Dallas Renegades Receiver Ryan Broyles Retires

The first day of Dallas Renegades’ mini-camp opened up with one of its most recognizable players retiring before stepping on the field for the first XFL game of the season.

Dallas Morning News Sports Reporter Joseph Hoyt tweeted on Thursday that a team spokesman told him that former University of Oklahoma wide receiver and Dallas Renegades draft pick Ryan Broyles has retired from football. The team will have the right of first refusal on Broyles if he would decide to return to football and play in the XFL.


He was going to have tough competition with a deep Renegades receiving core, but was going to be looked at as the veteran presence on offense to help groom some of the younger receivers on the team. His chemistry with quarterback Landry Jones and relationship with head coach Bob Stoops from their time with OU was going to be seen as a strength for them when he was drafted.

Broyles was drafted by the Renegades in Phase Five of the XFL Draft back in October where he was expected to team up with Jones after he helped Broyles earn two All-American honors in 2010 and 2011.

The 31-year-old receiver was a former second round pick of the Detroit Lions who played just three seasons with his last season playing football back in 2014.

Flashing Renegades Black and Blue: Dallas Renegades Uniform Review

The XFL took their next major step to reach their 2020 season with players reporting to mini-camps for the first time Tuesday. Not only that, but the XFL revealed uniforms for all eight of their teams. Teams slowly unrevealed their uniforms in front of players, coaches, and media. One of the first teams that showed off their new threads was the Dallas Renegades.

New quarterback Landry Jones and wide receiver Jeff Badet came out on stage to remove the cloths from the models of their new uniforms. Those in attendance got to see that Jones will be wearing his signature number 12 while we saw that Badet will be wearing his number 13 jersey for the Renegades this season.

Let’s break down and examine the looks of the uniforms and how it lived up to and exceeded fan’s expectations.

Home Uniform

Let’s first examine the look of the home uniform as the first thing that fans can notice is the XFL decided to go with black as the main color for the body. This is mixed in with the light blue on the shoulders, the sleeves, and the sides of the jersey. The red stripe can be found on the side of the shoulders. The numbers are outlined in white with the main color being light blue and the name of the player on the back of the jersey will be black.

A big thing to note with the jersey is the name of the Renegades, players names, and numbers are all embroidered which has been popular with fans.

The pants for the home uniforms also showcases a black body that included light blue sides and red on the sides as well. The XFL logo has the X outline being light blue and the “XFL” letters being in red.

Away Uniform

The away uniform shows off a mostly white body. The shoulders are filled with black shoulders and red stripes while a black line going down the side of the body of the jersey. There are also light blur cuffs on the jersey as well.

As for the names and the numbers on the jersey, the Renegades name logo found in the front of the jersey is shaded in black. The numbers have a black outline and blue as the main color on the inside. The names on the back are in light blue.

The pants are a solid white that have a black and light blur stripe on the side of the pants. The XFL logo has the big X outlined with black and the inside black. The “XFL” letters are similar to what the home uniforms had with the color being red.

Another key factor to include with both uniforms is that they were manufactured by Custom Outfitters.

Helmet

The helmets are from Riddell that shows fans that the design of it was inspired by their logo. The main color of the logo is their light blue that includes a black facemask. The logo blends in perfectly with the side of the helmets. You can see the big stripe going around the top of the helmet with a thin red stripe going in between the black. The Renegades name logo in the front of the helmet was in a light blue color.

Overall Impression

This demonstrates to me, as well as with the other uniforms, that the league didn’t want to be over the top with the designs, but have something subtle in those uniforms that gets fans excited. I love the fact that they would use the black as their main color for the home jerseys as I would have done the same thing. The black looks slick while the nice blend of the light blue and the small red stripes on both the home and away uniforms really helps with them too.

Nothing would have made more sense than to have light blue as the main color for the helmet as it works with the black and white jerseys. The black and red stripes on the helmets makes a ton of sense and looks good on the helmet. I’m glad the league decided to use Riddell for their helmets are they are one of the best in the business in helmet equipment.

You can find the replica home jerseys on sale for $79.99 at Shop.XFL.com. Authentic jerseys with the number 20 will be on sale for $225 and will be available to buy on December 17th. If you want to customize the jerseys, they will be available at the stadiums during XFL games.

Mini-camps will officially get underway for teams on December 5th and run through the 18th before breaking for the holidays.

Bob Stoops Squashes Florida State, College Rumors

All that we have been hearing in the past few weeks was the rumor that Dallas Renegades head coach Bob Stoops was going to bolt from the team and head to Tallahassee to coach the Florida State Seminoles football team after they fired Willie Taggart with only a season and a half under his belt.

After Taggart’s firing, the rumors grew like a wildfire when Stoops was found in early November at a Dan Marino Foundation event held in Florida. There were even journalistw based in Florida that were convinced that he was going to agree on a deal with Florida State to be the head coach. Stoops took this chance to shut down the rumors by telling ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit that he was not a candidate for the job.

This week, XFL coaches and team presidents are at the league’s headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut as they discuss the upcoming season. Stoops gave fans more of a reinsurance when he commented on why he came out of retirement to coach the Renegades by saying, “I believe in this league. I believe in our leadership. I believe in these head coaches, that we’re gonna put a good product out there. That’s going to be exciting, and fun to watch, and fun to be a part of.”

He also made an appearance on ESPN Central Texas Wednesday where he answered a question about his future in coaching college. ““Well you never know what the Lord is going to bring you,” Stoops said. “Everybody wants you to define your life at every age. At 50, they wanted me to know what I was going to do the rest of my life. And at 55, and now at 59, everyone thinks you gotta, you know, who knows what I’ll be doing next year or the year after. You don’t know what you’re going to be doing next year. And the good Lord is the only one who knows. We’ll see where things end up for me.”

This isn’t new to Stoops as his name was brought up for the Auburn job last season when Gus Malzahn was on the hot seat before keeping his job. Fans should expect this to not be the end of the rumors as well as his name has also been brought up for the USC job should that be open.

He will always be at the top of every college head coaching job as he’s one of the most decorated coaches in college football in the past two decades and in history. Renegade fans can rest assure that Stoops seems to be staying for at least this upcoming season.

Fans can watch Bob Stoops and the Renegades kick off their season at their new home in Globe Life Park when they take on the St. Louis Battlehawks Sunday, February 9th at 4:00 pm central time.

Analyzing the Dallas Renegades 2020 XFL Season

Dallas Renegades Schedule

The next step in progressing the XFL season took place Tuesday when they release team schedules for the upcoming 2020 season. The Dallas Renegades are one of the most highly anticipated teams of the season simply due to Bob Stoops coming out of retirement to coach the team while also teaming up with his former Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones.

We will examine the Renegades’ ten game season and see which of the games to watch out for and how their home games stack up to their road games.

Week 1: St. Louis BattleHawks (Home, Sunday, February 9th at 4:00 pm CT on ESPN)

One of the most anticipated games of the season comes in week one where Globe Life Park will, for the first time, not be a baseball stadium and we get a first look at how Stoops, Landry Jones, and the high-flying offense operates. BattleHawks’ offense will test Chris Woods’ crew early with Jordan Ta’amu’s mobility and strong backfield. BattleHawks safety Kenny Robinson from West Virginia may give Jones some issues as he debuts as the first college player to leave school for the XFL.

Week 2: LA Wildcats (Away, Sunday, February 16th at 2:00 pm CT on ABC)

First road challenge for the Renegades as their defense has to play good pass defense against Norm Chow’s offense. Should be interesting to see how they do playing an earlier game on the west coast, especially for those younger players who may not be as experienced with it as some of the NFL vets like Jones and Lance Dunbar.

Week 3: Seattle Dragons (Away, Saturday, February 22nd at 4:00 pm CT on Fox)

Brandon Silvers really impressed in the last few weeks of the Alliance season with the Memphis Express which could cause some problems for the Renegades’ secondary. Another road test for the Renegades on the west coast and on a shorter week should show us how good the Renegades are. CenturyLink Field is one of the toughest, loudest places to play in the NFL and the crowd noise could play a factor in how the Renegades’ offense plays out.

Week 4: Houston Roughnecks (Home, Sunday, March 1st at 3:00 pm CT on FS1)

The only in-state rivalry in the XFL should have the state of Texas excited for the XFL’s version of the Lonestar Showdown. Also a great showdown between two great former college coaches in Stoops and June Jones. Dallas’s rush defense will have to be on full display as they could be facing one of the best backs in the league in Andre Williams. Hopefully by this week, Landry Jones and the offense is comfortable enough to be going full speed.

Week 5: New York Guardians (Home, Saturday, March 7th at 4:00 pm CT on Fox)

Matt McGloin leads an offense that has plenty of talent at the receiver position with DeAngelo Yancey and Mekale McKay. Back-to-back home games should help the team play well behind their home crowd.

Week 6: DC Defenders (Away, Sunday, March 15th at 3:00 pm CT on FS1)

Cardale Jones plays in front of his home crowd as this team is loaded with talent on offense and defense. This may be their toughest challenges of the season being on the road and having to deal with Pep Hamilton’s offense.

Week 7: Tampa Bay Vipers (Away, Saturday, March 21st at 1:00 pm CT on ABC)

Tampa Bay has a great-looking running game with De’Veon Smith and defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville’s crew looks tough from top to bottom. Traveling back-to-back weeks on the east coast, this game may be a trap game for the Renegades as we dive deeper into the second half of the season.

Week 8: Seattle Dragons (Home, Sunday, March 29th at 5:00 pm CT on FS1)

The Dragons will make their debut in Dallas as things start to get interesting in terms of the playoffs picture as both teams have been fans’ choices to be the two best teams in the west.

Week 9: Houston Roughnecks (Away, Thursday, April 2nd at 7:00 pm CT on Fox)

The first of two straight weeks playing in prime time on Thursday has the rematch of the Lonestar Showdown from a month prior. Getting closer to the playoffs should make this game a must-win for the Renegades to fight or secure a spot in the playoffs. A short week will makes things interesting and show which coach is up for the task of getting their teams ready for the game.

Week 10: LA Wildcats (Home, Thursday, April 9th at 7:00 pm CT on Fox)

Both teams look good enough on paper that this game could determine who goes to the playoffs or who stays at home. It could even be a preview of the Western Finals game the next week. Either way, both offenses will be putting up a lot of yards so should be a fun game for fans to watch on the Renegades’ second straight prime time game on Thursday.

Conclusion

The early west coast road trips could cause a hiccup or two for the Renegades early, but their home games should be in favor of them. Week 9 could present a challenge with a short week, but they got to love the fact that they could be on prime time the last two weeks of the season for all fans to see. This shows the league understands that the Renegades have two of the biggest names in the league (Stoops and Jones) and they want them on national television as much as they can. The expectations are high as many have picked the Renegades to either win the XFL title or make the title game. If they lose both of their first two road games of the year, it could smell trouble for their season. The best part about a ten game season? Every game counts.

LA Wildcats XFL Draft Recap

LA Wildcats head coach/GM Winston Moss has proven to be one of the more vocal coaches on social media as he has already won over the city with his attitude and approach to coaching. He hired long time NFL/college offensive coordinator and former Hawaii head coach Norm Chow to run the offense with the intent to throw the ball far and often. Defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson will take what he learned from Bill Belichick with the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns as a player and New England Patriots as an assistant coach to his style of defense which will be speed off the edge from his defensive ends and linebackers (a position he thrived in for 13 seasons). Here is a look at who they were able to draft to represent Los Angeles for the 2020 season.

Quarterback Assignment: Luis Perez, Texas A&M Commerce

New Wildcats quarterback Luis Perez had an incredible college career in Division II where his Texas A&M Commerce team won the school’s second national title in 2017 as well as took home the Harlon Hill Trophy (Division II’s Heisman Trophy) after throwing for over 5,000 yards and 46 touchdowns. In his two seasons playing at Texas A&M Commerce, he threw for over 8,300 yards with 78 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

Perez made a fan out of Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay after playing well with the team in the 2018 preseason leading to him making the practice squad for a short time. He made the leap to the Alliance of American Football where he was selected in the first round of the quarterback draft by the Birmingham Iron. After being named the starter, he led the Trent Richardson-led Iron to a 5-3 record, throwing for over 1,400 yards with five touchdowns and six interceptions.

Don’t let the stats deceive you as Perez had two games that saw him throw for two picks in each of those games. He came on strong once he got comfortable with the ball and played smart football. Richardson stole the show with eleven touchdowns with most consisting of short yardage runs. He was known more for being a good game manager, but Perez thrives the most when he is let loose to throw the ball around. Iron’s offense was more balanced with power running, but expect his numbers to look a lot like his college days in Chow’s pass-happy offense.

Phase One: Skill Players

  1. Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina
  2. Rashad Ross, WR, Arizona State
  3. Nelson Spruce, WR, Colorado
  4. Brandon Barnes, TE, Alabama State
  5. Larry Rose, RB, New Mexico State
  6. KD Cannon, WR, Baylor
  7. Martez Carter, RB, Grambling State
  8. Keyarris Garrett, WR, Tulsa
  9. Scott Orndoff, TE, Pittsburgh
  10. Donteea Dye, WR, Heidelberg

The receiving core highlights a strong start for the Wildcats in Phase One as their second and third round picks were among the best receivers in the Alliance. Rashad Ross has blazing speed and reliable hands that resulted in him being leading the league in touchdown catches (7) and top three in catches and yards (36 catches and 583 yards) in eight games while playing with the Arizona Hotshots. Spruce was second in the league in catches (38) and proved to be a reliable target for the San Diego Fleet throughout their season. KD Cannon is also a name college fans will recognize as two of his three seasons at Baylor consisted of at least 1,000 yards and 8 touchdowns. He has great speed, but needs more professional experience after jumping around between teams in the NFL.

As for the running game, it will be led by North Carolina star Elijah Hood and New Mexico State star Larry Rose. Hood is better running between the tackles being the bigger, stronger back. Watch out for Rose to be the faster, more elusive back who has great hands. They should make for a great 1-2 punch between the two.

Looking at the tight ends they drafted, expect Scott Orndoff to be more of the receiving tight end as he put up good numbers in the passing game catching ten touchdowns in his last two seasons attending Pittsburgh. Orndoff also caught 7 balls for 130 yards and a touchdown while playing for the Orlando Apollos in the Alliance. Brandon Barnes also appeared in the Alliance where he recorded 9 receptions for 75 yards with the Memphis Express. Expect the two to battle it out for the starting tight end job.

Phase Two: Offensive Linemen

  1. Storm Norton, T, Toledo
  2. Fred Lauina, G, Oregon State
  3. Ryan Pope, T, San Diego State
  4. Jaelin Robinson, T, Temple
  5. Damien Mama, G, USC
  6. Nico Siragusa, G, San Diego State
  7. Ryan Cummings, G, Wyoming
  8. Lene Maiava, T, Arizona
  9. Tyler Roemer, T, San Diego State
  10. Anthony Morris, T, Tennessee State

Norm Chow and his offensive staff put a lot of emphasis on pass protection and making sure to have young, strong tackles on each side of Perez. With the first overall pick of Phase Two, Storm Norton joins the Wildcats after having experience with the Lions, Cardinals, and the Vikings in the NFL. Standing at 6 ft 7 in, expect him and fellow tackle Ryan Pope to be handling each end of the line. Second round pick Fred Lauina also comes in with NFL experience with the Browns and should help with pass protect and give the line some versatility.

Phase Three: Defensive Front Seven

  1. Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU
  2. Eric Pinkins, LB, San Diego State
  3. Latarius Brady, DT, Memphis
  4. Willie Mays, DE, Tiffin
  5. Tre’ Williams, LB, Auburn
  6. Leon Orr, DT, Florida
  7. Reggie Howard, DT, Toledo
  8. Corey Vereen, DE, Tennessee
  9. Adrian Hubbard, DE, Alabama
  10. Owen Roberts, DT, San Jose State

Anthony Johnson leads the pack in Phase Three has the biggest name on the list from his days as a run stopper and pass rusher in college including 22 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Johnson also has four years of NFL experience and played well with the Memphis Express in the Alliance recording two sacks. Latarius Brady will be able to move around on the defensive line and play at the end or nose tackle. Brady does an exceptional job making plays against the run.

Eric Pinkins played well in the Alliance with the San Diego Fleet averaging about 3-4 tackles per game and proved to be a good open field tackler. Willie Mays is a versatile weapon that can play both defensive end and linebacker. Tre’ Williams made big plays at outside linebacker at Auburn after being named second team all-SEC. He should be another linebacker that can come off the edge quickly.

Phase Four: Secondary

  1. Jack Tocho, CB, North Carolina State
  2. Jaylen Dunlap, CB, Illinois
  3. C.J. Moore, CB, North Carolina Central
  4. Roman Tatum, CB, Southern Illinois
  5. Jordan Powell, S, Widner
  6. Ahmad Dixon, S, Baylor
  7. Harlan Miller, CB, Southeastern Louisiana
  8. Jerome Couplin, S, William & Mary
  9. Mike Stevens, CB, North Carolina State
  10. Bryce Cheek, CB, Akron

Jack Tocho played well with the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance under former Iron head coach and current St. Louis BattleHawks defensive back coach Tim Lewis where he deflected six passes and grabbed one interception. Playing under another defensive-minded head coach should take him to the next level in his development. Jaylen Dunlap played great coverage at Illinois recording 11 pass deflections in his junior year, but needs more playing time on the professional level.

Ahmad Dixon had a successful career as a safety in Baylor and was drafted by the Cowboys in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He should compete for a safety role as he proved to be good in coverage and is a highly active tackler for being in the secondary. Jerome Couplin has the most NFL experience in the secondary as he played for about 3 years in the league and last played in the Alliance with the Orlando Apollos. Expect him to be the veteran presence to help the younger players. C.J. Moore and Roman Tatum both played well in college and will get a chance to show their coverage skills on the big stage.

Phase Five: Open

  1. Taryn Christion, QB, South Dakota State
  2. Marsean Diggs, S, UAB
  3. Winston Dimel, RB, UTEP
  4. Nico Evans, RB, Wyoming
  5. Alex Fuches, LB, California
  6. Quentin Gause, LB, Rutgers
  7. Jalen Greene, WR, Utah State
  8. DeQuan Hampton, WR, USC
  9. Tyree Holder, CB, Ball State
  10. Joshua Jenkins, CB, Army
  11. Adonis Jennings, WR, Temple
  12. Taiwan Jones, LB, Michigan State
  13. Jalan McClendon, QB, Baylor
  14. Cordon Moog, TE, Baylor
  15. Ryan Navarro, LS, Oregon State
  16. Dame Ndiaye, DE, Portland State
  17. Nick Novak, K, Maryland
  18. Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor
  19. Damian Prince, T, Maryland
  20. Cedric Reed, DE, Texas
  21. Colton Schmidt, P, California-Davis
  22. Jerimiah Spicer, LB, No College
  23. Micah St. Andrew, G, Fresno State
  24. Johnny Stanton, TE, UNLV
  25. Andrew Stelter, DT, Minnesota
  26. Patrick Vahe, G, Texas
  27. Jaleel Wadood, S, UCLA
  28. Kermmit Whitfield, WR, Florida State
  29. LaDarius Wiley, S, Vanderbilt
  30. Andrew Williams, DT, Auburn

The biggest name on this final phase list no doubt was Shawn Oakman. It was an initial surprise for many XFL fans to see him still available after day one, but Oakman is a monster on the line who has plenty of strength to get off blocks and be nightmares for quarterbacks. I can see him start or be apart of the defensive line rotation. Love his motor and should be a fan favorite when teams start practicing.

Nico Evans is a player we got to examine on this very website as he showed great vision and really hard to take down after first contact. After rushing for over 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns at Wyoming last year, he was picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles for a short time before being let go. He’ll compete for a roster spot and might get a chance to join in the running back rotation.

On behalf of all former Alliance fans, I was glad to see Taiwan Jones drafted as he was signed to the Memphis Express 24 hours before the league officially folded. Now, him and Alex Fuches I expect to compete as they were great tacklers with high football IQs playing in Division One football. Punter Colton Schmitt and kicker Nick Novak are NFL veterans that add to a reliable special teams unit. I think the two are the best, most experienced duo in the XFL.

Conclusion

Norm Chow knows he’s got a young quarterback who is still in the early stages of his professional career, but this was a best case scenario for Perez as he fits better with Chow’s offense. His receiving core is strong with players mixed with great speed and hands. Fits perfectly with an offense that will pass as much as the Dallas Renegades will.

Defensively, this should be a solid unit with Pepper Johnson’s background in defense and work with two of the smartest minds in NFL history with Belichick and Bill Parcells. Oakman will be viewed as a player fans want to see play often and could make a major impact early. Anthony Johnson is another defensive lineman that will make an immediate impact. This could be one of the strongest defensive lines in the league.

Moss will have to get used to being a first time head coach, but with his strong coaching staff and talent on both sides of the ball, the secondary will be the focal point as to if those young players are ready to shut down the strong passing games that are in the West with the Renegades (Landry Jones) and Seattle Dragons (Brandon Silvers).

Dallas Renegades XFL Draft Recap

What a week it has been for the Dallas Renegades as not only did they complete their first ever XFL Draft, but they introduced the renderings of Globe Life Park once it’s officially a multi-purpose field for football and soccer.

The week started with the revealing of the eight quarterbacks assigned to their XFL team and then an additional 70 players were added to the rosters the next two days separating between five different phases with offensive skill players, offensive linemen, defensive front sevens, secondary, and the rest of the pack.

Like I had mentioned earlier in the week in my article recapping day one, Dallas Renegades head coach/general manager Bob Stoops and his staff had a plan already in place. They wanted to add a ton of speed on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

Let’s take a look at the decisions made by the Renegades and why many believe they had one of the strongest draft classes of the eight teams.

Quarterback Assignment: Landry Jones, Oklahoma

This was the most predictable move of the young XFL league as many had predicted that this might happen to reunite Bob Stoops with his former quarterback. He was one of the most prolific quarterbacks in college football history as he threw for over 16,000 yard and 123 touchdowns at Oklahoma.

His professional experience starting with being drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He started 5 games while appearing in 18 games throwing for over 1,300 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. After being cut in 2018, he would have short stints with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Oakland Raiders before being cut by both teams.

Jones should come into the season as the clear-cut starting quarterback as he for now will only have to compete with former San Diego Fleet (Alliance of American Football) quarterback Philip Nelson. He knows Stoops very well and is comfortable in offensive coordinator Hal Mumme’s air raid offense so expect Jones to put up big numbers in the air with his strong arm and smart decision making. He should be an early favorite for preseason MVP.

Phase One: Skill Players

  1. Jeff Badet, WR, Oklahoma
  2. TommyLee Lewis, WR, Northern Illinois
  3. Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn
  4. Stacy Coley, WR, Miami (FL)
  5. Sean Price, TE, South Florida
  6. Kelvin McKnight, WR, Samford
  7. Philip Nelson, QB, East Carolina
  8. Lance Dunbar, RB, North Texas
  9. Donald Parham, TE, Stetson
  10. Dimitri Flowers, RB, Oklahoma

Stoops and Mumme wanted to have a ton of speed come from their receivers and they got that in Jeff Badet, TommyLee Lewis, Stacy Coley, and Kelvin McKnight as they spent 4 of their first six picks on wide receivers. The only concern coming from this group is the lack of height which they would make up for in the final phase of the draft. Sean Price and Donald Parham should make up for the lack of height as they will be good targets for Jones to throw to on short yardage situations and goal line.

NFL veterans Cameron Artis-Payne and Lance Dunbar make up an experienced and balanced attack coming out of the backfield. I expect to see former Dallas Cowboy Dunbar make a lot of catches out of the backfield on third down as he has one of the best hands on the team with good speed. Artis-Payne should be the muscle as he shines with inside runs while Dunbar will handle outside runs. I expect former Oklahoma fullback Dimitri Flowers to get plenty of carries on fourth and short situations and get some one-yard touchdowns on the goal line as well.

As for the backup quarterback Philip Nelson, the Renegades have one of the best backup quarterback situations in the league by picking up an experienced quarterback. Nelson made a name for himself when he took over for Mike Bercovici as the starting quarterback to Mike Martz’s San Diego Fleet offense. While the numbers can be deceiving as he threw for 513 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions in four games, he was considered one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the Alliance. With his experience in a pass-happy offense and being mobile when he needs to be, I would feel comfortable with him playing should Jones get hurt in the season.

Phase Two: Offensive Lineman

  1. Willie Beavers, T, Western Michigan
  2. Pace Murphy, T, Northwestern State
  3. Maurquice Skakir, G, Middle Tennessee State
  4. Darius James, T, Auburn
  5. Alex Balducci, C, Oregon
  6. Josh Allen, G, Louisiana Monroe
  7. Adam Bisnowaty, T, Pittsburgh
  8. Salesi Uhatafe, G, Utah
  9. John Keenoy, G, Western Michigan
  10. Justin Evans, T, South Carolina

Versatility is what Stoops was looking for in his offensive linemen and that’s exactly what he found. Led by former nose tackle Alex Balducci in the middle of the line, his experience snapping balls in shotgun with his former college coach Chip Kelly with the San Francisco 49ers and moving around in pass protection should be a good sign for him to command the calls from the line throughout the season. Willie Beavers, Pace Murphy, and Josh Allen have plenty of NFL experience that should help in the line grow into their own. While Maurquice Skakir doesn’t have as much professional experience as the others, expect him to compete and make an impact from day one in pass protection.

Phase Three: Defensive Front Seven

  1. Hau’oli Kikaha, DE, Washington
  2. Sealver Siliga, DT, Utah
  3. Wilson Craig, DT, Richmond
  4. Ray Ray Davison, LB, California
  5. Greer Martini, LB, Notre Dame
  6. Gelen Robinson, DT, Purdue
  7. Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma
  8. Jonathan Massaquoi, LB, Troy
  9. Tegray Scales, LB, Indiana
  10. Izaah Lunsford, DT, Bowling Green

Defensive coordinator Chris Woods ran his 3-4 defense at Texas State and it is expected to be the same when he rolls out his defense in game one. Hau’oli Kikaha and Frank Alexander both have plenty of experience in the NFL and showed great pass-rushing experience. The only concern with Kikaha is he’s had a few ACL injuries in his career, but when healthy, he can make a significant difference on the defensive line. Alexander played with Stoops as well in Oklahoma recording 15.5 sacks in his last two years in school. He has a ton of speed off the edge and is the team’s best pass-rusher.

Utah has produced great nose tackles over the years including the Renegades second round pick Sealver Siliga. He has jumped around several NFL teams and played last year with the Salt Lake Stallions of the Alliance. His 340 pound built makes him an ideal fit to stuff the line on scrimmage and should be a problem for teams that want to run the ball on the Renegades. The rest of the nose tackles are much smaller than Siliga, but add some speed and versatility that should help in passing downs.

Every linebacker picked in Phase Three has had previous experience in 3-4 defenses and possesses a ton of speed. Jonathan Massaquoi leads the charge as he played several years in the system in his time with the Atlanta Falcons. He will be looked at as the veteran leader of the defense to make an impact right away. Ray Ray Davison, Greer Martini, and Tegray Scales are younger players with experience in the NFL, but all have great speed that will learn well from Massaquoi and become great pass rushers outside the tackle box.

Phase Four: Secondary

  1. Derron Smith, S, Fresno State
  2. Treston Decoud, CB, Oregon State
  3. Dashaun Phillips, CB, Tarleton State
  4. Kurtis Drummond, S, Michigan State
  5. Josh Hawkins, CB, East Carolina
  6. Montrel Meander, S, Grambling State
  7. John Franklin III, CB, Auburn
  8. Doyin Jibowu, S, Fort Hays State
  9. Donatello Brown, CB, Valdosa State
  10. Ronald Martin, S, LSU

The first five picks with the secondary was a work of perfection for the Renegades. Having the first overall pick of the phase, they made a quick splash with Derron Smith who is a great tackler and straight up a ball hawk at the safety position. He recorded eight pass deflections and three interceptions in eight games with the San Antonio Commanders last season. He should be an impact right away as a starter and should be considered as one of the best coverage safeties in the league. His former counter part with the Commanders Kurtis Drummond also possesses great tackling skills from the safety position and should be a great run stopper when blitzing.

Their top three corners drafted all have played in the NFL who have plenty of years of experience in coverage. Josh Hawkins leads the way in experience as he had significant playing time for the Green Bay Packers and should be a day one starter for them to help be a veteran leader for the corners. Treston Decoud and Deshaun Phillips have bounced around NFL teams, but were great coverage corners in college and proved in preseasons in the past that they can make an impact on receiver’s routes. John Franklin III is an interesting case as he played quarterback in college at Florida State, Auburn, and Florida Atlantic and was one of the stars of the Netflix show “Last Chance U” when he played for East Mississippi. He converted to cornerback and hasn’t had a chance to make an impact since, but the XFL should be a great stop for him to develop.

Phase Five: Open Draft

  1. Tenny Adewusi, CB, Delaware
  2. Romello Brooker, TE, Houston
  3. Asantay Brown, LB, Western Michigan
  4. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma
  5. Johnathan Calvin, DE, Mississippi State
  6. Reshard Cliett, LB, South Florida
  7. Joshua Crockett, WR, Central Oklahoma
  8. Steven Dunbar, WR, Houston
  9. Marquis Flowers, LB, Arizona
  10. James Folston, DE, Pittsburgh
  11. Drew Galitz, P, Baylor
  12. Tony Guerad, DT, Central Florida
  13. Jalen Harvey, S, Arizona State
  14. Jerrod Heard, WR, Texas
  15. Colin Holba, LS, Louisville
  16. Darnell Holland, RB, Kennesaw State
  17. Nick James, DT, Mississippi State
  18. Patrick Lawrence, T, Baylor
  19. Austin MacGinnis, K, Kentucky
  20. Keith Mumphrey, WR, Michigan State
  21. Flynn Nagel, WR, Northwestern
  22. Oni Omoile, G, Iowa State
  23. Gerald Rivers, DE, Mississippi
  24. C.J. Smith, CB, North Dakota State
  25. Ray Smith, DT, Boston College
  26. Maea Teuhema, G, Southeastern Louisiana
  27. Tyrell Thompson, DT, Tarleton State
  28. Tre Watson, LB, Maryland
  29. Carl Whitley, WR, Abilene Christian
  30. Marquis Young, RB, Massachusetts

The highlights of the final phase includes what they did at the receiver position. They have put themselves in a difficult spot (in a good way) as they will have to decide who to keep on the roster between the eleven receivers they drafted in total. Ryan Broyles highlights the first of seven that were taken in Phase Five as he was a two-time All American for Stoops at Oklahoma recording over 4,500 yards and 45 touchdowns in four years. His NFL career was not as success after being a second round pick for the Detroit Lions only recording 420 yards and two touchdowns in three years. He hasn’t played in five years which will be a tough battle for him to work through that, but there was no doubt how good he was at Oklahoma and should have instant connection with his former quarterback Landry Jones. Notable drafted receivers that some would recognize from college includes former Houston receiver Steven Dunbar, former Texas quarterback/receiver Jerrod Heard, and former Michigan State receiver Keith Mumphrey.

Top defenders drafted late includes former Mississippi State star Johnathan Calvin who recorded 11.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks in his 2016 college season that earned him third-team all SEC honors. Former Ole Miss defensive end Gerald Rivers played several years in the NFL and should compete for a spot on the roster as a veteran. Former NFL linebacker Marquis Flowers saw significant time in his time with the New England Patriots and was effective on defense and played well on special teams recording 32 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 2017. I expect him to also compete for playing time and will be great on special team coverage.

Giving some love to the special teams, kicker Austin MacGinnis played in the Alliance with the Memphis Express as he proved to be a very accurate kicker hitting 9-11 field goals including a 51-yard field goal. New punter Drew Galitz was second in the Big 12 in punting with Baylor averaging 42.1 yards per punt and should be looked at to handle kickoff duties as he did that job in his time in college.

Conclusion

The team Bob Stoops put together was well done as they add a ton of speed on offense and defense. They have one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the league and the Alliance proved that good quarterback play should mean a successful season. Dallas had the deepest receiver core in the league as defenses around the league better be ready for Landry Jones to throw the ball around often.

The defensive line should be able to pressure the quarterback as Kikaha and Alexander should have no trouble getting around tackles and should make one of the best duos in the league. An experience secondary should mean for offenses to be ready for some ball hawks to snap at every pass. The safeties on this team will be able to help on rush defense as well.

With a mix of a lot of former Oklahoma players, experienced quarterback play, and speed on both sides of the ball, I like to see this team as an early favorite to make the playoffs and contend for an XFL title.

The Key D’s for Dallas on Draft Day

The first day of the historical XFL Draft has come to an end with one more day of draft picks coming ahead for the 8 XFL teams on Wednesday. We saw a combination of former college stars, NFL starters, Alliance of American Football stars, and small school unknowns find homes.

Dallas Renegades head coach Bob Stoops and his staff came in with a plan and strategy on who they were going after and it was clear from their first pick in the draft. Here are the important D’s that were seen with their day one draft strategies.

D – Dash

It might be safe to say that Bob Stoops’ new nickname should be “Ricky Bobby” because he made it known that he wants his offense to go fast, fast, fast. There is a ton of speed at the running back and receiver positions.

It was clear this was their vision when three of their first four draft picks were wide receivers including Jeff Badet (4.27 second 40 yard dash), TommyLee Lewis (4.45 second 40 yard dash), and Stacy Coley (4.45 second 40 yard dash). Height was not a factor in Stoops’ decision as well as neither of those three players are taller than 6 foot 1 inches. Renegades offensive coordinator Hal Mumme is known for being the architect of his fast-paced air raid offense so it’s no surprise that they want speed and a lot of it. The height issues could be seen as a negative for the team, but it may not matter if these guys are flying past corners on deep balls. It’s safe to say though that new Renegades quarterback Landry Jones should be leading the league in pass attempts in general and pass attempts of more than 20 yards easily.

New running back Cameron Artis-Payne may not be as fast as he is more of a power back, but his new teammates, Lance Dunbar and Dimitri Flowers, may have other ideas about that. Dunbar being a familiar name for Dallas Cowboys fans know of his skill set as he was a reliable receiver out of the backfield so expect to see him on a lot of third down and long plays. While Flowers has surprising speed for a former fullback (4.45 second 40 yard dash) and will make for a nice complementary back that is more in between what Artis-Payne and Dunbar are.

D – Dependable

What do I mean by dependable? My definition is talking about the players that Stoops can rely on as his former players at Oklahoma. He drafted four of his former players that were impact players during their time in college.

Easily, the biggest name from his old school was his quarterback Landry Jones. Jones threw for over 16,000 yards under Stoops leading to him being drafted by the Steelers in the NFL. Badet, as mentioned before, was more well known for what he did at Kentucky before transferring to OU in his final year of college, but he displayed speed and should be a deep threat early for Jones. Flowers was also mentioned in the previous D as showed off great speed for a fullback and will make an impact in pass blocking for Jones. Defensive end Frank Alexander was dominate for Stoops in his last two years of college as he combined for 15 sacks in the 2010 and 2011 seasons so it would be no surprise that Stoops will look at him to be the leader on the defensive line.

D – Defenders

Apologizes to the DC Defenders for stealing your name, but it is fitting to talk about the draft strategy that was in the minds of Stoops and his defensive coordinator Chris Woods. Woods is known for running a 3-4 defense during his time at Texas State and fans got to see some of that influence in their picks of their front seven. Linebackers Jonathan Massaquoi, Tegray Scales, Greer Martini and Ray Ray Davison all come from backgrounds of being in 3-4 defenses. Davison is a converted defensive lineman to linebacker which is what you typically see in an outside linebacker whose primary responsibility is coming off the edge to get to the quarterback. Massaquoi is an NFL veteran who played several years with the Atlanta Falcons that was known for having a 3-4 defense so he should help with the younger linebacker’s development. Scales and Martini were with the Pittsburgh Steelers this past preseason and the Green Bay Packers in 2018 that also ran 3-4 defenses so they should be able to plug in easily and adapt to the pros.

As for the defensive linemen, they made sure to pick up that were big enough to plug the middle of the line to disrupt any offense’s running game. Look for 324 lbs defensive tackle Sealver Siliga have no problems holding his own in the middle and should have great push off the line of scrimmage. Despite the Renegades getting lighter defensive tackles (the other 3 drafted were under 270 lbs), they did find defensive ends that should bring plenty off the edge. Quarterbacks in the XFL should fear the duo of Frank Alexander and Hau’oli Kikaha.

D – Dropping Back

Stoops and Mumme were looking for offensive linemen who would block their defenders in pass protection since we suspect they will be “dropping back” to pass plenty of times. Lineman like Willie Beavers, Pace Murphy, and Alex Balducci displayed great pass blocking skills and should be evident in all their selections at line. This is one of the deeper lines in the draft and all should compete for starting roles with Balducci looking like the leader in the middle of the line. Expect these linemen to be ready to be pass blocking 60-70% of the time in the air raid offense.

D – Draft Picks

Below is the full list of the day one picks for the Dallas Renegades:

Skill Players

T1 – Landry Jones, QB
1. Jeff Badet, WR
2. TommyLee Lewis, WR
3. Cameron Artis-Payne, RB
4. Stacy Coley, WR
5. Sean Price, TE
6. Kelvin McKnight, WR
7. Philip Nelson, QB
8. Lance Dunbar, RB
9. Donald Parham, TE
10. Dimitri Flowers, RB

Offensive Lineman

1. Willie Beavers, T
2. Pace Murphy, T
3. Maurquice Skakir, G
4. Darius James, T
5. Alex Balducci, C
6. Josh Allen, G
7. Adam Bisnowaty, T
8. Salesi Uhatafe, G
9. John Keenoy, G
10. Justin Evans, T

Front Seven

1. Hau’oli Kikaha, DE
2. Sealver Siliga, DT
3. Wilson Craig, DT
4. Ray Ray Davison, LB
5. Greer Martini, LB
6. Gelen Robinson, DT
7. Frank Alexander, DE
8. Jonathan Massaquoi
9. Tegray Scales, LB
10. Izaah Lunsford, DT

Five NFL cuts the XFL needs to invite/sign

This weekend, 1,184 NFL players were let go from the 32 teams in the league. For every player playing this preseason, this is a chance for them to prove that they have what it takes to make a 53-man roster and make an impact on the league. What makes this cut period different from other years? The dream is not dead.

Thanks to the XFL starting play in February, players who were cut have a second to prove themselves and get another shot at continuing their football careers. We saw over 100 players from the AAF get signed to NFL teams after operations had closed in April. They got that shot because of how well they played in their time with the Alliance.

XFL officials met in Houston this weekend to keep track of all the cuts and determine who they should sign or invite to their XFL draft in October. I came up with five players that have impressed me to the point that Oliver Luck and the rest of the XFL should definitely reach out to about joining the league.

Karter Schult, DE
Karter Schult, DE

Karter Schult, DE – No doubt if Karter Schult was brought in by the XFL, he would be one of the most feared pass rushers in the league. He was one of the best defensive players in the AAF as he led the league with 49 quarterback pressures and third in sacks (7) and tackles for loss (11) in eight games with the Salt Lake Stallions. This past preseason with the Minnesota Vikings, he recorded 8 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 force fumble before being cut this past weekend. He has shown great strength and being able to beat offensive lineman at the line of scrimmage. He possesses a high motor and shows great technique to get to the quarterback. This would be one player I would have on my list to add young talent on the defensive side of the ball.

Cardale Jones, QB
Cardale Jones, QB

Cardale Jones, QB – Cardale Jones has a rocket arm and with the proper training, can be a really good starting quarterback in the XFL. His story is incredible as it started at The Ohio State when he filled in for J.T. Barrett starting and winning the last three games of the 2014 season against Wisconsin (Big Ten Title Game), #1 Alabama (Playoff Semifinal), and Oregon (National Title). He would lose his job in the middle of the 2015 season to J.T. Barrett and decided to go to the NFL draft early. His NFL career has not been as great as he’s only played in one game playing for the Buffalo Bills and recently with the San Diego Chargers. His play improved this preseason with the Chargers as he completed 68% of his passes for 357 yards and two total touchdowns. He showed flashes of great QB play in the preseason, but with the proper coaching and development in the XFL, I can see Jones being a starter in the XFL day one.

Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi, WR/Returner
Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi, WR/Returner

Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi, WR/Returner – This is too good of a story for the XFL to pass up on. He was homeless and sitting outside the Cleveland Browns facility prior to their tryout, was able to convince one of their employees that he knew someone in the front office and got his chance to prove himself. Not only did they sign him to the roster, but returned a punt for a touchdown in the first preseason game. You can’t make this stuff up. He possesses blazing speed, but didn’t really have many chances at proving himself as a receiver as he only had three total catches in five targets. He may need some more experience as a receiver, but as a return specialist, this guy could be the Dante Hall of the XFL. The XFL should look at him as a viable option.

Jayrone Elliott, Outside Linebacker
Jayrone Elliott, Outside Linebacker

Jayrone Elliott, Outside Linebacker – Another impressive pass rusher who dominated on defense in the AAF. In eight games with the San Antonio Commanders, he led the league with 7.5 sacks in eight games while also recording 18 tackles and four forced fumbles. His play helped lead the Commanders as one of the best defenses in the league and led the team to a 5-3 record. He also has plenty of NFL experience including three seasons with the Green Bay Packers, then bouncing around the league with the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He would make an immediate impact on the defensive side and would be an early candidate for defensive player of the year in the XFL. A no-brainer move for Oliver Luck to invite or sign him to the league.

Elliott Fry, K
Elliott Fry, K

Elliott Fry, K – He was one of the best kickers in the AAF as he has shown in the Alliance and this preseason that he is accurate, consistent, and has a leg on him. In 2019, he has not missed a field goal as he was 14 of 14 in field goals with the Orlando Apollos and was 4 for 4 with the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens in preseason including a 48 yard field goal made in the last preseason game. There is a good chance he gets called on if an injury happens in the NFL, but if there isn’t, the XFL should bring him on as he would be the best kicker in the league as he was proven his worth this year.

Honorable Mentions: Ethan Westbrooks (DE), Donnel Pumphrey (RB), Braxton Miller (WR), Sam Ficken (K), Jeremy McNichols (RB)

 

Johnny Football to Dallas? Don’t count on it…

Johnny Manziel 2014 Browns training camp https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Johnny_Manziel_2014_Browns_training_camp_(3).jpg

Johnny Manziel at one point was one of the most exciting quarterbacks to play the game when he was wearing the Texas A&M Aggies uniform. Since then? Not so much.

Manziel has bounced around since being drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns back in 2014. He spent two seasons there before being cut from the team in 2016 and then proceeded to join the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League in 2018. After six weeks there, he got traded to the Montreal Alouettes, but after the 2018 season, he was released by the league after they had determined that he had “contravened” with his agreement with the league. He found a home shortly afterwards with the Memphis Express of the now defaulted Alliance of American Football. That’s where this story really begins.

Before joining the Express, the San Antonio Commanders had first claim on him since that was the team geographically closest to where he went to college. Commanders General Manager Daryl Johnston (former Dallas Cowboys fullback) waived his rights and that’s how he joined the Express. Johnston has never been the biggest fan of Manziel and that has been evident in the past, but he’s back in the news again regarding Manziel as he once again says he would pass on him.

“For me the chemistry in the locker room is critical, and especially the quarterback position,” now Dallas Renegades Director of Player Personnel Johnston said according to SportsDay. “He kind of sets the tone, especially for the offensive side of the ball, but really for the whole team. There is so much added responsibility that goes with the face, goes with the voice of the franchise. And I haven’t seen that from Johnny on a consistent basis that I would feel comfortable committing to him.”

There’s no question that Manziel’s troubled past has been the main reason he has not returned to the NFL, but the XFL is a league of second chances. This is where Manziel belongs for two reasons: 1. I have every reason to believe that he has truly matured with how he was with interviews with the Express when he played in the Alliance. 2. He would put people in the seats of every XFL football stadium no matter how people feel about him.

I personally believe the Houston Roughnecks would be perfect for him since he already has a personal relationship with June Jones from their time in the CFL. Manziel does not fit the offensive scheme that Dallas Renegades head coach Bob Stoops will have and I still believe the league will do what it takes to get Stoops and recent signed quarterback Landry Jones back together.

Manziel was average during his time in the Alliance as he was outshined by 3rd string quarterback Brandon Silvers (one of the XFL draft invitees) and never really had a chance to prove himself. I know he had second and third chances in the CFL and the Alliance, but there is still some spark of excitement with how he plays and I think he still somewhat salvage his career. Johnston may not see it now, but with a new league trying to attract attention and giving players another chance at playing professional football, I think it’s time for all of us to move on from the past and let’s give Manziel another shot.

Big news in big D: Dallas Renegades

There’s an old saying in Texas: “Everything’s bigger in Texas.” That would be the perfect statement to describe the kind of day it was for the XFL and XFL die-hards.

The names and logos were announced for all 8 of the teams Wednesday that included a combined coverage from the XFL, ESPN, and Fox Sports.

For Dallas, they got a first glimpse of their team as they will be called the Renegades. The Renegades are sporting a light blue main color followed by red on the eyes of the renegade and black around the outline of the face.

The renegades fits perfectly with what Texas is all about with the theme being “gunslingers, outlaws, and desperadoes” from the old days out in the country. The logo was a tough look to it with the text of “Dallas Renegades” is good-looking and makes sense for the Dallas team.

There has been some controversy with the logo as on Twitter, esports personality Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles tweeted after the announcement saying “What the actual f***. The Dallas XFL team just straight up stole the @Renegades name and logo. That was my creative vision.”

According to the other Renegade’s website, they were acquired by former NBA player Jonas Jerebko in 2016 as the website also states that the “Renegades is North America’s premier multi-gaming esports organization. Featuring professional players and teams in the world’s largest competitive games. Recent breakout performances in Counter-Strike:Global Offensive, Fortnite, and Paladins has helped launch Renegades into becoming one of the most prominent and recognized sports franchise around the world.”

Will anything come out of this claim made by MonteCristo on Twitter? Who knows, but with logos and names being released, Dallas fans can enjoy this exciting time of knowing who their new professional football team is and get ready for the XFL Draft in October to see who will be wearing the blue, red, and black colors on their jerseys in February.