The XFL’s first official Mini-Camp has wrapped up, and we’re getting a good sense of where teams are at. If you’re a Renegades fan, there’s a lot to be excited about.
I’ve been high on the Renegades all throughout the offseason, and in camp, it looks like their moves are manifesting into a solid all-around roster. Coach Bob Stoops is at the center of all this and brings with him an A+ coaching staff.
OC Hal Mumme helped invent the Air Raid offense with Mike Leach back in the day, and he’s already developing a good rapport with veteran QB Landry Jones.
“He’s real straightforward. He’ll tell you how it is,” Jones said. “You’d rather have that than someone who’s going to pat you on the back all the time” per XFL.com
Jones is already meshing well with the receiving corps, bringing years of NFL experience, and a comfortability with Bob Stoop’s system to the table. He’s providing a stable veteran presence for the offense to lean on, and that’ll go a long way to developing some of these younger players.
Some of his targets are already emerging, most notably WR Jeff Badet and TE Donald Parham. After Ryan Broyles, 31 retired this offseason, the way is clear for Badet to become the WR1. Their first overall pick is already impressing in drills and scrimmages with his quickness, route running, and rapport with Landry Jones. Parham has been seen making some great one-handed catches, and with his 6’8″ frame and 7-foot wingspan, he should be a serious threat all over the field.
With minicamp winding down, it's become clear the competition at RB will be tight: "I can probably count maybe three or four busts during the whole camp so far," said RB Coach Bobby Blizzard. "They’re not making mistakes, they’re making plays."— Dallas Renegades (@XFLRenegades) December 18, 2019
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The running backs look great, and the Renegades have a very deep stable here. Cameron Artis-Payne and Lance Dunbar headline the group as established NFL vets. Artis-Payne looking like a Bell-Cow back and Dunbar offers great upside as a change of pace/3rd down option. Younger backs like Austin Walter, Marquis Young, and Darnell Holland give them a ton of quality depth, and Dimitri Flowers offers good value as a Fullback/H-Back option.
It’s hard to say where the offensive line is at just yet, non-contact drills and work without pads don’t give us a very clear picture. However, they have OL coach Jeff Jagodzinski to lean on, and he’s as good as they come for this position group. He’s been coaching in the trenches since ’86 in all different schemes and learned zone-blocking from Alex Gibbs, the architect behind the legendary zone run scheme with Mike Shanahan’s Denver Broncos.
The defense is starting to gel, as guys out there develop more trust and flow on the field. DC Chris Woods has been working hard to get them all in sync, and there’s already some standouts from this side of the ball.
They have rockstar DL Coach in Jim Jeffcoat. The 2 time Super Bowl Champion got it done for a decade and a half with the Cowboys and Bills. He’s a member of the 100 sack club, so when he speaks, the guys listen. Former Oklahoma Sooner Frank Alexander is the veteran of this group, and he enjoyed success under Stoops from 2008-2011. He also brings years of experience as an NFL player to the line. They also have plenty of young talent to work with here, and it’ll be interesting to see how this line shakes out.
The Renegades Linebacker corps just grew, as the team just traded for Markus Jones. Jones was a disruptive force at Angelo State, and had 17.5 Sacks and an insane 36.5 tackles for loss in 2018. It’ll be interesting to see how he fits into a group that already features promising young talent like Tre Watson – Maryland and NFL vets like Jonathan Massaquoi and Hau’oli Kikaha.
Their secondary is already looking strong, and 1st DB pick Derron Smith has been turning heads as a playmaking safety. Looking for big things outta him this year. Triston Decoud and Josh Hawkins are shaping up to be a couple of fine young corners,
Kicker Austin MacGinnis and Punter Drew Galitz have been spending every available moment honing their craft, and have even been staying out in poor weather when the team goes indoors. They’ve been doing this to test their abilities in adverse conditions, and it’ll go a long way come the regular season.
Oh, and they found themselves a Long Snapper in Owen Gilbert. Seems like they’re pretty excited to have him.
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