As most Mountaineer faithful know, one of our beloved WVUPros was involved in a shooting this past week. Former WVU standout and current St. Louis Rams receiver Stedman Bailey was shot twice this past week in Miami. We start our weekly NFL preview with the Rams.
Bailey, a finalist for the Blitenkoff award during his junior year, which is annually given to the nation’s top receiver, was one of the most prolific wideouts WVU has ever had, and he will always be remembered as a legend.
Bailey is currently in ICU, and in stable condition at a Miami hospital, and he has the support of Mountaineer nation.
To honor his close friend and teammate, Tavon Austin has requested to wear Bailey’s #12 jersey for the rest of the season. This is classy move by Austin, who considers Bailey to be a brother. The two have been paired together for over six years now, and have proven to be two of the Rams most reliable targets.
Austin will be facing a Bengals defense that is coming off of their worst performance of the season, and will be paired with quarterback Nick Foles who returns to the starting lineup.
I imagine that this entire Rams team will rally around Bailey, and play their most inspired game of the season.
So far this season, Austin has had his best games in Rams victories. Austin feeds off of his teammates, and he is a player that captures momentum and runs with it. I think Austin will get back on track from two lackluster games, and have a big performance against the Bengals.
Lining up against Austin will be Adam “Pacman” Jones. Jones will have the task of shutting down the Rams passing game, and he will chip in for the return game as well. In this game, Jones meets Jeff Fisher, who was his first NFL coach with the Titans. After missing last weekend with a toe injury, Jones is listed as Questionable for this contest.
The Rams-Bengals game will take place at 1 PM ET and you can tune in on Fox.
Spain’s First Start
Undrafted rookie Quinton Spain will get his first career start on the offensive line for the Tennessee Titans today.
Spain, who plays left guard, earned the starting role by impressing interim head coach Mike Mularkey in practice.
Spain, who is 6’4 332, Spain is a big body that can block in space. The Titans expect Spain to help increase production in their rushing attack.
These next six games will be like an audition for Spain, who still has more to prove. It is great to see a guy earning his first career start in the same season that he went undrafted.
You can watch the Titans at 1:00 PM ET on CBS.
Geno Smith Watch
At this point, it is no longer “if” but more than likely “when” will we see Geno Smith again this season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is struggling on offense, and the Jets are at a make or break point of their season. If Fitzpatrick starts off cold against their division rival, the Miami Dolphins, the Jets could be forced to play Geno Smith in order to add some urgency to the offense.
At 5-5, the Jets are in must-win mode in order to stay in the playoff hunt, and if Fitzpatrick is not getting it done, we could see Geno Smith at any given moment. I will not be surprised if Smith sees the field this week.
The Jets take on the Dolphins at 1 PM ET on CBS.
As Mountaineer legend Pat White always says, “Once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer.”
Keep Stedman Bailey and his family in your thoughts this week, as he is another man this state has helped mold. Bailey means a lot to West Virginia, and he wore the WVU jersey with honor as a former player. Stay strong, Stedman.