So, guys, I think Matt McGloin was right. While in poor taste to say what he said during the middle of a blowout. He was actually right. The XFL has a problem on their hands now. QB play. It’s not all of the teams, and it is a very simple reason why the QB play is not good. For the average football watcher, you could say, “well the offensive line talent level isn’t good enough, the QB doesn’t have any time.” Or you could say “the QB talent pool isn’t good enough, he can’t throw.” Or you can blame the receivers, the offensive coordinator, the weather, or etc., but the right answer would not be any of those. The XFL has a problem with QB play with some of their teams because…. THEY…DON’T…. ESTABLISH…. THE…. RUN!
Growing up, my dad and I started bonding over football, more specifically, Madden. I could never beat my dad. EVER. Not until I began understanding the game of football. I can remember vividly playing Madden NFL 97 with my pops, and the score would almost routinely end, 28 – 7. He would score every quarter. He would pick the Cowboys, and just dominate the whole game. I thought the way he played was boring. He would have the ball for an entire quarter. I was 7 at the time, and no matter who I picked, I could never beat him. Our game plans: I would throw the ball 60+ times in a game, probably completing only about half. He would run the ball with Emmitt ALL DANG GAME, and then play-action pass. I could literally never stop him. EVER. This went on for years, until I finally beat him in 2002. How did I beat him? I played him at his own game. I may have been a little petty and excessively salty by running down the clock to the last second then snapping the ball, but he laughed it off and accepted the 10-7 loss he received that day. I gave in, there was no way around the run. STRATEGICALLY. While it may not seem like the most “exciting” brand of football, establishing the run opens up the playbook. If you can scheme around your running game, it keeps defenses unbalanced and helps the offensive line gain confidence as well. The big boys up front feel empowered if on 3 and short, you call on them to help get your running back that extra few yards to keep the chains moving. Also, it gives the big men a break between snaps, where they can fire off the ball, get their blocks and catch their breath between the next play calls. Do you know how stressful it is to pass block, when you’re fighting off D-Linemen and linebackers just to give up a sack or have an in accurate QB. Frustrating.
When we look at Week 1 and Week 2 for the New York Guardians running game, they had the lowest run total of all 8 teams at 44 yards for Week 1 and were the second to last lowest at 71 yards in Week 2. Which most of those Week 2 yards came at garbage time. The Guardians were already blown out and were just trying to run the clock out to save face. Say what you want, DC is still a formidable opponent, but it shouldn’t have been a shutout. When going back to re-watch the game, New York never allowed Matt McGloin to settle into the offense. There didn’t seem to be an offensive strategic strategy for adapting to DC’s aggressive defensive play calls. DC blitzed early and often, and it wouldn’t have taken a lot to hit them with a screen or some two-route double move concepts to get the DC defense on their heels. Even still, I believe the Defenders knew that the Guardians wouldn’t attempt to establish a running game, and this in turn forced the Guardians to put most of the pressure on McGloin to make a play. It was clear McGloin never got comfortable, and it clearly came out in his body language on and off the field.
Now, I know none of the current XFL teams are out here looking like the 2019-2020 Tennessee Titans with King Henry in the backfill, but if you look at how great Tannehill played once he was given the reigns as the starter, he was only that successful because defenses couldn’t deal with Henry. The Titans play action pass game was lethal, especially down the stretch going in to post season play. If you look at most teams that made it into the NFL playoffs, consider the Ravens, Titans, Seahawks, and San Francisco all had stellar running games going into the post season. So much so, that the Seahawks brought “Beast Mode” out of retirement in order to make up for their injury riddled back field. I get that the XFL wants to be this high-flying face paced version of football that we all love, but as a student of the game, I cringe watching game after game of 30-40 pass plays and only 15-20 completions per game. Even if I missed watching an XFL game, and solely relied on reading the statistical out come of each match up, I could easily tell you who won or lost, without even knowing the score. Its always most likely going to be the team that had a balanced running game.
Again, I don’t want everyone coming for me thinking that I am saying every team needs to hand the ball off as many times as they pass the ball. As a coach and QB you need to come together to take what the defense gives you and adapt. I honestly believe that Matt had some valuable input to provide early on in the game, that wasn’t received, and it ultimately came down to explosion of outward emotion where you had coach and player feuding on the sideline. Gauging Matt’s character, I don’t see this man being one to want to cause division amongst his coaches and peers, but, I do know a disgruntled player when I see one. Especially one whose opinion isn’t being validated.
So yes, Matt McGloin was right. I feel like Matt is student of the game, I mean he should be, he’s the quarterback. Granted, it was probably to late, at halftime for the Guardians to establish a run game to make it competitive, but I believe McGloin caught a lot of unnecessary flak afterwards for his comments. Hopefully the New York Guardians coaching staff come together during film study to better prepare their team for offensive success, but as I write this and watch the week 3 match up between the Guardians and the Battlehawks, it looks like more of the same. Better luck in week 4.
Thanks for reading.
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