The New York Guardians were something to watch during the new XFL’s first season. Unfortunately, the season was cut short due to the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Their final record was 3-2. In conclusion, there are some things the Guardians need to improve on going into 2021:
Stopping the Run
One of the many weaknesses on the Guardians’ defense was stopping the run. At the end of the season, the Guardians ironically graded out as the 2nd best run defense in the XFL. The run-stopping was not consistent. In Weeks 1-3, the Guardians gave up an average of 138 rushing yards per game. That was last in the XFL. However, during the stretch of Weeks 4-5, their defense allowed 48 rushing yards per game, which were 1st in the XFL. That is one less game, but there is definite improvement during that stretch. The stats below will show.
Rushing Yards Allowed (Weeks 1-5)
Week 1 vs. Vipers: 150
Week 2 vs. Defenders: 108
Week 3 vs. Battlehawks: 156
Week 4 vs. Wildcats: 40
Week 5 vs. Renegades: 56
This is one of the areas the Guardians will need to improve on next year consistently. Though, the last two weeks are a positive note to take into 2021.
More Passing Yards
The passing game was another thing that was a weakness in the beginning. Like stopping the run, the passing game was inconsistent. Here are the passing yards from each week this season for the Guardians:
Rushing Yards (Weeks 1-5)
Week 1 vs. Vipers: 182
Week 2 vs. Defenders: 66
Week 3 vs. Battlehawks: 195
Week 4 vs. Wildcats: 128
Week 5 vs. Renegades: 229
A lot of fans believe this was mostly due to Matt McGloin being the starter. In the first two weeks, there was a raw feeling to the offense. That would be considering Matt McGloin only had one touchdown and completed 52% of his passes. Week 2’s blowout made it worse when McGloin threw two interceptions and completed under 50% of his passes. Mind you, this is not the NFL, but a 44% completion is not good at all. He got hurt the next week.
The offense saw a boost when Luis Perez replaced him vs. the Wildcats in Week 4. The passing yards may have decreased, but the Guardians blew fewer opportunities. Against the Renegades, the Guardians passed for a season-high 229 yards.
Luis Perez is clearly the answer at quarterback for the future of the Guardians’ offense. The improvement later in the year shows promise for 2021.
Allow less total yards
Allowing total yards was a problem on the defense in 2020. The defense ranked 6th in the league in yards allowed per game with 329.2. But whether it was the opposing running game or passing offense that gave them trouble, the total yards were above 300, three of the five weeks. Here is the number of total yards allowed each week:
Total Yards Allowed (Weeks 1-5):
Week 1 vs. Vipers: 394
Week 2 vs. Defenders: 372
Week 3 vs. Battlehawks: 273
Week 4 vs. Wildcats: 345
Week 5 vs. Renegades: 260
The Guardians were one of the better playmakers in 2020. That means tackles at the line, interceptions, fumble recoveries and sacks. Unfortunately, that never made much of an impact on how many total yards they allowed. That gives a feeling to the opponent that even if the defense makes a play, they can still rebound from it.
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