After a dominate XFL debut, P.J. Walker continued his surge on Saturday. The Temple product led the Houston Roughnecks to a third consecutive victory in a win over Tampa Bay. Walker completed 24 of 36 pass attempts for 306 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 34 yards and a touchdown on 4 carries.
The rise of P.J. Walker has been fun to watch, and his style of play is in vogue with the NFL right now. Over the last few seasons, mobile quarterbacks have been increasingly sought after. Both of the last two NFL MVPS’ – Lamar Jackson and Pat Mahomes – have the ability to scramble out of the pocket and make plays on the run. Jackson of course was the most dynamic qb in football this past season.
Walker has shown that he is capable of thriving in a mobile game-plan thus far in the XFL. Just watch this unbelievable throw Walker made while being hit on Saturday.
ESPN even did a special report about Walker earlier this week in which they detailed his path to the XFL. P.J. Walker was an un-drafted free agent out of Temple who ultimately landed with the Colts practice squad. He was mentored by Andrew Luck for over two years but ended up getting cut by the Colts and not staying on the practice squad for the 2019 season. Luckily, Walker had XFL connections with the league commissioner being Oliver Luck, Andrew’s father. Andrew got him a spot in the XFL and Walker ran with the opportunity.
A lot of credit must go to Houston head coach June Jones and his “run and shoot” offensive scheme. Jones was the founder of the scheme, which was influenced by Mouse Davis, his college head coach at Portland State in the 70’s. The offense is based around an agile quarterback who can scramble and cover anywhere on the field. The offense has produced successful quarterbacks such as Warren Moon; quarterbacks who can get out of the pocket easily and find receivers down the field. This works great with the 5’11, Walker who ran a 4.7 forty-yard dash.
In three games this season, Walker leads the XFL with 11 total touchdowns and is opening a path back to the NFL. That said, he isn’t in any rush to get back. When asked about a possible return to the NFL, he said “for me, it’s just taking it one day at a time and, you know, not looking down a lot. Just taking it one day and, you know, whatever happens, happens at the end of the season.”
Seems pretty laid back to me, which is a valuable trait at the highest level. Walker certainly had patience on this muffed snap when he was able to show off his play-making ability and speed in the open field.