Week 2: What We Learned
It would be easy to call New York Guardians quarterback Matt McGloin immature after he ripped his coaching staff at halftime and after Saturday's 27-0 loss to the DC Defenders. But it might not be accurate.
I don’t know McGloin, although he grew up in Scranton, Pa., 15 miles from where I was raised.
But I know many people who know the former Penn State quarterback. A family member played youth league sports with and went to high school with McGloin.
He said the quarterback was extremely competitive and didn’t react well on the rare occasions things didn’t go his way. But my family member also said McGloin’s fiery temperament and drive got him to where he is.
That’s why I believe McGloin will bounce back in Week 3 against the St. Louis BattleHawks (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, ESPN).
If nothing else, McGloin is a fighter. He walked on at Penn State and became the starter. He made the Oakland Radiers' roster as an undrafted free agent. Overcoming adversity is McGloin’s biggest strength. What happened Saturday will fuel him in a positive way going forward.
Here are eight other things we learned in Week 2 of the XFL season:
Who’s the Most Valuable Player?
Two weeks into the season, there is one clear-cut candidate. That’s Houston Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker.
He threw three touchdowns (all to Cam Phillips) and ran for a one-point conversion in Sunday’s win against St. Louis and threw four touchdowns in the opener.
Walker’s going to end up in an NFL camp after the XFL season. Where? Anything is possible. But keep this in mind: Walker played for new Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule at Temple.
Defenders living up to name
The league got it right when it chose to call the DC franchise the Defenders. While causing New York’s McGloin to have a meltdown, the Defenders were relentless in shutting out the Guardians.
They recorded three sacks, six tackles for loss, an interception and a fumble recovery. The rich got richer. Edge rusher Anthony Johnson, who was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Wildcats late last week, recorded 1.5 sacks and two tackles for a loss.
That was in limited playing time. Imagine what Johnson can do once he learns the defense and becomes an every-down player.
Playing with a heavy heart
Speaking of the Defenders, there was some side drama on the offense. Wide receiver Eli Rogers’ mother died last week. Instead of attending her funeral, Rogers elected to play Saturday. He responded with five catches for 49 yards.
The next generation?
One of the more pleasant surprises of the XFL season so far has been the play of DC quarterback Cardale Jones, who threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s victory against the Guardians.
There was a lot of talk in the NFL last season about the changing of the guard at quarterback. Young guys like Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson moved ahead of or even with Drew Brees and Tom Brady.
But who’s the successor to big, mobile quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton? Jones still is a long way from the NFL. But he’s got size (6-foot 5, 250 pounds) and a skill set similar to Newton and Roethlisberger.
Jones only started 11 games at Ohio State. With more playing time, Jones could grow into another version of either.
No QB controversy in Tampa Bay
I live in the Tampa Bay area, so a lot of my friends on social media are saying there’s a quarterback controversy for the Vipers.
Relax. They don't have one. Aaron Murray will be the starter once he’s healthy. Murray had a rough outing in the opener. He sat out Saturday’s loss to Seattle with a foot issue.
But backup Taylor Cornelius played even worse, and the Vipers have yet to score an offensive touchdown. There also is a cult following for former South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers, whose primary position is supposed to be running back. He did get some snaps at quarterback Saturday but likely silenced his fan club when he threw a screen pass that was intercepted near Tampa Bay's end zone and returned for a touchdown.
When healthy, Murray is the best quarterback the Vipers have.
Playing with a short deck
Although Seattle won against Tampa Bay, the Dragons weren’t exactly an offensive juggernaut. The logical thing to do is put the blame on quarterback Brandon Silvers, who struggled much of the day. But it’s not right to put the blame on Silvers.
It should first be noted Seattle was playing without three injured starters on the offensive line. Once the line gets solidified, Silvers, who did throw a 68-yard touchdown pass, will be just fine at quarterback.
New coordinator, same result
After allowing 37 points to Houston in the opener, Los Angeles coach Winston Moss fired defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson. Moss decided he would take over the defense.
How’d that work out? Not too well. The Dallas Renegades put up 25 points and more than 400 yards of total offense.
That’s proof that there are no quick fixes for the Wildcats on defense. They’re 0-2, and their season is on the verge of getting out of control.
'Air Raid' has a ground game
Dallas offensive coordinator Hal Mumme is known as the architect of the pass-happy “Air Raid” offense. That was in heavy use in Sunday’s win against Los Angeles.
Quarterback Landry Jones threw for 305 yards while completing 70 percent of his passes. But Mumme’s offense was about much more than passing Sunday. The Renegades rushed for 158 yards, including 99 yards on 14 carries by Cameron Artis-Payne.
If Dallas can continue to run like that, its passing game is going to be even more dangerous than the product Mumme usually puts on the field.