Through Week 7 of the NFL season, Penn alumni are continuing to contribute to their respective teams. As the season heats up, we check in on how they’re doing.
Kevin Stefanski – coach, Cleveland Browns
After coming out on top in a shootout against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2, the Browns found themselves in a very similar game in Week 7. In another back-and-forth contest, the Browns came out on top once again thanks to a late connection between quarterback Baker Mayfield and receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones for an improbable game-winning touchdown.
“You are going to play in these types of games every year in the NFL. You are going to have to come and win a game in a two-minute drive. I told the team last night, ‘You might have to go win it on the last play of the game.’ It has to be your mentality,” Stefanski said.
Stefanski’s team is now 5-2 and very much within striking distance of the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFC North standings. The Browns’ two losses came against those teams, but their success against the Bengals and non-division opponents would make them a playoff team if the postseason began next week.
“Obviously, a great win for the team,” Stefanski said. “It is important to build off of these types of wins. It is important that we make sure that we are continuing to do the things that help you win in this league.”
Justin Watson – wide receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady had perhaps his best game of the season in a 45-20 win over the Las Vegas Raiders. Unfortunately, none of that production went to Justin Watson. Watson played 12 snaps on offense but wasn’t targeted in the passing game. With the Bucs’ receiving corps finally healthy, he took a back seat to receiver Scotty Miller. Additionally, with the recent signing of receiver Antonio Brown, it looks like Watson’s contributions will only be coming on special teams for the foreseeable future.
Brandon Copeland – outside linebacker, New England Patriots
Week 7 was an ugly game for the Patriots, with the San Francisco 49ers delivering Patriots coach Bill Belichick his worst home loss ever in a 33-6 blowout. In a game where the 49ers run game looked unstoppable, Brandon Copeland played only 11 snaps on defense and registered one tackle. Copeland will look to contribute more in a pivotal divisional matchup against the Buffalo Bills in Week 8.
Greg Van Roten – guard, New York Jets
The Jets played their closest game of the season to date, but still fell to the Bills 18-10 to drop to 0-7 on the year. Greg Van Roten played all 56 offensive snaps, but the Jets scored just one touchdown and were only able to muster four yards of offense in the second half. After the game, Van Roten commented that the Jets’ offensive line “needs to be ruthless with our attention to detail” and that the group hasn’t clicked yet as a unit. Things probably won’t be getting any better for Van Roten and the Jets as they prepare to face the defending the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8.
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