DC Defenders 2023 XFL Offseason Outlook

Highlighting Three Matchups For The DC Defenders In 2024

With the UFL schedule release well upon us, there is much to discuss regarding the DC Defenders upcoming season. After an impressive 9-1 season last year in the XFL, HC Reggie Barlow is on the hunt for another league-leading regular season with his team. He will certainly have his work cut out for him as the UFL did not do DC many favors with this schedule:

The Defenders begin the season on the road traveling to San Antonio for a inter-conference matchup with the Brahmas. The game kicks off at 12PM EST, a time Defenders fans should get used to throughout the season with five games slated to start at noon. San Antonio should be much improved with Wade Phillips now serving as head coach, after moving on from the Houston Roughnecks XFL franchise.

With a variety of matchups and uncertainty still surrounding each team, today will be a preliminary breakdown highlighting three games on the DC Defenders 2024 schedule:

Week 4: DC Defenders at Birmingham Stallions

Everyone wants a piece of the 2x USFL Champions, and why wouldn’t they?

HC Skip Holtz and GM Zach Potter have architected a masterpiece the past two seasons in Birmingham, cruising to consecutive championships in their first two seasons together. This season Birmingham will be without All-USFL QB Alex McCough, who earned his way back to the NFL with Green Bay. The Stallions have brought in quite a few impressive names to compete with 2022 starter J’Mar Smith, including Matt Corral and Adrian Martinez. Along with cementing a strong roster around the QBs, especially on the defensive side led by Scooby Wright and DeMarquis Gates. Oddly enough, Wright’s spring football career began with DC in XFL 2020, and continued with the Stallions starting in 2022. Gates also played for Birmingham in 2022, but made the jump to the NFL this past season with Chicago before being released postseason. These two all-around linebackers are poised for another monster season down south in Birmingham.

Up until the XFL Championship game loss against Arlington, many involved in spring football fantasized about a possible Defenders-Stallions matchup. With the league merged and a matchup now officially on the slate, fans can look forward to a much anticipated week four clash.

Week 8: DC Defenders at St. Louis Battlehawks

Arguably the Defenders biggest rival from XFL action last season, the St. Louis Battlehawks are back and appear to have their captain returning as well in QB AJ McCarron. St. Louis and DC matched up twice last season with DC winning both matchups, including an electric game in week five at The Dome which ended with DC edging out St. Louis, 28-20. Many will recall that game because of Abram Smith’s dominant performance, finishing with 218 yards on the ground along with three touchdowns.

With a new league means a fresh slate for these two teams, but with a heavy amount of carryover from both sides, do not be shocked if we see an even deeper dislike for one another come spring.

Week 10: Arlington Renegades at DC Defenders

Although Barlow and DC did not finish with gold in 2023, they will have a chance at redemption against the team that bested them in Arlington, twice in the upcoming regular season. There was a narrative throughout the offseason (which will surely carry into this season) that Arlington’s XFL Championship was “unearned” or even “fake” after a 4-6 regular season that wormed them into the playoffs. My answer to that would be, you have to beat the best to become the best. Arlington completed that task when it mattered most, which is why they’re champions.

Speaking of the offseason, Arlington held the first overall pick in the XFL Dispersal Draft in January and selected QB Lindsey Scott Jr.. Arlington’s QB situation is fluid and should be a competition with the recent re-signing of Drew Plitt, who started a few games and backed up Luis Perez last season.

As mentioned, the UFL did not do many favors for DC in terms of scheduling, but this home game against Arlington to finish the season may be considered a small win if that game holds importance pertaining to the playoff race. DC’s home advantage at Audi Field is highly touted and raucous, which can be a distraction for any visiting team.

Final Thoughts

Analyzing the Defenders schedule as a whole, it is near impossible to break down how each matchup will unfold. The recent re-signing of Jordan Ta’amu should provide some momentum for DC heading into training camp and the regular season, but the competition will undoubtedly be greater.

The Defenders will certainly have a massive target on their backs, and the question is how will they respond? Teams will continue to tweak and adjust rosters throughout camp, as well as the season. Injuries unfortunately will happen, and football is a next man up business which keeps everything fluid, especially in a league like this.

What are your thoughts on the DC Defenders 2024 schedule? Which game are you most looking forward to? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!

  1. I think what the league must do is keep building the league without molding it into what they want the outcome to be. It seems to me there are certain paths they hope the league goes with regards to playoff matchups. I have thoroughly studied the rosters of all the teams and I can find reason that each team should make the playoffs. So although it appears there are favorites to the league, everything is up in the air. 1. Since you started with the Defenders I will too. The Defenders are a tough team and I love the edge players they picked up. Like any team injuries and the way the o-line congeals is a paramount and a question for any team. The competition for players who are used to starting will happen shortly. The teams that are able to play together will win. This is a much more difficult sell as players try to show the NFL their wares. There is a big difference financially between the haves and have nots, which leads me to the Defenders greatest strength and its weakness. Gregg Williams. He knows his stuff, but his ways wears on players in times of turbulence. This will be interesting. The games you noted should be good, but they may have just as hard a time with a well coached Brahmas team the second time through.

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