XFL Seattle Dragons running back Kenneth Farrow is optimistic

Kenneth Farrow
Seattle Dragons running back Kenneth Farrow (Credit: XFL.com)

In a shortened XFL season, Seattle Dragons running back Kenneth Farrow was just getting started. But the dream season ended when the XFL had to cancel its remaining games, essentially cutting the season in half.

“It kind of took everybody by surprise,” Farrow said, referring to the sudden end of the XFL season. “We kind of saw everybody else falling and felt we weren’t too far behind.”

Farrow recalled that once the NBA season and “March Madness” were cancelled, they knew that the XFL season was sure to be the next to go.

And it was.

Speaking from his home in Houston, instead of preparing to play week eight of the XFL season where the Seattle Dragons were scheduled to travel to Dallas, Kenneth is staying safe and practicing good social distancing.

“I’m back in Houston and everything’s good. I’m feeling great,” Farrow said. “So just kind of trying to stay indoors and stay away from everything that’s going on right now.”

Still he can’t help but feel blessed to have been part of the XFL’s Seattle Dragons, even in the truncated first season.

“That was a fun time. Anytime you get to go out there and play in front of millions on TV, you know, that’s kind of what you live for,” he said. “It was definitely a great opportunity for us to get out there and be able to showcase what we got on the football field.”

Also, being part of a team is an essential part of what gave Farrow the feeling that the opportunity of playing in the XFL was worthwhile.

“Being able to be a part of the team and, you know, make new relationships with new guys that we played against each other and maybe never had chance to be on the same team. So, it’s definitely a fun opportunity for everybody,” Farrow said.

Farrow should be satisfied with his XFL 2020 performance. In a crowded backfield, he shared running back duties with Ja’Quan Gardner and Trey Williams.

“We had a little rotation going there. Keeping everybody fresh,” Farrow explained.

The three running backs gave the Seattle Dragons strength in the backfield, something Farrow considers to be an important part of their game plan.

“That was going to be kind of a strength of our team and you know, kind of looking back, we were able to run the ball. It was pretty effective.”

Considering the season had just hit the halfway point, we wonder how the Seattle running game would have evolved to become. Of course, this is something we will never know.

Farrow was marginally the top Seattle running back with 38 carries for 156 yards, an average of 4.1 yards per carry. He had one touchdown, a pass into the end zone from quarterback Brandon Silvers in the game against the Dallas Renegades.

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Surely though, there was more to come.

Last year, Farrow was a standout running back with the San Antonio Commanders. During week four of the AAF season, Farrow recorded 142 yards on 30 carries against the undefeated Birmingham Iron’s second-ranked defense, to lead San Antonio to a 12–11 victory. He was named the AAF Offensive Player of the Week for this effort. Unfortunately, the AAF season was cut short after week eight when the league suspended operations.

With the XFL season being cut this year, one might think this must sound like déjà vu for Farrow.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” Farrow said. “I kinda saw it coming and I kind of expected it, a little bit more than maybe some of the other guys.”

Still, he takes the setback with a good attitude, and is taking his off-time as an opportunity to work with the “Grind with a Purpose” Foundation, something that is near and dear to his heart.

“It’s a mentorship program, we do with inner city kids out here,” Kenneth explained.

“We started back in 2017 in Houston and we’ve done a couple of sessions in Seattle. We were able to get to an elementary school and kind of talk with some kids there. But out here in Houston we’ve had about 80 kids total go through the program. It’s like a 10-week program, just character building and trying to teach the kids better ways of going about their daily lives.”

Kenneth reports that he has brought in other Seattle Dragons players such as BJ Daniels and Trey Williams to help out with the foundation.

Next week the foundation plans a live Instagram broadcast, as they are continuing their work even in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.  People should look for more information on Twitter @KennethMFarrow or on the website grindwithapurpose.org

As for Farrow, when asked where we may see him next on a football field, he leaves all options open, and is positive about being able to step up in his career.

“I’ll definitely get an opportunity at the next level,” Farrow said optimistically. “And go in there and take full advantage of it. Whether it be the NFL or the XFL, I definitely think I’ll put tape out there to show that I can still play at a high level.”

We all know a good attitude can often lead to opportunity, and we wish Kenneth Farrow all the opportunities we know he deserves.

“You know, who knows,” Kenneth said. “Who knows where I land next. But, I’ll definitely be ready when that time comes.”

You may hear a longer interview with Kenneth Farrow in Episode 32 of the XFL Xtra podcast
[buzzsprout episode=’3152563′ player=’true’]

Due to Coronavirus, Sunday’s Seattle Dragons home game will be played without fans

Seattle, WA – Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced a ban on gatherings and events of more than 250 people in King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties in an effort to try to contain the Coronavirus outbreak.

Inslee said it is “very likely” the ban could be extend beyond March and could be expanded in the days to come.

“The ban covers gatherings for social, recreational, spiritual and other matters,” Inslee said.

Shortly afterward, the XFL announced that Sunday’s Seattle Dragons, LA Wildcats game would go ahead, but would  be played in front of an empty stadium.

The Seattle Dragons will be offering refunds to single game ticket holders. All Dragons Season Ticket Members will be offered refunds or credit toward a Dragons’ game during the 2021 XFL season.

XFL Roughnecks Cool Down Dragons

Quarterback PJ Walker led the Houston Roughnecks to their fifth win. (Credit: XFL.com

The Houston Roughnecks took down the Seattle Dragons 32-23 Saturday afternoon in what was a closer game than anyone expected. Houston went in as an 11.5 favorite, but they actually trailed for most of this game. This was BJ Daniels’ first start, PJ Walker’s first game with multiple turnovers, and this was the first game that the Roughnecks would be down by multiple touchdowns. The 14 point deficit the Roughnecks faced Saturday was the largest deficit they have faced all season. They were either going to crumble, or they were going to dig deep and fight. Luckily for all Roughnecks fans, it ended up being the latter. The Roughnecks came back to win the game, and with that they will remain perfect on the season at 5-0. Let’s see how they did it.

First off, let’s talk about PJ Walker, because this was probably his worst game of the season by far. Don’t get me wrong, he still threw for three more touchdowns, he still had some big time plays that were able to bring the Roughnecks back to victory. But he is also the reason that the Roughnecks were in a tough spot to begin with. The Dragons offense looked better with Daniels at the helm, but let’s not act like they were dominating or anything. Two of their touchdowns came from extremely short fields due to Walker turnovers. The first came on a Walker fumble, where he didn’t notice the defender behind him, and he got strip sacked. That lead to Seattle’s first touchdown. Then, later on, he threw probably the worst pass he has thrown all season, where it looked like he was throwing it right to the Dragon defender, who nearly took it back for a pick 6, if it weren’t for PJ tackling him down at the goal line. That lead to another Seattle touchdown. He then threw another interception later on in the game, to bring his turnover total to three. But even after all that, he still made the big time plays to rally his team back to victory. So we got to see how PJ Walker would deal with adversity, and he seemed to deal with it really well. He threw 2 interceptions, and still wasn’t afraid to sling it downfield. Very Brett Farve-ish. He finished with 351 yards, which is a career high, and he did that while completing 71% of his passes, and tossing 3 more touchdowns. So if this is the worst PJ Walker we are going to get, there are a lot of teams that would take that in a heartbeat.

But like always, he wasn’t the only one making plays out there. Welcome back Cam Phillips! Phillips, after being pretty much shut down against Dallas, bounced back with a huge game. He finished with 10 receptions for 122 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was sensational, and he came through big time in the clutch moments, catching what would end up being the game winning touchdown. Sam Mobley, Nick Holley, and Kahlil Lewis were all big in the passing game as well.

But where I was really impressed, was how well the Roughnecks ran the ball. James Butler had himself a game. He ran for 52 yards and 2 touchdowns, and also was very involved in the passing game. Andre Williams also had an excellent game, running for 54 yards. and he was moving the chains all game long. If the Roughnecks can continue to build on their ground game, to go along with what is already an elite passing game, I just don’t see how you can stop this offense. The Dragons defense was very good Saturday, and the Roughnecks still managed to score 32 points. Good luck to anyone trying to stop the “Firework Show”.

The Houston Roughnecks will travel to New York to take on a revitalized Guardians team next Saturday, so we shall see if they can maintain their perfect season going for 6-0. For right now, they are STILL the best team in the XFL, ’til somebody can prove them otherwise.

XFL Week 5 Power Rankings

Four weeks are in the books, and just when you thought you had it all figured out, we have another week where the league shakes up again. The XFL has parity and that is a wonderful thing. At this point, I can honestly say, no team is truly out of it, and while we may have a pretty good idea at who the #1 seed for each conference will be, that race for the #2 seed is going to be interesting and exciting as the season progresses. But for now, let’s look at where we stand heading into Week 5.

8. DC Defenders (2-2) Last Week (4)

Yes, they are 2-2. Yes, I still believe in this team. Yes, I would still pick them over New York and Tampa Bay to grab that #2 seed. But, nobody has looked worse these past two weeks than the DC Defenders. I mean they have looked BAD. At least when Tampa Bay was looking rough those first two weeks, they were at least moving the ball downfield. Their issue was they just couldn’t get into the endzone. DC however, they can’t even move the ball downfield. Every time their offense took the field Sunday night, I had absolutely no confidence in them whatsoever. The real problem though is, neither did they. Their body language was one of defeat, and Pep Hamilton has got a huge test in front of him. We shall see if he can rally his troops, because if he can’t, DC has a shot to end up last in the East. They head back home this weekend, so that should help things, but they face a major test in the St. Louis Battlehawks. And if they play like they have the past two weeks, it is going to get ugly fast. They sit at no. 8.

7. Seattle Dragons (1-3) Last Week (6)

Welcome to the league BJ Daniels. Unfortunately, it took Jim Zorn all the way up until halftime of Week 4 to realize that BJ Daniels was his best option at quarterback. I was tempted to put Seattle a little higher, because they almost upset a really good team in the Battlehawks, but ultimately, I have to see more. And they face a big test this weekend in the undefeated Roughnecks, so we will see what this Dragons team with Daniels at the helm really looks like. From what I saw from the 2nd half on Saturday night though, I am really intrigued to see what this team can do. Now that Daniels will be getting starting reps, and they can form a game plan around his strengths, we will see how serious this team can be in making a run. Their defense is still as solid as ever, and they kept Seattle in that game against St. Louis. But it’s going to come down to the Dragons offense scoring points and not turning the football over. If they can start to do that, they will have a shot. For now, they sit at no. 7.

6. Los Angeles Wildcats (1-3) Last Week (5)

Consistency. Consistency! C’mon guys! This team has the talent. This team has the star power. This team has the weapons. But they can’t seem to string together consecutive strong performances. Even within the same game. They look good one drive. They look lost the next. Their defense makes a huge stop. Their defense allows a big play. What is this team? I know what they can be. They can be the team that absolutely destroyed the Defenders last week. But for some reason, some weeks, they would rather be the team that played Saturday afternoon. I get that it was cold. I also understand that Nelson Spruce, their leading receiver, was out. But they had their chances, and they just couldn’t capitalize. They play a much improved Vipers team at home this weekend, so we will see if they can get back on track. For now, they sit at no. 6.

5. New York Guardians (2-2) Last Week (8)

Turns out, they didn’t need to “change the entire game plan”, they just needed to change the quarterback. Now, Matt McGloin was out with a injury, but they would be crazy not to go back to Luis Perez. Perez had that offense moving the best it had all season, and the most important thing is, they didn’t turn the football over. Perez isn’t going to light it up on the stat sheet, but honestly, with this team, their offense just needs to be serviceable and turnover free. Their defense is good enough to get the job done, and if their offense can now play clean football and score enough, this team could make a serious run at that #2 seed. Their defense can create takeaways, as they did Saturday, and they will give this offense chances to capitalize. They play Dallas this weekend, who won’t have Landry Jones, so we shall see what they can do. They sit at no. 5.

4. Tampa Bay Vipers (1-3) Last Week (7)

Here come the Vipers! This is the Vipers team we thought we were going to get at the beginning of the season. Well, better late than never I guess. This team has found its identity on offense, and that is pounding the rock. They not only provided the XFL with their first 100 yard rusher, they also provided them with their second. Both Smith and Patrick were phenomenal Sunday night against the Defenders, and the Vipers brought the fight to DC on all levels. Defense, offense, and special teams were all clicking, and the East should be terrified, because this team has all the potential. Cornelius looked good, and as long as he isn’t turning the football over, he should improve week by week. I do wish that they would use Quinton Flowers, but with Flowers requesting for a trade, it seems that that ship has sailed. But nevertheless, this team can hang with the best of them as we have seen the past two weeks. Hopefully they can continue this momentum, because if they can, that #2 seed is ripe for the taking. For now, they sit at no. 4.

3. Dallas Renegades (2-2) Last Week (3)

Thank God Landry Jones’ injury was not as serious as first thought to be. He should be back Week 7 it seems like, so if Phillip Nelson can just hold down the ship until then, the Renegades should be okay. This team is for real. Landry Jones turned the football over three, THREE times…..in the 1st quarter. Yet, they still only lost by one possession, with a real chance to tie or take the lead at the end. Yes, they need to limit the turnovers, but this team is good, and it all starts with their running game. Cameron Artis-Payne and Lance Dunbar have done an excellent job moving the chains and making plays when nothing else seems to be open. Donald Parham continues to be a beast, and this defense doesn’t get enough credit for how good they are. They held that high powered Houston offense to just 21 points, which is excellent when you consider that they went into that game averaging 33 points a game. Hopefully Jones can make a quick recovery, because this team to me is the clear favorite right now to take that #2 seed in the West. They sit at no. 3.

2. St. Louis BattleHawks (3-1) Last Week (2)

Nothing has changed at the top of the East. That still belongs to the BattleHawks, whose only blemish this season comes against the undefeated Roughnecks, on the road, in a game they could have won. This team is so good, and it all starts with their fantastic head coach Jonathan Hayes. He has this team in a great position to succeed, and his belief and confidence in his players has really shown through. Jordan Ta’amu continues to be a star every single week, making plays with his arm and legs, and the most impressive thing about him is his quick decision making. He protects the football, and he trust his receivers to make plays in the open field. Pierson-El has done just that, and he is quickly becoming a breakout star as well. Of course, you still have Matt Jones, Keith Ford, and Christine Michael holding down that running game, and this defense is the best in the league. I don’t see anyone slowing down this team, and they might roll into DC and crush their season this Sunday. This team is awesome, but they are still no. 2.

1. Houston Roughnecks (4-0) Last Week (1)

Because the Houston Roughnecks have still not tasted defeat. This team is impressive on so many levels. Let’s get the obvious out of the way. The Houston offense is unstoppable. You can maybe slow them down a bit, but as long as PJ Walker is under center, you are not shutting them down. Four weeks now, and it’s pretty clear, PJ Walker is the BEST quarterback in the XFL. He is phenomenal! Whether it’s throwing passes like the one he finessed to Nick Holley on the sideline, that was just BEAUTIFUL. Or if he’s running over defenders and knocking them down like he did Sunday afternoon. He has been magical, and there is no stopping him. Now, Dallas’ defense was able to shut down Cam Phillips, but other guys stepped up. Like I mentioned before, Nick Holley was one of those guys, but you also had Khalil Lewis, Sam Mobley, Sammie Coates, and James Butler and Andre Williams all made contributions Sunday afternoon. But again, we already know how good their offense is. But their defense has been suspect this season. They give up a lot of yards, they give up a lot of points, but give them credit, because they somehow ALWAYS come up with a big play. And Sunday afternoon, they came up with a bunch of them. Four interceptions total, five total takeaways, and none greater than the one that sealed the game by Gates at the goal line. Dallas was fixing to punch it in to possibly tie or take the lead, and De Marquise Gates made an excellent interception to seal the game, by never letting that ball off of Nagel’s hands touch the ground. It was spectacular. The defense has sealed the past three wins with game saving interceptions. At some point, that might not be the case, but the point has not come. So they are still the best team in the XFL.

A New Hope – XFL Seattle Dragons at St. Louis BattleHawks recap

Seattle Dragons quarterback B.J. Daniels. (Credit: XFL.com)

A change was inevitable.

After recording two first downs and only 27 passing yards in the first half, Head coach Zorn decided at halftime to make the switch from quarterback Brandon Silvers to B.J. Daniels. “It was a super hard decision because it was not all on Brandon [Silvers],” said Zorn. “[Silvers] did not fail, we just needed to give the team something different.”

“Certainly B.J. [Daniels] has the wheels to make someone miss, and did,” said Zorn. “It ignited the team in both the run game and the passing game.”

In what is a common theme for the Dragons, the next half was completely different. Sometimes the first half is way better, sometimes it’s the second, but it seems like the Dragons struggle to put two good halves together each week. Today, all the life came after the injection of Daniels at quarterback to start the second half. “[Daniels] gave our team a spark,” said Zorn. “He kept it going too, it was not just one drive.”

Daniels completed a long 57 yard pass to wide receiver Alonzo Moore and a ten yard touchdown to tight end Evan Rodriguez, but a big chunk of his production came on the ground. Daniels rushed for 84 yards on seven carries and the threat of him running is what set up plays like the big 57 yard completion. “He (Daniels) uses his legs very well,” said Zorn. “He made some great decisions running the ball.”

This was an offense that was struggling to do just about everything: stay ahead of the chains, convert third downs to stay on the field (other than the first half versus the Renegades) and produce big plays. While Daniels was not perfect, only boasting a 50% completion rate, he provided life to this dormant offense.

After getting slayed in the first half, the Dragons came roaring back and made it a game. The Dragons eventually fell short but fans have something to be excited about because this was a good performance (with Daniels in) against a top team in a tough environment. “I think we picked up our energy in the second half and really tried to make it a game,” said Daniels.

St. Louis BattleHawks head coach Johnathon Hayes had to make adjustments to limit the impact Daniels had. “It changed our approach on how we had to attack them,” said Hayes. “Give the kid [Daniels] credit, he made some plays.”

The BattleHawks, led by the dynamic quarterback, Jordan Ta’amu, had a balanced offensive attack and were able to pile up almost 400 yards of offense. Hayes had high praise for Ta’amu after the game. “[Ta’amu] is good at overcoming adversity, he keeps a cool head and we communicate very well,” said Hayes. “I trust him, and he knows that.”

Ta’amu accounted for a lot of that 400 yards of production, rushing for 63 yards and passing for 264. De’Mornay Pierson-El was the leading receiver with 71 yards and a touchdown on five catches. Ta’amu did spread the ball around a little, though, as four BattleHawk receivers recorded 40+ yards. “I’m not the type to favor one receiver,” said Ta’amu. “These guys just did a great job of getting open and the offensive line did a great job of protecting.”

“My job is to just sit back, give them the ball and watch them do work,” said Ta’amu. “Spreading the ball around is the beauty of our offense.”

A positive going into the last drive was that the Dragons did not turn the ball over. Unfortunately, on the last drive, Dragon fans saw something they have seen too much – a miscommunication which led to an interception. “We had split safeties so Austin [Proehl] was running down the middle of the field and I thought we would have an opportunity to gash them,” said Daniels. “There was an opportunity there and we just did not connect on it.”

Zorn also commented on the aforementioned interception. “[Daniels] would like to have that back,” said Zorn. “[Daniels] saw a space and unfortunately the receiver was not looking.”

“[Daniels] had hoped the receiver would turn around and see it,” said Zorn. “But [Proehl] never turned around.”

The loss was obviously disappointing but this team played better under Daniels. Regardless of how you look at it, next week is almost a must win game as falling to 1-4 would be difficult to come back from. However, the Renegades are a tough task and it should be a battle. If the Dragons are able to pull out a win, they are firmly in contention for the second seed in the west. The BattleHawks are sitting pretty on top of the East.

Until next week, Go Dragons!

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.

A Tale of Two Halves – Dallas Renegades at Seattle Dragons

Dragons quarterback Brandon Silvers went 21 for 34, for 204 yards and one interception. (Credit: XFL.com

48 degrees, cloudy and a 100% chance of football at Century Link.

This past Saturday, the 1-1 Dallas Renegades traveled to Century Link to play the 1-1 Seattle Dragons in a battle for second place in the West. The Renegades and the Dragons were both coming off games where the offense started off extremely slow but came to life in the second half and led them to week 2 victories.

From the first drive, this stadium was humming. As Landry Jones entered the shotgun about to take the first snap of the game, this crowd got loud. Screaming and waving their orange towels, Dragon fans made their presence felt forcing two pre-snap penalties and aiding the Dragons defense in forcing an early three and out.

Renegade players admitted that the crowd noise did affect them. “At first it impacted us greatly,” said running back Cameron Artis-Payne. “But around the third drive we kind of got it together.”

Artis-Payne said that around the end zones, the Renegades had to switch to a silent snap count.

The Dragons immediately responded with one of their best offensive drives of the season. Brandon Silvers completed 3/4 passes for 43 yards and had an impressive 1st down scramble. On 3rd & 10, Silvers hung in the pocket and took a hit as he delivered a 21-yard touchdown strike to Austin Proehl. The quick 6-0 lead built by the Dragons would not last, though.

The Renegades responded by storming back down the field and scored on a 12-yard catch and run by wide receiver Flynn Nagel. Landry Jones started out slow, peppering the running backs with targets for minimal gains, but eventually got going after two straight 3rd down pass interference calls kept the Renegades offense on the field. Jones found big targets, Donald Parham and Jazz Ferguson, for first downs before hitting Nagel for the score.

After two quick scores, the offenses for both teams would hit a wall. A little punting and some ill-advised throws later, it was still a 6-6 game and the Dragons had the chance to take the lead going into halftime. Coming off an interception, Silvers responded well making some huge throws; a 29-yard completion to Austin Proehl and the 19 yard TD pass to running back Kenneth Farrow. Farrow, one of the three dynamic running backs for the Dragons, ran a great route, beating the linebacker, and Silvers dropped in a perfect throw.

Coach Jim Zorn was impressed by the play of Brandon Silvers this week. “He definitely improved (from week 2 to week 3),” said Zorn. “We were a lot better on third down and he managed the game very well.”

Silvers also said that he was more comfortable and felt that he played a lot better in the first half.

Going into the locker room, the Dragons had played one of their most complete halves of the season. They had, for the most part, shut down the Renegades offense and had put together some impressive drives on offense. Up 12-6 and getting the ball to start the half, the Dragons were in a good position

Then the second half happened. The Dragons offense sputtered, having three 3-and-outs and the defense was on the field 24/7, eventually allowing some big plays to the Renegades offense. Among the second half stars on offense for the Renegades were running back Cameron Artis-Payne and tight end Donald Parham. Artis-Payne had 110 total yards and Parham had 101 yards and 2 touchdowns. Parham’s 65 yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter really put the game out of the Dragon’s reach.

When asked about Artis-Payne running wild in the second half, Zorn said that [Artis-Payne] did a great job hitting the holes but the Dragon’s defense lost contain on some of the plays.

Despite the big turnaround, Renegades Coach Bob Stoops said that the team did not make any huge adjustments at halftime.

“It was mostly the coordinators communicating with people in the box on what our issues were in the first half. There was just some talk like ‘If we get in this set and run this or that we have a better chance rather than a certain other set’,” said Stoops. “We don’t all of the sudden find new plays but we may call some other things and different sets more often. That is what we did in the second half with the two-back sets which helped set up the run game and the play action.”

“They brought a little bit more pressure and they were coming off the edge,” said Silvers in regards to the halftime adjustments made by the Renegades. “We just did not make enough plays. They are a good team but us not scoring anything in the second half cannot happen.”

The Renegades went on to win 24-12 and the Dragons fell to 1-2 on the season, putting them in 3rd place in the West.

This game had shades of the week 1 loss when the offense just sputtered late in the game after going toe-to-toe with the opposition for most of the game. Zorn said it was encouraging because he knows the mistakes are very fixable but it still stings because they were so close.

The Dragons will fly away from Century Link next week and begin a little road trip with the St. Louis Battlehawks first on the docket. The Dome in St. Louis could be a tough place to play as they are projected to match the Dragons has the highest attended games. The Dragons could be in for a loud, hostile environment like the one the Renegades had to play in today.

In regards to injured wide receiver Kasen Williams’ status, Zorn was non-committal. “His quad was not responding so we had a procedure last week where they ejected blood pooled up in his quad,” said Zorn. “I am hoping for improvement and to see some progress this week now that we got some stuff to heal his quad.”

“It is a nuisance to him,” said Zorn. “He wanted to be out on the field last week and I can’t put him on yet.”

At least there is some improvement in the status of Williams but it does not sound like there is a huge chance he plays this coming week.

Going into next week, the Dragons are in an almost make or break spot already. Falling to 1-3 and having to play Houston right afterwards is not a good spot to be in. It is crucial to win one of the next two games at least and in St. Louis is their best chance.

Until next week, Go Dragons!

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.

Dontez “Speedy” Byrd is flying high in Seattle

Going into week one of the XFL, Seattle Dragons wide receiver Dontez “Speedy Byrd was fulfilling his topmost desire, and that was to play pro-football.

After his senior year at Tennessee Tech, where he had a stellar year catching 78 passes for 1,003 yards, and six TDs, Dontez could only imagine getting onto an NFL roster. After spending time with the Atlanta Falcons in the 2018 NFL pre-season, and with the Memphis Express of the AAF in 2019, he remained a free agent.

Being out of football, Dontez had expressed a desire to play in the XFL for a while. Finally the Seattle Dragons came calling in January 2020, and offered to fly him to Houston in the middle of a busy training camp.

Byrd did not hesitate to jump at the opportunity.

“Sometimes you never know when you’re going to be called, or when the opportunity is going to come, but when opportunity is given, you can’t leave any doubts,” Byrd said.

In other words, Dontez strongly feels that such an opportunity should not be taken lightly, and he has demonstrated this on the football field. After joining the Dragons, Byrd has proven he deserves a spot on the Dragons starting roster by his performance in game one of the XFL season, where he impressed by catching two passes for 34 yards, including a beautiful catch along the sidelines while he was being covered closely.

“I know when my number is called, I got to make that play,” Dontez said modestly. “Not only is my coach depending on me to make that play, but a lot of my teammates are depending on me to make plays as well.”

After a loss to the Defenders in the first week, Byrd claims the Dragons learned from their mistakes, which allowed them to beat the Tampa Bay Vipers in the next game.

“We went into DC for our first game. We learned a lot that game, and had some things we needed to get fixed in order to get the win against the Vipers,” Byrd explained. “We went back to practice the week after we played against DC and got better as a group and really just honed down on the details and got ready to go against the Vipers.”

It seemed to work. Now, the Dragons are focused on their next opponent, the Dallas Renegades. Dontez also pointed out that this next game is a divisional game, which makes it all the more important.

“It’s our first conference game. So, we need to take this game very serious and get a win.”

We will be watching for Dontez “Speedy” Byrd this Saturday 20 February, when the Dallas Renegades play the Seattle Dragons at 2PM PST at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

To hear the entire interview with Dontez Byrd, check out the XFL Xtra Podcast – Episode 25
[buzzsprout episode=’2772634′ player=’true’]

Episode 25 – XFL Week 2 – Dontez Byrd and Mike Mitchell

First, we go to the west coast and speak to Dontez Byrd, a wide receiver with the Seattle Dragons of the XFL. We talk with Dontez about the Dragons first win, and how exciting it is to play in a sports-minded city like Seattle. Then we speak to Mike Mitchell, our XFLBoard.com team reporter for the New York Guardians. Mike helps dissect XFL Week 2, and provides a look forward into Week 3…  which, according to Mike, includes the first “revenge game” of this XFL season.

Music: Are You Ready – Free music archive.

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