers face the Panthers.