MISS U, AJ.
Some of y'all aren't NFL fans, we understand that. The NFL is a soulless league of perfectionist, uncreative coaches all running the same system with robot players and conservative playcalling. In other words, Nick Saban's personal wet dream.
However, we know that y'all are also Buckeye fans, and Buckeye fans always keep up with their own. So I present to you Land-Grant Holy Land's "Keeping Up." This will be a weekly look at the notable NFL performances of former Buckeyes, and every once in a while you may have a few reminiscent moments of former Buckeye stars performing in the ol' Horseshoe.
AJ Hawk currently leads the NFL in tackles after the Packers' 30-22 loss to San Francisco. He was all over the field, recording 14 stops. 10 of those tackles were solo. Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett contributed with one tackle. The Packers' opponent, the 49ers, employ the most former Buckeyes of any team in the NFL. Former Buckeye safety and first-round pick Donte Whitner added 4 tackles (3 solo) with one pass defensed, while Larry Grant contributed with a tackle on special teams. Alex Boone got some run as an extra tackle on running downs, while Ted Ginn is still on the injured list.
Joining Ginn on the inactive list, unfortunately, is Dane Sanzenbacher. The current Chicago Bear is currently the team's sixth receiver and did not record any stats against Indianapolis. In other NFC North news, Antoine Winfield is still killing it in his mid-30s. Winfield, who persevered through personal tragedy, had four solo tackles against the Jacksonville Jaguars in an overtime victory.
Ouch. But ol' Kurt would have his revenge and probably the best game of any Buckeye, intercepting rookie QB Brandon Weeden twice and tacking on five solo tackles and a pass defensed. Coleman's play propelled Philadelphia to a sloppy 17-16 victory (sorry, Browns fans. That was bad.) Brian Rolle contributed too, with two tackles on special teams.
Staying on the defensive side of the ball, James Laurinaitis had 9 tackles (5 solo) for the St. Louis Rams against the Detroit Lions in a loss. To JL's credit, I think he'll sleep just fine anyways. Opposing him was Rob Sims, who starts for Detroit at left guard. The two had a couple of collisions. Jake McQuaide is a frequent contributor for St. Louis as well as the long snapper.
On Sunday night, some former Buckeyes took the stage wearing the black and gold against Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos. Unfortunately, it was to their detriment as Manning picked the Steelers D apart. Cameron Heyward tackled the ballcarrier twice, while Will Allen made one stop. Mike Adams currently backs up Max Starks and did not get any playing time.
Staying in the AFC, special teams ace Nate Ebner recorded two tackles for the New England Patriots against the Titans. Santonio Holmes contributed to the Jets' pasting of the Bills with 4 catches for 68 yards, while Nick Mangold helped the Jets' much-maligned offensive line hold off the Bills' vaunted defensive line, defeating Kyle Williams all day. Miami struggled against Houston, and it showed. Former Buckeye all-star Brian Hartline led the team with three catches for 50 yards and a post-interception tackle. Wide receiver DeVier Posey was inactive for the Houston Texans.
Going back to some former defensive stars, Will Smith and Malcolm Jenkins struggled along with the rest of the Saints defense against star rookie Robert Griffin III. Smith only contributed one solo tackle (in fairness, he was suspended by Roger Goodell until 2 days before the game) and Jenkins had 5 tackles, 3 solo. For other NFC South teams that lost, former 2-way star Chris Gamble contributed a pass break-up for the Carolina Panthers. Staying in the NFC, the Arizona Cardinals somehow beat the Seahawks despite Beanie Wells' 7 carries for 14 yards and 40 rushing yards total.
Finally, Mike Nugent's golden toe contributed two field goals to the Bengals' pathetic showing against the Ravens. (My inner fan is showing, pay me no mind.) Nate Clements also has a pass breakup and 3 tackles. Terrelle Pryor spent the late game in shorts and a t-shirt inactive for the Oakland Raiders.
Which former Buckeye did you think was the best during the NFL's first week?