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XFL Week Two Takeaways and Lessons Learned

Week two of the XFL featured more close drama, some home stadium debuts and resounding victories. The biggest takeaway from this week is the remarkable amount of similarities to XFL 2020. The DC Defenders and Houston Roughnecks started off 2-0 for the 2nd time their franchise’s histories. A Florida team is struggling to get any consistency on offense or defense.

Familiar faces like Luis Perez, Jordan Ta’amu, Austin Proehl, and others still remain. 2023 may be a new era for the league, but certain thematic elements still permeate from its previous incarnation.

Sea Dragons Run-and-Shoots Themselves in the Foot, Again

For the second week in a row the Sea Dragons fumbled away a potential victory. Deja vu struck as Seattle held a halftime lead before committed multiple turnovers in the game’s last 30 minutes. The only difference this time was that the opponent held the ball last as the Battlehawks’ Donald Hageman nailed a 44-yard field goal to drain the life out of Lumen Field.

The run-and-shoot offense, for as effective as it has been for offensive coordinator June Jones, is malfunctioning at the wrong times in the first two weeks. Whether it’s quarterback Ben Dinucci creating turnovers or an outright refusal to run the ball in short yardage situations, the halftime adjustments have been lackluster for Seattle.

DC Defenders Will Run You Over

Regardless of weather or field conditions, The DC Defenders have found an answer in keeping their opponents off balance. In a mushy, rain-soaked Cashman Field, Defenders’ quarterback D’Eriq King royally sprinted past Vipers’ tacklers. With the passing game neutralized, head coach Reggie Barlow leaned on a dynamic rushing attack to bury Vegas in their home opener. 229 rushing yards helped DC methodically grind out a 18-6 victory and set the blueprint for the Defenders moving forward.

How they orchestrate their offense moving forward is contingent on how much playing time Jordan Ta’amu and King split time. King’s speed creates a threat that the passing game can’t quite muster currently, giving Barlow plenty to consider heading into a battle of unbeatens in week three vs. the Battlehawks.

San Antonio has Trees For Wide Receivers

While San Antonio HC Hines Ward (6’0″ frame) may have not been the prototypical stature as a receiver in the NFL, his team’s wide outs certainly are. All three of San Antonio’s touchdown catchers (Jalen Tolliver, Alize Mack and Deon Yelder) all stand at 6’3″ or taller and had every bit of their frames utilized in a 30-12 romp of the Orlando Guardians.

Quarterback Jack Coan had a bevy of options to distribute to as San Antonio bounced back from a soul-crushing loss to St. Louis the previous week. Given the Brahmas’ inability to create any semblance of a running game, the receivers had to shine in the Orlando sun. After kicking just two field goals in their first three quarters, the Brahmas have racked up 39 points in the past five quarters. This is in large part due to offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo properly weaponizing the team’s arsenal.

Houston Still Has Yet to Lose, Ever

The Roughnecks’ faithful have yet to know what the feeling of losing is like. Houston has started 2-0 after going 5-0 in 2020 as they once again trot out a potent offensive staff. Offensive coordinator AJ Smith continues to twist knobs as he experiments with a diverse skill set of players. Quarterback Brandon Silvers just has to sling it one of his many athletic receivers, hand it off to Max Borghi, or rely on placekicker Hunter Duplessis.

Wade Philips’ defense tees off on quarterbacks with a flurry of pressure while generating turnovers. The only thing getting in Houston’s way thus far are their own mistakes as they fumbled three times in the first half against the Renegades. For the time being, the Roughnecks marches on as one of the three remaining undefeated squads.

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