August 20th, 2010

Former UL Teammates Have Same NFL Goal

Paul Najjar

CSN Staff Writer


Former UL Teammates Have Same NFL Goal
photo from wnymedia.net

Trinity's Brohm, Elder's Wood have strong preseason outing

First, they were standout football players at Trinity High School in Louisville and Cincinnati’s Elder Catholic High School. Next, they were teammates at the University of Louisville. Now, a pair of graduates from Catholic alma maters - quarterback Brian Brohm (Trinity in Louisville, KY) and offensive guard Eric Wood (Elder in Cincinnati, OH) – are trying to earn starting jobs with the Buffalo Bills in the NFL.

Both Brohm and Wood were highly touted players coming out of high school. They performed at All-American levels in college. Brohm, drafted in the second-round of the 2008 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers, was eventually waived and placed on the Packers’ practice squad in 2009 and subsequently signed by the Bills that November. Wood was the Bills first-round pick (28th overall) in the 2009 draft. For three highly successful seasons at Louisville, Wood was snapping the ball to Brohm every play, every down.

Brohm and Wood saw plenty of action in the Bills’ second preseason game against defending AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts.

Wood, an All-American Center at Louisville, is coming back from injury and playing right guard for the Bills. He suffered a compound fracture of the leg in November of 2009, just a few weeks after the Bills signed his old teammate and QB Brohm. Wood required surgery and a long rehab. But he’s back in the lineup and looked good in his return to game action.

Wood’s night was pretty solid. He started the game and exited when starting quarterback Trent Edwards was removed in the second quarter. Quick off the ball, he delivered two “pancake” blocks on run plays and looked strong in pass protection as well. He showed great awareness in his run blocking, with a couple of his blocks springing Bills rookie running back C.J. Spiller for big gains. Wood looks like he has no lingering effects from that nasty leg injury. He has a good handle on his position and should be a strong member of the Bills offensive line this season.

Brohm is the guy that all of the Bills fans, coaches and management want to see thrive. He had an undistinguished career in Green Bay, disappointing by his standards. He lost confidence in his game and was relegated to third string duties, and then cut and re-signed to the Packers practice squad in his second season. A stunning fall for this former All-American quarterback.

But he kept working. And when Buffalo hired new coach Chan Gailey, Brohm’s fate began to take a turn. NFL veteran Gailey is a fan of Brohm’s and sees how much potential the guy has to lead an NFL team. He’s helped Brohm reclaim his confidence. The quarterback, who looked slow and unsure in Green Bay, looked confident, quick and strong against the Colts.

His numbers were steady last night, as Brohm went 14-of-21 passing for 125 yards, threw no touchdowns and no interceptions. He threw three accurate quick slants and was very effective in the short and medium range passing game. He handled the pass rush and several blitzes without a problem. He led his team to a field goal late in the second quarter and played well in his five series on the field, prompting Coach Chan Gailey to say to the Bills’ sideline reporter, “He played pretty clean. We’re gonna let him throw the ball around in the second half.”

And Brohm did, save for a couple of passes that were batted down at the line of scrimmage. He read the defenses well and got the ball to the right guys with consistency. The Bills will have a tough decision regarding their starting quarterback.

Two Catholic high school superstars. Two distinguished college careers as teammates. And now teammates in the NFL for a team where they have an opportunity to start. Good to see them both earning their keep.

 

 

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