'ReGuards': Week 1 Notebook
Leaving Points on the Field
The New York Guardians won their season opener at home against the Tampa Bay Vipers, 23-3.
Seventeen of those points came in the first half. In the second half, Jamar Summers scooped up a fumble and returned it for a defensive touchdown. That was the only Guardians' score after halftime.
Despite the win, head coach Kevin Gilbride wasn’t happy about leaving points on the field.
“Offensively, I thought we started the game very well. We had a lot of big plays and had some chances that we didn’t quite complete. Second half, we just slowed down. We had a few other opportunities that were not nearly as well played as we thought we could have played them. They were there to be had.”
DEFENSE STANDS TALL
Despite surrendering the fewest points, they did allow the most total yards of any team in the XFL in Week 1 (394). However, after the game, Gilbride was complimentary of his defense, which came up big when it had to.
On the opening drive of the game, quarterback Aaron Murray drove the Vipers offense down the field but was picked off by Andrew Soroh in the end zone to end the threat. Murray was picked off again near the end of the first half by Bryce Jones deep in New York territory. This led to a Guardians field goal.
"We’re very proud of our football team. It was a game that I think more than anything else showed the character and resilience that we had. We certainly struggled stopping them offensively, but to the tremendous credit of our defense, I thought they showed incredible courage and character to just keep battling all the way down and get all those turnovers and stop them. They controlled the ball, controlled the time, and got down close to the goal line. A lot of teams crumble under those circumstances. I thought our guys rose up and played their best football down there."
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT IN RUNNING GAME
The Guardians’ rushing attack struggled. They rushed the ball 16 times for a total of 44 yards.
Despite that, they were somewhat effective throwing to the backs out of the backfield. Darius Victor caught three passes out of the backfield for 25 yards.
Quarterback Matt McGloin appreciates the versatility of his backs.
“Always when you’re able to get your running backs involved in the pass game it’s something special and I think we have that in all of our running backs, Matt [Colburn], Justin [Stockton], Darius, Tim [Cook III]—all guys that can do all that. We’re very fortunate to have depth. Those guys are very skilled in the pass game, in the run game, and pass protection. A lot of talent on the offensive side and those guys really showed up and played well for us.
Ahead of Week 2 at the DC Defenders, the Guardians will look to concentrate on third-down conversions. They were 1-for-10 in that Week 1 stat.