The BattleHawks Home Opener was Special and Very Emotional

Credit: XFL.com

Editorial by Alistair E. Fannell @the_mls

It’s been a couple of days to gather my thoughts after driving over two hundred miles from Springfield MO. to St. Louis visit my mother over the weekend to take the both of us to watch St. Louis’s newest football team the BattleHawks play at the Dome In America. I’m 45 years old, I was born in St. Louis and was fortunate to attend the St. Louis Football Cardinal games during the time of some the great individual players that played on the team such as Dan Dierdoft, Jim Hart, Roy Green, O.J. Anderson, Pat Tilley, and Roger Wehrli. I saw with great sadness to see the team move to Arizona after the 1987 season. I was fortunate to cheer with joy when the Rams won the Super Bowl in 1999 for the city of St. Louis which were led by Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, Orlando Pace, and Torry Holt. Only to be angry at owner Stan Kroenke and the NFL by allowing the Rams to move back to L.A after the 2015 season. I’ve seen it all from the highs and lows of Professional football in St. Louis which has taken a beating and abuse from sports naysayers who don’t live in St. Louis.

Sunday home opener was special and very emotional from the standpoint that while I was driving downtown with my mother to find a parking spot around 11 am, I was amazed to see tailgaters across the Dome wearing their BattleHawks T-shirts, sweaters, posing as a hawk mascots  and watching the newly fanbase have their traditional pre-game meal.  I didn’t get to watch the pre-game concerts festivity or get the free give away T-shirts, where the events were taking place on North 6th St & Convention Plaza across the Dome but to see a day later on YouTube videos that were posted, brought back memories of the Rams or the Football Cardinals pre-game event that I use to attend. As I sat next to my mother inside the Dome and hearing the roar of 29,000 fans, it gave me chills to my spine as the St. Louis BattleHawks players were introduced by the P.A. announcer. Then when Christine Michael scored the first touchdown in 5 years at Dome of America, tears started to stream from my eyes. I don’t know why, maybe it was the emotion of seeing Football Back in St. Louis but seeing the fans cheer for their new team shows that they love Professional Football as long as the organization of the team likes them back.

I’ve been through this painful cycle for 45 years with the former city that I still call home. The sports naysayers will say that the Rams moved out of St. Louis because the fans gave up on the team; no not true, it was owner Stan Kroenke who gave up on the fans and even his right-hand man Kevin Demoff actually lied on behave of Kroenke when he said on ESPN 101radio show back in 2014, hosted by  Randy Kakarraker that the team didn’t have plans to move back to L.A.  It was no wonder why fans before and during the game were chanting ” Kroenke Sucks” and some even whore t-shirts of Roger Godell the commissioner of the NFL as a clown who helped orchestrate the Rams move to L.A. And even though they’ve been gone for almost 30 years the Cardinals gave me reason why I lost faith of the team. Think about it, we had 2 NFL teams and they combine for only 16 winning season and 8 appearances in the playoffs.

Anyway, when the referee blew the whistle for the final time which the BattleHawks won 29-9 against the New York Guardians, it really felt that for the first time that St. Louis got the respect that it needed as a football town. Sure, it’s not the NFL and sadly we may never get an NFL team but it’s a Professional football team that is born and originated in St. Louis. I want to thank XFL founder Vince McMahon and Commissioner Oliver Luck for awarding city a franchise, I thank Team President Kurt Hunzeker reaching out to fans across St. Louis to my current city I live Springfield MO. and putting on one of the best Pre-game tailgate party that I’ve seen in years.  I thank the BattleHawks team for putting a good product on the field and getting their first home win. But most importantly I thank my former residents in St. Louis for showing America that we are a great sports town, making the BattleHawks Home opener special and emotional.

Episode 27 – XFL Fantasy Football – Adam Pelletier

Are you ready for some XFL Fantasy? This episode is a special episode where we talk about XFL fantasy football with Adam Pelletier (@adampelletier). Adam is an XFL and Fantasy Football Writer, and we have him here today to talk to us about XFL Fantasy Football. Sit back and relax while Adam explains the XFL fantasy options, and then goes into his thoughts on the best picks for XFL week 4.

Join FanDuel through XFLBoard. You will also receive a $5 bonus:
https://www.fanduel.com/XFLBoard

Music: Are You Ready – Free music archive.

XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck fully expects a “Year 2”

Oliver Luck
XFL Commissioned Oliver Luck (Credit: XFL.com)

Oliver Luck spoke at the NFL agent’s seminar at the NFL Combine. Aside from revealing he fully expects the XFL to continue on to “Year 2,” something that comes as no surprise to most people, he also revealed details of what to expect leading up to the next XFL season:

  • Luck is fully expecting the XFL to continue in year 2.
  • The league will use invite only camps and a draft similar o Year 1.
  • 200 current XFL players were on an NFL roster in 2019.
  • Teams will retain rights to players. This implies that if a player goes to another league after the XFL season, and then returns to the XFL, their rights will still be tied to the team they were with before.
  • One of the benefits of using a “Team 9” was to save money by not flying in players for workouts.
  • Luck emphasized that the XFL is a standalone league, and not a developmental league or competitor to the NFL.
  • Luck also emphasized no year removed eligibility as with the NFL, and that players can use XFL as a way to “bet on themselves.”

Original Tweet is below.

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XFL Week 4 Power Rankings

We are now 3 weeks in, and man oh man, is football crazy. One week you think you know exactly how the season is going to turn out, and the very next week, something happens that throws everything out of whack. That is what Week 3 in the XFL was, and let’s not waste any time. Let’s get to it.

8. New York Guardians (1-2) Last Week (7)
The New York Guardians are an absolute dumpster fire. Matt McGloin is becoming more and more Jay Cutler-esque as the weeks go by. Marquise Williams certainly hasn’t been any better. Luis Perez might be the answer, but even then, not great. G.A. Magnus has been atrocious. Kevin Gilbride can’t seem to control his team. It’s an absolute mess. The only bright spot has still been their defense, which by the numbers, has been pretty good. But it won’t matter if their offense can’t stay on the field and score points. This season is quickly spiraling out of control, and I don’t see it turning around. The Guardians will probably guard the no. 8 spot til season’s end.

7. Tampa Bay Vipers (0-3) Last Week (8)
BREAKING NEWS! The Vipers can actually play competitive football! Man, they gave the Roughnecks all they could handle, and had a legitimate shot at winning that game in the closing minutes of the 4th quarter. Now, this week, Marc Trestman addressed the media and noted that quarterback Quinton Flowers, who was starting to excel a little bit in this offense, would be taking an extended leave of absence. That definitely hurts some of the momentum that they built this weekend. But, I think this team still has a slight chance to make a Playoff run. They definitely have the talent, and the fight is still there. It’s just going to come down to quarterback play and coaching. I’m not sure how much I trust Marc Trestman, but if this weekend is any indication, he might be able to rally the troops and make a push. They play DC at home this weekend, and we will get to them later, but that is a winnable game. So we shall see if they can continue to keep that momentum they had. For now though, they sit at no. 7.

6. Seattle Dragons (1-2) Last Week (6)
The Dragons are who we thought they were. Solid defense. Offense has its moments. Good coaching. But they just aren’t quite good enough to compete in the loaded West. Keenan Reynolds and Austin Proehl are very productive. Kenneth Farrow is dynamic. Their defense makes stops, and causes turnovers. The problem is, they can’t always capitalize on those turnovers, because Brandon Silvers just isn’t that dude. He’s a good quarterback. He makes some good throws. He makes some timely throws. But when the moment is calling him, he just can’t seem to deliver. They had a shot, late in the game against Dallas, to get back in it, and Silvers just could not come through. I don’t know if BJ Daniels is the answer, but I don’t think it would hurt to try. For now, Seattle sits at no. 6.

5. Los Angeles Wildcats (1-2) Last Week (5)
Wow! The Wildcats showed up Sunday night. They were unstoppable! They looked like the best team in the league. I want everybody to take caution a little bit. First, I called this. I said, once Josh Johnson gets acclimated to this offense, they will be right there in the hunt for the top of the West. Well, I told you so. Josh Johnson was incredible. Martez Carter was sensational. But it was the coming out party of Tre McBride that really put this team in the hunt. We already knew about Nelson Spruce, who is reportedly injured, but hopefully not anything too serious. But it was the emergence of a second deep threat that now makes this team scary. And let’s not forget about the most impressive part of LA that night, their defense. Which caused the Defenders to turn the ball over 4 times in the game. They really dominated in all phases. BUT, the reason I said be cautious, is because this game was somewhat, I think, of an anomaly. They had a lot of short fields, and the DC Defenders just looked completely out of sorts. I want to see a more consistent performance from these guys before I totally buy in. So until then, I will still sit them at no. 5. But I do think this team has the capability to potentially win the West this season, because they can be that good.

4. DC Defenders (2-1) Last Week (2)
Sunday night is one to forget about if you’re the DC Defenders. They looked AWFUL against the Wildcats this weekend. Cardale Jones was just bad, no other way to slice it. Pep Hamilton didn’t have any answers for Winston Moss’ defense. The running game continues to struggle. And their defense was exposed. Now, I do think this game was somewhat of an anomaly. I don’t believe Cardale Jones is going to be this bad every single week. I think Pep Hamilton is a great coach who will make adjustments. But, I do have to say, I think the Defenders clear weaknesses were really masked the first two weeks getting to play Seattle and New York at home. Look, the Defenders are still a Top 4 team I believe. But, they are not as elite as we thought they were. And I think there is a strong possibility, that if they make it to the Playoffs, which I still believe they will, it will be on the road against a St. Louis team that might be better than them. DC sits at no. 4 for now.

3. Dallas Renegades (2-1) Last Week (4)
Man does this team take a while to get going. But once they do, they dominate and demoralize you. And they use their running game to do it. Cameron Artis-Payne might be…..scratch that, IS the best running back in the XFL. Matt Jones is a close second, but what Artis-Payne is doing is phenomenal. He is wearing down defenses, and they just haven’t been able to slow him down. Landry Jones is getting more and more comfortable each week, and this offense has a nice balance to it. But we have to talk about the star that is emerging in Dallas in tight end, Donald Parham. This dude is massive, but he can run downfield with the best of them. This tight end was burning defensive backs down the field Saturday night, and he is a locomotive that is getting better each week. He is quickly becoming Landry Jones’ favorite target and for good reason. This team is just hitting its stride, and they will have a big test this week with Houston coming to their house. Landry Jones has got to cut down on the turnovers, but the Dallas Renegades are for real. They sit at no. 3.

2. St. Louis BattleHawks (2-1) Last Week (3)
I absolutely love this team. Their energy. Their heart. Their passion. It’s infectious! Jonathan Hayes has this team playing great football, and it all starts with breakout star Jordan Ta’amu. Nobody expected Ta’amu to be this good, but this dude is straight up ballin’. He’s doing it with his arm. He’s doing it with his legs. His football IQ has been excellent. He really is doing it all. Pair that with a very strong running game, in fact the best overall rushing team in the XFL, and you have a recipe for success. Matt Jones and Christine Michael are dominating on the ground, and Ta’amu forces defenses to stay on their toes. But it’s this defense that takes this team to the next level. They are, without a doubt, the BEST defense in the XFL. They make stops and force turnovers, which leads to their running game keeping the opposing defense on the field for longer than they would like to be. Could you imagine, a East Conference Championship game in the Dome…. I’m starting to think that is becoming more and more of a reality as the weeks go by. The BattleHawks are the second best team in the XFL.

1. Houston Roughnecks (3-0) Last Week (1)
But they still aren’t no. 1, because that still belongs to the only undefeated team left in the XFL, the Houston Roughnecks. PJ Walker. Cam Phillips. Those names should strike fear in every team they play this season. I’m to the point, that I feel the only chance you have at beating the Roughnecks, is you are going to have to outscore them. Because you are NOT stopping the Walker and Phillips connection, the most lethal duo in the XFL. James Butler, Nick Holley, Sam Mobley, Khalil Lewis, and Sammie Coates hasn’t even got going yet. This team is LOADED! They are without a doubt, the BEST OFFENSE IN THE LEAGUE. Hands down! And it all starts with June Jones. His play calling has been nothing short of extraordinary. This Roughnecks team makes it look so easy to get into the end zone. PJ Walker is the MVP three weeks in, and Cam Phillips should be second on that list. Now, their defense is a little concerning. But as long as they can do just enough, and be opportunistic in the turnover battle, this team has got to be the favorite for the XFL Championship. The Houston Roughnecks are the best team in the XFL.

Tampa Bay Vipers positional grades vs. Houston Roughnecks (week three)

Tampa Bay Vipers quarterback Taylor Cornelius

QB: C+: Taylor Cornelius looked a bit more comfortable running the offense than the previous week filling in again for Aaron Murray. There were still too many miscommunications with receivers, including his interception late in the fourth, that stalled drives. After starting the game and playing the first two drives, Quinton Flowers came in for the rest of the half, save for the last drive of the first half. Cornelius marched the team down the field for a score at that point, then played the rest of the second half. He showed good rapport with Reece Horn throughout the game. Cornelius found some rhythm in the 2nd half but again the Vipers came up empty on the goal line at the end of the game. The decision to not go with Flowers at that point is questionable at best. It was announced today that Flowers has taken personal leave from the team and Cornelius will get the start again this weekend.

RB: C: De’Veon Smith’s best play may have been a downfield catch in which he held onto the ball despite taking a big hit. He made two catches but had a 3rd down drop as well. In the run game, Smith averaged just 3.3 yards per carry; he has a way of falling forward and twisting for extra yardage after contact. After out-touching Smith last week, Jacques Patrick had just 10 carries for 18 yards and two catches for 11 yards. They are currently the only two backs on the roster with the release of Mack Brown earlier in the week. Colin Thompson only played one snap at fullback this week.

WR/TE: C: The receivers had at least four drops on the afternoon; that has to be remedied if Tampa is going to be able to perform consistently on offense. Jalen Tolliver was targeted 13 times and had eight catches for 104 yards, but dropped two balls as well. He converted a 3rd-and-6 from Flowers and then a 4th-and-4 in the third quarter. Dan Williams used his physicality to break tackles and score the first receiving touchdown in team history. Getting more playing time in place of the injured Nick Truesdell, DeAndre Goolsby had a catch over the middle for 24 yards just before the half. He also had a drop and a holding penalty on a run that gained a first down.

OL: B-: The starting five performed better than the previous week, allowing just two sacks and four tackles for loss. It’s especially impressive when you consider the Roughnecks were sending at least five rushers on nearly every play. The weak link seemed to be right tackle Isaiah Williams. Williams gave up a sack and a pressure that led to a 3rd down incompletion on the first drive. He also committed a holding penalty on the second drive. The run game was not as effective as previous weeks, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry. Sixty-two of the 129 yards gained on the ground were via quarterback scrambles.

DL: C+: Despite Houston missing two starting offensive linemen, the Vipers once again struggled to get regular pressure on the quarterback. With P.J. Walker’s ability outside the pocket, it may have been part of the game plan this week, however, to keep him in the pocket, limiting the rush from the line. DT Josh Banks and DT Nikita Whitlock both registered pressures from the interior. DE Deiontrez Mount knocked down a pass intended for the middle of the field. Banks missed a tackle at the line of scrimmage that led to a 30-yard second quarter scamper by James Butler. He later sniffed out a screen for a tackle for loss. DE Jason Neill was injured late; he’ll cede his starting end spot to the returning Obum Gwacham this week. The group missed DT Ricky Walker, who was out with an injury.

LB: B: Terrance Plummer led the group with four tackles; he was tasked with spying Walker at times during the game. It worked, as Walker had just 34 yards rushing with 28 coming on one play. Plummer also had the only sack, two hurries and a tackle for loss. Backup Reggie Northrup played well. Lucas Wacha had three tackles and two hurries; the linebackers applied more pressure than the line. Houston called just 12 run plays, so the linebackers were either in pass coverage or mostly off the field when Tampa went to their dime defense against Houston’s five-wide attack.

DB: C: Playing against perhaps the best QB-WR tandem in the league, it was only natural that this group would struggle at times. The Vipers were attacked all over the field, and when Houston head coach June Jones sensed a player getting tired, he’d go after them even more. There were still more than a handful of quality plays made. Tarvarus McFadden played a screen well for no gain. Cam Phillips toasted Anthoula Kelly on an 84-yard TD; Kelly was then victimized on a long pass interference call on third down. Micah Hannemann led the team with seven tackles, but missed one that led to a third quarter TD. He did have a 3rd down pass break-up and almost picked a ball on the next play. The DBs also had to do a lot of tackling in the run game. DB blitzes were dialed up on Walker before the half.

ST: A-: A much better effort than last week. Rannell Hall had a good opening kickoff return, but only averaged 19.5 yards on four returns. He was hurt and subsequently placed on injured reserve. The Vipers do have others with experience returning kicks and punts who can fill in. Donteea Dye replaced him on kickoff returns after the injury. Dye also returned punts. Andrew Franks kicked two field goals, including one from 48. Jake Schum had a 67-yard punt and landed three of four kicks inside the 20, including one at the four yard-line. If Tampa can get consistency in their kicking game, it will be a huge plus. Kick coverage is still an issue. Lucas Wacha led the team with three special teams stops.

Collective Wisdom – XFL Week 4

Welcome to XFLBoard.com Collective Wisdom! The place where the collective provides the wisdom.

 Last Week
3-1

 Overall Record
10-2

Last week our collective went 3-1 in their prediction of the week’s games.

Overall this season the collective is 10-2. Very wise!

Here is how it works

  1. You predict the week’s games by filling out the form below.
  2. After entries close on Saturday, we will crunch the data and post the “Collective Wisdom,” i.e., which teams the collective predicts will win the week’s games.
  3. We watch the games and see how wise the collective really was.
  4. After all games have ended, we will reveal which entrant was closest to the real scores, and proclaim that person the “Genius of the Week.” In case of a tie, the first entrant will be deemed the winner.
  5. Prize? Of course! The “Genius of the Week” receives a tee-shirt proclaiming them the XFLBoard.com Collective Wisdom “Genius of the Week.” The perfect item for impressing your friends, family, and your high-school gym teacher.

Here are this week’s games

Entries close at Noon Eastern on Saturday 29 February, 2020.


Enter once, not multiple times. Please note that extra entries from the same email, or IP address will be deleted.

Pre-Game: The Vipers matchup against the Defenders

As the Vipers welcome in the DC Defenders in week four at Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium; the Defenders look to pick up win number three after they lost in the previous week against the now 1-2 LA Wildcats. 

The Defenders look for quarterback Cardale Jones to have a better game this week as he suffered his first loss of the season against LA  where he threw four interceptions and had a completion rate of fifty percent. Jones, a former Ohio State Buckeyes and 4th round draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft is not shy to success and looks to brush off last week’s 9-39 loss. 

The Defenders have used rushing the ball to their advantage, giving 10 different players the opportunity to execute the run play for a total of 91 rushing attempts and 376 total rushing yards this season. The Vipers will need to have a strong defense of line this week if they want to stop the run.

Going into week four of the XFL, the DC Defenders defense has been strong for the first two games as CB Elijah Campbell blocked a punt and was then recovered by LB Jonathan Celestin for DC’s first-ever touchdown. The Defenders defense also intercepted two of QB Brandon Silvers passes, giving DC the win over the Seattle Dragons 31-19 in week one. In the following week against the New York Guardians, the defense had two interceptions, one touchdown and had a forced recovered fumble in week two while not allowing New York to score. Things fell apart as the undefeated DC defense traveled to the 0-2 LA Wildcat’s Dignity Health Sports Park. The Defenders couldn’t figure things out defensively as they couldn’t stop the Wildcats QB, Josh Johnson. DC allowed 39 points in week three, coming up short in their first loss. The Defenders look to bounce back on top as they look to give the Vipers their fourth straight loss.

The Tampa Bay Vipers will need to figure out there QB situation going into week four as Aaron Murray looks to possibly play this week after being sidelined with a foot injury. The past three weeks the Vipers have failed to get there first win this season and a lot has to do with a quarterback controversy that head coach Marc Trestman seems to struggle with.

The Vipers have a strong running game with fan-favorite backup QB Quinton Flowers who is quick on his feet when he gets the opportunity to play and with running back duo Deveon Smith and Jaques Patrick, who are both top 5 in the league in total yards rushing. 

Tampa Bay is going to need to look towards their defense in order to come up on top in this week four matchup against DC. The Vipers as a team have allowed a total of 74 points against them this season. The Vipers man to man coverage has looked weak, especially after last week’s loss against the Houston Roughnecks. The Vipers failed to stop QB PJ Walker and his sidekick two time XFL Star of the Week WR Cam Phillips. The Vipers defense allowed Phillips to catch three-TD passes and have a total of 194 yards receiving.

Both teams look to bounce back after a disappointing week three loss. 

D.C. put in check in decisive 39-9 loss to Wildcats

DC Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones attempts to avoid the pass rush. (Credit: XFL.com)

The D.C. Defenders (2-1, 1-0 in the East) traveled across the country Sunday to Carson, California for a meeting with the Los Angeles Wildcats (1-2, 0-2 in the West.) D.C. was outclassed in all three phases and was bested by 30 points at the Dignity Health Sports Park.

The Defenders entered the game having handily beaten New York, 27-0, in Week Two. They boasted the XFL’s best point differential (+39) and premier passing offense, an air attack that experienced difficulty the entire evening.

“[The game] didn’t get away from us,” D.C. head coach Pep Hamilton said after the game. “We never had it. I felt like we had our backs against the wall the entire game. It’s our job to really settle our guys down and make the adjustments that we need to make to stay in the game, and we didn’t do that today.”

Wildcat signal-caller Josh Johnson, making his second start after being hobbled by a thigh injury that kept him out Week One, took full advantage of a pass interference penalty called on a third down, keeping alive his team’s opening drive.

On the awarded first down, the quarterback took the snap from under center at the D.C. 40, feigned a handoff to his running back, and rolled before floating a deep pass to Tre McBride. McBride, swapped by D.C. during training camp for former Washington Redskins wideout Rashad Ross, pulled the ball in with his back to the endzone then turned and lunged into the endzone for six.

McBride, the son of current Quartermaster General of the United States Army Douglas McBride would catch another touchdown later in the half.

After passing for 499 yards and throwing only one interception in his first two starts, Defender quarterback Cardale Jones began the game by tossing picks on two of D.C.’s first three drives.

The thieves, cornerbacks Arrion Springs and Mike Stevens, were understudies filling in for injured first-stringers Jaylen Dunlap and Harlan Miller.

After McBride’s second score, the Defenders displayed what could be argued as the unluckiest series of any in the young season. Jhurrel Pressley muffed the kickoff, giving his offense a go of it from its own 6. The headsets malfunctioned, disallowing communication between Hamilton and his players. Finally, with 5:25 left in the second period, punter Hunter Niswander didn’t even bother trying to punt the football, coughing it up and setting the Wildcats up four yards from the D.C. goal-line.

Two plays later, L.A. tailback Martez Carter would slip by the hip of his left guard for his first XFL touchdown, stretching his team’s lead to 27-0 after a successful one-point conversion.

The Defenders provided a glimmer of hope before going into the break, as kicker Ty Rausa split the uprights with 30 seconds remaining.

At halftime, Jones’ had gone 6-13 for two interceptions and 39 yards. As Jones had trouble, Josh Johnson showed why 13 NFL franchises found him useful enough to sit in their quarterback meetings. The 33-year-old cousin of Marshawn Lynch distributed the ball for 128 yards and two scores, hitting on 10 of 16 attempts.

D.C. received the football to begin the second half and drove as far as the Wildcats’ 27. The drive was killed by another interception, this time into the hands of safety Jack Tocho. The turnover again led to points on the other end, as a seven-play, 81-yard march was capped by an 18-yard touchdown pass to Carter.

A fourth pick—and yet another Wildcat touchdown, led to Cardale Jones being pulled in favor of former University of Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson. Jones closed his day 13-26 for only 103 yards for a rating of 20.7, the lowest of any quarterback with at least 20 attempts in a game this season.

“He is our starting quarterback,” Hamilton said of Cardale Jones after the game, eliminating any rumors of an in-season competition.

“I’m enjoying the process, even after a loss,” Jones said. “It’s not a real testament to our team. The real testament is to see how we bounce back Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday in practice getting ready for Tampa Bay.”

LSU product Nick Brosette would scamper 38 yards for a touchdown in the middle of the fourth quarter. The score would do little to raise the spirits of a team that will now enter Week Four unsure of itself.

Sharing time in the backfield, Brosette (75 yards), Khalid Abdullah (47 yards), and Donnel Pumphery (40 yards) were each granted eight carries. Tight end Khari Lee would lead the Defenders in receiving with 38 yards on three grabs, while Rashad Ross would catch one of six targets for 17 yards.

The Defenders defense, a strong suit that got off the plane in Southern California averaging three takeaways a game, failed to force a Wildcat turnover. Through the air, the Defenders allowed Johnson 278 yards, a 72% completion rate, and a 148.0 rating, the closest to perfect of any passer through three weeks. McBride would finish with five catches for 109 yards, two yards more than the entire D.C. receiving corps combined.

Conversely, L.A. took five balls, the most in any game this year.

He who holds the honor of scoring the first defensive touchdown in Defenders history, Bradley Sylve, finished the game with a tackle. Defenders tackle Anthony Johnson was absent from the stat lines.

“We have a good football team,” Hamilton reminded the press. “They were the better team today. We didn’t help ourselves with […] the untimely penalties, the turnovers, and all of the above.”

The Defenders will look to rebound Sunday at 7 p.m. in another away matchup against a team who has yet to secure a victory, the Tampa Bay Vipers.

Former CFL All-Star Derek Dennis awarded to reeling Guardians

Former Calgary Stampeder Derek Dennis is now a New York Guardian (Credit: stampeders.ca)

“It’s kind of like riding a bike,” the burly man who tips the scale at nearly 350 pounds said. “You never really forget, you just get readjusted to it.”

It was announced late Tuesday night that Derek Dennis, formerly a standout offensive lineman in the Canadian Football League (CFL), was awarded on waivers to the New York Guardians. Voted the CFL’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman while with the Calgary Stampeders in 2016, Dennis helped pave the way for the league’s leading rusher, Jerome Messam.

Along with having the opportunity to play on television, where his family could watch, Dennis listed no longer having to deal with Canadian currency and conversion rates as a positive of returning to the United States to play the game.

“Playing maybe in New York, where I’m from, and my family could come to MetLife,” the newest Guardian said while awaiting allocation last Friday. “They could come to the game and watch me play.”

Dennis, a Temple alum, added that his parents haven’t seen him play a whole lot of football in the past five or six years.

With the CFL’s new collective bargaining agreement going into effect this season, Dennis opted to leave Canada for the XFL. The CBA, Dennis said, raised players’ minimum salaries without upping the salary cap also.

“[It’s] sort of put a squeeze on veterans and teams kind of put an emphasis on where they want to spend their money,” said Dennis, who also spent time on rosters in the National Football League and even the now-defunct Arena Football League. “If you spend it on three or four guys at a certain position, the other guys sort of get left out.”

Other notable players to migrate to the relaunched XFL from the CFL include wideouts S.J. Green, who had 716 receptions for 10,222 yards and 60 touchdowns while with Montreal and Toronto, and former Appalachian State quarterback-turned-receiver Armanti Edwards, who caught 244 balls for 3,181 yards and 16 touchdowns in stints with Saskatchewan and Toronto.

Dennis felt, as a three-time West Division All-Star and Grey Cup champion, that he wasn’t getting the monetary respect he deserved.

“Just from watching how free agency was unfolding for a lot of guys, there were a lot of veterans that I respected that either weren’t getting the offers that they felt they deserved or taking low-end deals to make sure they had a job,” Dennis said.

He stressed that people sometimes forget that, as professional athletes, the players still have a family life with kids at home.

“So the money that we feel like we deserve,” Dennis said. “We’re going to go for it just because we work hard for it. That’s how I feed my children, that’s how I keep a roof over my head, and that’s how I keep clothes on my kids’ backs.”

With a wider field and concepts such as the a one-yard buffer between players on the line of scrimmage prior to the football being snapped, Dennis said that playing in the CFL taught him to be patient and to be comfortable playing in space. He also pointed out that 12 men line up on each side, rather than 11, and the process of picking up blitzes and spotting defensive substitutions and sets was more complicated.

“I’m going to probably have to understand that I’m back in the phone booth, which I feel like is really my strength,” said Dennis, who counts his run-blocking as a strength.

Dennis realizes the level of talent in the XFL is high, but he still wants fans to recognize him throughout the course of a game.

“I’m expecting guys that are hungry […] I play with the mindset of, I don’t want nobody to look at me and go ‘Man, that guy sucks.’ Whenever I touch any type of field or court, I’m going to give it my all, 100%, because I want people to walk away with a great intention of me.”

Dennis’ Guardians, having lost two straight after a Week One victory against Tampa Bay, will square off against the Los Angeles Wildcats Saturday afternoon at MetLife Stadium, 75 miles away from Dennis’ high school in Pawling, New York.

XFL Week 3 – Players of the Week – “Fan’s Choice” by XFLBoard.com

Cam Phillips (Houston Roughnecks), Mike Stevens (LA Wildcats), Tre Williams (LA Wildcats), Joe Powell (St. Louis BattleHawks)

Welcome to our Week 3 XFL “Players of the Week” results. Voting began immediately at the completion of the final game on Sunday. We gathered over 2,600 votes between this time and the closing of polls at Noon Eastern on Tuesday 25 February 2020. We thank all who voted!

Fans were asked to nominate any player they deemed worthy of the honor, in four categories: Offensive, defensive, lineman, and special teams.

Winners below are based on the number of votes received for each player.

YouTube video

Offensive Player of the Week: Cam Phillips, Houston Roughnecks

Wide receiver Cam Phillips became the number one receiver in the XFL through 8 catches where he added 194 yards to the Roughnecks offense and three touchdowns. Cam was the number one offensive weapon in a high-scoring XFL week 3.

Fan comments:

  • 8 catches 194 yards 3 TD’s. Nuff said! (Anonymous)
  • Most dangerous receiver in the league. (Anonymous)
  • Eclipsed all receivers in the league in week 3. (XFL Forever)

Honorable Mentions

  • PJ Walker, Houston Roughnecks
  • Martez Carter, LA Wildcats
  • Jordon Ta’amu, St. Louis BattleHawks

 

Defensive Player of the Week: Mike Stevens, LA Wildcats

LA Wildcats cornerback Mike Stevens picked off DC Defenders QB Cardale Jones twice, leading the Wildcats shutdown of the powerful DC Defenders offense..

Fan comments:

  • He stepped in for the Cats and got 2 picks, 4 tackles and 1 sack. (XFL_FAN)
  • Injuries to LA’s top two corners turned into a blessing in disguise. Stevens stepped in and had the Wildcats’ best defensive performance of the season. (Xtremefanforever)
  • 6 combined tackles, 1 sack, and 2 interceptions while holding undefeated DC Defenders to single digit scoring. Your Defensive Player of the Week. Mike Stevens.. (@berto_la2ca)

Honorable Mention

  • Will Smith, LA Wildcats
  • Will Hill, St. Louis Batttlehawks

 

Lineman of the Week: Tre Williams, LA Wildcats

Tre Williams combined 8 tackles with 1 sack in the Wildcats shutdown of the DC Defenders.

Fan comments:

  • Kept the DC Defenders off the board by pressuring Cardale Jones all day. (Anonymous)
  • Ended a DC Defenders drive with a massive sack. (XFL Linebacker)
  • Led the Wildcats defense in pressuring Cardale Jones. (Anonymous)

Honorable Mention

  • Steven Johnson, Seattle Dragons

 

Special Teams Player of the Week: Joe Powell, St. Louis BattleHawks

In a kickoff return, Powell made XFL history by taking a reverse from Keith Mumphery and running the ball over 80 yards for a touchdown.

Fan comments:

  • Historical first XFL kick return for 84 yards! (Anonymous)
  • He took the reverse and returned the kickoff to the house. First time in the XFL! (Stephen Q.)
  • First kickoff return for a TD in XFL history deserves this honor. (Anonymous)

Honorable mention:

  • Taylor Russolino, St. Louis BattleHawks