Three former Syracuse football alums made their NFL debuts this past week, as head coach of the Buffalo Bills Doug Marrone nearly defeated the New England Patriots; offensive lineman Justin Pugh made a start at right tackle for the New York Giants; and safety Shamarko Thomas did enough for the Pittsburgh Steelers to get his picture taken by the AP!
Meanwhile, other former Orange men hit the gridiron as well. Here's a recap of how everyone did:
Doug Marrone (Head Coach - 1st year)
HCDM lost his NFL debut, 23-21, to the Bills didn't even recover. Marrone is also being called out by the Bills' fan base for choosing not to slow down the offense's fast-paced tempo with about five minutes remaining. The result was a three-and-out on offense followed by the Patriots taking over, using a patented Tom Brady, late-game drive to break the hearts of Bills fans, again., who used a field goal with nine seconds remaining to escape Buffalo. Marrone had a few hiccups in his debut, as he used a Coaches' Challenge early in the first quarter to try and overturn a fumble that, well, the
(Honestly, I have no issue about what Marrone chose to do. It was the right choice with five minutes to go. But, according to many Bills fans I am now an idiot.)
Justin Pugh (RT - 1st year)
Pugh was filling in for veteran David Diehl, who is out because of a thumb injury. However, if Pugh continues to play well -- which according to SB Nation's Big Blue View he did -- he may never let go of the starting spot.
Overall, Pugh enjoyed his first NFL game.
"I'm excited to get out there and play," said Pugh. "Just to get out there and compete and play in a big game and help this team win."
Ryan Nassib (QB -- 1st year)
Nassib was not on the Giants active roster for Sunday night's game, so he got to watch starting quarterback Eli Manning throw A LOT of interceptions. Pretty sure that not what Tom Coughlin wanted Nassib to learn while on the sidelines.
Delone Carter (RB -- 3rd year)
Carter, a free-agent running back, is expected to work out for the Giants on Tuesday. New York has a few backfield holes to fill after a few injuries this past week. Unfortunately for Carter, he will have to beat out veteran Willis McGahee and former Giant Brandon Jacobs.
Shamarko Thomas (S -- 1st year)
#SHAMARKO! didn't start, but he did see some action in the Pittsburgh Steeler's disappointing 16-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Thomas tallied two tackles but apparently had a holding penalty on special teams that forced a Steelers drive to start inside their 10-yard line.
Arthur Jones (DT -- 4th year)
The Super Bowl champion did not play in the Baltimore Raven's season opener at the Denver Broncos. The starting defensive linemen was dealing with a viral infection near his heart. Initially, there was some concerns but it seems everything is OK, reports The Baltimore Sun. It sounds like the Ravens will ease Jones back into practice, however, his status for this upcoming Sunday is still unknown.
Jameel McLain (LB -- 6th year)
If you didn't know, McLain has had a roller coaster-like offseason as he had to take a pay cut of half of his $3-million salary. If that wasn't bad enough, McClain is recovering from a spinal cord injury he suffered last season and was placed on the NFL's PUP list and has the first six weeks of the season to get the green light from doctors to resume his career.
Tony Fiammetta (RB -- 4th year)
Fiammetta did not play at all in 2012, but found a spot on the Chicago Bears' roster this season. I Googled his name and lo and behold, Fiammetta was singled out in this Chicago Tribune breakdown of the Bears' 24-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Alec Lemon (WR -- 1st year)
After making the Houston Texans roster out of training camp, Lemon was not in uniform for his team's 31-28 victory over the San Diego Chargers Monday night because a few weeks ago he was placed on the NFL's injured reserve list. Lemon is battling a hamstring injury.
Steve Gregory (SS - 8th year)
While watching the Patriots-Bills game, I noticed Gregory make a play. I swore at him because I was rooting for the other team. It is good to know he still has a job with one of the best teams in the NFL. He made nine tackles, seven solo, and had a pass deflection in New England's victory.
Chandler Jones (DE -- 2nd year)
I also heard Jones' name said a few times Sunday. (I called him a few different names as well.) Overall, the former first-round draft pick compiled six tackles, four solo, in his team's win.
Dwight Freeney (DE -- 12 year)
After, apparently, having an impress preseason with his new team, the San Diego Chargers, the former All-Pro pass rusher was very quiet in his team's blow-up loss, 31-28, to the Houston Texans. Freeney tallied just a tackle and a half of a sack in his Chargers' debut.