Another week of NFL preseason football is now behind us, and with only one round of games left — all to be played this Thursday night, when most of the country (and certainly all of Buckeye Nation) will be tuning in for Ohio State’s season opener — we take a look at how some of the Scarlet and Gray alumni fared at the next level.
Ohio State’s #LBU reputation is safe in the NFL
Having spent the last three seasons with the Houston Texans behind stand-out players like J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, former Ohio State linebacker John Simon was often overshadowed. Not anymore.
In only his third preseason game for the Colts, Simon has made big plays in each contest, proving early on that he plans on being the star of the show once the regular season gets underway. On Saturday against the Steelers, Simon made a strip sack on QB Ben Roethlisberger, resulting in a turnover and subsequent score for the Colts — his third turnover in as many games.
On the other side of the ball, another Buckeye linebacker, Ryan Shazier, lined up for some preseason action. Not one to be outdone -- and finally healthy enough to take part ahead of the regular season -- Shazier showed he was back to doing what he does best, making quarterbacks think twice before throwing his direction.
.@RyanShazier goes and gets it. #ShakeNBake pic.twitter.com/jND7bpNYPQ— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 27, 2017
Curtis Samuel makes his NFL debut
He wasn’t in for long, but the Ohio State H-back turned receiver finally saw some snaps during this week’s preseason matchup. Curtis Samuel had been sidelined since the start of training camp and just started getting reps during drills in practice last week. In his first contest, he was 4-of-6 on targets for 15 yards.
It wasn’t Samuel’s production that was the focus for his team, it was the fact that he was back out on the field. Just less than two weeks out from the first regular season game of 2017, the coaching staff is just glad to have him working toward being fully recovered. Although there was a slight scare early after he checked into the game.
Curtis Samuel getting an evaluation by a trainer after limping a little on the sideline.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) August 25, 2017
The Battle of Los Angeles
There were a bunch of people who used to fight for the State of Ohio, now putting their efforts into claiming a city that just two years ago had no NFL team at all. The Los Angeles Chargers (Joey Bosa, Cardale Jones, Joshua Perry) took on the Los Angeles Rams (Jake McQuaide) during Week 3 of the preseason.
Unsurprisingly, the star of the show was Chargers DE Joey Bosa. In tandem with Melvin Ingram, the Chargers boast one of the best pass-rushing duos in the league. Never one to shy away from a challenge, with the Rams in the redzone early in the first quarter, Bosa made a big hit on Rams’ QB Jared Goff, stripping the ball and setting up Ingram to scoop it up and head for the endzone.
Joey Bosa (@jbbigbear) with the strip, Melvin Ingram (@MelvinIngram) with the scoop-N-Score! BEST YOUNG DEFENSIVE DUOS IN THE LEAGUE! ⚡⚡⚡ pic.twitter.com/ayonFX8ElT— ⚡️LA Offseason⚡️ (@ChargersLegion) August 27, 2017
Chargers’ quarterback Cardale Jones fared much better this week, finishing 9-of-13 for 74 yards, although he failed to score and committed one interception. As the regular season draws near, it’s becoming more and more realistic that Jones fill the QB3 spot on the depth chart, and slowly work his way into the backup role behind Philip Rivers.
- Running back Ezekiel Elliott saw his first set of snaps on Saturday night, getting 6 carries for 18 yards and 2 receptions for 6 yards. The former Buckeye is appealing his NFL suspension, and will go in front of a league-appointed arbitrator on Aug. 29 to find out if he’ll be suiting up for Week 1 or Week 7, or any week in-between.
- Wide out Terrelle Pryor Sr. is still trying to get his bearings in Washington, but he continues to prove that he has deep threat potential. He only caught one pass during Week 3 of the preseason, but it was for 17 yards — keeping his first down stats as stacked as they were last year in Cleveland.
- Carlos Hyde saw a decent amount of action Sunday for the 49ers, carrying the ball 7 times for 19 yards, with another three receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown.
- Colts’ defender Johnathan Hankins was sidelined last week in practice with a shoulder injury and didn’t take part in the Week 3 preseason matchup. Similarly, his teammates — and fellow Buckeyes -- Malik Hooker (shoulder) and Jack Mewhort were also held out with just two weeks left until the regular season.
- Wide receiver Braxton Miller was once again out for the Texans, having been dealing with a lingering ankle injury throughout the preseason.
- Rookie Gareon Conley is still out with a shin injury for the Raiders, but is expected to get back to the practice field this week and could be back in time for Week 1 of the regular season -- talk about being thrown to the wolves though...
- After just coming back from an ankle injury, Giants’ CB Eli Apple was sidelined once again during the Week 3 game against the Jets — this time with an injury to his other ankle.
- Cornerback Doran Grant didn’t return to practice this weekend due to a head injury after the Jaguars game on Thursday. Grant is fighting for a spot on Jacksonville’s active roster given his limited practice eligibility, and the Week 4 preseason game could be an important part of the interview for the Buckeye. His former and current teammate, DT Michael Bennett, has missed the entire preseason, and could wind up being a guy on the bubble as we inch toward the season.