Welcome back for another week of examining the performances by our Missouri Tiger favorites who have graduated to the League. Each week, I'll be highlighting the good (and less good) in #MizzouMade professional football, and bringing you some extracurricular reading on players gaining notice.
A number of Mizzou players are stashed on rosters early this season.
E.J. Gaines and Ziggy Hood are out for the season on IR, while Sheldon Richardson remains suspended.
Additionally, quarterbacks Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert continue to play backup roles and did not see snaps in week 2. However, David Fusillo over at Niners Nation did turn out a piece on jersey numbers that referenced our favorite one-time Ndamukong Suh victim:
The highlight of this preseason has to be the belief that the 49ers should consider Gabbert a viable option to replace Colin Kaepernick as starter if Kap struggles.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement. It's been a rough career so far for Blaine, and a rough offseason for the 49ers.
Beau Brinkley continues to long snap for the Titans for decent money. But the next "wow, this guy is a great long snapper" article I come across will be the first. (Cue links to long snapper articles in the comments.) Brinkley's teammate Chase Coffman saw action in week 2 courtesy of a Delanie Walker injury, after being inactive for the opening game. Coffman took advantage of playing about half the offensive snaps in a 4 catch, 42 yard performance.
C.J. Mosley saw 20 snaps this week for a reeling Dolphins team, but registered no stats.
Shane Ray once again played limited snaps for Denver in their 2nd weekly "Don't bury Peyton just yet" victory of the season. He seems to be getting eased into the flow of the defense there, which makes sense given the pedigree of the players ahead of him on the depth chart.
Marcus Murphy hasn't seen snaps on offense yet, but returned a kickoff for 23 yards (or, 77 fewer than I was hoping for) and "returned" a punt for no yards in the Saints' loss to
Jameis Winston Tampa Bay.
Aldon Smith continues to work his way into playing shape, handling a little more than half of the Raiders' defensive snaps in their win (!!!) over Baltimore. Smith snagged a tackle and a QB hit in the game.
Sean Weatherspoon also continues to work his way back from offseason injuries, getting 18 snaps and a tackle in the Cardinals thrashing of da Bears. His Tiger teammate Markus Golden was in on nearly half the snaps for the Cardinal D and got himself a tackle and half a sack for the effort.
Tim Barnes continued his play at center for the Rams, but was noted as playing "particularly bad" in the run game by Turf Show Times.
For Morse, getting to that point without, um, tossing his cookies, has also been a triumph. Pregame regurgitation became a habit at Missouri. Tigers coach Gary Pinkel reminded reporters last week that Morse regularly needed to find a trash can before games.
"Every game, for about two years," Morse said. "My senior year wasn’t as bad. I still had anxiousness but something changed."
Perhaps it was motion sickness from the movement on the line at Missouri. With the Chiefs, it’s only been two games but Morse appears settled at center.
Morse, of course, has taken the mantle of "surprising early OL selection" from last year's holder, Justin Britt. Britt continues to play LG for the 0-2 Seattle Seahawks. This week, Britt was at in the mix during a controversial fumble call. The Sporting News ran a little something on the play:
Britt claimed that he and Elliott reached for the ball at the same time before he wrestled it free.
"I walked away with it," he said. "Explain to me how that's their ball."
I'm guessing that RMN's resident Packer fan threadkiller can probably shed light on exactly why it wasn't...
Jeremy Maclin may have been underutilized this week, catching 4 of only 7 targets for 57 yards. Given two opportunities to run the ball, Maclin failed to deliver, losing 5 yards as the Chiefs' run of not throwing a TD to a WR continues.
William Moore - coming off last week's interception - helped guide Atlanta to a victory this week with 8 tackles (5 solo) and a pass defensed. Fox Sports profiled Willy Mo as a defense leader in the making.
Kony Ealy, who was praised last week by head coach Ron Rivera, took some criticism from fans this week after his 2 tackle, 1 pass defensed performance in week 2. Hailed as the next great pass rusher for the Panthers, Ealy struggled with discipline in the Carolina victory:
Kony Ealy (-1) clearly hit Ryan Mallet late on an incomplete pass that would have resulted in a fourth down. Ealy made a terrible decision that resulted in a 15-yard penalty and extended Houston’s potentially game-tying late drive. Then, with 32 seconds left, Ealy (-2) jumped offside on 3rd-and-4 from the Carolina 19, giving Houston another first down.
Superstar of the Week
Jacquies Smith helped the Buccaneers take down Drew Brees and the Saints. In fact, Smith nearly managed it single-handedly, tallying 3 sacks on the day along with a TFL. He was named Hoss of the Week by Stephen White of SB Nation. He drew a few comparisons to Simeon Rice over at Bucs Nation. And he got tweeted about:
Smith's rise was chronicled in an outstanding video on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' website. Check it out...not only for some fun collegiate footage, but for a really impressive sprint sack of Matthew Stafford.
That's Mizzou in Week 2. Thanks for checking in with me folks. And be sure to post your links to stories I might have missed in the comments section!