The XFL dropped a bombshell this week (tipped off by Matty Fresh of Springball Boulevard), as Rod Woodson has officially been let go by the Vegas Vipers. While the league worded it as a “mutual parting of ways”, it certainly appears that Woodson wasn’t the right fit for the team, or the XFL.
BREAKING: The @XFLVipers are expected to part ways with head coach Rod Woodson, per source. Pending an official announcement by the league.
Throughout the year, Rod Woodson was quite the character on TV. He was constantly complaining to officials, and simply didn’t seem to have a full grasp on how to professionally lead a football team. With all of the chaos in Vegas this season (i.e. the stadium issues), his attitude and lack of control added to the boiling pot of problems.
Now, the league has to quickly find a replacement, with the XFL Rookie Draft just a few days away. In this piece, we’ll be looking at some potential replacements who already have ties with the organization.
Someone who instantly comes to mind is June Jones, as he’s already with the XFL at the moment. While he’s currently the Offensive Coordinator for the Seattle Sea Dragons, Jones could prove to be an excellent fit.
Jones was the coach of the Houston Roughnecks back in 2020, going 5-0 with the team before the pandemic shut down the season. He’s got plenty of experience as a head coach – and has already excelled in the XFL.
With Seattle this year, Jones ran one of the most high-powered offenses. Ben DiNucci, Jahcour Pearson, Jordan Veasy, etc. were unstoppable, largely due to the schemes that June put them in. If the league is looking to pick someone from within, Jones would be an outstanding choice.
Another XFL alumni, who came back to the league in 2023, is Jonathan Hayes. Hayes was the head coach for the St. Louis Battlehawks in 2020, running a relatively successful campaign there. The team went 3-2, and was primed to make a playoff run behind the play of Jordan Ta’amu.
In 2023, Hayes joined Bob Stoops in Arlington, serving as co-offensive coordinator. After a rough start, the Renegades turned things around, ultimately winning the Championship.
Hayes has proven himself as an OC and Head Coach in the XFL, and is someone the league should look at, if they’re planning on drawing from within.
Even though the St. Louis Battlehawks were unable to make the postseason (which, remains a controversy given their 7-3 record), this team was on absolute fire offensively.
While AJ McCarron, Darrius Shepherd, Hakeem Butler, etc. deserve all the credit in the world, Bruce Gradkowski was a major part of that success. His schemes turned the Battlehawks into one of the top offenses in the XFL, which was good enough to win seven games.
Bruce Gradkowski and the BattleHawks are running a Shanahan/McVay style offense. Here is “Flag Bow” for a late touchdown (audio on to hear play call). Here are the stats for the Rams usage for it in 2021 too: pic.twitter.com/qKIDjuFXg2
Gradkowski has never been a head coach at the professional level quite yet. That being said, the XFL is called the league of opportunities for a reason. Bruce proved himself to be a valuable and proficient offensive coordinator in 2023.
Of course, Anthony Becht wouldn’t want to lose Bruce, who he hand-picked to be in St. Louis. However, considering how the Vegas Vipers struggled to post points for large chunks of the season, Gradkowski is a name the XFL could turn to.
Pep Hamilton was one of the XFL’s top coaches in 2020, leading the DC Defenders to a 3-2 record. He’s been in the NFL for the past couple of years, as a quarterbacks coach for the Los Angeles Chargers – and then, offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans.
With the instability in the Vegas Vipers organization, it would be intriguing to see Hamilton return to the XFL in this role. The odds of him landing in the NFL aren’t too likely at the moment, which makes it a perfect time for the XFL to make a move. Pep’s strong background and effective coaching style would be a welcomed change in Vegas.
This one is a bit far-fetched…but, anything is possible in the world of spring football. Jerry Glanville needs no introduction, having served in the NFL for decades.
However, he’s shifted his focus to spring football over the past few years. Glanville was the defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Vipers in the XFL’s 2020 season, and did boast a solid defense despite the losing record.
Since then, he spent time in The Spring League as the Conqueror’s HC, leading the team to a 4-2 record in 2021. Glanville was slated to coach in the MLFB in 2022, but we all know how that ended.
Glanville is the type of tough character who might just be what Vegas needs. Jerry knows what he wants, and would snap this Vipers team into shape, no doubt. If Glanville still has a desire to coach, the XFL might do themselves a favor by giving him a call.
With so many coaches available, it will be interesting to see how this situation pans out for the XFL, and the Vegas Vipers. Ray Sherman is also a possibility. He was the Wide Receivers coach for Vegas in 2023, but ended up taking on OC duties after Duane Taylor was fired midseason.
Simply put, the team needs some sort of stability. Rod Woodson’s tenure ends on a sour note, as Vegas will look to put this 2-8 record behind them, and move to a brighter future with whoever their new head coach turns out to be.
The XFL will presumably be making a coaching announcement soon, considering the rookie draft is slated for this Friday. The Draft will be virtual, with ten total rounds.
What are your thoughts on the XFL Coaching situation in Vegas? Who should the Vegas Vipers bring in as their new head coach? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!