Week in Review: Wake Switches Positions, Bryant Johnson Signed
With training camps in full swing, it’s safe to say that the 2012 NFL season is now underway. With the beginning of training camp also comes an abundance of news and this week was no different.
Here’s what happened with your Penn Staters in the NFL this week:
Cameron Wake Moves From OLB to DE
Come this September, NFL offensive lines will have their hands full with not one, but two Nittany Lions when they play the Miami Dolphins.
This offseason, the Dolphins decided to change from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defensive scheme and as a result, a pass-rushing outside linebacker had to be moved to take up that 4th defensive line spot. The obvious choice to do so was former CFL defensive player of the year and NFL Pro Bowler Cameron Wake. Wake will join DT Jared Odrick on the line.
While in the CFL, Wake actually played defensive end so the move won’t require a major adjustment for him. Even during his time at linebacker with the Dolphins, he started with his hands on the ground about half of the time, according to the afore-linked Miami Herald article, so the transition should be relatively seamless.
The article also revealed some interesting stats about Wake’s 2011 campaign in which he recorded 14 sacks — a 4.5 sack downgrade from 2010:
- Wake drew 13 holding penalties last season, six more than any other NFL player.
- Pro Football Focus rated him the league’s 16th best player for 2011, and first among 28 qualifying 3-4 outside linebackers. He also was second against the run, displayed huge growth in an area that was considered a shortcoming when he entered the league.
- His 80.5 combined sacks, hits and hurries were second most among all defensive players for 2011, and his 52 quarterback hurries were the league’s most – eight ahead of second-place DeMarcus Ware.
- Wake went out in pass coverage 53 times last season, something that won’t happen in his new defensive end role.
Back in May, Wake signed a 4-year extension worth up to $49 million dollars, so I’m sure at this point he’d do anything his defensive coordinator asked.
Bryant Johnson Re-Signed By Texans
Roy Williams isn’t the only veteran wide receiver that the Houston Texans took a look at this week. In fact, the other vet they looked at ended up getting signed by them. That lucky receiver is none other than former first-round pick Bryant Johnson.
Johnson, who will be entering his 11th NFL season, played in all 16 games for the Texans last year on a one-year contract. It was unclear if Johnson would ever play in the NFL again after this offseason, as he remained unsigned heading into training camps and it appeared as if the Texans had moved on. Apparently, they hadn’t and Johnson will live to see another day in the NFL.
While his 6 catches for 90 yards and a single touchdown from last season are far from eye-popping, his timing ended up being ideal. His most impressive game came in the final week of the regular season when he hauled in 2 catches for 45 yards — one of which would have been a game-winning touchdown catch with 14 seconds remaining had the Texans converted a 2-point conversion.
Rookie Troutman to Start Season on PUP List
While the news may sound disappointing, the fact that the San Diego Chargers placed fifth-round pick Johnnie Troutman on the physically-unable-to-perform list is actually promising.
Almost immediately after the draft, news emerged that Troutman had to undergo pectoral surgery after he was injured while bench pressing in the lead-up to the draft. The initial prognosis had the injury being potentially season-ending, but this week’s news reveals that there is a very high chance that Troutman will play in his rookie season.
The PUP List is similar to the MLB disabled list, as a player can be placed on it to open up a spot on the team’s roster and can return to the roster after a certain period of time. The difference is teams can only add players to the list before the season begins and the player must remain on the list until the 7th week of the season. If the player isn’t activated by the 10th week of the season, they must remain on the list for the remainder of the season, which basically becomes injured reserve.
Brackett Getting Increased Reps in Absence of Celek
Every week it seems that Brett Brackett‘s chances of making the Philadelphia Eagles roster get better and better. Despite rumors that the Eagles were looking at bringing Jeremy Shockey into their camp, Brackett continued to make the most of the opportunity in Philly as started Brent Celek missed some time in camp this week with a knee injury. In his place, Brackett was given the extra reps that opened up and according to lehighvalleylive.com, Brackett is “making the most of his opportunities catching the ball consistently.”
The Eagles’s first preseason game is less than two weeks away on August 9th, so Brackett’s real chance to shine will come on the field then.
19.5 Penn Staters Competing in the Olympics
I know it’s a bit of old news, but it just wouldn’t be right to have a website about Penn State athletes playing in professional sports and not have a single mention of the Olympics. 19.5 Penn Staters will compete in the London Games that are now 3 days under way.
5 of the 19 are men’s and women’s volleyball players playing for the U.S. — Megan Hodge, Alisha Glass, Nicole Fawcett, Christa Harmotta, Matt Anderson — and 3 are fencers — Miles Chamley-Watson & Doris Willette for the U.S. and Daniel Gomez-Tanamachi for Mexico.
The 0.5 of an Olympian is former Nittany Lion soccer star Ali Krieger, who was left off the women’s soccer team as she recovers from a torn ACL and MCL. As you can see in the picture at the top of this post, Krieger is kind of there, as her name was on a piece of paper in Megan Rapinoe’s shin guard. Rapinoe showed the paper wishing Krieger a happy birthday to the world after she scored on an absolute bomb on Saturday. Obviously, that counts as half of a full presence there.