Dragons size up Vipers for Home Opener
SEATTLE -- The Seattle Dragons welcome the Tampa Vipers to CenturyLink Field on Saturday (2 p.m. PT, FOX).
A win in their home opener would be the perfect way to shake off an opening-week defeat, and to continue to build the rapidly-growing Dragons fan base.
Head coach Jim Zorn and his staff now have tape to watch on their opponent, unlike last week when going into DC.
They've had a few days to scout the Tampa Bay Vipers, who are also looking for their first win after losing at the NY Guardians Sunday, 23-3.
Zorn says the final score was not reflective of the Vipers' performance or ability.
"Their play calling and how they try and get (to) the line of scrimmage, they try to run a lot of plays. So they're very active. They did a good job running the ball. I don't understand how they didn't get in the end zone."
Tampa Bay rushed for 150 yards at New York in the opener.
Former University of Michigan standout De'Veon Smith carried 16 times for 79 yards in the loss, as the Vipers rolled up stats but not points.
Despite losing by 20, the visiting Vipers had many more yards than the Guardians did, both on the ground and through the air. They also gained more first downs and performed much better on third down than New York did, all signs of a good football team.
So Zorn and his players are ready to face a quality opponent who also has no intention of slipping to 0-2.
"They’re athletic, they’ve got speed. They play physical. It’s going to be a great contest. They’ve got a good defense. They lost too. We both want to get the first win under our belts, so I know they’re going to come in here hungry, and ready to play ball, so we’ve got to come out there ready to go."
Wide receiver Austin Proehl had a two-touchdown game to open the season, but still reflects bitterly on the miscues that cost the Dragons in their 31-19 loss at DC.
Like Seattle, Tampa Bay suffered untimely turnovers that derailed drives and led directly to points for the other team.
The teams will both look to button up turnover problems week two, as they meet again. (The first time, it was in a mere practice in Houston during training camp.)
Brandon Silvers was in street clothes for Tuesday's practice, and coach Zorn called it precautionary. Zorn says Silvers should be healthy enough to play this weekend.
Silvers missed one snap at the end of the game Saturday after being taken to the turf and limping to the sideline. BJ Daniels is the other quarterback on the roster and threw one pass in the opener.
Coach Zorn says former UW Huskies star WR Kasen Williams will not suit up Saturday against the Vipers.
Williams missed the opener, listed out vs DC with a quad injury. Zorn says Williams may still be a couple weeks away.
VIPERS QB SITUATION
Aaron Murray, the all-time SEC leader in TD passes (121 with Georgia), started opening weekend for the Vipers.
Quinton Flowers also saw time at quarterback against the Guardians, offering a change of pace with 34 rushing yards on 5 carries. Flowers played quarterback at South Florida, following in the footsteps of the Dragons' BJ Daniels.
Chase Litton is another familiar QB face. He's now on Tampa Bay's roster, after spending training camp with the Dragons.
LOUDEST IN THE LEAGUE?
CenturyLink Field has long been known as one of the best homefield advantages in American sports.
Now it's time to find out where it stands among the eight venues in the XFL.
Signs point to a large crowd on hand Saturday, and through the week the Dragons opened more seating sections to meet demand for tickets.