The New York Guardians of the remastered XFL debuted on February 9, 2020, vs the Tampa Bay Vipers. They won their inaugural game 23-3. Ever since then they have been a mixed bag.
The next two weeks they lost horribly to the DC Defenders and the St. Louis Battlehawks by blowouts. Many fans started to feel like it was a tradition to lose in New York (New Jersey) football since the New York Giants and New York Jets have not had a winning season in a while.
Anyway, since Luis Perez had taken over for Matt McGloin as the starting quarterback, their record improved to 3-2. That was until the coronavirus outbreak spread and caused multiple sports leagues to suspend their seasons, including the XFL. Here’s the Guardians’ 2020 season in review:
The offense at times looked great when it came to scoring points, but stale on the stat sheet. The first week the Guardians won against the Tampa Bay Vipers 23-3. What may have looked like a 20-pt deficit should have been a lot closer. That game Matt McGloin had an average game, only passing for one touchdown and completing just over 50% of his passes.
McGloin’s play dropped against the Defenders in a blowout 27-0 loss. He threw 2 interceptions as the running game did not get much accomplished. The total offense totaled 137 yards. McGloin during the game and after criticized the offensive gameplan.
The offense improved when it came to the yards vs the Battlehawks, but only 9 points showed up on the scoreboard. As Matt McGloin got injured, backups Luis Perez and Marquise Williams saw some playing time.
Perez replaced the injured McGloin the next week and the offense saw an improvement. Darius Victor rushed for a season-high 82 yards, as Perez completed 69% of his passes and threw a touchdown. The Guardians won a nailbiter 17-14.
The offense saw their best game vs the Renegades in Week 5, scoring 23 points (7 on the pick-six by Ryan Mueller) in a 30-12 win. Though intercepted once, Perez still guided the offense to a much-needed win on the road. The Guardians totaled 373 yards that game.
The offense was 7th in total offensive yards, 5th in average rush yards, 6th in average passing yards and last in points for and average points for.
The defense was best known for its playmaking abilities at certain times this season. The defense also was known for giving up a lot of yards.
Week 1 vs Tampa Bay was a prime example of that. The Guardians only gave up 3 points but gave up 394 yards. Bryce Jones and Aaron Soh picking off Aaron Murray twice. Aaron Murray and backup Quinton Flowers combined to pass for 244 yards. The rush defense struggled mightly giving up 150 yards.
The defense gave up fewer total yards the following week but gave up more points in a 27-0 loss to the DC Defenders. Cardale Jones had a field day, as he passed for 264 yards. The running game did better and only surrendered 108 yards.
The pass defense limited Jordan Ta’amu to only 117 yards the next week vs the Battlehawks. The run defense took a hit and gave up 156 yards. The final result was a 29-9 loss.
The defense saw little improvement vs Josh Johnson the next week in a nailbiting 17-14 victory. Josh Johnson made the pass defense bleed by passing for 325 yards (the most given up by the Guardians in 2020). The run defense only allowed 108 yards on the ground between Johnson, Elijah Hood, Dujuan Harris, and Larry Rose.
Next week, they had their best game. The run defense allowed a season-low 56 rushing yards and the pass defense held Philip Nelson to 206 passing yards. Not to mention that defensive tackle Toby Johnson and linebacker Ryan Mueller picked him off.
The Guardians’ defense finished the season 6th in yards allowed per game, 2nd in sacks, 4th in takeaways, 2nd in points against and 2nd in average points against. Defensive tackle Cavon Walker led the XFL with 4.5 sacks.
Going into next year, the New York Guardians will have to improve on both sides of the field.
The offense will have to work towards thriving more in the passing game and keep their current run production game going. With an offensive genius like Kevin Gilbride as the head coach, the offense definitely underperformed.
The defense will have to work on allowing fewer yards per game, whether the opposing run game or the passing game gets the bigger chunk of yards. They do create a lot of pressures, which turn into sacks, and force the opponent to turn over the football.
The Guardians’ players will have extra time to prepare for next season, so let’s see if they take advantage of it.