All eight XFL teams have completed training-camp in Houston. The league’s teams and its network partners, Fox and Disney, capped off the league-wide camp with full-on week one dress rehearsals, for the start of the regular season on Saturday, February 8th.
The XFL announced on Wednesday that the official 52-player rosters for each of its eight teams will be revealed on Monday, January 27th, at 12 pm ET.
NFLDraftDiamonds.com has released a list of cuts for all eight XFL teams. The 52 player rosters have not been finalized yet. There is an ongoing waiver process. The league will officially announce the rosters on Monday. Similar to NFL cutdown day. There are some surprising cuts by teams. Here is a link to the full preliminary list.
The total of league players at the end of training camp was 560. That number will become 416 on Monday. 144 players will be released or put on injured reserve. As a first-year pro league, the XFL has been working out the kinks on their roster movement, and the transparency with them. The league office has a waiver system and a fluid process, where they are working with the teams to streamline the roster movement and transition for players. All the franchises being stationed in Houston helped make the process of player movement easier. Former Wildcats Quarterback, Luis Perez didn’t have to travel very far when he was traded to the Guardians.
There will be a centralized reserve roster for the league, stationed in Dallas, called Team Nine. The concept was something, current XFL CEO Oliver Luck, had in place with NFL Europe, when he was league president. Team-Nine figures to be a collection of XFL players, representing roster positions equally. It will be a player pool of roughly 40-45 players.
Team-Nine will be a pool of contracted league players, staying at the ready during the season, while being trained and working out with coaches. XFL teams will be able to pick up players from Team-Nine when the situation calls for it. Either through player injury or otherwise.
There has been so much roster movement in recent days, and so many changes to XFL teams since they started drafting and adding players back in October. The busiest period is taking place right now for all eight franchises.
THE XFL’S FIRST REVENGE GAME
There will be players released during cuts that land on other XFL teams that go on to make franchises pay when these players face their former teams.
Arguably, The XFL’s highest-profile trade saw two projected star receivers in Rashad Ross and Tre McBride switch teams. ‘Rocket Ross’ was shipped to DC, while Tre McBride was sent to Los Angeles.
For Tre McBride, as revealed in an interview with The Wildcats Haley Graves, on LA’s ‘100 yards’ social media segment. McBride was home when his agent informed him that he was being traded to LA. Tre admitted in the interview that he was contemplating not playing in the XFL. The Defenders drafted McBride back in October, but the transition for him with the team wasn’t working out. Tre’s connections to the bay area have rejuvenated him, and McBride figures to be a top target, as he showed during the Wildcats scrimmage against the Roughnecks.
For the last time at Texas Southern, get to know the newest Wildcat on the block as he breaks down his transition to our team after the mid-camp trade.— Los Angeles Wildcats (@XFLWildcats) January 19, 2020
This is 100 Yards with WR Tre McBride aka @Uno_Dos_Tre3 ?#TheWildcatWay | #ForTheLoveOfFootball pic.twitter.com/KdxExTNiAN
Rashad Ross, on the other hand, was left with a sour taste in his mouth after LA dealt him away. Ross recently expressed his disappointment with the Wildcats dealing him away on his social media account. The ‘Rocket’ fired a direct shot at his former team.
“Watching this LA vs Houston game. Thank you DC for trading for me”.
Watching this LA vs Houston game ?… Thanks you DC for trading for me !— Rashad Ross (@RocketRoss_19) January 21, 2020
Circle Sunday, February 23rd on your calendar, when the DC Defenders travel to Dignity Health Sports Park, to play the Los Angeles Wildcats in week three (6pm ET on FS1).
OCHO NO SHOWS AT XFL KICKER TRYOUTS
Chad Johnson was scheduled to work out with over ten kickers in Houston for the league. The former pro bowl NFL receiver from over a decade ago asked for and received an invite to try out with other prospective kickers in Houston. Johnson, whose unique post-NFL career has seen him play in Mexico, and attempt to organize 40-yard dash pay-per-views, failed to show up for his tryout.
Two real kickers impressed enough during the tryout that they landed XFL contracts. Former Boise State, and Lou Groza Award semifinalist, Tyler Rausa has signed with the DC Defenders. Hunter Niswander, a talented specialist, was handling both kicking and punting duties. In the Defenders offense, Rausa should get plenty of scoring opportunities in the league-opener on ABC. He may have the honor of being the first player to kick off the season with the XFL’s new kickoff rule, and potentially the honor of scoring the league’s first points. No update yet on if Rausa will be borrowing ‘PFT Commenter’s’ goggles.
The word that I am getting from Houston is that 33-year old former NFL kicker Garrett Hartley has signed with The Seattle Dragons. Hartley plans on officially announcing which team, he has signed with on Thursday morning.
If Hartley has signed with Seattle. It’s an interesting development with current Dragons kicker Cole Tracy, still on the roster. Hartley was a Lou Groza finalist at Oklahoma, a former All-Big 12 kicker for Bob Stoops. Hartley has a career 81.7 percent field goal percentage in the NFL. It’s been a few years since he has kicked on the pro level, but he did enough during his workout to impress Seattle.
THE DRIVE FOR 5 AND 5
It’s almost time for season predictions. We are getting closer than ever to the season starting. Preliminary spoiler alert: I like Dallas and DC to play in the XFL Championship Game on Sunday, April 26th, on ESPN.
In press interviews, XFL CEO Oliver Luck has talked about how the league’s goal is parity amongst the teams. It’s evident in how the multiple drafts were set up, and even in how training camp was constructed. The league office wants all eight XFL franchises to be on equal footing.
In an eight-team league with half the league making the playoffs. During a ten-game regular-season. The law of averages suggests that there will be parity amongst the teams. There is a strong likelihood that one or maybe even two teams make the playoffs at 5-5 records. If that happens, the league’s aim of parity will be accomplished.
The XFL has constructed their team schedules with franchises playing their divisional opponents three weeks in a row. In theory, a team could head into week 8, with a 2 and 5 record, run the table, and sneak into the playoffs at 500. Think of weeks eight through ten as the league’s ‘comeback period’ in the standings.
A two-win team entering week eight could still be alive in the playoff hunt. For example, If Tampa was 2 and 5, they could beat DC, St. Louis, and New York to close their season. In the process, deal all three of the rivals’ losses. At the same time, these divisional opponents will be beating each other in the final three weeks. So a 5-5 Vipers team may get into the playoffs, based on tiebreakers, earned in their last three wins.
THE QUALITY OF PLAY
This has been the XFL’s mission statement and goal from day one. The league has followed all the proper steps in getting their coaches and front office staff in line. The XFL has its own scouting department and has been recruiting and evaluating talent for over a year.
The league then proceeded to put all the team rosters together. Ample time was used for team activities, mini-camps, and now training camps. All eight XFL teams will now go to their respective cities, and each has two weeks to prepare for their season-openers.
This was all done to ensure team cohesion when the league kicks off play. With that being stated, all football teams have to iron out the kinks at the start of their seasons. Especially in the XFL, it’s essentially eight pro football expansion teams launching at the same time.
Players and coaching adjusting to one another will take some time. The rules of the league will also require an adjustment period. It may take a few weeks for the teams to take top form. The live scrimmages conducted at the end of training camp showed a lot of promise in the XFL, achieving their goal of good crisp football.
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