With Week 3 of the NFL season all said and done, you may have noticed a few (or 44) former Trojans on a professional roster. Well, in case you were too busy, we have the best of the best from those who honed their craft in the Coliseum. Who stood out during Week 3? (Note: typically, this list will include skill position players. I can’t watch 16 games in a weekend. Cut me some slack)
5. Reggie Bush
Wait, who? While Bush’s game on Sunday prematurely with a non-major injury, this is belated recognition for his stupidly great Week 2 showing (29 touches, 197 yards, two touchdowns). He gained 61 yards on 10 rushes, keeping up his excellent rushing average of 6 yards per carry. Bush isn’t crucially injured; he could be back next week against a surprisingly beastly Arizona Cardinals team.
4. Sam Baker
Like Bush, this is to recognize Baker’s performance. As Matt Ryan’s left tackle in Atlanta, Baker has succeeded in keeping the budding star pretty clean. He’s not of Joe Thomas or Jake Long’s caliber, but Baker is in the upper echelon of left tackles.
3. Fred Davis
The tight end took a few years to establish himself. But since last year, he’s really found his groove. Sunday, he played his best game with Robert Griffin III throwing passes his way, catching seven balls for 90 yards. A very solid performance that would have been good with a touchdown, Davis could have a very nice season with Griffin III. If the latter continues to feel oppressive pass rushes, the tight end is a nice safety valve. And Davis is a good one.
2. Rey Maualuga
To put it simply, Maualuga went HAM against the ‘skins. The former All-American got 13 tackles, seven solo, and was just a warrior – rather, a Trojan. While former USC and Cincinnati teammate Keith Rivers (draft class 2008) has had a rough career, all of the 2009 linebackers (Maualuga, Clay Matthews, Brian Cushing) have been stellar. One very good game is too early to determine if Maualuga finally makes the leap in 2012. But another like Sunday’s would strengthen the argument.
Quarterbacks. The NFL is always about the quarterbacks (well, after last night, the case could be made for replacement referees). After injuring his knee in Cincinnati – an apparent hotspot for Trojans – he has yet to return to his All-Pro form. He has been plagued by his interception prone behavior. That said, Palmer played very well against the formidable Pittsburgh Steelers. The 2002 Heisman Trophy winner was 24-for-34, 209 yards, three TDs and just one pick. The Raiders looked, to put it lightly, really crappy their first two games. A loss against Pitt seemed likely. But along with Darren McFadden showing up, Palmer led Oakland to its first win of the season. Good job, Carson. You win the first-ever "Conquest Chronicles Alumnus Player of the Week Award." Pat yourself on the back. You earned it.