Week One: New York Guardians-Tampa Bay Vipers Preview

Vipers at the Guardians
Credit: XFL.com

Tampa Bay Vipers at New York Guardians

  • Sunday 2 pm ET (Fox) MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
  • Point Spread: Vipers -2 (Fan Duel)
  • Forecast: Mostly Cloudy, High 43, Wind Five MPH
  • Injuries:
    • (Guardians): WR Joe Horn (Ankle), TE Keenan Brown (Illness), CB DeJuan Neal (Thigh)
    • (Vipers): TE DeAndre Goolsby (Neck), DL Jason Neill (Groin)

The Guardians and Vipers will be taking the field Sunday without some of their best-projected targets in the passing game. New York Wide Receivers DeAngelo Yancey and Tanner Gentry are on short term IR and have yet to practice, although they have done some light work on the side. Barring any change in their status, it appears at press time, that New York will be without two of their projected starters on offense. For Tampa, Antonio Callaway, unfortunately, suffered an injury in practice leading into this game and was placed on injured reserve.

New York and Tampa released their depth charts for week one on Thursday: (starters in bold print)

GUARDIANS OFFENSE

QB-14 Matt McGloin
12 Marquise Williams
7 Luis Perez

RB-20 Tim Cook
27 Darius Victor
23 Justin Stockton
34 Matt Colburn

XWR-1 Mekale McKay
9 Teo Redding

ZWR-10 Austin Duke
2 Joe Horn

LT-74 Jarron Jones
71 Brant Weiss

LG-78 Anthony Coyle

C-69 Ian Silberman
77 Damien Mama

RG-68 Garrett Brumfield
73 Avery Young

RT-70 John Kling

TE-87 Jake Powell
83 Jake Sutherland
88 EJ Bibbs
85 Keenen Brown

WWR-3 Colby Pearson
17 Justice Liggins

GUARDIANS DEFENSE

RE-58 Bunmi Rotimi
55 Charles Wright
44 Ryan Mueller

3T-93 TJ Barnes

NT-94 Joey Mbu
95 Toby Johnson

LE-99 Cavon Walker
91 Jarrell Owens

WLB-45 D’Juan Hines
48 Jawuan Johnson

MLB-56 Ben Heeney
47 Frank Ginda

SLB-59 Garret Dooley
49 Nick DeLuca

RCB-29 Bryce Jones
31 Terrence Alexander

NCB-22 Dravon Askew-Henry
24 Ranthony Texada

LCB-21 Jamar Summers
26 DeJuan Neal

FS-30 Andrew Soroh
28 Wes Sutton

SS=33 AJ Hendy
36 Demetrious Cox

SPECIALISTS

LS-42 Scott Daly

PK-16 Matt McCrane

PT-8 Justin Vogel

H-8 Justin Vogel

VIPERS OFFENSE

QB-11 Aaron Murray
4 Taylor Cornelius
9 Quinton Flowers
8 Chase Litton

RB-24 De’ Veon Smith
29 Jacques Patrick
34 Mack Brown

WR-17 Jalen Tolliver
19 Tanner McEvoy
13 Donteea Dye

WR-81 Dan Williams
15 Seantavius Jones

WR-18 Reece Horn
12 Ryan Davis
14 Stacy Coley

TE-85 Nick Truesdell
80 DeAndre Goolsby
86 Colin Thompson

LT-73 Martez Ivey
78 Marquis Lucas

LG-67 Jerald Foster

C-63 Jordan McCray
50 John Yarbrough

RG-76 Daronte Bouldin

RT-71 Isaiah Williams
69 Na’Ty Rodgers

VIPERS DEFENSE

DE-96 Jason Neill
95 CeCe Jefferson

DT-92 Josh Banks
97 Ricky Walker

DT-49 Nikita Whitlock

DE-53 Deiontrez Mount
91 Bobby Richardson

MLB-45 Lucas Wacha
43 Emmanuel Beal
54 Anthony Stubbs

WLB-41 Terrance Plummer
52 Reggie Northrup

CB-33 Shelton Lewis
32 Jalen Collins
22 Rannell Hall

CB-23 Anthoula Kelly
20 Tarvarus McFadden

NCB-27 Micah Hannemann
31 Corey Moore

SS-21 Robert Priester
30 Demontre Hurst

FS-35 Marcelis Branch
28 Bryce Canady

SPECIALISTS

P-10 Jake Schum

PK-3 Andrew Franks

KO-3 Andrew Franks
10 Jake Schum

H-10 Jake Schum
18 Reece Horn

LS-42 Nick Moore
86 Colin Thompson

PR-22 Rannell Hall
18 Reece Horn
12 Ryan Davis

KR-22 Rannell Hall
12 Ryan Davis

Matchup: Guardians offense versus Vipers defense

Tampa will be employing a 4-2-5 defense under Defensive Coordinator Jerry Glanville. The legendary Glanville has a long history of using an aggressive man coverage style of defense. Look for Kevin Gilbride to take some shots down the field against Tampa’s secondary. The Guardians have receivers who can beat man coverage and make contested catches down the field in the likes of Mekale McKay and Teo Redding.

In the Guardians’ live scrimmage against the Vipers.  New York showed hints of their attack against Tampa by repeatedly challenging the Vipers corners deep and connecting on big plays. One player who could be targeted by New York on the Tampa defense is recently converted corner Rannell Hall. The former wide receiver has blazing speed and great athleticism, but he’s still a novice at the position. Also, look for New York to run against Tampa’s nickel set.

Matchup: Guardians defense versus Vipers offense

If there is one coach who is adept at having successful offenses operate with a shorter play clock (25 seconds). It’s Marc Trestman, and he did it with success winning multiple championships in Canada. The Guardians are huge upfront on the defensive line, but a sped up offense can wear down those types of players quickly. Being able to rotate in and out the likes of TJ Barnes, Joey Mbu, and Toby Johnson will be a key for New York Defensive Coordinator Jim Herrmann. Trestman will look to wear down New York’s defensive line by the fourth quarter. The Vipers have arguably the best offensive line in the league. Center Jordan McCray was the highest-rated offensive lineman by Pro Football Focus in the AAF last year for the Orlando Apollos.

New York’s defense has the advantage over Tampa’s offense from a speed standpoint. The Guardians secondary is very fast but not long in stature at the corner spot. Tampa may counter that with their big-bodied targets and its star tight end in Nick Truesdell. New York will need to get pressure on Aaron Murray and not allow him time in the pocket. New York has to force Murray into mistakes and not let him get in a rhythm.

Final Summary

These two teams played a full live scrimmage against each other at the end of training camp. New York “won” that game. The Guardians and Vipers meet again on Sunday, only this time the stake of the outcome is significant. There are only six divisional games throughout the season, and whether or not New York holds serve at home could end up setting the tone for the rest of their entire season. The Vipers and Guardians will meet again in the final week of the regular season in Tampa.

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