The Titans today made most of the headway on the cutdown of the roster from the currently-permitted 75 players to the 53 man they must be at Saturday at 4 PM ET. Per The Tennessean, The list of guys cut so far includes:
LB Rocky Boiman FB/TE Casey Cramer, CB Tanard Davis, OL Ryan Durand, CB DeMarcus Faggins, RB Rodney Ferguson, S Tuff Harris, WR Mark Jones, DT Mitch King, OT Cory Lekkerkerker, WR Phillip Morris, TE Matthew Mulligan, OL Jason Murphy, DT LaJuan Ramsey, S Nick Schommer, LB Josh Stamer, P A.J. Trapasso, OL Fernando Velasco, WR Paul Williams
After the cuts, the Titans’ roster looks about like this:
QB (3): Kerry Collins, Patrick Ramsey, Vince Young
RB/FB (6): Quinton Ganther, Ahmard Hall, Chris Henry, Chris Johnson, Javon Ringer, LenDale White
WR (5): Kenny Britt, Dominique Edison, Justin Gage, Lavelle Hawkins, Nate Washington
TE (4): Jared Cook, Alge Crumpler, Bo Scaife, Craig Stevens
OL (8): Eugene Amano, Leroy Harris, Troy Kropog, Kevin Mawae, Mike Otto, Michael Roos, Jake Scott, David Stewart
DE (6): David Ball, Larry Birdine, Jacob Ford, William Hayes, Jevon Kearse, Kyle Vanden Bosch
DT (5): Tony Brown, Jovan Haye, Jason Jones, Sen’Derrick Marks, Kevin Vickerson
LB (7.5): Colin Allred, Keith Bulluck, Ryan Fowler, Stanford Keglar, Gerald McRath, David Thornton, Stephen Tulloch
CB (5): Cortland Finnegan, Nick Harper, Jason McCourty, Ryan Mouton, Cary Williams
S (4): Vinny Fuller, Michael Griffin, Chris Hope, Donnie Nickey
K (1): Rob Bironas
P (1): Craig Hentrich
LS (1): Ken Amato
To get from 56 to 53, I see two names that jump out: RB Chris Henry and DE Larry Birdine. Both players impressed at times during the preseason, but are behind too many other players to see a realistic shot of sticking around. Beyond those two names, though, it’s difficult to choose the exact cut. I still believe the Titans would like to keep only 9 defensive linemen, so I’d expect them to try to move one of the extra bodies, with Kevin Vickerson still the most likely candidate.
Thoughts on each position:
QB: I’ve been fairly insistent in my previous predictions that the Titans will in fact carry 3 QBs. I’ll go back on that a little, though-Ramsey is a vested veteran, so if the Titans carry him on the roster Week 1, they’ll be on the hook for his salary for the entire season. I could see them cutting him, then picking him back up after Week 2. I don’t think they’re at a serious risk of losing him to another team if they cut him.
RB/FB: I know Jim Wyatt wrote Chris Henry has a $420,000 guarantee, but that won’t be enough to save his roster spot. I think Ganther has a very good case for a spot as Hall’s backup and special teams guy, but he’s another candidate for a not-in-Week-1 cut.
WR: They have 5, when they’ve carried 6 or 7 in the past. The question I have here is whether or not they’re willing to admit Hawkins looks like a mistake-they tend to hold on to guys too long (Paul Williams, Shad Meier, Byron Frisch), but seemingly continuous mental mistakes strongly suggest he’s not going to get better. Matt Jones-maybe, I doubt it, for reasons discussed in this post. In terms of other guys around the league who could get cut, nobody stands out as possibly fitting the blocker or return guy role they could be looking for with Hawk’s spot. One name that intrigued me was Super Bowl hero David Tyree of the Giants, so I asked Giants fan Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders about him:
[He's] more of a pest than anything else, not really someone who can
sustain a block on a corner. Good special teams guy in his prime,
probably still worth the roster spot for that at the veteran minimum.
Call it a maybe, but whoever they bring in will have to play special teams to justify his roster spot.
TE: This quartet looks pretty chalk to me. Stevens is being kept at least as much for 2010 and beyond as for 2009.
OL: This is another group where I’m pretty comfortable we’ve nailed the people who’ll be on the roster Week 1.
DE: As noted above, Birdine is an odd man out. I’ve mentioned Kearse’s name before, and have seen Ball’s as well, but I expect to see both next Thursday night.
DT: They’ll hate themselves if they keep 5 DTs in addition to 5 DEs-that’s really a failure of roster management, and it’ll handcuff them. The only alternatives are leaving themselves too thin elsewhere or letting go a good player they want in their rotation or for the future. They really set themselves up for failure here, with Brown and Jones returning as clearcut guys, Vickerson as a very useful guy, and then both signing Haye in free agency and using a pick on Marks. As I mentioned in my previous roster guess, 10 DL makes up too many of your inactives, though that’s more likely to be an issue later in the season.
LB: It seems like I keep underestimating Colin Allred-I was down on his chances of making the roster last season, and have excluded him from my previous roster predictions, favoring Josh Stamer. Kudos to Andrew for what looks like a hit. He may be the guy to go, though, if and when they add a body to the secondary.
CB: With Mouton’s injury, it seems likely to me that they’ll add a body here. The most recognizable name on the market right now is probably Rod Hood, who’s been cut by the Browns and then also the Bears in the last week or so. He’d provide the veteran savvy the Titans lost when they cut DeMarcus Faggins, without being quite as bad a player. He’d be somebody to go when Mouton was fully healthy. I don’t know marginal corners around the league enough to mention any other decent options, but I’m sure the Titans do and are looking at them.
S: I know people don’t like Donnie Nickey, or liked Tuff Harris. After Jones’ cut was announced, I thought Harris might be the beneficiary of a roster space thanks to punt returning ability, but apparently not.
K/P/LS: None of those should be news to anybody.
How bout you? Who are your three cuts, and what positions might the Titans look to improve with players from other teams?