The NFL is now littered with former Texas players from the [tag]Mack Brown[/tag] era. It seems like every game involves a Longhorn in the starting lineup. The biggest impacts appear to be on both lines and in the secondary while linebacker is without a doubt the weakest position. Injuries affected a few of the players 2008 season, but the program should be proud of what these guys are accomplishing.
[tag]Justin Blalock[/tag] – The Atlanta Falcon’s made the playoffs behind a great running game and solid quarterback play. The unsung unit on the team was the offensive line. Blalock has cemented himself as a starter on an upcoming team by starting all 16 games after playing in 14 last season. At Texas, Blalock played tackle, but in the NFL he has been able to slide back to his natural position of tackle. Blalock was even able to score a touchdown on a fumble recovery.
[tag]Tarell Brown[/tag] – The forgotten member of the 2005 secondary has become a solid nickel corner in the NFL for the 49ers. Brown played in 15 games and started in one. He recorded 30 tackles and two interceptions.
[tag]Cedric Benson[/tag] – The beginning of the season didn’t appear good for Benson. After being cut by the Bears it appeared no one would request his services. The Cincinnati Bengals fell apart and came calling four games into the season. Benson started 10 games, gained over 700 yards, and scored two touchdowns on the ground. He also added 20 receptions. “EL Ced” finished with two huge games; making the chance he is offered a longer deal by the Bengals a real possibility.
[tag]Tim Crowder[/tag] – Crowder struggled with injuries and the depth chart all season. He played in six games, starting zero, and recording one tackle on the whole year.
[tag]Jamaal Charles[/tag] – Charles had a rookie season that has to be seen as a success. Charles sits behind Larry Johnson on the depth chart, but made plays when given the opportunity. The speedster averaged 5.3 yards per carry and added 27 receptions. His only touchdown of the season came on a reception. If Johnson isn’t retained by the Chiefs, Charles may get a look as an every down back.
[tag]Leonard Davis[/tag] – The offensive line for the Cowboys underachieved this season. Davis will go to another Pro Bowl but o-line selections are based on reputation more times than not. It was not all Davis’ fault but he did not perform at the level he did the previous year.
[tag]Phil Dawson[/tag] – Dawson was once again a lone bright spot for the Cleveland Browns franchise. He went 30/36 with a long of 56. He was perfect on extra point, but the 18 attempts magnify the struggles of the Browns offense.
[tag]Derrick Dockery[/tag] – Dockery is one of the higher paid linemen in the league, but is never as dominant as his salary would warrant.
[tag]Jermichael Finley[/tag] – Finley had a hard time getting started this season. He ended up playing in 14 games while starting one of them. The rookie finished with 6 receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown on the season.
[tag]Cedric Griffin[/tag] – Griffin has turned into a solid starting cornerback for the Vikings. He gets a lot of action playing opposite of Pro-Bowler Antoine Winfield but holds his own pretty well. Griffin plays with excellent enthusiasm and competitiveness which makes him an eager corner in run support. He played in all 16 games for the second straight season and recorded 91 tackles and a pick.
[tag]Mike Griffin[/tag] – Michael Griffin had the type of year that have made many hail him as the best defensive back to come out of the 2005 group. Griffin is a Pro-Bowl alternate after recording seven interceptions and a sack on the year. He is quickly becoming one of the best safeties in the league. His play has allowed the Titan defense to become one of the best in the league. Griffin also returns kicks for the #1 seeded Titans.
[tag]Ahmard Hall[/tag] – The former Marine has established himself as one of the last true fullbacks in the game. The Tennessee running game is one of the best in the league behind the duo of Chris Johnson and Lendale White. The two split carries with mirrored success, and the one constant is the presence of Hall. He has also become a weapon in the flat out of the backfield, recording two touchdown receptions this year.
[tag]Casey Hampton[/tag] – Hampton had a tough season as he struggled to get on the field with health and conditioning problems. When Hampton can play he remains the best 3-4 nose tackle in the game. He recorded one sack in 13 games that he was rarely able to make it all the way through.
[tag]Michael Huff[/tag] – The Thorpe award winner hasn’t lived up to his draft status so far in his career, but it is still early. Huff lost his starting job and didn’t record a sack, interception, or forced fumble on the year.
[tag]Quentin Jammer[/tag] – Jammer had another great year in San Diego. He is one of the most physical corners in the league and continually gets matched up with the opposing team’s biggest and best receiver. Jammer recorded 88 tackles, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles for the playoff bound Chargers. It has been amazing to watch the turnaround of Jammer’s play after struggling for the first few years in the NFL. The pressure of being a high pick has subsided and Jammer’s play has risen.
[tag]Derrick Johnson[/tag] – DJ has moved inside and performed well for the Chiefs. The knock on the former Texas star coming out was his unwillingness to take on blocks, and after a few years as a pro the criticism still exist. When playing in space he excels, but at the point of attack he has remained a liability. Johnson has been up and down, but has shown flashes of potential. He ended the year with 85 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one interception, and four forced fumbles. If/when the light turns on for DJ the sky is the limit.
[tag]Frank Okam[/tag] – Okam may have earned himself a roster spot for next year with his play down the stretch. He lacks the motor and intensity most coaches want out of an interior defensive lineman, but he has the tools to become a solid player in the league if he ever turns it on.
[tag]Cory Redding[/tag] – I feel bad for Cory Redding. I feel bad for any player, coach, trainer, and journalist (except Rob Parker) in Detroit. Redding was the heart and soul of their defense (if that is possible), and if he ever gets out of Detroit he may have a chance to make some noise. Until then, he’ll be rich in Detroit. He got three sacks on the year.
[tag]Brian Robison[/tag] – Robison plays behind Jerod Allen so his snaps are limited. When he is on the field he shows up and makes plays. He managed 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 15 games.
[tag]Shaun Rogers[/tag] – Shaun Rogers is the most disruptive interior lineman in football today. The guy is just huge and unstoppable when his motor is turned on. He took over games at points this season in spite of double and triple teams. Rogers will be in the Pro-Bowl again after turning in 76 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He has Hall of Fame type talent when it is all clicking for Rogers.
[tag]Aaron Ross[/tag] – He may not be the best athlete in his marriage, but the Thorpe award winner has become a better than average cornerback in a tough place to play. Ross started in every game he played, 15, and grabbed 3 interceptions, including one that he returned for a touchdown. Ross has the ability to be a shutdown corner as his technique and confidence continue to grow.
[tag]Bo Scaife[/tag] – Scaife has emerged as a very productive tight end even in the face of losing his quarterback and his team bringing in a big name free agent in Alge Crumpler. There were a few games where Kerry Collins completely forgot about Scaife, but he finished with 58 receptions and two touchdowns. Scaife has also become better as a blocker which allows him to stay on the field in all situations.
[tag]Lyle Sendlein[/tag] – People tend to forget about Sendlein when discussing the better offensive lineman Mack Brown has put into the NFL. Sendein has started every game of the season for a playoff team. Not too bad.
[tag]Chris Simms[/tag] – Simms is the number three quarterback on Tennessee’s roster.
[tag]Kasey Studdard[/tag] – Studdard remains a reserve lineman for the Houston Texans. He hasn’t been able to crack the starting lineup.
[tag]Limas Sweed[/tag] – Sweed is listed as the 4th receiver on the Steeler roster. One would think Sweed will contribute more after a full off season.
[tag]David Thomas[/tag] – The Patriots use a lot of tight ends in their offense, so none of them have numbers that are going to blow you away. Despite that Thomas has been able to get on the field a lot so far in his career. He pulled in nine receptions for 93 yards, but was never able to reach the end zone.
[tag]Nathan Vasher[/tag] – Injuries rendered the 2008 season a wasted one for Vasher. He played in eight games, recording one interception, before being placed on injured reserve.
[tag]Ricky Williams[/tag] – The former Heisman trophy winner and league pariah has made his comeback has a productive back in the Miami system. He was one of the many bright spots on a team full of them this year. Williams is able to make plays without being relied on to carry the full load because of the presence of Ronnie Brown. Ricky scored four touchdowns on 659 yards rushing. He may have made his biggest impact as a receiver out of the backfield where he averaged over seven yards a catch on 29 receptions.
[tag]Roy Williams[/tag] – The losing ways of the Lions followed Williams from Detroit to Dallas. Roy was never able to make an impact for the Cowboys for reasons that still remain unclear. He has proven to have the ability which leaves work ethic and injury as the two other reasons for his lack of production. Williams has unfortunately been criticized for both a lack of work ethic and inability to stay healthy in his career. He will need to have a huge year next year to justify the trade and contract Jerry Jones awarded him.
[tag]Selvin Young[/tag] – Young was another Longhorn that struggled with injury. Denver is notorious for alternating backs, and with the addition of injuries Young was never able to stay on the field. When he was healthy he produced so it will be interesting to see what the new coach in Denver decides to do with Selvin.
[tag]Vince Young[/tag] – 2008 was not a good year for VY. The greatest player in Longhorn history lost his job after one game and a knee injury, and never was even given the chance to win it back. It now appears Jeff Fisher made the right choice as Tennessee earned the #1 seed in the AFC. While they did it with defense and running the ball, Collins has done a good job in a Trent Dilfer type role. This season may end up being the best thing that has ever happened to Vince as a professional if he uses the experience in the right way.
The former Longhorns were led by [tag]Ricky Williams[/tag] and [tag]Bo Scaife[/tag] this week. The group in Tennessee keep on winning while the guys in Kansas City, Detroit, and Oakland are already looking forward to the offseason.
[tag]Tarell Brown[/tag] - Brown played a good game at cornerback against one of the best receiving core in the NFL on Monday night against the Cardinals. Brown played on nickel situations, which there were plenty of. He finished with tackles on the night.
[tag]Jamaal Charles[/tag] - Last week the rookie running back posted his first career 100 yard game and this week Charles got rewarded with the start. Unlike last week Charles was never able to get anything going after being injured on his first carry. He was able to come back into the game, but remained largely ineffective. Charles has suffered through ankle injuries before, so hope it is an isolated incident. He gained only eight yards on three carries in the game.
[tag]Phil Dawson[/tag] - Dawson had another good game going three for three with a long of 52. He was also perfect on his extra points. The veteran is now 17 of 19 on the year.
[tag]Cedric Griffin[/tag] - Cedric has become a consistent player in this league. He plays with an attitude and is becoming a better tackler. Griffin has a great player opposite him to learn from in Antoine Winfield. Griffin finished with three tackles against the Packers.
[tag]Michael Griffin[/tag] - The Titans keep winning and Griffin keeps playing well. He ended up with five tackles on the night, but was all over the field on defense and in special teams in the win over the Bears. Tennessee remains the only undefeated team left in the NFL and they’re doing it with solid defense.
[tag]Ahmard Hall[/tag] - The fullback and ex-Marine didn’t have his best ball game even though his team won. Hall fumbled a carry on the goal line that would have put the Titans on the board first. The Tennessee run game was not up to their standards but they still came away with the victory.
[tag]Michael Huff[/tag] - Huff didn’t get many chances in the game against Carolina because both passing offenses were inept. The former Thorpe award winner only registered one tackle on the game that saw Steve Smith only catch one pass and Jake Delhomme only completed seven total.
[tag]Quentin Jammer[/tag] - Jammer’s Chargers squeaked by the Chiefs on Sunday to save their season. Jammer has come into his own on the season. Teams are avoiding his side when they can, but the physical corner still recorded three pass defenses and four tackles. Jammer is playing the best out of all the corners from Texas in the NFL.
[tag]Frank Okam[/tag] - The big rookie got some playing time in the blowout loss to the Ravens. He didn’t disappoint, recording three tackles in the game. Okam had only made one tackle on the season prior to this game. If Okam stays in shape he should become a player in the NFL.
[tag]Cory Redding[/tag] - The Lions are awful. That may not do it justice. Redding has been a bright spot on the team when he has been healthy. On Sunday the defensive tackle was credited with three tackles. Did I mention the Lions are awful?
[tag]Brian Robison[/tag] - Robison got some playing time and rewarded the team with a sack. He is in a tough spot backing up Jared Allen, but Robison has shown flashes and should start to produce once his opportunities increase.
[tag]Shaun Rogers[/tag] - I’ve never seen more people assigned to one nose tackle in my life. There were times when Denver triple teamed Rogers with a running back coming in to chip him on his way out of the backfield. Rogers still recorded two tackles on the game, but his main contribution was freeing up other defenders. The Browns gave another game away on Thursday night.
[tag]Aaron Ross[/tag] - Ross gave up a touchdown in the win against the Eagles but played pretty good after it. His future wife, Sonya Richards, gave the Texas football team a pep talk before the game against Baylor this past weekend too. Ross finished with two tackles and one pass breakup.
[tag]Bo Scaife[/tag] - Scaife had a huge game for the Titans with 10 catches for 78 yards and a touchdown. When Tennessee picked up Alge Crumpler many thought Scaife’s roll would be reduced, but it has been the opposite. Even with Vince Young on the bench, the Titans have looked for Scaife on third down and near the goal line. That is the biggest sign of what the Titan staff thinks of the former Texas tight end.
[tag]Nathan Vasher[/tag] - It is clear watching Vasher on Sunday that he is not 100 percent yet. He gave up an easy touchdown on a simple slant patter early in the loss against the Titans. When he is healthy Vasher is one of the more dangerous corners in the league, but when he is hobbled he is no better than average.
[tag]Ricky Williams[/tag] - Ricky recorded his first 100 yard game since his return to the NFL. He gained half of it on one touchdown run of 51 yards. He finished with 105 yards on 12 carries. The Heisman voter carried the ball one less time this week than his last two weeks combined.
Great week for Duane Akina’s former proteges in the NFL as Tarell Brown, Michael Griffin, and Nathan Vasher all had interceptions in week three. Ricky Williams also had his best performance of the year as he and backfield mate Ronnie Brown ran all over the New England Patriots. Meanwhile wide receiver Limas Sweed is still waiting to see the field for the first time as a pro out in Pittsburgh. Read on to see how the rest of the Longhorns in the NFL performed last week:
[tag]Tarell Brown[/tag] – Two tackles and an interception in the loss to the Chargers.
[tag]Jamaal Charles[/tag] – Seven carries for 38 yards rushing plus three catches for 24 yards. Jamaal also had his first NFL kickoff return for 21 yards.
[tag]Phil Dawson[/tag] – 1/1 on field goals and on extra points.
[tag]Jermichael Finley[/tag] – Finally saw the field for the Packers against the Cowboys but had no catches. He got in on special teams and managed to pick up an unsportsmanlike penalty in a brush with Martellus Bennett.
[tag]Cedric Griffin[/tag] – Two tackles against Carolina.
[tag]Michael Griffin[/tag] – Big game against the Texans with two interceptions. Also added two tackles.
[tag]Ahmard Hall[/tag] – One carry for one yard.
[tag]Casey Hampton[/tag] – No stats against Philly. Will miss the next game against Baltimore with an injured groin.
[tag]Michael Huff[/tag] – Three tackles, two of them solos, against Buffalo.
[tag]Quentin Jammer[/tag] – Recovered a fumble and returned it 23 yards, broke up two passes, and added three tackles in the Chargers blowout of the Fightin’ Brett Favres.
[tag]Derrick Johnson[/tag] – One tackle in what may be one of 16 losses this season for the Chiefs.
[tag]Cory Redding[/tag] – Two solo tackles for the lowly Lions against the 48ers.
[tag]Shaun Rogers[/tag] – Had a solid game against Baltimore posting four tackles.
[tag]Aaron Ross[/tag] – Five solo tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage.
[tag]Bo Scaife[/tag] – Three catches for 26 yards including a touchdown.
[tag]Limas Sweed[/tag] – Still no playing time.
[tag]David Thomas[/tag] – One catch for four yards in what will hopefully be one of many losses for the Patriots.
[tag]Nathan Vasher[/tag] – Good performance for Nate versus Tampa Bay. Three passes defended including an interception, with four solo tackles added on.
[tag]Ricky Williams[/tag] – Great game for Ricky and his counterpart Ronnie Brown as the Dolphins went back to the college game to get a little offensive firepower. He had 16 carries for 98 yards (6.1 average) and two catches for 21 more yards.
[tag]Roy Williams[/tag] – Two catches for 18 yards in a loss to San Francisco. Roy has to be frustrated and already looking forward to 2009 somewhere other than Detroit.
[tag]Selvin Young[/tag] – Very efficient game against New Orleans with 11 carries for 65 yards.
With [tag]Vince Young[/tag] injured it wasn’t a very exciting week for ex-Longhorns in the NFL. Quentin Jammer and Selvin Young probably had the best weeks, while the complete absence of Jermichael Finley and Limas Sweed continues. Here’s how all the former Horns did in week two of the NFL season:
[tag]Jamaal Charles[/tag] – Less busy after a good week one, only three carries for seven yards. The Chiefs only rushed the ball 19 times all game as a team. Charles also had a 15 yard catch and hurt Larry Johnson’s feelings.
[tag]Phil Dawson[/tag] – Two of two on field goals with a long of 38 yards in a loss.
[tag]Jermichael Finley[/tag] – Still looking for his first career catch. I’m not sure if he’s getting any snaps at all.
[tag]Cedric Griffin[/tag] – Six tackles and one pass breakup against Peyton Manning and the Colts.
[tag]Michael Griffin[/tag] – Picked up his first interception of the year off a tipped pass. Also added six tackles from his safety spot.
[tag]Ahmard Hall[/tag] – Three carries for nine yards.
[tag]Casey Hampton[/tag] – One tackle.
[tag]Michael Huff[/tag] – Four tackles against KC and two passes defended.
[tag]Quentin Jammer[/tag] – Posted 11 tackles and had a forced fumble in the Chargers’ controversial loss to the Broncos.
[tag]Derrick Johnson[/tag] – Eight tackles, seven of them solo.
[tag]Cullen Loeffler[/tag] – Inspired me to teach my kids to deep snap.
[tag]Cory Redding[/tag] – Three solo tackles against the Packers.
[tag]Shaun Rogers[/tag] – First sack of the 2008 season and added six tackles.
[tag]Aaron Ross[/tag] – Four tackles.
[tag]Bo Scaife[/tag] – Without Vince Young, just one catch for six yards.
[tag]Limas Sweed[/tag] – Still no catches in his NFL career. Like Finley, looking at his game logs it appears he’s not even playing.
[tag]David Thomas[/tag] – Picked up his first catch of the year against the Jets, a 14-yarder from Matt Cassel.
[tag]Nathan Vasher[/tag] – Returned punts for the first time in a long while. Had three returns for a total of 21 yards. Added two tackles.
[tag]Ricky Williams[/tag] – After an exciting preseason another ho hum game for Ricky. He had 11 rushes for 28 yards in the Dolphins’ blowout loss to Arizona.
[tag]Roy Williams[/tag] – Just about the same performance as week one: three catches for 48 yards. Looks like Calvin Johnson has become the clear number one target in Detroit, maybe Roy can head down to Tennessee next year as a free agent.
[tag]Selvin Young[/tag] – Was the Broncos’ leading rusher with eight carries for 78 yards, including a big 49-yarder. Also added one catch for eight yards.
Sanya Richards is healthy and on track for 2008 Olympics. Aaron Ross’ fiancée picked up two relay wins at Texas Relays.
Former Longhorn [tag]Aaron Ross[/tag] has had quite the last three years. First he wins a national championship with Texas, then named the Thorpe Award winner in 2006, he got engaged to the fastest woman on the planet in 2007, and now he starts 2008 off by adding a Super Bowl ring to his collection.
Ross played well Sunday night and helped the excellent New York Giants’ defense contain the Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and the rest of the New England Patriots. He did well in coverage mostly in the slot and was credited with two tackles. Because of Ross and my hatred for the Patriots, I actually found myself rooting pretty hard for the Giants during the game.
Congrats to Aaron and the Giants.
Aaron Ross has two interceptions and a touchdown in NY Giants win. He’s getting more and more playing time and performing well.
Aaron Ross’ route from high school to Texas to the NFL wasn’t easy, but he’s poised to make big impact for Giants.