A new chapter in Tampa Bay football opens tomorrow as the Tampa Bay Vipers begin play in the newly formed XFL and will make their debut in New York against the New York Guardians.
The Vipers according to the Vegas oddsmakers are projected to win seven games in their inaugural season and finish second in the league behind the Dallas Renegades
The New York Guardians are projected to finish fourth in the league.
The Guardians are coached by former New York Giants offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kevin Gilbride.
Gilbride coached the Giants form 2004-2013 won two Super Bowls with the Giants during his time their as offensive coordinator.
The Guardians will go with Matt McGloin and Luis Perez at quarterback. McGloin from Penn State was picked up by the Guardians in the pre-draft process last fall, but Gilbride traded with the Los Angeles Wildcats and picked up Perez who made his mark as a starter in the AAF last season. San Antonio and Birmingham.
One name on the Guardians roster that will be familiar to football fans is Joe Horn Jr.the wide receiver from Missouri Western and the son of former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn Sr.
Justin Stockton will split time at running back with Tim Cook. Stockton is the quickest back on the Guardians roster and also catches passes very well out of the backfield, Stockton could present some problems for the Vipers defense.
With Gilbride calling the plays on offense, you would think the offense would be the strength of this Guardians team, but the team may actually be more known for their defense more than their offense.
This Has the potential to be a very entertaining matchup as the Vipers high powered offense led by Marc Trestman will be matched up against a very good Guardians defense.
The Guardians defense is anchored by middle linebacker Ben Heneey who will also call the signals on defense for New York.
The Vipers defense struggled in the secondary in two scrimmages against Seattle and Houston. Defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville and the defense have been working hard in practice to get these decencies shored up.
Aaron Murray was named the Vipers starting quarterback in training camp, and the Vipers also have Taylor Cornelius, and Quinton Flowers as quarterbacks.
Cornelius is listed as number two on the depth chart behind Aaron Murray.
Flowers, listed as the third string quarterback should get a lot of touches in this Vipers offense as Flowers will be used at running back and also receiver similar to the way the New Orleans Saints use quarterback Taysom Hill.
De’Veon Smith will start at running back, and the Vipers will go with Jalen Tolliver, Reece Horn, and Dan Williams as their starting wide receivers.
This should be a high scoring affair with the Vipers winning their XFL debut 38-33 against the New York Guardians.