Each week during the NFL season, Eleven Warriors will recap the top performing former Buckeyes from Sunday (or Thursday).
This week, we take a look at some ex-Ohio State players who are making noise in the preseason and battling their way up the depth charts.
Most notably, a former quarterback might take over the starting role for one of the league’s most QB-troubled franchises.
A man whom earned enough respect from Urban Meyer to reserve the naming rights to Meyer’s next son is also garnering praise for his play with the defending Super Bowl champs.
One former Buckeye and NFL veteran has been revitalized in a new city, with a familiar coach.
Meanwhile, a past member of the Scarlet and Gray is looking for work.
Pryor challenging Flynn
He was a fan favorite at Ohio State, so I’m sure we’re all still pulling for Terrelle Pryor, as he battles Matt Flynn for the Raiders QB job.
After trading Carson Palmer, Oakland acquired one-game wunderkind Matt Flynn, from Seattle. Despite working with the first team for the majority of camp, Flynn might not even be the favorite to start – again.
In their most recent preseason game, Flynn led the Raiders to an early 27-0 deficit. That wasn’t entirely his fault, but he didn’t help matters by throwing two interceptions on just six passes. Maybe he has an excuse for playing so poorly?
Raiders are going to rest Matt Flynn with sore arm, Allen said— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) August 25, 2013
By merely not being a complete abomination, Pryor has become the favorite to start. Not that he hasn’t played well – Pryor led the Silver and Black on three straight scoring drives to start the second half against the Bears, Friday.
Still, Flynn has proven more in regular season action than Pryor ever has. Small sample size here, but Pryor is a career 46.7 percent passer and only averages five yards per completion.
If head coach Dennis Allen wants a more dynamic offense, however, he might go with Pryor. They’ll play the Seahawks, Thursday, and a solid performance may allow Pryor to seal the job.
Simon Winning Over New Fan Base
It may come as little surprise that he’s making noise this preseason, despite the switch to linebacker. He recorded a sack in his first game, while ESPN made note of his freakish exploits in his second game.
He had been competing against fellow outside linebackers Adrian Hamilton and Pernell McPhee. Hamilton is now on injured reserve, while McPhee was inactive versus Carolina and is dealing with leg soreness.
Simon isn’t a lock to be a star on the Ravens defense – he still has some major flaws. Plus head coach John Harbaugh is looking to push him even more.
Harbaugh on John Simon: "He played well last week in practice and had a nice game, and we're looking for more"— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) August 25, 2013
Regardless, the Ravens plan to use his endless motor to their advantage.
Allen Having Strong Training Camp
His NFL career, though, has been relatively nondescript.
This is Allen's tenth year in the league, but he’s only started more than eight games in a season one time. In 2006, he started 16 games for Tampa Bay. That season, and the first five years of his career, was spent with Monte Kiffin as his defensive coordinator.
The 73-year-old Kiffin has returned to the NFL, taking the defensive coordinator job with the Cowboys. He brought Allen in to compete for the starting strong safety role.
Allen played for Pittsburgh the last three seasons, starting in seven games. Now, he appears to have established himself as the starter.
Giants Cut Sabino
Linebacker Etienne Sabino was not as lucky as some of his former Buckeye teammates
The Florida native signed with the New York Giants after going undrafted. Early in camp, Sabino seemed to be adjusting well.
New York had openings in a revamped linebacking corps, but he wasn’t able to hold on to a roster spot while going up against more experienced guys. Sabino always had the physical capabilities to play linebacker at the pro level, but hasn’t shown the natural instincts.