A useless list by John Turner
Week 1 is in the books after two years of league preparations and a year of team building from team management to coaching staffs, to the players on the team. We had a mixed bag of performances, and I believe these teams and the league in general is built for parity. I expect to see just that by midseason. It would be great if the league had say… sixteen teams or more. However, I’m grateful for the eight we have and that’s good enough to build on.
8: DALLAS RENEGADES
Missing their starting quarterback hurt, but they didn’t have a bad day passing as far as stats are concerned. They simply couldn’t convert first downs. The defense didn’t seem to have much of an answer for the legs of Jordan Ta’amu as he ran for 77 yards. I expect Dallas to bounce back quickly with Landry Jones returning next week against LA, unfortunately, it’ll be on the road. It would also help if they ran the ball more than ten times with their running backs. It would seem to me that if you’re operating with the back up quarterback, the first thing that comes to mind would be to have a run heavy game plan. They got 5.3 yards per carry so perhaps they’ll settle down with Jones returning.
7: TAMPA BAY VIPERS
Well, they beat the Guardians in just about every way but the ones that matter most… points and turnovers. I watched Tampa go up and down the field only to commit a turnover either with an interception, a fumble, or on downs. Another factor was killing themselves with penalties. It’s clear that they have weapons, especially their tight end Nick Truesdell. Marc Trestman will have this team more disciplined and committed to finishing drives as we move forward. Word is that SJ Green has just signed with the league and my first guess would be that he’s reunited with Coach Trestman in his home town.
6: LA WILDCATS
A tale of two halves with a mind boggling end to the first one. This is the other team that was without their starting quarterback as Josh Johnson didn’t suit up. Instead, it was Chad Kanoff show. No, not exactly a household name but he came in as prepared and ready as any quarterback could, having only been on the team for two weeks. He’d find Nelson Spruce often(11 catches), and haul one in with his legs. They went to the half down by one due to poor clock management and a little miscommunication that kept them from getting a field goal off before time expired. They’d never score again. They’d start the second half with a long drive that they couldn’t convert on while their defense had nothing for Houston’s Run-n-Shoot. The team reportedly released Anthony Johnson and defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson today as well. They’ll get the Renegades this week at home.
5: St Louis BattleHawks
The ugliest winner of the week comes in at the 5 seed. Our friends Jason Spurgeon and Arlington Lane over at the XFL STL SHOW were on hand to see their beloved BattleHawks take on Dallas in the newly converted Globe Life Park. Matt Jones ran hard and the Pearl City Slinger made enough plays in a game that started off so bad Jason called me to let me know it was unwatchable at halftime. The defense did get them four sacks and Will Hill came through with a pick to seal the deal and the W. They will likely need to play less conservatively against Houston this week as they’ll probably need more than 15 to win. I’m happy for the city though, since this is the first win they’ve had from a football team since 2015.
4: SEATTLE DRAGONS
Jim Zorn has a good team in Seattle. They have a really good tandem of running backs with Kenneth Farrow and JaQuan Gardner and Austin Proehl is a very, very good player, who’s likely to be stolen by Bill Belichick the day the season ends. I feel they deserve style points for the loss. Brandon Silvers gave away a couple costly turnovers and he was eratic on a couple over passes on critical downs. Outside of a few miscues they were in the game till close to the end. They get the Vipers at home this week in a matchup that should be better than many expect.
3: NEW YORK GUARDIANS
New York seemed like the more prepared team Sunday. They didn’t flash or do anything exceptional but they took advantage of the mistakes made by Tampa and didn’t make many themselves. Their defense made stops when they needed them and although they didn’t get too much from their offense but they did have a few chance plays here and there. The defense though was truly feast or famine. 5 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 3 forced fumbles on the day will typically win you a ballgame. They come on down to Washington this week and that should be a donnybrook. Shane McMahon looked please with the team located the closest to his office while watching from the sidelines.
2: DC DEFENDERS
I wanted to make them number one. I really did. The defense came up big when the team needed it most. Cardale Jones is a very good quarterback. Even with his size he showed he can move when he needs to. Khari Lee had a great catch and run on a flea flicker (one of the most exciting plays in football). Jones hit 8 men on the day for for 283 yards and 2 scores. Guys just found open space all over the field and the playbook was open all game. Not a ton of production from the running backs but the offense managed to move the ball anyways. Big matchup this week with the Guardians coming to town. Defenders fans hopefully show up in droves again, making a lot of noise as week 1 was indeed a sellout.
1: HOUSTON ROUGHNECKS
Bombs away early and often. P.J. Walker put up silly numbers and had big plays in all 4 quarters. They don’t run much, they don’t punt much, but the Run-n-Shoot was made for guys like Walker, who threw for 4 touchdowns and 265 yards on the day. The defense adjusted at the half to the offense of Norm Chow and on the day generated 5 sacks and two interceptions. They’ll host the BattleHawks this week and are fortunate enough to open the season with back to back home games.