Cowboys in the NFL: Week 1
LARAMIE -- Sure, we could start this weekly feature telling you about Josh Allen's dominance of the defending Super Bowl champions in primetime, but instead, let's start with one of his former Wyoming teammates who has made a career flying under the radar -- Marcus Epps.
The once-upon-a-time walk-on from Los Angeles led the Eagles with 10 tackles in Sunday's 38-35 road win in Detroit. Philadelphia's starting safety tallied eight solo stops, including a tackle for the loss in the victory.
Epps played all 69 defensive snaps for the Eagles in the Motor City and took 14 reps on special teams, too.
You might recall, Epps was a sixth-round draft selection of the Minnesota Vikings in 2019. He appeared in just eight games and recorded one tackle on special teams before receiving his pink slip.
Philly scooped him up during that rookie season and he showed flashes early on, finishing with five tackles over the final seven games. Slowly but surely, Epps worked his way into the lineup. In 2020, he registered 47 tackles and picked off two passes. Last fall the 6-foot, 198-pound speedster tacked on a career-high 62 stops and snagged another interception.
Epps has picked off passes from Alex Smith, Kyler Murray and former BYU quarterback Zach Wilson.
Let's check out how the rest of the Pokes in the pros fared after the first week of the NFL season:
Josh Allen -- Quarterback - Buffalo Bills
OK, now we can talk about Allen's masterful performance in Thursday night's 31-10 rout of the Rams inside SoFi Stadium. The fifth-year signal caller completed 26-of-31 passes for 297 yards and three touchdown passes in the Bills season opener. Allen also added a four-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Above, you can also see that the former Wyoming star is up to his old tricks. Check out that vicious stiff arm. By the way, I hope you didn't put money on LA. Allen doesn't lose to teams with that name and that logo on their helmet.
Chad Muma- Linebacker - Jacksonville Jaguars
The rookie from Lone Tree, Colo., assisted on one tackle during his NFL debut last Sunday in Washington. The Jaguars fell to the Commanders, 28-22. Muma, who was a third-round selection by Jacksonville in last spring's NFL Draft, didn't get into the starting lineup in the opener.
Chase Roullier - Center - Washington Commanders
Ten months after suffering a season-ending leg fracture, the 6-foot-4, 312-pound center didn't skip a beat in his return to the field in Washington's 28-22 victory over visiting Jacksonville last Sunday at FedEx Field. Carson Wentz was sacked just one time in his D.C. debut but the Commanders rolled up just 85 rushing yards on 25 attempts. That's an average of three yards per carry. Roullier is entering his fifth NFL season after being selected by Washington in the sixth round of the 2017 draft.
Andrew Wingard - Safety - Jacksonville Jaguars
Like his former Wyoming teammates, Wingard recorded just one stop in the Jaguars opening-day loss in Washington. The 6-foot, 209-pound safety is coming off a 2021 season in which he tallied 88 tackles, a sack and an interception.
Logan Wilson - Linebacker - Cincinnati Bengals
A year after leading the Bengals in tackles -- and to the Super Bowl -- the Casper product registered eight tackles and a pass breakup in Cincinnati's heart-breaking 23-20 overtime loss to division rival Pittsburgh last Sunday in the Queen City. Wilson, a 6-foot-2, 245-pound linebacker, was selected in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Last fall, "The Governor" finished with a career-high 100 tackles and picked off a team-best four passes.
Mike Purcell - Defensive tackle - Denver Broncos
One of the longest-tenured active NFL players to suit up in Laramie, finished Monday night's 17-16 setback in Seattle with one tackle. Purcell, a 6-foot-3, 328-pound Colorado native, was hampered by injuries throughout the 2021 campaign. He totaled just 33 tackles a season ago. Purcell is entering his seventh NFL season after going undrafted in 2013.
Carl Granderson - Defensive end - New Orleans Saints
The 6-foot-5, 261-pound pass rusher recorded a pair of tackles in the Saints 27-26 opening-day victory over rival Atlanta. Granderson, who is entering his fourth NFL season after going undrafted in 2018, tallied 25 tackles and three sacks in a reserve role last fall. The Sacramento, Calif., product also blocked a punt.
Tashaun Gipson - Safety - San Francisco 49ers
It's been quite a month for the elder statesman of the Pokes in the pros. Gipson, an 11-year NFL veteran, spent the entire summer without a home before the Niners called in August. Just a week into camp, the 6-foot-1, 212-pound safety was cut by the team only to be recalled soon after. Initially expected to join the practice squad, Gipson was on the field Week 1 and recorded three tackles against the Bears, the team he spent the last two seasons with. San Francisco fell 19-10 inside a rain-soaked Soldier Field last Sunday. Tuesday, Gipson was signed fulltime to the active roster.
* Wide receiver Tanner Gentry was released by the Buffalo Bills Wednesday, leaving nine former Wyoming players remaining in the NFL