XFL: Tampa Bay Vipers News, Updates & Predictions

Vipers Follow Inaugural Victory with a Loss

XFL: Tampa Bay Vipers News, Updates & PredictionsTampa Bay is residing in the basement of the XFL East but there was a break in the clouds when they shut out the top team in the division, the DC Defenders, by the score of 25-0.

It has been a whirlwind ride for head coach Marc Trestman and the victory was sorely needed after his team had lost four straight and rumors of a locker room gone amuck had reportedly usurped his leadership.

But one win can cure what ails a team and that’s exactly how it felt in Trestman’s postgame comments, “I love you guys, I’m really proud of this team. You can be what you want to be, right? We can be whatever we want. We get a choice. … I want you to enjoy this locker room, the joy of a winning locker room because there’s nothing like it in sports.”

Unfortunately for Vipers’ fans that jubilation only lasted seven days because the following week the Vipers’ were back to ground zero, after falling to the LA Wildcats, 41-34, a stark departure from the stone-cold defense they exhibited against the Defenders. Tampa Bay appears to be snake-bitten if you’ll pardon the expression, as they routinely rack up more total yards and run more plays than their opponents yet come away short on the scoreboard.

Such was the case in Week 5 when the Vipers outgained the Wildcats by 89 total yards and tallied five more first downs but suffered their fourth loss in five outings. The key issue with the Vipers’ offense is that it is intensely focused on running the ball, an interesting departure from the high-octane, pass-happy offenses we routinely witness in every level of football from college to pros.

Case in point was this most recent game against Los Angeles when the Vipers continued to rush by platooning De’Veon Smith and Jacques Patrick before Patrick left due to injury. But the Wildcats got wise and began to buckle down on the run and made adjustments after a sloppy half of play.

Defensively, the Vipers are leaving their secondary hanging out to dry because the blitz packages they use are simply ineffective for the most part. This means that the secondary has to shadow opposition receivers for too long and that has led to breakdowns on defense. Hopefully, the coaching staff is getting hip to what ails them and can rip a page out of their playbook from their lone win against DC.

What’s Next?

Taylor Cornelius - XFL: Tampa Bay Vipers News, Updates & PredictionsThe midway point of the season has been reached and the Vipers are desperately searching for a way to be competitive enough to break the logjam in the East. However, time is not their friend and they would have to win four of their next five to have a chance at copping a playoff spot. It’s improbable but not impossible and their next test will come this Saturday when they entertain the St. Louis BattleHawks at Raymond James Stadium. When considering your XFL top bets for this weekend you might want to take the plunge on betting the Vipers. Defensively they have been stout against the run, allowing just 75 yards per game which is tops in the league, and have more tackles for a loss than any other team. St. Louis employs a ground-and-pound offense which should be tailor-made for the Tampa Bay defense.

In addition, former Oklahoma State quarterback, Taylor Cornelius, is a project under center for Tampa Bay but a player that head coach Marc Trestman admires, “He’s played in some high-pressure, high-level games against great quarterbacks, and he was an iceman. He’s got a big, strong arm. And he’s got a high football IQ. Watching him play, all you can say is, ‘I would love to coach that guy.’”

Taylor got his first start for the Vipers after starting quarterback Aaron Murray was injured after the team’s season-opening loss to the New York Guardians. Last week he tossed for 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns but he also floated an interception that was easy pickins’ for the Wildcats’ safety. But a bit more seasoning could bear fruit as the season progresses. We will see how this plays out on Saturday and will learn if the Vipers have any chance of a postseason berth once the game is over.

Spread the love
Posted in: Sports
  • Archives:

  • Categories:

  • Tags: