The XFL completed their opening weekend with what they would consider a success. They featured competitive games with teams showing explosive play like Houston and DC. Now that XFL fans have seen one game, there is a better idea of who the team’s identities are and how they will play.
8. Tampa Bay Vipers (0-1)
For a team that scores three points, the only direction to go is up. The positive is the Vipers are the XFL leaders in total offense with 394 yards. Some of the negatives of the game were the team was 0-4 in the red zone and turned the ball over three times. Aaron Murray will need more work on his passing as he could on his way to the bench if the offense doesn’t improve. De’Veon Smith was a bright spot as he’s one of the XFL’s leading rushers. Daniel Williams emerged as a potential star at receiver. The defense looked good, but need to all less big plays.
7. LA Wildcats (0-1)
Pepper Johnson was fired as defensive coordinator, and Anthony Johnson is now a free agent. A lot of issues surround the team heading into week two. Josh Johnson doesn’t look good to start for week two, but nothing has been confirmed. While Elijah Hood ran the ball well, and Nelson Spruce kept up his stellar performance, the defense was rocky. The secondary allowed too many pass plays and couldn’t contain PJ Walker in the pocket. Head coach Winston Moss could be taking over the defense and try to fix things.
6. Dallas Renegades (0-1)
Bob Stoops’ debut after a three-year absence was not what they imagined it to go. The defense played well until the fourth quarter when Jordan Ta’amu went off and played well. Philip Nelson managed the game well, but couldn’t lead his team on a touchdown drive. Lance Dunbar ran well in his few carries, but overall the running backs couldn’t produce much momentum. Landry Jones looks to be returning to the lineup this weekend, which could change the identity of the team.
5. St. Louis BattleHawks (1-0)
It took some time for the offense to get going, but Jordan Ta’amu got into a rhythm in the second half and ran the offense to victory. Christine Michael was a disappointment, but Matt Jones exploded for a big day on the ground. The BattleHawks have the most balanced offense in the league. Defensively, the secondary avoided any big plays and stopped Dallas on third down as they went 1-10. The front seven provided plenty of pressure on Nelson sacking him four times.
4. Seattle Dragons (0-1)
The Dragons were two plays away from winning their game against DC. A blocked punt return and an Austin Proehl slip for an interception was the difference in the game. Brandon Silvers looked good in the first half but lost momentum in the second half. Their running game is balanced as they have the deepest backfield. The defense was inconsistent, allowing big plays in the passing game and had trouble getting to Cardale Jones. The rush defense should be a priority as they go up against a good Tampa Bay rushing attack.
3. New York Guardians (1-0)
Matt McGloin did enough to win the game but looked rusty in his first start with New York. The offense overall was a bit stale but got enough points to get the win. The big credit goes to the defense for creating three turnovers and keeping the Vipers out of the end zone. A lot of yards was allowed, the defense held steady and was the real reason the Guardians won. More is desired from the offense, but their defense seems to be ready for the next nine weeks.
2. DC Defenders (1-0)
The most complete team win goes to the Defenders. They scored points in all three phases of the game: offense, defense, and special teams. Cardale Jones looked solid in the first game as he was accurate and showed good mobility. The receiving core got love from everywhere as Khari Lee, Eli Rogers, and Rashad Ross got big plays in the passing game. The defense held their own by creating two interceptions and shutting the Dragons down in the second half. The team looks poised for big things this season with Jones leading the way.
1. Houston Roughnecks (1-0)
PJ Walker cemented himself as the player of the week and an early favorite for the MVP of the XFL. Besides his interception in the fourth quarter, Walker made spectacular plays with his legs and his deep throws. He could be well on his way to the NFL if he continues to play like Saturday. James Butler came to be a surprise in the running game and the receiving game. The defense struggled in the first half of the game, allowing 17 points, but came alive in the second half and shut down the LA offense. The team looks good and could be onto something with the run and shoot offense in the XFL.
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