Written by Evan McShane (@veryreasonable)
The NFL season is officially underway and week one is in the books. Here are how the Hoosier football alumni did this past week.
Tevin Coleman is getting a fresh start as a feature back for the San Francisco 49ers. Unfortunately, his debut with the Niners was cut short. Coleman sprained his ankle on his first play from scrimmage. He tried to play through the pain and actually played quite well. Coleman carried the ball six times for 23 yards and added two receptions for 33 yards, including a 31-yard catch. Although limited by injury, Coleman proved how successful he can be in Kyle Shanahan’s innovative offense. The 49ers won the game, but they will be without Coleman for at least a few weeks, as the recovery timetable for high ankle sprains in the NFL is typically 4-8 weeks. San Francisco will be cautious bringing Coleman back as the franchise views him as an important piece of the team’s future.
Jordan Howard was traded from the Chicago Bears to the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason. During Howard’s debut, the Eagles beat the Redskins 32-27 after a slow start offensively. Howard was only given six carries in the game, but he made the most of them, racking up 44 yards on the ground. Howard’s 7.3 yards-per-carry average were by far the most on the team. Howard also caught two passes for 11 yards. Hoosier fans will want to keep an eye out for Eagles games as Jordan Howard carves out a role in their offense.
Tight end Ian Thomas begins his second NFL season with the Carolina Panthers. As a rookie last year, Thomas appeared in all 16 games and caught 36 passes for 333 yards and two touchdowns. On Sunday, the Panthers lose a close game to the Rams and Thomas did not record any statistics although he was targeted on two occasions. Thomas will have a bigger impact moving forward and is likely to increase his production from last season.
Wide receiver Cody Latimer re-signed a deal to stay with the New York Giants this season and on Sunday, he looked to be one of Eli Manning’s top targets. Latimer was targeted 8 times and caught 3 passes for 74 yards including a 43-yard impact play. Although the Giants don’t project to be a very good team this season, Latimer will have a chance to make a name for himself as a wide receiver in the NFL.
Former Hoosier quarterback Nate Sudfeld caught an unlucky break during the preseason. Sudfeld suffered a fracture in his non-throwing wrist and had surgery before the season started. It is estimated Sudfeld will make a full recovery and return to action in six weeks, making him available in late September. Upon return, Sudfeld will likely continue to serve as Carson Wentz’s backup on the Philadelphia Eagles.
Chris Covington has had a remarkable journey to the NFL. From arriving on campus in Bloomington as a two-star recruit trying to play the quarterback position, Covington is now playing linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys on Sundays. During Dallas’ win against the Giants during week one, Covington pitched in with two solo tackles. The young linebacker will earn more playing time as he gains experience.
Dan Feeney has already established himself as one of the more reliable guards in the NFL. The third-year player has already played in 31 NFL games, starting in 25 of them. The Chargers beat the Colts on Sunday and Feeney looks to be a huge part of LA’s offense moving forward. A promising talent while at Bloomington, Feeney is putting it all together in the pros.
Brandon Knight, former IU offensive lineman, signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent this summer following the NFL Draft. Knight worked his was onto the active roster but did not see playing time in week one. The Cowboys have long had one of the best offensive lines in football, so Knight will get to learn from good company.
Former Hoosier O-lineman Wes Martin was selected by Washington in the fourth round of this year’s draft. After an impressive training camp, Martin earned himself a spot on the team and a backup spot on the two-deep. While Martin did not see any game action in week one, Washington will rely on the young lineman for depth. Martin should see playing time at some point during the year.
The longest-tenured active NFL player IU has to claim is Roger Saffold. The veteran offensive guard signed a well-deserved contract with the Tennessee Titans this offseason. The Titans steamrolled the Browns as Saffold and the offensive line looked formidable. Saffold will be an integral part of the Titans offense throughout the season.
Jason Spriggs was released by the Green Bay Packers before the start of the regular season. An unfortunate victim of some unlucky and severe injuries, Spriggs couldn’t establish footing in Green Bay. The young offensive lineman hopes to rebound elsewhere.