Each week, PittsburghSportsNow.com will check in on former Pitt Panthers currently in the NFL and highlight those competing for roster spots. This week we take a closer look at Tyrique Jarrett, Nathan Peterman, and Adam Bisnowaty.
Denver Broncos undrafted free agent nose tackle Tyrique Jarrett has arguably the most to gain with his team’s recent rash of injuries.
Jarrett was originally listed fourth on the depth chart behind second-year player Tyler Peko, but Peko broke a bone in his foot in July and has yet to participate in training camp. Currently on the PUP list, if Peko fails to play by week one he will miss the first six weeks of the season. Top backup Billy Winn suffered an ACL tear in the team’s first preseason game and will miss the season.
Jarrett has drawn rave reviews for his size (6’3”, 340 lbs.) and burst in camp, and some believe he is the one of the Broncos undrafted free agents best poised to steal a roster spot.
— Jon Heath (@JonHeathNFL) August 10, 2017
In the team’s preseason game against Chicago, Jarrett recorded a solo tackle and flashed potential by blowing up two offensive lineman (No. 98, second down lineman from the top):
— John @ Talking Ball (@NFLDraftWhiz) August 11, 2017
Due to injuries, the Broncos only have seven healthy defensive linemen in camp at the moment. Head coach Vance Joseph had this to say after Wednesday’s practice:
“We have seven guys there. That’s it. Their reps are plenty. If you want to make a mark for yourself, here’s your time.”
Should Jarrett secure a spot on the final 53-man roster, he would work behind starter and 12-year veteran Domata Peko, who came over from Cincinnati in the offseason.
Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman made headlines over the weekend when he took second-team snaps, leading many to believe he had jumped T.J. Yates on the depth chart. That suspicion was confirmed early Tuesday morning when the Bills announced Peterman and not Yates would lead the second unit Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
— Buffalo News Sports (@TBNSports) August 16, 2017
Peterman’s performance in the Bills first preseason game appeared to have prompted the depth chart change. He entered late in the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings and promptly led Buffalo on a 79-yard scoring drive, capped by a one-yard touchdown pass. Peterman finished the night 13-25 for 112 yards and added 26 yards on four carries. He had a passer rating of 77.4.
Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison had this to say about Peterman’s maturity level for a rookie:
“Well, Nathan – he’s a smart kid. That’s one of the reasons why he’s here. I don’t think he’s done—I think he’s done a very good job. I think he blends in with these two guys [Tyrod Taylor and T.J. Yates]…he reminds me a lot of—his progression is a lot like T.J. [Yates]’s when he was a rookie. I think the two of them, comparatively—I’m just talking their skill sets are just a little bit different, but as far as adjusting and doing the right things, I think that’s along the same lines.”
Under first-year head coach Sean McDermott, the Bills coaching staff hasn’t exactly given incumbent starter Tyrod Taylor a strong vote of confidence. McDermott also took a chance on Peterman in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, signaling he believes the rookie can play at some level.
Pitt fans will want to closely monitor Peterman’s performance against the Eagles and going forward.
New York Giants rookie right tackle Adam Bisnowaty saw 56 snaps in the team’s preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, second-most on the team. A sixth round pick, Bisnowaty is making the switch from left tackle in college to right tackle in the NFL. He is currently listed second on the depth chart behind third-year player Bobby Hart.
PittsburghSportsNow.com caught up with the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz, who has covered the team since 1994, to get his thoughts on Bisnowaty’s training camp performance so.
“He got in a couple scraps early in training camp,” Schwartz said. “I think he has struggled at times against the better pass rushers, but he’s big, strong, and physical.”
Schwartz noted Bisnowaty is one of two longhaired rookies the Giants have in camp, and the coaching staff has emphasized technique with the former Pitt Panther.
“Technique, getting himself in position,” Schwartz said. “He’s a big strong guy. They talked to him about technique, hand placement, keeping a low base.”
To illustrate Schwartz’ point, Bisnowaty was beat by the Steelers TJ Watt in the first quarter, leading to a sack. Schwartz added Watt burned a few of the Giants offensive lineman during the game, and Bisnowaty will need to continue working on his pass rush protection.
Despite one bad moment, Schwartz believes the rookie has done enough so far to be on the final 53-man roster.
“There’s a spot there for him,” Schwartz said. “There’s really nothing as far as third-string backup tackles.”
“I think it would be a disappointment for Adam to be on the practice squad at this point.”
Schwartz added the Giants generally carry seven or eight linemen on the roster during the season, and veteran DJ Fluker, who came over from San Diego in the offseason and can play tackle, has remained at guard, furthering cementing Bisnowaty’s spot on the depth chart.
Bisnowaty, who is Jewish, was also recently featured in the Massachusetts Jewish Ledger:
— The Jewish Week (@NYJewishWeek) August 8, 2017
Detroit Lions rookie wide receiver Dontez Ford, a graduate of Sto-Rox, caught two passes for 22 yards and a touchdown in his preseason debut. Ford displayed his open field athleticism on his scoring catch, evading several tacklers before diving for the endzone. See the video below.
.@kaaya323 ➡️ Dontez Ford.
— NFL (@NFL) August 13, 2017
Los Angeles Rams rookie defensive end Ejuan Price had several notable moments in the team’s preseason opener against Dallas. Although he recorded only one official tackle, Price displayed the same athleticism and ability to rush the quarterback Panther fans grew accustomed to during his career.
On one particular play, Price bull rushed Cowboys offensive tackle La’El Collins and narrowly missed a sack after the quarterback stepped up in the pocket.
Houston Texans projected starting quarterback Tom Savage went 9-11 for 63 yards in the team’s 27-17 win over Carolina. He led the Texans on 75-yard scoring drive on the team’s third series of the evening, including going a perfect 8-8 on the drive.
Facing second down and 16 near midfield after a pair of penalties, Savage found Jalen Strong over the middle for 18 yards. Houston would score four plays later on Alfred Blue’s 16-yard scamper, ending Savage’s night.
Top wideout DeAndre Hopkins has publicly voiced his support for Savage to open the season as the Texans starter, and PittsburghSportsNow.com will have more on this story next week.