As the 2021-22 NFL season continues on to its eighth week, let’s look in at some Penn alumni and their work in the league.
Brandon Copeland — Linebacker, Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons have won their last two games since our last roundup, beating the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins. The Miami game was a stunner, as Atlanta scored a last-second field goal that secured the win. Between those two games, Copeland recorded two tackles, including one solo tackle.
In an interesting move, the Falcons cut Copeland on Sept. 11 before re-signing him two days later. As the Falcons remain at home for a game against the 3-4 Carolina Panthers, Copeland may have a chance to improve and help the Falcons’ defense. Atlanta has allowed 29.3 points per game, the third-most in the NFL behind the Dolphins and the Washington Football Team.
Greg Van Roten — Guard, New York Jets
The Jets’ record fell to 1-5 two weeks after beating the Tennessee Titans in overtime. They lost to the Falcons and the New England Patriots, with the latter scoring a staggering 54 points. Fortunately, despite the losses, rookie quarterback Zach Wilson’s offensive line has performed better in recent weeks, only allowing four sacks in three games, after the first three games saw Wilson sacked 15 times.
Van Roten will continue to help the Jets’ line as they help Wilson realize his NFL potential, which in turn could improve their struggling offense. The Jets face the Bengals at home this coming Sunday.
Justin Watson — Wide Receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Watson is still waiting on the Physically Unable to Perform list for the Buccaneers after a knee surgery in July. He should be looking to return in late November or early December, re-entering one of the best receiving corps in the NFL, although it is unclear if there will be a spot in the rotation for the former Quaker.
The Buccaneers have been cruising, following up their exciting matchup with the Patriots with decisive victories against the Miami Dolphins, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Chicago Bears. When Watson returns, even more receiver depth can bolster the Buccaneers moving forward.
Kevin Stefanski — Head Coach, Cleveland Browns
After beating his former team in the Minnesota Vikings, Stefanski has encountered some tough teams with the Browns. Two losses followed the game, one against the Los Angeles Chargers and another by the undefeated Arizona Cardinals. However, the Browns were able to get a close win against the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football, despite multiple injuries plaguing the offense.
As the Browns move on to two division matches in the next two weeks, Stefanski will look to improve the Browns’ 4-3 record and reestablish their spot at the top of the tightly-contested AFC North.