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Inside the XFL

by Fran Stuchbury
March 12, 2020 - XFL (XFL)

I flew into Dallas last week to cover the XFL's New York Guardians against the Dallas Renegades game. On the day of the game the Dallas Renegades threw a huge block party with music and tailgating next to Globe Life Park in Arlington, the former home of Major League Baseball's Texas Rangers.

They did a nice job retrofitting the Globe Life Park for football for the Dallas Renegades. North Texas SC of United Soccer League League One will also play at the facility.

The Guardians defense stepped up, creating three sacks and a trio of turnovers, including a 33-yard interception return for a touchdown by Guardians defensive end Ryan Mueller in a 30-12 New York victory.

Guardians head coach Kevin Gillbride said, "Our defense has played well most of the games. The red zone defense struggled a bit in the previous two games, but they were outstanding today."

Guardians quarterback Luis Perez threw for 229 yards, one touchdown and one interception, bringing some much-needed stability behind center. His 80-yard catch and run to Colby Pearson blew open a tight game.

Perez is getting much more comfortable running the Guardians offense. "I think the more opportunities and reps you get, the better you're gonna be," explained Perez. "I think we did a better job offensively, just being on the same page compared to last week."

Darius Victor has contributed 140 yards rushing for the Guardians the last two games, taking pressure off Perez. "Definitely helps a lot... run to pass is the key to win football games," Victor said. "I want to be a coach someday so I hope to keep that mindset as well."

The Dallas Renegades were without starting quarterback Landry Jones due to a knee injury. In his place Philip Nelson passed for 210 yards and two interceptions. The Guardians defense put pressure on Nelson the entire game.

The one bright spot for the Renegades came on special teams with a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Austin Walter.

"Austin Walter was a huge bright spot, obviously with the huge kick return," said Dallas Renegades head coach Bob Stoops "He had overall 200 yards in return yards. He was excellent. Those special team guys have really played exceptionally well."

The Guardians improved to 3-2 and play at home against the undefeated Houston Roughnecks on Saturday. Dallas is now 2-3 and will play at the DC Defenders on Sunday.

Longtime friend Kris Carter attended the game and said, "Dallas Renegades fans here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area have embraced the XFL rules and the tempo of the game and find games entertaining and fun. The renovations to Globe Life Park were more creative than most people expected, but part of the game day experience is still hard for some fans to get used to watching football in a venue that for 26 years was an outstanding baseball venue.

"What sets the XFL apart from other non-NFL football leagues, is the fast developing traditions in certain cities. Washington and St Louis have set the standard for fan-created traditions in the XFL, so we in Dallas need to step up and create our own Texas-sized, in-game traditions."

Extra Points

  • Of the 23 touchdowns scored in week five, teams converted on six-of-nine one-point attempts, five-of-eleven two-point tries and zero-of-three three-point plays.
  • Here are all the scores from Week 5:
  • Best Plays of the First Half of the XFL Season:
  • Best Mic'd up moments of the first half of the XFL season:
  • Based on the proclamation issued Wednesday by Washington Governor Jay Inslee, the Seattle Dragons will host the LA Wildcats this Sunday, as scheduled. The game will take place at 4pm PT at CenturyLink Field without fans in the venue. The game will be broadcast live, also as scheduled, on ESPN2.
  • The XFL expanded team rosters from 52 to 57 players with all eight XFL teams adding players to the roster from Team 9.
  • The DC Defenders may have a quarterback controversy. Cardale Jones was quickly replaced by Tyree Jackson after throwing an interception in DC's 15-6 victory over the St. Louis BattleHawks. The defense gets much more credit for that victory, having four sacks, especially considering Jackson only passed for 39 yeard with one touchdown pass and added 32 yards rushing. Look for Jones to start this week but if he struggles again DC Defenders head coach Pep Hamilton may have a short hook.
  • The Tampa Bay Vipers lead the XFL in rushing, averaging 166 yards per game. Turnovers have bedeviled their efforts. The Vipers team are much better than the record indicates. If they play a complete game as they did in their 25-0 week four victory against the DC Defenders, they can compete with any team in the XFL...provided they hang onto the ball.
  • The Dallas Renegades are the only winless team at home in the XFL at 0-3. Fortunately for them, they are 2-0 on the road, joining the Houston Roughnecks as the only undefeated road teams.
  • The Dallas Renegades have named Jeff Jagodzinski offensive coordinator, effective immediately. Jagodzinski takes over the role previously held by Hal Mumme, who is unable to continue those responsibilities due to an injury suffered in a sideline collision with a player on March 1. Mumme will remain as an advisor on offense for the team.
  • Home Teams are 14-6 this season. XFL teams are 0-5 when they have to travel across the country to play games.
  • XFL games have under the total in 12 of the 20 games played so far.
  • I am a perfect 5-0 on My XFL best bet locks of the week. This week I am going with the St. Louis BattleHawks -3 on the road against the Tampa Bay Vipers. Look for the BattleHawks offense to get back on track after last weeks struggle against the DC Defenders. Tampa Bay will keep the game close for a while, but look for the BattleHawks to pull away in the fourth quarter after the defense creates some key turnovers.

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XFL Stories from March 12, 2020

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