Live Blog: Countdown To Cutdown
It’s not as flashy as it’s free agency brother, but “cutday” may be the most frantic for all NFL front offices.
There isn’t another time of the year where they have to be so reactive to every move every team is making, ready to pounce on possible talents who might improve their roster or be worth developing on their practice squad.
To help you keep up to date our blog is going to be going over all the moves as they happen (relative to how quickly we can type) with some news and notes on the players including snaps, grades and stats.
Of course this might not be enough for you, in which case you’ll need yourself a PFF Premium Membership.
21:10 – Dolphins Close Out the Night
The last team to make cuts for the day is the Miami Dolphins. Their most notable cut was undrafted rookie A.J. Francis who looked great in the pre-season. He managed three hits, three hurries and a batted pass on 71 pass rushes, and managed four stops. With that we close out the live blog for the night, but that is no where near the end of our analysis on the cuts. Expect plenty of great content tomorrow analyzing everything that happened today including the best players who were released today that could end up helping your favorite team. With that, I am Nathan Jahnke, enjoy the rest of your Saturday night.
19:05 – We Have A Trade
For the most part it is difficult for teams to make trades today because they know anyone they might trade for, they could also potentially get for free when they are cut. However the Jaguars were able to successfully trade away defensive tackle D’Anthony Smith to the Seattle Seahawks. Over four games Smith had a decent pre-season with four stops over 85 snaps. Outside of Jaye Howard, Brady Quinn and Antoine Winfield, the Seahawks list of cuts have been hard to come by so it’s hard to tell just how much competition Smith will have for playing time.
18:35 – Browns Without a Kicker
As a lot of cuts are pouring in, one of the most notable moves is the Browns letting both Shayne Graham and Brandon Bogotay go. In terms of kickoffs, Bogotay was better with 70.7 yards per kickoff compared to 60.4 for Graham, but Graham was perfect in pre-season field goals while Bogotay missed one of his three. You would certainly expect the Browns to add a kicker before the regular season begins.
17:50 – Antoine Winfield Retires
Earlier today it was announced that the Seahawks would cut Winfield, and now word is out that he is retiring. Whenever a great player retires he will surely be missed. Any time this summer when we wrote about cornerbacks and the last five years he was included. He was the fifth best cornerback of the last five years, had three of the best ten seasons we’ve seen out of a cornerback, and also had one of the best individual games out of a cornerback. We wish him the best in his life after playing football.
17:15 – Colts Make Their Cuts
The Colts released the name of players they are releasing, with Drake Nevis the most notable player on the list. He was a third round pick in the 2011 draft, and made five stops in the preseason which was tied for the most amongst the Indianapolis defensive lineman. Two of those were sacks, although he managed just one hurry outside of that pressure.
16:55 – Bills Cutting Down
Amongst the Bills cuts was linebacker Bryan Scott and defensive tackle Torell Troup. Scott is a converted safety who had an interception on Thursday, but allowed two catches for 35 yards in the two games prior and didn’t seem to be in the mix for much starting time. While Troup had more snaps then any other defensive lineman for Buffalo in the pre-season, he couldn’t get a single pressure on his 61 pass rushes.
16:25 – Seahawks Choose Their Backup
Both Tavaris Jackson and Brady Quinn were fighting to win the backup quarterback job in Seattle. The winner was Jackson which meant Brady Quinn was released. This says more about Jackson then it does Quinn, as Jackson had a +5.7 Overall Rating in the pre-season which was third best for quarterbacks behind Brees and Roethlisberger. In the preseason Quinn managed a 111.9 QB Rating when there was no pressure, but just a 66.7 QB Rating when there was pressure.
16:20 – Noticeable Names Released by Steelers
The biggest name released by the Steelers was running back Jonathan Dwyer. In the preseason he fumbled twice on 34 carries and maintained a 1.9 rushing average after contact on those carries. Also waived was nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu who was a fourth round pick in the 2012 draft. He didn’t play a snap as a rookie, and was limited to 48 snaps in the preseason. Although he had three run stops, many other Steelers linemen looked strong against the run as well including starting nose tackle Steve McLendon.
16:10 – Check Out the Division Blogs
While we have been keeping you up on all of the major news, each of the division blogs has been staying up to date with each of the moves including more commentary and statistics on various players. Here is the NFC North .
16:05 – Chargers Trim Roster
Even though San Diego has had their fair share of injuries to receivers and had a fair amount of guaranteed money tied up in Robert Meachem, they decided to let the receiver go. Outside of a 40 yard reception, Meachem caught just six of 12 passes thrown his way for 41 yards including two interceptions thrown on Meachem targeted passes. Also amongst the Chargers recent releases is outside linebacker Thomas Keiser. He looked great in the preseason with three sacks, one hit and four hurries on 34 pass rushes, but it looks like the Chargers are opting to keep their rookies Tourek Williams and Frank Beltre despite them only having six hurries on 91 combined pass rushes.
16:00 – A Top Rated Center Cut
In 2012, our 11th rated center was Fernando Velasco of the Titans with a +11.1 Overall Rating. This year the Titans are opting for a better pass protecting center in Robert Turner, which sent Velasco to the bench. As a backup he has a terrible first game against the Redskins trying to play guard with a -4.4 rating. He played average after that in his other pre-season games, but the Titans must have decided his productivity was not worth his salary.
15:45 – Broncos Make Surprise Moves
The Broncos talked offensive lineman Ryan Lilja out of retirement, but after watching him in the preseason decided he can go back to being retired. He had his hands full on Thursday with Cardinals Ronald Talley and Padric Scott which led to many runs for short/no gain for the Broncos. Also gone is fifth round rookie Tavarres King who caught five passes and dropped two in the pre-season.
15:35 – Bengals Make their Cuts
Although John Skelton had a higher PFF rating at +1.5 compared to -0.1 by Josh Johnson, it was Johnson that won the starting job while the former Cardinals quarterback was let go. Also to no surprise, defensive end Dontay Moch was let go. Cincinnati is loaded at the position, and Moch’s -6.2 overall rating was sixth most amongst 4-3 defensive ends in the preseason.
15:20 – Lions Get Closer to 53
A few names have been added to the list of those released from Detroit
– Despite earning a +2.6 pre-season grade, guard Jake Scott was let go. He was fighting for a backup spot on the offensive line. Other offensive linemen including third round rookie Larry Warford looked good in the pre-season, so it looks like the Lions opted to keep the younger players.
– Running back/kick returner Steven Miller returned over half of the Lions kick returns in the pre-season and averaged a solid 27.3 yards per return. He was only given 35 snaps in a crowded Detroit backfield mostly coming on Thursday. He had 12 carries for 72 yards against the Browns with a lot of that coming on a 34 yard run.
– Wide Receiver Matt Willis was one of seven remaining on the roster before being cut. He looked great in his first pre-season game with three catches for 51 yards and a touchdown, but he couldn’t manage similar impact in his following three games despite more snaps.
– Safety Tyrell Johnson played in 133 snaps in the pre-season, but that wasn’t enough to show the Lions they should keep the former second round pick.
15:10 – Packers Let Skill Players Go
When DuJuan Harris landed on injured reserve, it was thought that the Packers might not need to cut one of their running backs. However the Packers decided to let Alex Green walk anyway. The 2011 third round pick managed just 1.2 yards after contact per carry on his 21 preseason rushing attempts. Also gone are tight ends Matthew Mulligan and DJ Williams. While Williams received the most snaps out of any tight end for the Packers in the pre-season, he managed a -4.2 overall rating. Mulligan missed some action due to injury, and was never targeted in the preseason and didn’t show enough as a blocker to keep him. It looks like Andrew Quarless will be the top backup tight end in Green Bay.
15:00 – Chiefs Cut Two
Former 2010 third round pick Tony Moeaki has been let go from the Chiefs. The additions of Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce made him expendable. With Kelce missing time in the pre-season, Moeaki was still seeing a lot of first team snaps in two tight end formations, but two catches for 26 yards and a -1.0 Run Block Rating weren’t enough to keep him. Also released was veteran defensive lineman Marcus Dixon. He spent last year on injured reserve, and was used in pass rushing situations in the pre-season. He managed just three pressures on 66 pass rushes.
14:45 – 49ers Waive Two More Wide Outs
Joining Hawkins and Osgood as players on their way out of San Francisco are Austin Collie and Chad Hall. In the preseason Hall led the receivers in snaps, but only managed to catch six of the 12 passes thrown his way. Despite playing 77 preseason snaps, Collie didn’t make much of an impact including a drop on Thursday. With all of the receivers already announced gone, it wouldn’t be surprising if newly acquired Jonathan Baldwin remains on the roster.
14:00 Eagles Make Moves
Gone are former first round pick Danny Watkins, undrafted free agent Russell Shepheard, tackle Michael Bambiro, Clay Harbor and David Sims. Watkins is the biggest name of the bunch and yet hardly a surprise, going down as one of the worst picks in the history of the team. A sure fire prospect, a decent preseason couldn’t save him with a new regime not tied to his success. His -9.0 grade in two years with the Eagles is saved somewhat by his inability to get on the field.
13:30 – 49ers Waive Two Wide Outs
Despite making a spectacular play Saturday night that saw him break three tackles and pick up a touchdown, Lavelle Hawkins is gone. Joining him in special teams ace Kassim Osgood who has bounced around many a team trying to catch on as a wide receiver. It hasn’t worked out for him in San Fran either.
13:15 – Bengals Cut Three
And those three are;
– linebacker J.K. Schaffer: the team are loaded at linebacker so could afford to release Schaffer. He started off strong against Atlanta but couldn’t follow it up and ended preseason with a -1.2 grade in 151 snaps.
– offensive tackle Dennis Roland: good going forward, not so good on his heels. Roland at one time started but was such a liability in pass protection that the teamed sub him out on obvious passing situations. He had a +1.2 grade for his work in preseason and his experience will likely see plenty of teams enquire about him.
– running back Dan Herron: had his opportunities in preseason and picked up a healthy 5.4 yards per carry but that owed an awful lot to his blocking as his -1.5 grade would suggest.
If you’re wondering why it’s so quiet it’s because everyone seems entranced by Johnny Manziel right now. We’re Pro Football Focus so we’re a little lost in all the commotion but we’re using the down time to work on a number of new features we hope to have with you very shortly!
While it’s goes a little quiet, just a reminder you can catch all the ReFocused reviews of Preseason Week 4 right here.
12:35 – 49ers Cuts
They’ve made three today so far and those guys were;
– Cornerback, Michael Thomas: He was the only cornerback on the team to get a negative grade (-0.1) as the team remains loaded at the position. Sometimes the odds are just too great to overcome.
– Linebacker, Travis Johnson: As soon as Cam Johnson had such a spectacular showing on Thursday his odds of making the roster were extremely long. Only got 22 snaps in preseason.
– Fullback, Jason Schepler: Did himself proud (+1.6) but was never going to unseat Bruce Miller unless something was wrong with him. He didn’t have the best of preseasons but didn’t do enough to lose his spot.
– Safety, Trent Robinson: Was our top graded 49ers safety in preseason with a +2.0 grade but that obviously wasn’t enough with the team having brought in Eric Reed and Craig Dahl through the draft and free agency respectively.
12:25 – More Patriot bye-byes
If the math of the twitter guys is right New England is at 55 players on their roster after making the following cuts;
– Defensive lineman, Justin Francis: He struggled to make much of an impression during preseason with injury, earning a -3.8 grade on 86 snaps. Francis got on the field for 300 snaps last year but his -10.0 grade adds to the reason as to why the team released him.
– Linebacker, Ja’Gared Davis: They claimed him off waivers a couple of days back but he couldn’t build on the 64 snaps he got with the Texans in preseason that earned him a +0.1 grade.
– Safety Kanorris Davis: Didn’t get on the field on defense and was limited to making three tackles on special teams. Missed two though and earned a -3.0 grade in this area.
– Offensive lineman, Josh Kline: Only so many can be kept and while his +0.7 grade was decent, it was bettered by guys like Chris McDonald who didn’t give up the seven quarterback disruptions he did.
– Cornerback, Justin Green: Got plenty of playing time (186 snaps) but didn’t follow up opportunity with good play. His -3.2 grade was the lowest of any cornerback they currently have on the roster.
12:10 – More Giants Cuts
We talked about Ramses Barden earlier, but joining him are;
– Defensive end Matt Broha. This was inevitable as those around him greatly outplayed him, with his -5.7 grade the worst on the team. He notched just four quarterback disruptions.
– Safeties Tyler Sash (+1.1) and David Caldwell (+0.6). Neither graded particularly poorly and Caldwell even led all defensive backs with 130 snaps, yet even with the injury to Stevie Brown they couldn’t crack the roster. At one point Sash seemed primed for big things but a league suspension halted his progress. Joining them is slot cornerback Charles James who only got 50 snaps in preseason but didn’t embarress himself.
– On the offensive line Matt McCants (-2.3) and Stephin Goodin (-2.5) had to hand in their playbooks with their grades giving you all the reason you need to know why.
12:00 – Redskins Roster Clearout
Lots to catch up on here. Gone, in no particular order;
– Tony Pashos, despite earning our highest grade of all right tackles during preseason at +7.9, is done. If we were to guess his lack of positional versatility made him expendable but don’t be surprised if this works out in his best interests. There are teams that could use a tackle like him. Badly.
– Two backs have been shown the door in the shape of Keiland Williams (-0.4) and Jawan Jamison (+0.6). Williams was actually the Redskins highest graded pure runner in preseason but let himself down with some poor pass blocking. Jamison was a long shot after seeing just 26 snaps.
– Cornerback Chase Minnifield may draw some interest in preseason after earning a +4.0 grade, breaking up one pass and allowing only 50% of balls into his coverage to be complete.
– Former Patriots second round pick Ron Brace (+2.2) looked good in a more natural role in his 46 snaps at nose tackle. But the team will be starting Barry Cofield and got excellent play out of Chris Baker in the preseason, who also offers more positional versatility. Brace should expect some phone calls though as he looks to rebuild his career.
– Another well graded Redskin is gone and that is Kevin Matthews (+4.0). Here’s a good example of preferring to look at his regular season tape where he struggled as a Titan last year in his 22- snaps (-3.7).
11:50 – Packers Parting Ways
They said goodbye to Vince Young and they’re following it up. Gone are receivers Tyrone Walker (-3.0) and Charles Johnson (-3.5) who both had poor preseason campaigns. They might be hoping for practice squad nods but it’s worth noting that they were the two lowest rated receivers on the roster. Walker will be especially disappointed that his possible last action as a Packer will be to have fumbled a ball. People don’t forget those kind of things. Johnson dropped one ball in preseason didn’t catch any.
11:45 – Cierre Wood wins Texans Job
This might prove more relevant news down the line given that we’re only an Arian Foster and Ben Tate combined spell on the sidelines away from him starting. The team cut veteran tailback Deji Karim (+2.0), obviously preferring the upside of the rookie who scored a +2.7 grade his all round work in preseason. Wood averaged a healthy 5.5 yards per carry, also beating out Dennis Johnson.
11:40 – Panthers Purge
Two down, more to come as the Panthers begin their quest to get their roster down to 53. There’s little surprise that Doug Hogue (13 snaps in preseason) is gone, but it’s mildly more surprising that they’ve cut the chord with 2011 third rounder Sione Fua. He actually finished preseason strong with a +3.1 grade against Pittsburgh but it obviously wasn’t enough to make up for an NFL career that was disappointing to put it mildly. In two years with the team he earned a -19.8 grade.
11:30 – Giants Release Ramses
Courtesy of Ralph Vacchiano the team has cut ties with Ramses Barden, the 2009 third round pick. Can it really be that long ago since the team picked him up? Back in Week 3 of the 2012 season he threatened to become more than just the backup and special teamer he’d become when he caught nine balls for 138 yards, but that was the exception and not the rule. In preseason he managed just 55 snaps and a 0.0 grade where he caught 5-of-8 balls for just 38 yards with one drop. A change of scenary may be good for him.
11:20 – Ravens on the Release
The team isn’t wasting any time this morning clearing out some room. Gone are, according to Aaron Wilson on twitter, Tandon Doss, Billy Bajema, Omar Brown, Bobby Rainey, Matt Furstenburg, Joe Unga and Cody Larsen.
Suppose you want notes on them?
– Doss was meant to make a push for playing time this year but despite 129 snaps in preseason couldn’t deliver. The former fourth rounder had a relatively easy route to considerable action this year but just didn’t deliver.
– Veteran Bajema (-1.7) is more of a blocking specialist and saw 35 snaps in preseason. That was less than the 115 of Furstenburg (-2.6), but both ended with negative grades as they failed to take advantage of injuries to Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta.
– The Ravens defensive line has impressed in preseason and Larsen (-1.9) was one of only two players to earn a negative grade as he struggled to make a contribution against the run. That will never get it done in Baltimore.
– Meanwhile Unga, the undrafted free agent from Midwestern State, may have thought he did enough (-0.3) to get kept on but the team is obviously happy with their depth at the tackle spot. He might find himself a practice squad candidate.
– The releases of Brown (-2.3) was anything but a surprise, but Bobby Rainey (+3.1) will be disappointed. He earned most of against the Rams where he broke an impressive seven tackles and ended up with two touchdowns. Is that enough to draw the interest of some team out there?
11:10 – More Patriot Cuts
Tebow wasn’t the only one to be cut courtesy of New England. They released 10 yesterday and added to that by saying goodbye to Marcus Forston (-4.3) and Jermaine Cunningham, as well as starting punter from last year Zoltan Mesko.
We’re not overly surprised about Forston who seemed in something of a competition with undrafted free agent Joe Vellano. Vellano, if you’v seen our grades, was a much more effective player and if he hasn’t earned a roster spot, he’s at least kept himself in house for a few hours more. Cunningham flashed some talent as a rookie but never took to the team deciding to turn him into an interior pass rusher in their nickel and dime packages. He could represent a nice find for a team prepared to get him back to his natural position.
As for Mesko, our 22nd ranked punter on the year in 2012 he was out kicked by rookie Ray Allen (+5.1 preseason grade) so had to see this coming.
11:05 – Terminator Terminated
In news that isn’t surprising, the Bengals have cut John Conner. It’s not surprising because Hard Knocks showed us the team were desperate for Orson Charles (+0.4) to earn the job and once he was deemed satisfactory he kept his job. Connor though was our second highest ranked fullback throughout preseason and shouldn’t struggle to find a job at some point of the season (if not sooner).
11:00 – Tebow and Young Cut!
We’ve chosen a good time to get going? In news that is bound to be some of the biggest of the day the Packers have released Vince Young and the Patriots have said goodbye to Tim Tebow. It won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been reading our reviews of the performances of either with Young scoring a -6.3 grade in preseason, and Tebow the lowest of all quarterbacks at -8.1.
You have to feel this is the end of the road for Tebow as far as quarterbacking goes while Young you might feel slightly more sympathetic towards. He joined on with the Packers late in camp and found himself playing with backups throughout it. That still doesn’t excuse a 54.2% adjusted accuracy percentage score that was the fifth lowest of all quarterbacks.
We’re off and underway! Every game has been analyzed and can be found on the PFF Premium section and we’ve got a load of ReFocused articles coming your way. For now, sit back and relax and refresh every 15 minutes to see us (toilet break permitting) bring you all the latest news on this frantic Saturday. If we’ve missed any news tweet us and @PFF and we’ll do our best to offer some analysis.