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Orange in the NFL: Recapping week 1 for Syracuse football alumni

How did former Syracuse players fare in their first game this season?

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports

While Syracuse Orange football picked up another dominant win last weekend, there are also SU alums excelling at the NFL level. Every Tuesday, we take a look at how our former Orangemen are performing on the world’s toughest stage.

Nolan Cooney, Arizona Cardinals

Syracuse’s former punter earned the starting job in Arizona after leading the NFL in net punting average during the preseason. He continued his strong play in his NFL debut against the Commanders, punting five times for 235 yards with a long of 56. Being on a projected bottom-five team should pay dividends for Cooney, so we could get used to seeing him out there.

Garrett Williams, Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals placed Williams on the reserve/non-football injury list as he continues to rehab following his torn ACL last October. He’ll have to sit out at least the first four games before hopefully making his debut midway through this season.

Matthew Bergeron, Atlanta Falcons

The 2023 second-round pick started at left guard for Atlanta and played all 52 snaps in his NFL debut. The Falcons’ o-line allowed two sacks in a win over the Panthers, a tick under their 2.18 sacks per game last year.

Kingsley Jonathan, Buffalo Bills

After earning third-string edge rusher honors out of camp, Jonathan did not record any statistics in Buffalo’s loss to the Jets. The Bills have one of the deepest defensive lines in the league, so we’ll see where and when Jonathan gets playing time soon.

Riley Dixon, Denver Broncos

The Oneida product punted twice for 80 yards in Denver’s loss to Las Vegas. The Broncos are Dixon’s third team in as many years, previously kicking for the Giants and Rams. He’ll have a great chance to set career highs with the thin air in the Mile High City.

Ifeatu Melifonwu, Detroit Lions

The cornerback didn’t see any playing time this week. He’s serving as the backup to C.J. Gardner Johnson, who’s in his first year with the Lions after stints with the Saints and Eagles.

Chris Slayton, Green Bay Packers

Slayton earned a spot on Green Bay’s practice squad following training camp in late August. The defensive lineman has yet to make his NFL debut since being drafted by the Giants in 2019.

Zaire Franklin, Indianapolis Colts

Indy’s linebacker started his sixth season on a high note, finishing tied for the league lead with 10 solo tackles. Franklin also assisted on eight more tackles and added a pass deflection and forced fumble to his monster game against the Jaguars.

Andre Cisco, Jacksonville Jaguars

Starting at free safety, Cisco combined for 10 total tackles and a forced fumble against the Colts. It was the most tackles Cisco recorded in a game in his young career, as he looks to be just getting better after his junior year ACL tear with the Orange.

Chandler Jones, Las Vegas Raiders

After expressing his frustration with Las Vegas on social media this week, Jones sat out the Raiders’ regular-season opener. Head coach Josh McDaniels still has “no updates” on his defensive lineman, only putting Jones’s playing status further in jeopardy. It appears his playing days in the Sin City are coming to a close.

Trishton Jackson, Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota assigned Jackson to its practice squad for the third consecutive season on August 30. This news is disappointing for the former Syracuse standout, who lit up opposing cornerbacks for over 1,000 yards for the Orange in 2019. We hope he’ll get a chance to make big plays in the NFL soon.

Sean Tucker, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The moment you’ve all been waiting for. Tucker made the most of his 10 snaps as the backup Bucs tailback, carrying the ball five times for 15 yards and hauling in two catches for 9 yards. Starting running back Rachaad White didn’t make much of an impression with 39 yards on the ground in his debut, so look for Tucker to see more action in his second game at home against the Bears (#PL44SED).