Week 1 in the NFL is a great introduction to real-time speed of games in the pros and several former Ohio State football stars made their league debut. Now that they have a bit of regular season experience under their belts, they can start figuring out how to navigate to and through a starting position with their new teams.
‘Thursday Night Football’
The past two weeks have started with Buckeye-loaded matchups on Thursday Night. Week 2 consisted of four Buckeye rookies — one inactive -- and one Buckeye Pro Bowl veteran when the Buffalo Bills took on the New York Jets.
For the Jets, Darron Lee went off with five total tackles on the night, four solo, making some big plays for the defense, center Nick Mangold was consistent as always, but Jalin Marshall keeps fans scratching their heads. If they were Buckeye fans they’d understand that along with Marshall’s big play ability comes his ball security issues -- they learned the hard way Thursday.
After this beautiful catch in coverage, Marshall went on to fumble the ball on Buffalo 10-yard line, which was recovered and returned by the Bills for 6. Fortunately, it wasn’t enough to keep the Jets from winning 37-31, with Marshall catching three-of-four targets, for 45 yards in his Week 2 performance.
For the Bills, quarterback Cardale Jones was inactive due to a shoulder injury, but defensive tackle Adolphus Washington had a solid second showing. Washington recorded his first official career stats — despite playing in Week 1 -- he had his first solo tackle, accompanied by two assisted.
Saints vs. Giants
Four former Buckeyes suited up on Sunday in New Jersey, including Vonn Bell, James Laurinaitis, Michael Thomas (Saints) and Eli Apple, Johnathan Hankins (Giants).
Bell made his starting debut in Week 2 -- that didn’t take very long — and finished the game with nine total tackles, seven solo. Laurinaitis had a fumble recovery and Thomas had four receptions for 56 yards and a critical third down conversion.
An Apple/Thomas matchup was bound to happen down field, and the wide receiver was the one who came out on top.
Saints WR Michael Thomas beating up on former Ohio State teammate Eli Apple on back-to-back plays.— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) September 18, 2016
It was all love afterward though when the former teammates met up and took to Twitter.
Rookies make tackles on special teams
Not all first year players out of Ohio State got significant time in Week 1, but a few are starting to earn a role on special teams. Urban Meyer always says how important special teams is, so it’s no surprise Buckeyes would excel at it at the next level.
Chargers with good kick covg. Rookie Joshua Perry with the tackle on special teams. Jags start from the 19— Bolts From The Blue (@BFTB_Chargers) September 18, 2016
Tyvis Powell fought off a blocker for a full 5 seconds and then was in on the tackle on that punt. Sweet!— Alistair Corp (@AlistairCorp) September 18, 2016
Former Ohio State QBs in the headlines
Braxton Miller went out during the second quarter of the Texans’ Week 2 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs with a hamstring injury, and will be following up with an MRI on Monday.
Terrelle Pryor was flagged in a game-deciding targeting call — that was a bit questionable — leading to a Browns loss to the Ravens.
Terrelle Pryor in brief post game interview told reporters that he didn't intend to flip ball at defender— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) September 18, 2016
Plays of the week
The rookie didn’t take long before earning his role in the starting lineup for the Jets and showed off during his first ‘Thursday Night Football’ game. He had two massive tackles against Bills’ RB LeSean McCoy and QB Tyrod Taylor, making it look like he was playing for the Buckeyes again out there.
The running back gave a mixed performance on Sunday for the Cowboys, on the one hand he had two fumbles -- for the first time in his career --, on the other hand he totaled 83 yards on 21 rushes, including his first double digit long run.
- Less than a week after signing to the Bills practice squad, Doran Grant was waived by Buffalo.
- Despite spending most of the preseason without a team, the New Orleans Saints signed tight end Jake Stoneburner to their practice squad.
- Former Buckeyes Malcolm Jenkins (Eagles) and Mike Adams (Bears) face off on ‘Monday Night Football’
- Joey Bosa (hamstring) and Nick Vannett (ankle) were two rookies who have yet to make their NFL debut due to injuries suffered ahead of the regular season. Another is Bills’ quarterback Cardale Jones (shoulder), who has been listed as inactive the first two weeks; he likely wouldn’t see much, if any, playing time at No. 3 on the depth chart, but when healthy he should be part of the active roster.
- Jeff Heuerman is finally back after missing his rookie season with an ACL tear, but the Broncos decided to keep him inactive in what would have been the first game he was medically cleared to play. The team still talks about big plans for the tight end, and will certainly get him in a game soon.