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Defenders Edge Out Dragons 21-16 In XFL Preseason Matchup

Cardale Jones (12) (Photo:

In the league’s first ‘game’, the DC Defenders brought home a win vs the Seattle Dragons. The teams will rematch in the league’s opening game on February 8th, and today we got a good preview of each squad. Let’s start with the victorious D.C. Defenders.

D.C. Defenders Recap

Cardale Jones looks crisp. That patent arm strength is shining, and his ability to scramble and make plays outside the pocket gives the Defenders a lot of opportunities. Some of his best throws of the day were a deep comeback to Eli Rodgers, a clutch 4th and 9 strike to Joe Walker and a 19 yard TD strike to Jordan Westerkamp. Tyree Jackson is a talented QB, but it’s looking like Jones will come away with the starting job.

While Cardale kept the offense running, the defense made some great plays too. After getting down to a 10-0 start in the 1st quarter, their defense held the Dragons to just 6 more points the rest of the game. Safety Tyree Kinnel had a fantastic pick 6 to keep the offense in the game, and his ballhawking abilities were on in full force.

As for their special teams, they made a field goal in the 2nd quarter, so concerns about P/K Hunter Niswander covering both punting and placekicking duties should be somewhat allayed.

Seattle Dragons Recap

The Dragons played QB’s B.J. Daniels and Brandon Silvers roughly equal, but it looks like Daniels gave himself an edge in that battle today. He put the Dragons to an early lead with a quick strike to Dontez Byrd.

Daniels then led the offense down the field again for a field goal, getting his team an early lead. Silvers had some great throws out there but threw an untimely pick-6 late in the game.

Still a QB competition here, but B.J. Daniels years of experience are showing as he masters Jim Zorn’s offense. They also saw success in the run game today, as Ja’Quan Gardner punched it in for a score. Former Air Force Falcon Jalen Rowell also pulled in a wild contested-catch while being tackled from behind, and the Dragons offense has no shortage of playmakers.

Their defense made some good plays out there, including a great pick by Linebacker Nick Temple. This momentum shift allowed Ja’Quan Gardner to score and gave some momentum back to Seattle’s unit.

Unfortunately for the Dragons, the Defenders rallied late and scored the game winner in the 4th.

While I wouldn’t take too much stock in today’s win, I think what was established on the field was that the players are adjusting well to the new rule changes, and are all hungry to make plays. We’ll see them back out there on February 8th.

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Matt Nagashima has been covering the XFL since before the 2019 Draft, and has witnessed history being made as a Credentialed Reporter for the Dallas Renegades. While he is engrossed with the X's and O's, the roster building and more, it has always been his goal to keep the players first in mind in coverage, showing the human aspect of this sport behind all the action on the field. With Dany Garcia and Dwayne The Rock Johnson now at the helm, he's excited to see all the opportunities that this league will create for players to showcase their talent and make their dreams come true.

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