When the National Football League kicked off yet another exciting season on Sunday, 13 former Spartans held a roster spot, while three resided on practice squads across the league. Though some did not see any action on opening day, many made an immediate impact.
One of those players to post an impressive performance in week one was Brandon Fields. Arguably one of the best punters in the NFL, Fields booted the ball excellently in Miami’s showdown against the Browns on Sunday. The seven-year pro punted five times for a 53.8 yard average, pinning Cleveland inside its own 20 yard line twice. Fellow Spartan Dion Sims also saw some playing time. The rookie started at tight end, though he did not record any stats. On the opposite sidelines, Cleveland quarterback Brian Hoyer was not active for the contest. The Dolphins emerged from the newly christened First Energy Stadium with a 23-10 victory over the Browns.
The Bengal-Spartan duo of Domata Peko and Kyle Cook opened the New Year with solid days, but Cincinnati failed to beat the Bears on the road, losing by a score of 24-21. Peko started at defensive tackle, notching a tackle and two assists, while Cook started at center without tabbing any stats.
Vaunted rookie running back LeVeon Bell was held out of Pittsburgh’s 16-9 loss to the Titans on Sunday. The Steelers are playing it safe with their second round draft pick after Bell injured his foot during preseason play. Though Bell has showed major improvement, the team has not announced a return date for the youngster.
Second-year tight end Garrett Celek received some playing time for the 49ers on Sunday, but did not log any stats in San Francisco’s 34-28 win over the Packers.
Kevin Vickerson helped the Denver defense clog the middle against the Ravens, limiting the defending Super Bowl champions to 58 yards on the ground in a 49-27 win. Vickerson started at defensive tackle in the Thursday night contest, recording two tackles and a tackle for loss in the triumph.
Backup Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton did not play in a 27-24 loss to the Rams on Sunday.
Rookie Tampa Bay defensive end William Gholston did not make it on the field during the Buccaneers’ 18-17 loss to the Jets.
Neither Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles nor Washington signal caller Kirk Cousins saw any action in the first edition of Monday Night Football this season. Foles and the Eagles captured a narrow 33-27 victory over Cousins and the Redskins.
Though Keshawn Martin did not receive much of an opportunity to showcase his skills at wide receiver on Monday evening, he was granted plenty of chances to display his speed on special teams. The second-year wideout returned four kickoffs for 116 yards (an average of 29 yards per return) and three punts for 21 yards. The speedster’s best return was his 46-yard scamper on a kickoff early in the first quarter. Martin will continue to return kicks until the return of safety Ed Reed allows the top return man on the roster, safety Danieal Manning, to return to the spot. The Texans completed a 21-point comeback with a last-second field goal to capture a 31-28 victory over the Chargers.
-CB Johnny Adams (Bills), RB Edwin Baker (Broncos), and S Trenton Robinson (Eagles) all remain on the practice squad of their respective team.
-DT Jerel Worthy (Packers) remains on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.