The NFL's first week of the preseason was capped off on Monday Night Football with Steve Slaton's and Scooter Berry's Houston Texans victory over Ellis Lankster's N.Y. Jets. Over the course of the weekend, there were several former Mountaineers who made their pro debuts, and others making debuts with new teams. I will run down the scores of games that had teams on which former Mountaineers play, and I will give you my Top Performer of the Week. I have an update from the CFL involving Avon Cobourne. I also have a Noel Devine update at the end.
Player Summary: Owen Schmitt had 1 carry for 3 yards, and had a few key blocks.
Player Summary: In the game of Preseason Week 1 that featured the most former Mountaineers, two players in particular stood out: Ryan Mundy and Mortty Ivy for the Steelers. Because of injuries, Mundy played on the first 66 of 77 total defensive snaps in the game and led the team in tackles with 8 and one pass breakup in a strong, consistent performance. Mortty Ivy was 2nd on the team in tackles with 6. He played the entire 2nd half as one of the interior LB's in Pittsburgh's 3-4 set. He called many of the plays for the defense towards the end. Wes Lyons was noted by the announcers for his obvious height advantage, but when he first checked in to the game he had a pass thrown to him by Charlie Batch that was too high, then fell and banged his head on the turf. He was listed as having a concussion.
On the Redskins side, Chris Neild saw his first action late in the 2nd half and appeared to hold his own in the trenches. Selvish Capers did not have a strong performance, and ended up getting pushed around.
Player Summary: The Bengals looked like they were in midseason form. Adam 'Pacman' Jones did not play. Robert Sands made his debut with the Bengals, and had four tackles. He did get picked on some in the passing game when he covered a TE. When he wasn't on a TE, the ball wasn't thrown to his side of the field often. Bengals Defensive Coordinator, Mike Zimmer, said that he was encouraged with Sands' play in the game.
Player Summary: Jock Sanders made his debut with the Bucs and had a couple nice punt returns. He had 2 returns for 34 yards with a long of 21 on his first attempt.
Player Summary: This game would have been Brandon Hogan's debut had his ACL been healed enough for him to pass his physical. He has been running and rehabbing with Panthers' trainers trying to regain strength in his knee. I asked Steve Reed of CarolinaGrowl.com if there was any indication that Hogan may close to playing and he told me there were "None." For the Giants, Darius Reynaud hoped to build upon a strong week of practice but was held to 5 yards on 1 catch.
Player Summary: J.T. Thomas' debut with the Bears will be delayed by at least one week as he was out with a leg injury. He said on Twitter that he hopes to play next week. Corey McIntyre started for the Bills at FB, but did not record any stats.
Player Summary: Pat McAfee is trying his hand with the field goal unit this season and has been seen in multiple practices kicking 75+ yard field goals. He did have on PAT and 3 punts for an average of 45.3 yards, one inside the 20, with a long of 51 yards.
N.Y. Jets 16
Houston Texans 20
Player Summary: Steve Slaton did not play for the Texans with a hamstring injury. Before the injury, he had performed very well in practices. Scooter Berry made his debut for the Texans during the 2nd half. He did not crack the stat sheet. Ellis Lankster playing for the Jets had 3 tackles.
Hamilton Tigercats 37
Montreal Argonauts 32
Player Summary: Avon Cobourne scored the game-winning touchdown for the Ticats on Saturday night. Cobourne had 13 carries for 61 yards and a TD. He also had 2 catches for 32 yards.
I mentioned on Friday that it was rumored that Noel Devine was on the verge of signing with a team from the UFL. No word came out over the weekend. I did call the front office of all of the teams in that league, all four of them. Three of the teams did not return my call, but one team, Omaha Nighthawks, did have a response. I told them I heard they were going to sign Noel Devine. The guy quickly responded, "Uh, no comment."
WVU Pro Player of the Week
Ryan Mundy wins our inaugural WVU Pro Player of the Week award by playing most of the snaps for the Steelers and recording a team- high eight tackles.