The past two weeks of NFL action have seen coaching changes and playoff berths for former IU football players in the professional ranks.
Offensive tackle Rodger Saffold's team, the Los Angeles Rams, was on a bye during Week 12, but the Rams were able to clinch the NFC West division title with a Week 13 win at the Detroit Lions. The Rams beat the Lions, 30-16, to secure a playoff berth with an 11-1 record.
Conversely, offensive guard Jason Spriggs and his Green Bay Packers teammates will have a new head coach for the remainder of the season. Mike McCarthy was fired as Green Bay head coach following a 20-17 home loss to Arizona in Week 13, which followed a 24-17 loss at Minnesota on Sunday night of Week 12.
This marked a three-game losing streak for Spriggs' team, as the former IU offensive lineman played in both defeats. Joe Philbin, the former coach of the Miami Dolphins and the current offensive coordinator for Green Bay, is the interim head coach for the rest of the season.
Rounding out the group of former Hoosiers on the offensive lines of professional teams is offensive guard Dan Feeney. He started his 11th and 12th games of the season for the Los Angeles Chargers in victories against the Arizona Cardinals, 45-10, and at the Pittsburgh Steelers, 33-30.
The possibility exists for Saffold to play against Feeney in Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, as Feeney's Chargers are 9-3 and firmly in control of a wild card spot in the AFC postseason picture.
Running back Tevin Coleman also has not had much success recently with the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta lost 31-17 at New Orleans on Thanksgiving, a game which saw Coleman record just six rushing yards on eight carries and only three catches for 17 yards. But, one of those catches was a four-yard touchdown reception.
Most recently, Atlanta lost 26-16 at home against Baltimore, with Coleman putting up meager statistics with eight rushing yards on six carries and a lone catch for three yards.
Staying in the offensive backfield, Jordan Howard also took part in a Thanksgiving day game, as his Chicago Bears won at Detroit, 23-16. The victory featured a 13-yard rushing showing for Howard, and he also had a catch for two yards. On Sunday, Howard had a much better day on the ground, having 76 rushing yards in a 30-27 overtime loss at the New York Giants.
Lastly, tight end Ian Thomas recorded his career-best NFL game in Week 13 in a road loss at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Thomas, who didn't play a Week 12 home loss against the Seattle Seahawks, had five catches for 46 yards against the Buccaneers, both career-highs.
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