Week Two in the XFL is almost upon us, and there are a few things to keep an extra eye on. Week One provided a glimpse of what the future of this iteration of the XFL can be, and the reviews where mostly positive. The league will look to capitalize on the momentum, and here are some things to keep your eyes on.
As a quick author’s note, this list will not include the fact that all of the undefeated teams play each other while all the winless teams play each other. That’s a bit of a given, and I wanted to go into some other storylines we saw sprout in Week One. With that said, let’s get into this.
Quarterback Controversy In Tampa Bay?
The Tampa Bay Vipers tabbed Aaron Murray the starting quarterback against the New York Guardians in Week One, and it didn’t pan out as hoped. Murray threw two picks in the 23-3 loss and suffered a foot injury late in the game. Quinton Flowers, who appeared periodically throughout the game, was worked heavily into the gameplan for the second half.
Flowers seemed to bring something to the game the Vipers offense lacked when he wasn’t on the field. This has led to fans calling for Flowers to start at quarterback, despite the fact that he is officially listed as QB3 on the depth chart. Murray is currently listed day to day with a lower leg injury, and Flowers has been splitting snaps with official backup Taylor Cornelius in practice.
Should Murray not be able to go against the Seattle Dragons, will head coach Marc Trestman go with the game tested Flowers or follow the depth chart and tab Cornelius the starter? Should the Week Two starter do better than Murray in Week One and/or the Vipers win, does Murray retain his status as QB1 when he returns?
It seems like the Vipers are on the verge of an early QB controversy.
Landry Jones’ XFL Debut
The Dallas Renegades were the overwhelming favorite to win the inaugural XFL Championship heading into their Week One matchup against the St. Louis Battlehawks. Their championship ambitions suffered a bit of a set back as they lost a close one to St. Louis 15-9. The Renegades were without quarterback Landry Jones in this game, and were led by Phillip Nelson.
However, when the Renegades take the field for their matchup against the Los Angeles Wildcats, Jones will be under center. Long touted as the star of not only the Renegades, but the entire XFL, Jones has a lot of expectations to live up to this season. Can Jones wake up the Renegades offense, and fix the inconsistencies that plagued them last week? Or will Jones’ injury nag him and hinder his performance against the Wildcat defense?
Hey, speaking of that Wildcat defense…
Wildcats Defense Post-Midweek Shakeup
The Los Angeles Wildcats looked rather impressive in their matchup against the Houston Roughnecks last week. At least, they did for the first half. The team imploded in the second half, allowing 19 unanswered points en route to their 37-17 loss. Days later, news broke that the Wildcats had fired defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Pepper Johnson had been relieved of his duties. This was in addition to the team seeing defensive captain Anthony Johnson walk away from the team.
Head coach Winston Moss was not happy with the team’s play in Houston. He reportedly had three goals for his coordinators: win the turnover battle, win the explosive plays battle, and win the field position battle. LA did none of this last week, and surprisingly, heads rolled before Week Two. With no replacement at defensive coordinator, who will call the plays on that side of the ball?
At the moment, it seems as if it’ll be Moss himself. If this is the case, how will his defense fare against a potentially fully healthy Renegade offense? How will the players react to one of their captains butting heads with upper management?
The game at Dignity Health Sports Park will be very intriguing to say the least.
Featured Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Vipers via Twitter