The XFL League Brass have finally gotten decent statistical software so thats good. Whats bad (at least for Memphis) is that it highlights some major Maniax weaknesses. For example, the Maniax are last in the league in terms of takeaway/giveaway at -6.
Memphis is also 6th in the league in total offense -- despite having the league-leading rusher Rashaan Salaam. The main problem has been the turnovers and a lack of passing yardage. The result is 10 quarters of play without a touchdown.
To shake things, Maniax coach Kippy Brown is changing his starting lineup. Marcus Crandell will be replaced at QB, with Jim Druckenmiller to start Sunday against the L.A. Extreme.
We feel that some changes need to be made, Brown says. I think that Jim deserves the chance. He probably understands what the answers to problems are in the offense more than the other two quarterbacks. In any offense you have to have answers for things they [the other team] does differently. We didnt adjust very well from the start of the ball game. I think Druck understands what Im trying to get done a little better, to be honest with you and we just need to something to give us a spark.
Also, Crandell aggravated a foot injury in Saturdays loss to the San Francisco Demons. Limiting his mobility -- one of the main reasons he got the starting job in the first place.
Druckenmiller is 6 of 10 for 85 yards, no touchdowns, and 2 interceptions in limited action this season.
Brown also says that Jesse James will be stepping up to the starting right guard position, replacing Earl Scott. During preseason James became more useful to the team as a long-snapper and Scott got the starting job. However, when the coaches graded the offensive lineman, Scotts numbers have slipped the last few weeks leading Brown to make the switch.
Brown is fairly desperate to stop the two-game losing streak. The Maniax (1-2, 0-2 in their division) in the cellar of the Eastern Division with the third worst record in the league. With the XFLs inital schedule of just 10 games, the Memphis cannot afford to fall too much further behind.
Los Angeles features a powerful air attack with the leagues second best QB in Tommy Maddox (second in passing yards, tied for second in touchdowns, and third in passing accuracy). The offense also features stand-out receiver Jeremaine Copeland, the league leader in receptions and second in yards gained.
The Extreme are last-quarter specialists, with all three of their games being decided on the last play. In the biggest play in league history (so far), bare-footed kicker Jose Cortez nailed a 47 yard field goal as time expired to give L.A. the win over the previously undefeated Las Vegas Outlaws. It was Cortezs fourth field goal of the game.
On the other hand, L.A. has demonstrated a weak rushing offense, gaining fewer yards on the ground than anyone else. In addition, Maddox has tossed 4 interceptions in three games. Another statistic that leads the league. The Maniax will look to improve that takeaway/giveaway ratio for sure.
Other XFL Stuff
In a press release from Maniax GM Steve Ehrhart, the XFL is apparently fighting back against rumors of its demise, given decreasing ratings over the first three games.
I think what has happened is that the league became somewhat a victim of the huge rating the first week. That first week, the XFL drew a 10.3 Nielsen rating, but has since fallen to 5.0 and 3.8 in weeks 2 and 3. The leagues official stance is that there are still nine games left (including post-season) and that the ratings will stabilize over the course of the season.
Interestingly, Memphis has become the leading TV market for UPN games, weighing in with a 11.4 in week one (compared to a national 10.3), 6.0 in week two (compared to a national 5.0), and 5.2 in week three (compared to a 3.8 national).
Tickets sales are doing very well for the XFL. According to XFL president Basil V. DeVito, the leagues original goal was to sale 800,000 tickets, or roughly 20,000 tickets a game. However, the league has already sold 710,000 tickets for the season and is looking to break its high goal of 1 million tickets. The games have averaged, over the first three weekends, roughly 30,000 tickets a game.
Also doing well is the XFL on the web. According to PCData Online, XFL.com was the 4th most visited sports site with over 1 million unique visitors. During the week of Feb. 3-10, all the XFL teams respective web sites ranked in the top 25 of most frequented sports-related websites. Finally, the XFL Fantasy Football league has drawn over 300,000 users to host sandbox.com.