As the free agency period began in the Canadian Football League, some news with XFL 2.0 connections became public as former Tampa Bay Vipers Offensive Coordinator Jamie Elizondo brought in a player with some familiarity to him in Taylor Cornelius. Per Saltwire’s Jerry Moddejonge.
Cornelius, 25, stands 6-foot-6-inches and played his college football at Oklahoma State. He was a one-year starter having backed up current Pittsburgh Steelers QB Mason Rudolph before taking the reigns his senior season.
Last year for Tampa, Cornelius passed for 858 yards (63% completion), 4 TDs, 6 INTs for a passer rating of 74.5. He was widely considered a work-in-progress for the XFL and a building block of the future.
Elizondo was hired as the head coach of the Edmonton football team, for a literal lack of a better name. The team is undergoing a transition from the former name “Eskimo,” which is nothing new to the North American sports landscape following the decisions of Washington (NFL) and Cleveland (MLB).
Elizondo dealt with a quarterback room in Tampa Bay that never got the chance to find its footing. Throughout training camp and the XFL’s five-game pandemic-shortened season, the Vipers had three different QBs under center; Aaron Murray, Quinton Flowers, and Taylor Cornelius.
While the carousel made the QB room a bit unstable, towards the end (technically the middle) of the season it was Cornelius who emerged as the 1st team QB who would start and run the bulk of the offense. Flowers became the No. 2 and helped operate an option-style offense, while Murray, the opening day starter fell from grace to No. 3 on the depth chart.
The Vipers passing game never truly dominated the way it was imagined during preseason hype, but not to the discredit of Elizondo, Tampa Bay still lead the league in total offense (391.8 YPG) and rushing yards (165.6 YPG). The Vipers featured two of the leading rushers in DeVeon Smith (365 YDs) and Jacques Patrick (254 YDs).
Edmonton now has a head coach with a young quarterback that has built some rapport. It is possible the tandem will take that next step together and leave that tag of “work-in-progress” behind.
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