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Vipers set to give 3rd quarterback a shot in home finale

The Vipers are hoping the third try is the charm when it comes to their starting quarterback.

Jalan McClendon is listed atop the depth chart and is expected to open the game under center Saturday when the Vipers host the San Antonio Brahmas in a noon game at Cashman Field.

It will be the final home game of the season for the Vipers (1-5).

The team is hoping McClendon can provide a spark. Luis Perez was the starter to open the season, but quickly found himself in a rotation with Brett Hundley.

Perez had appeared to start to take hold of the job as the offense had been clicking until a disastrous performance last week in a home loss to St. Louis.

Three days after throwing two interceptions against the Battlehawks, Perez was traded away to the Arlington Renegades in exchange for edge defender Ryan Mueller.

It appeared Hundley, the longtime backup to Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, would get another shot as the starter until the team officially released a depth chart with McClendon at the top.

While Hundley could also see snaps, McClendon is looking forward to his opportunity.

“The season hasn’t been going how we want, but I’m excited to get a chance to play,” McClendon said Friday. “My arm talent and my athletic ability are things I feel I can bring to the team.”

McClendon began his college career at North Carolina State, where he spent three seasons before finishing up at Baylor. The 27-year-old Charlotte native spent portions of the 2019 training camp with both the Ravens and Commanders before catching on with Los Angeles in the 2020 version of the XFL and appearing with the Charlotte Thunder of the American Arena League.

He considered stepping away from the field to begin a coaching career before getting the chance to participate in the relaunch of the XFL. McClendon has patiently waited behind Perez and Hundley and will now get his shot to run an offense badly in need of a breath of fresh air.

Last week clearly represented a setback. After a slow start to the season, the Vipers seemed to find some stability on offense as they had been averaging 26.3 points per game over a span of three weeks.

Then the Vipers got shut out by the Battlehawks for three quarters, only getting on the board midway through the fourth.

Perez finished 13-for-20 for just 99 yards while throwing two interceptions in his final game before being traded. Hundley was 9-for-18 for 120 yards and the lone score for the Vipers.

San Antonio hasn’t fared much better on offense. The Brahmas (2-4) are averaging just 11 points per game over the last four contests, though they were able to scrape together a 15-9 victory over Arlington last week to snap a three-game losing streak.

They come to Cashman Field with quarterback questions of their own. Former Notre Dame starter Jack Coan has been their most consistent performer, but he missed last week’s game with an ankle injury. Even though the Brahmas won, they didn’t get much out of the quarterback position.

Jawon Pass completed 8 of 14 passes for just 57 yards and was replaced by Kurt Benkert, who went 1-for-6 for just two yards and threw an interception.

The Vipers have some injury concerns of their own at the skill positions. Running back DeAndre Torrey is out with an arm injury. Wide receivers Geronimo Allison (back), Cinque Sweeting (ankle) and Martavis Bryant (illness) are all questionable.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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