Despite sitting at 2-3 the Renegades are still in a good spot to make the playoffs

The Dallas Renegades feature a dynamic running game that includes #25 Lance Dunbar. (Credit: XFL.com)

Austin, TX– Mid point of the season is here, and good teams are beginning to rise to the top and solid but not good teams are beginning to level out.

Entering week 6 the Renegades are still winless at home after losing to the Guardians on Saturday.

A week prior the Renegades were close to winning the first ever #TexasThrowdown against the other Texas team, the Houston Roughnecks, but faced troubling times losing their franchise quarterback Landry Jones to a knee injury, and a costly pass by Philip Nelson that was bobbled by Flynn Nagel at the three yard line which was ultimately intercepted by a Roughneck defender which sealed the game.

Despite being 2-3, the Renegades are still in second place in the West division and hold both tie breakers over the Wildcats and the Dragons which they will face in the upcoming weeks.

Dallas will hit the road again this week to face the DC Defenders which in their own right have struggled offensively due to inconsistent play from early MVP candidate Cardale Jones. In the following week they will head to Tampa.

Dallas is currently ranked 3rd in total passing yards, 6th in total rushing yards, and 3rd in total receiving yards which is solid when you look at the stat sheet, but the stats have not translated into wins, and the Renegade faithful is beginning to show impatience with the air raid offense.

In my opinion, the best time to make changes is at the mid-season point, which we see from time to time in the NFL. Every game from this point forward has much higher implications but realistically each team is starting over with the record wiped clean.

Everybody is 0-0, and mathematically no one is eliminated from playoff contention.

The Renegades began making changes to their coaching staff. It was reported earlier this week by the Dallas Renegades effective immediately offensive coordinator Hal Mumme will no longer call plays and has been reassigned as an offensive advisor due to the injury he suffered on the sideline week 4. The Renegades have promoted offensive line coach Jeff Jagodzinski to offensive coordinator and also promoted running backs coach Bobby Blizzard to assistant offensive coordinator and he will hold the responsibility of calling plays from this point forward.

Bob Stoops spoke about the changes on Monday. “We appreciate Hal’s hard work and efforts with our squad, particularly after his injury last weekend. Unfortunately, it prevented him from performing in the way we needed for the Renegades.”

Both Blizzard and Jagodzinski have experience being successful play callers. Jagodzinski has had stints in the NFL as the offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers in 2006 which his offense was top ten in the NFL for total offense and Tampa in 2009. He also spent some time collegiately as the offensive coordinator for Georgia State (2013-2015) where his offense was ranked top 25 nationally in passing.

Blizzard, led the the offense at Belhaven University from 2014-2016 where his teams ranked in the top two nationally for passing yards on two occasions.

It will be interesting to see how shaking up the coaching staff will bring forth change in the Renegades offense as they have the talent to be one of the best offenses in the league.

An area we will definitely see change will be an increase in the running game after only running the ball a total of ten times on Saturday. Cameron Artis- Payne and Lance Dunbar are averaging 5 yards per carry, and both have been utilized heavily in the passing game.

I also think they will emphasize challenging the defense vertically. Currently the teams leading receiver is tight end Donald Parham who has 24 receptions, 307 yards, and 4 touchdowns, but the only receiver to record a touchdown catch is Flynn Nagel. With the talent this receiver group possesses I think speedy receiver Jeff Badet and lengthy receiver Jazz Ferguson will see more targets this week against a team whose secondary that has given up 221 passing yards per game since week 3.

If the Renegades are able to win the next two games away, they will have the best record on the road in the XFL and it would give them a ton of momentum before heading back home to host the Seattle Dragons March 29th at Globe Life Field.

The playoffs and potentially a championship run is still very possible for this team. Even though the first 5 weeks has been full of ups and downs, this time of the season is typically when teams begin to hit their stride and put together a string of wins to build on to close out the season.

I think this team will respond and we will see a much better performance offensively and as whole from this point forward.

#TexasThrowdown lives up to the hype

Dallas cornerback Donatello Brown. (Credit: XFL.com)

Dallas, TX– Football in Texas is just different. From Friday high school football, collegiate football, semi pro, indoor football, people in Texas take their football seriously with a nice side of entertainment.

The first ever #TexasThrowdown didn’t disappoint.

The cities of Dallas and Houston rivalries run deep. So deep, the Renegades Hellraisers fan group hyped the hometown crowd up by banging on trash cans throughout the game. (See Houston Astros 2017 cheating scandal)

Bob Stoops and June Jones know very well how intense football rivalries in Texas can become.

June Jones spent 7 seasons as the head coach of the SMU Mustangs football program. While there he recorded 4 winning seasons and won the program their first conference title since and secured their first bowl game victory since 1984.

Bob Stoops ran the state of Texas a different way. As the head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners, Stoops won 11 out of 16 Red River Showdowns against the Texas Longhorns winning those games in the historic Cotton Bowl.

Both coaches have a storied history in Texas, so it’s only right the two met in the biggest rivalry to date for the XFL.

When asked about what an in state rivalry could do for the XFL Stoops believes it is good for the league in general.

“You’ve got to have a rivalry if it’s us (Renegades) and Houston with the proximity.”

June Jones believed the same and he feels that this will make a great rivalry while speaking about the way his defense performed on the road.

“I think it’s going to be the start of a very good rivalry between Houston and Dallas, and we’ll be ready when they come back Thursday night, late.”

During the game, things got somewhat chippy between Houston and Dallas, and the fans saw that the teams bought into the hype emotionally.

Possible MVP candidate Roughneck quarterback PJ Walker loved the environment and mentioned how rowdy the crowd was during the game.

“I thought this game was exciting and it was fun. The crowd noise was amazing. You could see the way we battled it out that both teams played as hard they can when they were on the field.”

18,323 people attended the game Sunday which is a bigger crowd than the Renegades home opener against the St.Louis BattleHawks.

Renegades running back Lance Dunbar understands the magnitude of playing football in Texas.

Dunbar was a stand out running back for Haltom City being named all district his junior and senior season, played at the University of North Texas, and began his professional career with the Dallas Cowboys, and remained on the team for 5 seasons.

“This rivalry can do a lot for this league, Texas loves football,” said Dunbar. “Two teams battling it out for bragging rights. It was good for TV and good for the XFL, and everyone enjoyed explosive great football.”

The XFL went all in marketing wise for their first ever rivalry match up. The Renegades and Roughnecks put on a show for the ages on Sunday, with the Roughnecks winning in a nail biter 27-20 picking off a Philip Nelson pass with less than a minute to go to improve to 4-0.

The Renegades will face off against the Roughnecks next time week 9 in Houston in a prime time game slot. The lights will be brighter, the implications will be higher and this one could possiblye for all the marbles in #TexasThrowdown 2.0.

There are many rivalries out there, but none of those rivalries come as natural as the “H” against the “Triple D”.

Donald Parham shines in Renegades win over Seattle

Dallas Renegades Donald Parham (Credit: XFL.com)

Seattle, WA– The prototype tight end is tall with solid length, not as heavy as a lineman, and not as light as a wide receiver, and can possess a several skills that can benefit an offense in several ways. Like Rob Gronkowski’s who had the ability to block and become a receiver, or like Shannon Sharpe, the big play prototype that you can use to stretch the middle of the field.

The talent pool of tight end is far and wide in variety depending on what the offense is calling for, and Donald Parham is the perfect fit for Hal Mumme’s air raid attack.

Donald Parham started his football journey differently from what you would expect. Parham lettered in basketball at Lake Gibson High School (FL), and played one year of high school football in which he recorded 13 receptions for 234 yards.

Instead of pursuing his hoop dreams he opted to further his interest in football, and made the decision to attend Stetson University. Parham did not see much action as a freshman while appearing in 4 games.

In his sophomore year, Parham’s role increased in the offense and he finished the year with 37 receptions 455 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. From his junior through his senior season Donald Parham recorded a total of 143 receptions 2,136 receiving yards and scored 14 of his 20 career receiving touchdowns. During his senior season he also averaged 146.6 yards and 9 receptions per game which led the entire FCS.

Parham went undrafted but later signed with the Detroit Lions was waived in May 2019. Then he signed with the Washington Redskins after a mini camp tryout and was later released before the beginning of the 2019 season, just in time for the XFL to come in and scoop him up and invite him to the draft.

The Dallas Renegades selected Parham in the ninth round of the first ever XFL Draft, and during training camp Parham and Sean Price were close in camp but Parham got the nod from the Renegades coaching staff before the season kicked off.

During the week 1 match up against the St.Louis Battlehawks, while Philip Nelson filled in for injured Landry Jones, and Parham was the #1 option which the Renegades finished the drive with a field goal to take the lead before halftime. Parham finished the game with the second most receptions (4) and second most receiving yards (40).

The 6’8 tight end capitalized on his performance in the first week. With Landry Jones returning to the lineup the Renegades turned up the heat against the LA Wildcats and the team was able to produce over 300 passing yards. Parham was a big part of the win and led receivers in yards and put the only touchdown on the board in the fourth quarter. He finished the game with 5 receptions 76 yards 1 touchdown and averaged 15 yards per reception.

Parham put the XFL on notice in his performance against the Seattle Dragons. He was clearly one of the better players on the field and it was noticeable. With 8:58 left in the fourth quarter Parham helped the Renegades seal the deal in Seattle being on the back end of a 65 yard Landry Jones touchdown pass putting Dallas up 21-12 over the Dragons. Parham finished the game with 5 receptions 101 receiving yards and 1 touchdown.

Through 3 weeks of XFL play Parham and the Renegades are 2-1 and set to face the Houston Roughnecks next Sunday at Globe Life Park. There have been questions surrounding the Renegades and what type of offense it would become ultimately. They have a solid foundation having one of the better offensive lines in the XFL, a solid running back group, and talented wide receiver group, and the former basketball stud turned XFL star lining up outside of the tackles on Saturdays and Sundays.

Yes, we can talk about PJ Walker, Cam Phillips, Landry Jones, or Cardale Jones, but you have to think that after the string of performances Parham has put together so far , he is becoming a household name amongst Renegade fans and XFL fans everywhere.

YouTube video

Jones knocks “rust”off in 4th; Renegades separate in the second half

Landry Jones
The Renegades put together a solid win on the road, locked up their first win, and did it all when Landry Jones was in the lineup. 

Los Angeles, CA– The Renegades left Carson with a “W” beating the Wildcats 25-18, though they had a slow start.

Through the first half of play the game had a similar feel to last week’s matchup at home against the St.Louis BattleHawks. The game had a slow start with both teams being forced into 3 & outs and turnovers.

The Renegades offensive drives during the first half resulted in two punts, a interception, a fumble, and field goal.

Landry Jones was 17 for 26 and tallied 177 passing yards and 1 interception in the first half, and were 0/2 on third downs.

With 2:58 left on the clock, the Wildcats capped off a 9 play 38 yard drive with a Nick Novak field goal that split the uprights putting the first points on the board.

The following drive the Renegades returned the favor and scored on a 12 play 50 yard drive leaving with seconds remaining by way of a Austin MacGinnis 41 yard field goal to tie the game.

The Renegades through 6 quarters of football only scored (15) points, which at the time was league worst.

Landry Jones spoke several times during the game stating he needed to be the one to step up and lead his team to victory.

Going into the second half it was very noticeable that the Renegades emphasized at half time to get the ball to open receivers in space to move the ball.

The third quarter had its share of three and outs and turnovers just like the first half, but ultimately resulted in a 45-yard field goal from Austin MacGinnis to take the lead increasing the Renegades lead 6-3.

We all know in the sport of football how quickly things can change.

LA, after working the ball down field with seconds remaining in the third, started the fourth quarter with the ball on the Renegades 30-yard line, which placed them in a perfect position to take over the game.

Josh Johnson connected with Nelson Spruce on a 6 yard strike for a touchdown early, taking the lead 9-6 in a game that was clouded by uncertainty of either team scoring the football.

The Renegades began the ensuing drive at their own 32 yard line, and the drive started with a sack that placed Dallas in a second and long.

That hit had to have knocked the “rust” off Landry Jones.

Jones threw three consecutive passes and completed all of them. Tight end Donald Parham who was getting a ton of looks in the first half caught a 16-yard pass for a first down, then wide receiver Josh Crockett was on the receiving end of a pass that put the Renegades into plus territory.

The Renegades rushing attack which didn’t gain much traction in the first three quarters, came alive and Cameron Artis Payne capped the drive off with a 21 yard touchdown and converted the 1 point conversion giving them the lead 13-9.

The Wildcats got the ball back and quickly went three and out. A neutral zone infraction by LA, and a huge punt return by Flynn Nagel put the Renegades at the Wildcats 30 yard line.

On the next drive Jones was able to find Donald Parham on a quick out route in the flat for a 3 yard touchdown to cap off a short 5 play 25-yard drive. The Renegades took a commanding 19-9 lead with just a little over 5 minutes remaining.

As I said before, things change quickly in the sport of football, Josh Johnson connected with Nelson Spruce on a 44-yard touchdown making it a one possession game after a successful three point conversion.

To start the final drive, Cameron Artis-Payne enforced his will rushing the ball twice for 20 yards, and then Landry Jones threw his final pass attempt of the game and made it count, finding Jeff Badet on a 16-yard completion setting up another Artis-Payne run which went for a touchdown.

Bob Stoops and Landry Jones locked up their first win in the XFL and extended their combined record as player and coach to 40-12.

Landry Jones finished the game 28/40 305 yards 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions, but completed 70% of his passes, which is a very encouraging stat for this team going forward.

If this offense can be efficient, it could cause opposing defenses headaches.

For the Renegades, this is just the beginning, and some people may think it was a so-so debut performance for Jones, but I believe as before when he and Bob Stoops were at the University of Oklahoma, he found a way to get it done and be one of the reasons why Renegades won the game.

The Renegades put together a solid win on the road, locked up their first win, and did it all when Landry Jones was in the lineup.

In my opinion, that’s not a bad day at the office.

Stoops still has confidence in Philip Nelson despite so-so Week 1 performance

Dallas Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops
Dallas Renegades Head Coach Bob Stoops during the Dallas opening game anthem. (Credit XFL.com)

Arlington, Texas – As Bob Stoops left the post game press conference, QB Philip Nelson and RB Lance Dunbar entered the room. In passing Stoops said to Nelson ,”Good job out there today bud”.

Despite Nelson’s play Stoops still had the upmost confidence in his week 1 starter.

“Philip does a good job and a lot of the inconsistencies aren’t on him. We need to play better.”

In Nelson’s debut he threw for 209 yards, but did so with 42 pass attempts and completing 33 of those passes. The Renegades offense averaged just a bit over 5 yards per attempt, which both Stoops and Nelson credit the BattleHawks defense for their approach to the game.

“In the preseason game that we had against them [St. Louis], we were going over the top of them,” said Nelson. “You could tell today that they were backing up. Coach [Hal] Mumme says all the time that ‘you have to have a great capacity for boredom,’ which meant to check it down tonight.”

The game started off rough for both teams as the first quarter was full of three and out drives. Late in the first quarter the Renegades were able to capitalize on a fumble by St. Louis running back Christine Michel, placing the Renegades at their own 38 yard line.

This resulted in a 32 yard field goal by Austin MacGinnis with a little over 9 minutes remaining in the first half.

The Renegades received another gift when the BattleHawks punted the ball and were called for an illegal block, and placed the Renegades in plus territory.

Again, the Renegades began their drive in ideal field position and failed to convert on a Lance Dunbar run to the left where he was stopped 4 yards short of the first down marker. The BattleHawks took full advantage and outside of a false start penalty early in the drive, they capped off a 10 play 62 yard drive with a 16 yard touchdown run by Keith Ford (2pt conversion no good) which gave the BattleHawks the lead for the first time in the game with a 1:26 remaining on the clock in the first half.

Nelson and the offense finally got into rhythm once they got the ball back, connecting with tight end Donald Parham three times, as he led his offense down the field in the final moments of the second half to setup another Austin MacGinnis field goal which tied the game with eight seconds remaining in the first half.

With a little under six minutes in the third quarter the Renegades took the lead again by way of another Austin MacGinnis field goal making the score 9-6, and from that point forward the Renegades struggled to find their footing. Nelson and his offense really hit a snag and caused the Renegades offense to move away from what was reported to be a “up-tempo” offense.

BattleHawks inside linebacker Dexter McCoil knew that if they were able to stop big plays from being the story of the day his team could possibly pull momentum in their favor.

“Every team wants to keep everything in front of them. You can’t allow big plays, no matter what defense or game it is. Usually big plays dictate the momentum of the game, and teams usually get points out of them. We knew if we eliminated the big plays and stopped the run that we would be successful.”

McCoil also expressed how important it is to get the defense off the field on third down but didn’t know that the BattleHawk defense held the Renegades to only one third down conversion.

“I didn’t know that, but that pretty good. Every time you come into a game third down is crucial. You want to stop the momentum of the game because you don’t want to stay on the field, so being able to get off the field on third downs is big so we can give our offense the ball back.”

Well the BattleHawks defense did their job, and got their offense in prime position to drive down the field. The BattleHawk defense sacked Nelson at the right time and forced the Renegades to punt the football late in third quarter.

The Drew Galitz punt placed the BattleHawks offense at their own 17 yard line with 2:42 left in the third quarter.

This would turn out to be one of the biggest drives of the game. The BattleHawks offense led by quarterback Jordan Ta’amu marched down the field on a 11 play 83 yard scoring drive by way of Ta’amu arm and legs. The biggest play in the game at that moment was a gashing run up the middle by Ta’amu for 37 yards which placed the BattleHawks on the 9 yard line. The next play Ta’amu threw a 9 yard touchdown strike to receiver Alonzo Russell in the back of the endzone to put the BattleHawks ahead of the Renegades 12-9.

The Renegades would eventually regain possession but quickly went three and out after Nelson was sacked 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage making it 3 & 11 from the 50 yard line, and missing a golden opportunity to hit a wide open Jazz Ferguson to get his team back into the game.

The BattleHawks sealed the deal by marching down the field on 10 play 68 yard drive which resulted in a successful 48 yard Taylor Russolino field goal with less than 6 minutes left in the game.

The BattleHawks forced the Renegades to go three and out again was able to milk the clock leaving the Renegades with 44 seconds left on the game clock to make something happen.

In a last ditch effort to bring his team back from a 6 point deficit with 44 seconds left on the clock Nelson hit receiver Jeff Badet for a 4 yard gain and then connected with receiver Jerrod Heard for a 10 yard gain.

Nelson helped get the Renegades to their own 30 yard line after starting that drive on their own 16 yard line with 23 seconds left on the clock.

Nelson who played mistake free football for majority of the game would go on to throw his lone interception getting picked off by safety Will Hill and end the Renegades hopes of week 1 comeback at Globe Life Park.

Now I am not one to cry over spilled milk because this team has all the potential in the world. The Renegades were a few plays away from beating a team that was healthy and had most of their weapons on offense and defense, and the BattleHawks were a few plays from losing a game against a team who is missing their starting quarterback, a short yardage running back in Dimitri Flowers, and a couple of banged up receivers.

The old adage goes it is tough to beat a team twice, and all credit to Jonathan Hayes and his coaching staff. His team lost to the Renegades in similar fashion in the preseason, and Philip Nelson was able to take the top off the BattleHawk defense. No, it wasn’t the best performance by Nelson, but again if you see a team within three weeks of playing in a preseason game and playing in a regular season game the opposing team is usually prepared more so than not.

If starting quarterback Landry Jones is not a go next week, I fully expect Nelson to get another chance to showcase his playmaking ability and rise above the criticism that followed after his performance in Sunday’s loss.

The Renegades will face off against the LA Wildcats in week 2 and I am sure Stoops and Co. will be prepared to showcase that air-raid offense with Nelson potentially getting his second career XFL start.

On to LA.

Meet QB Philip Nelson the Renegades starting quarterback for Week 1

Philip Nelson #9 Dallas Renegades
Philip Nelson #9 Dallas Renegades  Photo: XFL.com

Here we go! The inaugural XFL season is less than 24 hours away from showcasing their league to thousands of fans who have anticipated the arrival of the new professional league.

The Dallas Renegades will face off against the St.Louis Battlehawks on Sunday at 4PM and they have named their starter for Week 1, and it is not QB Landry Jones.

Jones injured his knee while in training camp in mid January and is expected to be ready to play in the Renegades week 2 match up against the LA Wildcats.

So who is QB2 Philip Nelson?

Nelson started his collegiate playing career as a Minnesota Golden Gopher. In his debut start as a true freshman, Nelson passed for two touchdowns and was also the Gophers leading rusher. Nelson was later named the starter for the remaining 7 games of the season recording a 2-5 record and a bowl invitation to the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.

In his sophomore season Nelson led the Gophers to a 4-0 start, but suffered a hamstring injury against the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Gophers went on to lose that game 23-7. Once healthy, Nelson regained the starting quarterback position and helped the Gophers upset No.24 Nebraska in his return. Nelson later announced his decision to transfer to Rutgers University due to the uncertainty of being the starter for the Gophers the following year. Later, he was dismissed from the program.

Once dismissed from Rutgers he decided to walk on at East Carolina University, and won the starting quarterback job before the beginning of the season. Nelson and the Pirates began the season with a 2-0 record beating Western Carolina and NC State. Nelson combined for 6 touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown through those two games alone. The ECUPirates would go on to win only one more game that season.

After the season was over, Nelson was invited to the 2017 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl which is a game for Senior stand outs and NFL hopefuls. In that game, Nelson led his team on a 14 play scoring drive in the opening series of the game. He finished the game going 11 of 18 through the air for 100+ yards and also added a one yard rushing touchdown. He  named the team’s MVP for his performance.

Former NFL head coach Mike Martz and offensive coordinator of the 1999 St. Louis Rams team that was dubbed “The Greatest Show on Turf” coached Nelson in the 2017 the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, and endorsed Nelson as a potential star in the making.

Martz stated that, “he firmly believes Philip can be a starter in the {NFL}. He has no flaws.”

Nelson was also one of the  budding stars of the now defunct Alliance of American Football. Nelson was drafted by the San Diego Fleet in the 3rd round with the 8th pick. Nelson started the season as the backup to QB Marco Bercovici, but later replaced the struggling Bercovici in the Fleet’s first game against the San Antonio Commanders, and finished the game going 5-10 for 68 yards and 1 interception. Nelson was later named the starter for the Fleet in their next game against the Atlanta Legends.

In his first start Nelson went 14-30 passing for 142 yards and an interception, but led his team to victory against the Legends winning that game 24-12. The following game Nelson threw an interception on the first play of the game, but rallied his team to victory by throwing two touchdown passes to beat the San Antonio Commanders 31-11. In his third start he started the game but exited the game in the 2nd quarter with a shoulder injury. He was later placed on IR with a broken clavicle and never took another snap in the AAF due to the league ceasing operations in April 2019.

Nelson finished 10th in passing yards (513) and passing touchdowns (3) and 6th in completion percentage (58.4%) in the AAF’s lone season. Those are pretty respectable numbers considering he only played 4 games and started 3 in comparison to Mike Bercovici who played 4 full games and tallied a lower completion percentage, quarterback rating and threw 7 interceptions compared to Nelson’s 3.

Nelson also had a small stint with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian football league and served as the fourth string quarterback, before being released from the team before training camp in May 2018.

You may look at this and say that he doesn’t have the resume. Well the resume may not be there, but now that he has a collegiate legend head coach Bob Stoops and the originator and innovator of the Air Raid offense Hal Mumme on his sideline, the sky is the limit for Nelson.

In my opinion, throughout training camp, Nelson showed vast improvement compared to his days in the AAF, and much credit is due to the coaching staff in Dallas, and having Landry Jones there to mentor him definitely helps. I believe Nelson will be more than capable of commanding the offense, especially since the offensive scheme plays to his skill set.

I’ve told you about Nelson’s accomplishments during his young career so maybe you don’t know enough about the Renegades starting quarterback just yet.

But I can tell you one thing, that question will be answered in full detail come Sunday at 4PM central standard time, as the Renegades take the field looking to secure their first win of the season and in XFL history.

Potential QB2’s who could be targeted via Trade

Teams are wrapping up their preparation for the opening weekend of the XFL. With the league just being two days away from launch, teams are naming their starters and releasing their depth charts for Week 1.

We all know speculation can help fuel the excitement especially when it is something new. So I am here to stir the pot. (None of the information read below is sourced, just fun speculation.)

Quarterback is easily the most important position on the field, and as the old adage goes “if you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterback.” Not the case in the XFL.

Traditionally, teams would carry two quarterbacks on their depth chart like the DC Defenders, Houston Roughnecks, and Seattle Dragons. Going against the traditional grain by carrying 3-4 quarterbacks on their depth chart are the Vipers (4), Battlehawks (3), Guardians (3), Wildcats (3), and the Renegades (3). What does this provide the league? Depth at the quarterback position.

Quarterback play is what carries the NFL or any professional/amateur league. It can not be explained, it just does.

Seeing a perfectly thrown pass hit a wide receiver right in the hands for a touchdown is what gets fans out of their seats, and it can be mesmerizing at times. Those are the moments fan bases live for. It has become the highlight of football.

Since each team provides so much depth at quarterback, I believe in the XFL’s inaugural season we will see several of these quarterbacks on the move. Let’s do a short list of QB’s who could potentially be traded to another team within the opening months of the season.

(Again, this all just speculation)

Connor Cook - Houston Roughnecks
Connor Cook – Houston Roughnecks

CONNOR COOK

QB PJ Walker was assigned to the Houston Roughnecks during the draft. Walker and Cook battled it out during  mini camp and training camp as head coach June Jones wanted to see who would be the catalyst behind his high powered offense. Rumors out of camp stated that the Roughnecks were going to name PJ Walker the starting quarterback come Week 1. Well that news broke last week. With Walker officially being named the starter, Cook in my opinion would be one of my top trade targets if I was a team looking to for competition at the QB1 spot, or an reliable option as a QB2. Cook was a proven winner at Michigan State, but his NFL career did not pan out the way many draft experts and analyst expected. The quarterback was drafted by the Oakland Raiders back in 2016 and spent two seasons with the team but was later released after the Oakland Raiders traded for AJ McCarron. Cook also had stints with the Cincinnatti, Carolina, and his last NFL stop was in Detroit in 2019. Not only would he provide experience but also a veteran presence in the locker room. Of course if traded the Roughnecks would have to fill the QB2 spot, but trading multiple quarterbacks for one, isn’t necessarily unmarked territory. The Wildcats traded Luis Perez to the Guardians for two quarterbacks earlier this offseason. I’m sure it can happen again.

POTENTIAL TRADE DESTINATIONS

Dallas Renegades, Seattle Dragons

 

Taylor Heinicke - St. Louis BattleHawks
Taylor Heinicke – St. Louis BattleHawks

TAYLOR HEINICKE 

With Heinicke having NFL in game experience and the BattleHawks naming him QB2 behind starting quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, any team in the market for a quarterback with experience should definitely consider Heinicke as a trade target. Heinicke has spent time with the Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, and the Carolina Panthers. During his time with the Panthers he recorded his lone NFL start throwing for 274 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions against the Atlanta Falcons. He was injured in the game and could not finish the season due to the extent of his elbow injury. He was waived by the Panthers in August 2019. Shortly after, he was drafted by the Battlehawks in the XFL Supplemental draft. I believe Heinicke would be a solid pick up for any team just because of his experience in the NFL. As a rookie Heinicke was apart of a position battle for the backup job in Minnesota which he was competing against veteran Shaun Hill and Mike Kafka. He eventually won the QB3 spot and stayed on the active roster during his entire tenure with the Vikings. That alone should shed some light on Heinicke’s talent level.

POTENTIAL TRADE DESTINATIONS

LA Wildcats, Houston Roughnecks

 

Tyree Jackson - DC Defenders
Tyree Jackson – DC Defenders

TYREE JACKSON

During the NFL Draft evaluation, Jackson was seen as a quarterback who could improve on throwing the football but checked all the boxes athletically. Jackson is 6’7 249 lb quarterback who boast 4.5 speed and has the ability to make defenders miss but can dish out contact. It is a reason why the DC Defenders drafted Jackson due to the many similarities style wise with starter Cardale Jones. The Defenders will likely be a team that will utilize their quarterbacks legs. If you look around the league there are many teams I feel that will possibly do the same. Jackson would be on my short list just because of his ability to create plays with his legs. If any offense begins to struggle in the running game once the season gets going I believe they will reach out to DC to see if they would be willing to trade Jackson.

POTENTIAL TRADE DESTINATIONS

Houston Roughnecks, St. Louis BattleHawks

 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the teams in the XFL will have to allow the season to play out in order for either of these scenarios to come to fruition, but I honestly believe that these three quarterbacks listed above could potentially make their first XFL start sooner rather than later. At the end of the day, fan bases demand exceptional quarterback play. Not only do the teams in this league have capable starters at quarterback, but they also have the depth at the position to keep fans excited about their respective teams. The XFL not only is re-imagining the way football is played but also remembering that quarterback play is king when it is all said and done.

(See just a little speculation to get you excited for the season)

XFL Supplemental Draft Spotlight: Meet Defensive Back Foster Reznor

Foster Reznor

The XFL supplemental draft is only 2 days away, XFL Training Camp is 45 days away, and the XFL will kickoff its first season 80 days from now!

We are halfway there and everything is beginning to feel so surreal.

Players who have been drafted, and who will participate in the supplemental draft have been preparing for the upcoming season and you can feel the enthusiasm.

Like Foster Reznor,  5’11 185 lb defensive back out of Gannon University, who plays with so much energy and enthusiasm. From watching his film I know he plans to bring that aspect of his game to the XFL.

Since he was a child, he has dreamt of the opportunity to play football professionally. “I have always had the dream of playing football at the highest level since I was young kid,” said Reznor. “Growing up I fell in love with the game and dedicated a lot of time to it.”

Reznor had a stellar high school career splitting time at running back and defensive back racking up the accolades. He received all-state honors as an offensive specialist, and was a three time all region first team selection as a running back and defensive back. He accumulated 4,804 all purpose yards and 54 touchdowns on offense along with 128 tackles and 11 interceptions on defense.

Reznor said he liked to play running back and wide receiver but instead of receiving the contact, he wanted to administer the contact. “Growing up, I was always a running back or wide receiver, but I always enjoyed contact,” said Reznor.

“My coaches put me at corner in high school and it was over from there. I loved following the other team’s best receiver and competing.”

He may have been really good at running back and wide receiver, but defensive back is his true calling.

During his collegiate career at Gannon, Reznor compiled 160 tackles, 24 pass break-ups, 3 interceptions, 4 tackles for loss, forced 1 fumble, recovered a fumble, and received NCAA Division II ADA Academic Achievement Award.

Reznor mentioned Tyrann Mathieu and Mike Hilton as who he models his game after. “Both players have the innate ability to create turnovers, make tackles in open space, and are very good at disguising coverages, which are all attributes you need to have to be an elite defensive back,” said Reznor. “Both guys are very similar to me in size and always find ways to be around the football.”

Another skill-set he would like to bring to a team is his fiery competitiveness. “I am a player that hates to lose more than he likes to win,” said Reznor. “I like to pay attention to the details, paying attention to the details is what separates good players from the great ones.” This reigns true as well all know football is a game of inches and paying attention to details can certainly provide your team with an advantage.

Along with being a very competitive player, his “team first” mindset is something he believes will separate him from the other XFL hopefuls. “I love seeing my teammates succeed. I am somebody that tries to bring the best out in everyone, whether that is on the football field or outside of football.”

Competitiveness and continuity within a locker room can certainly help mold the identity of a football team.

At first, Reznor admits he wasn’t sure if his dream was realistic, but following his senior season at Gannon Reznor received an opportunity to showcase his skills.

“I was unsure of how realistic it could be, but during my collegiate career I realized that it was more than possible. After my senior year I participated in multiple pro-days where I tested well and received a lot of recognition,” Reznor said “It was really cool seeing how well I tested in comparison to other athletes that were being considered in the NFL Draft.”

Reznor believes the XFL is an opportunity of a lifetime, and had a similar response to many of the players who have either been drafted or expect to be drafted this upcoming Friday.

“The XFL is a league that is going to be successful,” said Reznor. “They have some of the top coaches and players in the country that are a part of this league. This an opportunity to compete with some of the best athletes in the country.”

Reznor doesn’t have an ideal landing spot but wants all eight XFL teams to know one thing. “Which ever team takes a chance on me is a place where I want to be. The team that selects me is going to get the best version of me. I’m going to do the right things on and off the football field and I will be a player that competes every day and will not take the opportunity for granted.”

Reznor in my opinion can bring several attributes to your football team, but what I like most about Foster are the intangibles he provides. Not only is he talented but he also has a leadership mentality and would run through a wall for his team no matter the cost.

That is the type of player the XFL wanted, and that is the type of player Foster Reznor continues to be.

I would like to wish Foster the best of luck on Friday and I look forward to seeing you bring tenacity and enthusiasm to which ever team decides to select you in the XFL Supplemental Draft.

YouTube video

 

XFL Supplemental Draft Spotlight- Meet Tight End Kalias Robertson

Kalias Robertson

The XFL supplemental draft is less than three days away and prospects are being invited daily. With announcements about mini camp, training camp, and uniforms on the way, the true focus should remain on the talent the XFL has been able to acquire.

One of those talented players is 6-4 187 lb tight end Kalias Robertson who made a name for himself at Alabama A&M as a pass catching tight end who has the ability to separate and generate yards after the catch.  Robertson is very excited about this opportunity of continuing his career and becoming an effective asset for whichever team calls his name this upcoming Friday.

“The most exciting part about having the opportunity to suit up and play for the XFL is being apart of a new league and getting another chance,” Robertson said. “My family will be able to attend more games, and I’ll have another chance chasing my dreams.”

At an early age Robertson was all about putting in the hard work to achieve his dream of playing football professionally. “During high school I put in a tremendous amount of work which led me to have multiple scholarships to play college football. I knew I wanted to take my game to a different level.”

Robertson mentions his grandfather’s daily motivation as a tool he has used to make it thus far in his young career. “My grandfather motivated me almost everyday letting me know constantly that I could do anything I put my mind to.”

Well it seems his grandfather’s motivation worked. Robertson is now on the brink of bringing his childhood dream to fruition, and he believes the XFL is the best chance to showcase his talent. He also believes the XFL will be a spring football league that will work. “I really believe in the XFL. There are professionals behind the scenes to make sure everything is being done correctly for future success.”

“I chose the XFL because I think this league is about promise and chance. They have great coaches and executives in place to make sure the players and talent in this league succeed.”

That is definitely saying a lot, since the XFL has placed several people with football acumen and a track record of success at the helm of the league. Most notably Oliver Luck who once was the Athletic Director for the University of West Virginia, and Bob Stoops, former head coach on at the University of Oklahoma who assumed the head coaching and general manager position for the Dallas Renegades as the league bega

Robertson believes his unique skill set will fit best in the Air Raid, but ultimately would like to end up in the right situation where most of his skills will stand out.

“I would love to play in an Air Raid styled offense because I am a pass-catching tight end. But, I am hoping to end up where God puts me,” Robertson said. “I am a very hard worker and I will do anything to make sure my job is done.”

That is exactly what the new XFL is all about. Hard work and showcasing yourself on the gridiron.

When asked which team he wanted to draft him, Robertson responded with great humility, “I wouldn’t mind ending up in LA with the Wildcats. Seattle and Dallas would be nice as well, but I would be grateful to be apart of any team that takes a chance on me.”

An ideal response from a class act player. Whoever selects Robertson will definitely have a special player on their hands.

Selfishly, I am hoping he is selected by the Dallas Renegades as I think he will be a great addition to the current roster in place and has the work ethic that could be contagious to others in the locker room.

How will the Dallas Renegades win the battle? In the trenches…

It’s a wrap for phase two of the XFL draft and the Renegades roster is beginning to take shape.

In phase one, the Renegades main focus was clear. Speed is what they wanted and speed is what they got. In phase two,  the clear message Stoops and the Renegades are sending is that this team will be fast and  physical.

Where there is thunder, there is lightening.

The line of scrimmage is the “velvet rope” in VIP, the offensive line plays the role of the bouncer, and you will not get past the rope if your name is not on the list. Once you get your quarterback, and the offense is laced with several play makers, you add the muscle. The average weight of the offensive lineman selected in phase two is 312 lbs. Their combined weight is 3,126 lbs. That’s a lot of muscle.

Willie Beavers, offensive tackle from Western Michigan, headlined the first round of phase two. Beavers during his time at Western Michigan was named to the All MAC team twice and helped his running back win all conference honors as well.

Pace Murphy, offensive tackle from Northwestern State University, was the second round pick for the Renegades in phase two. Murphy was also a standout at Northwestern State earning Preseason All American honors and Pre-Season All-Southland Conference honors.

Beavers and Murphy will be the bookend couple at the tackle position that will put a bubble of protection around Landry Jones.

The heartbeat of the running game will consist of Maurquice Shakir (Midd Tenn State), Alex Balducci (Oregon) , and Josh Allen (Louisiana Monroe).

Shakir as a senior played more than 90 snaps in four games, and was an integral part of an offense that produced a 1,000 yard rusher.

Balducci, an converted defensive lineman turned guard will bring the same tenacity he did in the collegiate ranks, after earning All-Pac 12 honors for his efforts on the defensive line for his senior season.

Allen, product of Cedar Hill high school 20 minutes South of Dallas, earned All-Sun Belt honors during his junior season at Louisiana Monroe. He was apart of an offense that produce more than 500 total yards of offense in four of the first five games of the 2012-2013 season.

This offensive line is stacked with big bodies and bullies in the trenches on the offensive side.

In Phase three of the draft, let’s see what type of “war-daddies” Stoops can add to this very promising roster.

#RaisingHell Go Renegades!