The NFL is back for ... pre-preseason?
Thursday after the current Scarlet Knight players reported to training camp, the National Football League kicked off for the first time this season. The matchup in Canton, Ohio was the annual “Hall of Fame” game where two teams get an extra game that doesn’t count in the standings to entertain those in town for the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement festivities. For many, this game is a complete joke as NFL squads aren’t really ready for game action with so little of their own training camp under their belts.
For players trying to earn a job in fall 2018, it’s far from a laughing matter. The game wasn’t a shootout, but a 17-16 win for the Baltimore Ravens proved to at least give the national audience a close game. That viewership may have been surprised to see four former Scarlet Knights get their names called during the contest. One even scored the season’s first touchdown ...
For the Bears, Michael Burton caught two passes for seven yards and a touchdown. Burton does have one career regular season TD, so they probably didn’t let him keep the ball. For a Bears team that likes Michael’s versatility to help take the load of their young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, it can only help his case to keep the fullback position alive in the Windy City. Trubisky for those who may not remember had a front row seat as the Tar Heels backup during the 2014 Quick Lane Bowl against Rutgers. When Mitch came into garbage time, North Carolina trailed Rutgers 40-7.
Marcus Cooper did get some action last night for the Bears and made a tackle. I was surprised the big time free agent signing from a year ago was in the lineup as many veteran players didn’t suit up, but he may still be working his way out of the doghouse.
For Baltimore, media vultures (just check trending twitter) have descended on their practice facility ever since they surprised many by selecting Lamar Jackson in the draft, that guy who relegated Kyle Bolin to second string at Louisville. To help Jackson’s development, the Ravens were diligent to bring in several undrafted rookie free agents, including two from Rutgers. Gus Edwards led the team in rushing attempts (9), rushing yards (34), and receiving yards (23). Janarion Grant added a reception for 10 yards and had two kick returns for 46 yards. Both players have an uphill climb to make the team, but getting opportunities like this shows the coaching staff is willing to see what they can bring to the table. Jim Hoffman described Grant and his chances earlier this week.
Check back in with us as we provide regular updates on the Knights in the NFL, it should be an exciting year!
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