The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 8, 2013

Several ex-Mountaineers to make NFL debuts

By Caleb Wygal
For The Register-Herald

— Football is back. America can rejoice. College football is in it's second week and the NFL got underway on Thursday night with a virtuoso performance from Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

Today marks the first full slate of NFL games since December 30th of last year. It also marks the Regular Season debuts of Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and Geno Smith. Bruce Irvin will sit out the Seahawks first four games as he serves his suspension.

Here is the rundown of what and when to watch your favorite Mountaineers in action for Week 1.



Today

Buccaneers at Jets, 1 p.m.

Geno Smith makes his debut as the Jets' signal caller. He is only the third quarterback drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft to start Week 1 as a rookie since the NFL merger. The others being Quincy Carter and Andy Dalton. Ellis Lankster is listed as “Probable” with foot and hamstring injuries. Keith Tandy will back up at safety for the Bucs and be the nickel corner.



Bengals at Bears, 1 p.m.

Adam Pacman Jones will return punts for the Bengals and back up at corner.



Raiders at Colts, 1 p.m.

Pat McAfee and his Boomstick will look to improve upon his franchise best punting numbers from last season.



Chiefs at Jaguars, 1 p.m.

J.T. Thomas will suit up for the first time in a Jaguars uniform after getting claimed off waivers last week. He previously played for new Jaguars defensive coordinator Bob Babich with the Bears, so he will be familiar with the defense and special teams.



Titans at Steelers, 1 p.m.

Will Johnson missed some practice time for the Steelers this week with a hamstring injury and is listed as "Probable". Terence Garvin could play in his first regular season game for the Steelers after a topsy-turvy week. Darius Reynaud returns as the kick and punt returner for the second season with the Titans.



Cardinals at Rams, 4:25 p.m.

Tavon Austin will meet a familiar foe on the other side in Patrick Peterson or Arizona in his first NFL Regular Season game. They two met twice when Peterson played for LSU. After playing a very vanilla offense during the preseason, look for Rams' head coach Jeff Fisher to open up the playbook and show what the team has in store for their prized rookie. Stedman Bailey will back up at wide receiver and be in on kick coverage. He came on strong during practices in the preseason, and it will be interesting to see if he gets any snaps on offense.



Packers at 49ers, 4:25 p.m.

Don Barclay reclaimed the starting role at right tackle for the Packers during the preseason. The team loves to run the ball to his side. Look for the road-grading Barclay to open up some big holes for rookie Eddie Lacy to run through.



Giants at Cowboys, 8:30 p.m.

Ryan Mundy will start at free-safety for the Giants after coming over from Pittsburgh. Selvish Capers was put on IR by the Giants.



Monday

Eagles at Redskins, 6:55 p.m.

Pat White made the Redskins roster as a fourth string quarterback. Head coach Mike Shanahan is widely known as being an offensive innovator and may have some uses in mind for White who helped lead the ’Skins to an undefeated preseason after being out of football for three years. Could we see Pat White and RGIII lined up in the backfield at the same time?

Chris Neild returns from an ACL injury that caused him to miss all of last season. He had a strong preseason and will back up Barry Cofield at NT. The Eagles claimed Najee Goode off waivers from the Bucs on Monday.