Are the New York Guardians a new ballclub under the on-field leadership of Luis Perez? Certainly with someone other than Matt “Point the Finger” McGloin at quarterback, there is a healthier atmosphere. That may have manifested itself in last week’s win against the Los Angeles Wildcats. So even though they are far from an offensive juggernaut, there is some renewed hope as they take on the Dallas Renegades in an XFL game that is slated to take place on Saturday at 5 PM ET at Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX.
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The Guardians evened up their record at 2-2 last week with a win over the Wildcats at MetLife Stadium. Perez threw for only 150 yards, but if there was a “body language” quotient on the part of his teammates, it was in his favor. He is an interesting story; as a youth, he was a ranked bowler in the state of California, with twelve perfect games to his credit. He began his JUCO career at Southwestern College ninth on the depth chart, and then got to Texas A&M-Commerce, where, as a senior, he threw for 5001 yards and 46 touchdowns, winning both the Division II national title and the Harlan Hill Trophy, the Division II version of the Heisman.
Not that he continued that kind of success as a pro. He was undrafted and was on the L.A. Rams’ practice squad briefly, then hooked on with the Birmingham Iron of the AAF. He was so-so last season, with 52% completions and 5.7 yards per pass. So we don’t necessarily want to have any illusions about him.
But if he can provide a steady hand, with an occasional special package for Marquise Williams and a decent running game, the Guardians could move the ball a little for coach Kevin Gilbride, and let their defense – which is probably underrated, considering the holes a lacking offense has put it in – do the rest.
In the XFL football odds that have been posted on this game, the Guardians are catching some points:
Dallas Renegades -7.5
New York Guardians +7.5
Over 37.5 points -110
Under 37.5 points -110
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The Renegades felt as if they could get a leg up on the competition with Landry Jones, a guy with some starting NFL experience (with the Steelers) at quarterback. But clearly head coach Bob Stoops, under whom Jones played at Oklahoma, was aware that he could be mistake-prone, as he averaged about one interception for every game he played. Last weekend, Jones, who already led the XFL in interceptions, tossed three picks in the first quarter alone, then fumbled on a sack, as Houston took the ball into the end zone. He later aggravated the knee injury he suffered on the first day of training camp.
Is that a blessing? Well, Philip Nelson steps in. He is familiar with Air Raid concepts, and started the opener as Jones sat hurt. But he doesn’t stretch out defenses too much. Fortunately for the Renegades, they can move the ball on the ground with Cameron Artis-Payne and Lance Dunbar. But this offense doesn’t appear to be conceived with much rushing in mind. They’ve run it on just 31% of all snaps. And it’s not altogether unexpected when Air Raid guru Hal Mumme (who broke is leg in a sideline collision last week) is calling the plays.
Conversely, the Guardians are positioned to be a little more balanced, and with Tim Cook and Darius Victor (82 yards last week). We definitely appreciate that even though Dallas turned the ball over FIVE times to the XFL’s only unbeaten team (Houston), they lost by only seven points (27-20). But with Nelson at QB, and a proclivity to have to settle for field goals way too often (Austin McGinnis has nine of them), we’re not that confident about their ability to create sufficient distance. So we’re taking the points.
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