Cougars in the Pros -- Week Seven

Brady Poppinga, in his second season after being drafted by Green Bay in the fourth round of the NFL draft, was all over the field in helping the Packers defeat Miami 34-24 in week seven of the NFL season.

Green Bay Packers starting linebacker Brady Poppinga recorded his first career interception and returned it 21 yards one week after fellow former Cougar Aaron Francisco accomplished the same feat for Arizona. Poppinga, in his second season after being drafted by Green Bay in the fourth round of the NFL draft, was all over the field in helping the Packers defeat Miami 34-24 in week seven of the NFL season. In addition to his interception and subsequent 21 yard return, Poppinga added a quarterback hurry, a pass deflection, and one tackle in the Packers' victory. For Poppinga, the interception was a way to silence the critics that label him solely a run-stuffing linebacker. "It was great. There have been a lot of questions regarding my pass coverage skills since I came into the league in 2005. It was a great way to answer all of the critics." As for his 21 yard return, Poppinga admitted to entertaining thoughts about scoring a touchdown after he secured the ball and saw some daylight. "I was first thinking secure the ball, then after I started to see some room to run I thought there might be a slim chance."

Poppinga currently ranks fifth on the Packers in total tackles in his first year as a starter and attributes his success to his work ethic. "I attribute my success to a work ethic that was instilled in me by my parents, teachers, church leaders, and coaches."

Former Cougar John Denney also saw action as the Dolphins' long snapper and added a solo tackle in Miami's loss to Poppinga's Packers. Despite being on opposite sidelines, Poppinga and Denney share a connection to their alma mater. "I spoke to [John] after the game," Poppinga said. "It is always nice to see your former BYU brothers on a consistent basis."

As for the current BYU Cougars, Poppinga and Denney no doubt like seeing the success the squad is having. "They deserve it," Poppinga said. "Coach Mendenhall and his coaching staff have been working tirelessly to get things right from the day they stepped on BYU's campus until today. Their accumulative hard work and perseverance is now paying big dividends."

Brett Keisel, another former BYU defensive standout turned NFL starter, recorded five solo tackles and one pass deflection but saw his Steelers lose a 41-38 shootout to the Atlanta Falcons. Keisel's five tackles led all defensive linemen in the contest. Fellow former Cougar and current Steeler defensive lineman Chris Hoke also saw action and added one solo tackle from his nose tackle position. Shuan Nua, another defensive lineman who played at BYU, is on the Steelers' practice squad.

Head coach Andy Reid's Philadelphia Eagles were edged 23-21 on a last second 62 yard field goal by Tampa Bay. Offensive lineman Scott Young saw action for the Eagles while all-purpose back Reno Mahe sat out due to injury. Tampa Bay tight end Doug Jolley played in the Buccaneers' victory. Offensive lineman Scott Jackson is on the Bucs' practice squad.

Head coach Mike Holmgren's Seattle Seahawks also went down in week seven as they were defeated by Minnesota 31-13. Seattle tight end Itula Mili started and recorded one catch for three yards in the loss. Seattle tight ends coach Jim Lind coached at BYU with Holmgren.

Linebacker and special teams standout Rob Morris and the Indianapolis Colts ran their undefeated record to 6-0 as they pounded Washington 36-22. Morris registered three solo tackles in the Colts' victory. Arizona safety Aaron Francisco recorded one tackle in the Cardinals' 22-9 defeat at the hands of the Raiders. Rookie wide receiver Todd Watkins is on the Cardinals' practice squad after being drafted in the seventh round of last year's NFL draft.

Buffalo defensive end Ryan Denney, the older brother to John, played in the Bills' 28-6 loss to New England. Ryan currently ranks third on the Bills with three sacks on the season. The Cincinnati Bengals, meanwhile, edged Carolina 17-14 in a matchup of inter-conference foes. Rookie full back Fahu Tahi is on the Bengals' practice squad.

The undefeated Chicago Bears and offensive players John Tait and Gabe Reid were idle in week seven. Head coach Brian Billick's Baltimore Ravens also were idle last week and remain in first place in the AFC North. The New Orleans Saints, who likewise stand atop the NFC South, also had a bye in week seven. Offensive lineman Ben Archibald is on the Saints' practice squad. Finally, the Tennessee Titans, offensive coordinator Norm Chow, and linebacker Colby Bockwoldt also were off in week seven.

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