featured photo: Christopher Lyzcen

The New York Guardians may have saved their season on Feb. 29, edging out the Los Angeles Wildcats 17-14 at MetLife Stadium.

New York (2-2) opened its 2020 XFL campaign by beating the Tampa Bay Vipers at home, but were outscored a combined 56-9 in consecutive losses to the D.C. Defenders and St. Louis BattleHawks in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively.

The Guardians’ two-game losing streak was particularly marred by instability at the quarterback position, something that was on full display en route to their 27-0 loss against D.C. on Feb. 15.

That afternoon in the nation’s capital, veteran QB Matt McGloin – who spent four seasons with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders – offered harsh criticism toward the play-calling of New York’s coaching staff during a halftime interview.

“We need to change the whole entire game plan at halftime,” McGloin said in the interview. “There’s a lot going on right now. It’s embarrassing for us as an offense. There’s a lot of things to fix and correct.”

Unsurprisingly, McGloin was taken out of that game and ultimately lost his starting job.

Guardians head coach/general manager Kevin Gilbride – the offensive coordinator of the New York Giants during both of their Super Bowl triumphs over the New England Patriots – may have found a solution in QB Luis Perez, who helped lead the Texas A&M-Commerce Lions to an NCAA Division II football title in 2017.

In the Week 4 win over L.A., Perez threw for 150 yards, completing 18 out of 26 passes (69 percent) – including a three-yard touchdown to receiver Mekale McKay in the second quarter. The 25-year-old QB didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard, but his efficiency (as he threw no interceptions) was desperately needed by the Guardians before their Week 5 road game versus the Dallas Renegades.

Following their trip to Dallas, the Guardians will play three of their next four games at MetLife Stadium.

On March 14, they’ll host the Houston Roughnecks. They then travel to the northwest to face the Seattle Dragons, but remain home the next two weeks for rematches against the BattleHawks (March 28) and Defenders (April 4).

New York’s regular season schedule concludes at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium on April 12 vs. the Vipers.

Despite their struggles on offense through Week 4, the Guardians are undefeated at home (as of the publishing of this article) and tied with D.C. (2-2) for second in the XFL’s East Division, trailing the 3-1 BattleHawks.

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The Guardians have to improve their play away from MetLife Stadium to have a serious shot of advancing to the XFL’s postseason – which ends with the championship game at TDECU Stadium in Houston on April 26 – but home-field advantage will be theirs for much of their second-half schedule.

Should Perez, of San Diego, end up working out as a starting quarterback and that translates into victories, it’s not a stretch to imagine a growing number of New York/New Jersey pro football fans – starving for a local winner, courtesy of the perennially bad New York Jets and Giants – jumping on the Guardians’ bandwagon over the next several weeks.

Soon enough, we’ll see whether the Guardians can tempt some Jets and Giants fans into a spring fling.

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