Several former Mountaineers kicked off the NFL Preseason last night. There are two interesting storylines I will recap and tell you about the other players in action.
Before the Bears’ matchup with the Broncos, special teams coordinator Dave Toub wanted to see Thomas in the spotlight. Thomas sat out last season for the Bears with a hip injury, and last night was his first chance to see action since last Preseason.
The Bears lost the game 31-3 at Mile High Stadium, but Thomas led the Bears defense and special teams. Thomas was all over the field last night, collapsing on the run from the outside and even batting down a pass ten yards off the line of scrimmage. He fired through gaps, forcing the running backs to change direction several times.
Disruptive to say the least.
One thing coaches look for during the Preseason when the 2nd and 3rd-units are in are the players who standout and look like starters. In this game, Thomas was one of those players. He finished with 7 tackles (4 solo) with 1 tackle for loss.
Johnson saw his first professional action last night for the Steelers against the Eagles. Johnson came into the game with about three minutes to play in the first quarter. He found himself open for passes out of the backfield (thrown to once) and made some crushing blocks near the goal line on a touchdown drive.
He started during the second half for the team.
The reason Johnson saw action as early as he did in the first quarter was that Steelers’ starting FB, David Johnson, went out with a knee injury. He appears to be done for the season. Head coach Mike Tomlin said he planned to use David Johnson as a FB and TE during the season.
Former Mountaineer, Will Johnson, is a converted TE from West Virginia who can also fill that role. It will be interesting to see what the Steelers do with Dave Johnson potentially done for the season.
Ryan Mundy and Mortty Ivy
In the Steelers’ narrow loss to the Eagles, Ryan Mundy played some during the first half and recorded 2 tackles.
Ivy was on the starting kickoff and punt coverage teams. He recorded 1 tackle in the game, but was in on the action during several other plays. He started the second half at right OLB but did not play in the fourth quarter.
Neild had a sack last night on Bills’ QB Vince Young. He looked great particularly near the goal line for the Redskins.
With injuries along the front line for the Packers, undrafted free-agent Don Barclay had a chance to get a lot of playing time for the Packers against the Chargers last night. Barclay was noted on one goal-line play as the lead blocker on a Packers’ touchdown run.
He came in during the first half and played the rest of the game.
Urban had one catch for 20 yards in the Patriots’ win over the Saints.