The NFL is at it's halfway point in the season. Some who were expected to be great (Philadelphia) have had their bumps, while others that were expected to be mediocre have moved up in the pack (Cincinnati). Week 8 marks the time when players that were placed on the Phsically Unable to Perform List at the beginning of the season are eligible to play for the first time. For Mountaineer fans, those players include Adam Pacman Jones of the Bengals and Brandon Hogan of the Panthers.
Hogan began practicing with the Panthers for the first time last week after recovering from a torn ACL suffered last December. The early word from Panthers' practices are that he is rusty, but shows signs of being able to contribute this season. The team has two weeks to determine if he will be activated this season. The area that Hogan could contribute immediately for the Panthers is at kick returner. The team ranks near the bottom of the NFL in returns, particularly in the punting game. Before the season, Hogan was penciled in by many to be the Panthers featured return man. The Panthers also need help in the secondary, particularly at corner. Hogan can help out there as well. He has already participated in Charlotte-area community events outside of Bank of America Stadium with the team.
Pacman Jones returned to practice this week for the Bengals for the first time in over a year. The team says that he is in great shape and could be activated soon.
Here now is the lineup of NFL games for Week 8 involving former Mountaineers:
The Colts are one of the leading teams on the Suck-For-Luck train. Without Peyton Manning, and after placing Kerry Collins on IR this week, Pat McAfee is back to being the Colts emergency quarterback. He also might be the best tackling kicker in the league. He has three tackles on the season thus far. He is averaging 48.2 yards per punt on the season. An improvement of nearly 4 yards per punt over his career average.
The current leader in the Suck-For-Luck sweepstakes, Miami Dolphins, held Steve Slaton inactive last week after Daniel Thomas returned from injury. That could become the start of a trend this week vs. the Giants.
Chris Neild continues to be a contributor for the Redskins at NT. He only played 12 snaps last week against the Panthers, but Neild does not play much when teams are geared towards passing, such as the Bills. Corey McIntyre is the Bills starting FB, but you see him more on special teams.
This game is the featured matchup this weekend for the NFL. Mortty Ivy was resigned to the Steelers practice squad last week after being released from it two weeks prior. Ryan Mundy holds one of the keys to this matchup for the Steelers as he will be relied upon to cover the Patriots tight ends. Mundy currently has 13 tackles on the season.
This is the first game that Adam Jones will be eligible to play in this season. He looks like he is ready to be activated. The question is, will he be? Rookie Robert Sands has been a healthy inactive in every game this season. That will likely be the case against the Seahawks.
As the Eagles have started to use more two tight-end sets, Owen Schmitt's playing time has dropped off. He is a key contributor on special teams still where he has made two tackles and had two returns for 18 yarsds, but is used only as a blocker when he is on offense.
Anthony Becht was resigned by the Chiefs this week. If he is activated, they will use him primarily as a blocker. Something he takes pride in.