Because of the COVID-19 shortened season, the LA Wildcats only played 5 games in 2020, finishing 2-3. Although this is a smaller sample size than expected, let’s check out some key takeaways from the season, take a look at what players might make the jump to the NFL and look forward to 2021.
3 Key Takeaways
- Josh Johnson can lead this team for at least another season
Josh Johnson, QB for LA, was injured all throughout training camp and did not play in Week 1 against Houston because of a thigh injury that limited Johnson during the entire season. In the 4 games Johnson played, he totaled 1,076 passing yards, 11 touchdown passes with only 2 interceptions. Johnson was 2nd in yard passing, 2nd in touchdowns and led the XFL in QB rating and yards per attempt. Assuming Johnson remains in the XFL with LA, he showed the league that he can and will lead the Wildcats and be one of the best in the league while doing it. Now with PJ Walker gone, Johnson is the clear #1 QB in the entire XFL.
- The Wildcats were not wrong to fire Pepper Johnson
After their disappointing loss in Week 1 against the Roughnecks, the Wildcats fired then defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson after surrendering 25 unanswered points in the 2nd half to Houston. While LA still finished bottom in the league in points allowed, the team was tied for first in the XFL in takeaways and clearly had a defensive unit that was improving under head coach Winston Moss. The Wildcats played uninspired football on defense in Week 1, and that attitude never resurfaced after DC Johnson was let go. With another full training camp for the defense to mesh, their takeaway prowess will help the Wildcats reemerge as one of the most dangerous defensive units in the league in 2021.
- LA needs a running back
The LA Wildcats did not have a running back in the top TWENTY in the league in rushing yards in 2020. Let that sink in. One of the reasons Josh Johnson had so many passing yards is because Elijiah Hood and DuJuan Harris could not be counted on to carry the offensive burden. And this was not a game plan issue, both the LA backs are actually rated lower in the league when you look at yards/carry compared to just total yards. If LA wants to succeed in 2021, pairing Josh Johnson with a dynamic backfield is paramount to success going forward. Getting a running back like CAP in Dallas or the duo backs in Tampa Bay would open up an entire part of the offense that we did not see from the Wildcats this season.
Wildcats to the NFL?
Who from LA should go to the NFL you ask? What an amazing question with an amazing answer.
Offense: Josh Johnson, Tre McBride and Nelson Spruce
Defense: Cedric Reed, Mike Stevens and Ahmad Dixon
Overall, in order for LA to have success in 2021, they need an improved running game and more consistency on defense. They have shown as a team that they can create takeaway and have big plays on offense, but both need to be more steady in their production for extended success next season. Just a few more playmakers on both sides of the ball would go a long way for the Los Angeles Wildcats.
Writer covering the LA Wildcats
Host of “eXamining the XFL”
Sports Communication Major, Political science, professional writing and journalism minor at Bradley University.