Matt Duda: Backups not always second-rate



Backups not always second-rate
by Matt Duda 

Thanks to Memphis defensive end Shante Carver, XFL quarterbacks are writing bigger checks to their health insurance companies these days. 

Carver, A.KA. Chaka, recorded his first confirmed kill during Week 2 when he grabbed Outlaws quarterback Ryan Clement and drove the defenseless signal callerís shoulder into the ground with jackhammer strength.
[Watch the video - 28k | 56k | ISDN | 300k] 

The 6-foot-4, 270 lb. Carver struck again this past weekend, sprinting full force into Orlando quarterback Jeff Brohm who might as well have had bullís-eye embroidered on his chest. Thankfully, Brohm chose not to walk toward the bright light he may have seen during his brief nap on the field last week.
[Brohm to Baiely; Brohm goes down hard - 28k | 56k | ISDN | 300k]

While several teams have been forced into moving their banged-up starters onto the injured list, their alternates have made almost seamless transitions into the huddle. 

Pat Barnesí insertion into the starting lineup may have made a few Demons fans nervous after throwing for a mere 20 yards on 3-of-11 passing with an interception in relief of Mike Pawlawski in Week 4. He came out firing last Saturday and led San Francisco to a 39-10 bashing of Birmingham while and collecting 100 yards on 10-of-17 passing and two touchdowns. Add on another 28 yards and a score from the ground. 

Mark Grieb come on board the Outlaws wagon just days before the team suited up against the Demons in Week 4. After just three practices with his new teammates, Grieb helped the team to a win with 105 passing yards and a touchdown while playing his first XFL game in front of more than 30,000 screaminí Demons fans in the intimidating Hell Hole. 

Orlando fans must have gasped for breath when Brohm got knocked out of the Memphis game. But Brian Kuklick gave them reason to breathe easy. Kuklick lit up the Maniax for 207 yards, including a 81-yard touchdown pass to Dialleo Burks. More importantly, Kuklick managed to elude Carverís death touch.
[81 yard TD for #81 - 28k | 56k | ISDN | 300k] 

Wally Richardson and Kevin McDougal each stepped in after Hitmen and Enforcers starters sputtered. Each led his team to a win after first cracking into the starting lineup. McDougal especially shows huge potential, as evident from the 15-13 comeback win over Las Vegas he directed last week. 

One starting quarterback has kept his health despite taking a pounding week after grueling week. Bolts QB Casey Weldon hits the ground on the majority of his passing attempts, but the gritty Weldon dusts the dirt off his throwing arm and gets back in the huddle. Weldon climbed into third place for passing yardage in the league and is its second most accurate passer, no thanks to Birminghamís Swiss cheese offensive line. 

Tommy Maddox has thrown for more yards than any other player to handle snaps in the XFL. He finally appears to have turned to the same page as his lethal wide receivers which could help the Xtreme pick up steam in these remaining five weeks of the first season. If Maddox continues to connect with Jeremaine Copeland, Darnell McDonald et al, runners Rashaan Shehee and Ken Oxendine could find bigger holes opening up for them, along with a playoff spot.

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