Preseason viewer's guide: Clash of the Cougars in Detroit (16 items)
One simple transaction last Saturday made this week's preseason game between the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars even more appealing for BYU fans.
While the Lions already employ former Cougars Kyle Van Noy and Ezekiel Ansah, the Jaguars, in need of fullback help, signed BYU's all-time leading rusher, Harvey Unga.
Given that they play on opposite sides of the ball, there's a chance that Unga could line up on the other side of Van Noy or Ansah during Friday's Detroit-Jacksonville contest.
There is hope that Ansah, who last week was activated off the physically unable to perform list, could see his first action of the preseason against the Jaguars.
“We’d love to see him in game situations, but I think the most important thing is to get him to the regular season," Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said Wednesday. "We have him in some more practice situations this week, so we were able to ramp him up a little bit and we’ll just keep evaluating to see when it’s best to get him out there and get him going.”
This is the dress rehearsal week in the NFL, as there will be extended competition between the teams' starters. Teams must cut their rosters to a maximum of 75 players by 2 p.m. MDT on Tuesday.
Unga also has more competition in making the Jaguars' 53-man roster. On Wednesday, Jacksonville signed another fullback, Eric Kattani, giving the team three fullbacks on its roster.
If you're a night owl, you can catch a replay of the Lions-Jaguars game at 2 a.m. MDT Saturday on NFL Network, or you can wait for another replay on Wednesday at 8 a.m., again on NFL Network.
Here's a game-by-game look at Week 3 of the NFL preseason and which local ties to watch for this weekend (rookies are noted):
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1 of 16. Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles
On the Steelers roster:
Hebron Fangupo, DT, BYU
Brett Keisel, DE, BYU and Snow College
Brice McCain, CB, Utah
Vic So’oto, LB, BYU
On the Eagles roster:
Joe Kruger, DE, Utah and Pleasant Grove High
Curtis Marsh, CB, Utah State
Storylines of interest: The 12-year veteran Keisel re-signed this week with the Steelers, agreeing to a two-year deal, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "For them to give me the opportunity to come back means a lot to me and I can’t wait to get back to work," Keisel told steelers.com. His re-signing cost another local, Utah State's Lapuaho, his job, as the Steelers released him to make room for the former BYU star. ... So'oto is receiving attention for his play in the preseason, which included three tackles, one sack and a forced fumble last week. “I think everyone in a helmet and cleats out here has a chance to make it,” So’oto told steelers.com. “I don’t think one play or one turnover will sway the coaches’ decisions either way. I think it’s more about practice day in and day out and being able to come out here and be conditioned and make plays and just do your best.”
2 of 16. Jacksonville Jaguars at Detroit Lions
On the Jaguars roster:
Zane Beadles, G, Utah and Hillcrest High
D.J. Tialavea, TE, Utah State and West Jordan High (rookie)
Harvey Unga, RB, BYU and Timpview High
On the Lions roster:
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State (rookie)
Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU (rookie)
Storylines of interest: Lawson has had opportunities to make a positive impression during the preseason. During the Lions' first preseason game against the Browns, the fourth-round draft pick made four tackles, and according to MLive.com's Justin Rogers, he played 23 snaps last week against Oakland. “He’s a typical young guy," Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin told reporters Wednesday. "He’s going to make some mistakes, but he has really good football sense. ... It’s probably going to take him a while to catch up to the speed of the schemes and the way things happen in this league. He’s got some upside and really plays bigger than his size. He’s not a big guy, but when you watch him compete with the big guys, he can.”
3 of 16. Carolina Panthers at New England Patriots
On the Panthers roster:
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah, Snow College and Bingham High
On the Patriots roster:
Jordan Devey, OL, Memphis, Snow College and American Fork High
Sealver Siliga, DT, Utah and Copper Hills High
L.T. Tuipulotu, DT, Utah (rookie)
Eathyn Manumaleuna, DT, BYU and Timpview High (rookie)
Storylines of interest: Devey, who was a practice squad member last year, started last week against the Eagles and played every offensive snap, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss. "His offseason program was very productive," Patriots coach Bill Belichick told the Providence Journal. "He really was able to take advantage of that and put himself in a very competitive position.” ... NESN.com reports that Siliga, who hurt his arm two weeks ago, could be close to returning to practice and was working on conditioning Wednesday at team practice with a splint on his left arm.
4 of 16. New York Giants at New York Jets
On the Giants roster:
Dallas Reynolds, C, BYU and Timpview High
On the Jets roster:
Tevita Finau, DT, Utah
Trevor Reilly, OLB, Utah (rookie)
Caleb Schlauderaff, G, Utah
Michael Smith, RB, Utah State
Storylines of interest: In his latest 53-man roster prediction, Jordan Raanan of NJ.com has Reynolds making the Giants' active roster for the regular season. ... When asked which rookies have stood out on special teams during preseason, Jets special teams coach Thomas McGaughey told newyorkjets.com, "You saw last week with IK (Ikemefuna Enemkpali) and Trevor (Reilly). I mean those two guys have really done a nice job. But they’re all working hard, all those young guys." Reilly forced a fumble on special teams last week against the Bengals. ... Smith's chances to stick in New York look all but slim, as he has yet to play any preseason minutes after being signed on Aug. 2. He was waived by Tampa Bay on May 13.
5 of 16. Oakland Raiders at Green Bay Packers
On the Raiders roster:
Tony Bergstrom, OL, Utah and Skyline High
Bojay Filimoeatu, LB, Utah State and Granger High (rookie)
Keith McGill, CB, Utah (rookie)
Jake Murphy, TE, Utah and American Fork High (rookie)
Donald Penn, T, Utah State
Karl Williams, FB, Utah, Southern Utah and Layton High (rookie)
Spencer Hadley, ILB, BYU (rookie)
On the Packers roster:
Jarrett Bush, CB, Utah State
Jake Doughty, LB, Utah State and Juan Diego High (rookie)
Storylines of interest: The Raiders will be a team to follow when cuts start happening, as they have five rookies with Utah ties. McGill is the only one who was drafted by Oakland this year, and he's one of a couple Raider cornerbacks, including Neiko Thorpe, who've been slowed by injuries during training camp. "Being able to get a look at those two guys, as well as some of the other guys, over the next couple of weeks, it’ll be big as far as the evaluation process is,” head coach Dennis Allen told raiders.com.