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What Los Angeles Wildcats Week 1 snap count tells us about the depth chart

We have our baseline of information for assessing the XFL. Week 1 is a wrap and we can consider snap counts and performances to prepare for Week 2.

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Los Angeles Wildcats XFL quarterback throwing a pass in practice Thomas Campbell/XFL

The Los Angeles Wildcats got off to a rough start in their XFL debut. LA was hanging close with the Houston Roughnecks through the first two quarters of play, but things went south in the third quarter. Houston put up 19 unanswered points in the second half to beat LA 37-17. LA couldn’t get much going on offense, with Charles Kanoff scuffling along completing 53 percent of his passes.

Earlier in the week, the eight XFL teams released their Week 1 depth charts. In the NFL, the PR departments emphasize the depth charts are unofficial and don’t necessarily reflect what Sunday will show us. It’s not a big deal most of the time because we have a lot of history on these players and teams.

In the XFL, we have no such history. These teams were thrown together over the past two months, and so the depth chart is all we have to work with in assessing who is worthwhile in daily fantasy football and who will impact the point spread.

Now that Week 1 is a wrap, we can start to assess where the depth charts were accurate. Pro Football Focus has tracked the snap counts for the XFL, so we have a good starting point. We can compare LA’s pregame depth chart with their snap count to figure out what to consider for Week 2.

Offense

We got an answer to the big question of the day when Kanoff got the start in place of an injured Josh Johnson. There had been some speculation Jalan McClendon would get the start, but Kanoff was the call. Johnson hasn’t been able to practice for a while now according to multiple reports, so it does not seem like he has a great shot of playing in Week 2.

We saw all sorts of rotation at the wide receiver position. The Wildcats went with a four-receiver starting lineup and Saeed Blacknall was the fourth guy alongside starters Jordan Smallwood, Adonis Jennings, and Nelson Spruce. Blacknall ended up with the most snaps of all the receivers, but had no receptions on four targets. Spruce was second on the team in snaps and led LA with a whopping 15 targets, catching 11 balls for 103 yards. It will be interesting to see if the distribution is similar in Week 2.

Defense

We saw all sorts of rotation in the secondary. Jaylen Dunlap and Harlan Miller were the starting cornerbacks, but while Dunlap led the team in snaps, Miller was third by a decent distance. Additionally, Ahmad Dixon got the start at free safety, but Jerome Couplin finished with the most snaps at the position. Given how bad some of the secondaries looked this weekend, we might see even more rotation.