Bad quarterbacks a big problem for the XFL

Getty Images

The XFL’s first weekend was a success, with solid TV ratings and generally favorable fan reactions to the upstart league’s innovative rules. Week 2 of the XFL is a different story.

Two more XFL games were played on Saturday, neither of them was compelling, and both of them suffered from bad quarterback play. The quarterbacks playing in the XFL right now just don’t look capable of delivering the kind of football that modern fans have grown accustomed to watching.

Obviously, no quarterback who’s good enough to start in the NFL is going to play in the XFL. But for its games to be entertaining, the the XFL at least needs quarterbacks who are able to play well against XFL defenses. And currently, the XFL doesn’t have enough of those quarterbacks.

Through six XFL games, there still hasn’t been a quarterback with a 300-yard passing performance. And XFL quarterbacks have collectively thrown as many interceptions as touchdown passes. In the NFL last season there were almost twice as many touchdown passes as interceptions. Football fans enjoy the quarterback-driven game that the NFL has become, and the XFL isn’t able to provide that.

Among the poor performances yesterday were Brandon Silvers of the Seattle Dragons completing just 7 of 18 passes for 91 yards, two Tampa Bay Vipers quarterbacks combining for zero touchdowns and three interceptions, and New York Guardians starting quarterback Matt McGloin completing just 8 of 19 passes for 44 yards, with no touchdowns and two interceptions before getting benched. Only DC Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones, who threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns, resembled a competent professional quarterback.

The poor quarterback play has led to low-scoring games: XFL teams are averaging 17 points a game. Last NFL season, teams averaged 23 points a game.

The XFL instituted several rules that were supposed to favor the offense and result in high-scoring games. So far, those rules have not been enough to compensate for poor quarterback play.

106 responses to “Bad quarterbacks a big problem for the XFL

  1. I saw some of the footage. It’s not poor quarterbacking, it was the pass rush which was much improved from Week 1. The holding from the line was much less blatant.

    A good pass rush adds excitement and unpredictability from the game. Good to see better offense/defense balance in the XFL this week.

  2. One reason why the QB play is bad is because lack of practice. Before week one they only had five practices.

  3. You could say the same thing about all of the minor leagues sports team. Consistent solid play is what gets you to the next level. If the quarterbacks were all studs they wouldn’t have ended up in the XFL to begin with. And it’s only been 2 games. The cream will rise to the top. And then be scooped up to be NFL backups.

  4. I watched part of the DC/New York game, McGloin was HORRIBLE. I also took in enough of the Tampa Bay game to remember what a Mark Tressman team looks like.

  5. Remove the top 10 quarterbacks from the NFL, and I would presume that those NFL numbers would drop significantly. Quarterbacks are, essentially, the most cherished position in sports, which is why there are a dozen good to excellent ones on the planet.

  6. Its the coaches they hired…They’re trying to put in classic NFL style offenses when they should be implementing more spread option/running offenses, ie like the offense that is used by the Ravens for Lamar Jackson.

    There are plenty of very good ex college QB’s who are proficient at this offense. (And colleges score ALLOT using this offense.)

  7. Bad quarterbacks are also a problem for the NFL. 32 teams in the NFL and the breakdown of QB’s is probably something a long the lines of this: 10 elite, 10 good and a dozen that really have no chance at the playoffs or Super Bowl unless carried by a VERY good defense.

  8. It’s no real shock, anyone with common sense knows poor QB play makes a game much harder to watch.

    The xfl will never have the nfl talent level and thus will struggle long term as a result.

    People want it to succeed as an anti-nfl but that’s just not realistic in 2020

  9. Just give up on real football like college and nfl, get some guy to run the ball and pass just enough to be called quarterback.

  10. The early game was boring but there are plenty of NFL games that end up in similar fashion or close to it.

    The game in Seattle was quite entertaining and I’ll watch again.

  11. To you haters bashin on the XFL folding….I noticed the broadcasting this week was better than last weeks…also yes Qb’s are struggling but you would too if you didnt know your players very well…like to add that look at the receivers for Hou as opposed to the ones for Mcgloin…the talent levels are different..this opens the door for guys to step up and compete!! I love the XFL…this is their 2nd week…by week 5 all teams will see who they are and know how to start utilizing their guys vs the other teams defenses…its all so new!! Give it time….hope you werent ever criticized this much your 2nd week at work jeez…

  12. Bad quarterbacks (not entirely their fault). I also noticed a lack of speed on the defence. I saw a takeaway that should have gone for a Pick 6 in the Guardian’s game. The defender that picked the ball trundled (not ran!) up the field, and seemed to run out of gas…

    The XFL is not a bad product, but they need to coach the players better I think. I’ll continue to watch the games and see…

  13. First weekend the QB play was pretty good but yesterday was awful. More games like McGloin and others put on the field will have fans headed for the exit.

  14. It’s minor league football with minor league players… The players will never get any better, therefore, the play will never get any better.. The XFL is doomed for failure…The sooner this experiments ends, the better.

  15. I’ve watched all six games and will watch every single other game. Yes some of these QB’s suck. No, I don’t need to see 5000 yards passing to make the game enjoyable. I like to see a RB steamroll a defender like Earl Campbell, as I saw yesterday.

    And I like that they use common sense in determining if a catch is a catch. One review yesterday would have been called a no catch in the NFL. Even though the ball was clearly secured in both hands when it barely touched the ground as the guy fell down.

  16. The problem for offenses isn’t QB play. The problem for offenses is that they actually tend to let the defenses play. There have been quite a few XFL defensive highlights that would have been ticky tack first down penalties in the NFL, so instead of extending the drive it comes to a stop.

    I for one have enjoyed seeing defense actually get a chance to play.

  17. Michael E says:

    “I’ve watched all six games and will watch every single other game….I like to see a RB steamroll a defender like Earl Campbell, as I saw yesterday.”

    You saw Earl Campbell playing defense and getting steamrolled yesterday? Not surprising. Earl was perhaps the toughest running back ever, but he’s a little old to be playing defense these days.

  18. Sounds like a job for Kapernick. He could sign with someone and save the league with his stellar play.

  19. They need to get more out of the QB position to keep interest in the league going throughout the season. I’m not particularly buying into the rationale of good defensive play because outside of a few good performances, what we’ve seen so far are too many badly missed passes and poor decisions.

    They have some solid QB’s in this league, and offensive line play should improve, so hopefully things get better. But they really can’t afford too much more of what NY/Tampa/Seattle gave us yesterday.

  20. The uniforms are so bad that it literally makes the football look worse. I have been way too busy with a wonderful life to watch much XFL, but the few seconds I did catch I felt like I was watching some low-level league with not enough money to have quality professional looking uniforms. And I was watching that, but not for long.

  21. The league will need to last 3-5 years before players with serious skills even think about taking a chance on signing. I don’t think they last to the 3rd season. Andrew Luck would not be able to play since he is still under that Colts contract. Even if he played it wouldn’t make a big enough difference as that team likely wins every game.

  22. The XFL is fine. Like any new upstart league with minimal practice, the defense is going to outshine the offense most likely. The pass rush and DL work in week 2 was phenomenal. I want the XFL to stay and thrive. They aren’t trying to be the NFL, they are just trying to be their own league and grow. So don’t compare them to another league. Treat them as their own seperate entity, which they are. Naysayers can just not watch it and go watch golf or something.

    Go Seattle Dragons! Seattle had just under 30k fans for the opener, which is great to see, and it was a lot of fun!!

  23. Take away the Top 60 to 70 QBs, all who happen to be playing in the NFL right now as either starters or backups and this is the result.

  24. The sad reality is that this league desperately needs Andrew Luck, Johnny Manziel, Brandon Weeden, and even a head case like Colin Kaepernick. It would be great for viewership. That’s the bottom line. Unfortunately, all the best quarterbacks go on to play in the CFL or NFL.

  25. Defenses in pro football are too good for what they ask QBs to do these days. The nature of pro football should focus on the run with timely passing. Offenses are more complex than necessary. Brady won his first 2 superbowl in a dumbed down offense. The 70s had the best balance of run/pass ratio. Those were the days.

  26. These guys were all competent (or better) college qbs. The current problem is lack of familiarity and repetition. I think the offenses will improve as time goes on.

  27. Bad QBs are a problem for the NFL, every year there are 6-8 teams that should be looking for a QB and another 4-6 that could easily be added to that!

  28. If quarterbacking was easy to master, Patrick Mahomes wouldn’t have been sitting on the bench his entire first year. Colleges would have more complex offenses, but 2-3 years isn’t enough time for everyone to learn a sophisticated scheme. But these guys are expected to master it in 2 weeks? I’d say the issue is more with unrealistic expectations than it is with poor play.

  29. The XFL is pretty much the same talent wise as the fourth preseason game in the NFL. Those games are borderline unwatchable so I’m not surprised by the level of play in the XFL.

  30. I’ve watched several XFL games and have to agree, the QBing is terrible. Has nothing to do with lack of practicing together either. I don’t know how many passes I saw that were either behind the receiver or didn’t even reach him. The Seattle QB was pitiful.

    I’ll give the XFL time and hope the games and players improve.

  31. O-Line’s have no cohesion. They’ve only known each other for 2 months.

    Pass rush has been serious business.

    If you gave these QBs Landry, OBJ and Chubb they could easily pass for Baker Mayfield.

  32. The only way this league stays around is to change the schedule to play during the NFL season. Starting the season right after the NFL season means there wont be many talented players available.

  33. I was & still am shocked that the XFL didn’t try to sign college stars who weren’t eligible for the NFL draft or were suspended from their college teams. Imagine if they were to sign Ohio State’s Justin Fields, North Carolina’s Sam Howell, Iowa State’s Brock Purdy,Texas QB Sam Ehlinger or Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan. It not only be a win for the XFL but would also force the NFL to reconsider their eligibility policy.

  34. Dr. Kayfabe says:
    February 16, 2020 at 2:28 pm
    O-Line’s have no cohesion. They’ve only known each other for 2 months.

    Pass rush has been serious business.

    If you gave these QBs Landry, OBJ and Chubb they could easily pass for Baker Mayfield.


    This is funny because it’s true……..

  35. 22242g says:
    February 16, 2020 at 6:07 am
    Bad quarterback’s in the XFL ?
    Wanna see bad……….come on down and watch Winston in Tampa


    Then drive down to Miami when you’re on a bad QBs tour

  36. You are all wasting your time, thoughts and words on what to blame… this League will fold in less than 2 years. I would say one, but the TV Contract basically gave them a credit card to blow through this year. NOT-GOING-TO-MAKE-IT

  37. Maybe it would be helpful if someone wasn’t sticking a microphone in these guys face’s every five minutes. Maybe they could focus more on football. The NFL is the most watched thing on TV in the entire universe, and they don’t have people interrupting the flow of the game. If you want to succeed, copy successful people.

  38. Cardale Jones is by far the best of them, and the DC Guardians the best team. You can see why none of these other QBS ever made it anywhere, they really stink. If the XFL wants to keep a watchable product they need better players period, or else as has happened before the American fan will tune out especially with NCAA tournament, Masters, MLB all coming up. Important early weeks to get that momentum and if they can’t good bye once again to spring football.

  39. How about the NFL playoff stats for QBs!

    Its a new league in Week 2 give it a rest

    How about the NFL playoff passing numbers! Did he say that about TannaSHILL on the Titans with 71 net passing yds in a win over NE ? 83 passing yds in win over Baltimore and Mr. RunningQB? How about Jimmy G’s SF passing yds of 122yds in Win over Minn and 69yds in win over GB. Or Jimmy missing a wide open near TD to win the SB?

    YEP – That was the BEST teams in the NFL in the Playoffs – The TOP DOG in all FB – Did you complain about how bad Tenn was? SF? NO!

    No doubt QB play needs work – and no doubt it WILL improve with more game time. But when the NFL WINNERS in the PLAYOFFS, after 16, 17, 18 games have similar stats

  40. It’s just way easier to get defensive schemes down with minimal time to practice. Have you ever seen an NFL Pro Bowl game? Why do you think they don’t allow defenses to blitz? It’s because the offenses wouldn’t stand a chance, and these are the best players on the planet. Give it a couple more weeks, and the QB play will be night and day.

  41. Yeah, this definitely seems to be an issue. I like the league and I’m still watching, but other than Cardale Jones and PJ Walker, none of these QBs look like they belong on a football field.

  42. Next XFL season I imagine we’ll a noticeable improvement in play, not just from QBs but from all players. Not only that, it’ll be really interesting to see if college players or graduating HS players will decide to make the jump to the XFL to get immediate money instead of waiting for a chance at the NFL.

  43. Landry Jones 286 yds – 8:50 left in 4th qtr

    Josh Johnson 152 yds, 1 TD – 8:50 left in 4th qtr

    Both 1st starts in XFL

    What were you saying?

  44. Its because the xfl actually let’s them play defense. I for one like it. Its real football

  45. I don’t know, man. If you’re playing quarterback at the pro level, in any league, it means you are one of the best quarterbacks on the planet. It is very insulting to call professional players “bad” because they aren’t as good Patrick Mahomes or Drew Brees.

  46. TD Josh Johnson 48 yrds in the AIR! Show Jimmy G that!

    3 point conversion 19-18 almost 700 total yds in game…. XFL rolling

    14979 attendance in LA…. Chargers jealous

  47. The AFL started back in the 60’s and needed to grow up. Attendence around 18,000 per game and the players not the greatest. Well they did and now are the AFC. I.E. it takes time. The XFL will get better.Not the NFL but better.

  48. The NFL consistently has a quality QB problem. There are maybe 20 serviceable starters, maybe? After that it’s a rotating door or retreads and scrubs. If the NFL can’t find players to fill those gaps, the XFL has no chance to put out quality players.

  49. McGloin was awful. The funny thing is he had at least 3 deep scoring routes where the receiver was open and wasn’t even close to hitting him. The offense his coach runs is the same NE has been running for years. His coach used it to beat NE twice!. The Steelers run and have 2 sb rings. The problem wasn’t the game plan, it was you.

  50. nflpoker says:
    February 16, 2020 at 6:11 pm
    The AFL started back in the 60’s and needed to grow up. Attendence around 18,000 per game and the players not the greatest. Well they did and now are the AFC. I.E. it takes time. The XFL will get better.Not the NFL but better.

    The AFL was not a league totally filled with guys who were not even worthy of a practice squads in the NFL though. Both the NFL and AFL picked from the same draft. Players were drafted by both leagues, some opted for AFL over NFL. It wasn’t a total league of castoffs. You had guys like Len Dawson, a 1st rd pick for the Steelers in 1957 and joined AFL in 1961. Joe Namath was a NFL 1st rd draft pick by the Cardinals but opted to play in the AFL for the Jets because he couldn’t come to a contract agreement with the Cardinals. These were not 4th string caliber QB like in the XFL.

    HOF WR Lance Allworth was a 1st rd pick for the 49ers in 1962 but also drafted by the Raiders of the AFL (traded to AFL’s Chargers). He opted to go to the AFL over the NFL.

  51. Trying to match the NFL isn’t going to lead to success. If they want a chance to succeed, they need to bring in players willing to sign wavers and allowing bit hits. Bill themselves as 80s football or Football with Defense

    If they try to be NFL Light with practice squad level talent, they’re dooming themselves from the start

    At least that’s how I see it

  52. These comments are packed full of paid NFL trolls and the “writers” of the site seem to be quite cozy with the league as well. Xfl is really scaring the NFL.

  53. nflpoker says:
    February 16, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    The AFL started back in the 60’s and needed to grow up. Attendence around 18,000 per game and the players not the greatest. Well they did and now are the AFC. I.E. it takes time. The XFL will get better.Not the NFL but better.


    The problem might be not only are you wrong about the level of talent the AFL was getting, it’s not the 1960’s anymore. There are thousands of things to do besides going to a game and I have 250+ other channels to switch to if the level of play doesn’t improve to above guys that could at least make an NFL practice squad.

    The other problem is still as I said above. Running this season off the NFL season means you will have no talent. Guys on the bottom of rosters and practice squads are not going to go another few months after the NFL season. If you make the XFL championship game you will have played 12 weeks of football straight AND it’s already April 26th. Good luck, most NFL reporting happens on April 15th or so and mini camps start by the end of April. Good luck making an NFL roster when you wont be able to show up.

  54. Great late game today, two back and forth games. Houston v Stl very fun.

    QBs played well today and L Jones and Josh Johnson – it was their first game for XFL. They’ll only get better.

    XFL doing fine in the winter….

  55. Only 8 teams it’s refreshing not seeing a flag thrown every 5 seconds. They review everything at lightning speed to get it right. Add 8 more teams the market will expand. It’s not so bad!

  56. The QB’ing has always been a problem for all the alternative leagues, including the defunct NFL Europe. The USFL had a very inexperienced Steve Young, but overall, that is a key difference between those leagues and the No Fun League.
    If the XFL views itself as an NFL farm club they might survive. If they try to get into a bidding war for QB talent with the NFL, they will go bankrupt.

  57. Bad quarterback’s in the XFL ?
    Wanna see bad……….come on down and watch Winston in Tampa
    You mean the guy that lead the league in passing yards and had over 30 TDs?

  58. The USFL had a very inexperienced Steve Young
    The USFL also had Jim Kelly, Doug Williams, and Chuck Fusina. Counting Young, three of these guys played in 6 Super Bowls, with Doug Williams and Steve Young winning SB MVP. Kelly could have had at least 1 SB victory if not for a missed FG.

  59. You know, it’s an upstart league with non-NFL players who got very minimal practice time before the season started. There’s a lot to be said for practice.

    We can’t look at these things and expect high performance levels right away. Everything takes time. Regarding the QB play – same thing. Patience.

    I don’t understand why some folks seem so gleeful about singing imminent doom for the XFL. If you’re not interested, don’t watch.

    MY only issue which may impact long-term success: they should’ve waited a couple of months to start the season. Maybe May-July for the season? I don’t know. That would be a long enough break to get people hungry for football again. Plus they could bring in all the guys who didn’t get drafted but want to play.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.