LOCALS IN NFL
As is the case many weeks, the Local that happens to be the QB often gets top billing. Former Ute and NFL #1 pick (that historic 2004 season when Alex Smith and Andrew Bogut became the only pair from the same school to ever to be drafted #1 overall) Alex Smith got this 2015 season off to a flying start by firing up the Texans in Houston 27-20. Smith threw for 233 yards, 3 TDs and zero picks.
Miami’s emerging as one of the NFL’s “Locals” leaders. All on defense, all former Utes. Brice McCain picked off Redskins QB Kirk Cousins, McCain also was in on 6 tackles, LB Koa Misi led the Dolphins with 9 tackles and DLineman Derrick Shelby also played, had a tackle as Miami held the Redskins to a mere 10 points in the Dolphins 17-10 win in Washington.
An emotional off-season now becomes former Ute Eric Weddle’s season of his greatest discontent. Chargers and Weddle’s agent no longer talking contract, Weddle’ requests for a multi-year deal falling on deaf ears, once, the highest paid safety in NFL history, now Weddle appears to be playing out his contract. Still very effective as Eric once again led the Chargers with 7 tackles in San Diego’s 33-28 comw-from-behind win over the Lions. Detroit boasts a couple of BYU Cougars. Ziggy Ansah had a sack but Kyle Van Noy was inactive while Former Highland High star, former All-Pro Hiloti Ngata in on a pair of tackles in his debut with the Lions after coming over from Miami.
Former Ute Trevor Riley got a piece of “Johnny Football” Sunday. While Manziel struggled in relief Browns injured starter Josh McCown, Reilly continues to solidy his spot on the NY Jets defense. Reilly credited for a forced fumble and a sack in the debut of Todd Bowles as Jets Head Coach. Jets club Cleveland 31-10
Sealver Siliga’s the 1st native Utahn to bring a Super Bowl Ring back to the Beehive state! Former Copper Hills High star, Utes Co-Captain now starting for the #Patriots on the DLine. Had 3 tackles in New England’s season-opening win Thursday night.
Ravens used to “Team Locals” but former Ute Paul Kruger went to Cleveland, this Summer former Highland High hero Hiloti Ngata left for Detroit and former Cougar Dennis Pitta’s still out recovering from another major hip injury. Only local left is the retiring former Ute Steve Smith, hanging it up after this, his 15th season of excellence at the wide receiver position. An ineffective QB Joe Flacco not helping Smith in Denver. Smith had 2 catches for 13 yards but Baltimore comes up short 19-13.
Seahawks had been another of the “Local’s heavy” NFL teams but when former Aggie RB Robert Turbin went to the Browns last week, it left Seattle with only 1, Aggies outstanding LB Bobby Wagner. While Turbin never carried ball more than 80 times in any of his three seasons in Seattle. He rumbled to a respectable 4.0 yards per carry as a Seahawk, but the 2012 fourth-round pick is dealing with an ankle injury and won’t be playing in a Browns uniform for a few weeks. The two-time defending NFC Champions lost a 34-31 OT heart-breaker to the NFC West rival Rams in St Louis. Former Aggie Wagner (the kid who developed a deep affection for The Ninja Turtles as a teenager) had his usual stellar game at Linebacker for Seattle, second on the team with 7 tackles against the Rams.
Former BYU Cougar Uani Unga became an instant star for the Giants fans. Unga, just a rookie led the Giants with 10 tackles and his first career pick, but Unga was also closest in coverage at the end when Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Whiten scored the game-tying TD then the Cowboys won it on an extra point, 27-26.
More Locals working Monday night among them, former Ute Matt Asiata, backing up Adrian Peterson once again, we’ll see if Matt’s nose for the endzone is on display again as the Vikings face the Niners in San Fran.
That’s just some of what our former local college players are doing at the next level!