XFL Week Four Recap: Major Takeaways From Each Matchup | Nate Meadors

XFL Week Four: Major Takeaways From Each Matchup

XFL Week Four is in the books, which means that we have lots to break down. It was an entertaining weekend of football, as every team continued to trend in the directions that have been set over the past couple of weeks.

Let’s take a look at what all went down this weekend in the XFL.

Houston Roughnecks, 44 | Orlando Guardians, 16

Wade Phillips has his Roughnecks playing like the most fun team in the XFL. This squad is unreal, from top to bottom. AJ Smith is the best OC in the league, as he’s turned Brandon Silvers into an outstanding signal caller, surrounded by dozens of weapons.

At every position, Houston is stacked. We saw just how lethal this offense can be, as Silvers tore up Orlando’s defense time and time again. Heck, Smith even pulled out the double forward pass, which was executed to perfection against an unsuspecting Guardians defense.

Brian Stewart’s defense is nasty. This front seven made Paxton Lynch’s life absolutely miserable. Week in and week out, the Roughnecks make their opponents look inept for large portions of the game.

Houston simply needs to keep doing what they’re doing. They are the most well-oiled machine in the XFL right now, and are one game away from being 10-0 in franchise history. H-Town is so back.

Orlando Is A Mess…Part IV

At this point, Orlando needs a total rebrand. This team has been nothing but an embarrassment since beginning their XFL tenure in 2023. It starts with Terrell Buckley, who has been everything but a leader for his Guardians.

Paxton Lynch isn’t a terrible quarterback. In fact, he threw an 81 yard touchdown to Charleston Rambo, which is certainly the highlight of this rough season so far.

To be quite frank, Buckley and his coaching staff don’t seem to know what they’re doing. Buckley is always complaining that his team isn’t “performing”. However, it’s hard for a team to perform when the coaches don’t believe in the players, and do not put athletes in a position to make plays.

At this point, it feels like this season is over for Orlando. They are way too inconsistent on offense, as the offensive line struggles to protect for more than one drive a game. Their defense hasn’t been great, either. Houston just dropped 40 on their head. This team needs more than just Quinton Flowers to save them.

Seattle Sea Dragons, 15 | San Antonio Brahmas, 6

Seattle is an anomaly. At times, they look like the best team in the XFL. Then, in other moments, they make some of the dumbest mistakes you’ll ever see in spring football.

Up by nine, with under two minutes to play, June Jones thought it would be a good idea to throw the football. Ben DiNucci threw an interception, which gave San Antonio one more shot.

Now, thankfully, Seattle’s defense is legit. This team absolutely shut down the Brahmas for the entire game, controlling the momentum. Tuzar Skipper, Jordan Evans, and Shareef Miller made countless impact plays throughout the night, forcing a turnover on downs twice in the final few minutes.

The Sea Dragons have no reason to stall out on offense as much as they do at times. DiNucci has the potential to be the XFL’s best quarterback. Meanwhile, the team has so much talent between Josh Gordon, Jahcour Pearson, Morgan Ellison, etc. – Jim Haslett has to ensure that this squad plays smart football for a full 60 minutes.

Lackluster Offense For San Antonio

Hines Ward might want to consider a QB change heading into week five. Jack Coan does boast some incredible talent, but has not been an ideal fit for the Brahmas offense so far.

San Antonio has a solid team. Jacques Patrick and Kalen Ballage are excellent backs, who fit Ward’s system well. Jalen Tolliver, Travis Toivenen, and Alize Mack all provide valuable assets to the team. However, something has to give. This team only scored six points on Saturday night…which clearly, isn’t enough.

It’s a shame, because San Antonio has a fantastic defense. After Seattle posted over 500 yards of offense last week, they were shut down for most of the night by the Brahmas. Luq Barcoo is an absolute star, and should be well on his way to the NFL after this XFL season.

Unfortunately, a lack of execution has left San Antonio with just one win so far in 2023. With their backs up against the wall, there has to be a sense of urgency heading into week five.

St. Louis Battlehawks, 24 | Arlington Renegades, 11

Ka-Kaw is the law! What an unreal atmosphere it was in St. Louis Sunday afternoon, as the Battlehawks rolled to 3-1 on the season. Anthony Becht has a squad, as this team looks primed to make a deep playoff run if they continue to play like this.

AJ McCarron is the perfect fit for Becht’s system. He’s been playing at a high level, and out-dueled Kyle Sloter by a mile to come away with a win. Brian Hill continued to show why he’s one of the XFL’s top tier runners, making plays all day long. It’s been one hell of a ride for St. Louis so far, and they’re just getting started.

How about that defense?? Arlington couldn’t get anything going for the majority of the afternoon. Travis Feeney, Silas Kelly, Nate Meadors, and plenty of others made impact plays throughout the day. The Battlehawks won the turnover battle by a big margin, largely due to the aggressive defensive game plan.

While there is still room for growth, the Battlehawks are an amazing team to watch. McCarron is a leader, never losing confidence even after making mistakes. With DC coming up next, The Dome is going to be rocking.

Arlington: Fraudulent Offense?

Kyle Sloter, Drew Plitt, it doesn’t matter. The quarterbacks have played terrible this season, but it doesn’t feel like it’s entirely their fault. Arlington’s offensive scheme is lacking firepower, with questionable play calls made on a consistent basis.

For example, the Renegades tend to run on 2nd and 10 often. This was evident against St. Louis, and it never seemed to work. For whatever reason, they kept going back to it. If this offense wants to be competitive moving forward, the play calling has to shake things up.

While the Renegades defense wasn’t as fierce as they usually are, they can only do so much. This unit has broken their backs for Arlington the entire season, carrying the team to two wins in just four weeks. To be quite frank, Bob Stoops couldn’t keep his offense on the field, which led to a lot of wear and tear for Arlington’s defense early.

The good news: this team still holds the second seed in the XFL South. As long as they can clean up some of the mistakes, Arlington is doing just fine when it comes to being competitive for a playoff berth.

DC Defenders, 32 | Vegas Vipers, 18

The DC Defenders are a very stable team, largely due to the leadership of Reggie Barlow. He has constructed a strong organization from top to bottom, as everyone is fitting into their respective roles fluidly.

DC maintained their undefeated status by taking down Vegas at home. It wasn’t pretty for the entire night – but, across the board, the Defenders played solid football. The two-QB system with Jordan Ta’amu and D’Eriq King is working quite well, as both can run the football at a high level.

At the same time, the passing game has really opened up over the past couple of weeks, because the team established such a powerful ground attack. King, in particular, was unstoppable as a scorer, posting three total touchdowns against the Vipers.

The Defenders continue to defend impressively well, doing what they have to do to win ball games. Michael Joseph, Reggie Northrup, Joe Wallace, and plenty of others make big-time plays week in and week out. Gregg Williams has his unit looking fierce.

Vegas Cannot Execute

Rod Woodson is getting increasingly frustrated with the referees each week, and for good reason. Vegas has been on the short end of the stick on several big calls, including one that prevented them from scoring right before halftime in DC.

It’s been a rough road for the Vipers. They fired OC Duane Taylor, bringing in Ray Sherman as the new OC for this week.

To be honest, the offense looked solid. Luis Perez was brought into the game quickly to replace Hundley, and played well for all intents and purposes. The ground game was the best it’s been this year, as John Lovett and Rod Smith both made a legitimate impact.

Unfortunately, the team simply couldn’t execute at crucial moments, which led to another loss. Defensively, the Vipers are lost. They had absolutely zero answers for DC, despite facing them just two weeks ago.

The Vipers are now in an 0-4 hole, which is rough. Considering how strong the North Division looks, Woodson has his work cut out for him as we head towards the mid-way point of the XFL season.

Final Thoughts

XFL Week four was probably the most unbalanced of the year so far. Two undefeated teams played two winless teams, and those matchups were lopsided as expected. Houston, DC, and St. Louis are definitely the top three teams in the XFL right now. Vegas and Orlando are clearly at the bottom.

Meanwhile; Seattle, San Antonio, and Arlington have to do some soul searching to figure out who they really are. Before we know it, the playoffs will be upon us. Every game matters in a 10 game season, so things are bound to get even more intriguing as we head into week five.

Which XFL Week Four game was your favorite? Are there any XFL players that impressed you the most this week? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!