With the Preseason behind us, thirteen Mountaineers made it to 53-man rosters around the NFL. Three players were placed on IR: Brandon Hogan, Chris Neild and Robert Sands. Two were cut: Steve Slaton and Mortty Ivy. One was placed on a practice squad: Selvish Capers.
Now we look forward to the first of seventeen weeks in the NFL. We gave you five players on Wednesday who could make the largest impacts on NFL rosters this season. We highlight those players and give you a some info on the other eight players who could play on Sunday.
Sunday Sept. 9
Colts vs. Bears 1:00 pm ET CBS
J.T. Thomas will make his first ever regular season appearance with the Chicago Bears after being on IR all of last year. He will play in all four phases of the special teams and back up Nick Roach and Lance Briggs at OLB.
Pat McAfee had the distinction last season of having more tackles than any other kicker. Why? The Colts punted the ball a lot last season. He punted the ball 88 times last season after punting 65 times the season before. With rookie quarterback Andrew Luck at the helm, the team hopes McAfee’s number of punts will go way down.
Patriots vs. Titans 1:00 pm ET CBS
Darius Reynaud had an outstanding Preseason for the Titans after sitting out all of last season. The team switched him from WR to RB after he signed. During the Preseason, Reynaud led the NFL in punt return yards and was 4th in all-purpose yardage.
He will not play as much on offense with Chris Johnson and Javon Ringer playing in front of him, but he will return kicks and punts.
Bills vs. Jets 1:00 pm ET CBS
Ellis Lankster made a splash in the opening weeks of Jets’ training camp by being all over the field on defense breaking up passes, with interceptions and getting through the offensive line and sacking the quarterback. He showed up in exceptional shape and moved up to the Jets #3 corner before injuring his quad.
He practiced fully on Wednesday and is listed as “probable”.
The Bills named FB Corey McIntyre as their special teams captain this week. He did not play on offense very much last season, but don’t be surprised to see him show up in the passing game.
Panthers vs. Buccaneers 4:25 pm ET FOX
Najee Goode and Keith Tandy will play in their first regular season games as WVUPros after making the regular season roster for the Bucs. Both players are backups at linebacker and safety .
Tandy had a great finish to the Preseason, leading the Bucs in tackles during the last two games. Goode was solid in all four games defending against the run, but showed he needs some work learning to defend the pass.
Neither will contribute much on defense, but both will cut their teeth on special teams.
After a quiet first three weeks of the Preseason, Bruce Irvin showed why the Seahawks picked him 15th overall in this past April’s NFL Draft in the last game against the Raiders. He had 1.5 sacks, 4 tackles, and forced a fumble in the game. He had not recorded any stats in the previous three games.
While it was the first time Irvin showed up in the stat sheet, he made his presence increasingly felt as the Preseason progressed. He made strides in figuring out ways to pressure quarterbacks.
Look for Irvin to play often, especially on passing downs. The forced fumble Irvin recorded last week came on punt coverage.
Packers vs. 49ers 4:25 pm ET FOX
Don Barclay climbed his way through the ranks of Packers’ offensive linemen and made the team as an undrafted free-agent. When the team had injury problems among their starters, the team asked for Barclay to step in and play multiple positions across the line. He showed great toughness and an ability to stay in front of defenders that the team liked.
The team placed Derek Sherrod on the PUP list making Barclay the backup at both offensive tackle positions.
Steelers vs. Broncos 8:20 pm ET NBC
The Steelers start this season where last season ended in Denver. Tim Tebow threw an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play of OT in the opening round of the Playoffs to Demaryius Thomas with Ryan Mundy providing help coverage on the play.
In this game, two Mountaineers will start for the Steelers.
Mundy backs up Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu at both safety positions. Clark has a sickle-cell condition that prohibits him from playing in high-altitudes. Therefore, Mundy will again get the start.
Will Johnson is the starting fullback for the Steelers after David Johnson had a season-ending injury in the first Preseason game. Will Johnson could show up in several different places on the field: fullback, tight end, and special teams.
Monday Sept. 10
Bengals vs. Ravens 7:00 pm ET ESPN
Injury problems plagued Adam Pacman Jones for most of the Preseason. If he is healthy, he will back up at corner for the Bengals and could return punts.
Chargers vs. Raiders 10:15 ESPN
Owen Schmitt will start for the Raiders at fullback. During the Preseason, the Raiders showed a different wrinkle in using Schmitt when he lined up at receiver a few times.