The New York Guardians are set to open their inaugural season on Sunday, February, 9. They will have to do so without some key offensive players.
Entering training camp, the New York Guardians seemed to have one of the better receiver corps in the XFL. Injuries have taken their toll on Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride’s uptempo offense. He still has some good talent to work with, however.
Kevin Gilbride is no stranger to area football fans. He was the quarterbacks coach (2004-06) then the offensive coordinator (2006-13) of the New York Giants. Some of the best offensive seasons of Eli Manning’s career. The future Hall-of-Famer averaged over 3800 passing yards a season with Gilbride. His offenses were fast-moving, they utilized both the running and passing games to open the field.
When the Guardians were putting their roster together, Gilbride was looking for a good mix at the skill positions. It all starts with the quarterback. Matt McGloin will play the part of Manning. He first came to prominence when helping revive the Penn State Nittany Lions in 2012.
McGloin parleyed that into a four year NFL career, even starting in seven pro games. Of all the XFL quarterbacks, McGloin has the best pedigree. There is no doubt McGloin possesses a pro arm. He has the tools to be an effective quarterback, elevating the talent around him is another question.
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It will be a triple-headed monster, at running back and a quite bruising one as well. Tim Cook is the likely starter. He’s a near 250-pound bruising runner who struggled with injuries and academic struggles in college which limited him to just one full NCAA season. One of the backs he will alternate with is the smaller, yet much faster Justin Stockton. The other back is Darius Victor another big load at 230-pounds. Expect to see the backs not only run the ball but also block in the passing game.
It’s the wide receiver corps that will be an issue. Deangelo Yancey a former fifth-round pick out of Purdue, was going to be the New York Guardians main receiving threat but opens the season on injured reserve with a leg injury. Third receiver Tanner Gentry also got hurt in training camp and won’t be on the active roster either. Mekale McKay, Colby Pearson, and Teo Redding will need to step it up in their absence. As far as the tight end position goes McGloin will have a pair of big targets in EJ Bibbs and Jake Sutherland.
One thing fans can count on is some creative play calling and exciting football from Kevin Gilbride.