Week 4: What We Learned
The Houston Roughnecks are the league’s only undefeated (4-0) team, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best in the XFL.
Houston is good. But, after what I saw this weekend, they’re not perfect. In fact, four games into the season, I’m going to give the nod for top team to the St. Louis BattleHawks.
They’re 3-1, but they’re the best all-around team in the league, and they’re getting better. They were solid in every facet in Saturday’s 23-16 victory against a decent Seattle team. St. Louis can make another statement next Sunday against the DC Defenders (3 p.m. ET, FS1).
Houston has been more lucky than good the last two weeks. Last week, they narrowly beat a struggling Tampa Bay team. On Sunday, the Roughnecks -- despite creating five turnovers -- defeated Dallas, 27-20, in a game that went down to the wire.
Yes, Houston defeated St. Louis by four points in Week 2. But the difference is St. Louis has gotten better since then.
Houston was good to begin with, but hasn’t gotten any better.
At one point during Sunday night’s game between DC and Tampa Bay, Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones was heard on the broadcast saying wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins should be benched. It was no accident or slip of the tongue.
“I knew he was right by me,” Jones said. “It was a personal challenge. It needed to be said. I talked to him in the locker room and we’re cool.”
They better be. Jones and Thompkins are roommates, and neither had a good night. Jones completed just 41 percent of his passes for 72 yards. Thompkins was held without a catch on three targets.
“I’m sure there was no malice,” DC coach Pep Hamilton said. “We all have to do better. I told every player and every coach we have to get back to D.C. and fix this.”
GUARDIANS FIND NEW QB
New York might have saved its season Saturday. The reason? Luis Perez, who started the season as the third-string quarterback got the start and led the Guardians to victory against Los Angeles.
He completed 69 percent of his passes for 150 yards and a touchdown.
But Perez got the Guardians to 2-2, and that keeps them in the playoff hunt for now. Not bad for a guy who didn’t play varsity football in college because he was pursuing a career as a pro bowler (no to be confused with a Pro Bowler) and split his college years between Southwestern College and Texas A&M-Commerce.
DON’T FEEL TOO BAD FOR JOSH JOHNSON
Although Johnson and Los Angeles lost to New York, the Wildcats quarterback had a huge day. He threw for 330 yards and two touchdowns. The Wildcats scored only 14 points, and Johnson did it almost all on his own.
LOOK OUT FOR J.O.
After being inactive the first two weeks and a non-factor in Week 3, New York defensive end Jarrell Owens (rhymes with Terrell Owens) exploded against Los Angeles on Saturday. He had two sacks, four quarterback hits, two tackles for loss and a blocked field goal.
An Oklahoma State product, Owens spent time with the Cleveland Browns. With a 39-inch vertical leap, he might get another NFL chance if he keeps playing like he did Saturday.
THE SECRET OF ST. LOUIS’ SUCCESS
One of the more subtle reasons for St. Louis’ offensive success is offensive coordinator Chuck Long. That’s somewhat surprising because Doug Meachem originally was supposed to be the coordinator.
But Long, who hadn’t coached in nearly a decade, was put into the position in January. He and quarterback Jordan Ta’amu each seem to get better every week, and that trend should continue.
CHANGING OF QBs IN SEATTLE
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out there will be a quarterback change for the Dragons next week.
Brandon Silvers has been the starter, but he has struggled all year. That continued Saturday, and the Dragons pulled the plug on Silvers at halftime and turned things over to backup B.J. Daniels, who probably will be the starter going forward.
Daniels provided a spark, throwing for 100 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 84 yards.
DOUBLE LOSS FOR DALLAS?
The Renegades lost to Houston, but they may have lost more than just a game. Quarterback Landry Jones suffered what appeared to be a knee injury late in the game, and it remains to be seen if he’ll miss significant time.