Bruce Irvin Makes His NFL Debut But Darius Reynaud Steals the Show

Bruce Irvin Makes His NFL Debut But Darius Reynaud Steals the Show

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Tennessee Titans’ Darius Reynaud dives in for a touchdown past Seattle Seahawks’ Jeron Johnson, left, after returning a punt for 85 yards in the second half of an NFL football preseason game, Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

  Among WVU fans, the Seahawks’ preseason opener was one of the most anticipated games in recent NFL memory for one reason: Bruce Irvin’s début.

  The Seahawks’ selection of Irvin with the 15th overall pick in April’s Draft was one of the most questioned picks by fans and pundits everywhere. Many thought that Irvin’s selection at 15 was a reach. The pick puts tremendous pressure on Pete Carroll and the Seahawks to put Irvin in a situation to succeed.

  In the weeks leading up to Saturday night’s preseason opener against the Titans, much of the focus was on Irvin. We had several articles ourselves devoted to Irvin’s first NFL training camp.

  Reynaud’s move to Tennessee and subsequent position change was much less ballyhooed.

  So, as we begin our recap of the Seahawks/ Titans preseason opener, we give credit where credit is due. Yes, we will tell you about how Irvin played, but not before we tell you how Darius Reynaud style the show.

  Reynaud is trying to win a spot on the Titans’ roster after the team signed him to a future’s deal in the January. The coaching staff wanted to see how Reynaud would do coming out of the backfield as opposed to being a wideout. He played running back in high school, but was switched to wide receiver during his freshman season at WVU (there was a guy named Steve Slaton that Rich Rodriguez liked at RB that season).

  In the third quarter of Saturday night’s game, Reynaud scored two touchdowns on two consecutive touches. The first came on a 21-yard run. Three minutes later, Reynaud scored on an 85-yard punt return. (You can watch that return here.) Two plays: 119 total yards.

  On both plays, he showed the speed and shiftiness that the Titans hoped for. Reynaud went on to lead the Titans in rushing with 39 yards on 5 carries. Chris Johnson struggled and had 8 yards on the same number of carries as Reynaud.

    “I always put pride in practicing hard, and it pays off,” Reynaud said following the game. “For me, I’m just trying to take advantage of my opportunities here, and running with it.”

  With Reynaud’s performance, more opportunities may await the former Mountaineer.

  Bruce Irvin’s first professional game was more of a mixed bag. He did not record any tackles (although he was in on several) and had a couple of quarterback hurries. There were a couple of times, one of them being on the hurries, where Irvin blew by a would-be blocker. On other plays, he showed his signature quick first step, but when he made contact with offensive linemen, he had problems disengaging. Irvin’s ability to break free from blockers will get better as he increases in strength and learns more moves.

Next Friday, Reynaud ant the Titans play Keith Tandy, Najee Goode and the Bucs. On Saturday, Bruce Irvin and the Seahawks play at Denver.

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