The NFL Preseason is behind us. The regular season kicked off last night with the New Orleans Saints losing to the Green Bay Packers 42-34.
Last weekend, roster cuts were made, and many former Mountaineers didn't make the cut. Scooter Berry, Sidney Glover, Selvish Capers, Mortty Ivy, Wes Lyons, Ellis Lankster, Anthony Becht, Jarrett Brown, Darius Reynaud all were cut. They joined Jock Sanders, Anthony Leonard, and Noel Devine who were cut during the first three weeks of the Preseason. Two of those, Jarrett Brown and Mortty Ivy, were signed to their respective team's practice squads.
58 undrafted free-agents made NFL rosters this year, the most since 2003. None of the former Mountaineers that fall into that category made their respective teams. J.T. Thomas of the Chicago Bears was place on season-ending injured reserve with back problems, and Brandon Hogan was placed on the PUP list for the Carolina Panthers. This means that of the four that were drafted and the five rookie free agents that were signed form last year's Mountaineer team, only two of them will play within first six weeks of the season. Brandon Hogan will be eligible to play in Week 7 when the Washington Redskins come to Charlotte.
This is the first full weekend of football, both college and the pros. I'm here to tell you what to expect from former Mountaineers that will be in action this weekend.
With Sunday being the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, there will be ceremonies to commemorate the event at all of the games. Perhaps none more so than the N.Y. Giants playing the Washington Redskins. There will be a video tribute before the game. Gen. Colin Powell will serve as the Redskins honorary captain during the coin toss. There will be around 150 family members affected by the attack on the Pentagon, as well as first responders honored before the game.
Some of the rookie Mountaineers like Robert Sands and Chris Neild may not play much during the early phase of the NFL season as they are still learning their way and trying to carve out a niche on their defenses. Others like Schmitt, McIntyre, McAfee, and Mundy have their niches carved out and will continue to grow as players. One former Mountaineer may make a run at the Pro Bowl. Who do you think it will be? Feel free to leave your comments after the game rundown.
N.Y. Giants @
Darius Reynaud was cut from the Giants last week, and Selvish Capers was likewise cut from the Redskins. Chris Neild made the 53-man roster for the Redskins. Neild will be the backup nose tackle for the Redskins after beating out Anthony Bryant for the spot. While Neild is adjusting to the one-gap style after playing in the two-gap at West Virginia, his work ethic really set him apart in training camp. While teams had to reduce their rosters to 53 players, they are only allowed to have 46 active on game days. Because Neild is the backup nose tackle, he will likely be activated on game day. Also, look for him to play on special teams.
Indianapolis Colts @
Steve Slaton is finally healthy after missing the entire preseason with a hamstring injury. The NFL's leading rusher from last season, Arian Foster, is likely out for this game as he has been limited in practice this week. Slaton will back up Ben Tate and Derrick Ward at tailback. Although Slaton faces a steep climb back up the depth chart, Texans' head coach, Gary Kubiak, likes what Slaton has done in practices. If Foster is out, the Slaton could be in line as the 3rd down running back.
"I think he kind of got lost a little bit because he missed that time," Kubiak said of Slaton's missed time during the Preseason, "but up until the time he pulled a hamstring, he was excellent through camp. I thought it was really pushing Derrick (Ward) and Ben (Tate), very much so. It was unfortunate, but I think Steve's come back the right way and Steve's ready to be successful again in this league. You never know when your opportunity's going to come, so I've been impressed with what he's done. I'm glad he's on this football team."
Pat McAfee was 2nd in the NFL in punting during the Preseason. With Peyton Manning out for the first time in his 14-year career, and Kerry Collins at the helm, McAfee may get a few extra punts in.
Pittsburgh Steelers @
Last weekend, the Steelers cut Mortty Ivy and Wes Lyons. Ivy, in particular, had a strong Preseason, but didn't make the final Steelers' roster because of their depth at linebacker. He was signed to the practice squad for the Steelers so the coaching staff can monitor his development and call him up to the 53-man roster in case someone gets injured. Ryan Mundy could see a growing role in the Steelers' secondary after a good Preseason.
Philadelphia Eagles @
Saint Louis Rams
Owen Schmitt gets the start at fullback for the Eagles. The Eagles drafted USC FB, Stanley Havili, to push Schmitt for the starting job. What was supposed to be a battle at that position never materialized during the Preseason, and Havili was cut last weekend.
Buffalo Bills @
Kansas City Chiefs
Corey McIntyre gets the start at FB for the Bills. He'll play on special teams as well.
Cincinnati Bengals @
Robert Sands will make his regular season debut with the Bengals. Sands' role on the Bengals' defense is not well defined at this point. Especially after the Bengals acquired former 2nd Round draft pick, Taylor Mays, from the 49ers during the Preseason to add depth at the safety position.