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September 28, 2021

Locals in the NFL: MRI clean after Jordan Love’s first preseason start with Packers

Green Bay Packers’ Jordan Love runs a drill during an NFL football minicamp Tuesday, June 8, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. (Morry Gash, Associated Press)

AROUND THE SHIELD — Jordan Love‘s first preseason start with the Green Bay Packers turned out pretty well — until in a flash, it didn’t.

Love completed 12-of-17 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown in the Packers’ preseason opener, a 26-7 loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday.

The former first-round pick out of Utah State completed 70.6% of his passes, took one sack and finished with a quarterback rating of 110.4. But perhaps even more importantly, Love exited the game early with an apparent shoulder injury

An MRI revealed a clean bill of health on Love’s right shoulder, as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, but head coach Matt LaFleur said Sunday that Love may take time off this week in practice and his status for the Packers’ second preseason game Saturday against the New York Jets remains uncertain.

“I think he’s doing fine,” LaFleur said, according to ESPN. “It’s something, though, that is significant enough where he could miss a couple days of practice.

“We’ll see where he’s at at the end of the week, but we’re going to kind of take it day to day.”

Love was expected to see plenty of time and reps in the preseason while Green Bay figured out the future of star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has reported to camp but is not expected to play in the preseason. In the absence of Love, the Packers would likely turn to third-string quarterback Kurt Benkert, who played the second half against the Texans.

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Green Bay also recently released Blake Bortles and Jake Dolegala just before training camp, but both quarterbacks are currently unsigned and could be available to return.

If Love plays next week, he could face off against another local college quarterback in Zach Wilson, the Corner Canyon High and BYU product who started his first preseason game after being selected with the No. 2 overall pick in April’s draft.

Wilson completed 6-of-9 passes for 63 yards in the Jets’ win over their crosstown rival New York Giants, which featured both backup quarterbacks in James Morgan and Mike White under center.

Former Utah State linebacker Tipa Galeai started at outside linebacker and made one tackle in the Packers’ loss to the Texans, who don’t have any locals on their roster.

Former BYU defensive end Bronson Kaufusi lined up at tight end for the Packers but did not record a catch.

Here’s how other former local college and high school football standouts fared in Week 1 of the NFL’s 2021 preseason, a list that numbers around 90 total players.

Indianapolis 21, Carolina 18

Former BYU linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi had four tackles and a tackle for loss to help the Colts to a win over the Panthers.

The Brighton High product had a crucial stop in the third quarter with the Colts down 15-10 to force a turnover on downs and helped spark the late rally that ended with a 10-3 run to take the win.

Former Layton High and Utah safety Julian Blackmon started at safety for the Colts. Utah grad Sam Tevi started at right tackle, and former Weber State tight end Andrew Vollert also saw time for Indianapolis.

Bountiful High product Brady Christensen, another BYU alum, started at right tackle for the Panthers. Former BYU teammate Micah Simon was targeted twice.

LA Chargers 13, LA Rams 6

Former BYU cornerback Michael Davis made one tackle in the Rams’ preseason win over their crosstown rivals.

Fellow former BYU defensive back Troy Warner had two tackles and a tackle for loss in his NFL preseason debut for the Rams.

Former Orem High and Utah kicker Matt Gay made one extra-point attempt in the loss.

Las Vegas 20, Seattle 7

Former BYU tight end Matt Bushman caught one pass for 5 yards in his NFL preseason debut with the Raiders.

Former BYU and Utah State safety Dallin Leavitt made three tackles for Las Vegas, and fellow Aggie alum Nevin Lawson added a stop. Former Utah State kicker Dominik Eberle returned to the Las Vegas specialists and made field goals of 22 and 24 yards, as well as two extra points, in the win.

Former Herriman High lineman Andre James rotated at center for the Raiders.

Former Utah linebacker Cody Barton ran roughshod on defense for the Seahawks, wracking up nine tackles, two sacks, two quarterback hurries and two tackles for loss. The Brighton High alum played in 41% of Seattle’s defensive snaps (33).

Highland High product Bryan Mone played 17 defensive snaps and four more on special teams, totaling one tackle at nose tackle.

Kansas City 19, San Francisco 16

Former Utah State running back Darwin Thompson ran for 12 yards on four carries, and Layton High alum Marcus Kemp caught two passes for 10 yards in the Chiefs’ preseason win.

BYU alum and Stansbury High product Zayne Anderson made three tackles on defense and assisted on another on special teams for Kansas City.

Former BYU safety Kai Nacua had four saves and a pass breakup for San Francisco, and former Utah punter Mitch Wishnowsky punted eight times for 378 yards (47.3 yards per punt).

Former BYU defensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi came off the bench at offensive tackle for San Francisco.

Cincinnati 19, Tampa Bay 14

Former Utah State cornerback Jalen Davis had a tackle and two pass breakups in the Bengals’ preseason win over the reigning Super Bowl champs.

Chris Wilcox made two tackles for the Buccaneers, who selected the former BYU cornerback with a seventh-round pick in April’s draft.

Timpview product Xavier Su’a-Filo rotated at offensive guard for the Bengals.

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) calls a play before the snap during the first half of the team’s NFL preseason football game against the New York Giants, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J.
New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) calls a play before the snap during the first half of the team’s NFL preseason football game against the New York Giants, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (Photo: Corey Sipkin, Associated Press)

NY Jets 12, NY Giants 7

Wilson, the last unsigned first-round pick who agreed to a four-year, $35 million deal with the Jets, threw for 63 yards, and the Jets scored its only offensive touchdown through La’Mical Perine in the win.

Former Utah defensive back Javelin Guidry had one pass breakup on defense and a tackle on special teams in the Jets’ win.

Former BYU lineman Tristen Hoge rotated with the Jets, and Brighton High product Jackson Barton — a Utah alum — did the same with the Giants.

Former Utah running back Devontae Booker ran for 12 yards on three carries for the Giants.

Cleveland 23, Jacksonville 13

Former BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki made two tackles on defense and another on special teams in the Browns’ win.

Former Salem Hills quarterback Porter Gustin made one tackle, a 5-yard sack, to go along with a quarterback hurry for Cleveland, and former Utah State returner JoJo Natson returned two punts for 12 yards in the win.

Bingham High alum Jay Tufele made one tackle in his preseason debut with the Steelers.

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Denver 33, Minnesota 6

DNP — LB Pita Taumoepenu, OT Garret Bolles, WR Tim Patrick.

Chicago 20, Miami 13

Former Utah defensive back Jaylon Johnson had two tackles in the Bears’ win over the Dolphins.

Former Utah defensive back Eric Rowe made one tackle and a pass breakup for the Dolphins.

Baltimore 17, New Orleans 14

Former Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley completed 12-of-16 passes for 79 yards and ran for the game-winning 7-yard score to lift the Ravens over the Saints.

Huntley finished with a QB rating of 85.2 as the Utah alum battles with Trace McSorley to be Lamar Jackson’s primary backup in Baltimore.

Former BYU running back Ty’Son Williams ran for 23 yards on five carries for Baltimore in the preseason opener.

Former BYU quarterback Taysom Hill started at quarterback and completed 8-of-12 passes for 81 yards and an interception, one of three quarterbacks to take snaps for the Saints alongside Jameis Winston and rookie Ian Book.

Judge Memorial product Kaden Elliss led the Saints with eight tackles, a tackle for loss, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery. Former Utah linebacker Chase Hansen added two tackles, a quarterback hurry, and another stop on special teams.

Friday Night Football

Arizona 19, Dallas 16

Former Utah linebacker Kylie Fitts made one special-teams tackle, and Corner Canyon product Branden Bowen rotated on the offensive line in the Cardinals’ win.

Former Brighton receiver Simi Fehoko caught three passes for 28 yards for the Cowboys.

Buffalo 16, Detroit 15

Former American Fork and Snow College center Jordan Devey played 20 snaps on offense and three on special teams in the Bills’ win over the Lions.

Former BYU running back Jamaal Williams started and ran for 15 yards on nine carries for the Lions.

DNP, CB Taron Johnson DNP. Lions: OT Darrin Paulo 47O, 2ST; Williams 22O; DE John Penisini DNP; TE Hunter Thedford 12O, 1ST; OT Penei Sewell 22O.

Tennessee 23, Atlanta 3

Former BYU guard Chandon Herring came off the bench and played 60 snaps in the Titans’ win over the Falcons.

Ex-BYU teammate Zac Dawe, a Pleasant Grove High product, made one tackle for the Falcons.

Thursday Night Football

Pittsburgh 24, Philadelphia 16

Former Southern Utah safety Miles Killebrew made one tackle in the Steelers’ win over the Eagles.

New England 22, Washington 13

Former Bingham High linebacker Harvey Langi had a game-high nine tackles, and fellow BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy added three tackles to lift the Patriots of the Football Team.

Former BYU wide receiver Dax Milne caught two passes for 16 yards for Washington, which got one tackle from ex-Utah linebacker Jared Norris.

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