XFL Week 4 Power Rankings

We are now 3 weeks in, and man oh man, is football crazy. One week you think you know exactly how the season is going to turn out, and the very next week, something happens that throws everything out of whack. That is what Week 3 in the XFL was, and let’s not waste any time. Let’s get to it.

8. New York Guardians (1-2) Last Week (7)
The New York Guardians are an absolute dumpster fire. Matt McGloin is becoming more and more Jay Cutler-esque as the weeks go by. Marquise Williams certainly hasn’t been any better. Luis Perez might be the answer, but even then, not great. G.A. Magnus has been atrocious. Kevin Gilbride can’t seem to control his team. It’s an absolute mess. The only bright spot has still been their defense, which by the numbers, has been pretty good. But it won’t matter if their offense can’t stay on the field and score points. This season is quickly spiraling out of control, and I don’t see it turning around. The Guardians will probably guard the no. 8 spot til season’s end.

7. Tampa Bay Vipers (0-3) Last Week (8)
BREAKING NEWS! The Vipers can actually play competitive football! Man, they gave the Roughnecks all they could handle, and had a legitimate shot at winning that game in the closing minutes of the 4th quarter. Now, this week, Marc Trestman addressed the media and noted that quarterback Quinton Flowers, who was starting to excel a little bit in this offense, would be taking an extended leave of absence. That definitely hurts some of the momentum that they built this weekend. But, I think this team still has a slight chance to make a Playoff run. They definitely have the talent, and the fight is still there. It’s just going to come down to quarterback play and coaching. I’m not sure how much I trust Marc Trestman, but if this weekend is any indication, he might be able to rally the troops and make a push. They play DC at home this weekend, and we will get to them later, but that is a winnable game. So we shall see if they can continue to keep that momentum they had. For now though, they sit at no. 7.

6. Seattle Dragons (1-2) Last Week (6)
The Dragons are who we thought they were. Solid defense. Offense has its moments. Good coaching. But they just aren’t quite good enough to compete in the loaded West. Keenan Reynolds and Austin Proehl are very productive. Kenneth Farrow is dynamic. Their defense makes stops, and causes turnovers. The problem is, they can’t always capitalize on those turnovers, because Brandon Silvers just isn’t that dude. He’s a good quarterback. He makes some good throws. He makes some timely throws. But when the moment is calling him, he just can’t seem to deliver. They had a shot, late in the game against Dallas, to get back in it, and Silvers just could not come through. I don’t know if BJ Daniels is the answer, but I don’t think it would hurt to try. For now, Seattle sits at no. 6.

5. Los Angeles Wildcats (1-2) Last Week (5)
Wow! The Wildcats showed up Sunday night. They were unstoppable! They looked like the best team in the league. I want everybody to take caution a little bit. First, I called this. I said, once Josh Johnson gets acclimated to this offense, they will be right there in the hunt for the top of the West. Well, I told you so. Josh Johnson was incredible. Martez Carter was sensational. But it was the coming out party of Tre McBride that really put this team in the hunt. We already knew about Nelson Spruce, who is reportedly injured, but hopefully not anything too serious. But it was the emergence of a second deep threat that now makes this team scary. And let’s not forget about the most impressive part of LA that night, their defense. Which caused the Defenders to turn the ball over 4 times in the game. They really dominated in all phases. BUT, the reason I said be cautious, is because this game was somewhat, I think, of an anomaly. They had a lot of short fields, and the DC Defenders just looked completely out of sorts. I want to see a more consistent performance from these guys before I totally buy in. So until then, I will still sit them at no. 5. But I do think this team has the capability to potentially win the West this season, because they can be that good.

4. DC Defenders (2-1) Last Week (2)
Sunday night is one to forget about if you’re the DC Defenders. They looked AWFUL against the Wildcats this weekend. Cardale Jones was just bad, no other way to slice it. Pep Hamilton didn’t have any answers for Winston Moss’ defense. The running game continues to struggle. And their defense was exposed. Now, I do think this game was somewhat of an anomaly. I don’t believe Cardale Jones is going to be this bad every single week. I think Pep Hamilton is a great coach who will make adjustments. But, I do have to say, I think the Defenders clear weaknesses were really masked the first two weeks getting to play Seattle and New York at home. Look, the Defenders are still a Top 4 team I believe. But, they are not as elite as we thought they were. And I think there is a strong possibility, that if they make it to the Playoffs, which I still believe they will, it will be on the road against a St. Louis team that might be better than them. DC sits at no. 4 for now.

3. Dallas Renegades (2-1) Last Week (4)
Man does this team take a while to get going. But once they do, they dominate and demoralize you. And they use their running game to do it. Cameron Artis-Payne might be…..scratch that, IS the best running back in the XFL. Matt Jones is a close second, but what Artis-Payne is doing is phenomenal. He is wearing down defenses, and they just haven’t been able to slow him down. Landry Jones is getting more and more comfortable each week, and this offense has a nice balance to it. But we have to talk about the star that is emerging in Dallas in tight end, Donald Parham. This dude is massive, but he can run downfield with the best of them. This tight end was burning defensive backs down the field Saturday night, and he is a locomotive that is getting better each week. He is quickly becoming Landry Jones’ favorite target and for good reason. This team is just hitting its stride, and they will have a big test this week with Houston coming to their house. Landry Jones has got to cut down on the turnovers, but the Dallas Renegades are for real. They sit at no. 3.

2. St. Louis BattleHawks (2-1) Last Week (3)
I absolutely love this team. Their energy. Their heart. Their passion. It’s infectious! Jonathan Hayes has this team playing great football, and it all starts with breakout star Jordan Ta’amu. Nobody expected Ta’amu to be this good, but this dude is straight up ballin’. He’s doing it with his arm. He’s doing it with his legs. His football IQ has been excellent. He really is doing it all. Pair that with a very strong running game, in fact the best overall rushing team in the XFL, and you have a recipe for success. Matt Jones and Christine Michael are dominating on the ground, and Ta’amu forces defenses to stay on their toes. But it’s this defense that takes this team to the next level. They are, without a doubt, the BEST defense in the XFL. They make stops and force turnovers, which leads to their running game keeping the opposing defense on the field for longer than they would like to be. Could you imagine, a East Conference Championship game in the Dome…. I’m starting to think that is becoming more and more of a reality as the weeks go by. The BattleHawks are the second best team in the XFL.

1. Houston Roughnecks (3-0) Last Week (1)
But they still aren’t no. 1, because that still belongs to the only undefeated team left in the XFL, the Houston Roughnecks. PJ Walker. Cam Phillips. Those names should strike fear in every team they play this season. I’m to the point, that I feel the only chance you have at beating the Roughnecks, is you are going to have to outscore them. Because you are NOT stopping the Walker and Phillips connection, the most lethal duo in the XFL. James Butler, Nick Holley, Sam Mobley, Khalil Lewis, and Sammie Coates hasn’t even got going yet. This team is LOADED! They are without a doubt, the BEST OFFENSE IN THE LEAGUE. Hands down! And it all starts with June Jones. His play calling has been nothing short of extraordinary. This Roughnecks team makes it look so easy to get into the end zone. PJ Walker is the MVP three weeks in, and Cam Phillips should be second on that list. Now, their defense is a little concerning. But as long as they can do just enough, and be opportunistic in the turnover battle, this team has got to be the favorite for the XFL Championship. The Houston Roughnecks are the best team in the XFL.

Former CFL All-Star Derek Dennis awarded to reeling Guardians

Former Calgary Stampeder Derek Dennis is now a New York Guardian (Credit: stampeders.ca)

“It’s kind of like riding a bike,” the burly man who tips the scale at nearly 350 pounds said. “You never really forget, you just get readjusted to it.”

It was announced late Tuesday night that Derek Dennis, formerly a standout offensive lineman in the Canadian Football League (CFL), was awarded on waivers to the New York Guardians. Voted the CFL’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman while with the Calgary Stampeders in 2016, Dennis helped pave the way for the league’s leading rusher, Jerome Messam.

Along with having the opportunity to play on television, where his family could watch, Dennis listed no longer having to deal with Canadian currency and conversion rates as a positive of returning to the United States to play the game.

“Playing maybe in New York, where I’m from, and my family could come to MetLife,” the newest Guardian said while awaiting allocation last Friday. “They could come to the game and watch me play.”

Dennis, a Temple alum, added that his parents haven’t seen him play a whole lot of football in the past five or six years.

With the CFL’s new collective bargaining agreement going into effect this season, Dennis opted to leave Canada for the XFL. The CBA, Dennis said, raised players’ minimum salaries without upping the salary cap also.

“[It’s] sort of put a squeeze on veterans and teams kind of put an emphasis on where they want to spend their money,” said Dennis, who also spent time on rosters in the National Football League and even the now-defunct Arena Football League. “If you spend it on three or four guys at a certain position, the other guys sort of get left out.”

Other notable players to migrate to the relaunched XFL from the CFL include wideouts S.J. Green, who had 716 receptions for 10,222 yards and 60 touchdowns while with Montreal and Toronto, and former Appalachian State quarterback-turned-receiver Armanti Edwards, who caught 244 balls for 3,181 yards and 16 touchdowns in stints with Saskatchewan and Toronto.

Dennis felt, as a three-time West Division All-Star and Grey Cup champion, that he wasn’t getting the monetary respect he deserved.

“Just from watching how free agency was unfolding for a lot of guys, there were a lot of veterans that I respected that either weren’t getting the offers that they felt they deserved or taking low-end deals to make sure they had a job,” Dennis said.

He stressed that people sometimes forget that, as professional athletes, the players still have a family life with kids at home.

“So the money that we feel like we deserve,” Dennis said. “We’re going to go for it just because we work hard for it. That’s how I feed my children, that’s how I keep a roof over my head, and that’s how I keep clothes on my kids’ backs.”

With a wider field and concepts such as the a one-yard buffer between players on the line of scrimmage prior to the football being snapped, Dennis said that playing in the CFL taught him to be patient and to be comfortable playing in space. He also pointed out that 12 men line up on each side, rather than 11, and the process of picking up blitzes and spotting defensive substitutions and sets was more complicated.

“I’m going to probably have to understand that I’m back in the phone booth, which I feel like is really my strength,” said Dennis, who counts his run-blocking as a strength.

Dennis realizes the level of talent in the XFL is high, but he still wants fans to recognize him throughout the course of a game.

“I’m expecting guys that are hungry […] I play with the mindset of, I don’t want nobody to look at me and go ‘Man, that guy sucks.’ Whenever I touch any type of field or court, I’m going to give it my all, 100%, because I want people to walk away with a great intention of me.”

Dennis’ Guardians, having lost two straight after a Week One victory against Tampa Bay, will square off against the Los Angeles Wildcats Saturday afternoon at MetLife Stadium, 75 miles away from Dennis’ high school in Pawling, New York.

XFL Week 3 New York Guardians – St.Louis BattleHawks Recap: BattleHawks soar to victory over undisciplined Guardians

“I may need you to be a leader here because the guys that I thought were going to be better than we are at doing that are just not.” – New York Guardians Head Coach/GM Kevin Gilbride to his star receiver Mekale McKay on the sidelines in the 4th quarter of a 29-9 road loss to the St. Louis BattleHawks.

In front of 29,554 fans at the ‘Battledome,’ Pro Football returned to St.Louis in glorious fashion, as the BattleHawks dominated the New York Guardians in a 29-9 victory. St. Louis beat New York in all three phases. Riding the energy and emotion of their crowd, the BattleHawks controlled the contest from the outset with their ground game, rushing for 156 yards on the ground. St. Louis also made big plays on defense and special teams. The BattleHawks Joe Powell returned a kickoff 90 yards for a score on the XFL’s first-ever kick return for a touchdown. St. Louis also blocked a punt on special teams as well.

“You can’t beat the opponent and yourself at the same time.”
    – Guardians Head Coach/GM  Kevin Gilbride on his teams’ performance in the post-game press conference.

For New York, the story of last week’s loss in D.C. was the dysfunction of the Guardians offense and the frustration of veteran Quarterback Matt McGloin. This week, the entire team played undisciplined football. Missed tackles, blown assignments,  personal fouls, ill-advised turnovers, and miscommunication ruled the day for New York. Matt McGloin started off the game connecting on his first three passes, but a Casey Sayles sack on third down knocked him temporarily out of the game with a rib injury. Backup quarterback Marquise Williams replaced him for a couple of series before McGloin returned later in the first half.

The Guardians managed to muster a 53-yard field goal by Matthew McCrane to get on the scoreboard and cut the STL lead to 6-3. The BattleHawks would then go on to score 17 unanswered points to take a 23-3 lead late into the first half.

With a returning Matt McGloin and the Guardians driving late in the first half deep into BattleHawks territory. McGloin threw an errant pass into the leaping hands of rookie Kenny Robinson. The 21-year old All-Big 12 safety out of West Virginia is the first player with college eligibility to decide to play in the XFL, before being drafted in the NFL draft this coming April. McGloin’s momentum-killing interception led to an enraged G.A. Mangus slamming his call sheet down. The embattled offensive coordinator has seen his offense falter all season long.

One of the main culprits of the Guardians woes on Sunday in St. Louis was Guardians’ starting center Ian Silberman, who returned from missing last week’s game due to injury. Silberman, a former 6th round pick of the 49ers, was expected to be one of New York’s leaders upfront. In this game, Silberman played with no composure whatsoever, drawing multiple personal fouls, which helped kill his teams’ drives and momentum. Before the referees could eject Silberman, the Guardians staff decided to bench him.

New York’s offense and special teams weren’t the only culprits in this loss to St. Louis. The Guardians defense missed multiple tackles in this contest and had no answers schematically for the spread run attack of St. Louis. On a lone positive note, New York managed to salvage their day with a late TD drive by third-string Quarterback Luis Perez (4/5 39 yards, 1td). The position of Perez on the depth chart may be changing moving forward. There may be more changes on the horizon for the Guardians. Kevin Gilbride has a lot of difficult decisions to make moving forward, and not a lot of time, only six days before his team’s next game to work with. One of the changes that could come may very well be in who is calling the plays moving forward, and who is on the field when those plays are called.

New York (1-2) will travel back home to host the now (1-2) LA Wildcats, Saturday, 2 pm ET at Metlife Stadium (ABC). The St. Louis BattleHawks (2-1) will look for an encore victory at home as they host the (1-2) Seattle Dragons, Saturday 5 pm ET/4 pm CT  on Fox.

Guardians Frustrations Boil Over in Loss Versus BattleHawks

The New York Guardians showed a lack of discipline as the game went on. (Credit: XFL.com)

Down 23-3, an undisciplined New York Guardians team found their season falling apart, all with a half of play to go.

With the game starting slow, the BattleHawks held a lead of 6-0 in the first quarter. While the game was becoming chippy, it was nothing more than good football. The conflict between players was held within the snap of the ball to the whistle. But as the second quarter closed the BattleHawks took a commanding lead behind quarterback young Jordan Ta’amu. Down by twenty points, an interesting exchange between Guardians quarterback Matt McGloin and coach G.A. Mangus over national television. Coach Mangus gave McGloin a play to call, and he did. But there was a miscommunication where McGloin did not relay the call in full. St. Louis had over 29,000 to blame for the mishap.

While an interaction such as the one previously stated should not be too alarming, McGloin’s halftime interview last week was an insult to any claiming allegiance to the New York Guardians. Similar to this week, McGloin, who went into the second half of the game down a lot to a little to the D.C. Defenders. In a fit of rage McGloin told reporters they need to quote “change the whole gameplan” and had a hot mic where he blamed teammates. He was benched.

Benched again versus the BattleHawks, the Guardians lost all control, with no leader to be seen, seemingly, even in a coach.

With time winding down in the second quarter the Guardians were driving, a rare sight to say the least. That was until all hell broke loose. McGloin finally made a downfield completion. On the tackle, a BattleHawks defensive back dragged the leg of the receiver. Guardians offensive lineman Avery Young took exception to the hit and retaliated. Shoves, checks, and awkward slaps were thrown around. You could argue number 69, Ian Silberman threw punches. The next play McGloin threw an interception and there was yet again a scrap, this time on the sideline. While moments like these are normally put behind a team at halftime, center Ian Silberman had other ideas, sadly enough.

After the first play of the second half, Silberman threw a punch at an unsuspecting BattleHawk defensive lineman. The defensive lineman was seen pleading to the referee to throw Silberman out of the game after the assault. Instead, Silberman was warned and given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Referees were showed talking to the coaches. They told them, the situation was being treated seriously and that they had there on the rouge offensive lineman. ESPN’s broadcast booth and on-field reporting was fantastic and portrayed a storyline during the events.

It’s honestly impressive that the bush league center created a whole story behind his immature actions, as a lineman. But it seems Silberman will be facing the consequences to his actions, after being benched, coach Gilbride seemed to be at a loss of words. Gilbride has seen plenty of football in his day but never anything like the XFL Guardians. Antagonizing fights and celebrating after minor success is the Guardians’ game. Gilbride has to virtually babysit.

But all of this is good for the XFL. While some fans and even writers may see this as annoying and embarrassing, a newly established league is built off of word to mouth. Fans will be buzzing about the crazy moments on social media such as Twitter and Instagram. All publicity may be good publicity, as long as it is used in a effective manner.

XFL Week Three: New York Guardians – St. Louis BattleHawks Preview

NEW YORK GUARDIANS (1-1) AT ST. LOUIS BATTLEHAWKS (1-1)

  • Sunday, February 23, 3 pm ET/2 pm CT (ESPN) The Dome, St. Louis, MO

INJURIES

(New York) G Garrett Brumfield (Head), C Ian Silberman (Groin), WR Joe Horn (Shoulder), S Andrew Soroh (Thigh), DE Ryan Mueller (Wrist), LB Garrett Dooley (Ankle), RB Darius Victor (Head)

(St. Louis) WR L’Damian Washington (Ankle), DL Will Clarke (Calf), RB Matt Jones (Knee), CB David Rivers (Head), RB Keith Ford (Knee), WR Brandon Reilly (Knee)

Injury notes: The Guardians played without two of their starting offensive linemen last week in Center Ian Silberman and Guard Garrett Brumfield. Silberman has been limited in practice all week, and maybe close to returning to this Sunday. Brumfield has yet to practice. Both Avery Young and Damien Mama will be in line to start if either or both miss the game. Running back Darius Victor was cleared for practice and appears to be on track to play. Head injuries can be tricky, however.

The BattleHawks leading rusher Matt Jones has been battling a knee injury. He played through it last week. WR L’Damian Washington, who has shown good chemistry with rookie Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu, is questionable heading into this game. A critical injury not noted here is the loss of St. Louis starting offensive linemen Jake Campos. He was lost for the season and placed on injured reserve. Campos had been starting at left tackle. Andrew McDonald and Brian Wallace would be in line to replace him.

GAME OVERVIEW

Both New York and St. Louis come into this game sporting 1-1 records, but the overall outlook for each franchise couldn’t be any more different. St. Louis is coming off an impressive two-game road stretch at Dallas and Houston. The BattleHawks, led by rookie sensation quarterback Jordan Ta’amu has been one of the league’s most impressive teams thus far. The BattleHawks will be on an emotional high in front of a sold-out home crowd in the Dome. Pro football has returned to St.Louis, and the city has embraced the team with open arms, hearts, and wings.

The Guardians, despite sharing the same record as the BattleHawks, are coming into this electric atmosphere, with a different vibe and feel. New York suffered a demoralizing loss in DC last weekend. The Guardians have struggled out the gate offensively, under signal-caller Matt McGloin and Offensive Coordinator G.A. Mangus. New York’s offense has only converted two first downs in their first two games. Last week’s drama attached to the offense, and Matt McGloin, has dimmed the outlook for the team moving forward. This has been a crucial week of preparation for the Guardians, in getting on the same page.

MATCHUP: The Guardians offense versus the BattleHawks defense

Under G.A. Magnus, New York has employed a ‘Fun N Gun’ style offense. Magnus, a former quarterback and coaching disciple of Steve Spurrier, hasn’t had much fun thus far. New York has taken multiple shots down the field in the passing game in the first two weeks but with little to no success.

The BattleHawks employ a 4-2-5 defense, similar to the Guardians week one opponent, the Tampa Bay Vipers. Under Co-Defensive Coordinators Jay Hayes and Tim Lewis. St. Louis has an athletic front seven that can play sideline to sideline. Andrew Ankrah is a defensive end/linebacker tweener type, who can line up on the line of scrimmage, to stand up and rush. Linebacker Terrance Garvin is an excellent football player, terrific in space. Linebacker/safety Dexter McCoil displays the hybrid nature of the BattleHawks defense. He’s held up well at linebacker and gives their defensive unit scheme versatility. The Guardians will look to run the football against the speed lineup that St.Louis utilizes on defense. New York has two power runners in Tim Cook and Darius Victor, who are fully capable of breaking tackles and winning battles with smaller defensive backs/linebackers. New York has been running the football a lot from the shotgun formation. It may serve them better to utilize the talented group of blocking tight ends; they have on their roster.

The Guardians passing game is still missing two of its top players in DeAngelo Yancey and Tanner Gentry. The uncertainty at the WR spot, outside of Mekale McKay, has held up the teams’ passing attack early in the season. The BattleHawks secondary has a very talented safety duo in future NFL draft pick Kenny Robinson and quality pro-veteran Will Hill. New York will look to attack St. Louis at cornerback. The BattleHawks have held up well there thus far, but may be missing former Guardian David Rivers. St. Louis struggled last week in coverage with XFL star of the week Cam Phillips. Look for Mekale McKay to be targeted often this Sunday, as well as Colby Pearson, who has been underutilized thus far.

Matchup: The Guardians defense versus the BattleHawks offense

The story of the St.Louis offense thus far has been the symmetry developed between BattleHawks Offensive Coordinator/QB’s coach Chuck Long and Jordan Ta’amu. Long, who took over the reins of the offense for Doug Meacham, who departed for TCU, has done a masterful job designing a game plan that plays to Ta’amu’s talents. Despite having an Air-Raid background, Long has developed a ball-control offense that focuses heavily on running the football out of spread sets, and the offense has gotten good mileage out of Ta’amu’s running ability. New York’s strength on their defensive front is their size. Cavon Walker (288), TJ Barnes (360), and Joey Mbu (330) will need to stand up to the challenge and help shut down the BattleHawks ground attack led by Matt Jones and Christine Michael.

St. Louis has the league’s biggest receivers and uses them to block on the edges. Hybrid TE/WR Marcus Lucas fills this role as well. The Guardians have a speedy and athletic back seven of the defense. Players like D’Juan Hines and Ben Heeney, who are linebackers in safeties bodies, may be expected to spy on Ta’amu on passing downs. The Guardians strength in their secondary is their coverage skills, but the size is an issue for New York. Talented cover players like Jamar Summers, Ranthony Texada, and Bryce Jones need to improve their tackling to matchup against the size STL has on the outside.

De’Mornay Pierson El is Jordan Ta’amu’s favorite target underneath. Taking away that easy option from the rookie QB will be vital to the Guardians’ success on third down. New York has struggled to generate a consistent pass rush in the first couple of weeks of the season.  St. Louis has employed a quick and simplified passing attack, with easy reads for its signal-caller. The Guardians will be looking for a way to disguise coverages and get Ta’amu out of his comfort zone.

FINAL SUMMARY

This is a turning point game for the New York Guardians. A win on the road against St.Louis would erase the debacle in DC last weekend. It would also put the Guardians in strong standing for a potential playoff spot in the eastern division. New York would be 2-1 in their division, with victories over both Tampa and St. Louis. The Guardians do not play another divisional opponent until week 8. So completing the first half of their divisional schedule with a 2-1 record would set them up nicely and change the makeup of their entire season.

Winning at St.Louis in their home-opener is a tall task for any XFL team, let alone a struggling Guardians team. The BattleHawks will be flying high on the emotional boost from their home crowd. This is one of those games where New York can afford to lose, but can’t afford to put forth their effort they did last week. A loss wouldn’t kill New York but a loss that resembles last weekend might. If New York continues to struggle offensively, Kevin Gilbride may need to reaccess his decision to relinquish play-calling duties. Gilbride has taken on a CEO role for the team, but he may have to take full ownership of the offense moving forward. How the entire New York Guardians team responds to last week is almost as important as the result of this game.

PREDICTION

BattleHawks 26 Guardians 10

I don’t see this as a good matchup overall for New York. The Guardians have to survive the early tidal wave of emotion that will guide the BattleHawks at the outset of this game. If New York can do that, their confidence can grow as the game moves forward. St. Louis is built to play ball control, and they will most likely do that well during this contest. The Guardians have an uphill battle ahead of them. This game will reveal the character of New York, and how they respond to adversity moving forward.

XFL Week 3 Power Rankings

Well, that’s 2 weeks now officially in the history books. We saw all different kinds of games this weekend. We saw defensive battles, slow building dramas, back and forth thrillers, and total domination, in what was another exciting week of XFL Football. This week’s Power Rankings are the most confident I have felt thus far, but of course, with the nature of football, that can all change week to week. So let’s see where we stand heading into week 3.

8. Tampa Bay Vipers (0-2) Last Week (8)

XFL fans, allow me to introduce to you your “Homecoming” team of the XFL 2020, the Tampa Bay Vipers. They are such a mess. Marc Trestman can’t decide on a quarterback. Whoever he decides will be playing quarterback that day, absolutely stinks. The defense gives up too many big plays. I have lost all confidence in this team, and it’s a shame, because they are talented in their skill positions. But in the sport of football, the quarterback position is the most important. And when you don’t have good quarterback play, you will struggle mightily. The Vipers will be playing their first home game this Saturday, but unfortunately for them, it will be against the Houston Roughnecks, and it will probably be a long day in Tampa for the Vipers. They are still at no. 8, and I expect them to remain there. Houston, congratulations, it’s “Homecoming Week”.

7. New York Guardians (1-1) Last Week (4)

Matt McGloin is leading this team. And after Saturday afternoon, that’s all you need to know to know why they are ranked no. 7. If Tampa had a decent quarterback, they would be ranked 8th. Once again, it’s a real shame. Because just like with Tampa Bay, they are talented. They got some good receivers. They got some decent running backs. They have an elite defense. They have a great Head Coach. But their “leader” is Matt McGloin. And if Saturday is any indication, he is not the right guy to be leading a locker room. If you can’t take ownership for your own mistakes, and you just throw your teammates and coaches under the bus, you don’t DESERVE to lead a team. Yes, he has some talent, but working together, as a team, goes far more than talent ever will. Until McGloin can buy into the concept of “TEAM”, they will sit at no. 7, and possibly fall to no. 8.

6. Seattle Dragons (1-1) Last Week (7)

Seattle, you have impressed me. By no means am I picking you to win the Championship, but you guys will be competitive in every game, and that is “For the Love of Football”. Brandon Silvers is not an elite XFL quarterback, but he has had his moments, and his play makers have made plays when they needed to. But the strength of this team is the defense, which is no unfamiliar territory for Seattle. Their defense has impressed me the past few weeks against DC and Tampa Bay, and if they can keep that up, I think they have the potential to pull off some real upsets. Especially when they play at home, with that raucous crowd. The key for their offense is to get the running game going, and take that pressure off of Brandon Silvers. If he can just limit the turnovers and make the key throws, this team should be fine, and at least be in most of their games til the end. They are my no. 6 team.

5. Los Angeles Wildcats (0-2) Last Week (6)

Some people are probably going to be surprised that I have LA ranked 5, especially since they haven’t gotten a win yet. But honestly, in their 25-18 loss to Dallas, they looked pretty good. Especially in the 4th quarter once Josh Johnson started getting that chemistry with Nelson Spruce. You have to remember, Johnson hasn’t even been able to really practice with his team much, due to him signing late, then getting injured. I believe that this team has enough talent to start racking up some wins. And don’t be surprised if that starts this Sunday against DC at home. I believe people are looking at that 0-2 record and really underestimating what this Wildcats team is capable of. If Johnson and Spruce can build that connection, this can become a scary team in the West. I have not counted the Wildcats out yet, and I think they might surprise the league here the next few weeks. For now, they sit at no. 5.

4. Dallas Renegades (1-1) Last Week (5)

This team is good. Yes, it took them a while to get going, but once they did, I don’t think they’re looking back. This might be the most well balanced offense in the league. They can run it with Artis-Payne and Dunbar. They can sure throw it with Landry Jones. And I believe they have play makers at the wide receiver position that can make plays in the open field. All of this was on display Sunday afternoon, once Landry Jones settled in the offense. Much like Johnson, he has not had a lot of reps with his team, so that chemistry will only build and get better. Their defense is good, not great, but if they can keep their running game strong, long drives will keep their defense on the sideline. The Renegades are threat in the West, and Houston better be looking over its shoulder. Dallas sits at no. 4.

3. St. Louis Battlehawks (1-1) Last Week (3)

St. Louis showed Sunday night, they are for real. They can compete with the big dogs, and they have a legitimate shot at winning the East and taking home the XFL Championship. Jordan Ta’amu is the real deal, and man is he fun to watch. He can do it with his arm, he can do it with his legs, and he has a strong running game backing him up. Matt Jones is a beast, and Christine Michael finally came alive in this game. Keith Ford will be back, and their receivers are really underrated. Pierson-El is a stud, and Washington can ball as well. But man, the defense is LEGIT. I’m confident in saying, this is the best defense in the XFL. All around, they can stop the run, protect against the pass, and they can cause turnovers. I think this team has a fight that can carry them a long way, and their Head Coach brings an energy that can motivate this team to a title. It’s why they are my 3rd ranked team.

2. DC Defenders (2-0) Last Week (2)

Total domination is what this team did to the New York Guardians Saturday afternoon. Cardale Jones is just that good. Rashad Ross is just that good. Eli Rogers is just that good. And oh yeah, DeAndre Thompkins made his return, and yep, he is just that good. Add that with a running game that seemed to be finding life in the 4th quarter, and a defense that has a pick six in each game so far, and you have the best team in the East. The DC Defenders are great, and Pep Hamilton is the main reason why. His play calling has been outstanding, and his willingness to take risk has paid off tremendously. This team has an identity, and it sticks to that. Have Cardale Jones make plays on the move, give the ball to their play makers, and let their defense have its opportunities. Drop in their some trick plays, and you have a recipe for success. But, they are still no. 2.

1. Houston Roughnecks (2-0) Last Week (1)

Because the Houston Roughnecks are still the best team in the XFL. PJ Walker is hands down, right now, at this moment, not just the best quarterback in the league, he is the best player in the league. He has looked unstoppable through the first 2 weeks, and I don’t see him slowing down anytime soon. But he ain’t by himself. Cam Phillips, who was named the Star of the Week this week, is an absolute beast. He can route run, he can turn on the gas, and he can catch with the best of them. Khalil Lewis, Nick Holley, Sammie Coates, James Butler, who do you try and stop? Good luck to any defense that has to play this Houston offense this season. But what’s scary for the league, is this defense is coming alive week by week. They get to the quarterback, and I mean they GET TO THE QUARTERBACK. Not to mention, they capitalize on every opportunity they get with takeaways, and they do not break easily. This is the clear favorite right now to win the West, and my current favorite to win it all. The Houston Roughnecks are the XFL’s best team until somebody proves otherwise.

XFL Defenders dominate as New York’s offense and McGloin suffer meltdown

New York Guardians QB Matt MCGloin

“At no point in time, did I feel like we were going to be successful today.” Worst game, I have ever been a part of.”
-New York Guardians Quarterback Matt McGloin after being benched in New York’s 27-0 loss to the DC Defenders on Saturday Afternoon.

” One of two things happen when you get your butt beat like we did. You either come together or you splinter.”
-New York Guardians Head Coach Kevin Gilbride addressing his team in the locker room after the Defenders loss.

Washington D.C–  The New York Guardians faced their first big test of the early season in DC on Saturday and failed to build off of last week’s 23-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Vipers. In front of over 15,000 fans at Audi Field, the D.C. Defenders (2-0) controlled the entire game from the outset, while the Guardians (1-1) fell apart at the seams, in a 27-0 loss. To state that it was a terrible day at the office for Guardians Quarterback Matt McGloin would be an understatement.

It was a tale of two entirely different offenses. Defenders Head Coach/play-caller Pep Hamilton and early MVP candidate Cardale Jones (23/37 276 yards 2 td’s 1 int) are in mid-season form, clicking on all cylinders. The Guardians defense was competitive and held DC out of their end zone for the majority of the game until faltering late.

The drama surrounding New York’s offense overshadowed DC’s crisp overall team win, with its dysfunction and ineptitude. A game that saw Quarterback Matt McGloin (8/19 44 yards 2ints) miss multiple open receivers. The 30-year old former NFL quarterback, McGloin looked frustrated from the outset.  At halftime with the Guardians trailing 12-0, ESPN’s Diana Russini interviewed Matt McGloin on the sidelines to get his take on the teams’ first-half struggles.  McGloin told Russini, “We need to change the whole entire gameplan.”  A shot inadvertently or not, taken towards New York’s offensive coordinator G.A. Mangus. Matt McGloin’s struggles would get worse in the second half, missing two receivers downfield for would be-scores, and then throwing an ill-advised pass in the flat, that was intercepted by the Defenders Jameer Thurman and returned for a score from 46-yards out, to give DC an 18-0 lead. At one point, Kevin Gilbride had to calmly get into McGloin’s ear to try and settle the veteran down on the sidelines. McGloin’s woes on the field and sidelines led to him being benched for Quarterback Marquise Williams late in the game.

The excitement behind the quality of the new league that is the XFL hasn’t worn off, but the business of football has begun. The league may be in good standing with its audience, but players or coaches who perform poorly will not be well received. The Quarterback position lends itself to scrutiny, sometimes unfairly, but it’s part of the job. McGloin has always been a stand-up veteran. It’s part of the reason why he was recommended by Andy Reid, and why the Guardians specifically targeted him to lead their offense back in the fall. McGloin certainly had the type of game as a pro, that he would like to forget as soon as possible. The feeling is that Matt McGloin will remain the starter moving forward for the time being.

One of the underlying elements of New York’s early-season offensive struggles is the change in offensive play-caller from Kevin Gilbride to GA Mangus.  Kevin Gilbride has decided to take on a CEO role with the entire team. He’s entrusted Mangus and his offensive staff with the play-calling/design. A significant concession for someone like Gilbride, who has been a play-caller his entire career. One of the aspects lost in last week’s opening win was New York’s struggles on offense (1-10 on 3rd down) the inefficiency was camouflaged by a strong performance from the Guardians defense and special teams. Part of McGloin’s frustration was the play-calling. If New York produces only 137 yards as they did against DC moving forward. Kevin Gilbride may have to retake ownership of the offense. To Kevin Gilbride’s credit, he told the media and his players after the game that the loss was on him. “This is nobody’s fault except mine.” Gilbride is trying to not lose the team, and keep everyone on the same page.

In a shorter ten-game season in the XFL, how the Guardians respond to today’s disappointing loss will tell the tale of their upcoming season.

After the game, Gilbride spoke to the media and expressed his displeasure, “I’m disappointed with how we played, and that’s on me… When you play as poorly as we did today, one of two things is going to happen. You will either recognize that this wasn’t good enough, and you’re going to dig down deeper, and you’re going to rally each other and inspire each other… Or you splinter apart.” Gilbride continued, “I thought they (Guardians defense) played inspired football, it’s not wasted. The effort that was put forth… it was quite an example of how to go about your business… Knowing the character that was demonstrated today, I would be very, very surprised if we don’t rally around each other and come back ready to play next week.”

The Guardians will visit St. Louis next week to take on the BattleHawks in the team’s home opener (Sunday, 3 pm ET on ESPN)  while D.C. will fly cross-country to take on the Los Angeles Wildcats on Sunday, February 23. (6 pm ET/3 pm Pac, FS1).

XFL Week 2 Injury Report

Saturday, February 15:

New York Guardians (1-0) at DC Defenders (1-0), 2 pm ET (ABC).

New York Guardians: There is some reason for concern here for the Guardians, as two of their three starting interior offensive linemen C Ian Silberman and G Garrett Brumfield have already been ruled OUT for Saturday’s game. Fortunately, their replacements are center Damien Mama and guard Avery Young who both have NFL experience and are more than capable of stepping in for them. The only active player that was unable to play last week due to an illness was TE Keenan Brown, who will make his debut on Saturday. Brown is talented and will join former Monmouth University TE Jake Powell on the depth chart, who played very well as the starter last game, catching 4 passes on 6 targets for 28 yards. 

DC Defenders: WR DeAndre Thompkins and LB Scooby Wright were unable to play in last week’s opener but they will make their debut this week against the Guardians. Thompkins, a former Penn State receiver, is listed as a starter over Week 1 stars; Eli Rogers and Rashad Ross, so it will be interesting to see if his return affects their target share. The only player who is listed questionable is backup DT Kalani Vakameilalo.

Tampa Bay Vipers (0-1) at Seattle Dragons (0-1), 5 pm ET (FOX).

Tampa Bay Vipers: Vipers starting QB Aaron Murray has been officially ruled OUT for this week’s game due to a foot injury. The former Georgia Bulldog all-time passer struggled in last week’s loss against the Guardians, throwing 2 interceptions, 0 touchdowns, with a QB rating of 45.1. The replacement quarterback options are former Cincinnati Bengals RB and University of South Florida start QB Quinton Flowers, as well as Taylor Cornelius and Chase Litton, so we’ll have to keep an eye on that. Bobby Richardson and TE DeAndre Goolsby are listed as questionable.

Seattle Dragons: The injury bug has hit the Seattle Dragon real hard; as eight players have missed practice so far this week. The most notable name is starting QB Brandon Silvers, who suffered an ankle injury last week against DC. Former University of South Florida star B.J. Daniels would be called upon in relief of Silvers if he’s unable to go, but he is probable so Silvers should be good to start. Starting WR Kasen Williams, OT Isaiah Battle and TE Cam Clear each missed last week’s game and have once again been ruled OUT. Also, starting center Dillon Day is listed as doubtful, left guard Cyril Richardson, DT Anthony Moten, TE Ben Johnson, and CB Mohammed Seisay are questionable.

Sunday, February 16:

Dallas Renegades (0-1) at LA Wildcats (0-1), 3 pm ET (ABC).

Dallas Renegades: The Landry Jones-Bob Stoops era in Dallas will officially begin on Sunday afternoon, as Landry Jones has recovered from the knee injury he suffered last month and will start against the Wildcats. Phillip Nelson replaced Jones as the starter for the Renegades last week and will head back to the bench. Third string Eric Dungey is taking a brief leave of absence for personal reasons, so they’ve signed former HBO Hard Knocks fan favorite Brogan Roback for depth. Starting DE Winston Craig and LB Jon Calvin haven’t participated in practice so far this week and Hau’oli Kikaha is questionable with limited participation.

LA Wildcats: Last week, starting QB Chad Kanoff looked pretty impressive; despite the 20-point loss they suffered against Houston. Kanoff finished with a stat-line of 21-39, 214 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT, but unfortunately left the game after suffering a head/shoulder injury. Kanoff replaced Josh Johnson due to a thigh injury he suffered, but now Johnson has recovered and is expected to start. There are three contributing players that haven’t participated in practice so far this week to keep an eye on; WR Saeed Blacknall, RB/WR DuJuan Harris, CB Jaylen Dunlap. 

St. Louis BattleHawks (1-0) at Houston Roughnecks, 6 pm ET (FS1).

St. Louis BattleHawks: Much like the Seattle Dragons; the BattleHawks have been hit hard with injuries, as five players are questionable and have not practiced so far this week. DE Will Clarke, WR Brandon Reilly, CB David Rivers, RB Matt Jones and Keith Ford. For fantasy purposes, definitely look out for the status of Jones and Ford, because if they’re both unable to go; Christine Michael is for a ton of action. It’s definitely a bit concerning that Michael had 0 yards on 7 carries, but the majority of their run game when through Jones on 21 carries for 85 yards, so if he and Ford are out Michael will get another chance as the starter.

Houston Roughnecks: Former Denver Broncos RB De’Angelo Henderson suffered a shoulder injury early last game against the Wildcats forcing him to leave the game. Henderson’s status is in doubt for this week, as he’s yet to practice this week, which would potentially but James Butler in line for a quality workload. Their other notable injury to watch is DE Cashaud Lyons who hasn’t practiced this week.

Week Two: New York Guardians-DC Defenders Preview

New York Guardians (1-0) at D.C. Defenders (1-0)

  • Saturday 2 pm ET (Fox) Audi Field, Washington, D.C
  • Point Spread: Defenders -6.5  Over/Under 47.5 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
  • Forecast: High 39, Winds 10mph
  • Injuries: (New York) G Garrett Brumfield (Head), C Ian Silberman (Thigh), DB Dravon Askew-Henry (Shoulder), DL Cavon Walker (Ankle) (DC) DT Kalani Vakameilalo (Ankle) WR Malachi Dupre (Thigh), CB Desmond Lawrence (Shoulder), TE Khari Lee (Foot), LB AJ Tarpley (Hand), S Shamarko Thomas (Thigh), WR DeAndre Thompkins (Foot), LB Scooby Wright (Knee)

Injury Notes:  While DC’s injury report is lengthier than that of New York, the Defenders are relatively healthy going into week two. The Guardians, on the other hand, have two key injuries worth monitoring. Staring interior linemen Ian Silberman(C) and Garrett Brumfield may miss this Saturday’s game. Damien Mama would be in line to replace Silberman at the pivot, while Avery Young could replace Brumfield at guard. The Guardians may also miss their starting nickel on defense in Dravon-Askew Henry. The team released DeJuan Neal this week and has brought back Jeremiah McKinnon.

New York and D.C. are coming off huge victories at home in the opening week. The Guardians were 23-3 winners over the Tampa Bay Vipers, while DC topped the Dragons 31-19. Both these teams are vying to stay unbeaten and atop the standings in the eastern division. New York has the opportunity to go 2-0 in their division, before traveling to St. Louis for the BattleHawks home opener in week three. The three-game divisional stretch for NY completes half of their eastern schedule, before ending the season with three straight divisional games in weeks eight through ten.

Matchup: Guardians offense versus Defenders defense 

Kevin Gilbride has taken on a CEO type role for the first time in his lengthy coaching career. Last week, Gilbride handed over his play-calling duties to former Steve Spurrier QB and disciple,  QB’s coach G.A. Mangus. The results were mixed. New York struggled to get a ground game going, and McGloin was steady, not spectacular at the controls.

The Defenders employ a 3-4 defense under newly appointed Defensive Coordinator Louie Cioffi. Pep Hamilton handed over the coordinator reins to Cioffi when Jeffrey Fitzgerald departed DC for family reasons. The early returns were pretty positive for DC, while they did give up some big plays to Seattle in the passing game, the defense held up pretty well overall. The defense gave up over 300 yards, but was able to force Brandon Silvers into mistakes. The emerging star of the DC defense is cornerback Elijah Campbell. He had a great showing in week one in coverage, tackling, and even on special teams.

Look for the Guardians to try and establish a more balanced attack on the ground this Saturday. Seattle’s three-headed dragon backfield averaged over 5 yards per carry against DC’s defensive front. The Defenders do not have a dynamic standout player in their front seven, particularly from the edge-rushing position. DC will be getting Scooby Wright back on the inside, and that will help. In the passing game, one of the areas that the Guardians may target, that proved to be vulnerable for DC’s pass defense in week one, is their inside/slot coverage. Seattle’s Austin Proehl had a field day against whomever DC lined up against him. The Dragons also tested the Defender corners deep, and were nearly successful on multiple occasions. Matt McGloin has to show the patience that Brandon Silvers did not, and can’t afford to miss wide-open receivers. Protecting the football on the road is always paramount. McGloin will be tasked with doing just that.

Matchup: Guardians defense versus Defenders offense

The DC Defenders have a valid MVP candidate in Cardale Jones, a proven play-caller in Pep Hamilton, and one of the deepest rosters on offense in the entire league.

Look for DC to try and run the football against NY, the same way Tampa did in week one, to the tune of 150 yards. Running Back Jhurell Pressley, despite having a modest week statistically in week one, forced the second-most missed tackles (5) in the league, a trait he displayed while leading the AAF in rushing. The Guardians are massive upfront on the defensive line. TJ Barnes (350), Joey Mbu (330), Toby Johnson (350), and Cavon Walker (290). The issue is lateral speed and wearing down late in games because of their size. The Guardian linebackers were fantastic last week, making plays from sideline to sideline, led by their captain Ben Heeney. The one area that is a weakness in New York’s linebacking corps is their lack of size. Look for DC to try and get their impressive young linemen like mauler Rishard Cook to the second level to force New York’s smaller backers to disengage and beat blocks.  The Guardians defense must also be prepared for dual-threat quarterback Tyree Jackson. The 6’7 monster from UB was used sparingly last week in the RPO game, but he could see his role increase, especially in red-zone packages. The Vipers had some success last week against NY  with a similar player in Quentin Flowers.

Last week. the Guardians defense bent but didn’t break, and Tampa’s offensive line provided Aaron Murray plenty of time. But, because of stellar coverage, Murray had to eat five sacks. The same recipe won’t work for New York against Cardale Jones and the DC passing game. Cardale can shed defenders and make plays with his arm by using his feet. He escaped out of trouble several times last week. Jim Herrman will have to decide when to blitz Cardale, but his defenders will have to get Jones down immediately. Rashad Ross and DeAndre Thompkins are genuine home run threats on the outside. Eli Rogers is a great security blanket underneath for Cardale.  New York has excellent speed and athleticism on the back end of their defense but one area that is lacking in size. The Vipers exploited this with Daniel Williams and Nick Truesdell last week. The Defenders present a different set of receivers than the Vipers have. Will Herrmann decide to shadow Jamar Summers on Eli Rogers or Rashad Ross?  New York corner Bryce Jones is a former track star and has the speed to keep up, but he will be tested.

Special Teams Matchup: Guardians versus Defenders

The New York staff gave a good glimpse as to how the XFL kickoff will be schemed by most coaching staffs. Coaches Jeff McInerney and Ray Rychleski designed their returns and blocking schemes like running plays. Using movement and double team blocks to create running lanes. It paid off on Austin Duke’s 59-yard return at the start of last week’s opener. DC’s special teams’ coordinator Steve Wilson has probably spent the week preparing for New York’s return alignments. Both sides have dependable kicking specialists on their rosters. Ty Rausa redeemed himself after missing a short kick in week one, by nailing a 55-yard field goal at the end of the half. The elements have thus far played into these two northeast teams favor, despite it being February.

Final Summary

Both the New York and D.C. coaching staffs have something that they didn’t have going into last week. Game film to study their opponent. Before week one, XFL teams had to get creative in their game planning for their opponents. Most staffs resorted to going back to old footage of a teams’ coordinators or players in different leagues. Now, the game film to prepare is week one in the XFL.

This is a massive game for both teams. The winner of Saturday’s game will get a considerable boost in their season outlook. Especially New York, they play the Defenders later in the season at home. Stealing a division game on the road will feel like two wins.  The Guardians are going into this game as heavy road underdogs. Lost in the hysteria of last week’s New York win, is that the Guardians were outgained by the Vipers, and didn’t play particularly well on both sides of the ball. When you win in pro football, your flaws are camouflaged. When you lose, they are magnified. If the Guardians are going to win this game, they will have to play better than they did last week. This is an excellent test for them to see how they handle not playing at home against a powerful and formidable opponent.

Wide Receiver Colby Pearson’s story is being told as a New York Guardian

YouTube video

 

New York Guardians Wide receiver Colby Pearson grew up in Blackfoot, Idaho, where he played football for the Blackfoot High School Broncos. In his senior year he caught 77 passes for 1,246 yards and 22 touchdowns, enabling the Broncos to go 12-1, and win the 4A state title.

Pearson followed his stellar high school career by signing with the Cougars of Brigham Young University. In his senior year he led the team in touchdown receptions with four, and was second on the team in 38 receptions for 384 receiving yards.

In 2017, Pearson was signed by the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent. Due to injuries he was waived on August 28, 2017. In December, he was re-signed to the practice squad, and later signed a reserve/future contract with the Packers on January 2, 2018.

On July 30, 2018, Pearson went to the Atlanta Falcons. Suffering another injury in training camp, he was waived with an injury settlement.

“Unfortunately, I’ve been having this this battle with the injury bug. I had two injuries when I was in Green Bay and then got injured again in the pre-season when I was in Atlanta,” Colby explained.

In the summer of 2019 Pearson was invited to the XFL Summer Showcase in Seattle. Soon afterward he was invited to the XFL draft which took place in October 2019.

On draft day, Pearson followed the picks closely, but was disappointed that he never heard his name called. On day two of the draft, he went to the gym, just to take his mind off things.

“I was actually just training, because that first day it (the draft) came and I didn’t get a call from them. So, I was kind of bummed out. I was, I don’t know what the next step is,” Colby recalled.  “So, I had gone back to the gym to train like normal, and I think that’s when I got the call.”

Colby was surprised to get a call from the New York Guardians during the open phase of the draft. Things began to move quickly now that he had joined the Guardians organization.

As a Guardian, Colby went through a mini camp, a training camp, and endured cut-downs to gain a spot on the Guardians roster.

This was Colby Pearson’s journey to play pro football. Now, do you wonder where that long journey took him?

It took him to the New York Guardian’s opening game where he caught two passes for 44 yards and his first pro football touchdown.

Colby Pearson
Colby Pearson enjoys a moment of glory, as he is interviewed about his touchdown catch.

Despite the career milestone, Pearson was modest in response. Instead of talking about his TD, he focused on pointing out that the Guardians offense still needed fine tuning.

“We were just happy to get out there first game of the year and come out with the W,” he said. “Execution wise, on offense we have little things to clean up and I think we’re going to have a really productive offense.”

After the Guardians came away with a win in their opening game, Pearson pointed out they are focusing on their next game against the DC Defenders.

“From watching just their first game a little bit on TV, I think they were a tough team as well,” he said. “We’re going to have our hands full. So, we have a good week of preparation… we have a short preparation week and so we know we’re going to have our hands full and we have to get ready and hit it hard.”

Colby is right. There is never going to be a rest for the Guardians, since the short 10-week XFL regular season has no bye weeks. Every week, each team is involved in a new matchup.

When asked about the league’s slogan, “For the love of football,” Colby was quick to point out it was about players who are trying to make a statement.

“Every guy here in the XFL has his own story, and at some point things didn’t work out for them. I think, in order to play in the startup league, everyone’s had a kind of sacrifice, and it really goes to show that the players here really have a love for the game, and they feel like they have untold stories out there.”

We are happy to report that Colby Pearson’s story is now being told as a Guardian. We wish Colby all the best on the football field, with hope that he remains a healthy, productive wide receiver for the New York Guardians of the XFL.

Colby Pearson and the New York Guardians meet the DC Defenders in Washington on Sat 15-Feb-20 at 2PM ET on ABC.

To hear the entire interview with Colby Pearson, check out the XFL Xtra Podcast – Episode 24