Brady Poppinga started for Green Bay in its 31-24 victory over Detroit in week three of the NFL season.
Linebackers in the Poppinga family are making headlines from Provo, Utah to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Current BYU linebacker Kelly Poppinga followed up his four tackles and an interception performance against Boston College with another four tackle game against Utah State. Older brother Brady, meanwhile, started for Green Bay in its 31-24 victory over Detroit in week three of the NFL season. Brady had a game high six solo tackles as the Packers lodged their first win of 2006. His seven total tackles ranked third on the team. Brady, whose rookie campaign was cut short with a severe knee injury a year ago, ranks second on the Packers in solo tackles and fifth in total tackles on the season. "It has been rewarding [to return from the injury] because I used such an adverse circumstance to become stronger and better than ever before," said Brady. "The strength and the self confidence that I gained from that experience are great rewards."
Brady is enjoying his second season in Green Bay and finds parallels between the NFL city famous for its football fans and Provo, Utah. "They are similar [cities] in terms of having high standards for their respective teams," Brady said. "They do not accept anything less than being champions and winning because that is what both places have become accustomed to."
Despite the demands of the NFL season, Brady still finds some time to follow BYU football and give advice to little brother and fellow linebacker Kelly. "I keep a close eye on the BYU football team," Brady said. "I try to give Kelly advice, either solicited or not, as much as he wants."
Brady's Packers will face off against the first place Eagles on Monday Night Football in week four. "I will make sure to talk to Reno [Mahe] and Scott [Young] either before or after the game," Brady said about the Monday night matchup with Cougars on both sidelines. And, if Poppinga finds himself being blocked by Philadelphia offensive lineman Scott Young, it won't be the first time this season he's battled a fellow Cougar. "I have gone against both Gabe Reid and John Tait in a very competitive environment," Brady said of his week one game against Chicago.
Chicago, for its part, remained unbeaten by holding off Minnesota 19-16 in a battle of unbeaten NFC North teams. Tait started on the offensive line and helped the Bears gain over three-hundred yards of total offense and limit the Vikings to only one sack. Reid saw action at tight end for the Bears in their victory.
Buffalo Bills defensive end Ryan Denney had another solid performance in the Bills' 28-20 loss to the New York Jets in a rain and wind storm. Denney had four tackles, including three solo, for Buffalo. His four tackles tied him for the team lead among defensive linemen. Denney currently ranks in the top ten of the NFL in sacks with three. Denney's younger brother John saw action on special teams in Miami's 13-10 victory over Tennessee. Tennessee linebacker Colby Bockwoldt played in the Titans' loss. Tennessee coach Norm Chow is in his second season as offensive coordinator.
The defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers were downed 28-20 by AFC North rival Cincinnati. Brett Keisel started at defensive end for Pittsburgh and wreaked havoc in the Bengals' offensive backfield. Keisel registered one sack for a loss of eight yards and added a quarterback hurry. He also added two tackles, including one solo, on the day. Fellow former Cougar and current Steeler defensive lineman Chris Hoke added one solo tackle. Defensive lineman Shaun Nua is on the Steelers' practice squad and rookie fullback Fahu Tahi is on the Bengals' practice squad.
All three NFL head coaches with BYU ties find their respective teams in first place after week three. Head coach Andy Reid's Philadelphia Eagles defeated San Francisco 38-24 to improve to 2-1 on the season. Philadelphia's Reno Mahe, who led the NFL in punt return average last season, returned from an injury and returned two punts for thirty-one yards, including a long of twenty-three yards. Mahe also returned one kick in the Eagles' victory. Fellow former Cougar Scott Young saw action on the offensive line for Philadelphia.
Baltimore head coach Brian Billick saw his Ravens remain undefeated by edging the Cleveland Browns 15-14. Seattle head coach Mike Holmgren's Seahawks also remained among the ranks of the unbeaten by outlasting the New York Giants 42-30. Seattle tight end Itula Mili did not play in the Seahawks' victory. Jim Lind, who coached at BYU with Holmgren, is in his sixth season as Seattle's tight ends coach.
Arizona safety Aaron Francisco recorded one solo tackle in the Cardinals' 16-14 defeat to St. Louis. Rookie wide receiver Todd Watkins is on the Cardinals' practice squad. Indianapolis Colts linebacker Rob Morris had one tackle as the Colts downed Jacksonville 21-14 to remain unbeaten. On the other side of the ball, Tampa Bay tight end Doug Jolley hauled in one catch for seven yards in the Bucs' 26-24 loss to Carolina. Offensive lineman Scott Jackson is on Tampa Bay's practice squad.
Another former BYU offensive lineman, Ben Archibald, is on the Saints' practice squad after seeing action in five games last season. The Saints returned to their rebuilt home in the Big Easy for the first time since Hurricane Katrina and overwhelmed the Atlanta Falcons 23-3.