Remember this date and where you heard it first. Starting QB of the Houston Roughnecks, P.J. Walker, is going to be a stellar playmaker in the XFL. P.J. was recently named the starter for the Houston Roughnecks, but it had been rumored since the rosters started to form late last year that the QB battle between P.J. Walker, former QB of the Temple Owls and Connor Cook, former QB for the Michigan State Spartans, had been in a shootout for the starting position. Both QBs are deadly accurate and have great athleticism, but P.J. seems to have a little more “grit” about him. He was quoted saying during a “Get to Know the Players” interview with the XFL that he’s “an undersized quarterback, so he always plays with a chip on his shoulder”. He’s 5’11”, 215 pounds; and, after studying some of P.J.’s junior and senior year game film at Temple, I get vibes of Russell Wilson or Baker Mayfield playstyle. The undersized QB can make plays with his arm from the pocket when given time, but can also extend plays to facilitate the football to his playmakers. P.J.’s speed doesn’t jump off the screen for me like a Tyrod Taylor, who is another undersized QB that could out run a defense in his early career, but for what “out running” speed P.J. doesn’t have, the man is as quick as lightning.
The Houston Roughnecks plan to scheme around a Run & Shoot offensive concept under OC, Chris Miller, and Head Coach, June Jones. In my opinion, this offense is built for undersized quarterbacks. You spend most of your time in shotgun, which allows an undersized QB like P.J. the visual opportunity to see, read, and react to what the defense gives him. Crazy thing is, P.J. Walker comes from a Pro Style offensive background, where he spent most of his time under center. So, it must be a sense of euphoria to be able to stand back and see the entire defensive field. It is impressive that he grasped the Run & Shoot offense under Coach June Jones, who is seen as the “godfather” of the Run & Shoot, which says a lot of P.J.’s mental adaptability as a QB. Just go and Google June Jones, and I guarantee “Run & Shoot” will auto populate. That’s how long this man has been coaching, and that is how long he has been running the Run & Shoot. I’m almost tired of typing it. Moving on, might I add the Houston Roughnecks have a phenomenal wide receiver in Sammie Coates. Sammie Coates is a product of Auburn University and had a short stint in the NFL. He’s a large target who isn’t afraid to go across the middle, and in this offense, that I won’t dare type again, wide receiver routes are choice driven. Which means they are somewhat reading on the fly depending on what the defense gives them.
I imagine the one thing that sold Coach June Jones and his staff on starting P.J. was his ability to play confident and loose. Watching the Roughnecks minicamp, P.J. isn’t hesitant on launching the deep ball. It looks like he has a ton of trust in his wide outs, and they in him. Speed kills, and the Roughnecks have plenty of it. If the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs are the “Legion of Zoom”, then I would dub these guys the “Legion of Zoom Jr’s”. These guys can straight up fly, and P.J. highlights that speed by delivering a great deep ball that the Houston Roughnecks wideouts can catch in stride. My hope is that P.J. Walker continues to be a facilitator and not try to win with his legs. He’s very quick, but he’s no Lamar Jackson. He’s not outrunning the defense. Like I said earlier, he can extend plays similar to the other undersized QBs I mentioned in the NFL, but hopefully he won’t have to rely on doing that often.
Again, remember who said it first….
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