While lacking the quality and name-recognition of its big brother, the NFL, the new XFL has delivered a rather entertaining product over its first two weeks — a positive development when compared to the league’s ill-fated first attempt at relevancy in 2001. The second iteration, meanwhile, has been quite solid in terms of fan response and media coverage in combination with the on-field performances from the XFL’s eight teams.
The latter also is impacted by some former members of the New England Patriots. A total of 16 players with ties to the Patriots found themselves on the 52-man rosters released by the league in late January, as colleague Oliver Thomas pointed out, and two of them stood out in particular over the first two weekends of XFL action: running backs Trey Williams and Kenneth Farrow, both playing for the 1-1 Seattle Dragons.
In Week 1, during their team’s 31-19 road loss against the D.C. Defenders, the two backs combined to gain 57 of Seattle’s 97 rushing yards. The following week, they helped the Dragons control the pace of their home opener by gaining 90 yards on 21 carries in their team’s 17-9 victory over the Tampa Bay Vipers: Williams carried the football 11 times for 45 yards, with Farrow receiving 10 hand-offs for an additional 45.
So far, the Dragons have relied heavily on the two former Patriots to power their offensive attack — one that was held back at times over the last two weekends by some inconsistent play at the quarterback position. Williams and Farrow, meanwhile, have answered the call from head coach Jim Zorn and carved out the roles as the 1A and 1B options in Seattle’s backfield ahead of the team’s third running back, Ja’Quan Gardner.
Williams and Farrow, of course, spent comparatively little time in Foxborough and did not register any regular season or playoff statistics while with the Patriots: Williams was claimed off waivers from the Dallas Cowboys in December 2015 but remained only two weeks in New England while moving between the team’s active roster and practice squad; Farrow was signed by the Patriots leading up to the 2018 preseason finale and had two subsequent stints on the practice squad.
The two bounced around the NFL and other pro football leagues — Williams played in Canada and the short-lived Alliance of American Football that also employed Farrow at one point — before finding a new home in the XFL. Based on their first two weeks of action in the upstart league, it seems as if their time in Seattle has a lot more long-term potential than their short stints with the Patriots. Of course, the league’s future as a whole will dictate this more than anything.