After what was a poor start for the Arlington Renegades in the first half, quarterback Drew Plitt did what he needed to do to lead the team to an impressive 22-20 win over the Vegas Vipers Saturday.
When watching the game, it is safe to assume that the Renegades’ defense played extremely well and was a big reason why Arlington won the game. Three turnovers with two of the being interceptions returned for a touchdown will always do the trick. Outside of the last drive of the game, the Vipers didn’t record a first down for most of the second half. Vegas ran for 25 total yards on 15 carries. The Renegades’ defense was stellar, to say the least.
On the flip side, while the Renegades actually had one of the top running games in the XFL in week one, the team still only averaged 2.7 yards per carry after rushing for 83 yards on 31 carries. Their offense was up and down as they were only able to produce three field goals by Taylor Russolino and a one-point conversion by De’Veon Smith. It’s not an ideal way to win a football game, but still plenty of positives to take from it.
One of the positives to highlight is the performance of Arlington’s young quarterback Drew Plitt. His final stat line was completing 19 of 25 passes for 172 yards and one interception. Plitt added 16 yards on the ground on five carries in the win.
A lot has been said on social media from fans expressing their concerns with Plitt starting over veteran quarterback Kyle Sloter. If fans watch the game, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about out Plitt played and how he can improve upon his performance in the coming weeks.
Signs of Drew Plitt’s Good Performance
Accuracy Throwing the Football
Let’s first cover what everyone is going to say about this part of his game. Yes, a lot of the play designs with passing the football were shorter passes leading to easy completions. This is a fair statement, but this was all part of what the Renegades’ offense is all about. They want to keep it simple and balance out the offense.
With that being said, Plitt was able to show accuracy with the football as he completed 19 of his 25 passes. That is a 76 percent completion percentage which is ranked first in the XFL among all starting quarterbacks which should speak volumes. Not to mention he had four completions of passes that went for 15 yards and two passes thrown that were over 20 yards.
Granted, Plitt didn’t throw the deep ball often, but he is essentially a rookie quarterback making his first professional start. The last thing offensive coordinators Jon Hayes and Chuck Long want to do is put their quarterback in a bad spot by making him do too much. As the season progresses, they will add more to his plate, but for what he was asked to do, he was mostly accurate with the football and did his job.
The one interception he threw late in the second quarter was not a great pass as it was thrown straight to C.J. Avery so obviously not a good look there. There was also a fumble he had that was recovered by the offense. Outside of those two plays, it was a solid game of protecting the football. He never really put his team in a position to lose the game even though more plays could have been made.
Compare Plitt to the other quarterbacks in the league, St. Louis BattleHawks quarterback A.J. McCarron is the only quarterback who didn’t throw an interception in a game. Three quarterbacks threw for two interceptions with the rest with just one interception. With a week where quarterbacks were getting hit hard and still developing relationships with their receivers, Plitt had it better off than the rest of the quarterbacks in the league.
Plitt’s Potential of Athletic Abilities
Unfortunately, with offensive lines still needing work around the league, quarterbacks have had to use their legs to make plays or give receivers more time to get open. Lucky for the Renegades, Plitt is a guy that can make plays with his legs and throw on the run. He displayed that a few times throughout the game and did it just as well if not better than most of the league’s signal callers.
One big play in the fourth quarter came when Plitt had to run out of the pocket and gain 11 yards on the ground to keep a drive going. That play was part of a 16-play drive that lasted 9:50 before they failed to convert a fourth down conversion. It was a critical play in the game as it helped the Renegades kill as much clock as possible to give the Vipers minimum time to score.
No, it was not a perfect start for Plitt as the offense still has a lot of work to do. They need to clean up the offensive line play and get more aggressive with their play calling as they threw passes over 20 yards three times in the game. With that conservative game plan, the offense has to thank the defense for their two touchdowns.
As fans of the XFL should know, it takes two to three weeks into the regular season for a team to hit its full potential and play at a high level. The same is going to be the case for Plitt as he gets more comfortable with the speed of the game. Fans must remember he comes from Ball State and only had a preseason with the Cincinnati Bengals before coming to the XFL. He needs more time to develop and get playing time.
The potential is definitely there by the way fans can see his athleticism and decision-making. It isn’t perfect and it may take a bit for it to be good. The key for fans is to be patient as Plitt could be a guy when given the chance, will be a key playmaker for the Renegades this season.
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