2023 D.C. Defenders schedule breakdown
February 5, 2023 / By Brayden Nazarian
A preview of the D.C. Defenders' opponents and their coaches for the 2023 XFL season.
Week 1 vs Seattle Sea Dragons (2/19)
The Defenders open the season at home against the Seattle Sea Dragons, led by head coach Jim Haslett and quarterback Ben DiNucci. Haslett spent 26 years in the NFL in a number of different coaching roles, while Dinucci has one NFL start under his belt for the Dallas Cowboys. Former Cleveland Browns' star receiver Josh Gordon is another name to watch for the Sea Dragons.
Week 2 @ Vegas Vipers (2/25)
D.C. will travel to Las Vegas in week two to take on head coach Rod Woodson and the Vegas Vipers. Woodson, a Hall of Fame defensive back in the NFL, is getting his first opportunity to be a head coach after serving as a defensive backs coach for five years in the pros. The Vipers also have some other recognizable names, like Martavis Bryant, Brett Hundley and Vic Beasley.
Week 3 vs St. Louis Battlehawks (3/5)
Coming back home in week three, the Defenders face off against head coach Anthony Becht and the St. Louis Battlehawks. Becht played tight end in the NFL for 11 seasons, and after retiring he joined IMG Academy as their draft prep tight end coach. He was also the tight ends coach for the San Diego Fleet of the AAF in 2018. On the field, he'll also have a few guys with NFL experience, like A.J. McCarron and Hakeem Butler.
Week 4 vs Vegas Vipers (3/12)
During week four, the Defenders will play the Vipers for the second time in three weeks.
Week 5 vs St. Louis Battlehawks (3/18)
Another week, another familiar foe; the Defenders take on the Battlehawks again in week five, this time in St. Louis.
Week 6 @ Houston Roughnecks (3/27)
The Defenders play the Houston Roughnecks in week six, who are coached by one of the most experienced minds in the game: Wade Phillips. Phillips has held a number of coaching positions in the NFL over the years; more recently he was the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams en route to their Super Bowl appearance during the 2018-2019 season. He'll be looking to get the best out of a roster that has very little experience in the pros.
Week 7 @ Orlando Guardians (4/2)
D.C. heads south in week seven to battle the Orlando Guardians, led by Head Coach Terrell Buckley. While he may be a first time head coach, Buckley had a solid NFL career as a cornerback and was a great leader during his playing days. He also has a few veterans in the locker room, like Cody Latimer, Josh Harvey-Clemons and Eli Rogers, to help keep the team in top form.
Week 8 @ Seattle Sea Dragons (4/9)
In week eight the Defenders get the Sea Dragons for the second time.
Week 9 vs Arlington Renegades (4/16)
In their final home game, the Defenders face Head Coach Bob Stoops and the Arlington Renegades. Stoops was recently inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame after an illustrious career as the head coach at Oklahoma University. He commands a young roster with little NFL experience, but the Renegades may have the best (or at least the coolest) punter in the league in Marquette King.
Week 10 @ San Antonio Brahmas (4/22)
To close out the regular season, D.C. travels back to Texas to take on the San Antonio Brahmas and Head Coach Hines Ward. The former NFL great gets his first head coaching gig after serving as an offensive assistant with the New York Jets. Ward is a tremendous leader and knows what it takes to build a winning team and culture, but the Brahmas don't have a lot of firepower compared to some other teams. It'll be interesting to see what he's able to get out of his players.
Featured image courtesy of the XFL