3 Dec 2020

Home of the NFL Offseason

XFL Scouting Notes: Dallas Renegades – 25 @ Los Angeles Wildcats – 18

LA Wildcats quarterback Josh Johnson (8) is chased out of the pocket by Dallas Renegades outside linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha (44) during the second half of an XFL game at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. on Sunday February 16, 2020. The LA Wildcats lost to the Dallas Renegades 25-18. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

The second week of XFL action is underway, and so far it’s been an exciting ride through new rule adaptions to an awesome game of football. Thus far, the XFL has been a success as public interest is quickly growing with the league.

The Los Angeles Wildcats hosted the Dallas Renegades to kick off Saturday’s action in each team’s second game. The Wildcats entered the game hot, after taking a 17-37 loss to Houston and firing their defensive coordinator, Pepper Johnson. Meanwhile, the Dallas Renegades entered this game off of a disappointing 9-15 loss at home to the Saint Louis Battle’Hawks.

This game gave us the XFL’s first 300-yard passer in a single game, as Renegades quarterback Landry Jones threw for 305 yards and a touchdown. It almost gave us our first 100-yard rusher, as Cameron Artis-Payne came just one yard shy on 14 carries.

Here are the scouting notes that you need to know from the Renegades 25-18 win over the Wildcats.

Cameron Artis-Payne was the star of this game

Former Auburn running back Cameron Artis-Payne was an absolute stud and the saving grace for a struggling Dallas squad. Payne bounced a dying run play outside and was able to turn the corner for 21 yards and scored to put Dallas ahead. When they fell behind again, the Renegades leaned on their running back, and he scored again from 17 yards out.

Payne shows fantastic work as an after-contact runner. His quickness is very subtle. He doesn’t look like he’s moving very quickly, but he has the speed to turn the corner and the power to be difficult to bring down. Artis-Payne isn’t just a runner either, but a capable blocker and a good receiver out of the backfield. He gained 131 yards from scrimmage and scored 13 points.

Donald Parham is legitimate

I wrote on the ex-Stenson tight end in last week’s notes, praising Parham for being a solid receiving threat at 6’8″ and 250 pounds. Parham brought more of the same this week, catching 5 passes for 76 yards and the single touchdown from Landry Jones.

The thing about Parham that didn’t work out well for him on an NFL team last season is the fact that Parham struggles to block. However, at 6’8″ and 250 pounds, it shouldn’t matter too much how well Parham blocks. He’s a mismatch nightmare as a vertical threat and if an NFL team uses him as a receiver, he’s going to be an impact player.

Other Notes

  • Wildcats cornerback Harlan Miller is showing his worth as a very good zone cornerback. Miller was all over the field in pass coverage, collecting 2 pass deflections and an interception. He showed a very solid understanding of how to play zone coverage, and the IQ to be a nuisance to opposing quarterbacks.
  • Wildcats wide receiver Nelson Spruce was a star last week, and he continued to be impressive in week two. While he came 11 yards shy of breaking the 100-yard mark again, Spruce caught 6 passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns, keeping himself a comfortable lead as the leagues leading receiver. Spruce was credited during an interview on the broadcast by Rams running back Todd Gurley for teaching him how to catch while working through injuries on the Rams practice squad. He’s not just a hands guy, but a subtle route-runner too.
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