Former Maryland football players continued to prove themselves in the second week of NFL preseason games. Sixteen Terps hit the turf this past week, some fighting for roster spots, some vying for starting positions and some just taking a few snaps with a big role already cemented.
Here’s a look at some of the best performances.
Patriots defensive tackle Byron Cowart took the sports world by storm Saturday night in a preseason matchup against the Tennessee Titans. He steamrolled past offensive lineman Rodger Saffold, flinging him to the ground, before pouncing on quarterback Marcus Mariota.
While he only finished with two combined tackles, the sack was clearly a defining moment — a coming out party if you will— for Cowart.
Coach Bill Belichick isn’t known for high praise or long answers, but he had quite a lot to say about the rookie talking to media the day after the game.
“In the college scheme he played in at Maryland, I wouldn’t say there were a lot of pass-rush situations,” Belichick said, via USA TODAY’S Patriots Wire. “It was a little harder to evaluate that. Again, you can only go on what you see and probably 75 percent of the plays, maybe more that he played were either running plays or running situations.
“He’s done all that we’ve asked him to do. That’s the main thing. He’s done all that we’ve asked him to do. He needs to get better at everything — the running game, passing game, recognition, reaction and so forth. We’ll just continue to work with him and all of the other players. He’s a young player who works hard. Hopefully, he’ll continue to improve like he has since we got him here in May.”
Josh Woods has continued to impress throughout the preseason for the Chicago Bears.
The 2017 graduate had six tackles and a forced fumble on Aug. 8 against the Carolina Panthers, earning him a start this past week against the New York Giants. Woods had another great showing, producing eight combined tackles — five total and three assisted.
He spent last year on the team’s practice squad and was signed to a reserve/full contract in January, and he’s now making a case for a spot on the official roster for the 2019 season. But if he does make the final 53-man roster, the Bears have a stacked defense that will be hard for him to find playing time in.
Jermaine Carter Jr.
Linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. stepped into a big role for the Carolina Panthers against the Buffalo Bills on Friday, starting where five-time All-Pro Luke Kuechly normally would.
Carter told press he did a lot of film study and talked a lot with Kuchely to prepare himself for the starting role. It paid off, as he was named the Panthers’ Defensive Player of the Game after finishing with seven total tackles.
But Carolina sites had mixed reviews for the second-year player. He seemed to struggle on the pass rush, with six of his tackles coming after completions.
While DJ Moore was able to find a role in the Panthers rotation as a rookie, it was more slow-going for Carter. He’ll look to make more of an impression in his second season, and Friday’s game was a good place to start.
Other Terps around the league (only showing those with stats)
|4 att / 8 yds
|4 att/11 yds, 1 rec/9 yds
|1 rec / 6 yds
|2 rec / 43 yds
|1 rec / 8 yds