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Tigers in the NFL: No Position Change for Isaiah Simmons...Yet

In this week's look at former Clemson players in the NFL, Isaiah Simmons is sticking at linebacker for a safety-depleted Arizona squad while the pressure is on Deshaun Watson and Houston to get first win.

The Arizona Cardinals have had horrible injury luck this season at the safety position. 

Heading into Sunday's game at the Carolina Panthers, the 2-1 NFC West squad is without safeties Budda Baker (thumb), Jalen Thompson (ankle) and Chris Banjo (hamstring). 

It's left the Cardinals awfully thin at a key position. If only they had someone on their roster versatile enough to move over from another position? Actually, they do, Isaiah Simmons.

The former Clemson linebacker was taken eighth overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, and while Arizona coaches made it clear during the offseason that they wanted Simmons to master linebacker first and foremost, the freak athlete played at all three levels for the Tigers. 

The Cardinals have kicked the idea around of using Simmons to fill their need at safety. He worked out at that spot Thursday, but because of limited time there, he .won't start at safety Sunday against the Panthers.  

The team will start Deionte Thompson and Curtis Riley at safety, and the Cardinals signed veteran T.J. Ward to their practice squad Thursday, so he could be moved up to help the depth sooner than later. 

"We have certain packages where we can put other guys at similar positions," Arizona defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said. 

That means Simmons could still see some action at safety Sunday, but more importantly, he needs to get on the field anywhere. Simmons has only played 35 snaps in three NFL games. 

“We need to get (Simmons) comfortable at one position so he can play fast and continue to play on the field," Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson said. “I think playing at linebacker, for now, is best for him so he … can worry about going out and playing fast instead of doing all this thinking.”



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Watson, winless Texans face 0-3 Vikings

This is getting very close to becoming a lost season for the Houston Texans, who are off to an 0-3 start, and former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson has been here before. The franchise lost its first three games in 2018 before going on to win nine consecutive contests and make the playoffs at 11-5. 

That team, though, had former Tiger receiver DeAndre Hopkins. This year's squad does not, and Watson is trying to do even more on his own in 2020. He's completed 67.3 percent of his passes and his 8.3 yards per pass attempt matches his career-best for an entire season, but he's running less this year than at any point of his career during a three-game stretch. 

With losses to the Chiefs (3-0), Ravens (2-1) and Steelers (3-0), the Texans get their first winnable game with the Vikings, who have stumbled to 0-3 while giving up a combined 102 points this season. 

It doesn't look good for former Tigers on 'MNF'

If you were expecting to see a couple of Clemson starters for the Atlanta Falcons take on the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football this week, you might want to make other plans.

Former Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell, who was drafted 16th overall by the Falcons in 2020, tested positive for COVID-19 before last Sunday's game against the Bears and is still on the injured reserve list.

Meanwhile, former Clemson defensive tackle Grady Jarrett has missed practice time this week with a hip injury. He didn't participate in Thursday's practice, and while his status isn't official, it's looking less likely every day that he'll suit up Monday. 

Williams catching on in Denver

Former Clemson defensive tackle Deshawn Williams appears to have found a home with the Denver Broncos. An undrafted free agent, he's been on practice squads for the Bengals, Dolphins and Colts. Williams also spent time in the Canadian Football League. 

But the Broncos brought him back for a third stint and he hasn't disappointed the last two weeks. Williams, who had played in just four NFL games since 2015, knocked down a Tom Brady pass in Week 3 and followed that up with one solo tackle and three assisted tackles in Denver's 37-28 victory Thursday night. 

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