Dallas Renegades: Good, Bad, and Not so Ok Against St Louis

Just a few hours ago, the Dallas Renegades took the field for the first time ever. In what was the former home of the MLB’s Texas Rangers, the Renegades definitely left a mark on their brand new fanbase. For some, it was refreshing just to see more football. A football team that, on paper, looked to be more hard-nosed than its NFL “big brother” just across the parking lot. To say that it was an interesting sight to behold is a massive understatement. Fans wondered how the team would compete with the other sports in the area, they wondered how the rules would be different from the NFL, and wondered how the league as a whole would stack up against the former AAF football league.

Fans in attendance and watching at home got a good look. Here’s a look at the “good’, the “bad” and the not so “ok corral” in Renegades land.

The Good

Coaching: Well, the first thing that stands out – at least in my eyes – it’s professional football in February. The second thing that stands out: The Dallas Renegades will be led by former Oklahoma Sooners coach Bob Stoops. Furthermore, there are players that are familiar to him and will be able to carry out his gameplans. Hal Mumme leading the “Air Raid” attack with the (soon to be) returning Landry Jones and the Renegades receiving corps will also help give the Renegades some offensive punch.

Players who match the coaching scheme: The Renegades have a team that can really execute. In the backfield, Dallas brings Austin Walter, Marquis Young, Cameron Artis-Payne and Lance Dunbar. Throughout the first game against the Battlehawks of St. Louis, the Renegades used all of them in certain situations. Having a good mix of speed and power will be very useful to the offensive attack. As for receiving, the Renegades receiving corps was led by Flynn Nagle, a tight end, with six receptions for 43 yards. Donald Parham was second in yards – with four receptions and 40 yards. Though he didn’t have as much luck receiving, Sean Price played a decent game. Price, targeted four times, hauled in two of those and had 30 receiving yards.

Bob Stoops, known for having a stout and powerful defense when he coached the University of Oklahoma, finally has a chance to see what his players are capable of doing. Linebacker Tegray Scales, cornerback Donatello Brown, and cornerback Treston Decoud led in tackles with five apiece and 26 yards lost {combined). As a whole, the Renegades defense had 55 solo tackles, 8 assisted tackles among the players on defense, and 63 combined. In terms of quarterback hits and turnovers, the Renegades had two QB Hits, one interception, and one fumble recovered.

The Renegades came out with loads of hype. So much so, that the Renegades came out favored to win the XFL Championship based on coaching alone. It seems as though being “heavily favored” in any sport can doom them from the start. Coming into the first game of this season, Dallas was also the favorite to beat the Battlehawks of St. Louis rather handily. And they didn’t deliver.

Here is what went wrong with the Renegades season opener.

The Bad

Dallas Renegades Coaching: Going 1/10 on third down conversions is a clear indication that something didn’t go to plan. Eight of the 10 third-down conversion attempts saw the Renegades in “third and short” situations. At least seven of the third-down situations saw Renegades QB Philip Nelson with the ball in his hand to continue the drive. He failed every time. Overall, Nelson went 33/43 and 1 INT, for 209 yards. When asking Nelson to throw the ball deep, there was little accuracy. The talent must match the coaching scheme if a team wants to win.

Dallas Renegades Game pace: There are two key components to winning in sports  1) limiting mistakes in all phases of the game. 2) Ball control is king. The Renegades learned fast, that limited mistakes will equal wins. They learned this at the hands of the Battlehawks. The Battlehawks imposed their will on a Renegades team that seemed excited, yet lost at times. Diversifying the play calls will help the Renegades conquer the jitters. Additionally, testing the personnel with different plays will add and show confidence. The good news: there is plenty of football left. The air raid is a powerful tool, but the Renegades have more to worry about.

The “Not So Ok” O.K. Corral

Renegades fans had many instances where they were scratching their heads. After seeing Philip Nelson get sacked in crucial situations, can fans, coaches, and management all count on the Renegades offensive line to protect Landry Jones in his return? Will having Landry Jones in at quarterback even make a difference? As touched on above, the “air raid” is a powerful tool. Why do fans hear “do it again” from a coach when the Renegades can also run? The “air raid” works when properly executed, but timing is everything. Late in the game, Renegades QB targeted young receiver, Jazz Nelson. Ironically enough, the young man seemed to be in his own little world during the play. The “air raid” will work, but the players must match the scheme. The defense will need to clean up as well.

Dallas faces a Los Angeles Wildcats team who was dominated by the Renegades in-state rival, Houston Roughnecks. L.A.’s Charles Kanoff threw for 214 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score. He, along with Jordan Smallwood, will be just two players on the Renegades defensive radar.

How do you feel about the first game of the Dallas Renegades? Leave a comment below.

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JJ Nealy
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