Two drives into the D.C. Defenders’ game against the St. Louis BattleHawks on Sunday, Cardale Jones threw his league-leading seventh interception of the season and was promptly benched for the rest of the game by head coach Pep Hamilton.
But after the game, Hamilton told reporters that was his plan along. He wanted to give Jones two drives to make something happen before turning things over to backup quarterback Tyree Jackson, who threw a touchdown pass on his first drive and ultimately led the Defenders to a 15-6 win.
Jones has cooled off considerably since getting off to a scorching start to his XFL career. In his first two games, he threw for a combined four touchdowns with one interception. Over his last three contests—including Sunday’s, when he didn’t play past the first quarter—Jones has six picks and no scores.
Despite his recent struggles, Jones will be the Defenders’ starting quarterback for their next game against the Dallas Renegades in Week 6, Hamilton said. D.C. is 3-2 and tied for the top spot in the XFL East even after being blown out in back-to-back weeks to close out February.
Even though Jones is being given the benefit of the doubt by his coaching staff for now, Jackson’s surprising performance in relief should put more pressure on Jones to perform.
"It's good to have two very capable quarterbacks that we feel like we can put in in any situation and they give us a chance to win," Hamilton said.
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