If Week 3 of the NFL is representative of the larger season in the slightest, then expect an engaging 2021-22 season with plenty of unexpected scores. Here's a look at how Penn alumni in the NFL fared last week.
Greg Van Roten - Guard, New York Jets
A 0-3 start for the New York Jets has tempted the blame to a number of concerns: an uninspired offense, a drained defense, and stiff assessments of their performance from frustrated fans.
Greg Van Roten, a 2012 Wharton graduate, is facing tense pressures to improve for the sake of his own game, but perhaps more importantly to reanimate the trajectory of the team. Van Roten allowed six pressures in Jets' scoreless loss against the Denver Broncos, adding to a total of two sacks and 15 pressures allowed in the first three games of the season.
Van Roten publicly criticized teammate Zach Wilson, but later clarified that the blame does not fall on individual players. The Jets face an immense gap to improve before their losing streak extends to a fourth consecutive loss.
Justin Watson - Wide Receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After undergoing knee surgery in July, Justin Watson landed on the physically unable-to-perform list with a projected absence of four months. The promising start to the season for the Buccaneers was abbreviated as they lost 34-24 to the Los Angeles Rams.
Brandon Copeland - Linebacker, Atlanta Falcons
A hamstring injury created expectation that linebacker Brandon Copeland would not play in the early season, but he missed the first game against the Philadelphia Eagles after being released by the Falcons the day prior and re-signed the following Monday. As a result, Copeland is playing on a salary determined on a week-to-week basis rather than a guarantee for the whole season.
Copeland appeared on the field for the 17-14 win against the New York Giants where he landed one tackle.
Kevin Stefanski - Head Coach, Cleveland Browns
Ahead of the matchup against the Chicago Bears, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski made a special request to the fans — to leave their tailgating early and be loud in the stands before kickoff.
Stefanski then guided the Browns to a 26-6 win over the Chicago Bears and a spoiled debut for promising rookie quarterback Justin Fields. Fields was sacked nine times as the Browns defense denied the Bears in both halves.
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