Written By: Roy Countryman @Blitzalytics @PreacherBoyRoy
David Connors @DConBlitz
Graphics By: Pat Pryor @patpryorgraphic
Offensive Player of the Week
Cameron Artis-Payne: RB, Dallas Renegades
Stats: 14 rushes, 99 yds, 7.1 ypc 2 TDs, 5 rec on 5 targets, 32 yds.
Week 2 in the XFL saw an uptick in offensive performances. There was a plethora of worthy talent, nevertheless, the week 2 Blitz Offensive Player of the Week goes to Dallas Renegades Running Back Cameron Artis-Payne. A majority of Artis-Payne’s production came in the fourth quarter where he broke off a 21 and 17-yard run, both for touchdowns. The first of these two vital run plays came halfway through the 4th quarter when fellow Running Back Lance Dunbar landed a key block that Artis-Payne burst through then made a quick juke at the Vipers 4-yard line to take out two defenders and walk the ball in for a touchdown. The second touchdown, which sealed the game for Dallas, came with only 1:14 left on the clock when Artis-Payne showed excellent burst again after making a quick cut to left giving him a ton of space to take it to the house. Cameron Artis-Payne also caught all 5 of his target for 32 yards making a vital weapon for the Renegade offense.
Cameron Artis-Payne is a name many avid NFL fans will recognize as he spent a few years in Carolina as a backup Running Back. Cameron Artis-Payne began his college career at Alan Hancock college where he racked up 43 touchdowns and won CCCAA All-American and California JuCO Player of the year awards. He then transferred to Auburn. His senior season he was promoted to the starter and he led the SEC in Rushing Yards with 1,608 in 13 games earning the title 1st-Team All-SEC. The Panthers selected Artis-Payne in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Rookie Draft. He played as the backup Running Back behind both DeAngelo Williams and Christian McCaffrey. Although he never got an opportunity to show off his talents in the NFL, he is putting the football world on notice with performances like this in the XFL.
Defensive Player of the Week
Jameer Thurman, LB, DC Defenders
Stats: 4 Tackles (3 Solo), 1 PD, 1 INT returned for a TD.
Another week of thrilling XFL action is in the books, and you can just tell by the crowds coming out to each game, and the impressive TV ratings that this league is just getting started. The same can be said about Mr. Thurman’s season. In week one he was flying all over the field making plays, but in week two he started making his statement to the league that he is a force to be reckoned with.
This is one determined player who played two seasons for the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL. He earned a starting spot in his rookie season with Calgary, helping them win the Grey Cup in 2018. He is another great story of a player that the XFL is going to help get a chance in the NFL after being consistently overlooked all the way back to when he was a playmaking force at Indiana State. He took part in 48 games while at Indiana State, and finished his career ranking inside the Top 15 in tackles in the program’s history.
Thurman is a sideline-to-sideline off the ball LB. He has terrific processing skills and is able to decipher plays and tendencies that allow him to be able to use his outstanding speed, lateral agility, and closing quickness to meet at the ball carrier. His instincts are keen, and he always seems to be close to where the action is, which lends itself to opportunities to be able to come up with key turnovers. His tackling mechanics are sound and can break down in space and secure elusive players. In coverage, he has the fluidity to drop back in zone and use his instincts and length to make plays on the ball. He is the total package that teams are looking for when it comes to being able to play on all three downs without being a detriment on passing downs. He also is a standout special teams player and is always one of the first players downfield trying to make a tackle. The one area he could improve upon is his ability to take on blocks and shed them, as he can get caught on blocks and controlled too often. All in all, if Thurman keeps making plays like this each week, he will assuredly have a roster spot waiting for him from an NFL team, especially with his playmaking ability and special teams prowess.