Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Sep 2011

Running 2011 Cut-Down Day Thread

We will keep this thread updated with the latest big-name cuts on September 3. Not every cut, just the players you may know. That includes PUP and IR.

Bears cut RB Chester Taylor and TE Desmond Clark.

Bengals cut G Max-Jean Gilles and CB Brandon Ghee, Adam Jones to PUP, Keith Rivers to NFI list.

Bills cut C Geoff Hangartner and WR Buster Davis.

Broncos cut CB Perrish Cox.

Browns place RB Brandon Jackson on IR.

Chargers cut WR Laurent Robinson and WR Seyi Ajirotutu. Sign LB Na'il Diggs.

Chiefs place TE Tony Moeaki on IR.

Colts cut DT Tommie Harris and G Kyle DeVan.

Cowboys cut DE Igor Olshansky.

Dolphins cut RB Larry Johnson and CB Will Allen.

Eagles cut DT Anthony Hargrove, DT Derek Landri, Joselio Hanson, DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, S Marlin Jackson, WR Johnnie Lee Higgins.

49ers cut WR Dominique Zeigler.

Giants place QB Sage Rosenfels on IR.

Jaguars place RB Rashard Jennings on IR.

Jets trade CB Dwight Lowery to Jaguars for conditional draft pick.

Packers cut DB Brandon Underwood.

Patriots cut FB Sammy Morris, S Brandon Meriweather, WR Brandon Tate. Place RB Kevin Faulk and DT Ron Brace on PUP. Sign G Brian Waters.

Raiders cut QB Trent Edwards.

Rams cut LB Zac Diles, WR Marty Gilyard, DE George Selvie, WR Donnie Avery, DT Dan Muir.

Ravens cut LB Tavares Gooden.

Redskins cut RB Keiland Williams.

Saints place RB Chris Ivory on PUP.

Seahawks place TE John Carlson on IR and WR Deon Butler on PUP.

Texans cut LB Xavier Adibi and P Brad Maynard (which means they currently have no punter).

Titans cut DE Jacob Ford, WR Justin Gage, WR Kevin Curtis and CB/S Vincent Fuller.

Vikings cut LB (and top ST gunner) Heath Farwell.

Posted by: The Outsiders on 03 Sep 2011

89 comments, Last at 06 Sep 2011, 3:47pm by jackgibbs


by Tim Wilson :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 1:16pm

The 7th floor crew is in real disarray these days...T-Good cut in Baltimore and G-reg (Olsen) shipped off to purgatory in Carolina.

No surprise on Olshansky...big question in Dallas is whether Choice gets cut, traded, or if they decided to keep 4 RBs (and a FB).

Any chance the Eagles deal Joselio Hanson or Jamaal Jackson before being forced to cut them loose?

by Travis :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 1:41pm

Just setting up a 7th Floor Crew reunion in Carolina - Jon Beason (Big Beast) and Olsen are already on the roster, and Darnell Jenkins (Lil' Newt) got cut by the Patriots a few days ago.

by bubqr :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 2:31pm

Adam Caplan just reported that the Eagles have been turning down trade offers for Jamaal Jackson. Still understand the game they are playing (why not starting him!).

On another note, I'm afraid the DT(s) - Laws ? Landri ? Hargrove ? - the Eagles will cut will end up as Giants. Donald Lee too. If Hanson is not traded, a good CB (Hugues/Lindley) might be cut, or Colt Anderson, special team ace.

by Drunkmonkey :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 3:17pm

Well since Landri just got cut, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Panthers or Broncos take a look. I know the Panthers always need the depth, and the Broncos need it just as badly.

by Southern Philly :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 3:21pm

If the Panthers wanted Landri they could have re-signed him.

by Drunkmonkey :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 3:23pm

I agree, but they went after Ron Edwards, and even though he wasn't hot stuff in KC, he was still a clear upgrade over Landri. Now, though, they really could use him, and they shouldn't ignore whats out there now, especially since their rookies aren't really ready.

by Southern Philly :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 3:32pm

And as long as he has a choice, and I would think he would, he's probably not inclined to go back to Carolina.

by chemical burn :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 4:26pm

Hargrove getting cut proves the pre-season is 100% meaningless. You can't play better in limited action than he did... and he's still gone in favor of the endlessly disappointing Trevor Laws. Looks like they're keeping Philip Hunt then, though.

I think the Eagles keep 3 TE's - Lee and Harbor both looked every bit as good as Celek, even getting some first team reps...

Refering the Lindley as a "good CB" seems a little odd there, copache. I'm fine with Hanson as a dime back/injurt insurance. I would not be sad to see Lindley on an NFC competitor, while I would not be thrilled to see Hanson turn up in Green Bay or especially Dallas...

Also, the game they're playing with Jackson is to have quality back-ups (except at LB, which they have made clear they think literally any player in the league is fine for), especially with their inexperienced o-line and the constant injury issues they;ve had there for the past several years.

I'm more curious about the game they're playing with Nate Allen. They let Mikell go to start Jarod Page, a reject from the notoriously awful KC defenses of a couple years ago?

by Dean :: Tue, 09/06/2011 - 10:18am

There's all sorts of talk here in STL that Hanson will end up a Ram. Allegedly, they were intrested in trading for him except that he has (had) a cost-prohibitive contract.

by Sisyphus :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 5:35pm

Igor will likely be in Houston by noon tomorrow, a Phillips favorite he will come in just to help with the transition to the 3-4.

by 357 (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 1:53pm

Speaking of going to Carolina, Tommie Harris cut by the Colts.

by TimK :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 3:56pm

If Carolina don't take him I'd expect the Broncos to have a long hard look... DT not a strength there and both likely starters banged up in preseason.

by MikeyB (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 10:28am

I don't think Harris is eligible for waivers since he's more than a 4 year veteran. He can go anywhere.

by chemical burn :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 4:30pm

Can any Pats fans tell me what's up with cutting Meriweather coming off of 2 Pro Bowl season? Should the Eagles try to grab him since they look super shaky at safety?

by Theo :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 4:40pm

That pro bowl selection was one of the worst ever.
That season, he couldn't even start all games.

by RichC (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 11:42am

"That season, he couldn't even start all games."

Except that he played significantly more snaps than any of the other safeties.

They've now cut Sanders and Merriweather. I like Chung, but every other safety on the roster is flotsam. Not sure whats going on.

attitude issues maybe?

by MJK :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 12:16pm

Not Sanders, I would think. Belichick loved the guy, and constantly praised his coachability and attitude and work ethic.

Either they were thinking they could make things work with Meriweather when they cut Sanders, or they realized (correctly, I think), that Sanders had hit his ceiling and would never be more than a decent but not great starting safety/top backup. Maybe he sees something in Lockett or one of the other "roster chaff" that makes him want to give them a chance to shine?

Or maybe the Pats are unveiling a new 3-CB 1-S defensive strategy. Or an old one--a 46 defense with Guyton at "safety"? :-) (kidding...don't think that would work).

by Drunkmonkey :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 12:45pm

Even if Sanders had already hit his ceiling, by all appearances, he's still better then the rest of the safety's on the roster. I would think they'd keep him until somebody could surpass him. As crazy as it sounds, since this is the Patriots after all, I think you're right in saying that they didn't think they would be cutting Meriweather when they cut Sanders.

by Nathan :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 4:48pm

Meriweather was benched last year for "freelancing" aka ignoring the defense that was called and trying to make highlight plays like INTS and blowing people up. Belichick's unofficial motto is "DO YOUR JOB" (to the point where one of the first things McDaniels did upon arriving in Denver was paint a giant "DO YOUR JOB" in the meeting room).

Meriweather is a talented player who hits hard and makes plays but he's undisciplined and takes shitty angles (we've been sarcastically calling him Pythagoras up here in NE). He's also kind of a piece of shit off the field. If I were a team who ran the right kind of defense ( aka not a bend but don't break defense) I would pick him up.

The Eagles are my favorite team in the NFC and if I were them... I don't know. Yeah, they are shaky at safety but I'm not sure Meriweather is the right guy for the job. He's not going to play position and clean up after Asante and DRC jumping routes. But still, I might be tempted give him a shot.

by RichC (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 1:58pm

And by "Benched" you mean "played more snaps than anyone but McCourty and Mayo", right?

Doesn't seem like a very thorough benching to me.

by Nathan :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 2:48pm

Just cause he played lots of snaps doesn't mean he wasn't benched at one point for exactly the reason I stated. "Allow" me to "convince" you with "some information" from "a person" who "may know" some "details" of the "situation."

Patriots cornerback Brandon Meriweather joined the Dale & Holley show Monday morning and explained why he didn't start in Sunday's loss to the Jets. "The coaches were doing whatever they felt was best for the team at the time," he said. "I haven't been myself in practice. The coaches wanted to show me just because I went [to the Pro Bowl]. I still have to come and play. Basically, that was my fault that I'm not on the field as much." Meriweather admitted to not heeding the coaches' instructions, leading to his demotion. Explained the cornerback: "I was trying a lot of things in camp just to see if they worked. And they weren't. Instead of me stopping trying them and doing exactly what I was coached, I kept trying them.

by RichC (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2011 - 6:34pm

The point was that whatever he did that got him benched, it clearly wasn't bad enough that he didn't get the majority of the playing time afterward.

I'd also be a lot more impressed with quotes from Dale and Holley if they actually knew what position he played.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 09/05/2011 - 7:39pm

Yeah, what a stupid quote from Dale and/or Holley! What's that, in the paragraph above they aren't quoted at all, but Meriweather is quoted extensively about being benched? It's almost as though you are completely wrong and won't admit it for some reason.

by jackgibbs :: Tue, 09/06/2011 - 3:47pm

I think the fact that he still played so many snaps says more about the guys behind him, and probably better explains the sanders cut than anything about merriweather's standing with the team.

I like james sanders, and just a few years ago rodney harrison was on TV saying that sanders would be the new leader of this defense, but he couldn't even beat out a guy who had fallen out of favor with the coaching staff.

so I guess, uh, yay sergio brown? ugh.

by MJK :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 6:32pm

I understand the Meriweather cut--word is he was getting increasingly uncoachable for the Pats, and absoluetly sucked at calling defensive adjustments. That said, he is extremely physically talented, and could be a very good player if you could coach him. But if Belichick and co couldn't coach him, I'm not sure who could...maybe McCarthy or Reid would have a chance? Or Ryan?

What doesn't make sense is that the Patriots already cut James Sanders, a reliable, smart, good-but-not-great, but very reliable safety that Belichick loved. They also let the up and coming Jarrad Page get signed away from under them (as a RFA). Entering the pre-season, they looked stacked at safety, with Chung, Meriweather, Sanders, and Page vying for the two starting jobs, and Sergio Brown as a proven backup. Now Page is gone, Sanders is gone, Meriweather is gone, and they're forced to start Brown or the other pre-season roster filler chopped liver they have (or sign one of the unimpressive safeties that have already been cut), and are one injury away from repeating 2004, when they had street free agents and converted, aging WR's starting in the defensive backfield in the playoffs. (Anyone remember Earthwind Moreland? I try not to).

If you knew Meriweather was even on your cut radar, why do you let his two viable replacements go...one by not matching a RFA offer, and the other by an outright cut?

In other perplexing cuts, they Patriots have cut BOTH their blocking TE's (all three if you count cutting Alge Crumpler a while back). They've been running a ton of three TE sets this preseason, with a great deal of success, and have been adding talent at RB, so it looked like they were changing to a more power offensive philosophy. They had two young blocking TE's (a 5th round pick and an URFA) vying for that third TE spot, along with Alge Crumpler. They cut Crumpler...OK, fine, they want to give the young guys a chance, and Crumpler probably only had one season left in him anyway. The URFA, Will Yeatman, has played out of his mind in the training camp, and had been getting first team reps, outplaying the 5th round pick Lee Smith (who had a decent, but not great, camp). The big question was which would get cut today.

Both got cut. Maybe they're counting on at least one of the clearing waivers and ending up on the practice squad, but that's a dangerous game to play (see Mills, Garret, or Woodhead, Danny).

by Theo :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 7:17pm

Meriweather really sounds like a Bengals player to me. They've picked up Taylor Mays already.
Or Cowboys. So Joe Buck can say 'Romo is back and they also went out and picked up a pro bowl safety'.

by MJK :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 8:28pm

Meriweather reminds me at times of Roy Williams (the safety). He's a hard hitter that flies around the field, and has almost as much talent as he thinks he does, but is a poor tackler and likes to freelance and go for highlights.

by chemical burn :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 8:50pm

It's funny you mention Jarrad Page - the Eagles already have him and he apparently won the starting job over Nate Allen, their 2010 1st round pick who started half the season last year before a knee injury. Page starting is actually one of the reasons I'm so worried about the Eagles at safety (having Sean Jones flashbacks)... but I guess it's not unreasonable to say he's a wash with Meriweather.

As for free-lancing, last year, the Eagles were extremely comfortable with Asante Samuel and Ernie Sims doing seemingly whatever they wanted on every play. It worked for Samuel, not so much for Sims. Maybe if Meriweather has the skill, they'd be willing to let him play to his strengths (or desires?) - I honestly have no idea what philosophy Castillo has (if any.)

by Dean :: Tue, 09/06/2011 - 10:22am

I'm nitpicking, but wasn't Allen a 2nd rounder?

by MJK :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 5:29pm

And it's happened. Both Lee Smith and Will Yeatman have been claimed on waivers, one by the Phins and one by the Bills. So not only do the Pats now not have a third TE on the roster, in a year where they seemed to have been refocusing on 3 TE sets, but the two guys they were grooming and teaching their offense to are now with division rivals.

Every year it seems they get cute and try to slip some promising young guy past the waiver wire and onto the practice squad, and every year it doesn't work. Was keeping Jeff Tarpinian on the roster, an URFA linebacker who barely took a snap all preseason, and Darius "I try real hard to hide the target on my back, but QB's keep seeing it anyway" Butler worth losing some of these other guys for?

by Anon (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 2:08pm

Merriweather was an average safety with inflated stats due to freelancing, which is something Belichick isn't fond of. He was, though, the best safety the Pats had. And after releasing Sanders earlier this season, they are seriously thin at that position. Perhaps they think Chung is ready to start at SS (though his NFL experience is mainly as a slot corner or speacial team player). But they are without a viable FS, or many replacements. i don't know if McGowan is still with the team. Read the last sentence to understand the Patriots situation in the deep secondary.

by RichC (not verified) :: Mon, 09/05/2011 - 6:33pm

Chung played absolutely no slot corner. He played 80% of the total snaps at SS last year. There were only 3 players on the roster (Merriweather, Mayo, McCourty) who played more snaps than him.

This is easily verifyable. There's no reason to just make things up when you don't know.

by John (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 4:57pm

Colts cut Orlovsky, surely he qualifies as a name most would know.

Not for the reasons a QB might want to be known...

by Nathan :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 5:00pm

Running out the back of the endzone was actually a genius move to preserve his legacy.

by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 5:05pm

Orlovsky should go to cfl because league have extra big end zone.

K. Williams cut by Shamarat. E. Royster ptobably goinv to mske team. Might br good when R. Toraib get injured ahain. Hightower main guy of course but nkt going to get 300 carries

by John (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 6:10pm

Texans have no punter? I guess that means they're feeling awfully confident about the Colts game.

Or maybe they're finally ready to take the 4 down challenge. I'd love to see a team go all out, every down.

by MJK :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 6:35pm

Well, Kubiak is a bit of a maverick. If any coach was going to try it, I would have guessed it would be him or Belichick.

by Mr Shush :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 6:48am

I'm all in favour of the four down challenge, especially for a team like the Texans with much better offense than defense, a stable of talented backs and a great short yardage running game, and especially against the Colts (assuming Manning's actually starting).

But no, this is just about the fact that Brad Maynard sucks, and the staff have realised. It presumably also means Brett Hartmann sucked, given that he got cut first.

The guy Texans fans will be most excited to see make the roster is probably Bryan Braman, an undrafted rookie OLB out of West Texas A&M, who is raw but has great physical tools and led the team in sacks in preseason. He didn't get drafted because, um, he got busted for manufacturing psilocybin while in college and, unsurprisingly, suspended. But he really looks like he might have some potential.

by jonnyblazin :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 6:50pm

Ravens cut Lamar Divens, probably a starting calibre DT for some teams.

by Aaron Schatz :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 8:15pm

Just so folks know, KUBIAK is updated with all these cuts.

by TheSlinger :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 8:39pm

Cedric Benson has been released...

... from jail.

by JDOE137 (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 9:14pm

I think that's just the standard initiation to become a Bengal. Different teams have different initiations. For my Fins, somebody's girlfriend has to get slapped around a little or somebody has to get stabbed in the leg. For Giants fans, a player must shoot himself, Steelers players lock girls in bathrooms, etc., etc...

by TBW (not verified) :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 8:53pm

As an Eagles fan is Jarrad Page

a) " a reject from the notoriously awful KC defenses of a couple years ago?"
b) " the up and coming Jarrad Page get signed away from under them (as a RFA)."
c) both

It's interesting to see such a divergence of opinion from two very frequent(and good) commenters.

by chemical burn :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 9:13pm

I'm as curious as you - he won the starting job outright and Reid/Roseman seem very happy with him... but he's veteran player who was dropped fairly quickly by an awful KC defense and almost instantly by a great Pats team. I bet, though, this is a case of traditional "grass is always greener" thinking for MJK competing with an even more traditional negadelphia viewpoint.

by MJK :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 11:28pm

OK, I was a little bit wrong. Page wasn't signed away as an RFA--under the old CBA and the uncapped year rules, he was an RFA because he only had 5, not 6, accrued seasons. The Pats tendered him at a 2nd round level . However, under the new CBA, he became an unrestricted free agent, and the Eagles signed him before the Pats could (or offered him more money).

As far as how he was in New England: When the Pats traded for him, I thought it was just a minor move--a 7th round draft pick for relatively young safety on an awful defense. I thought he was being brought in as a special teamer at best. But over the course of last season, he started seing increased playing time. He even "started" one game (quotes because the Pats played so much nickel last year that he was on the field as much as the starters in several games that he did not officially "start". He never stood out to me as an all star, but at the same time he wasn't a liability, either. He looked young, reasonably capable, and more athletic than the Pats' other top backup safety, James Sanders (who is good against the run and reliable, but not all that quick). The Pats thought highly enough of Page to tender him at a 2nd round level.

Going into this season, I would have put him as competing with James Sanders for the #3 (top backup) safety spot...didn't think he would beat out Chung or Meriweather, but would step in as a starter if either got injured. He's clearly better than Sergio Brown, who the Patriots now (given the cuts of Sanders and Meriweather) will be forced to start, barring an unexpected trade or free agent signing. So if I am a little nostalgic for him, it's not because I think he's a future Pro-Bowler. I just think he's better than any safety currently on the Pats roster save Chung.

by Southern Philly :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 11:42pm

Apparently Page won over the coaches in part because he picked up the playbook very quickly. With so many new faces and a new DC, they gave that a little extra credit it seems. And it helped Page that Allen looked bad in the preseason.

by chemical burn :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 9:15pm

Exactly 1 surprise on the Eagles' roster: they kept 2 DT's (Thornton & Law) who played notably worse than at least 2 other DT's they cut (Landri & Hargrove.) Or is that 2 surprises? Or 4?

Absolutely nothing else was a surprise. On deep down on the roster battles, they finally have a KR who looks explosive and talented, after a decade of sub-meidocrities like Ellis Hobbs and Reno Mahi returning kicks.

They have pretty decent depth on their o-line - Jamaal Jackson and Winston Justice, 2 pretty darn good starters from the opener last season won't even play on opening day. The 7th round rookie who won the starting center job really looks like he could be something special. The Eagles' line woes are grossly over-stated: 2 promising rookies might struggle early (and especially in the pre-season) but they have upside - and depth backing them up.

With Maclin, Jackson, Smith & Avant, it looks like they could very well have the best WR corps in the NFL. Inarguably the best three CB combo in the NFL. Great depth at RB and QB (even Kafka looks lightyears ahead of where he was last year.) The DE position looks better than it did last year, nice depth.

They have not a single proven player at LB, unless you count Akeen Jordan who has proven he cannot play LB at the NFL level. 5 young players, Moise Fokou somehow being the most experienced of the bunch. Jamar Chaney has played like a legit starter in his very limited opportunities. Between Fokou and Chaney, the plan seems to be to platoon rookies Casey Matthews and Brian Rolle. Their plan at LB is the biggest risk and the most glaring lack of depth on the whole roster. Rolle has played with a lot of flash and is quite fond of himself in interviews, so he's halfway to a Pro Bowl right there. If he played for Dallas, he'd be a lock.

Safety is genuinely puzzling - 2nd year 7th round pick Kurt Coleman and former KC scrub Jarrad Page are the starters. Nate Allen, last year's top pick who played well as a rookie, landed in the back-up role alongside Jaiquawn Jarret, this year's 2nd round pick. If they were going to end up starting Page, it's a total mystery why they let Mikell go. Nate Allen got beat pretty badly a couple times in the Steeler's preseason game and Coleman has been all over the field and a hammer, but other than that, the position has been extremely quiet on the field. Doesn't look as dubious as the situation at LB, but still doesn't look thrilling.

I will now open the floor for questions. Because clearly I have too much time to think about this and refuse to stop.

by tuluse :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 9:41pm

"Even Kafka looks lightyears ahead of where he was last year."

Would you say that he has undergone a metamorphosis?

by chemical burn :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 9:53pm

Well, he's not exactly good, yet - his play still bugs me.

(Sorry if that's too easy. I was trying to make a joke about him carrying around a big fat woman in a wheel-barrow, but I just couldn't figure out how.)

by Jerry :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 1:44am

"Too good. Too good."

by Southern Philly :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 9:57pm

Kelce wasn't a 7th rounder, he was a 4th rounder.

LB is once again a total after thought to the Eagles. Sigh. Safety isn't much better. Yet another season of TEs eating up the Eagles D. Double sigh.

by Sifter :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 10:22pm

I think you'll find he was a 6th rounder (pick 191)...sorry to be the smart alec :)

I was just reading the FOA Eagles chapter saying that opponents targetted the TE vs Philly more than any other team: 26% of passes. That's only going to get higher this season with an overhaul at CB and an underhaul(?) at LB & S.

by Southern Philly :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 10:32pm


Yeah, TE has been a big problem for a few years. And a coaching change isn't going to rectify it.

by chemical burn :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 10:49pm

Yeah, but isn't having a CB #1 who requires zero safety back-up going to help? Having a great 1, 2, 3 at CB certainly takes some pressure of their safeties in their coverage responsibilities - and I thought Coleman was quite good last year for a rookie. Matthews/Rolle leaves a lot to be desired without a doubt, but not having to worry about making up for Ellis Hobbs and Dmitri Patterson's constant mistakes will certainly free up the safeties...

by Southern Philly :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 11:40pm

Yes, having Asomugha free up a safety will help, but only so much. The LBs and safeties are still weak. I like what Coleman's done, but he's replaceable. Chaney's looked good in coverage in the pre-season for what it's worth. There's reason to believe they'll be better, and there's reason to believe it'll still be a serious issue.

by Tim Wilson :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 3:38pm

Well...yes the LBs and safeties don't look great, but my guess would be that when Jason Witten lines up on the line or split out (not when he's in the backfield) against Philly, he is going to be seeing a corner across from him a fair amount of the time. Not Asante, who would never deign to tackle a TE, but I could see Nnamdi drawing that duty occasionally. Belichick has put CBs on Witten frequently in the two most recent Pats/Cowboys match-ups.

Of course, I have no idea what Castilo's defensive philosophy is (I can only assume it involves a fluid kick step, a strong hand punch, and all the other fundamentals of keeping your quarterback clean which are so invaluable as a defensive back), and I know that in the past the Eagles have given their CBs assignments based on sides of the field, not opposing players, so maybe it's wrong to say that an Eagles defender would be tasked with guarding a specific offensive player.

by Southern Philly :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 4:01pm

Sure, but if you can put Witten in a position where he's covered by Asomugha or he's covered by this season's installment of Andy Reid's Revolving Door of Linebackers, you chose the latter every time. As long as the LBs and safeties can't cover the TEs, there's no reason for the other team to put their TEs in situations where they're covered by players who can.

And yes, they're going to use Samuel and Asomugha as LCB and RCB, so the chess match advantage is to the offense in this particular situation.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 4:19pm

Not entirely - while Samuel is still LCB per default, Asomugha mentioned how he and DRC "switch it up a lot" in an interview in the Rich Eisen podcast a couple of weeks ago. Plus, if you line your 3rd reciever line up on the (defensive)left side, Asomugha or DRC is going to follow.

by Southern Philly :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 4:29pm

I'm not talking about nickel package, I'm talking about a 2 WR set. That's what Reid has said they are going to do, that is what Castillo has said they are going to do, and more importantly that is what they've been doing in the pre-season.

by chemical burn :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 6:32pm

I think you're a touch too down on the safeties/LB's - Coleman and Chaney have played very well in every opportunity they've been given and will presumably only be better as second year players. They're players that won their starting jobs, wereb't handed them for a lack of better options. Now, Fokou and Page do seem to have been forced into starting roles, but the Reid/Roseman like Fokou and he's been the plan all along - he played great in coverage in the pre-season, whatever that's worth. He was fine in coverage last year. The problem is MLB and the question is whether having the best CB in the game will ameliorate the potential problems with having a Matthews/Rolle platoon. I think they have to - having 2 of the top 5 best CB's in the game in your secondary has to take pressure off of the safeties.
For the record, I think the Eagles issues will be the eternal Trotter-less Eagles flaw of crappy run defense. Undersized pass-rushing DT's paired with undersized young LB's is just asking for teams to run 4 yards a pop over and over and over and over. Again, Asomugha taking pressure off the safeties could help there, but I imagine any reid's constant philosophy of "score a lot of points so the opponent's run game becomes irrelevant" will be in full effect... and they won't be winning any game 13-10, if you get what I'm saying...

by Southern Philly :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 8:54pm

I admit I am a pessimist.

I'm pleasantly surprised that Coleman has turned out to be what he is. I like that he plays fast and hard, but he plays dangerous too (Austin Collie, Tyson Gentry). Chaney's looked good but he's only started 3 real games. I'm not ready to call him a legitimate starter yet, but I like what I've seen. Part of that is because the guys around him are lousy. The one eyed man is king in the land of the blind. Fokou is yet another completely expendable Eagles LB. Rolle has got to be the smallest LB in the league, I cringe at the thought of him being asked to stop the run. Matthews looked bad in the pre-season from what I saw, constantly getting washed out by mediocre linemen.

Yes, Nnamdi will help, but only so much. He's not covering TEs and the fact remains the talent just isn't there from the guys who will be. This is the NFL, you can't hide bad players for long. Well before the playoffs come around, they'll be exposed.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 09/05/2011 - 7:51pm

The Eagles on defense all boils down to how much of a downgrade you think it is from the worst starter on last year's team (yes, Ernie Sims was worse than Patterson) to Matthews/Rolle and how much of a downgrade you think it is from MIkell to Jarrad Page. Otherwise, everyone else is the same or inarguably upgraded significantly. Last year's defense was in the top half of the league, not top 10, but on the "acceptable" side of the spectrum. I happen to think Matthews/Rolle certainly couldn't be worse than Sims (Sims was undersized, always out position and garnered nothing from his freelancing) - so we're really talking about the difference between Mikell and Page with large upgrades CB and nickel CB and moderate upgrades at DT and DE.

There's almost no good reason to think this defense will be worse than last year - and adding a stud like Asomugha at a position of extreme weakness matters. Plus, going from a competent journeyman like Joselio Hanson to a legit (if iffy) #1 CB like DRC is really great. Babin is probably a touch better than Parker and affords them decent depth - by retaining all the DE's who saw significant playing time in 2010 and adding Babin they're better than last year at DE, by any measure. DT is more or less the same - Patterson and Dixon will play on running downs again this year, with Jenkins coming in for all obvious passing situations. Jenkins is better at pass rush than Bunkley (who wasn't starting in favor of Dixon by the end of the year, anyway), so that's an upgrade.

If Page is competent, this team will be much, much better than last year. That doesn't seem like such a huge "if."

by chemical burn :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 9:32pm

Also, this is just anecdotal, but it seems like half the league is going to have a new starting center this year - Buffalo, Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago, New Orleans, NYG...

by tuluse :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 9:43pm

The Bears cutting Desmond Clark is a little surprising. not as surprising as when they brought him back in the first place, but still surprising. Maybe his injury wasn't so minor after all.

Also, this may mean you will see Mike Martz actually use a fullback this year.

by Marko :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 10:42pm

I actually expected Clark to get cut and don't think it had anything to do with his injury. As you suggested, it was surprising that he was resigned after he hardly played at all last year. I think he was resigned primarily as insurance. When everyone else at TE made it through the preseason healthy, and when it became clear that they really liked UDFA Kyle Adams (who seems to be a better blocker than Clark and is being used as an H-Back like Clark was at times), the writing was on the wall. They wanted to keep Adams, and if they tried to get him on the practice squad, I think another team would have snapped him up.

So I think it just came down to the fact that they had 3 TEs ahead of him. The blocking from the TEs in preseason looked so much better than it looked at any time last year. And they also kept a pure fullback on the roster in Will Ta'ufo'ou. They appear to be making a much bigger commitment to running the ball this year from the beginning of the year (as opposed to last year, when they didn't commit to the running game until after the bye week). I presume that Lovie and Martz had a talk in the offseason during which Martz was told to run the ball more, and that if Martz didn't commit to the running game, he would either be fired or be killed by Mike Tice. Maybe both.

by tuluse :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 11:16pm

I haven't been able to pay as much attention as I would like to the preseason. Didn't realize the Bears liked Adams so much. My thinking on Clark was that is was surprising he was signed, but once that happened I figured he was near lock to make the roster as they would want his veteran presence. I guess Spaeth can do everything he can and do it better.

Also surprising for the Angelo-Lovie regime is 5 undrafted free agents being kept. I could see 2 of them getting meaningful snaps too in Sanzenbacker and Addison. Nick Reed too, and he's almost an undrafted free agent.

by MurphyZero :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 3:10pm

Steelers fan here. Spaeth is by no means exceptional, but he is a competent TE. Spaeth probably can do everything Clark does and do it cheaper (not sure of contract details on either) and since he is about 6 years younger, he'll be able to do it for several more years.

by zlionsfan :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 11:01pm

The Lions cut Nick Harris ... finally. Unimpressive punters who play at least 9 games per year indoors should really be replaced ...

by justanothersteve :: Sat, 09/03/2011 - 11:14pm

The Packers kept 5 TEs. They only have 3 RBs & 1 FB. I'm shocked they cut Graham Harrell, leaving only 2 QBs on the roster.

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 12:16am

I was surprised by Harrell as well and they only kept 8 offensive lineman if I'm reading things right. I'm guessing they figure they have a better than 50/50 chance of getting him back on the practice squad. There were several teams that only kept 2 QBs and a guy who knows your system is more valuable to you, I think they might win this gamble as I don't think other teams will value him as much. They have a couple other players who could do emergency QB duty.

The 5 TE is better than 3 FB in my book and while I liked Johnson getting something for him was nice, though I was thinking they might go with 4 TE and 6 WR (the extra players would basically just be there for special teams in either case) if they could have found a trading partner for one of the TE's. Not shocked it went that way. Crabtree has lined up as a fullback several times, so they can still use him and Kuhn in the full house sets. I think West and Gurley are coming back on practice squad at WR, though I'm only giving them 50/50 chance to clear waivers.

The only player they kept that wasn't one I was debating on for a spot was Jamari Lattimore at linebacker. He looked OK in the preseason, my guess is he was doing something on special teams that I missed. I figured they were going to keep 6 linemen (with Nick McDonald being the surprising cut though he was OL #9 for me if you ignore position).

So they are thinner on the line than I'd like. I guess Sherrod is the left side back-up (though I didn't like him at guard). EDS is the C/RG back-up and Newhouse can play either tackle spot.

10 linebackers seems like a lot to me, but that is a good body type for a lot of special teams play, and Capers likes to rotate at that position (which he couldn't do last year with all the injuries), and Zombo is injured right now with the broken shoulder. Again Lattimore is the only they kept that surprised me. Walden and So'oto flashed a lot in pre-season games, as did D.J. Smith. Same goes for M.D. Jennings at safety. Sure he was my #4 safety but when you only keep 2 QB and 8 OL you can keep 4 safeties.

by Flounder :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 8:06am

My guess is they pick up a ninth o-lineman sometime this week and then cut either Lattimore or Brad Jones.

by Tim Wilson :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 3:40pm

One of those teams that only kept 2 QBs? The Bengals. Andy Dalton and Bruce Gradkowski. That is the worst QB "depth" chart I have seen in a long long time.

by Nathan :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 3:44pm

'08 Browns.

by Mr Shush :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 8:13pm

2010 Cardinals? 2010 Panthers? Gradkowski's better than anyone either of those teams had.

by Tim Wilson :: Mon, 09/05/2011 - 11:08pm

Yes, but they only have TWO quarterbacks. My point was about the lack of quality but also the lack of depth.

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 09/06/2011 - 5:26am

I'm just not sure seriously sub-replacement level players constitute superior depth to hole in zone playing two ways.

I mean, signing some random street free agent (the nearest McCown, say, or Chris Simms) and giving him two days to learn the playbook is probably a better option than starting Max Hall or John Skelton.

by Tim Wilson :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 3:49pm

One of those teams that only kept 2 QBs? The Bengals. Andy Dalton and Bruce Gradkowski. That is the worst QB "depth" chart I have seen in a long long time.

by grady graddy (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 4:45am

While the Rams did cut a DT named John Henderson, he's not the one FO readers would (by and large) recognize, being an UDFA from Southern Miss. "Big John Henderson" of Jaguars/pre-game slapping fame is a Raider. Incidentally, perhaps the most surprising player to make the Raiders is one that announcers have called Joey Porter throughout the preseason, though as far as I can tell he simply goes by Joe. (He is a DB out of Rutgers, UDFA formerly in camp with the Saints and Packers, playing a game with the latter and playing with Oakland's practice squad all last season.) Surprising that he beat out Walter McFadden (brother of Bryant), Jeremy Ware, and Stevie Brown, all of whom were drafted in 2010, as well as the 'big name' they cut in Lito Sheppard (a bigger name than Trent Edwards, if you ask me).

by Aaron Schatz :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 10:45am

Aha. Thanks for clarifying.

by JasonK :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 9:47am

So, who would be the best newly available players to look into for a team that desperately needs an NFL-caliber TE *cough*Giants*cough*?

by chemical burn :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 10:24am

The Eagles cut a guy named Donald Lee who looked great in camp and in some of the preseason games. It is my fear that the Giants will pick him up.

by Dean :: Tue, 09/06/2011 - 10:26am

Maybe he'll be every bit as good as that DE the Giants gave a million dollars to last September when the Eagles cut him?

by Mr Shush :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 10:41am

I don't know, but I can assure you that the answer is emphatically not Anthony Hill. If he would upgrade your team, your team is probably a doormat in the UFL.

by buzzorhowl (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 12:14pm

Donnie Avery? Really? Was he just never able to recover from that injury last year? Because I can remember when people were calling him the best receiver the Rams had, and that wasn't that long ago.

by Tim R :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 12:58pm

I'm assuming he just hasn't recovered properly, because he would've been the number 1 receiver last season and probably this one as well. The Rams really need a reliable deep threat and if he can't make the team I think he must be nowhere near ready.

by chemical burn :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 2:00pm

Yeah, so much of the Bradford improvement talk has centered around "he'll be getting back his best receivers from injury" and now... their WR corps looks only a tiny bit better than it did last year.

by Dean :: Tue, 09/06/2011 - 10:31am

I don't know if he was completely healthy or not, but he simply got beaten out and wasn't going to start. Since he doesnt' play special teams, he's not suited to a backup role. I'm not convinced the Rams got any better at WR by replacing Avery with Sims Walker. On the other hand, I think that they might have the steal of the draft in Lance Kendrick. I probably should reserve judgement until he actually faces a real NFL defense complete with a game-plan - but I suspect that KUBIAK might be seriously understating his production. If he's as good as advertized, it'll take a bit of pressure off the WR corps.

by John (not verified) :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 8:50pm

Colts fan here....can someone cut a good QB in the next day or two?

Actually, who am I kidding? I'm a Peyton Manning fair weather fan. See you next year.

by tuluse :: Sun, 09/04/2011 - 11:38pm

So the Bears claimed Meriweather, which I find interesting. He certainly has talent inside him, but needs to learn to play within the scheme. Well Lovie runs a simpler defensive scheme than Bellichick, so it's possible that could help him out. On the other hand, running cover 2 requires that you absolutely do your assignment, which seems to make it a bad fit.

Should be a fun experiment.