After one week of the 2023 NFL season, it was the usual suspects balling out for the firmer Gophers. Antoine Winfields, Jr tormented the Vikings and helped Tampa to a week 1 win.
Rashod Bateman—WR Baltimore Ravens
Daniel Faalele—OL—Baltimore Ravens
Week 1 vs Houston Texans
Week 2 @ Cincinnati Bengals
Bateman played just 39% of the offensive snaps for the ravens on Sunday against the Texans. In his 25 snaps he was targeted three times by Lamar Jackson and caught all three balls for 35 yards, with a long of 18. It was the rookie Zay Flowers with nine catches taking away from Bate.
Faalele dressed, but did not see any game action.
Terrell Smith—CB—Chicago Bears
Week 1 vs Green Bay Packers
Week 2 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Smith got in on three plays on special teams for the Bears but did not record a stat. He didn’t play at all on defense.
De’ Vondre Campbell—LB—Green Bay Packers
Week 1 @ Chicago Bears
Week 2 @ Atlanta Falcons
Campbell played 55 defensive snaps, which was 74% of the Packers defensive snaps and added two more on special teams. He recorded seven tackles, four of them solo in the rout of the Bears.
Blake Cashman—LB—Houston Texans
Eric Murray—S—Houston Texans
Week 1 @ Baltimore Ravens
Week 2 vs Indianapolis Colts
Cashman is hurt....again. He missed the week wit a hamstring injury and was inactive for the season opener.
On the other side, an injury to the Texans starting safety meant that Murray started and played all 64 defensive snaps and eight on special teams. He recorded four tackles, three of them solo in the loss to Baltimore.
Jordan Howden—S—New Orleans Saints
Week 1 vs Tennessee Titans
Week 2 @ Carolina Panthers (Monday Night)
Howden was the most active of the Gopher defensive rookies playing 12 defensive snaps and another 8 on special teams in the Saints win over the Titans. He did not record a stat however.
Carter Coughlin—LB New York Giants
John Michael Schmitz-C-New York Giants
Week 1 vs Dallas Cowboys (Sunday Night)
Week 2 @ Arizona Cardinals
Coughlin played 22 special teams snaps...most on Giants punts and Cowboys kickoffs in the rout loss to Dallas. He didn’t record a stat/
Schmitz played all 70 offensive snaps in his first career start...and it wasn’t great. He threw a bad snap late in the Giants first offensive drive that would end up resulting in a missed field goal, and the Giants never got that close to scoring again that game. He earned just a 42.8 grade by Pro Football Focus....lots of room for improvement.
Boye Mafe—DL—Seattle Seahawks
Week 1 vs Los Angeles Rams
Week 2 @ Detroit Lions
Mafe played 43 defensive snaps—53% of the Seahawks snaps on defense and added 8 special teams snaps in the Seahawks loss to the Rams. He recorded five tackles, four of them solo and one for a loss.
Ko Kieft—TE—Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Antoine Winfield, JR—S-Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 1 @ Minnesota Vikings
Week 2 vs Chicago Bears
Ko playd 32 snaps on offense—good enough for 47% of the offensive snaps and added another 20 on special teams. He was targeted three times but didn;t make a single catch. One of them would have been a sure touchdown but Baker Mayfield rifled it over his head while he was wide open.
Antoine Winfield Jr killed the Vikings on Sunday. Shocker. Playing 63 of a possible 64 defensive snaps he recorded eight tackles, four of them solo. He his Kirk Cousins twice, one of them where he earned a sack, a forced fumble and a recovered fumble all on the same play. Add in a pass defense and it was a really good day for the third year Gopher.
Jack Gibbens—LB—Tennessee Titans
Week 1 @ New Orleans Saints
Week 2 vs Los Angeles Chargers
Gibbens started at linebacker for the Titans and played 42 defensive snaps, or 65% of them for Tennessee. He also added 14 more on special teams. He was second on the team with eight tackles, six of them solo and one for a loss.
Benjamin St. Juste—CB—Washington Commanders
Week 1 vs Arizona Cardinals
Week 2 @ Denver Broncos
St. Juste got the start for Washington and played all 62 defensive snaps in their 20-16 win over Arizona. He recorded four tackles, three of them solo.