XFL LA Wildcats trade Luis Perez to the New York Guardians

Three months after being assigned to the Los Angeles Wildcats as their Tier 1 quarterback, Luis Perez was traded to the New York Guardians for quarterback Charles Kanoff.

After the Los Angeles Wildcats acquired veteran quarterback Josh Johnson, it has become rumored that Perez was not in the running for the starting quarterback job.

Head Coach and General Manager Winston Moss said of the Perez trade:

“We respect Luis. He is a first-class person and a first-class player. We felt as though the development of Josh Johnson and Jalan McClendon would give us the best chance to have success this season.”

Charles Kanoff played college football at Princeton. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, and also spent time on the  practice squads of the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before signing with the Guardians on January 5, 2019. He only spent two weeks with the Guardians before being moved to the Wildcats.

The New York Guardians have not indicated how Perez will figure into their quarterback depth chart.

Anthony Johnson is focused on Seattle Dragons training camp

Anthony Johnson (91) – Credit XFL.com

Since coming to Houston to attend an XFL Seattle Dragons pre-season training camp, Anthony Johnson is focused on one thing…  having a successful training camp.

In fact, his insistence that he was not thinking past the training camp to the Dragons opening XFL inaugural game against the DC Defenders on 8 February was proof enough of his mindset.

“It is an exciting feeling,” he said. “But, right now I think we’re just focused on trying to get through camp. Trying to get everything finalized and get us ready for that game.”

Anthony pointed out that the Dragons were preparing for a pre-season matchup against the DC Defenders Monday, a game that would serve to be a “dress rehearsal” for the real game that will take place in three weeks.

Other than the job at hand, Anthony is positive about the Seattle Dragons.

“This is a great team. Everybody has come together pretty quick in just in a short period of time. I’m excited to see where this team goes.”

“We have a great coaching staff around us,” Anthony said. “Coach Lopez has a great mind. I love listening to him, and I love hearing the things that he has to say. Just all of his concepts, and the same thing with coach Johnson, you know, he’s a great coach and he’s helped me a lot with my game since I’ve been here, just changing different things up on how I play.”

We look forward to seeing Anthony on the field for the Seattle Dragons on February 8th.

To hear the entire interview with Anthony Johnson, check out the XFL Xtra Podcast – Episode 20


Running Back James Butler is picked up by the XFL Houston Roughnecks

On January 8th, the Houston Roughnecks announced the addition of running back James Butler to their roster.

A native of Wheaton, Illinois, and a graduate of the St. Francis High School football program, Butler started his college career playing for the University of Nevada Wolfpack. In Nevada, he was named All-Mountain West honorable mention in 2015 and 2016 and earned his team’s Outstanding Offensive Player Award in 2016. In his time at Nevada, he had two 1,000-yard seasons and rushed for 3,316 yards and 27 touchdowns, in addition to hauling in 49 passes for 438 yards and three more TDs.

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After a stellar career at Nevada, Butler transferred to Iowa for his senior season and was a backup. He had 91 rushes for 396 yards and a touchdown.

After College, Butler landed in the Oakland Raiders organization, playing in the pre-season and then relegated to the practice roster, despite showing brilliance when he was put on the field.

In 2019, in a bid to get actual playing time, Butler went to the pre-season training camp of the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL. When he was waived by the Roughriders, he wound up returning to the Raider’s practice roster.

In a span of two seasons, Butler was cut four times by the Raiders. They must have liked something about him, because they kept bringing him back.  It seems there was wide interest in his football skills, but Butler was looking for on-field playing time.


This is when the XFL came into the picture.

Butler was recently in Green Bay airport, returning from a workout with the Packers, when he received the call from the XFL.

“I was in Green Bay when I got the call and I was like in the Green Bay airport and they, they were like, can we get you on a flight tomorrow? And I wasn’t even back in Chicago yet.”

On the 8th of January, the Houston Roughnecks reported that Butler had been added to their training camp roster.

Soon after joining the Roughnecks, Butler began to enjoy the type of offence they were building.

“It was a different offence. It reminded me a lot of the offense they ran in Nevada, like a true spread offence,” he explained. “I was talking to coach Estes and he was saying you’re not going to see a lot of eight, nine-man boxes in this kind of offence.”

“I would say this is a pass-first team,” Butler said. “But, incorporates a lot of that with run, so I like it. It’s different. It really utilizes a running back’s talents.”

Despite the intriguing nature of the offensive scheme, and since cut down day is fast approaching, Butler’s main incentive is to make the team.  His motivation even extends to making any XFL roster at this point in time.

“Any roster, honestly,” he clarified.

It’s not just Butler who is pulling for himself to be successful in this league. Back in Illinois, Pat Calcagno the coach of Butler’s former high school team is also pulling for him.

We hope Butler’s hard-working attitude carries him into the regular season of the XFL.

To hear the entire interview with Jame Butler, check out the XFL Xtra Podcast – Episode 20

Wide Receiver Dontez Byrd gets an opportunity with the XFL Seattle Dragons

They call him “Speedy” Byrd and he’s a wide receiver that started out in Ballard High School in Louisville, Kentucky. In fact, he wanted to play pro football nearly his whole life. When he was young, he wrote a letter to his mother telling her so:

However, like many footballers, there would be many hurdles to cross before Dontez’s “legacy” could be achieved.

When he graduated from high school, Dontez did not have an offer to play at the college level. However, he walked on at Louisville and earned his way onto the team. It worked out, and Byrd made a name for himself on special teams.

In 2017, his senior season, Byrd transferred to Tennessee Tech, where he had a stellar year as a wide receiver where he caught 78 passes for 1,003 yards, and six TDs.

In 2018, this led to Dontez being signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent. After a rookie minicamp, he earned himself a spot on the roster for the preseason. Even though he was waived before the beginning of the regular season, Dontez remains positive about the experience.

“I played in all four preseason games and had three catches for 76 yards,” he said. “it was good to come in and be around all those receivers that I looked up to in college, and having a chance to play with them in the NFL was pretty cool. And now, I use what they taught me today.”

After a switch of agents, his career suffered a slight pause. Byrd’s next opportunity came in 2019 with the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). However, his playing time was limited due to an ankle sprain.

After the AAF league folded, Byrd returned to the situation where he was looking for a new pro football team. When the XFL came along, he expressed interest in the league and looked for an XFL opportunity.

That opportunity finally came in January when he received an invitation to join the Seattle Dragons at their preseason training camp in Houston. The timing of that call was quite miraculous, as Dontez was waiting for a job interview when it happened.

“It’s crazy because I received a call at 8:30 in the morning, and I was in a job interview,” Dontez explained. “It was actually my first job interview. I’ve been waiting a while to play football, and I just decided I was going to get a job.”

“I left the interview and went home. Then, I got packed up and got ready to go.”

Through his faith, Dontez just knows it was divine intervention.

Now that he is in the Dragons training camp, Dontez is anxious and eager to get on the field, prove himself, and make the Dragon’s roster.

“I know we only have a couple of practices left, and a preseason game Monday. So, I have to get out there and get some good film on tape so I can make this roster.”

Speedy Byrd has his work cut out for him, but we have faith that his skill, determination and drive will lead him to achieve his legacy.

To hear the entire interview with Dontez Byrd, check out the XFL Xtra Podcast – Episode 20

XFL Commercial on the FOX NFL Playoff Broadcast makes waves

The first nationally aired XFL commercial was shown at half-time of Fox Sports’ coverage of the NFL playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks. In case you missed it, you may view the ad spot here:

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Looking at social media, reaction to the XFL spot were predictably mixed. However, no publicity is bad publicity, and many football fans are now aware of the XFL’s plan to kick off on the weekend after the NFL season ends.

The XFL commercial strategically focused on innovative rule changes the league has incorporated, likely in the hope that NFL fans may see the ad and decide this may be a good reason to give the new league a chance.

As well as a nationally aired ad spot, viewers in specific XFL markets also received ads promoting the XFL home openers.

Look for more XFL promotions on Fox, and also on ESPN and ABC, further demonstrating how important these broadcast partners are to the fledgling XFL.

 

 

XFL St. Louis BattleHawks Replace Offensive Coordinator

Today, the St. Louis BattleHawks have announced that running backs coach Chuck Long has replaced Doug Meacham as the offensive coordinator of the team. Also, Reggie Davis has been hired to take over Long’s previous duties as running backs coach.

“We are excited to have someone of Chuck’s caliber move into this new role,” Head Coach and General Manager Jonathan Hayes said. “We are focused on preparing for the upcoming season and I am confident Chuck will have our offense ready to compete for our goal of an XFL Championship.”

Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999, Long was an All-American at the University of Iowa and was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy after the 1985 season. Long has the distinction of playing in five bowl games for the Hawkeyes and was a teammate of Jonathan Hayes.

The 56-year old Long played eight seasons at quarterback in the NFL before returning to his alma mater of the University of Iowa to begin a coaching career which has included roles as head coach at San Diego State and offensive coordinator at both Oklahoma and Kansas University. Former teammates with the Hawkeyes, Hayes and Long coached together on the 2000 Oklahoma national championship team.

Besides serving as offensive coordinator, Long will also be responsible for coaching the BattleHawks’ quarterbacks.

Reggie Davis has been hired to take over Long’s previous duties as running backs coach. A former tight end with the San Diego Chargers, Davis moved into the coaching ranks with the University of San Diego in 2004 and has been part of the coaching staff with the San Francisco 49ers, UNLV, Oregon State, and Nebraska.

Head Coach Bob Stoops welcomed QB Eric Dungey to the XFL Dallas Renegades

Due to the recent knee injury of Landry Jones, who was once the expected starting quarterback of the Dallas Renegades, the Dallas-based XFL franchise brought quarterback Eric Dungey into their training camp. Dungey is a Syracuse University alum.

On Thursday, Bob Stoops tweeted a photo of himself welcoming Dungey to the team.

It is not just Bob Stoops that is excited to have Dungey on the roster.

“We are very excited to have Eric Dungey join the Renegade family,” Director of Player Personnel Daryl Johnston said in a statement. “He has always been at the top of our list through this process and we didn’t think we would have the opportunity to sign Eric after he joined the Cleveland Browns this fall. It’s a blessing to have him join us after the injury to Landry. He brings great athleticism and leadership to our quarterback position.”

Before coming to the XFL, Dungey enjoyed greats success in his senior season at Syracuse, where he completed 226 of 371 passes for 2868 yards, 18 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. After graduation Dungey was signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in May of 2019,  but was later waived on July 24th. On October 11, 2019, he was signed to the Cleveland Browns practice squad, and recently released by the Browns on December 19, 2019.

Essentially, Dungey has never received a chance to prove himself in a pro football league. At least by joining the Renegades, he stands a good chance of being on a starting roster and showing off his skills.

Matthew Colburn is ready to contribute 1000 percent to the XFL Guardians

Matthew Colburn
Credit CG Cinema (YouTube)

New York Guardians running back Matthew Colburn grew up in Irmo, SC, where he played for his high school football team, the Dutch Fork Silver Foxes.

It was as far back as his high school career where Matthew specialized as a running back and kick returner.

After high school, Colburn spent four seasons in Winston-Salem, NC with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Over the course of his college career, he progressively improved his game, putting up impressive numbers in his sophomore and senior seasons.

In his last season at Wake Forest he rushed for 759 yards and five touchdowns in 11 games. He also came out of the backfield for 10 catches for 96 yards. This performance helped his chances when it came to being considered for the 2019 NFL draft.

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However, the excitement of being considered for the draft turned to disappointment as Colburn was not chosen. But, he was quickly brought into the LA Rams training camp as an undrafted free agent. By the end of training camp, the Rams had cut Colburn. Still, he recognizes the experience was valuable to him.

“First of all, just being a rather small town, South Carolina boy going all the way over to the West coast… just totally different worlds,” Matthew explained. “Aside from that, it was really cool to be around those guys and those coaches, and I definitely learned a lot about just being a complete football player, and special teams… I’m uber appreciative of my time there, and time spent with players, coaches and all that.”

After the preseason with the Rams, Matthew worked as a landscaper, and waited for another football opportunity. He wouldn’t have to do this for very long, because the XFL would soon come calling.

“A guy’s first initial thought when he gets cut is, ‘who’s going to pick me up next?'” Matthew said.

“I knew about the XFL and I remember I had filled out some paperwork. There were some emails I received before the close of the preseason,” he recalled. “That was something that I did, and you know, thank God that I was granted that opportunity.”

First Matthew was notified that he was a part of the XFL draft pool. Soon afterward, on day two of the October draft, Matthew was notified he had been drafted to the New York Guardians of the XFL.

“I was on lunch break from work,” Matthew said. “When I got the call, I was pretty, pretty excited.”

Last month, Colburn was able to take a break from landscaping when he joined the Guardians at their minicamp. He describes his time at minicamp as a positive experience, and was quite impressed by the organization.

“I was just really impressed by all the coaches, the entire staff… their tenure, and the rapport, and just their background, where they’ve been,” Matthew explained.  “Coach Gilbride, Coach Ingram…  they know what it means to be at the top. They know what it means to be the best.”

After spending Christmas back home in Irmo, SC, Colburn is headed to Guardians training camp in Houston, where he plans to earn a starting job on the roster. In fact, he feels strongly about the role of every player to vie for a starting job, as it makes the team stronger.

“I think every person who plays a game, that should be their mindset is to be the starter and to prepare like a starter,” Matthew said. “One guy prepares his tail off, then then his game elevates and then that creates competition. So then the next guy, he’s going to prepare his tail off, he’s going to get better, and then you know it’s going to be this ongoing competition in the room that’s going to in turn elevate everybody’s game, which will then elevate the position group and then elevate the offense.”

Aside from a starting running back position, Matthew is ready for anything.

“Whatever role that I need to fulfill, I’m going to do that to the thousand percent.”

We wish Matthew Colburn 1000% of good health and good fortune in the Guardians training camp and upcoming XFL season.

The entire interview with Matthew Colburn may be found in Episode 18– Ready


XFL Rules to be announced Tuesday

The XFL has confirmed that their official 2020 rules will be announced in the morning of Tuesday 7 Jan 2020, which will be followed by a conference call featuring XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck and XFL Head of Officiating Dean Blandino @ 2pm Eastern.

From the XFL:

“America’s favorite game is evolving, and that means less stall and more ball. When the XFL Opening Weekend kicks off on February 8, our new league will feature exciting gameplay innovations that deliver what football fans have told us they want – a faster pace of play and more action. Tuesday’s announcement of the XFL rules follows a rigorous18-month research and development process. First, the league gathered extensive data, ideas and input from a variety of qualified and credible sources, including current and former football coaches, players, officials, broadcasters, medical professionals, and sports industry experts – along with, a nationwide survey of more than 6,000 football fans. Then, over the last year, the XFL tested a wide range of rules and gameplay options under game conditions on the field of play.”

We are expecting that the XFL will confirm many of the rules that have been rumored by it’s staff and coaches over the past few months. However, we look forward to hearing from the league, and are eager to see the exciting new rules that will be made official.

Rumored Rules

25 second play clock

The XFL plans to reduce the play clock to the shortest time of any American football league, being 25 seconds, measured from the end of the previous play. It should be pointed out that the original XFL, and the AAF, used a 35-second play clock, and Arena football used a very similar 32-second clock. NFL and college football use a 40-second clock. The Canadian Football League uses a relatively short 20-second clock, however it begins when the ball is spotted, which usually adds up to 15 seconds between plays. (Oliver Luck stated recently on XFL Chalk Talk that the whole XFL rulebook revolves around a 25 second clock.)

Sky Judge/Ball Spotter

The AAF used a “Sky Judge,” who was an additional official in the booth that had the purpose of reviewing on-field decisions. Oliver Luck has said he thought this was a great innovation to the game and indicated they were considering implementing it in the XFL. (Recently confirmed by Oliver Luck in the Tampa Bay Times.)

Halo Rule

The XFL is considering doing away with fair catches, and instead rely on a halo rule to protect the kick returner. Just like in the CFL, and the original XFL, the kicking team will be forced to give the returner five yards of space to recover and return the ball. (Confirmed by multiple XFL players in interviews, articles and videos.)

Tiered 1,2 and 3 point conversions

The XFL plans to incorporate scrimmage plays for all extra-point attempts. The value of the extra points earned will depend on where the scoring team chooses to take the snap. A two-yard-line attempt would score a single point, a five-yard-line attempt would gain two points, and a ten-yard-line attempt would be for three points. This rule was practiced sparingly by the original XFL, as it became in effect on a rule change that was enacted just before the playoffs. (XFL teams practiced these at minicamp.)

Multiple Forward Passes behind the line of scrimmage

XFL coaches have mentioned this as a go.

New Overtime

The proposed XFL overtime format would be a five-round “shootout” of scrimmage plays from the five-yard-line. Just like in a penalty shootout, teams would take turns attempting to make a single play for the end zone, and thus earning a point. At the end of five-rounds, the team with more completed attempts would be declared the winner. The XFL hopes this overtime format would be exciting for fans, ensure both teams have a equal opportunity to win the game, and provide a way for both defensive and offensive players to participate in the outcome.

Multiple Player Audio System

Guardians head coach Kevin Gilbride recently confirmed this on WFAN radio.

45 yard line penalty on kickoffs out of bounds

Opposing team gets the ball at their own 45 if you don’t kick it to their returner. Guardians head coach Kevin Gilbride recently confirmed this on WFAN radio.

35 yard line touchback on punts

A YouTube video by Marquette King video confirms this rule. King talks about the rules differences in the video. This is going to force more 4th down tries.

YouTube video

 

 

Reference: XFLBoard Forum – The XFL rules confirmed so far (Join the discussion!)

Sam Montgomery believes in the DC Defenders

LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery (99)

Sam Montgomery, a defensive end currently with the DC Defenders of the XFL, grew up in Greenwood, South Carolina. He attended Greenwood High School, and was an all-round athlete, playing football, running track and even throwing the shot put.

“I just really took advantage of everything,” Sam said. “I had a really strong competitive edge… I just took advantage of everything that I really could put my hands on just to compete, deal friendships and go to different places throughout South Carolina to travel.”

After high school, Montgomery attended Louisiana State University and played for the LSU Tigers from 2010 to 2012. In his sophomore season in 2011, he was named an All-American by the Football Writers Association of America, Pro Football Weekly, and Scout.com. He was also selected for the first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) in 2011 and 2012.

Montgomery is quick to attribute his college success to the team.

“I had a chance to play with a lot of great players, had a lot of great defensive players to back me up,” Montgomery explained. “It was really good to be blessed to be at LSU at a period of time where our defense could flourish with our coordinator as well.”

In 2013, after college, Montgomery was drafted to the Houston Texans. However, after bouncing from the Texans to the Raiders, and then to the Bengals, he was released by the Bengals in 2015.  The NFL was not kind to Sam Montgomery, but he gained valuable experience that would serve him later in his football career.

Montgomery took a trip north and worked for the Edmonton Eskimos, and Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL, but eventually came back south to join the Massachusetts Pirates of the National Arena League (NAL).

In the spring of 2019, Montgomery joined the Memphis Express of the AAF, but was placed on the Injured Reserve List at the time that the fledgling league folded.

When asked about his football career, Montgomery is reflective.

“I played a lot of football, had a chance to meet a lot of different coaches and learn a lot of different defenses, and a lot of different techniques. So, it’s really made me into a really diverse player, as far as being a hands-down or a stand-up defensive end.”

“That’s what I thrive off of. Having those good relationships with the staff, and being in good relationships with my teammates on the field as a hard worker.”

Now that Montgomery has joined the DC Defenders, he hopes to use his skills and experience to be a part of what he sees as, potentially, the strongest defense in the league.

“I would describe the DC Defenders (defensive) unit as a true family from the d-line to the OL-d’s to the linebackers to little corners, to the safety, and to the free safety,” Montgomery said. “Even in this short period of time, we become really close. It’s really a family… we help everybody out…  it’s a really good team of men.”

This weekend, Montgomery is headed to Houston for the Defenders training camp and he is very upbeat about the Defenders and their chances for a championship.

“We’re taking it one day at a time and we’re just doing what we have to do. I believe in this team to win a championship. You know, you look every man in the eyes and you see what you have. I believe this caliber of team is a championship caliber team. I do.”

DC Defenders fans must love to hear this!

The entire interview with Sam Montgomery may be found in Episode 18 – Ready