Top takeaways from XFL Week 2

XFL Schedule 2020
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

XFL Week 2 was in no way as good as the opening slate of action. Quarterbacks struggled big time. In large part due to these quarterbacks, offenses remained stagnant.

Even then, there was a lot to look at. Riding stellar play from quarterback Cardale Jones, the DC Defenders are 2-0 following Saturday’s win over the New York Guardians. Though, it was the defense that stepped up in this one.

On the other side of the ledger, the Tampa Bay Vipers and Los Angeles Wildcats look like the worst teams in the XFL through two weeks. They were bad. Really bad.

These are among the top takeaways from Week 2 of the 2020 XFL season.

Defenders’ defense makes team scary as heck 

We knew the New York Guardians relied more on their defense than anything else during a Week 1 win over the hapless Tampa Bay Vipers. It was going to be hard for Kevin Gilbride and Co. to duplicate that success against a league-best DC Defenders squad on Saturday. That became apparent early on in the nation’s capital. 

DC held the Guardians to 137 total yards of offense and forced three turnovers in a virtuoso defensive performance. Add in the electric play of quarterback Cardale Jones, and that makes these Defenders the odds-on favorites to earn the title in Houston come spring time. Saturday afternoon’s shutout 27-0 win over New York magnified this further. 

Dallas Renegades finally explode on offense

It took seven quarters. It took Landry Jones to make his debut. It took going up against a bad Los Angeles Wildcats defense. Whatever the reason, Bob Stoops’ offense finally got it going late in Sunday’s game in front of a small Southern California audience.

Up just 6-3 after three quarters, Dallas dropped 19 points in the final stanza to win 25-18. That included touchdown-scoring drives on its final three possessions. When all was said and done, the Renegades put up 444 total yards of offense and averaged nearly seven yards per play. It seems Stoops and Co. have finally figured it out.

That ain’t it, Matt McGloin 

After a pedestrian initial start in a 23-3 win over Tampa last week, this former NFLer was not up to the task Saturday afternoon in DC. McGloin threw two interceptions and tallied an absurdly low 44 passing yards on 19 attempts before being benched for former North Carolina quarterback Marcus Williams. 

More importantly, the Penn State product did not own up to his ridiculously bad outing. He seemingly blamed everyone else but himself for the poor team-wide performance from New York. That included head coach Kevin Gilbride. Just some ugly stuff from a player that should know better than to throw his coaches and teammates under the bus. 

Seattle football is abuzz

Saturday night in the Pacific Northwest. There’s a lot to do in Seattle on the weekend. Downtown is a pretty awesome for those who like the night life. Despite this, the Dragons drew north of 30,000 at CenturyLink for its game against the Tampa Bay Vipers.

The stadium was loud. The fans were into it big time. It’s crazy given that Seattle and Tampa are two of the worst teams in the XFL. The product on the field proved this to a T. Even then, the fan base was pumped for the team’s first ever home game. That’s a great sign of things to come.

Time for drastic changes in Tampa Bay

We know the criticism head coach Marc Trestman drew back in Week 1. It did not get much better with struggling quarterback Aaron Murray sidelined Saturday night against Seattle. The Vipers’ offense was a complete mess against one of the worst teams in the XFL.

Quinton Flowers, who we suggested should start this week, threw for 18 yards on seven attempts with an interception. Despite outgaining Seattle by nearly 100 yards, the Vipers put up nine points. They have now scored 12 points in two games. That’s not going to cut it. One now has to wonder if Trestman is long for the job.

Pepper Johnson was not the problem

It was shocking to see Los Angeles fire defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson after just one game. Sure the Wildcats were blown out by Houston last week, but give the dude more than one outing. Head coach Winston Moss was not having any of it.

After yielding nearly 450 total yards to Dallas on Sunday, it’s become clear that Johnson was not the problem. There’s simply a lack of talent on the Wildcats’ defense. And it has this team in a 0-2 hole to start the season. Moss will now have to make adjustments himself.

Phillip Walker emerging into a star

Houston’s quarterback put up four touchdowns in last week’s win over Los Angeles. What did Walker do as an encore Sunday night against the St. Louis BattleHawks? He added three more touchdowns without an interception in a 28-24 win.

Walker is quickly proving himself to be an NFL-caliber signal caller in an XFL that has struggled with quarterback play thus far this season. He’s been nearly perfect through two outings. And it has the Roughnecks as a top contender to host the first ever championship game.