It never rained on the Seattle Dragons.
The Dragons wrapped up two weeks of offseason training activities Thursday that concluded with a four-day minicamp, and not once did raindrops get in the way. Is that a sign of good things to come? Time will tell.
“Everybody was ready for rain, I prepared the players to not worry about the rain and it never rained one day while we were practicing,” said Dragons coach Jim Zorn. “It rained, but it never rained on us. It was magic and we got a lot done. The players I believe enjoyed it, and if you ask them, we worked them hard.”
The team gets a break before reporting to training camp Jan. 4 in Houston. Camp, which will include scrimmages against other XFL teams, will conclude Jan. 22 and cuts will be made to trim rosters from 71 to 52. Seattle’s first game is Feb. 8 at the D.C. Guardians.
Zorn has yet to see his team in pads, and that’s when players often separate themselves, but many things were learned the past two weeks. Here are three of the biggest.
Silvers, Daniels have the lead in QB race
Brandon Silvers and B.J. Daniels were the only two quarterbacks in OTAs. Zorn had expected four, but Joe Callahan was signed to the Detroit Lions’ practice squad and Chase Litton had to miss OTAs because of a family medical issue.
“They loved it, and I would have loved it, too,” said Zorn, a former quarterback for the Seahawks, about having just two quarterbacks the past two weeks. “You get every other rep, so they got a lot of work and they elevated themselves as the two main guys right now.”
Zorn was reluctant to name players who shined. But he did say, “Isaiah Battle’s an (offensive) tackle, and he’s going to start.” Zorn said he liked the way the defensive line is coming together, he said the offensive line is already working well as a unit, “and we have some special talent on the perimeters.”
Some players have made a statement, Zorn said, but almost all starting jobs will be up for grabs in training camp.
“You can start out here and we’re playing touch football, but when you put pads on, you get knocked around,” Zorn said. “You get an owie, and can you fight through it? Can you stand up mentally through the rigors of a day or a week or a month?”
Who was ready and who wasn’t
“There is a core group of players that have worked hard enough to prepare for the rigors of football and there was a group of players who figured out they might not have worked hard enough for the rigors of football that was presented to them,” Zorn said. “They had to really step up — they had to really concentrate at a higher level.
“What I probably learned is that everyone has to work, and work harder than they ever probably thought they had to work. That’s football.”
It will take time adapting to new rule
The XFL will have a 25-second play clock, compared to the 40-second clock in college and the NFL. Adapting to that has already started.
“This clock goes fast and I gave our coaches the experience of a running clock and getting that ball set and the next play is coming,” Zorn said. “You’ve have be ready on defense for an offense that is right at the line of scrimmage, and you have to be ready on offense for the play call. Those things will be worked on and worked on to be faster. We have to, because we need seconds left on the clock to get the ball snapped.”