The Orlando Guardians are set to host the San Antonio Brahmas this Sunday afternoon at Camping World Stadium. Following a mediocre start to the season, Terrell Buckley’s squad aims for a different outcome for the home opener in central Florida.
After just one game, Buckley is proving that winning is the top priority, and those who aren’t contributing to that won’t play. This was especially evident during Week 1’s 33-12 loss against the Houston Roughnecks.
Despite starting the game 15 of 21 with 136 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, Paxton Lynch was benched for Quinten Dormady after his turnover late in the third quarter. Dormady went on to finish the contest 12 of 18 for 142 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. The two quarterbacks were sacked a combined seven times to go along with the three turnovers.
Both guys had fairly solid debuts, however, the inconsistencies both showed left the coaching with plenty to desire for Week 2.
“We have to find out who our quarterback is,” Coach Buckley told 96.9 The Game on Thursday. “That means we have to play different guys, that’s been the plan since day one.”
While the Guardian’s official Week 2 depth chart has Lynch as the starter for Sunday’s game against the Brahmas, it’s safe to say that we will likely see another game of “quarterback by committee.” Buckley mentioned that the coaching staff also wants to get a good look at Deondre Francois, the third quarterback on the roster, before making a “permanent decision” for the rest of the season. Francois is being listed as the second-string quarterback heading into the weekend.
Buckley attributed this “trying out” period to the absence of a preseason game, something the league should consider going forward. For this reason, you can expect the entire roster to remain fluid for at least another week.
Another position where this was particularly evident was with the wide receivers. The Guardians led the league with 10 different players making a reception against the Roughnecks in Week 1. Despite a fairly crowded position group, certain guys have certainly earned more reps than others heading into the second game of the season.
Andrew Jamiel finished with the third most receiving yards in the league last week after posting three receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown. His 51-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter was the longest play from scrimmage in the XFL this season. Lynch showcased his chemistry with former Denver Bronco teammate, Cody Latimer, who finished the game with five receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown. Both Dedrick Thomas and Eli Rogers eclipsed 40 yards last week and should remain solid contributors come Sunday afternoon.
On the defensive side, the starting secondary is slated to look very different than it did just one week ago. Cornerback Baylen Buchanan is sliding into the starting lineup with Javaris Davis battling a groin injury sustained in Week 1. He will start alongside Shaq Wiggins, who is taking the place of CJ Holmes after recently being placed on injured reserve. Finally, safety Mike Lee is listed as the starter against the Brahmas with last week’s starter, Roman Tatum, listed as his backup.
Coach Buckley emphasized how the team should look far more polished with a game under their belt. You can catch the Guardians’ home opener, Sunday at 4 PM EST on ESPN.
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