Penn Staters In The NFL: Midseason Report
The 2014 NFL season is now just about halfway over, so it’s time to take another look at how Nittany Lions in the NFL are performing for their respective teams.
OT Garry Gilliam, Seattle Seahawks
Gilliam’s journey to the NFL was as unconventional as they come, but his number was called this past Sunday, and he produced. After a Seahawks’ guard went down with an ankle injury, Gilliam was called upon to replace him, despite never playing offensive guard during game action at any level.
He helped pave the way for running back Marshawn Lynch, who notched 67 yards on 21 carries despite running behind an offensive line missing three crucial players. Gilliam flashed his versatility again, making a critical block as the third tight end on Lynch’s three yard goal line touchdown. With injuries continuing to mount for the Seahawks, Gilliam could continue to have a role in the trenches for Seattle.
WR Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
Last time we checked in with Mr. Robinson, he was only giving us small glimpses of what could be. What a difference a month makes. Robinson has established himself as the go-to man in Jacksonville, and has become quarterback Blake Bortles’ favorite new target. Currently, Robinson has 43 catches for 488 yards and two touchdowns. Robinson, who leads the Jaguars in catches and yards, has 14 more catches and 22 more yards than the Jaguars’ second leading receiver. The future appears very bright for Allen Robinson in Jacksonville.
LB Michael Mauti, Minnesota Vikings
Mauti, who still plays in a reserve/special teams role for the Vikings, has remained steady in his play thus far this season. With starting linebackers Chad Greenway and Anthony Barr healthy and playing well, Mauti will still remain in a special teams role for Minnesota. The depth he provides is crucial to the team’s success, and if the injury bug strikes, Mauti is more than capable to fill in.
LB Gerald Hodges, Minnesota Vikings
Like Mauti, Hodges has played in a reserve role for the Vikings. However, Hodges has been given more opportunities to play on defense thanks to the versatility of fellow linebacker Anthony Barr, who can line up at end or at linebacker. So far this season, Hodges has recorded 29 tackles and defended two passes. Hodges, who missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, is currently listed as probable on the injury report, and should be good to go for Minnesota’s matchup against the Chicago Bears in Week 11, as the Vikings enter their bye in Week 10.
WR Chris Hogan, Buffalo Bills
Chris Hogan has firmly cemented his role as the team’s third wide receiver, leapfrogging Mike Williams after a series of impressive performances. Hogan, who has 13 catches for 176 yards and a touchdown, came up big in critical moments in matchups against New England and Minnesota. His 18-yard grab (shown above) gave the Bills a crucial first down, and helped set up Sammy Watkins’ game winning touchdown catch.
Hogan displays his versatility by contributing on special teams, something Mike Williams does not do, which adds to the value of a player like Hogan to the Bills. With Kyle Orton continuing to get comfortable as Buffalo’s quarterback, along with additional defensive attention for Watkins, Hogan could see an increase in targets as the season progresses.
DE Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins
Cameron Wake has been an absolute monster coming off the edge for the Miami Dolphins. The former Penn State linebacker has recorded 18 tackles, 6.5 sacks, one pass deflection, three forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery thus far. He currently ranks 11th in the NFL sack rankings, and continues to terrorize opposing quarterbacks with his freakish blend of strength and speed. Wake has solidified his spot as one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL.
OG John Urschel, Baltimore Ravens
John Urschel began his season on the sidelines, inactive for the first five games of the season. However, after injuries to Baltimore’s offensive line, Urschel was called into action. He recorded two starts against Tampa Bay and Atlanta, and played a reserve role against the Cincinatti Bengals. He is versatile enough to play both guard positions, and he has done so for the Ravens. As the season continues, Urschel could see an increased workload if injuries hit or if Baltimore’s offensive line performance declines.
DT Devon Still, Cincinnati Bengals
The heartwarming story of Devon Still’s daughter Leah, who had been diagnosed with pediatric cancer in June, swept the nation. Sales of Devon Still’s jersey raised over $1.25 million, and the proceeds will be donated to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and will help fund efforts to research pediatric cancer.
Along with fans, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton and Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith each purchased a large quantity of Still’s jerseys. The sale of Still’s jersey set a Cincinnati Bengals record for most jerseys sold within 24 hours, and became the team’s top selling jersey in the month of September. In total, the team sold just less than 15,000 jerseys.
On a football note, Still has recorded 14 total tackles in a reserve role on a talented Bengals defensive line. He continues to work into Cincinnati’s defensive rotation, and serves as a valuable run stuffer.
QB Matt McGloin, Oakland Raiders
After rookie quarterback Derek Carr went down with an injury, McGloin was thrust into action for the Oakland Raiders. Unlike last season, McGloin has only seen action in one game, throwing for 129 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. With Carr returning to full health and form, it appears McGloin will stay on the sidelines unless injuries strike the Raiders once more.
RB Evan Royster, Free Agent
Evan Royster, Penn State’s all-time leading rusher, was released by the Washington Redskins in favor of ex-Nittany Lion and former USC running back Silas Redd back in August. During his time away from football, Royster has been attempting to get a real estate license in the state of Virginia. He is still keeping the NFL dream alive, however, working out for the Buffalo Bills on October 21, although he was not signed.
LB NaVorro Bowman, San Francisco 49ers
Bowman is making fantastic progress as he recovers from a torn ACL suffered in last year’s NFC Championship Game. He has run a full speed 40-yard dash, and has no issues sprinting or running. He is not yet cleared to practice, and has yet to be activated to the 49ers active roster. Bowman can be activated up until week 11 off of the physically unable to perform list, but if he is not activated by then, the team then has 21 additional days to decide whether to activate him or not. The latest Bowman can see the field will be Week 14, when the 49ers take on the Oakland Raiders.
- LB Paul Posluszny, Jacksonville Jaguars (69 total tackles, two sacks, one fumble recovery, one pass deflection)
- DE Jack Crawford, Dallas Cowboys (four total tackles, one sack)
- K Robbie Gould, Chicago Bears (8-9 on FG, 18-19 on extra points)
- DE Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs (25 total tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery)
- DT Jordan Hill, Seattle Seahawks (four total tackles, tow pass deflections, one fumble recovery)
- TE Andrew Quarless, Green Bay Packers (15 catches, 135 yards, two touchdowns)
- DT Jared Odrick, Miami Dolphins (11 total tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, three pass deflections)
- LB Nathan Stupar, Atlanta Falcons (Six total tackles)
Nittany Lions with no recorded stats:
- WR Jordan Norwood (Injured Reserve), Denver Broncos
- DT DaQuan Jones, Tennessee Titans
- OG Rich Ohrnberger, San Diego Chargers
- C A.Q. Shipley, Indianapolis Colts
- OG Johnnie Troutman, San Diego Chargers
- C Stefen Wisniewski, Oakland Raiders
- TE Mickey Shuler, Jacksonville Jaguars
- LB Glenn Carson, Arizona Cardinals