Week 1 Preview: Tampa Bay Vipers at NY Guardians
Tampa Bay: Marc Trestman
- Three-time CFL Grey Cup champion as head coach (2009, 2010, 2017)
- 85-73 overall as head coach, including 2 years with NFL’s Bears
- In 12 years as NFL OC: 1st in NFL scoring offense with 49ers (1995); 2nd with Raiders (2002), Bears (2013); 3rd with 49ers (1996)
New York: Kevin Gilbride
- Thirty-six years as a coach, including 23 as an offensive coordinator and 7 as a head coach
- Two-time Super Bowl champion (XLII, XLVI) as New York Giants offensive coordinator
- Helped develop quarterbacks Warren Moon and Eli Manning
"A lot of us haven't played football in over a year. I'm sure everybody's itching to get out there. We're so prepared for this game right now. I know I'm working as hard as I can to see my teammates, to see my coaches bringing it."
“I’m anxious, we’ve been practicing against each other all week, I’m ready to go out there and just let it loose. The Vipers are the first one on the schedule and I’m ready to get after them.”
Vipers: Aaron Murray
What You’ll See: Maybe the league’s most refined mobile quarterback, Murray can manage a game effectively from the pocket and improvise when the play breaks down. Murray’s creativity and accuracy in the mid-field should make him a consistently efficient XFL passer.
Guardians: Matt McGloin
What You’ll See: Consistently exceeding expectations since college, McGloin has the aggressiveness and anticipation across the field to create big plays out of tough situations, while carrying the attitude and confidence to convert on big downs and late game opportunities. He’s an educated gunslinger and a quarterback who isn’t rattled easily.
MORE PLAYERS TO WATCH
WR Jalen Tolliver: Spent the 2018 season with the Cardinals, seeing action in three games. Has the size (6-3) and hands (192 receptions in college) to be a consistent threat downfield.
TE Nick Truesdell: The converted receiver put on plenty of muscle to go along with his blazing speed, providing a 6-5 target perfectly suited for the red zone.
LB Ben Heeney: The defensive signal-caller with 24 games of NFL experience has quickly transitioned into a leading role in DC Jim Herrmann’s scheme.
LT Jarron Jones: After starring on the defensive line at Notre Dame, Jones transitions to the other side of the line. If he can slow guys down like him, it should work out fine.
NEED TO KNOW
Vipers coach Marc Trestman is focused on the details, discipline and the simple things that win games: “take care of the football, tackle and finish.” His pass-first philosophy includes with a good dose of throwing to running backs, which is seen more prevalently across all levels of football. QB Aaron Murray has praised the weapons at his disposal.
Kevin Gilbride returns to the sidelines in New York after a five-year break and more than two decades in the NFL. New York hopes to employ a balanced attack around QB Matt McGloin, whose big arm was on display throughout training camp.
-- Art Garcia, XFL.com