My XFL mid-season all-pro team

Houston Roughnecks quarterback PJ Walker. (Credit: XFL.com)

At the midway point of the regular season, here is my all-star/all-pro team. This is just my opinion, although I do back these up with a lot of statistics. There is a ton of talent in this league, a lot of players deserve to be recognized but I could only select very few from each position.

QB – PJ Walker (HOU)

This was honestly a lot harder of a decision than I thought it would be. Josh Johnson and Jordan Ta’amu have very impressive cases for this spot but I had to stick with PJ. Walker leads the league in yards (1338 passing, 99 rushing), in touchdowns (15 passing, 1 rushing) and his team is 5-0. Walker should continue his impressive tear into the second half of the season and find himself back on an NFL roster.

RB – Cameron Artis-Payne (DAL)

CAP is one of two running backs with 350+ total yards, averaging 5.1 yards per tote, has the sixth highest elusive rating per PFF and is PFF’s #2 graded running back. That is an impressive resume and what is also equally as impressive is that CAP has taken over the second half of games. In the Renegades two game winning streak, CAP had game-clinching runs and was a major factor in their victories

WR – Cam Phillips (HOU) and Tre McBride (LA)

Cam Phillips is an obvious choice, his 31 catches for 455 yards easily lead the league but the real crazy stat is his 9 TDs. For some reference, the next closest receiver has 4 touchdowns and there are three teams who have 9 or less total touchdowns. He could be the league MVP after 5 games. The other receiver, Tre McBride, is a bit more controversial. McBride was hurt to start the season but after his return he has averaged almost 100 yards per game and scored in all 3. The Ross for McBride trade is looking pretty good for the Wildcats.

TE – Donald Parham (DAL)

This was another easy decision as Donald Parham has been phenomenal this season. In a league that has barely utilized tight ends, Parham is 3rd in receiving yards and 2nd in touchdowns among ALL receivers. Parham has 170 more yards than the next closest tight end (Brandon Barnes) which in itself makes this choice very easy.

OT – Michael Dunn (SEA) and Storm Norton (LA)

Both of these offensive tackles have been very good in both pass protection and run blocking. In a combined 552 snaps between the two of these tackles they have allowed 0 sacks, 4 QB hits and 9 hurried passes. PFF has also rated these two as the top run blocking OTs in the league. Individually, Michael Dunn has missed 1 game but has been a little better in pass protection than Norton while Norton is the #1 run blocker by a large margin.

OG – Avery Genessy (HOU) and Bruno Reagan (STL)

The offensive guard race was a little closer because there was not a player that was dominant in both pass protection and run blocking like with the offensive tackles. Given that, I decided to weight pass protection a little heavier but these guys were still solid in run blocking. Genessy has allowed 1 pressure and 0 sacks on 317 snaps in a high passing volume offense. Reagan has allowed 1 sack but only 3 pressures on 368 snaps. These two have solid run blocking grades to go along with elite pass protection

C –  Marquice Shakir (DAL)

Dillon Day and Jordan McCray were both considerations but in the end I decided to go with Shakir. Shakir has the third highest run blocking grade among center and the second highest pass blocking grade. Shakir has allowed 0 sacks and only 3 pressures on 347 snaps.

DL – Nikita Whitlock (TB) and Will Sutton (SEA)

Both of these players stand out as they have seen a lot of snaps and been effective in lots of facets of the game. Whitlock has clogged up lanes as PFF’s #1 rated run defender but is also 2nd among defensive linemen with 12 total pressures. He is the clear best DL in the league. Sutton is also producing at a similar level with a top-5 run defense grade to go along with 10 total pressures, 2 sacks and 3 QB hits.

EDGE – Olubunmi Rotini (NY) and Cavon Walker (NY)

It is a little surprising that two teammates were the top players but hey, it is only an eight team league. Rotini leads all edge rushers in QB hurries (12) and tackles (18) and even though he only has 1 sack, those stats are a tribute to the disruption he has caused. His teammate, Walker, meanwhile has been the one hitting home as he leads the league with 5 sacks. This duo has been a nightmare for opposing QBs.

LB – Beniquez Brown (HOU) and Steven Johnson (SEA)

This was a pretty tough race but both these players have been good defensive leaders. Brown has been impressive on multiple fronts, allowing 4.7 yards per target, collecting 6 total pressures and 31 tackles. Steven Johnson has been a tackling machine as he leads the league with 36 of them.

CB – Jamar Summers (NY) and Josh Hawkins (DAL)

I consider Darius Hillary(STL), Summers’ teammate Drovon Askew-Henry and a few Houston corners but I ended up with these two. Summers was debatably the defensive player of the year in the AAF and he had carried his success to the XFL. Summers has been targeted 24 times on 307 snaps and has only allowed 10 catches for 140 yards and 0 touchdowns. That is good for a 41.7% catch rate and 5.8 yards per attempt when targeted. Summers also has an interception and a pass breakup and unlike most other corners he has not been penalized. Josh Hawkins has also been extremely impressive in coverage this year. On his 305 snaps, Hawkins has been targeted 23 times allowing 10 catches for 152 yards and 0 touchdowns. That is good for a 43.5% completion rate, 6.6 yards per attempt and a measly 29.6 passer rating when targeted. Hawkins also tags on two interceptions and three pass breakups.

S – Rahim Moore (DC) and Will Hill III (STL)

I considered Derron Smith (DAL) but I just went with Moore and Hill. Rahim Moore has been absolutely outstanding in coverage but has been surprisingly efficient as a pass-rusher as well. Moore has five total pressures in just 16 pass rush snaps. In coverage Moore has allowed 3 receptions for 9 yards on 12 targets, a whopping 0.75 yards per target and a 0.0 passer rating against. Moore also tacks on 2 interceptions and 2 pass breakups. Will Hill has only allowed 47 yards on 12 targets in coverage, just under 4 yards per target, and he also has 2 interceptions to go along with that. Hill has also been exceptional against the run, recording 28 tackles.

K- Matt McCrane (NY)

I considered Austin MacGinnis, who also has a 100% field goal percentage and 2 more field goals, but I went with McCrane because he is 2 for 2 on 50+ yard field goals. For reference, the rest of the league is 4 for 8 on such field goals. McCrane is 6 for 6 on all other field goals and has not missed an extra point ;).

P – Drew Galitz (DAL)

This one was pretty simple. 50% of Galitz’s punt were inside the 20, Galitz has 0 touchbacks, and his net punt is the highest in the league at 40.7.

Returner – Austin Walter (DAL)

Considered John Santiago (SEA) but had to give the edge to Walter given he has a return touchdown. Walter has returned 17 kicks for 431 yards (25.4 average) and has that return touchdown.

Totals by team:

Dallas: 6 (3 Offense, 1 Defense, 2 Special Teams)

Houston: 4 (3 Offense, 1 Defense)

New York: 4 (3 Defense, 1 Special Teams)

Seattle: 3 (1 Offense, 2 Defense)

Los Angeles: 2 (2 Offense)

St. Louis: 2 (1 Offense, 1 Defense)

DC: 1 (1 Defense)

Tampa Bay: 1 (1 Defense)

XFL Week 4 Preview: Los Angeles Wildcats at New York Guardians

Los Angeles Wildcats (1-2) at New York Guardians (1-2)

  • Saturday, February 29th, 2 pm ET/11 am PT (ABC) MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
  • LA-7.5  Over/Under 39.5
  • Game Time Temperature: 37, Winds 10-20 mph

Game Overview

The Los Angeles Wildcats (1-2) travel to the east coast to face the (1-2) New York Guardians. Both teams share the same record after three weeks of play, but appear to be headed in opposite directions. Los Angeles is coming off a dominant 39-9 home victory over the DC Defenders. Quarterback Josh Johnson has stabilized the LA season after missing week one due to injury.

New York is coming off two straight demoralizing road losses within their division. The Guardians were outscored 56-9 in those two defeats. The most recent, a 29-9 loss to the BattleHawks in front of nearly 30,000 rabid St. Louis football fans.

The Guardians’ offense has been one of the league’s worst after three games. Unlike LA, New York has uncertainty headed into this game at the Quarterback position. Opening day starter Matt McGloin (thorax) is listed as out. New York will turn to backup Quarterbacks Marquise Williams and Luis Perez. Both have split reps all week in the lead up to this game. Williams and Perez could both see action on Saturday.

Injuries

New York and LA are coming into this game off a short week of preparation. The Wildcats will be missing some vital pieces of their offense on Saturday. A good portion of LA’s main contributors from last Sunday’s win showed up on this week’s injury report. A few of them won’t be playing.

(New York) QB Matt McGloin (Out-Thorax), OL Avery Young (Probable-Shoulder), LB Garrett Dooley (Probable-Ankle), LB Jawaun Johnson (Probable-Head), John Kling (Probable-Shoulder), RB Darius Victor (Probable-Ankle).

Guardians Wide Receiver Tanner Gentry has been activated off of short term injured reserve. It remains to be seen if he will be active for Saturday’s game.

(Los Angeles) WR Nelson Spruce (Out-Knee), RB Martez Carter (Doubtful-Hip), DB Mike Stevens (Questionable-Thigh), DL Latarius Brady (Questionable-Knee), DB Harlan Miller (Questionable-Thigh), QB Josh Johnson (Questionable- Thigh), QB Chad Kanoff (Questionable-Shoulder), CB Jaylen Dunlap (Probable-Ankle), RB Larry Rose (Probable-Foot), WR Tre McBride (Probable-Thigh), TE Brandon Barnes (Probable-Knee).

Wildcats Fullback Winston Dimel has been activated off of short term injured reserve. LA’s ground game could get a boost with his presence.

Matchup: The Guardians offense versus the Wildcats defense

LA plays a 3-4 defense but has been disguising their alignments and coverages well in the last couple of weeks. Winston Moss, with help from his defensive staff, has taken over the play-calling duties since letting go of former Defensive Coordinator Pepper Johnson. The Wildcats frustrated Defenders QB Cardale Jones last week by mixing coverages and disrupting the timing of DC’s pass routes. The change in play-calling was swift, and seemed like an abrupt move by Winston Moss to outsiders, but it has paid off thus far. Winston took ownership immediately of a failing unit.

As a complete contrast, despite the Guardians’ immense struggles offensively, Offensive Coordinator G.A. Mangus remains in control of  New York’s attack. Kevin Gilbride has opted not to take the reins of the offense. Gilbride is an accomplished long-time offensive coordinator with years of success and experience, but he has decided to retain a CEO role as Head Coach/GM, rather than go back to what he does best.

Last week, the Guardians eclipsed 100 yards rushing for the first time all season with Tim Cook and Darius Victor both rushing for over a hundred yards combined. Both running backs averaged at least five yards a carry, and the team will lean on this committee to move the ball down the field with a banged-up Matt McGloin and an inexperienced duo at QB in Perez and Williams.

Despite playing in mostly a spread attack with ‘Fun N Gun’ elements from his days as a Steve Spurrier disciple, G.A. Mangus used some more base sets last week with multiple tight ends, and it worked to some degree. Look for New York to try and establish the run more. The Wildcats rank seventh in the league in rush defense. They have talent in their front seven, but players who have very little experience playing in an odd defensive front. One player who could factor into this week’s gameplan for New York is Justin Stockton. The former Texas Tech back, had some good contributions in the passing game last week and provides big-play potential.

New York has had instability upfront, and discipline issues. Center Ian Silberman is coming off of a horrible performance last week, which saw him lose his cool on multiple occasions before ultimately getting benched. Starting Guard Garrett Brumfield was placed on injured reserve. Veterans Damien Mama and Avery Young, who have seen extensive time in the first few weeks, could be utilized more in the interior. The Guardians added reinforcements upfront this week, with the additions of former CFL All-Star Derek Dennis, and former New England Patriots, and 4-year NC State starter Tony Adams. Keeping the pocket clean against LA’s active front will be crucial towards New York’s success. The Guardians have struggled in this respect mightily.

Quarterback Marquise Williams has a big arm and is very mobile. His skill-set could aid a struggling Guardians offense in moving the chains and extending drives.

New York’s passing attack has been erratic. Big play receiver Mekale McKay continues to be underutilized. Austin Duke had arguably the best showing for a Guardians wide receiver last Sunday with 43 yards on four catches and a touchdown. The former all-time leading receiver at Charlotte has earned himself more playing time. The return of Tanner Gentry can help the Guardians passing attack, but it remains to be seen how ready he is to contribute on a short work week and a long layoff.

One of the hidden storylines in this game is Luis Perez, potentially facing off against the team that traded him in LA. Perez was initially assigned to the Wildcats back in October and was positioned as the leader of the team early on. Perez, along with Norm Chow, worked extensively together with the Wildcat receivers before minicamps and training camp had commenced.

The addition of Josh Johnson changed Perez’s role with Los Angeles. Luis was traded to New York late in camp for backup quarterback Chad Kanoff. Perez was a prolific college player who showed flashes of his ability with Birmingham last year in the AAF. If Perez is up to speed on New York’s offense, only a month after being traded for, he could provide the spark the Guardians need, and he already has added motivation going into this contest.

Matchup: The Guardians defense versus the Wildcats offense

The Wildcats offense under Norm Chow has started to hit its stride in recent weeks. A big part of the early season turnaround has been the leadership of Quarterback Josh Johnson. One of the league’s most experienced signal-callers, Johnson has taken control of the offense rather quickly and has brought stability to the entire franchise.  Johnson has always had the ability to make big plays on the fly with his arm and legs, but it’s his vast experience as a pro that has helped his Wildcats teammates on offense get on the same page.

The Guardians have struggled mightily to stop the run. They rank last in the XFL in rush yards allowed per game (138). New York has really struggled to find the right mix in their front seven. The Guardians boast a large defensive line, with experienced pro defensive tackles, TJ Barnes and Joey Mbu manning the middle, but the Guardians undersized linebacking corps has not held up well taking-on and shedding blocks.

LA comes into this game potentially without emerging runner Martez Carter. The original starter at tailback Elijah Hood was benched last week for fumbling issues. The talented runner may be leaned upon again, in combination with Larry Rose. LA is big upfront on their offensive line, but has struggled early on to establish a consistent ground attack (last in the league in rushing). Look for the Wildcats to try and emulate what opposing teams have done to the Guardians defense in the first three weeks.

Tre McBride officially arrived on the scene last week for LA with five receptions for 109 yards and two scores. He should be LA’s main target with star receiver, Nelson Spruce, out with a knee injury. New York has had problems containing mobile quarterbacks and getting them down on the ground. Josh Johnson presents a similar issue for New York that they had with Cardale Jones and Jordan Ta’amu.

Defensive End Bunmi Rotini has emerged as one of the Guardians better defensive players, but the Guardians pass rush has been largely inconsistent since week one. Taking McBride out of the game, and pressuring Johnson will be key for New York, especially with safety valve Nelson Spruce not playing.

Final Summary/Prediction

New York is heavy underdogs at home against LA, and with good reason. The Guardians have yet to establish their team identity on either side of the ball. New York has looked like a team that is still playing preseason games, while Los Angeles is finally starting to establish its identity offensively and defensively.

This is a crucial part of the XFL season, where teams start to get into midseason form before they make a push towards playoff contention. LA looks like they are ready for that challenge. New York does not.  A bye week would have benefited the Guardians in potentially resetting the franchise, but the short week keeps NY in status quo mode.

Normally, having a team from the west coast fly out to play on the east coast on a short week, would play into the home teams favor. The Wildcats are banged up and playing what is a morning game for them. (11 am PT). This should favor the Guardians but with their uncertainty at Quarterback. It’s hard to bet against Josh Johnson and what LA has shown so far with Norm Chow and Winston Moss.

This game takes place on leap day. Based on the Guardians’ performance in recent weeks, I am not ready to take a leap of faith yet in them turning things around.

Wildcats 23 Guardians 15

(Updated) Johnny Manziel begs Oliver Luck to take him into the XFL… and then his Twitter account is removed

Late Friday evening, Johnny Manziel tweeted out “Oliver Luck. If ya wanna boost your ratings to another level just send me the contract tomorrow and we’re in there. Like I said YEARS ago… XFL2020 give the people what they want.”

A few hours after tweeting this plea, Manziel’s Twitter account appears to have been removed.

Either Manziel was having a rough night, or his account was hacked.

Manziel was a standout quarterback for Texas A&M, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2012. He was drafted 22nd overall in the 2014 draft by the Cleveland Brows where he played two seasons Manziel struggled both on and off the field. Later he played for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Montreal Alouettes, and most recently for the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football. He is currency a free agent.

At this point we do not have clarification of this tweet from Manziel or his agent.

Update: about twenty hours after he initially tweeted the request for Oliver Luck to send him an XFL contract, Manziel’s Twitter account was restored. However, the tweet to Oliver Luck was no longer present. Instead, Manziel tweeted two new messages saying he, “loves trollin,” and “have zero desire to play any football these days. Just love stirring up controversy.”

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.

Ten days out, and the XFL Houston Roughnecks starting QB is still a mystery

Quarterbacks P.J. Walker and Conner Cook
Quarterbacks P.J. Walker and Conner Cook

What’s up Roughnecks fans! Can you believe it? We are just 10 days away from kick-off at TDECU Stadium near Downtown Houston. Two years we have waited for this day to come, and now it is finally upon us. The Texans miserable loss is long forgotten, because a new face has come to town, and they are ready to hit the ground running. The XFL’s Houston Roughnecks are here, and they are ready to make a stand.

When you listen to podcasts, read predictions, or just simply look at the roster, you will realize that a lot of people are considering the Roughnecks among the top four teams in the league. Some consider them the best, others are very high on them, but almost no one thinks they will be the bottom of the barrel. And for good reason! Just look at their roster.

Let’s start with who I believe will be the BEST receiver in the league in Sammy Coates. The former Pittsburgh Steeler, and yes Houston Texan for a brief moment, is one of the most talented players in the league. His second year with the Steelers, he caught 21 passes for 435 yards and 2 TDs. You have to remember, he was playing with Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith Schuster, and a very talented receiving core. If you could stand out in that field, that’s saying something.

Andre Williams, running back out of Boston College and 2013 Heisman Finalist, finished his college career ranked 5th All-Time in NCAA history for rushing yards in a single season with 2,177 yards, can move the sticks and even be versatile in the passing game. Speaking of…

Let’s stick on the passing game. Head Coach June Jones, who if you remember, is a old Houston face, most notably for his time with the Houston Gamblers as their Wide Receivers coach in 1984, is one of the most pass happy coaches out there. His brand of offense revolves around passing the football all over the field. But in order to do that, you need a competent quarterback. It just so happens the Roughnecks have two. Now don’t get me wrong, that is a good problem to have. I’m a Houston Texans fan. For the longest time, I hoped we would at least get one. Before Deshaun Watson, we had guys like Tom Savage, Brock Osweiler, the list goes on. It wasn’t pretty to say the least. But now with the Roughnecks, Coach Jones has a dilemma. Before the Official Draft began, the XFL assigned a Tier 1 quarterback to each of the 8 teams. Houston was gifted PJ Walker, former Temple standout, who set all kinds of records during his time there. I was excited! I love Walker’s game. He is a good thrower of the football, he can scramble when need be, and he is just very athletic in every way. So I was totally on board with PJ as our starting QB.

Well, now the Draft has begun, and it’s the Roughnecks with the #2 overall pick. Who do they get? Connor Cook, who you will remember played at Michigan State, set records, won big games, and led the Spartans to a Big 10 Championship and the victory at the 2014 Rose Bowl. However, if you live in Houston, you most notably remember Connor Cook, as the starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders against the Texans in the 2017 NFL Wild Card Playoff game. BUT, I want to caution people who think back to that game, and I want you to look at it from this perspective. Cook had NEVER started an NFL game up to that point. He wasn’t even expecting to start. But when Matt McGloin, now of the New York Guardians, got injured, he had to step in and take his place. So his very first NFL start came against, a Houston Texans defense, who that year ranked #2 overall in the league, led by Jadeveon Clowney, who was having a monster year. Not to mention, your first start coming the Playoffs, that can certainly be nerve wrecking. So I have always felt that Connor Cook never really got a fair shot at really being able to prove himself in the NFL.

But now that brings us to the Roughnecks. PJ Walker. Connor Cook. Not only both capable quarterbacks, but two guys, that if you ask me, have a shot to be the best quarterback in the XFL. Especially when you consider the system that they will be running with June Jones at the helm. And let’s not forget the weapons that will be at their disposal. However, the question remains, who do you go with? Well, as of right now, there is still no official word on who that week one starter will be. But I will tell you this. Whoever, Coach Jones decides to go with, we know they will thrive in this offense. I am excited to see what the Roughnecks bring to the field on February 8, because I can assure you, it will be a firework show.

Now, the question everyone wants answered. Who would I choose. Well… I would go with…