By Matthew Feimer
Well, so much for the odds makers being right!! According to both Draft Kings and Vegas, Tampa Bay was the top team, while the Guardians were the lower middle of the pack. Las Vegas made the Guardians a home underdog yesterday.
Guardian Nation was loud and enthusiastic yesterday as 17,000 plus came to the home opener for the New York Guardians in Part Two of the XFL.
Quarterback Matt McGloin and the offense did not waste any time getting started on the very first drive by converting on 4th and 5 in their own territory. Matt McGloin would score on a 1-yard touchdown and Tim Cook would convert the 1-point play. Matt McGloin looked the typical Kevin Gilbride quarterback. He is a leader in the huddle and a game manager like another Gilbride student, Eli Manning. McGloin would throw for 15/29 for 182 yards and one touchdown and rushed for one. He threw to six different receivers with a nicely thrown touchdown pass to Colby Pearson and a diving 45-yard catch by MeKale McKay.
However, the story of the day was the Guardian’s Defense. They bent many times, but never broke against what is supposed to be a high-powered Offense. The Defense recorded five sacks and 3 turnovers to frustrate Aaron Murray and the Offense. This included a fumble return for a touchdown by Jamar Summers to seal the opening day win. The Guardian’s Secondary has been touted as the best in the league and were big yesterday when they were needed. There is still work to be done on this Defense because Tampa Bay dominated every offensive stat except the scoreboard.
It is only Week One in the new league. The Guardians are tied for first with the DC Defenders, who they play this Saturday at Audi field in Washington. Despite the win, the Guardians Defense will need to step it up against Cardale Jones and that high-powered DC Offense. You win not win many games losing every offensive category. On Offense, the Guardians hope to get back two of their receivers soon. Both DeAngelo Yancey and Tanner Gentry are still on injured reserve. And, the Guardians will need more of a running game to keep the DC Defense off the field.
As for the Vipers, they were snake bit on mistakes all day from both sides of the ball. They now go on the road to play the Seattle Dragons in what is supposed to be an opening day crowd of 35k in Century Link in the home opener for the Dragons. Two teams coming off bad losses looking for their first win.
This was Kevin Gilbride’s first game since retiring in 2014 as Offensive Coordinator for the New York Giants. It is his first Head Coaching job since the San Diego Chargers over 22 years ago. After Gilbride gave McGloin a game ball, McGloin gave it back to him for winning his first game back in pro football.
The new XFL and Guardians are off to a great start.