The 2023 edition has done what the 2020 version could not: make it to week 6. Extenuating circumstance on a global scale prevented its predecessors from getting past the halfway point, so this deserves a coronation in some ways. In other ways, not much celebrating can be done by a handful the league’s offensive staffs.
A clear line of demarcation has been drawn between the franchises that are able to put up points and those who squirm over crossing midfield every game. Another week saw the status quo maintained for multiple teams as some offensive coordinators were on the verge of experiencing an aneurysm from their units’ ineptitude.
DC Defenders Add Another Element
The DC Defenders had already found their formula for wearing down their opponents in second halves of games, but they just added another component. Renowned for their grinding run game and frisky defense, DC has discovered the passing game in a major way with quarterback Jordan Ta’amu giving his best performance of the season. 19/31, 245 yards and 2 touchdowns including 136 of them to Lucky Jackson creates a new wrinkle for an already lethal offense. If Ta’amu and the passing game maintains this consistency, the Defenders are the clear title favorites as the most complete squad in the XFL.
AJ McCarron is your MVP Front runner
Coming off a deflating home loss to the mighty DC Defenders, a hangover was on the table for a Battlehawks team suddenly chased down by the Sea Dragons. At 3-2, a Vegas road game became a nexus point in the season. Even with crossed-communications, Quarterback AJ McCarron was as on point as he has been all season. A 23/29, 236 yard and 3 touchdown performance spearheaded a 23-0 lead for St. Louis as they cruised to a 29-6 victory.
In a league where QBs struggle to get their foot holding, McCarron is a mark of consistency at the position. His stats (1st in TD passes, 2nd in pass yards, 67 comp %) and leadership on a playoff-caliber team make him the front runner for the league’s MVP award. McCarron has proven to be the general of a solid offense and a feisty team.
The Quarterback Carousal is Spinning Furiously in the South
The Houston Roughnecks are the most stable organization in the South Division and that includes their quarterback position. The same cannot be said for their counterparts who are chewing through signal callers like packs of gum. Orlando and San Antonio have cycled through four separate QBs due to injuries and spotty play.
Arlington rotated Drew Plitt and Kyle Sloter continuously through Sunday’s match-up. This lack of cohesion has led to offenses short circuiting and little chemistry between skill players and signal callers. Houston is sitting pretty with the only record above .500 and clear established starter in Brandon Silvers. The remaining playoff slot in the South most likely will boil down to defense and special team unit strength between Arlington and San Antonio.
John Parker Romo is a Savior
We have reached the point in the season where placekickers are being highlighted over their team’s offensive units. The predictably putrid offensive slug fest in Arlington this weekend saw no tangible progress for the Brahmas nor the Renegades. It ultimately came down to the special teams units, and San Antonio’s John Parker Romo continued his incredible campaign. a 3-for-3 afternoon from field goal range boosted the Brahmas to a critical 15-9 victory that keeps them in the race for the South Division’s second playoff spot.
A season sweep at the hands of Arlington would have almost certainly buried the Brahmas, but Romo was up to the task once again. He is 10-for-11 on field goals this season including a league wide long make of 57 yards. With points at premium for Hines Ward’s squad, Romo has provided certainty to a shaky operation.
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