None of the players were wearing black and orange! The best part of football season is rooting for OSU, but you can only cheer during one game a week. Luckily, there are multiple players from Oregon State on NFL teams, representing their alma mater quite well.
Starting this season, BeaverBlitz will be recapping the action from former Beavers as they make big plays and help NFL teams get closer to the Super Bowl.
Unfortunately, there were only six former Beavers that made an impact during week one because of injuries and inactive status. Running back Terron Ward and wide receiver Markus Wheaton were both out with injuries. Offensive lineman Josh Andrews and defensive end Obum Gwacham were inactive during their games. Other players, like defensive tackle Stephen Paea and tight end Connor Hamlett, recently signed with new teams and didn’t record any stats.
As the season progresses, more former Beavers will see the field as they get healthy and grow more comfortable with new teams.
Until that happens, let’s start with the players that made an impact during week one.
Thursday Night Football - Carolina Panthers at Denver Broncos.
Mike Remmers - Tackle Carolina Panthers -There are multiple Beavers on both teams--Kyle Peko, Derek Anderson, and Ryan Murphy--but only Offensive Tackle Mike Remmers saw action on Thursday night. Many fans will remember that Remmers struggled against all-pro linebacker Von Miller during the Super Bowl, but Thursday was a much better performance for the former Beaver.
The Panthers right tackle, Remmers, spent the entire game on an island against Miller, but he held his own. Miller didn’t get close to sacking Cam Newton for the majority of the game as the Panthers offense moved up and down the field, only hitting Newton twice after the ball had been thrown. Ultimately, Remmers did give up a sack to Miller late in the game, but his performance was a far cry from Super Bowl 50. The improvement was fantastic for the fourth-year pro.
Steven Nelson - CB Chiefs - A role player in his rookie season, Steven Nelson jumped into the starting rotation after the departure of Sean Smith to Oakland. During the first half of Sunday’s game against the Chargers, Nelson had two solo tackles and often lined up against Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin. Nelson was the key defender stopping Melvin Gordon on multiple runs, and he contributed during kick returns and well.
Nelson finished with eight solo tackles in a massive victory against San Diego.
Jordan Poyer - CB Browns - Jordan Poyer entered the NFL as a cornerback after a successful college career but has since made the switch to Free Safety in Cleveland. During Sunday’s game against Philadelphia, Poyer had six tackles, three of which were in open space against Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz. Poyer’s best play of the day came when he sealed the left edge of the Eagles line and stopped running back Ryan Matthews right at the line of scrimmage. The speedy Matthews could have gained a big chunk of yardage, but Poyer stopped him after only one yard.
Brandin Cooks - WR Saints - Third-year receiver Brandin Cooks is continuing in his role as the Saints number one receiver/Drew Brees’ favorite target. Against the Raiders, Cooks had a beautiful 15-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter to tie the game. Later, Cooks destroyed corner Sean Smith and scored a 98-yard touchdown. This scoring play was the longest in Saints franchise history, and it perfectly showed off Cooks’ speed and big-play ability.
The Saints have a ton of weapons, but Cooks just makes plays no matter the situation. Brandin Cooks finished Sunday’s loss to Oakland with six receptions for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Just another day at the office for the former Beaver.
Andy Levitre - Guard Falcons Eight-year pro Andy Levitre is only in his second season with the Atlanta Falcons, but so far he is showing improvement after an inconsistent first year. Levitre started at left guard and helped keep Matt Ryan mostly clean and upright. While never considered an amazing pass blocker, Levitre is known for a bruising blocking style on runs. This reputation was proven correct as Levitre pushed around a few Buccaneers linemen on screen passes and running plays. Levitre didn’t commit any penalties, and he opened up some big rushing lanes. The guard did have a negative play when linebacker Kwon Alexander worked around the back end and sacked Matt Ryan. Technically, it’s a little hard to blame Levitre for the sack as he was tied up with another defender, but Alexander did go through his lane.
The oddest play of Levitre’s day happened when defensive end Robert Ayers beat tackle Jake Matthews around the edge and sacked Matt Ryan. Levitre was looking at Ayers instead of his own assignment. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy came from Levitre’s blind spot and flat out leveled him. The former Beaver was fine and continued playing, but it was a darker spot on an otherwise good day.
The Falcons offensive line struggled throughout much of Sunday’s loss to the Bucs, but Andy Levitre was the best player in the unit. This free agent pickup seems to be working out much better than it did for the Titans.
Monday Night Football - LA Rams at San Francisco 49ers
Johnny Hekker - P LA Rams Monday night was a complete meltdown for the Los Angeles Rams. Case Keenum and the Rams offense couldn’t do anything against a lackluster 49ers team, turning the ball over and failing to generate any points. Of course, this lack of offense means that former Beavers punter Johnny Hekker was in for a lot of work. The former quarterback-turned-punter was very busy Monday night, punting 10 times with an average of 42 yards.
Unfortunately, the game was so out of hand that Hekker wasn’t even able to break out his throwing arm for another fake punt. These plays have helped the Rams defeat foes like the Seahawks during competitive NFC West games.
Hekker is a difficult Beaver to cheer for, simply because the Rams have to fail on offense for him to get any work. It’s a little strange to root for a team to do poorly just so one player can earn a paycheck.
Week two of the NFL starts Thursday evening when the Jets visit the Bills. BeaverBlitz will be here to keep you updated as the weekend progresses.