Arlington Renegades 2024 UFL Season In Review | Bob Stoops

Arlington Renegades 2024 UFL Season In Review

The 2024 edition of the Arlington Renegades didn’t even come close to reaching the heights they did in 2023. From being crowned as XFL Champions, to finishing last in the XFL Conference, things were a lot different on paper for Arlington this year.

That said, this team did boast some of the best talent in the UFL. Luis Perez, the spring king himself, was an absolute stud all season long. He simply didn’t receive enough support from the teammates around him, which ultimately led to the team’s demise.

The Arlington Renegades finished with a 3-7 record, with the fourth seed in the XFL Conference. They weren’t dead last in the UFL, though, with Houston and Memphis both trailing in the win column.

Let’s take a look at what defined this UFL season for Arlington, and how this team might approach the offseason.

Self Inflicted Wounds

Throughout the entire UFL season, the Renegades simply couldn’t get out of their own way. In almost every matchup, even during their six game losing streak to start the year, Arlington was playing competitive football. Ultimately, their inability to close out games – with painful mistakes down the stretch – was their downfall.

In week one, a second half collapse against Birmingham spoiled their home opener. Perez played an extremely clean year, but a fourth quarter interception to Mark Gilbert – a throw he didn’t have to make – sealed this loss.

Week two was a bonecrusher. On the road, in a hostile St. Louis environment, Arlington was in a position to take a late lead. However, a poor snap and hold led to Taylor Russolino missing a 46 yard field goal, with less than two minutes to go.

The mistakes just kept piling up. A pass interference penalty allowed St. Louis to continue marching on what would have been 4th and 10. On the very next play Mataeo Durant put the Battlehawks in the red zone – setting up the game winning field goal for Andre Szmyt.

Somehow, week three was even worse. With a 10 point lead in the late fourth quarter, the Renegades defense had one of the biggest collapses of the entire season, of any UFL team. They allowed DC to score a touchdown and a two point conversion – and then, convert the 4th and 12 option. DB Darren Evans played the sticks horribly, allowing Ty Scott to get open. Then, DB Duron Lowe attempted to intercept a pass, but mistimed his jump, which allowed DC to get into field goal range. Matt McCrane walked it off, and the team was off to an 0-3 start.

Across weeks four and five, Arlington’s struggles continued. The offense was hit or miss, and failed to show up even with the defense starting to turn the corner.

Week six would be another heartbreaker. On the road in Michigan, the Renegades felt like they were in control. They scored a field goal with less than a minute to go to take a 27-25 lead. However, they gave up a massive return to Marcus Simms, and had a facemask penalty added onto that – putting Michigan in field goal range already.

On Jake Bates’ first game-winning attempt, he missed. The Renegades’ woes got in the way yet again, caught with 12 men on the field…negating the miss. On his second try, he put it right down the middle, and Arlington fell to 0-6; being eliminated from playoff contention.

There are so many little details that Arlington simply caused to go wrong on their own this year. Had they avoided just half of these mistakes, the XFL Conference could have looked a lot different.

Late Season Surge

Over the course of the final few weeks, we saw what the Renegades could have been all year long, if they simply executed early on. They torched the Memphis Showboats in week seven, posting 47 points in their first win of the year.

The final two games of the season were thrilling wins for Arlington, where they finally learned how to close out games. Against St. Louis in week nine, their defense generated three turnovers to put the game away late. Then, they held strong against DC on the road, getting their revenge for the loss in week three.

One has to wonder what Arlington’s 2024 campaign would look like, if certain decisions weren’t made this offseason. For example, the team had cut several defensive starters, including Joe Powell. The second Powell was brought back this year, he changed the tone of that defense, and made countless plays to close out this season. Why the team decided to move on from playmakers like Joe, just to see the defense disappoint week after week, was a head scratcher.

Standout Talent In 2024

QB Luis Perez: Perez led the UFL in almost every single passing category. He was the only quarterback to throw for over 2,000 yards this year (2,309), and his efficiency was off the charts. Luis completed 67% of his passes, throwing 18 touchdowns to just four interceptions. The veteran just continues to get better from year to year…but it remains unknown if he’ll return for another season.

WR Tyler Vaughns: Vaughns is a guy who should receive some legitimate NFL interest. He was spectacular this year, with 503 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Tyler was targeted quite often early in the season, which allowed lanes to open up for other receivers to see success as well.

WR Javonta Payton: Payton ended his season on IR unfortunately, but he had a great year regardless. Javonta totaled 379 yards and five touchdowns, proving to be a deep threat throughout. One area he’ll have to clean up on next season is his drops – as there were a couple of those which hurt the team in important moments.

TE Sal Cannella: Cannella certainly had an argument to earn All-UFL honors, with 497 yards and six touchdowns (leading all tight ends). Sal and Luis have such outstanding chemistry, and this was on full display in 2024. Hopefully, we’ll get to see more of this duo next year.

DE Vic Beasley: Vic quietly had another productive year, totaling 17 tackles, four TFL’s, and five sacks with Arlington. The former NFL All-Pro linebacker finished with an 81.0 Defensive Grade via PFF, which put him as a top three defender for this Renegades squad.

DL Jalen Redmond: Redmond was only able to play in four games this year, but it was enough to earn himself an NFL contract with the Vikings. Redmond had an outstanding campaign, with 18 tackles, five TFL’s, and 4.5 sacks in just four appearances. Pure dominance.

DB Steven Jones Jr.: Jones was a key piece to the secondary this season, with 32 tackles, two interceptions, and a few PBU’s. Steven allowed just a 58% reception rate when targeted in 2024. He’s a prospect who should also receive NFL interest.

Honorable Mentions: WR Deontay Burnett, DB Ajene Harris, LB Marquel Lee, DE Anree Saint-Amour

Potential Changes For 2025

If Bob Stoops returns to this franchise, he’ll have to consider making some serious changes to help Arlington see more success. First and foremost, it’s up in the air as to if Luis Perez will return. With this in mind, it’s unfortunate that we hardly saw Lindsey Scott Jr., or Holton Ahlers this year. Neither had the opportunity to develop much, with limited reps. Ahlers, in particular, wasn’t utilized at all. Heading into this offseason, there are more questions at the quarterback position than answers.

Arlington will also need to upgrade the backfield. De’Veon Smith had a couple of solid performances down the stretch, but those were against some of the worst defenses in the UFL. For the most part, he didn’t perform up to the levels that an RB1 should, which made Luis Perez have to shoulder too much of the offensive burden.

The scary part is that Smith was the only Arlington rusher who made his way into the top 20 list this year. Injuries, and lack of production, led to backfield issues all season long.

Defensive Issues

Defensively, Jay Hayes’ defense was a shell of its former self. This team looked nothing like the squad that we saw lead Arlington to a Championship win in 2023. Through the first few weeks, Arlington had the worst defense in the UFL.

While the numbers improved a bit over the year, Arlington still had a tough time slowing anyone down. They gave up 315.4 yards per game (7th), allowing 24.9 points per game, 6th worst in the UFL. There’s a reason why this team couldn’t win games, even with Luis Perez’ dominance: their defense couldn’t get stops late. Stoops and Hayes have worked together the last two seasons, but a change could be imminent with how inept this group was at times in 2024.

Final Thoughts

Overall, it was an underwhelming season from the Arlington Renegades. They wasted an MVP-caliber year from Luis Perez, finishing with just three wins. The coaching decisions, lack of execution, and poor defensive performances haunted their opportunity to run it back.

With that in mind, there is plenty to build off of heading towards 2025. Now, the question remains: can Bob Stoops finally have a winning season with this football team? When they won the Championship last year, they were 4-6 in the regular season (6-6 final record). Since 2020, Stoops is currently 9-16 in regular season games with this Arlington franchise. That number has to improve next year, if he does return.

Coach Stoops gave some his thoughts on his experience in the UFL this year, and the positives he saw from the merger:

“I think, overall, merging the two leagues was really positive. The talent levels really improved from a year ago, with two separate leagues. I really believe our management, leadership, and ownership [in the UFL] are doing an excellent job making it good for the players, and the coaches. It’s been fun playing here, and overall I think it’s been a huge plus. I believe it will only get better as we keep moving forward.”

As we head towards 2025, the Renegades will likely have some holes to fill. At the end of the season, Stoops mentioned that many NFL teams have been calling their General Manager, Rick Mueller, inquiring about players the Renegades roster. With Redmond already on his way, expect plenty more to receive NFL workouts and contracts this offseason.

What are your thoughts on the Arlington Renegades 2024 performance? What changes do they need to make in 2025? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!

Fubo
  1. Although a poor season for the Renegades, I believe Stoops needs to be retained if he wants to come back. Luis Perez is my favorite UFL player and has been for a couple of seasons. After watching this team for two seasons, it would seem to me the o line took time to gel and the d-line at times look porous. I don’t know the reason for this, but I hope the Renegades are able to make any adjustments they need to make.

    The Renegades have a ton of playmakers that already would be in the upper echelon of players should they come back next year. Perez, Smith, Cannella, Burnett, Vaughns, Payton, Saint-Amour and Ajene Harris are playmakers to build on, however there should be plenty of opportunity to build the team. If I told you I saw Perez hit receivers in stride and passes just glanced off the receivers’ hands. Experience will make these big plays next years if back and the Renegades will build off those plays as they will continue to close games and keep the middle-tier of the field open for Perez.

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