XFL Week 2: Separating the Good from the Bad
In week 1, we saw a sample size of what to expect from our new XFL 2020 teams. Some of them looked like runaway favorites to win it all, while others reminded us of the AAF. After the conclusion of week 2, some of those week 1 samples were accurate. Others (the New York Guardians), made people look like idiots for believing in them… thanks for that.
In this weeks post, we are going to start separating the good from the bad. It should be pretty easy since most of the games were blowouts this week. I still have faith in some of these teams, but not many. Let’s get into it!
NY Guardians @ DC Defenders: 27-0
- The DC Defenders are on the good side obviously. It does not take an XFL genius to see that the Defenders are a top team in this league. The defense shut down the Guardians in week 2 for 4 quarters and in week 1, they only allowed 1 TD to the Dragons in the 2nd half. Do the math, they have only allowed 7 points in 6 quarters of football. They are allowing an average of 54.4 passer rating. I would put that in the elite category. The newly acquired Anthony Johnson played on limited snaps on Saturday and racked up 2 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. This is only the defense. The offense is on fire! Cardale Jones reminds me of a younger Ben Roethlisberger or Cam Newton. He is hard to take down due to his size and his speed is deceiving, also due to his size. One play that stood out to me against the Guardians was when a guy got in his face in the pocket. It knocked Jones off balance and also got the ball out of his hands. Cardale fell backwards and dropped the ball. He did not give up on the play though! He picked the ball up, stood up, scrambled to his left and threw the ball down the field for a 1st down. That’s a veteran play. It also helps that they have the best WR triple threat. Rashad Ross, Eli Rodgers and DeAndre Thompkins are fast, shifty and know how to get open. Rashad and Eli are #2 and #5 in receiving yards through 2 weeks while Cardale is #1 is passing yards. I am not sure who is going to slow this team down because I have not seen a weak spot yet. My favorite part about this team is how open their playbook is. They had a trick play in week 1 and this week they were the first team execute a double forward pass and they did it perfectly. I would be terrified of this team moving forward.
- The New York Guardians put me in a tough spot here. I still believe they are a good team. They are obviously not on the same level as good as the Defenders, but they have a good defense and an experienced QB. Matt McGloin embarrassed himself by calling out his coaching staff during his halftime interview. He was benched for his poor play and I assume, his words. He threw two terrible interceptions in the first half. Play calling has nothing to do with you under throwing a WR deep down the sideline and throwing a screen pass when the RB was covered by about 3 defenders. That’s bad decision making that experienced QB’s normally don’t make. I think Matt watches the tape and fixes these problems by next week. MeKale McKay is still a big bodied, great handed WR and is a true #1 although he had a slow game in week 2. As for the defense, DE Bunmi Rotimi has 8 QB pressures which leads the XFL, and his other edge-mate Cavon Walker has 6. This team has elite pass rushing and the secondary has a great CB in Jamar Summers. One bad week will not change my mind for now. If they lay another egg next week against the Battlehawks, which will be a tough fight, I will revisit their status.
Vipers @ Dragons: 17-9
- There is a lot of hate for the Seattle Dragons, and I get it. They are a bad team for sure, but I think they are closer to being good than people think. For starters, the defense is very good. They are only allowing 0.1 yards before contact on runs. 0.1! That’s basically the opposing team handing the ball off then getting hit. That includes runs to the outside. That is a very impressive stat! Seattle’s LB’s and interior linemen are absolute beasts, but the secondary has it’s issues. On offense, the issue is apparent. The O-Line has several injuries to starters that came in week 1 and Brandon Silvers is one of the more inaccurate passers I have seen in the league. Many fans are calling for B.J. Daniels to start, but Jim Zorn is confident in Silvers for some reason. Maybe he is blaming it on the O-Line injuries and is hoping when they come back, it will help Silvers be more comfortable in the pocket. Until then, they will try to rely on their RB triple headed monster in Ja’Quan Gardner, Kenneth Farrow and Trey Williams. This team was built to be a running team, but again, the O-Line injuries have put a damper on those plans. When they get healthy and if Silvers becomes accurate magically, maybe we will see a better Seattle team.
- Another team that gets a lot of hate is the Tampa Bay Vipers and yeah, they are really bad! Granted, Aaron Murray is supposed to be the starter, but in his absence, Taylor Cornelius and Quinton Flowers has been poor at the QB position. Luckily for them, De’Veon Smith and Jacques Patrick have been the best RB duo in the league. Smith is #1 and Patrick is #3 in yards after contact in the league. The defense is also tops in the league in overall yards allowed. Their are some pieces that would suggest this team could be better than what they have shown on the field so far. I think the return of Aaron Murray will give us a better picture, but for now, they are awful.
Renegades @ Wildcats: 25-18
- The Dallas Renegades looked how I thought they would look. A high flying, pass happy offense with Bob Stoops, Landry Jones and OC Hal Mumme at the helm. Landry Jones ended up with 305 passing yards with 7.6 yards per attempt with a TD. He threw two bad interceptions, but I attribute that to rust since he did not play week 1 due to injury. Cameron Artis-Payne surprisingly made up for those two interceptions and ran for 99 yards on 14 rushes with 2 TD’s. To put the running game into perspective, they are averaging 2.3 yards per rush BEFORE CONTACT! They are averaging more yards per attempt before they are even touched than some RB’s are averaging overall. If they can consistently get that kind of running game with the passing offense they will always get out of Landry, this offense will competing with any of the top teams offenses in the league.
- For the LA Wildcats, it boils down to two players. Nelson Spruce and Josh Johnson. Unfortunately, when your team consists of two players, you are a bad team. Nelson Spruce’s receiving yard total beats the 6 other Wildcat receivers yardage combined. Yikes. Josh Johnson, also with help from Spruce, is averaging 13.8 yards of depth per target, the highest mark in the XFL. When we finish talking about those two players, it becomes very sad. I was high on Elijah Hood entering the season, but he has had two upsetting weeks. Only 10 rushes for 31 yards with a fumble in week 2 is not what I expected. The defense cannot stop a cold! They even fired DC Pepper Johnson is week 1 after allowing 37 points to the Roughnecks, but that was obviously not the fix. Their defensive issues go deeper than the coach. Without actually fixing the defense itself and getting a couple of other players on offense to step up, this team will be bad for a while.
Battlehawks @ Roughnecks: 28-24 (Note: the best game in the XFL through 2 weeks)
- The Houston Roughnecks are very good. I would put them right there with the DC Defenders, both offensively and defensively. P.J. Walker is one of the more exciting players in the league. If I had to pick a player that will get an NFL training camp invite when the seasons over, it would be P.J. due to his throwing accuracy and ability to adjust on a broken play. He reminds me of a poor mans Russell Wilson or a very poor mans Patrick Mahomes. He did have a short stint with the Colts in the NFL, but never made it to the regular season. It also helps when you have a stud WR in Cam Phillips, another WR that should see a couple NFL invites to training camp. To put it in perspective of how efficient the offense is, in Sunday’s game, the Roughnecks ran 49 offensive plays to the Battlehawks 83! With all of the excitement on the Roughnecks offense though, the defense has quietly been very effective. They are applying pressure on QB’s on 41% of drop backs. Weather that turns into sacks or not is another stat, but being able to apply the pressure, put plays behind of schedule and have the QB make bad decisions is a great attribute to your front 7. If it was a Roughnecks vs. Defenders Championship game, no one would be surprised at this point.
- I love Jordan Ta’amu and the St Louis Battlehawks. If you asked me last week, I would have said this was a bad team, but just barely. After seeing this offense run for two weeks, I have them on the good side. I would put a lot of that love on Jordan and his explosiveness. He has tallied up 5 total TD’s, he is 2nd is passing yards and 3rd is rushing yard. He has a completion percentage of 82% which is completely insane. He has shown an incredible amount of accuracy and decision making. Unfortunately, this past Sunday he made two bad plays where the Roughnecks turned those interceptions into TD’s. He can’t make those mistakes moving forward, especially against good teams like Houston or DC. I also enjoy watching James Butler, personally. He had another 28 yards and a TD on 7 carries. I just feel him man. I got a connection to James, I don’t know why. I also love De’Mornay Pierson-El. He is the 2nd best slot WR behind Nelson Spruce in my opinion. This dude has jets and physicality. This team has everything need to be a top team.
- DC Defenders (very good)
- Houston Roughnecks (very good)
- St Louis Battlehawks (good)
- Dallas Renegades (good)
- NY Guardians (barely good)
- LA Wildcats (bad)
- Seattle Dragons (bad)
- Tampa Bay Vipers (very bad)
Do you disagree with me? Let me know! I love debating! Hit me with your best shot. You can email me right from this website (onandoffthefield.com) or message me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (all links are on the home page). I can’t wait to talk to you and be sure to tune into the new episode of On and Off the Field “XFL week 2 and MLB Hatred Episode”.
All Hail the Jock Strap King!