Xxfl newsroom Sea Dragons preview


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Sep 18, 2015
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“What Does The Fox Say?” – Quotes from the Coach
Jim Haslett: “I think part of our identity will be how versatile we are. Think of Deebo Samuel in San Francisco and how he can do a little of everything. Our guy who wears that number (19), T.J. Hammonds, we look at him the same way. How can we get the most out of every player? How do we move them around and develop multiple skill sets and keep the other teams guessing? I think everybody knows like if you're an offensive lineman then you’ve got to play multiple positions. If at the last minute we get a guy on loan and let’s say he’s usually a defensive end but the scouts want to see him work against runs, we’ll play him inside a little. That’s what we’re here for. Let’s develop, put guys in positions to get noticed or expand their value or both. We’ve got Bryce Thompson from New Orleans; usually a safety… they want to see how he looks at nickel. The more things we can help these guys do, the better we all are.”

“The Wind Beneath (His) Wings” – Notable assistant coaches
June Jones – Head coach Jim Haslett is all about defense, but his offensive coordinator is an innovator on the other side. Jones is a proponent of the Run and Shoot offense which he learned from Mouse Davis. He’s a former NFL and college head coach, most notably for the University of Hawaii, SMU and the Atlanta Falcons. When he was with this same group of coaches and administrators with the Houston Roughnecks three years ago, it was Jones who handpicked league MVP PJ Walker.
Ron Zook – The defensive coordinator has now been coaching for more than 40 years and is best known for his time as head coach of two universities with Dragons’ style blue and orange color schemes, Illinois and Florida.

“Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.” – Key players on offense
QB Ben DiNucci- Not all “hidden gem” quarterbacks plucked by the Cowboys out of FCS schools become Tony Romo. That stated, DiNucci left his mark in Dallas getting a start in early November of 2020 on Sunday Night Football against the Eagles. The James Madison product completed 21-of-40 passes for 180 yards. He showed Dallas coaches a good ability to create when the initial read isn’t there, always keeps his eyes downfield when buying time. Speaking of creating, he is the co-owner and founder of TrueBrvn, a fashion company that’s killing it in Dallas with popular upside-down logo hats.
RB Brenden Knox - After a terrific career at Marshall, Knox spent some time with the Cowboys in 2021, but ultimately failed to make the regular season roster. As it says in his Twitter bio: “Focus on the good and the good gets better.” He will have that opportunity.
WR Josh Gordon – The Houston native/former Baylor star is trying to prove he can avoid being his own worst enemy off the field. He’s scored 21 NFL touchdowns and has nearly 4,300 receiving yards. He’s back in the stadium (Lumen Field) where he excelled as a Seahawk after a dazzling start with the Browns in Cleveland. It’s now been 10 years since he led the NFL in receiving yards at the age of 22. His is the ultimate “boom or bust” story and both the league and his teammates are betting on “boom.” At practice, he’s been friendly and approachable.
WR- Jordan Veasy – Played at a pair of junior colleges before heading west to Cal-Berkley, which has produced a pile of terrific NFL receivers, from DeSean Jackson to Keenan Allen. He has been on eight different NFL training squads and is looking to finally make his mark as a featured pro receiver in game situations.

“Slow Your Roll.” – Key players on defense
DE Austin Faoiliu – Played for two powerhouse high school programs in LA (Mater Dei and Junipero Serra) before heading off to Oregon for college. The Cowboys liked his first-step quickness and upper body strength enough to allow him a cameo appearance in 2021. With more reps, and with Haslett and Zook coaching him up, he could be back in the NFL very soon. “He should be there right now,” Coach Haslett insisted.
DE Niko Lalos - Was picked up by the Saints after being drafted by the Seahawks; now he’s in Seattle after all. Lalos was a standout at Dartmouth College, trying to follow in the footsteps of fellow Ivy Leaguers who made marks in the NFL: Cameron Brate, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and back in the day Matt Birk, Zak DeOssie, not to mention Calvin Hill, Sid Luckman and Chuck Bednarik. He’s remembered by NY Giants fans for having a diving pick in his first career NFL game in Cincinnati.
LB Tre Walker – The former Idaho Vandal was given a look in Washington Commanders training camp last August and is looking to plant his flag closer to home now in Seattle. He had initially told Commanders coach Ron Rivera he was retiring from football entirely then had a change of heart and was welcomed back. He is a well-built, densely muscled linebacker who plays with outstanding physicality and tempo.

“The Most Interesting Man”
DL Sama Paama – The Native Hawaiian played exactly one game in college (coincidentally against the University of Hawaii) then got hurt and ended up back home in Honolulu instead of on campus at Washington. Having just turned 21 this past week, there is plenty of room for growth. His full name is Evangelist Elisama Paama, but it’s “Sama” for short. The Dragons invested in his future, connecting him with physical/life coach Larry Wilson in Utah for several weeks. You’ll be following the fascinating and troubling stories of his Hawaiian youth on multiple XFL platforms these next couple of months. Naturally strong, he was said to have lifted a blocking sled with his Kaimuki High School football coach standing on it at the time. At the age of 16.

Odds And Ends…
Training partners with the Vegas Vipers in Southlake, TX… Southlake Carroll High School’s nickname is also the Dragons, complete with a similar fire-breathing logo and branding above the scoreboard that says “Dragon Stadium”… Coach Jim Haslett became a first-time grandfather seven months ago and will eagerly show you pictures if you ask… Haslett’s son Chase is a quality control for the Dallas Cowboys… There is a distinct Pac-12 flavor to the XFL’s Westernmost team, with Paul Grattan (UCLA), Elijah Holder (Stanford), Liam Jimmons (USC), Steven Montez (Colorado), Jaylon Redd, Faoiliu and Mykael Wright (Oregon), Veasey (Cal) and Paama (Washington) all on the active roster… kicker Dominik Eberle, a native German, is an internationally-ranked gamer in both FIFA and MarioKart… the skeleton of the 2020 Houston Roughnecks front office has been reassembled in Seattle with Jones, QB coach Dan Morrison, RB coach Wes Suan and Director of Pro Personnel Randy Mueller all together again… the 2020 Sea Dragons (then just the Dragons) were 1-4 under head coach and former Seahawks QB Jim Zorn.


Feb 23, 2007
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Sultan, WA
It will be cool to see Josh Gordon and if he's able to woo the Seahawks one more time. He's a fantastic talent and if his head is finally screwed on tight, who knows? I'll be rooting for him. Go Dragons!