Bears News: Previewing the XFL: DC Defenders

Bears News: Previewing the XFL: DC Defenders

by - Senior Writer -

As we inch closer to the XFL season, we also inch closer to the end of our XFL previews. Today we head out East to the Eastern Most team in the XFL, as they will be the last of the five returning teams for 2023.

This team saw their name get tossed out there as a possible replacement for the then-Washington Redskins before they ultimately went with the Washington Football Team. Today it is all about the DC Defenders, who will look to battle their way to the top of the league. Needless to say, their first go around had some success as they were one of the 3-2 teams in the league.

That was mainly in part to a young upcoming Head Coach, Pep Hamilton, who now takes his post as the Chargers QB coach working with Justin Herbert. With him no longer running the show, the Defenders will turn to Reggie Barlow. The 51-year-old former NFL wideout may not have NFL coaching experience, but he does have 13 years of NCAA coaching experience, posting an 83-58 mark with Alabama St and Virginia St.

Barlow will be paired with plenty of inexperienced offensive coaches, but it is on the defensive coaching staff where the damage will be done. Not only is former NFL LB Jamie Sharper coaching the LBs, but long-time controversial NFL Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams will be calling the shots. His no-nonsense and aggressive nature is perfect for this league, as the Defenders defense will be ready to go.

DC was no stranger to having high-profile QBs as they rolled with Cardalle Jones last time out. This time, it is not only a league favorite, but quite possibly the best QB in the XFL, with Jordan Ta'Amu taking the snaps. The 25-year-old Ta'Amu has started for both the Battlehawks and Tampa Bandits (USFL) in recent spring leagues, and has posted a 7-8 record with 19 TDS and 14 INTs. He also has 3065 yards passing on better than 61% completions, so he will not hesitate to fling it around.

Part of Ta'Amu's game comes from his legs, as he knows how to scramble to pick up yards. However, it is up to the RBs to take the pressure off him, which is where former Chicago Bears RB Artavis Pierce comes into play. Pierce was on the roster in the 2020 and 2021 seasons, but only accumulated 64 yards in total offense.

When it comes to the passing game, Ta'Amu has some options, but two of his better WR options are on the reserve list in KD Cannon and Jazz Ferguson. Cannon was a legitimate threat at Baylor as he accumulated more than 3000 yards in three seasons. Ferguson is another Spring League vet who has the potential to be an elite-level player in the XFL.

Defensively speaking, the Defenders only have a few high-level players, but with Williams as the coach, he will get the most out of his players. Up front, you have Davin Bellamy, Fadol Brown, Caraun Reid, and Gabe Wright. Neither of them comes with a ton of NFL experience, but now is the time for them to prove their worth.

The LB room is perhaps the most important unit on the field, as this is Williams's specialty with the defense. Francis Bernard, Terrill Hanks, Andre Mintz, and Reggie Northrup are the leaders of this room, with Northrup having several years of spring league experience.

If both the Defensive Line and LB unit can get pressure on the opposing QB, the Defenders secondary might have the ability to make plays. Regarding the secondary, Kentrell Brice is the most well-known player, as he spent several seasons with the Green Bay Packers.

During his time in Green Bay, Brice collected 99 career tackles, one sack, and one interception. He also added six pass breakups, as he was known for being around the ball when given the opportunity. Expect more players to be added to this roster once the season officially gets underway, but as things sit, this could be the favorite to come out of North Division as XFL 3.0 is set to take off.

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