The last weekend of NFL Preseason action is behind us, and the regular season kicks off Thursday night with the last two Super Bowl Champions facing each other- the Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints.
All of the former Mountaineers in action during the final week of the Preseason participated in games played on Thursday evening. Starting Friday, NFL teams began to hand down roster cuts in order to get their active rosters from 80 players down to 53. If you follow me on Twitter, then you know there were many announcements over the weekend concerning former Mountaineers. As it stands at the time of this writing, there are now 8 former Mountaineers on active NFL rosters, 2 on the PUP list, 1 on IR, and 9 more were cut over the weekend. However, 2 of those players were resigned to the practice squads of their respective teams.
Before we get to the signings, lets' first review the action from Thursday night where one of the rookie Mountaineers received some good news before his game kicked off, and I will tell you how that was a sign of good things to come.
All three former Mountaineers that were on the Steelers roster made contributions in their win over the Panthers. None more so than LB Mortty Ivy. He played most of the game and wreaked havoc on the Panthers offense. He finished with 9 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 pass defended. Ryan Mundy finished second on the team in tackles with 5. Wes Lyons caught 1 long pass for 38 yards. Both Mundy and Ivy had strong preseasons for the Steelers. Lyons was so so. Two are still with the organization. One is not. I will tell you who's who after the breakdown.
Coming into the preseason, there was a percieved FB battle on the Eagles roster that never materialized. The Eagles drafted USC FB, Stanly Havili, late in the draft to push Owen Schmitt for a roster spot. Havili never really proved to be much of a threat and was released over the weekend. For the Jets, Ellis Lankster returned an interception for 67 yards for a touchdown. He also had 4 tackles in the game. Was that enough to preserve a roster spot?
Sidney Glover was a difficult man for me to keep track of during the preseason. Not for lack of digging, but for lack of mention of him coming out of Bills' Camp. Perhaps a harbinger of things to come. Glover did finish the Bills' preseason finale with 2 tackles.
Pat McAfee took a night off from punting duties, but kicked both of the extra points for Indy. McAfee finished 2nd in the NFL in punting by a slim margin during the preseason.
Darius Reynaud caught the only pass thrown his way for 9 yards.
Tampa Bay Bucs 24
Washington Redskins 29
Chris Neild was the player I alluded to before the start of the rundown that received the good news before the start of his game. Neild was named the starting NT for the game against the Jock Sandersless Bucs. Neild played well and held his own recording 1 tackle for a loss. Selvish Capers on the other hand, played sparingly.
Jarrett Brown played well for the Browns for the second week in a row, and got the bulk of the snaps. He finished 10/15 passing for 92 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. J.T. Thomas recorded 1 tackle for the Bears.
Steve Slaton returned to practice last week but did not play in the game. He missed all four games during the preseason for a team where he was looking up from the bottom of one of the deepest RB depth charts in the league. After the game, HC Gary Kubiak, said that Slaton was healthy enough to play, but was held out due to lack of practice time. Scooter Berry played, but did not show up on the stat sheet.
Final Roster Rundown
After the games were played, rosters began to hand down their roster cuts. Below, I will list each team that had a Mountaineer representative, what their status now is with that team, and a note about each player.
Ryan Mundy (Made team) will be a key reserve in the defensive backfield.
Mortty Ivy (Cut) After a strong preseason, there simply wasn't enough room for Ivy on a roster loaded at linebacker. He was resigned to their practice squad.
Wes Lyons (Cut) The Steelers loved his size and pass-catching, but in the end, he did not perform well enough to make the final roster.
Steve Slaton(Made team) After speculation that Slaton would be cut on Friday, in the end the Texans cut RB Chris Ogbonnaya to leave room for Slaton on the roster.
Scooter Berry (Cut) I broke the news on Saturday evening the Berry had been cut by the Texans. Texans' coaches believe Berry will get picked up by someone.
Pat McAfee (Made team) No question about this one. McAfee looks to have a Pro Bowl season for the Colts, particularly if Peyton Manning doesn't return from injury anytime soon.
Robert Sands (Made Team) Sands will be a situational player on defense this season as he learns the pro game, but he should be a regular contributor on special teams.
Adam Pacman Jones (Made Team) Jones was placed on the PUP list as he continues to recover from offseason neck surgery. He will first be eligible to play in Week 8 at Seattle.
Corey McIntyre (Made team) No surprise here either. He will be the Bills starting FB and play on special teams.
Sidney Glover (Cut) This doesn't come as a surprise as barely a peep was heard about Glover in camp.
Anthony Becht (Cut) Becht made it through the initial weekend cut after being a late Preseason addition to the team, but was waived on Monday. He still hopes to play this season should the opportunity present itself.
Ellis Lankster (Cut) This was a small surprise as Lankster had some nice moments in camp and during the Preseason games.
Jarrett Brown (Cut) Brown had a followed a rough first two weeks of the preseason with two nice games at the end. HC Pat Schurmur loves Brown's mobility and arm strength. They feel that he is a perfect 3rd QB at this point in his career, so the placed him on the practice squad after they cut him to monitor his development.
Brandon Hogan (Made team) Hogan was placed on the PUP list and will not be eligible to play until a Week 7 home game against the Redskins.
Chris Neild (Made team) Getting the call to start the final Preseason game for the Redskins was a good sign they were going to keep him on the final roster. The Skins see promise in Neild, but still needs some development.
Selvish Capers (Cut) This comes as no surprise as he struggled in practices and played sparingly during the Preseason.
J.T. Thomas (Made team) Thomas was placed on season ending Injured Reserve. He was listed as being put on Reserve because of a back issue. This was a surprising move because there was no hint of Thomas having back problems. Lester Wiltfong of the Windy City Gridiron told me that the injury wasn't serious, and the Bears use IR as a type of redshirt program to stash rookies away while they develop.
Owen Schmitt (Made team) Schmitt put to rest all thoughts of rookie Stanley Havili challenging him for a roster spot at FB.
Darius Reynaud (Cut) When it became apparent that Reynaud was not going to be the Giants kick returner, the writing was on the wall.
Other Former Mountaineers Notes
Larry Ford- The former JUCO transfer for the Mountaineers from 2008- 2010 signed a contract with the Florida Tarpons of the UIFL on Monday. The arena football team will begin play next March.
Avon Cobourne- Cobourne faced his former CFL team, the Montreal Alouettes, on Labour Day (as they call it in Canada) and gained over 100 yards to go along with 2 TDs.