A new innovation that the XFL is experimenting with is adding a ninth team into the league. This team won’t be playing in the XFL season though. Casual football fans might be confused right now by why that will be the case. So what do fans need to know about the new-look XFL Team Nine?
What is Team Nine?
Simply put, the XFL’s Team Nine will be a practice squad used by all eight teams in the league. Located in Dallas with the Renegades, the 40-man roster will have players at every position practice like they would with other teams. The team will help other teams with filling roster spots when an injury occurs or cuts are made.
“In every football league, there is constant churn,” XFL CEO and Commissioner Oliver Luck said in an article by XFL.com. “I’m sure every one of these rosters is going to change by the time Week 1 rolls around. They’ll bring in new guys or someone pulls a hamstring, it’s just inevitable.
“So Team 9 will be ready to roll as a replacement team that’s got to be constantly replenished, so all these guys that got the bad news about getting cut, a bunch of them of them are going to be back in the league through Team 9.”
Team Nine will be using the same facilities as the Dallas Renegades as well as all the same resources they are using. XFL Director of Scouting Eric Galko will be overseeing the operations of the team as well as make additions to the team if needed. It will be where players will learn basic football terminology during practice. They will train and prepare to be called up if their services are needed by an XFL team.
Who is coaching the team?
Bart Andrus coached in college, NFL, NFL Europe, CFL, and UFL. He’s been coaching for several decades coaching offense and was a head coach for several teams. Andrus and Luck know each other from their time in NFL Europe, which also had a league-wide practice squad there as well.
“The conversations are the important thing,” Andrus said in an article on XFL.com. “You can look at video, but what’s in a player’s head right now? How’s he doing from a psychological standpoint? Is he adjusting? Is he a team guy? What’s the equipment guy say about him?
“It’s more than just football. Teams want guys that are with it mentally and are into it. That’s a big part. This is a chance for those guys to polish their resume with not only what they’re putting on video, but how they’re approaching being a professional football player. They get a chance to learn to be a pro.”
Andrus will be working with the quarterbacks on the roster. He added assistant coaches Pete Kuharchek (defense) and Peter Vaas (offense) to help round out the staff.
Notable Players on Team Nine
The 40-man roster was also announced by the XFL on Friday. There are several players on the team who have plenty of experience that will be waiting for the call.
Quarterback Joe Callahan might be one of the bigger names on the roster with his NFL experience. He battled for the Seattle Dragons starting quarterback job, but he came in too late and was cut. Running back Darnell Holland had to make the adjustment to the position for the Dallas Renegades. The position was too deep there as they kept four running backs, not including Holland. Wide receiver Carl Whitely and tight end Pharoah McKever stood out at camp for their receiving abilities.
Safety Marwin Evans played well at camp for the Renegades who faced an intense position battle that resulted in his waiving. Linebacker Markus Jones was traded from the St. Louis BattleHawks to the Renegades during camp. He showed great tackling skills, but Dallas had too many linebackers to keep on the roster. Defensive end Martin Ifedi was great off the ball for the Seattle Dragons. His effort wasn’t enough to keep him on the team with depth at the position.
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