We are now eight weeks into a rocky NFL season, as four Penn alumni navigate the new COVID-19 landscape. As we near the halfway point of the season, we check in with how they're doing.
Kevin Stefanski — coach, Cleveland Browns
After a 37-34 shootout victory last week against the Bengals, Week 8 was a very low-scoring affair for Stefanski and the Browns. In a game with winds steadily around 38-45 miles per hour, Cleveland was unable to score a touchdown and ultimately fell to the Las Vegas Raiders, 16-6.
"We did not do enough of the things that you have to do in those conditions to go win, and I do not think anyone can use that as an excuse," Stefanski said. "They found a way to put 16 points up on the board, and we did not. Credit to them. Disappointed with the loss. We will try to learn from it and get better for our next game."
Stefanski's Browns are now 5-3 on the season, sitting in seventh place in the American Football Conference and currently in a playoff spot if the season were to end today. Stefanski has managed to keep the Browns competitive this season, after a long history of disappointment for the franchise. Prior to this season, Stefanski's first as head coach of the team, the Browns had not finished above .500 since 2014.
Justin Watson – wide receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In a surprisingly close battle, the Bucs pulled out a narrow 25-23 victory that came down to the final plays against the New York Giants. Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady targeted nine different players, but Watson did not receive a target and only played five snaps throughout the game.
However, Watson did enter the spotlight in the final minute by recovering the Giants' final onside kick to seal the victory. But with Chris Godwin injured and Antonio Brown suspended, the lack of attention from Brady is not a good sign for Watson moving forward as the wide receiving corps gets more crowded.
Brandon Copeland – outside linebacker, New England Patriots
After tearing a pectoral muscle in the Patriots' Week 7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Copeland underwent surgery and was placed on Injured Reserve. He is expected to miss the remainder of the 2020 season. He finished the season with 12 tackles, including one for a loss.
Greg Van Roten – guard, New York Jets
The Jets faced their toughest test of the season in defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and fell 35-9 to drop to 0-8 on the year. Once again, Van Roten played every offensive snap for the team, now playing all 516 offensive snaps for the Jets this season. The Jets' offense continued to struggle in this game, scoring just two total touchdowns in their past four contests.