XFL Reveals Team 9 Details

Team 9 head coach Bart Andrus
Team 9 head coach Bart Andrus

The XFL has established “Team 9,” a squad where the main eight XFL teams will draw their replacement players.

The league is touting Team 9 as being a benefit “of the rest of the eight-team league … and for 40 players still chasing their football dreams.”

Team 9 will be based in Arlington, Texas, and will practice at Globe Life Park, home of the Dallas Renegades. While Team 9 will share some resources with the Renegades, such as training and medical services, it will largely function as a separate entity.

Team 9 will be overseen by XFL director of scouting Eric Galko and coached by Bart Andrus. Andrus has coached in the NFL, CFL, NFL Europe, college and other spring leagues. He was an NFL offensive assistant in Tennessee and St. Louis, won an NFL Europe championship as head coach of Amsterdam in 2005, and was a CFL head coach with the Toronto Argonauts. Andrus also worked in NFL Europe with Luck, and thus is familiar with the “Team 9” concept.

“It was lifted directly from my experience with NFL Europe,” Luck said. “We literally called it ‘Team Dallas’ because it was in Dallas. The genesis of that was with teams in Europe, American players needed work permits. You couldn’t pick up a left tackle off the street in Scotland. We needed a group of guys who could practice and literally jump on a plane.”

The XFL Team 9 roster doesn’t include specialists, i.e., no kickers, punters, or long snappers.

The human performance company EXOS will also work with Team 9 daily to improve strength and conditioning in an effort to cut down on potential injuries.

The league also plans to utilize Team 9 to test new technology, including equipment, and measure other physiological trends.

Team 9 Operation

Eric Galko said, “Team 9 is not meant to be a waystation,  where teams can send down or stash players. The XFL goal is to build a Team 9 with the players that are familiar and accessible to teams — and prepared to play.”

For the first two weeks of the season, XFL teams are encouraged to pull from Team 9 to fill an open spot, but it’s not required. For example a team might be more comfortable signing a receiver cut in training camp who’s not on Team 9, and the league understands that perspective. Since all XFL teams should be familiar with Team 9 players by the second week of play, after Week 2 it will be a league requirement to utilize Team 9 players to plug an open roster spot.

As XFL teams dip into this resource, Team 9 will constantly get restocked to stay at 40 players. The league is also planning for the normal attrition that comes with a football season, as players get banged up and are limited in practice.

Interestingly, after Week 5, all Team 9 players will be absorbed by the eight teams allowing rosters to increase from 52 to 57 players. (Game day active rosters will remain at 46 players.) Then, Team 9 will be reloaded with approximately 36 players to finish out the season.

Team 9 practices will begin Feb. 3. Players will be available to XFL teams for private workouts every other Monday starting Feb. 10.

Current Team 9 Roster

QB Joe Callahan
QB CJ Collins
QB Garrett Fugate
QB Marcus McDade
RB Darnell Holland
RB Ray Lawry
WR Davon Grayson
WR TreyDonte Hill
WR Taivon Jacobs
WR Dalton Ponchillia
WR Andrew Verboys
WR Carl Whitley
TE Connor Davis
TE Pharoah McKever
OC Ryan Anderson
OG Korren Kirven
OG Terronne Prescod
OT Nick Callander
OT Gerhard de Beer
OT Brandon Haskin
OT Patrick Lawrence
OT Rod Taylor
DE Jesse Aniebonam
DE Martin Ifedi
DE Alex Jenkins
DT Daryle Banfield
DT Shane Bowman
DT Andrew Stelter
DT Trenton Thompson
LB Markus Jones
LB Darnell Leslie
DB Bryce Cheek
DB Reggie Cole
DB Marwin Evans
DB Tyree Holder
DB Josh Jenkins
DB Derrick Jones
DB Jermaine Ponder
DB Robenson Therezie

PJ Walker “EXPECTED” to be the Man in Houston

There is no official word yet, but XFL ESPN Insider Rachael Van Oranje is reporting, “A source tells me that PJ Walker is currently the starting Quarterback for the Houston Roughnecks… but that “Connor Cook is right there.” No official word yet, however.”

Well, it certainly is starting to feel like June Jones has his guy. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise. PJ Walker was the assigned Tier 1 Quarterback to Houston, and from what I have heard, unless Connor Cook far exceeded him during practices and training camp, Walker was always going to be the guy. In my opinion, what really set Walker apart from Cook was his mobility and willingness to run. Don’t get me wrong, PJ can sling it with the best of them, but in a brand new league, with guys that have never played together before, the Offensive Line is going to be a question mark. Because of this, I believe that Coach Jones wants to go with Walker, because he has a better chance at extending plays, especially if he is chased outside of the pocket.

Now, is this the right decision? Well, from a talent standpoint, both Walker and Cook have the capability of captaining this offense to a lot of points on the field. But I do believe that going with PJ Walker is the right decision, because I feel he gives you more of a dynamic from the quarterback position than Cook would. My only concern, is sometimes Walker can be a little careless with the football. His best year at Temple, where he finished with 3295 yards and 22 touchdowns, he also threw 13 interceptions. He finished with a 140.1 rating that year, which is excellent, but those 13 interceptions do stick out.

However, I still believe that PJ Walker can be a dynamic playmaker from the QB spot, especially in this offense, with these weapons. And if he can limit the turnovers, the sky is the limit for what should be one of the top 3, at least, offenses in the XFL.

Four things we need to happen when the XFL returns

With the XFL kicking off on 8 February, we’d like to point out four things XFL fans would love to see happen in conjunction with the kickoff. Of course, innovative spring football is the topmost desire of all fans, and it seems  this is something they are about to receive. However, getting these four additional things to come to fruition would be the icing on the cake.

1. Vince McMahon needs to say, “This is the XFL!”

Vince McMahon has to go on the field to introduce the XFL. The previous time McMahon did this on 3 February 2001, at the XFL debut game between the NY/NJ Hitmen vs Las Vegas Outlaws at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, remains an iconic moment of the the first XFL, and has actually become a meme for the league’s identity.

YouTube video

 

Of course, McMahon doesn’t have to hype the league the same way. He could easily talk about the two years of work Alpha Entertainment has done to build his new league.

However, he has to say, “This is the XFL!” in his signature gravelly voice. This part is mandatory.

2. Trot out the old XFL football heroes

The league needs to bring out some of the old XFL heroes. Players like Tommy Maddox, Rod Smart, Jeff Brohm and John Avery should be brought out to comment on the new league. This would serve to make a decent connection between the old league and new in a positive way.

Players like Maddox and Smart, who had great success in the NFL after their XFL playing time, would serve to point out that the XFL is about great football, and nothing else.

3. Make sure people know the “X” does not stand for “Xtreme”

The fact is that the “X” in XFL never really stood for anything, and that fact remains true in the 2020 version of the league.

History lesson: When the first incarnation of the league was envisioned, it was originally thought XFL would stand for “Xtreme Football League.” However, since there was already a league in formation with that name, for legal purposes the league decided that the “X” did not stand for anything.

However this did not stick.  Even a true XFL fan like Homer Simpson thought the “X” stood for “Xtreme.” In fact, this animated gif meme is often seen when people are referring to the XFL on social media.

So, the XFL needs to work hard to ensure that people know the “X” doesn’t stand for anything.

In a Sports Illustrated interview with XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck, the league’s name was discussed. In describing the origin of the league’s name, it was stated, “The F and the L act to indicate, if only indirectly, a football league. But the X is a variable. It could mean anything.”

Let’s go with that.

4. Someone needs to tell Homer Simpson the XFL is back

YouTube video

 

The last time the “XFL” was mentioned on “The Simpsons” was in the season 13 episode “The Old Man and the Key” (aired March 10, 2002), where Marge had to break bad news to Homer that the XFL had folded:

Marge:  Honey, I’ve got some bad news for you.
Homer: Not now, Marge. I’m waiting for the new XFL season! Who will win this year’s million-dollar game? Who? Who?
Marge: Honey…
Homer: (Making an X with his fingers) The “X” is for “Xtreme.”
Marge: There is no XFL this year. The league folded.
Homer: Who told you?
Marge: Last year’s MVP. He sweeps up toenails at the beauty parlor.

Don’t you think it’s high time that Marge tells Homer that his favorite football league is back? In fact, this would be a great way to promote the league, especially since memes based on this Simpsons clip are quite predominate on the web. Let’s create a new meme… “Homer is thrilled that the XFL is back!”

Maybe they could do an entire story line where Homer is excited to hear the XFL is returning, and he actually goes to an XFL game. Since The Simpsons is on Fox, a broadcast partner of the XFL, there is a chance such a crossover could actually be a reality.

It’s worthwhile to note, the XFL MVP Marge was referring to was Tommy Maddox, and he actually did not have to “sweep up toenails” after the XFL folded. Instead, he spent three years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the first two as their starting quarterback.

Kicker Garrett Hartley’s XFL Dream Derailed

Garrett Hartley - New Orleans Saints
Garrett Hartley – New Orleans Saints

On Wednesday 22 January, veteran NFL kicker Garrett Hartley tweeted from Tulane University in New Orleans, and said he was excited to say he was signed by an XFL team. In the days after this initial announcement, fans followed Garrett on social media when he revealed he was going to the Seattle Dragons, then when he flew to Seattle, and even when he tried on his white Seattle Dragons uniform pants.

We all remembered Hartley playing for the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV in 2010, where he went 3-for-3 with field goals from 46, 44, and 47 yards, to become the first kicker in Super Bowl history to convert three field goals of 40 yards or more.

Once in Seattle, Garrett put on a show for the XFL Dragons, making 19 of 20 field goals, the longest from the 55-yard line. For the Dragons coaches, this confirmed the video they had seen of Hartley working out on the field at Tulane. His leg was still in shape, and he was more than ready to kick for the XFL.

However, there was still the matter of medical clearance. Unfortunately, Hartley was soon told that an XFL physician would not clear him for game play, since he had undergone spinal surgery where one of the original discs in his neck had been replaced by an artificial disc.

Not passing his medical was the last thing on Garrett Hartley’s mind, as he said over the phone from New Orleans on Thursday evening.

“I’ve already been cleared medically through my world-renowned spine surgeon, Dr. Watkins Jr., and as well as cleared through another surgeon at Tulane, through my MRI reports,” Garrett said. “I would never put myself in jeopardy to play a game if it meant I can ultimately suffer lifelong consequences because of it.”

The medical snag was also a surprise to the Seattle Dragons’ coaches that had coaxed Garrett to come to Seattle.

“That is 100% correct,” Garrett confirmed. “From everyone that I spoke to there, everything was mutual and they were happy to have me, I was happy to be there, and I was going to be their guy. No questions asked.”

It was the league’s medical official that put an end to Hartley joining the Dragons.

“I was told that the risk of the unknown from my surgery was why they would not clear me,” Hartley explained. “Since I have an artificial disc in my neck and not a fusion, there isn’t enough evidence for them to medically say that I would be cleared.”

“In the XFL, there’s no waivers to be signed, since there’s not a collective bargaining agreement, and all the decisions go to the XFL, and not the individual teams like it would be in the NFL,” Hartley explained.

What this really means to Hartley is not only is he restricted from playing for the Dragons, he is restricted from playing for any XFL team.

To top that off, there isn’t any way to reverse the decision, because, as Hartley pointed out, the XFL doesn’t have an appeal process in place.

“Unfortunately, they don’t have anything in place set up as far as appeals goes,” Hartley said. Still, he remains optimistic that the decision is not final.

“There are some potential meetings that might take place early next week that will definitely bring me back up in the conversation,” he said.

Not to mention that Hartley feels strongly that his artificial disc should not be considered to be a liability.

“The frustrating thing for me was the fact that I never had any surgeon other than a primary care doctor overlook, or look at me physically in person to see how strong I am.”

“Knowing that the artificial disc is the future of fusions, anyway. I have more mobility, it’s longer lasting. You know, we have professional athletes across the world that have these in, just none of them happen to be a football player. They’re professional soccer players. There is military active personnel with an artificial disc in their cervical neck. Unfortunately, like I said, they wouldn’t give me the green light.”

Hartley confirmed that he never saw any surgeon or orthopedic specialist while he was in Seattle.

“They were going off some assumptions from their own research of the disc,” he said.  “I know that they had spoken to my surgeon, which operated on Peyton Manning as well as other high priority athletes that obviously came back to play, even though he had a different procedure than me.”

“Having that reassurance through a top ranked doctor is all the assurance that I need as a player, in the confidence, knowing if he feels it’s safe, that obviously I believe that it will be (safe) for me to be on the field.”

Hartley retains hope that this decision will be overturned and he will be allowed to play football for the XFL.

We can’t disagree. After all, it would be great to see him kick another game winning field goal, such as the one that allowed the Saints to play in Super Bowl XLIV.

You can hear more of the interview with Garrett Hartley in this Sunday’s XFL Xtra Podcast. 

For Renegades DE Winston Craig the Journey Continues

Winston Craig – Richmond Spiders

Winston Craig made waves during his time in college and now has brought his talent to the XFL. Craig is a defensive end for the Dallas Renegades and he is ready to “raise hell.”

I witnessed Craig play firsthand when he was with the Richmond Spiders. I saw Craig manhandle offensive lines as he blew through them getting to the quarterback. During his time at Richmond, he appeared in 52 games and recorded 166 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks and two interceptions.

After his time at Richmond, Craig went undrafted but signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017. He spent time during the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the Eagles practice squad.

In late 2018, Craig signed with the now defunct San Antonio Commanders. After the Commanders suspended football operations Craig signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. As a fan of the Steelers this had me overjoyed with excitement. While his time with the Steelers was short, I was proud of him. Seeing him perform in person at Heinz Field was simply amazing.

The Dallas Renegades of the XFL selected Craig in their inaugural draft. This elated me. During their training camp in Houston, I got a chance to visit with him. I reiterated how pleased I was to see him in this newly formed league. He performed well enough during camp and made the 52 man roster. This was not surprising to me.

The journey for Craig is not over and I know that he will perform well with the Renegades.

The Renegades host the St. Louis Battlehawks at the reconfigured Globe Life Park on Sunday, February 9. Kick-off is set for 4 p.m. CT and the game will be carried on ESPN.

Prediction: What to expect from the NY Guardians and Matt McGloin in the 2020 season

Matt McGloin

The Guardians and Matt McGloin come into this season without expectations. But so do eight other teams/players.

With Matt McGloin at quarterback in coach Kevin Gilbride’s offense, the team has an overwhelming amount of experience and character. McGloin, who was a standout at Penn State, and even a competent quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, offers a talent that can be found on any NFL roster. A system quarterback, with some athleticism, but most importantly a strong-armed slinger with great pocket awareness. While he doesn’t offer elite talent in any specific area, he will more than thrive in an offense with Kevin Gilbride, who coached Eli Manning to a Superbowl.

Manning as a quarterback was nothing short of OK, but his career was legendary. While this may be a hot take, realistically Manning did not do anything but throw the ball where he had to, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Gilbride put Manning into the position to make easy throws, with routes that streaked across the middle, that broke down defensive schemes. The ball would be lofted into pockets of empty space where the receiver would do the rest. Considering the Guardians have six above-average receivers, and poster boy DeAngelo Yancey on the IR, McGloin will have more than enough talent to work with, similar to what Eli did in his prime. Also, note that McGloin is in a system that benefits him, which many QB’s in the league could only dream of having. As the season will near closer more and more Guardians predictions will come out, but there will only be one lock; Matt McGloin will be very good.

In a season filled with uncertainty and anxiety, quarterbacks like McGloin will be worshiped by fans and analysts.  Personally, I predict McGloin will lead the XFL Guardians to the league’s playoffs, making a miracle run with plenty of press and attention behind it. From that McGloin will land a contract with a team in the NFL as a solid backup.

Ten days out, and the XFL Houston Roughnecks starting QB is still a mystery

Quarterbacks P.J. Walker and Conner Cook
Quarterbacks P.J. Walker and Conner Cook

What’s up Roughnecks fans! Can you believe it? We are just 10 days away from kick-off at TDECU Stadium near Downtown Houston. Two years we have waited for this day to come, and now it is finally upon us. The Texans miserable loss is long forgotten, because a new face has come to town, and they are ready to hit the ground running. The XFL’s Houston Roughnecks are here, and they are ready to make a stand.

When you listen to podcasts, read predictions, or just simply look at the roster, you will realize that a lot of people are considering the Roughnecks among the top four teams in the league. Some consider them the best, others are very high on them, but almost no one thinks they will be the bottom of the barrel. And for good reason! Just look at their roster.

Let’s start with who I believe will be the BEST receiver in the league in Sammy Coates. The former Pittsburgh Steeler, and yes Houston Texan for a brief moment, is one of the most talented players in the league. His second year with the Steelers, he caught 21 passes for 435 yards and 2 TDs. You have to remember, he was playing with Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith Schuster, and a very talented receiving core. If you could stand out in that field, that’s saying something.

Andre Williams, running back out of Boston College and 2013 Heisman Finalist, finished his college career ranked 5th All-Time in NCAA history for rushing yards in a single season with 2,177 yards, can move the sticks and even be versatile in the passing game. Speaking of…

Let’s stick on the passing game. Head Coach June Jones, who if you remember, is a old Houston face, most notably for his time with the Houston Gamblers as their Wide Receivers coach in 1984, is one of the most pass happy coaches out there. His brand of offense revolves around passing the football all over the field. But in order to do that, you need a competent quarterback. It just so happens the Roughnecks have two. Now don’t get me wrong, that is a good problem to have. I’m a Houston Texans fan. For the longest time, I hoped we would at least get one. Before Deshaun Watson, we had guys like Tom Savage, Brock Osweiler, the list goes on. It wasn’t pretty to say the least. But now with the Roughnecks, Coach Jones has a dilemma. Before the Official Draft began, the XFL assigned a Tier 1 quarterback to each of the 8 teams. Houston was gifted PJ Walker, former Temple standout, who set all kinds of records during his time there. I was excited! I love Walker’s game. He is a good thrower of the football, he can scramble when need be, and he is just very athletic in every way. So I was totally on board with PJ as our starting QB.

Well, now the Draft has begun, and it’s the Roughnecks with the #2 overall pick. Who do they get? Connor Cook, who you will remember played at Michigan State, set records, won big games, and led the Spartans to a Big 10 Championship and the victory at the 2014 Rose Bowl. However, if you live in Houston, you most notably remember Connor Cook, as the starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders against the Texans in the 2017 NFL Wild Card Playoff game. BUT, I want to caution people who think back to that game, and I want you to look at it from this perspective. Cook had NEVER started an NFL game up to that point. He wasn’t even expecting to start. But when Matt McGloin, now of the New York Guardians, got injured, he had to step in and take his place. So his very first NFL start came against, a Houston Texans defense, who that year ranked #2 overall in the league, led by Jadeveon Clowney, who was having a monster year. Not to mention, your first start coming the Playoffs, that can certainly be nerve wrecking. So I have always felt that Connor Cook never really got a fair shot at really being able to prove himself in the NFL.

But now that brings us to the Roughnecks. PJ Walker. Connor Cook. Not only both capable quarterbacks, but two guys, that if you ask me, have a shot to be the best quarterback in the XFL. Especially when you consider the system that they will be running with June Jones at the helm. And let’s not forget the weapons that will be at their disposal. However, the question remains, who do you go with? Well, as of right now, there is still no official word on who that week one starter will be. But I will tell you this. Whoever, Coach Jones decides to go with, we know they will thrive in this offense. I am excited to see what the Roughnecks bring to the field on February 8, because I can assure you, it will be a firework show.

Now, the question everyone wants answered. Who would I choose. Well… I would go with…

Five Good Reasons XFL 2020 will be Successful

Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon announced the reincarnation of the XFL in January 2018.

Ask anybody about the original XFL and there’s a good chance they’ll laugh. The original incarnation lasted one season, and is considered by most to have been a failure. The XFL is making a comeback this year, and while many are skeptical that this league will have the same fate as its predecessor, those who have been paying attention see it much differently. League owner, Vince McMahon has done his research, learned from his mistakes, and is ready to run a successful football league.

Here are five good reasons the XFL will succeed this time around.

5. The XFL Will Be Family Friendly

Those who remember the original XFL, will remember that they caught some criticism for how skimpy the cheerleaders outfits were. There were even segments that teased that they were going to sneak into their locker room (only to disappoint fans by only approaching comedy legend Rodney Dangerfield). This XFL will have nothing of the sort. In fact, the XFL will have no cheerleaders at all. This league promises to be entertaining for fans of all ages.

4. More ways to watch the games

The original XFL had one nationally televised live broadcast a week, with a second non live game after that, that was recorded during the same time as the previous game. This time around, all the games will be at different times, ensuring fans won’t have to try to decide which game will be the most exciting. Also, with partnerships with ABC, Fox, ESPN, and Fox Sports 1, every game will be nationally televised.

3. Far Less Gimmicky

Most people’s biggest recollection of the first XFL was Rod Smart. Better known as the name on the back of his jersey, “He Hate Me.” The original XFL allowed players to put nicknames on the back of their jersey. They also started games by having two opposing players scramble each over possession of the game ball, in lieu of a traditional coin toss. It was essentially a cross between McMahon’s WWE, and football. While this definitely gained curious onlookers, the novelty of these bells and whistles wore off quickly.

This time around, the XFL is focused solely on football. McMahon has taken a bit more of a hands off approach, and left former pro quarterback, and more recently, the athletic director for West Virginia University, Oliver Luck in charge as the CEO and commissioner of the league.

2. Innovative Rules

Scaling back on the pageantry doesn’t mean that they’re scaling back on the fun. There are so many rule changes coming to this league, and they’re all designed to make the game more fun for the fans. They’ve eliminated the traditional, almost automatic one point kick. They replaced the PAT kick with the choice of making plays from scrimmage, from the two, five and ten yard line. These attempts are worth one, two, and three points respectively.

Also, replacing one of the most controversial rules in professional football, the XFL has completely overhauled how overtime is handled. Replacing the traditional rules of sudden death overtime, the XFL has a concept that’s more akin to the hockey shootout. Each team will have an offensive and defensive unit on the field, and have a five round shootout of two point conversion attempts to determine the winner.

This, along with a new double forward pass concept, changes to kickoffs and punts, and clock rules will give the fans something different to watch.

1. The League is Fan Oriented

Game tickets range from $25-30 for tickets in the lower bowl, so fans can be close to the action no matter where they sit, without breaking the bank. Season ticket holders even get a field pass to watch one game a year from the field. Teams will also be holding events throughout where fans can meet other fans, coaches, and players.

The league also has a fan advisory board, which surveys fans about how they feel about the league, and what they look for in their football experience, so they can cater to the ultimate fan experience.

The XFL has a lot of naysayers out there who are basing their opinions on past experience. But Vince McMahon and the XFL have done their research, learned from their mistakes, and have built the foundation for a long lasting football league for years to come.

5 Dallas Renegades to Target in Fantasy

The Dallas Renegades 52-man roster is officially set.

Here are five players to keep an eye on and to target in your XFL fantasy leagues and daily fantasy:

RB Cameron Artis-Payne: 

The former Carolina Panthers running back is looking to make a name for himself in the XFL. Artis-Payne played in 32 games for Carolina (2015-18), mainly serving as a backup role, and then was released during last season’s final cuts. Now, he has the opportunity to become one of the top running backs in the XFL. 

Artis-Payne offers a ton of fantasy value. He’s expected to be their starting RB and main ball carrier, so he should have plenty of scoring opportunities. When the combination of his 4 years of NFL experience; plus the limited amount of wear and tear on his body with only 118 career NFL carries, he could be very successful in the XFL. 

WR Jeff Badet

Jeff Badet can FLY. This guy has incredible speed and is one of the most lethal weapons in the entire XFL. Badet is not a household name, but college football fans may remember him from his time catching passes from Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield at the University of Oklahoma. 

Badet is an exceptional athlete and he demonstrated that at his 2018 pro day, where he posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.34, 39.5” vertical jump, 10’11” broad jump. He recently spent time with the Minnesota Vikings practice squad, but now he could become a legitimate weapon in the Renegades offense, very similar towards how the San Francisco 49ers utilize breakout rookie WR Deebo Samuel.

WR Jazz Ferguson

Ferguson is one of the most dangerous playmakers in the entire league and has the potential to become one of the top red-zone threats in the league. He has a rare combination of speed & size, standing at 6 foot-5, 230 lbs. At the 2019 NFL Combine he demonstrated his speed, where he ran a 40-yard dash time of 4.45.

After going undrafted, he spent time last preseason with the Seattle Seahawks. This could be such a tremendous opportunity for Ferguson to prove to NFL scouts that he’s a legitimate NFL wide receiver. The Renegades next tallest receiver is 6-2, so there could be a lot of red-zone opportunities coming his way.

TE Donald Parham

It’s quite possible that Donald Parham absolutely dominates the XFL. The 22 year-old tight end is 6’8”, 240 lbs and formerly played collegiate ball at Stetson University. He did not hear his name called during the 2019 NFL Draft. He had a brief stint with the Detroit Lions and Washington Redskins, but now is his opportunity to get every NFL team’s attention.

Parham demonstrated his rare athletic ability during his pro day where he ran a 4.68 40-yard dash, 38-inch vertical jump, and 10’5” broad jump, all three were better than last year’s top-10 pick T.J. Hockenson combine performance. Parham offers a ton of fantasy potential, he has a history of producing big-time statistical numbers in college; where his senior year he recorded 85 receptions, 1,319 yards, 13 touchdowns. This is the perfect opportunity for Parham to shine; there will be a bidding war amongst NFL organizations for his services immediately after this season if so.

QB Landry Jones: 

The Renegades made the first player signing of the XFL with former Pittsburgh Steelers backup QB Landry Jones. Jones is considered to be one of the most notable players of the league and one of the “faces” of the league. 

Jones reunites with his former college head coach, Bob Stoops, where they will look to rekindle the flame they set at Oklahoma. Jones was a four-year starter under Stoops, where he had over 16,000 passing yards with 123 passing touchdowns. Despite being playing eight seasons in the NFL, he’s only thrown 169 career passes. This is Jones’s opportunity to be a face of the franchise. Unfortunately, he had a minor setback and suffered a knee injury during training camp which caused him to sit out  for the past few weeks, putting his playing status in doubt to start week one.

If Landry Jones remained out …

QB Phillip Nelson: 

Nelson is no stranger to change or adversity. Phillip Nelson enrolled at 3 Division I universities; Rutgers, Minnesota and East Carolina and spent last year in the defunct AAF – as a member of the San Diego Fleet. He’s uniquely in a very similar position to where he was a year ago in the AAF. He originally was the second-string QB behind former NFL QB Mike Bercovici, but ended up replacing Bercovici after he struggled. Nelson now has the potential opportunity to start Week One for the Renegades as Jones is still recovering from his injury.

QB Eric Dungey: 

Following Jones’s injury, the Renegades recently signed Eric Dungey, Syracuse’s all-time passing leader (9,340 yards). Dungey is a great athlete and offers a lot of dual-threat abilities, where throughout his college career he rushed for 1,993 yards and 35 touchdowns. He spent time earlier this season on the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad after he did not hear his name called during the 2019 NFL Draft. Dungey’s dual-threat ability plus his lack of professional experience set makes him a great developmental prospect. 

Hey Houston… There’s a New Kid in Town!

Houston Roughnecks

Did you hear Football fans? The XFL, that’s right, the X F L, is BACK! The league that gave you the sky cam, Tommy Maddox, and of course, He Hate Me, has been reborn. But trust me, this isn’t your dad’s XFL. Oh no. This is a new, revamped, reenergized, reimagined brand of football.

If you can remember, because it feels like it’s been years ago now, back in January of 2018, WWE CEO Vince McMahon announced that the XFL would make it’s grand return in 2020. Well, fast forward 2 years later, and we are now just 2 weeks away from kick-off. Time flies doesn’t it? But back when it was announced, McMahon kept stating that the XFL would be “Football reimagined”. However, at the time, he didn’t give us any details as to what he meant. So we were just left wondering at what he could possibly do to change the game of football.

Well, one way to begin this process was to bring in XFL Commissioner and former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck. Luck, who previously ran NFL Europe, as well as work with the NCAA, was unquestionably the right guy for the job. Everyone was ecstatic upon hearing this news and couldn’t wait to see what Luck would bring to the new league. Especially, since he was given 2 years to prepare for the launch date of the XFL. But with Luck now in the fold, fans were certainly optimistic.

We began to hear rumblings of some of the rule changes they were proposing, and they were intriguing to say the least. But it was the first coaching hire that really sent the message that they were for real. Legendary Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops was hired as the Head Coach/GM of the Dallas XFL franchise, and this sent shock waves throughout the sports world. No one thought the league could swoop up a coach of Stoops pedigree, but they did just that. That ladies and gentlemen, is the Oliver Luck effect. It didn’t stop there, Pep Hamilton, June Jones, Winston Moss, Marc Trestman, Jonathan Hayes, Kevin Gilbride, and even legendary Seahawks quarterback, Jim Zorn, have all been brought on as Head Coaches. Quality coaches, and quality players have filled the XFL camps, and ultimately rosters leading up to February 8, 2020. Players such as Cardale Jones, Sammy Coates, Kenny Robinson, Josh Johnson, just to name a few, have come in and set the league on fire before a ball has even been snapped.

But let’s really he honest here. What has us the most excited about the new XFL? It’s these freakin’ awesome rules baybay! Talk about reimagining the game! Don’t worry, they didn’t change the game of football. They didn’t gimmick up the sport. No no no. They just enhanced it, and made it FUN AGAIN. That’s the thing. The XFL has a chance to make football fun again. Let me be completely honest here. I didn’t watch a single snap of the Super Bowl last year. That’s right. I didn’t make a typo. Not a single snap, and I’m just going to be completely honest here, I don’t plan on watching this year either. No, I don’t hate football. But it would be completely fair to say that I have kind of grown tired of the NFL. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still watch a game here or there, but realistically, only if it’s my hometown Houston Texans. I only watch the NFL, because I have a home team to support, but the NFL as a product, not much of a fan anymore. The games are WAY to long, it takes an eternity in between plays, and don’t even get me started on replays and challenges. It’s just become, for lack of a better word, boring. If I didn’t have the Texans, I’m not so sure I even watch a single game. You see, that’s where the XFL is different. Of course, I’m going to root for my hometown Houston Roughnecks, but I want to watch every XFL game, because the product as a whole, lends itself to be exciting. 1, 2, 3 point after conversions. Making kick-offs and punts relevant again. Running play clocks. And who would have thought, you can actually fix overtime.

These new innovations have me excited for football again. Why not start fresh? We love new things, especially when they enhance something that was already great. I’m excited for the new XFL, and February 8 couldn’t get here fast enough!