Run Game: B-
Jones is a quality quarterback, with the potential to be one of the XFL’s best but at times it seemed like the team was unwilling to commit to the run despite having Cameron Artis-Payne and Lance Dunbar averaging about 5 yards a carry. To break down the numbers:
In 4 years together at Oklahoma, the offense Stoops and Landry ran saw them throw the ball 2,306 times, with 1,966 tries in the run game for a balance ratio of 1.2.
This year, their offense passed the ball 215 times, while running it only 95 for a balance ratio of 2.3, almost double what we saw from them in college.
Somewhat surprisingly, this divide only deepened when Landry Jones was sidelined with injury, as the offense under Phillip Nelsen had a balance of 93 passes to just 26 rushes, at a ratio of 3.58.
With Jones under center, the team was winning games with a prolific air attack, but the lack of balance was exposed without their starting QB.
After Hal Mumme’s brutal injury on the sideline, the team was geared up to move in a new direction with OL coach Jeff Jagodzinski moving up to OC, with RB coach Bobby Blizzard taking over playcalling.
It’s unclear which direction the offense will go next season, and while I don’t expect for the Air Raid to take the emphasis off the pass, placing a little more trust in their talented RB’s would go a long way.
The Renegades bend-not-break defense put together solid performances this year. They were 4th in points/game, and never really experienced a blowout like so many other XFL teams did. The defense was able to keep their offense in games, even up until the end in their losses.
This conservative approach to Defense served the Renegades well, and while they didn’t have an aggressive mindset and rack up Sacks and Turnovers, the defensive unit did their jobs well this year.
Josh Hawkins had a fantastic year with 2 interceptions in 5 games, while Derron Smith, Micah Abernathy and Tenny Adewusi held down the secondary well, and the team never allowed more than 250 pass yards. They even held PJ Walker to just 239 yards and 2 scores, a down day for the highly prolific star passer.
There is room for improvement however, and while the front seven had a solid year, the team should look to procure a marquee pass rusher this year. Hau’oli Kikaha was supposed to fill this role, but after stepping away to deal with personal family issues, the future of the Dallas pass rush is unclear. Kikaha had a sack to start the season, and while Dallas had 6 sacks on the year, another top end pass rusher has yet to emerge.
Kikaha could return, and has expressed interest in getting after quarterbacks once again, but Dallas should go out and find another sack artist either way.
Way too early to speculate about the offseason, but former 1st round pick and current free agent Shane Ray could be a great option there. If he wants to get a shot in the XFL, the 26 year old Super Bowl champ has learned under Von Miller, and has 14 sacks to his name. Reminds me of Kony Ealy.