Unbelievably, we are already at the halfway point of the XFL’s inaugural season. A 10-week league with only eight teams goes by so fast! In such a short season, some ebbs and flows can be drastic from week to week, making it very hard to come up with a coherent system of grading the team.
The Guardians have three wins and two losses and have been everything from a contender to arguably the worst in the league to become a major contender again in just five games! We will try our best to grade the team by position.
Luis Perez has played very well since coming in to relieve Matt McGloin near the end of the week 3 matchup against St, Louis. The grade trend has been on the increase ever since, completed on 65% of his attempts with three touchdowns and only one interception managing a cool 92.1 quarterback rating.
Marquis Williams, who saw action in 3 games, completed 48 % of his passes without a TD or an INT, but he is used mainly on running packages, where he has run 5 times for 29 yards and a touchdown.
He successfully ran in a 2 point conversion as well. Matt McGloin brings down that stats. He started the first three games, got replaced twice, and was anything but effective with a 52.2 rating and completing just 53% of his passes with 1 TD and 3 INTs. He also had a controversial interview and has many people happy he is not the starting QB anymore.
Running Backs: B
After a first game where they barely even attempted to run, the Guardians have become a much more run-oriented team featuring the power of Darius Victor and Tim Cook.
Victor has become the real workhorse with 55 attempts for 238 yards adding 6 receptions for another 36 yards. After starting the year with 9 and 3 carriers (he did get hurt week 2) he came back with 10, 18, and 15 carries in weeks 3-5.
His power clearly had an impact on tiring out defenses late in games. Tim Cook had 40 carries for 157 yards. A player to look for in the second half is Justin Stockton, who got no carries until week 5 offensively, but immediately added 40 yards on 5 carries. He has added 49 receiving yards in the first half also. After struggling to find yards early, the backs have come on of late, and New York has 3 straight 100 plus yard rushing games.
Wide Receivers: B
The main issue with this group does not hit the stats page, and it has been drops. In each game, there seem to be at least 5 easy passes hitting a receiver than falling to the floor. The good news is, the receivers mostly bounce back with a big play shortly after.
The surprising leader is Colby Pearson, who has 16 catches for 223 yards and 2 touchdowns, including one 80 yard effort. McKale McKay is tied with tight end Jake Powell with 12 receptions but is second in yards with 184 and a touchdown. Teo Redding has 102 yards on 8 catches.
Offensive Line: C+
The grade for this group is also trending up. The biggest issue that has impacted this group is penalties. The Guardians have been the most penalized team in the league, and the offensive line has seen several meltdowns.
Ian Silberman was virtually kicked out of a game in week 3, and Jarron Jones was kicked out of the game in week 5. The pass protection and run blocking have improved, and the addition of Derek Dennis after week 3 has clearly helped their depth. With the time together and the run game improving, the grade trend for this grouping i also expect to rise.
Defensive Front: A-
The Guardians front seven have been strong. Cavon Walker leads the entire XFL with 4.5 sacks. Linebacker Ben Heeney has had 30 combined tackles including 3 tackles for loss. Bumi Rotimi has been solid also with a sack, 4 tackles for loss, and 25 overall tackles. The group has had many different people make plays at various times including Ryan Mueller’s highlight real deflection, interception, and a touchdown on one play.
Defensive Backs: A
For the defensive backs, it has not been 1 player, but a real combined group effort to earn this grade. AJ Hendy has 26 tackles to lead the group, 2 for loss, and 4 passes defensed. Andrew Soroh, who has been battling injury, still has managed to 16 tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble.
Dravon Askew-Henry has not made the impact on tackles, but his 6 passes defensed is up for tops in the league. Jamar Summers has a couple of interceptions and has been all over the place as expected, along with Ranthony Texada, who both have 16 tackles. Nothing has been easy going against this group, and they find ways to create takeaways with regularity.
Special Teams: B-
Matt McCrane has been money on field goal attempts, and Justin Vogel has been good in the punting game. The team has to fix the kickoff returns, which have allowed 2 touchdown returns, and the punting unit allowed 1 punt block. The kickers themselves have been solid. Jarrell Owens has a blocked field goal against the Los Angeles Wildcats, and that block was the difference in the game.
The Guardians are trending up in most stats, finishing 3-2 in the first half with 3 big home games in the final 5 in league with 70% of home teams winning bodes well for the second half and possible postseason play.
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