Former Sooner Jalen Hurts named NFC Offensive Player of the Month

Former Oklahoma Sooners QB Jalen Hurts has been named as the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Month

After leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a 3-0 start, former Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Jalen Hurts has been named the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Month for September.

Hurts has been playing like a man possessed in 2022 thus far, and with Lamar Jackson being named the AFC’s Offensive Player of the Month, this is the first time since 1990 that two black QBs have won the award in the same month.

After trading for AJ Brown, the Eagles sent a message that they believe in Hurts, and so far, that bet is paying off.

It wasn’t all that long ago when Jalen Hurts was forced to transfer from the University of Alabama after being benched in the national championship for Tua Tagavailoa. Hurts, of course, chose to come to OU and led the Sooners to a Big 12 title and a College Football Playoff appearance.

The Eagles drafted Hurts in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and now in his second full year as a starter, all of his hard work is paying off.

Philadelphia has an interesting schedule coming up. After this week’s matchup against former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and the Jacksonville Jaguars, they have games against the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys.

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Watch: CeeDee Lamb makes incredible one-handed TD grab and Social Media reacted accordingly

After dropping a wide-open touchdown in the first half, CeeDee Lamb responded with a great one-handed catch to give the Dallas Cowboys a late lead.

It was a tale of two halves for former Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. After an egregious drop in the first half that would have been an easy touchdown, Lamb made up for it with a clutch drive in the fourth quarter.

With the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants locked in a 13-13 tie, the Cowboys got the ball early in the fourth quarter. CeeDee Lamb picked up 17 yards on a throw from Cowboys backup quarterback Cooper Rush to get them going offensively. Three plays later, the Cowboys faced a fourth and four at the Giants’ 41-yard line.

On the snap, Lamb went to the line to gain and simply turned around, and Rush hit him right on the numbers. The star wide receiver held on as he took a huge hit from a Giants defender. That provided the Cowboys with a fresh set of downs.

Two plays later, Rush found Lamb on the left sideline for a 26-yard gain setting the Cowboys up with a first and goal at the one-yard line. Then Rush threw a bullet fade to the left corner, again, to CeeDee Lamb, who made a spectacular one-handed catch to give the Cowboys a seven-point lead.

It was a fantastic catch, and social media reacted accordingly.

Social media reacts to Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals’ improbable comeback

Kyler Murray led the Arizona Cardinals back from a 20-point halftime deficit to send it to overtime before Byron Murphy’s scoop and score won it. Social media went nuts!

It was a tale of two halves for Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals who were behind 20-0 at halftime before the former Oklahoma Sooners’ Heisman winner flipped the script and ignited a furious second-half comeback.

Down 20, the Cardinals outscored the Las Vegas Raiders 23-3 in the second half to tie the game. Murray threw for 277 yards and a touchdown and added a rushing touchdown as well.

Murray first hit Greg Dortch for a five-yard touchdown to get the Cardinals on the board. Then after Darrel Williams’ touchdown run, Murray pulled off one of the most incredible two-yard runs for a two-point conversion you’ll ever see to bring Arizona to within eight of the Raiders.

Then on their final drive of regulation, Murray was magical again with his legs, buying time before finding some running room to the right side for the touchdown that brought them within two points.

After a delay of game penalty moved the Cardinals back to the seven-yard line, Murray directed traffic from the pocket and threw a dime to A.J. Green sprinting across the back of the end zone to force overtime.

In the extra period, Murray nearly pulled off some more magic as he hit Marquise “Hollywood” Brown down the left sideline on fourth and one. Brown looked like he had the reception made before the ball was dislodged by Raiders safety Duron Harmon.

Still, the Cardinals could complete the incredible comeback when they forced a fumble on Las Vegas’ overtime possession, which Byron Murphy picked up and took the other way for the game-winning touchdown.

Kyler Murray was the hero of the day, bringing Arizona all the way back from 20 down, and social media couldn’t get enough of his performance.

5 Oklahoma Sooners to watch on defense vs. UTEP

Oklahoma suits up for the first time in 2022 against UTEP. Here are five defensive players we’ll be watching:

Oklahoma’s defense was far from bad last year. Make no mistake though, it wasn’t great either. According to Sports Reference, they were 60th in team defense. Pair that with inconsistent offensive outputs, and it makes up a team that missed out on a chance to win their seventh straight Big 12 title.

Alex Grinch is now at USC preparing his new team for their 2022 campaign. Oklahoma replaced Grinch with a guy whose Clemson team hadn’t finished outside the top 20 in team defense since 2015. Oh, and that year? They finished No. 25 out of 128 teams.

There’s a chance that if Oklahoma had any of that caliber of defense, they would’ve won a national title considering the offensive play they put on the field.

Brent Venables won’t be the defensive coordinator in Oklahoma, but you can bet the defense that you’ll see while he’s the head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners is his defense. Ted Roof will run the defense, but Venables will undoubtedly have his hands in the pot. It’s fast, violent, suffocating, and multiple, and it helped Clemson win national titles in 2016 and 2018.

The Sooners are replacing six defensive starters from a year ago. Nik Bonitto and Isaiah Thomas will be hard to replace, but someone has to. Similarly, for the back end of the defense, where the starting safety duo of Delarrin Turner-Yell and Pat Fields is no more, the Sooners will need to find some answers.

With UTEP coming to town, the Sooners will get to showcase in full just how hard they’ve worked to understand and learn this new defensive scheme. We’ve rounded up some defensive players to watch when the Sooners take on the Miners.

Oklahoma among overrated teams in CBS Sports’ 2022 Big 12 preview

With big turnover this offseason, the Sooners have a lot to prove and are among Big 12 teams considered overrated in CBS Sports 2022 preview.

Oklahoma is less than a week away from the start of its 2022 campaign. While there’s been heaps of optimism and positivity coming from the camp in Norman all summer, elsewhere, people aren’t as sold on Oklahoma’s potential this season.

Some of the writers at CBS Sports shared their thoughts on the Big 12  heading into 2022. The conference’s flagship programs, Oklahoma and Texas, were deemed two of its most overrated teams. Shehan Jeyarajah had this to say about the Sooners.

The Sooners have been the model of consistency over the past six years, but they’re entering a new era. More than 40% of the roster is new, according to Venables. Gone are the top two quarterbacks, leading two rushers, four of the top five receivers, and the top three sack leaders from last season. There’s plenty of new talent to replace the losses, but they haven’t played together. The coaching staff is new, and the scheme and philosophy are new. This isn’t a turnkey operation, and we won’t see the best of Oklahoma until November. Shehan Jeyarajah (also Barrett Sallee), CBS Sports

There’s validity in the belief Oklahoma will not look like last year. The thing about that particular idea is Oklahoma, especially offensively, didn’t look good at all for multiple stretches last year.

Spencer Rattler struggled. The offensive line struggled. The switch to Caleb Williams in the middle of the season infused new life for a while. But the team still struggled with some of the same larger issues that plagued it when Rattler was under center.

The offensive talent that was lost, outside of running back Kennedy Brooks, isn’t that big of a deal, considering they now have an entirely new offensive system, and the offensive line has a new blocking scheme as well. The Sooners are bringing back three starters along the offensive line, their best wide receiver Marvin Mims, and Theo Wease is returning from missing most of 2021.

Adding to that is new starting quarterback Dillon Gabriel, who’s had success in Jeff Lebby’s offense, which resulted in freshman All-American honors in 2019.

Defensively, the losses the Sooners suffered may be more significant, at least right now. Nik Bonitto, Isaiah Thomas, Perrion Winfrey, Brian Asamoah and the safety duo of Pat Fields and Delarrin Turner-Yell, had the experience and production combination that can’t easily be replaced. Potentially more important, most of those guys were leaders in the program as well as leaders for the defense. They lost six starters on a defense that needs to be better in 2022 than last year.

DaShaun White, David Ugwoegbu, Woodi Washington, Key Lawrence and Jalen Redmond will have to take big steps forward in production and leadership to help maximize Oklahoma defensively.

All in all, the belief that Oklahoma may be overrated may be a slight exaggeration. Its games with Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma State will tell us a lot about who the Sooners are. If they go 0-3 or 1-2, it’s safe to say they were overrated, but winning two of those or sweeping that trio of teams would likely be enough to get back to the Big 12 championship game. An appearance and win there would pull them from the overrated category in a heartbeat.

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Carolina Panthers name Baker Mayfield starting quarterback

The Carolina Panthers officially announced Baker Mayfield as their starting quarterback on Monday.

Baker Mayfield is officially back in the saddle.

After being acquired by the Carolina Panthers to compete with Sam Darnold for the starting quarterback position, the former Heisman winner was announced as the starter by the team on Monday morning.

After a 3-0 start with Darnold under center last year, the Panthers quickly flamed out. Carolina finished 5-12 and ended the season with a seven-game losing streak. Cam Newton and PJ Walker started at QB at certain points last season.

The Panthers have interesting pieces on offense for Mayfield to work with. Christian McCaffrey is always a threat coming out of the backfield, and D.J. Moore and Robbie Anderson are solid receiving threats.

A big issue for Carolina last year was its offensive line. The team addressed this by selecting North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu with the sixth overall pick to stabilize the left tackle position.

The Panthers will play Mayfield’s former team, the Cleveland Browns, in Week 1. With Deshaun Watson serving an 11-game suspension, Jacoby Brissett will be Mayfield’s opponent.

After a long road back from his injuries last season, Mayfield has earned the fresh start he’s been working toward since requesting a trade out of Cleveland.

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Isaiah Thomas stands out in week one of NFL preseason action

After a standout performance in week one of the NFL preseason, Isaiah Thomas was named a “secret superstar” by Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar.

It seemed wild that a player with the production Isaiah Thomas had over his final two seasons with Oklahoma would slip to the seventh round, but that was the case for several OU defenders over the last several years.

Over his final two seasons, Thomas had 14.5 sacks and 22.5 tackles for loss, but was selected in the final round by the Cleveland Browns, who may have gotten one of the steals of the 2022 NFL draft.

Though it’s only preseason, Thomas had a dominant first outing against the Jacksonville Jaguars, filling the stat book with two sacks, three stops and a QB hurry. For his efforts, he was included in Touchdown Wire’s “Secret Superstars” for Week 1 by Doug Farrar.

The Browns are still trying to figure out the optimal edge defender — or combination of edge defenders — to bookend All-World pass-rusher Myles Garrett. Thomas, the seventh-round rookie out of Oklahoma, made his case in rather definitive fashion against the Jaguars. Thomas had two sacks, a quarterback hurry and three stops, and he impressed with speed and heavy hands along the formation. At 6-foot-4 and 266 pounds, Thomas brings some nice gap versatility to the table. – Farrar, Touchdown Wire

If the early returns for Thomas continue throughout the preseason, there’s a good chance he earns a significant role for the Cleveland Browns his rookie season. With the versatility to play in both three and four-down alignments and bump inside in pass-rushing situations, Thomas can be a valuable piece to any defensive depth chart.

So far, he’s proving that value on the gridiron in his first season in the NFL.

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Baker Mayfield primed for bounce-back season for Carolina in 2022

Baker Mayfield expected to have a bounce-back season in 2022 according to ESPN.

Former Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield has experienced the highs and lows of life in the NFL. From No. 1 overall pick and someone who helped a team win their first playoff game in more than 20 years to discounted, underappreciated, and traded. He went from franchise quarterback of the Cleveland Browns to a quarterback competition with the Carolina Panthers.

Crazy how one season, and one injury, can change the perception of a player in the NFL, a league that’s been given the nickname “not for long.”

Over at ESPN, they went through every team in the league and picked their bounce-back candidate, and for the Carolina Panthers, that was former Sooners great Baker Mayfield.

What went wrong: Mayfield really should not have been out there for the second half of the 2021 season. With a litany of injuries piling up, he couldn’t even hit layup throws down the field. After earning a 76.0 passing grade through the first nine weeks of the season, Mayfield earned a 47.1 passing grade across the final eight. — PFF

Mayfield attempted to play through a torn labrum in 2021 and it hindered his play, ultimately leading to criticism from the front office and some in the fan base. After a turbulent offseason, Mayfield was traded to the Carolina Panthers, which by all accounts, looks to be thriving.

On a Panthers team with better weapons than what he had in Cleveland, Mayfield could be in store for a bounceback season in 2022.

Outlook for 2022: If the Panthers get the 2020 version of Mayfield, they will be big winners. But first Mayfield has to prove he is good enough to beat out Sam Darnold in their “open” competition. There’s no reason to think he won’t do that, since Mayfield’s non-throwing shoulder appears sound now. Plus, Darnold had a chance to prove himself last year at Carolina and failed. Mayfield is in the ideal situation: a quarterback surrounded by enough offensive talent to prove himself and with a coach in Matt Rhule also trying to prove himself. – Newton, ESPN

According to reports, Baker Mayfield’s looked really good in training camp. He’s developed a nice rapport with wide receivers D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson and has taken rookie quarterback Matt Corral under his wing.

Though it’s still just training camp, things are off to a great start for Baker Mayfield in Carolina. There’s no reason to think that this couldn’t be a really good season for the former Oklahoma Sooners quarterback.

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Oklahoma Sooners on Touchdown Wire’s Top 101 players in the NFL

Seven Oklahoma Sooners were featured on Touchdown Wire’s top 101 players in the NFL ahead of the 2022 season.

The Oklahoma Sooners have sent quite a few talented players to the NFL over the years. Just in the last two decades, the Sooners have seen three No. 1 overall picks and several more top 10 picks.

In addition to the three quarterbacks projected to start for their respective teams in 2022, Oklahoma boasts several of the best offensive linemen in the league that once graced Owen Field.

Seven former Sooners were included in Touchdown Wire’s Top 101 NFL players entering 2022. Trent Williams ranked as the No. 2 overall player on the list and No. 1 offensive tackle in the NFL.

Touchdown Wire’s Top 101, players 51-101 and players 1-50.

Here’s where the Sooners rank.

Packers release former Oklahoma Sooners kicker Gabe Brkic

Green Bay Packers release former Oklahoma Sooners kicker Gabe Brkic.

Although he was solid in training camp, the Green Bay Packers released former Oklahoma Sooners kicker Gabe Brkic after their first preseason game.

Brkic went 3-3 on extra points but missed wide left on his lone field goal attempt. According to Packer head coach Matt LaFleur, Brkic tweaked his hamstring during warmups.

To replace Brkic, the Packers signed former Nevada and Pittsburgh Maulers kicker Raziz Ahmed.

Brkic is a free agent once again.

The Packers releasing Brkic after one game seems a strong reaction to one missed field goal, but if Brkic really is hurt, he can’t kick, now can he?

With how talented a kicker Brkic is, one NFL team is bound to kick the tires whenever he is deemed healthy. Perhaps Brkic would’ve benefited by staying one more year at OU.

Getting and keeping a kicking job in the NFL is hard work. There are only 32 NFL jobs for placekickers, and how many fan bases can truly say “we have a good kicker”?

Before landing in Green Bay, Brkic was signed by the Minnesota Vikings where he lost a kicking competition to incumbent starter Greg Joseph.

On social media, Brkic still has a picture of himself in his Sooners uniform as his profile picture.

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