DC Defenders (2-0) vs New York Guardians (1-1) @ Audi Field
The DC Defenders absolutely dominated the New York Guardians in all facets on the game on Saturday at Audi Field. The Guardians rode a solid offensive performance and a dominant defensive/special teams effort to a 27-0 win. QB Cardale Jones was 23/37 for 276 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception. This effort was by far the most dominant QB performance in the XFL on Saturday, recovering some face for the league as virtually every other Quarterback was absolutely awful on the first day of Week 2 games. However, perhaps the most inspiring performance on the field Saturday was probably WR Eli Rogers. Rogers decided to play, missing his mothers funeral who very recently passed out. Rogers showed an unreal amount of commitment and heart, catching 4 of 6 targets, for 49 yards and returning 4 punts for 41 yards. Coach Pep Hamilton emotionally took time in the post game presser to give Rogers credit and bring awareness to the massive challenges Eli faced on Saturday.
The offense was boosted by an unreal defensive performance by the Defenders. For the second week in a row, the team returned an interception for a touchdown. The Defenders also got to the Matt McGloin all game, making him extremely uncomfortable in the pocket. Newly acquired OLD/DE Anthony Johnson was absolutely dominant on passing downs, recording 1.5 sacks with literally zero practice time with his new team. NFL veteran, Jay Bromley, was a dominant DE force in the Defenders 3-4 scheme, recording 3 tackle, a sack, and a tackle for loss. The secondary, now without Bradley Sylve who was traded to the LA Wildcats, certainly held up to the pressure. Cornerback Doran Grant took advantage of a playing time increase and made impactful plays all game. This all rounded out to a great day for placekicker Ty Rausa, who was 3/3 on attempted field goals for the day.
QB Cardale Jones has spotted many things on offense to improve, saying after the game “comfort zone is the danger zone” and highlighting that when watching film, it’s never as good as what it may look like to the average fan. Coach Pep Hamilton agreed with Cardale’s assessment, saying “Offensively, we need to do a better job of balancing things out. We’re good at hitting some big plays, but need to do a better job running the football.”
On the Guardians side, it was a pretty terrible performance on offense. With the team missing two starting Offensive Linemen, they struggled to protect Matt McGloin. To be completely fair to the team, McGloin himself was completely off on routine throws all game. The defensive effort wasn’t too bad, but the last of offensive possession time gave them virtually no chance to take a breather. The Defenders kept the intensity up all game and it ultimately proved to be too much for the Guardians.
Coach Kevin Gilbride started his post game presser taking the blame for the massive dud of a performance, trying his best to deflect blame from the players. Gilbride took the time to downplay the benching of QB Matt McGloin, saying he mainly wanted to just keep Matt healthy and wanted to try to spark the offense with a change of style QB like Marquise Williams. Gilbride was asked if anything about the Defenders gameplan surprised him and the veteran coach simply said he’s just surprised they didn’t play better.
Next week the Guardians will take on the gritty St. Louis Battlehawks franchise and the Defenders will be traveling to LA to play the Wildcats.
DC Defender Player Review
Player of the Game: WR Rashad Ross was almost completely absent from the 1st half, but turned on his jets in the second half, catching 4/5 targets for 95 yards.
Player of the Game: Kicker Ty Rausa is showing that he isn’t actually that rusty, making 3/3 of his field goals.
Player of the Game: LB Jameer Thurman, who was a CFL standout, had 4 tackles and an interception returned for a touchwown
Losing Team Review
Matt McGloin was 8/19 for 44 yards and 2 interceptions before being benched
Bunmi Rotini led the Guardians in tackles for the seond week in a row.
On fantasy, the extremely unpredictable player projections has made it very difficult to flourish in the XFL fantasy world. As I suggested earlier in the week, Donnel Pumphrey got the starter treatment and was given far more opportunities to have the ball in his hands. All Wide Receivers on the Defenders roster were active on Saturday and making an impact play, but I would certainly only start Ross or Thompkins.
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