The high expectations for the Seattle Dragons XFL debut fell short. They headed into D.C. as the 7-point underdogs and couldn’t even match that as the D.C. Defenders easily covered the spread, winning 31-19.
It’s only the end of week one and the season is not lost yet. There is plenty to take away from this game so let’s get started.
Quarterback Brandon Silvers didn’t have a great game but he didn’t have a terrible one—even after completing only 21 out of 40 of his passes.
Several of Silver’s passes fell terribly short of the target and it’s difficult to tell whether it was because of nerves or fundamental problems.
One area where Silvers did really well was in the pocket. He had high pocket awareness—sensing pressure from the edge and stepping up to make throws.
A lot of the Dragon’s flaws seemed to rely on play-calling. While they cooked up plenty of option plays and deep shots, it felt too conservative—at least compared to the Defender’s offense.
Defenders couldn’t be stopped
The Defenders opened up their playbook from the very start of the game and were throwing all sorts of different looks at the Dragon’s defense. They had option plays, RPO’s, play action, trick plays, and more.
There were too many blown coverages by the Dragons’ zone defense. They simply could not keep up with Cardale Jones’ arm all game.
Adjusting to a different game
The XFL may seem like just another football league but it is quite different in fact.
Heading into game 1, there was zero tape availability on the opposite teams. There was no way to know the other teams’ tendencies, strengths, or weaknesses.
The faster style of play takes a lot of adjusting, especially having to go for extra points after a touchdown.
Looking at Week 2
Seattle will look for redemption in their home opener against the Tampa Bay Vipers in week 2. The good news is that the Vipers also had a poor outing in their week 1 debut against the New York Guardians.
In order to find success in week 2, the Dragons need to get more creative on offense. Silvers doesn’t have a strong arm so it would be smart for the Dragons to on short, timed throws in order to get the ball out quicker and ensure less turnovers.