What you should know about the 8 XFL teams

By Rich Strom  (VSiN.com) 

February 9, 2020 01:57 AM

Need more football to get you through to the NFL draft or college spring games?

The new XFL aims to please, starting Saturday and running through the championship game April 26, the day after the NFL draft ends. The eight teams will play a 10-game regular-season schedule. Two semifinal playoff games will precede the championship.

The original XFL ran for one season in 2001. There will be a few twists to the rules — think double forward pass and three-point PAT — and some familiar names among coaches and players. The league owned by Vince McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment is stressing a fast-paced show with a 25-second play clock and a shorter halftime, so here’s a quick breakdown of the eight teams.

 

East Division

New York Guardians

Coach: Kevin Gilbride. The New York Giants won two Super Bowls with Gilbride as their offensive coordinator. The 68-year-old retired after the 2013 NFL season.

Top players: Former Penn State QB Matt McGloin bounced around the NFL from 2013-18. Luis Perez, a decent performer in the defunct AAF, may press McGloin for time at QB. 

Did you know: The Guardians lost two of the first three WRs they drafted, DeAngelo Yancey and Tanner Gentry, to IR before the season has even begun.

St. Louis BattleHawks

Coach: Jonathan Hayes. He spent 16 years working under Marvin Lewis with the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Top players: Former Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta’amu and RB Christine Michael, the No. 6 overall pick in the XFL draft. 

Did you know: OC Chuck Long, the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1985, had a short NFL career before being on staffs at Iowa, Oklahoma and Kansas. He also was the head coach at San Diego State from 2006-08.

DC Defenders

Coach: Pep Hamilton. The QB whisperer of sorts has worked with Andrew Luck, Alex Smith and Jay Cutler.

Top players: QB Cardale Jones made a name for himself in leading Ohio State to the national title in 2014. Hamilton should enjoy getting the most out of Jones, who also can be dangerous as a runner. RB Jhurell Pressley and WRs Rashad Ross and DeAndre Thompkins supply great speed.  

Did you know: Receivers will need to get just one foot down inbounds for a catch. 

Tampa Bay Vipers

Coach: Marc Trestman. He wasn’t great as a head coach with the Chicago Bears or OC with the Baltimore Ravens. But Trestman has been a wizard as a head coach in the CFL, winning three Grey Cups, and has the horses in Tampa to make the Vipers title contenderS. DC Jerry Glanville is a spry 78.

Top players: QB Aaron Murray, RB Quinton Flowers, TE Nick Truesdell. Murray, who played at Georgia, should fit nicely in a wide-open offense. Flowers, listed as a QB/RB, will be a threat, as will first-round draft pick Truesdell.

Did you know: The XFL will allow two forward passes on one play as long as the first is completed and the second is also attempted behind the line of scrimmage. Flowers could come into play here.  

West Division

Dallas Renegades

Coach: Bob Stoops. Yes, that Bob Stoops, the former Oklahoma Sooners coach who won 10 Big 12 titles and a national championship in 18 years. Expectations are high for the Renegades.

Top players: QB Landry Jones played at Oklahoma and has NFL experience, starting four games for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2015-17. Former East Carolina QB Philip Nelson also should play. WR Jazz Ferguson is talented.

Did you know: The Renegades’ home field will be the Texas Rangers’ old home, Globe Life Park. 

Houston Roughnecks

Coach: June Jones. His high-octane offenses have worked well in college and the pros.

Top players: QBs P.J. Walker and Connor Cook have been with NFL teams, and they’ll have a nice target in former Steelers WR Sammie Coates.

Did you know: The roster includes no TEs. Think Jones’ wide-open offense will focus on passing rather than running the ball?

Seattle Dragons

Coach: Jim Zorn. He may be better than the QBs he has to work with. He’d better be a good teacher. Mike Riley is his OC.

Top players: QB Brandon Silvers, RB Kenneth Farrow, RB Trey Williams. This could be the most run-heavy offense in the league.

Did you know: There will be no PAT kicks. Teams get one point by scoring from the 2-yard line, two points from the 5 and three points from the 10.

Los Angeles Wildcats

Coach: Winston Moss. In a league full of offensive-minded coaches, Moss’ forte is on the other side of the ball. The former NFL linebacker’s last stop on an NFL sideline was with the Green Bay Packers from 2006-18.

Top player: QB Josh Johnson has been in and out of the NFL since 2009, most recently starting three games for the Washington Redskins in 2018. Johnson will turn 34 in May but still flashes elusive running ability.

Did you know: At 73, Norm Chow will be in charge of the offense. 

The league will have a Team 9. This will be a group of 40 unsigned players who will practice and condition together in Dallas. The eight XFL teams can turn to this pool for replacements.  

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