Friday, October 21, 2016
Charles Sims

Four WVU Pros to watch in Week 4 of the NFL

Charles Sims

Charles Sims charges in for a 32-yard TD vs the Texans. –

Another week is in the books for NFL fans, and by now we have an accurate grasp on who’s good (see Patriots, Packers and Cardinals) and who’s not so good (see Bears, Saints and Lions).

While there has not been many breakout performances by WVUPros, some are developing consistency and making strides in their progression.

Moving onto Week 4, here is what you should keep an eye on.

1. Will Charles Sims start against Carolina?

Through three weeks of the NFL season, Sims has played behind Doug Martin at RB in a complementary role. Last week, Sims made the highlight reel with a 32-yard TD catch and scamper.

This week, the Bucs play host to division rival Carolina and their staunch defense. On Thursday, Martin sat out of practice after injuring his knee on Wednesday. Head coach Lovie Smith told reporters that Martin should be fine, but if he is not, look for Sims to get his first career start.

Sims’ strength is helping rookie QB Jameis Winston by catching passes out of the backfield, but has had problems when being asked to run up the middle. The Panthers have had a flurry of injuries along their defensive line, causing them to trade for all-pro Jared Allen this week, so there may be a reason for optimism.

Carolina has one of the fastest linebacking units in the league with Luke Keuchly, Thomas Davis, and rookie Shaq Thompson which could challenge Sims on the outside.

2. Geno Smith Watch

The most talked about reserve Quarterback not named Tebow or Manziel, Smith has always had a knack for drawing headlines since becoming a member of the New York Jets.

This past week, Smith was active for the Jets for the first time this season. With Smith over his shoulder, starter Ryan Fitzpatrick turned in his worst performance of the season in a loss to the Eagles.

Coach Todd Bowles has maintained that Fitzpatrick is the starter, but it will be interesting to see how short of a leash they put on him.

Most games, Fitzpatrick will not be asked to throw the ball 58 times, but against a vulnerable Eagles secondary, he did not produce.

With Smith healthy and returning to action, keep an eye on Fitzpatrick, who tends to start regular seasons hot, and cool down in the middle.

3. Tavon Austin vs. the Honey Badger

Just like his first two NFL seasons, Austin’s third season has been defined as big plays and not much consistency.

In the first game of the season, Austin accumulated 100 total yards and two touchdowns, with 91 of those yards coming on two plays.

So far, that game against the Seahawks has been the highlight of the season for Austin and his offensively challenged Rams. They have not played well in their last two games, and it is time for them to turn things around offensively.

The Rams will be going up against one of the toughest defenses in the leagues, the Arizona Cardinals featuring two of Austin’s favorite human beings in Tyrann Matheiu and Patrick Peterson.

The Rams’ best offensive performance so far came against the Seahawks, so maybe this is a unit that plays up to their competition. Hopefully Austin and fellow WVUPro Stedman Bailey can help the Rams turn it around, and get back on the right track.

4. Bruce Irvin Monday Night Football

For the second time in three weeks, Bruce Irvin and the Seattle Seahawks will be playing in primetime. This time, the game will be played on Monday night against the Detroit Lions, who carry an 0-3 record.

The Lions have struggled on offense this season, and the struggles will probably continue in week 4.

Irvin tends to play well in primetime, and I think Irvin will have a big game against the lowly Lions offense. The Lions will probably get down and be force to throw, which will allow the pass-rush extraordinaire to blitz often, and get himself a sack.

It always fun to tune in when Mountaineers play in primetime, and Irvin has arguably more pride in West Virginia than any WVUPro, and he always gives the state love when he can. He considers West Virginia his second home, and it is always a great opportunity to support Irvin when he plays on national television.



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