The third week of the XFL season has concluded and teams are still trying to figure out their offensive line. While some teams spent the week before week three to overhaul their offensive line, others laid dormant when they should have been moving. There wasn’t a ton of movement in the middle of the rankings but there was some movement overall.
To nobody’s surprise, the Roughnecks continue to top the rankings list. While they continue to dominate the top half of most people’s overall power rankings, the Roughnecks OL continues to make QB Brandon Silvers look like an MVP candidate. To date the Roughnecks have played the Guardians, an offensively inept Arlington Renegades team and a mediocre San Antonio Brahmas team, so they haven’t truly tested to this point. It still doesn’t change the fact this team continues to put up offensive numbers, as they haven’t scored anything less than 23 through three weeks.
The undefeated Defenders continue to lock down the number two spot and they closed the gap between them and the Roughnecks. DC found their pass blocking this week against a very tough defensive front in St. Louis. They did struggle at times, but the Defenders were much improved in the passing game and Jordan Ta’amu benefitted. They continued to show their run blocking domination with another impressive performance this week. Ryquell Armstead and Abram Smith are a double headed monster and tough to stop. When you sprinkle in D’Eriq King at the QB position, the Defenders could have be very difficult to stop. Their run passing continues to widen the gap between them and number 3.
St. Louis BattleHawks(+1)
In rare cases, a team can lose a game and actually move up in power rankings lists. As for St. Louis they benefitted this week despite losing. St. Louis continues to struggle a bit against pressure and their pass blocking had holes in it. They have, however, solidified themselves as the second-best run blocking unit in the league. Despite moving up one spot, the BattleHawks are still very far behind the Defenders on this rankings list. This movement is more of an indicator as to how bad the rest of the league is struggling with their OL units. St. Louis will need to continue to improve their pass protection if they want to move into the top two on this list.
Oh, Arlington. The Renegades win a game but slide one spot on the rankings. Arlington struggled against the worst pass rush in the league; well, to be honest, they struggled against the worst team in the league. The Renegades have one of the worst offenses in the league. It doesn’t matter if it’s Drew Plitt or Kyle Sloter starting, they can’t protect the QB which is causing inconsistent play. They have a lack of a running game which is putting even more pressure on the offense and QB and the OL hasn’t been strong enough in that category for me to believe they’ll ever move up the list. This week was a glaring issue for Arlington and the fall from three to four is pretty significant.
Seattle Sea Dragons(+1)
Seattle moves up a spot after their performance from Saturday. QB Ben DiNucci continues to turn the ball over, but the Sea Dragons were able to find their running game this week to complement their passing game. Josh Gordon started to resemble the All-Pro he was years ago at the NFL level and their passing game is among the best in the league, when DINucci gets time. They still had three turnovers, no INTs, but a lot of that came from DL pressure because the OL is still improving. If they can continue to show the ability to run block and they don’t drop in their pass protection, the Sea Dragons could make noise in the middle to late part of the season. This is one team to keep an eye on moving forward.
The freefall for the Vipers continues. While they only dropped one spot this week, that’s a total of three positions lost in the very young three-week season. The winless Vipers still haven’t figured out how to run the ball consistently for four quarters, and another late second-half collapse proves that point. Early in the game in looked as if they had figured out their run-blocking issues, but the second half they resorted back to the early Vipers. The pass protection looked like Swiss cheese this week with some drives resembling an OL that passed the eye test and other drives looking terrible. If the Vipers can’t figure this out, and fast, they’re going to be lucky to win a single game this season. Luckily for them, they still have the Brahmas and Guardians left to play on the schedule.
San Antonio Brahmas(-)
San Antonio doesn’t move up this week, though they closed the gap to Vegas pretty significantly. The drop from six to seven was pretty sharp but a really solid performance against the best pass rush(to date) will help close that gap. Unfortunately for the Brahmas, playing such a strong DL, like the Roughnecks, still exposed major issues for this team. The Brahmas’ only win this season has come against the Guardians and they still have a ton of problems to address along that OL. The run blocking is improving and Kalen Ballage continues to get better every week, but Jack Coan still looks uncomfortable at times in the pocket. The tackles are still the best part of the OL, but the interior needs to get better if SA wants to make the playoffs out of the South, which is still within their grasp.
Imagine being the most improved offensive line and you’re still pulling up the rear of the power rankings. The Guardians, unfortunately for them, are this week’s winner of such an award. They were much better this week against the tough Arlington Renegades DL, but they were so far behind from the first two weeks, they couldn’t quite overcome the gap; they did, however, close it drastically. The Guardians resembled a functioning offense this week and kept the game very close with Arlington. The overhaul they made during the week gives head coach Terrell Buckley a ton to build on and should spark some hope inside him. They still need to be more disciplined as they continually shoot themselves in the foot with untimely penalties, especially holding on the outside, and missed assignments. Hopefully for the Guardians, another week with this overhauled OL will just build better chemistry for them.
The offensive lines are continuing to build chemistry and improve, which is expected with short camps. I’m encouraged by the overall improvement as a whole, but there’s still some glaring issues with several teams and some of these mid-level teams are slowly starting to slip and we could see some drastic movements after week four. The play gets better and soon, defenses aren’t going to be able to bail out some of these teams and when that happens, the OL problems will become very, very apparent.
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