Defenders vs. Dragons: Looking ahead to Week 1
History will be made in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Feb. 8, when the DC Defenders host the Seattle Dragons in the very first game of the 2020 XFL regular season.
Kickoff for the XFL season opener is set for 2 p.m. ET at Audi Field, and the game will be broadcast on ABC and can be streamed online used the WatchESPN App.
The Defenders and Dragons held a joint practice during and scrimmaged against each other during XFL training camp in Houston, Texas. But not much was revealed during the scrimmage, with head coaches Pep Hamilton and Jim Zorn playing it close to the vest.
Week 1 of the 2020 XFL regular season is finally here, and below is all the Defenders vs. Dragons game information in our official preview.
Defenders vs. Dragons Preview
Matchup: DC Defenders (0-0) vs. Seattle Dragons (0-0)
Game Location: Audi Field, SW Washington D.C.
Date & Time: Saturday, Feb. 8. at 2 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ABC
TV Broadcasters: Steve Levy (play-by-play), Greg McElroy (analyst), Tom Luginbill (field analyst), Dianna Russini (reporter)
Live Stream: WatchESPN App
Radio Station: 106.7 FM The Fan (Live Stream)
Radio Broadcasters: Grant Paulsen (play-by-play), Logan Paulsen (Analyst)
What to Watch
1. Team Speed: The Defenders loaded up on speed on the outside and in the backfield. Wide receivers DeAndre Thompkins, Rashad Ross and Eli Rogers are going to be threats on crossing cross and deep balls. The backfield duo of Donnel Pumphrey and Jhurell Pressley is primed to be the fastest in the league. Pumphrey is a diminutive burner who set the NCAA all-time record for rushing yards, and Pressley is a rare mix of raw power and top-end speed.
2. Jacked Up: The Defenders defense is loaded with ferocious pass-rushers, hard-hitting linebackers and thumping safeties. Linebacker Jonathan Celestin turned heads in the Seattle scrimmage with a bone-crushing hit over the middle. Cornerback Elijah Campbell is a heat-seeking missile at all times, and defensive linemen Tracy Sprinkle and Kenny Bigelow are always going after the ball with maximum ferocity.
3. The Cardale Show: The success of any football ultimately comes down to quarterback play. For the Defenders to succeed, Cardale Jones is going to need to thrive. He's made a career out of being a gamer, and with offensive guru Hamilton at the helm, Jones' dynamic offensive control should be on display. Above all else, the former Ohio State star and national champion knows how to make plays.
DC Defenders: Projected Depth Chart
QB: Cardale Jones, Tyree Jackson
RB: Jhurell Pressley, Donnel Pumphrey, Khalid Abdullah, Nick Brosette
WR: Malachi Dupre, Simmie Cobbs, Jalen Rowell
WR: Eli Rogers, Tyler Palka, Rashad Ross, DeAndre Thompkins (OUT)
TE: Khari Lee, Derrick Haward, Donnie Ernsberger
LT: De'Ondre Welsey, Logan Tuley-Tillman
LG: Rishard Cook, Dorian Johnson
C: Jon Toth, James O'Hagan
RG: Malcolm Bunche, Chris Brown
RT: Cole Boozer
DE: Tracy Sprinkle, Tavaris Barnes, Peli Anau
DT: Jay Bromley, Kenny Bigelow Jr.
NT: Elijah Qualls, Kalani Vakameilalo
SLB: Antwione Williams, Jonathan Massaquoi
MLB: A.J. Tarpley, Scooby Wright (OUT)
WLB: Jameer Thurman, Jonathan Celestin
EDGE: KeShun Freeman, Sam Montgomery
CB: Elijah Campbell, Doran Grant
CB: Desmond Lawrence, Bradley Sylve
S: Matt Elam, Tyree Kinnel
S: Rahim Moore, Shamarko Thomas, Carlos Merritt
Special Teams: Tyler Rausa (K), Hunter Niswander (P), Brian Khoury (LS)
DC Defenders: Injury Report
Injured Reserve: WR Frank Brown, CB Deion Harris, WR Deion Holliman, CB Jaylen Myrick
Injury Report: S Shamarko Thomas (questionable, thigh), WR DeAndre Thompkins (out, foot), LB Scooby Wright (out, knee)
Seattle Dragons: Projected Depth Chart
QB: Brandon Silvers, B.J. Daniels
RB: Ja'Quan Gardner, Kenneth Farrow, Trey Williams
WR: Kasen Williams (OUT), Dontez Byrd, Alonzo Moore
WR: Austin Proehl, John Santiago
WR: Keenan Reynolds, Sergio Bailey
TE: Colin Jeter, Ben Johnson, Evan Rodriquez, Connor Hamlett, Cam Clear (OUT)
LT: Isaiah Battle (OUT)
LG: Cyril Richardson, William Campbell
C: Dillon Day, Kirk Barron
RG: Michael Dunn, Venzell Boulware
RT: Quinterrius Eatmon
LDE: Stansly Maponga, Marcel Frazier
DT: Will Sutton, Anthony Johnson
DT: Anthony Moten, Jordan Thompson, Pasoni Tasini
RDE: Jacquies Smith, Praise Martin-Oguike
OLB: Steven Johnson, Durrant Miles
MLB: Kyle Queiro, Nyles Morgan
OLB: Nick Temple
CB: Jeremy Clark, Steve Williams, Marko Myers
CB: Channing Stribling, Johnathan Alston, Mohammed Seisay
SS: Godwin Igwebuike, Tyson Graham (OUT)
FS: Jordan Martin, Santos Ramirez
Special Teams: Ernesto Lacayo (K), Brock Miller (P), Noah Borden (LS)
Seattle Dragons: Injury Report
Injured Reserve: LB Brandon Bell, LB Paul Gionni, WR Reuben Mwehla, DT Taniela Tupou
On Weekly Injury Report: OT Isaiah Battle (out, ankle), CB Jeremy Clark (day-to-day, ankle), TE Cam Clear (out, personal), S Tyson Graham (out hand), WR Alonzo Moore (questionable, hip), CB Mohammed Seisay (day-to-day, groin), WR Kasen Williams (out, quad)