The XFL now has four players under center in the NFL. Taylor Heinicke, PJ Walker, Josh Johnson, and Jordan Ta’amu. As injuries and the Reserve/COVID list whittle away at depth charts, the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Football Team have turned to Johnson and Ta’amu to bolster their QB rooms.
Raven’s QB Lamar Jackson has helped lead the team to an 8-5 record ahead of the AFC North. His 2,882 Passing Yards, and 16 TD’s have been countered by 13 Interceptions and 4 fumbles, but his prolific production in the ground game has been a centerpiece of the offense. With 767 Rush yards and 2 TD’s , he leads the team in rushing while they’ve scrambled to replace JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards, both lost to injury before the season.
When Jackson was sidelined last week with an ankle injury, it was a massive blow to an offense built around him, and after 3 straight DNP’s in practice he is questionable to start, though it may well fall to Tyler Huntley again. Josh Johnson was signed this week from the Jets’ practice squad after a stretch as their backup ended with the signing of Joe Flacco.
Johnson put up a valiant performance in a 30-45 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, throwing 27 of 41 for 317 Yards, 3TD’s and a pick. He also added 18 yards on the ground, still a mobile quarterback these days. He’ll provide valuable veteran insurance at the position should the need arise, but at least this week, Tyler Huntley takes the start with his experience in the system.
Now, in Washington we’ve all seen former BattleHawk Taylor Heinicke help Washington (6-7) to 2nd in the NFC East. He’s got 2,931 Passing Yards, 19 TD’s and 12 picks along with 297 yards and a score on the ground. However, he’s now been placed on the Reserve/COVID list, along with backup Kyle Allen. This forces former AAF star and Dallas Cowboys spot starter Garrett Gilbert into the starting role, with Kyle Shurmur as another option at QB.
To bolster their room that is suddenly so shortstaffed, the team brought Heinicke’s fellow BattleHawk back into the fold, signing Jordan Ta’amu to their practice squad again. Ta’amu spent time with WFT during mini-camp this spring, and apparently they liked what they saw enough to bring him back into the fold.
Ta’amu cut his teeth in the XFL after a stint as an UDFA with the Texans in 2019. He edged out Heinicke for the starting job as the St. Louis BattleHawks QB1, throwing for 1,050 Yards, 5 TD’s and 2 picks with 217 yards and a score on the ground in just 5 games.
He proved himself a capable passer and scrambler in what was essentially his rookie season out of Ole Miss, and has made an impression with NFL teams already in his young career. He’s been brought in by the Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions and now Washington Football Team, all of whom have brought him into the building twice.
While the Reserve/COVID movement makes the back end of rosters unpredictable in times like these, its clear Ta’amu is on the radar and NFL scouts have been impressed by his XFL performances and presence in their QB rooms.
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