Cutdown Thoughts of the Week
So much for all those UFL rumors. Rex Grossman is now staying put in Houston as the Texans' No. 2 quarterback.
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A sentence or two on every team's cutdown day:
GM Thomas Dimitroff made a fan-unfriendly decision, keeping the Alabama third-stringer (John Parker Wilson) over the Georgia third-stringer (D.J. Shockley) to back up Matt Ryan and Chris Redman. The Falcons, who'll keep looking for secondary help this week, began Sunday night by signing the salary casualty from Jacksonville, corner/safety Brian Williams, who started 16 games for the Jags last year.
Kept seven wideouts, an oddity considering that the two starters and third receiver, Steve Breaston, are such workhorses. That could change this week with roster shuffling.
No news here, though there will be if, as needed, David Tyree is claimed and added to the special-teams ranks and as a sixth receiver. Tony Moll, acquired from Green Bay, is a nice swing guard-tackle sub.
James Hardy is becoming a lost soul. Bills put the '08 second-rounder on the PUP list (physically unable to perform), which sidelines him 'til at least late October. Dominic Rhodes getting cut was odd, but the Bills liked the youngster Xavier Omon instead.
Panthers claimed, and were awarded, the Steelers' waived sixth-round pick, Ra'Shon Harris of Oregon, on Sunday night. Unless the Steelers struck out on Harris, it's a risk any team with a DT need would take. And Carolina needs a run-stuffer.
Bears kept four tight ends, surprising when you consider the best one, Greg Olsen, will be on the field 80 percent of the offensive snaps and the backup, Desmond Clark, will play a lot too.
Smart move to keep both Brian Leonard -- who can play fullback -- and summer star DeDe Dorsey.
Jamal Lewis is staying, which is no surprise if you look at the rest of the ball carriers here. He's the only proven back who can get tough yards inside.
Michael Irvin gets a finder's fee for Jesse Holley, the wideout who beat the competition on Irvin's reality show to make the Cowboys' 80-man camp roster. Holley was signed to the Dallas practice squad Sunday. Neatest keeper: Undrafted Virginia wideout Kevin Ogletree, who forced the Cowboys to cut a player they liked, Isaiah Stanback, with a faultless preseason.
LaMont Jordan over Darius Walker at running back didn't surprise me, but I was surprised that Walker didn't make the team. He was a force this summer.
Talked to Jim Schwartz Saturday. "We're not going to do much that'll surprise anyone,'' he said, and he was right -- except maybe for the waiving of defensive tackle Shaun Smith, the unhappy ex-Brown.
Ted Thompson's really good at this job, but he's got to be cringing, having put the semi-wasted top pick of a couple of years ago, Justin Harrell ( back), on IR; he couldn't have made an impact on the three-man front anyway. And last year's second-round QB, Brian Brohm, was cut and signed to the practice squad. What a comedown.
Rex Grossman beat out Dan Orlovsky at backup quarterback (I am still blown away by the Al Davis-like contract -- three years, $9.15-million -- the Texans gave to Orlovsky), which is significant because Matt Schaub has missed five games due to injury in each of the last two years.
Sixth-round QB Curtis Painter from Purdue, a third-quarterback luxury with the durable Peyton Manning, made it, which says a lot about what the Colts think of him -- and maybe something about Jim Sorgi's job security long-term.
Tackle Tony Pashos ($4.34 million salary) and DB Brian Williams ($4 million) whacked, and sorry, I'm not buying that those were football decisions alone for a franchise that tarps the upper deck. Ernest Wilford makes the team as a backup tight end. Interesting.
Bernard Pollard out. Chiefs GM Scott Pioli thought he might get a seventh-round pick for him, but no one stepped up. The waiver-wire pickup of tackle Ryan O'Callaghan continues to show how dissatisfied Kansas City is with its incumbents on the offensive line.
Brandon London waived. That's a surprise. He's a big receiver and a solid special-teamer. Defensive contributor Matt Roth, who disappeared all summer, was put on non-football-injury, and clearly he's in the Dolphin doghouse.
Brad Childress really wanted John David Booty to emerge this summer, but Booty never played better than a marginal guy.
In the spring, Shawn Crable was the leader in the clubhouse for the role of pass-rushing linebacker. But he'll miss his second straight year; he's on IR with a groin injury. In dealing a low pick for 270-pound tight end Michael Matthews of the Giants, the Patriots may be thinking they need a sixth blocker to protect Tom Brady.
The Saints keep saying Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas are just fine, though they played about as much in the preseason as I did. If I were you, I'd monitor the two backs they kept on the roster in reserve -- the semi-capable Mike Bell and the unknown Lynell Hamilton.
NEW YORK GIANTS
The David Tyree waiving was two things: sad and inevitable. Sinorice Moss saved his own bacon with a strong preseason and will have a chance to prove he wasn't a wasted draft pick this year, because Eli Manning is going to be an equal-opportunity distributor.
NEW YORK JETS
No, the Jets did not get Kevin O'Connell just to trade him right away. They had O'Connell as a top-75 guy on their draft board in '08, wanted to pick him, and when they saw last week that they could get him for a seventh-round pick, it affected their final 53. They'll keep four quarterbacks and develop O'Connell and Erik Ainge and, they hope, deal one of them or Kellen Clemens for a pick before the draft next year. And the Jets got the Serial Videoboard Hitter, A.J. Trapasso, the former Titan, to punt in Houston on Sunday, preferring him over Reggie Hodges, who was cut.
Raiders cut a fourth-round pick, Slade Norris. They paid defensive tackle Terdell Sands a $1.9-million bonus last spring and cut him Saturday. That's just the cost of doing business in Oakland. Jeff Garcia? You've got to be kidding me. If you're afraid of giving JaMarcus Russell some competition, you've got the wrong starting quarterback.
Everybody asks, Why didn't the Iggles trade for one of New England's tight ends? Simple answer: Andy Reid liked his own backup, Tony Curtis, better than Alex Smith or David Thomas, the guys New England was peddling. And in the One Team's Trash Is Another Team's Treasure Dept., Philly thinks it can get some outside rush out of Jason Babin, something Houston never saw out of him.
Great scouting here, as usual. Return man Stefan Logan -- 28 years old, 5-foot-7, from South Dakota, via the British Columbia Lions -- averaged 37 yards per kick return and 21 yards per punt return in the preseason and made the team. He'll be a nice weapon. Surprised to see '08 third-round linebacker Bruce Davis cut so soon.
Heaven knows how the charge against Shawne Merriman will affect him, or the team, heading into the Monday night opener. For now, the only thing the Chargers did that surprised me was cutting Kynan Forney, a blue-collar, respectable NFL starting guard.
Move along, folks. Nothing to see here. There was not a single significant move of any sort by the 49ers. Sorry. Harris Barton's not coming out of retirement. Nor is Randy Cross.
Someone has to sign kicker Brandon Coutu, who never misses. Thought he might have a chance to unseat Olindo Mare, but Seattle went safe there. Seahawks also cut three receivers who played for them last year.
The guy who had the best practice day when I saw the Rams, cornerback Quincy Butler, played well enough to basically unseat Tye Hill and allow the Rams to trade Hill for a seventh-rounder to Atlanta. Adam Carriker, the disappointing defensive tackle, went on IR instead of getting an injury settlement and getting cut because his salaries are guaranteed for the next two years. Might as well hope he can rebound and make something of his career in 2010.
Dealing Luke McCown of the Flying McCown Brothers means that now the Bucs can take their time developing both Josh Freeman and last year's QB hope, Josh Johnson. Freeman's the nominal quarterback of the future, of course, but they can either make a good backup of Johnson or, like the Jets, try to get something for him next April.
It was never much in doubt, but Vince Young won the backup job over Patrick Ramsey. Know what I wonder? Why not let Young take five Wildcat snaps a game? And how about the Tennessee wideout corps behind Justin Gage and Nate Washington (whose tender hammy may sideline him in Thursday's opener)? Kenny Britt, Lavelle Hawkins, Dominique Edison. Career NFL catches for the three: seven.
Marcus Mason worked hard and won the backup role behind Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts; the former Youngstown State Penguin should be a good relief back in midseason when Portis, as usual, is beat up.