WVUPros Saturday Night Preview: Irvin, Thomas, Lankster Look To Lead Their Defenses

WVUPros Saturday Night Preview: Irvin, Thomas, Lankster Look To Lead Their Defenses

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Image via McConnell Athletics.

After Darius Reynaud and Steve Slaton led their teams in rushing on Friday night, defense from Mountaineers in the NFL steps to the forefront on Saturday.

Last week, J.T. Thomas and Ellis Lankster starred for the Bears and Jets respectively on defense. They look to keep up their great play. Bruce Irvin will play in his second professional game after mixed reviews in his début.

Giants vs. Jets 7:00 p.m. ET NFL Network

Ellis Lankster was one of the best players in Jets’ training camp. Almost every day, observers noted Lankster breaking up passes or intercepting Tim Tebow (we think he picked off at least four of Tebow’s passes). In the Preseason opener against the Bengals, Lankster matched his total for all last season with 6 tackles.

Lankster sat out of practice on Thursday with a hamstring injury. At the time of this writing, it is not known if or how much Lankster will play against their cross-town rivals. Will he and fellow Mountaineer Selvish Capers lock horns in the trenches?

Redskins vs. Bears 8:00 p.m. ET

J.T. Thomas

When we looked ahead to this game at the start of the week, we hoped to give you a preview of two Mountaineers playing against each other until the dreadful news of Chris Neild’s season-ending ACL injury. We wish him a speedy and full recovery.

Instead, we focus on J.T. Thomas who led the Bears defense last week in their loss to the Broncos. Thomas is emerging as a linebacker who can step in and give depth to the Monsters of the Midway’s linebacking corps. This week, after Brian Urlacher had arthroscopic surgery on his knee, and the Bears moved Nick Roach over to middle linebacker, Thomas received some first-team reps in practice.

Thomas could get plenty of playing time in this game as he plays with the starters and backups.

Seahawks vs. Broncos 9:00 p.m. ET

Image via Danny O’Neill

Bruce Irvin had a quiet week of practice for the Seahawks. He got off to a slow start in his first game against the Titans. He flashed his remarkable speed at times but had problems disengaging from blockers at times.

Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter offered this insight in his Postcard From Seahawks Camp:

“Seattle wants to generate pressure with its front four, and the addition of first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin should help it do that. He’s long and incredibly quick, which will be even more noticeable at home, where the crowd noise will give him an advantage over offensive tackles at the snap of the ball. Irvin still needs to develop a second rush move to maximize his potential, but that will come in time. For now his quickness and length, combined with the Seahawks’ other talent up front, will give offensive lines headaches.”

Look for Irvin to play early and often during the first half for the Seahawks. Will he introduce himself rudely to Peyton Manning?

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