AFC East: cutdown

Dolphins GM speaks on Ricky, QBs and more

August, 31, 2008
Posted by's Tim Graham

DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland held a rare news conference Sunday afternoon to discuss myriad roster decisions.

Ireland was asked about the club's decision to keep sophomore QB John Beck over veteran Josh McCown and RB Ricky Williams' one-year contract extension among other topics.

Here are some of the highlights:.

Why did the Dolphins decide to extend Williams?

Ireland: You guys see it out there. We see it out there. He's done an excellent job in the weight room, in the meeting rooms. He's jumped out at us on tape. He looks good in the preseason. Everything we've seen since we got here -- and [the scoreboard] was zero-zero when we got here; [head coach] Tony [Sparano] said that in the first press conference -- he's done everything we've asked him to do. He's a player that's shown he can play. So we didn't want him to make the free agent market.

How is Williams' level of commitment different than in the past?

Ireland: I wasn't here in the past, so I don't really know how he had a lack of dedication in the past. I know what I read and what circulates in NFL circles. When we sat down coming here, we said that we're going to give this guy every benefit of the doubt, and he's got to show us that he is dedicated. He's done everything that we've asked him to do. We feel really good about our decision to extend him.

Why did the Dolphins keep Beck and trade McCown to the Carolina Panthers?

Ireland: What it came down to is, obviously, we didn't know that [Chad] Pennington was going to be out there. Things changed pretty quickly when we were able to pick up that thing that fell out of the tree there. That was obviously a good move for us when we did pick up Chad. Tony was right on when he said we might keep four quarterbacks. We decided that we weren't going to keep four. We decided who probably has the best upside. We felt like John was still a young player, and he's done a great job here in the last week and a half. That was the player that we felt like had more upside and more future to him and more developmental possibilities. So John was the guy we went with.

Was there any truth to the reports the Dolphins were shopping Beck?

Ireland: I'm not going to confirm that we tried to trade or anything like that about John Beck. We traded Josh McCown.

What's the comfort level with having a rookie backup and a second-year third-stringer behind Pennington?

Ireland: We feel pretty good about it. We feel pretty good about where Chad Henne and John Beck are. Chad Henne is a guy that we feel very good about. Obviously, he's our No. 2 right now. I feel pretty good about it, as a matter of fact.

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Patriots jettison prized draft pick Jackson

August, 31, 2008
Posted by's Tim Graham

The New England Patriots are finished with Chad Jackson. He's the player they wanted so badly in the 2006 draft that they traded up, shoving their way past half the teams in the league to grab him with the 36th overall pick and make him the second WR off the board.

Jackson's status was in doubt throughout training camp and the preseason, but he finally could exhale Saturday afternoon. He had a decent preseason and made the Patriots' 53-man roster. Less than 24 hours later, they cut him.

Injuries ravaged Jackson's two seasons. As a rookie, he was dogged by a hamstring injury and later a knee problem. He played in just two games last year because of the knee injury and didn't have a catch. His rookie numbers were all he posted: 13 receptions for 152 yards and three touchdowns.

There was so much buzz surrounding Jackson when he came out of Florida after his junior year as a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist.

But some scouts consider Jackson a workout wonder who doesn't play as fast as he clocks. He never meshed with Tom Brady and then got lost amid a stacked receiving corps.

But Jackson is only 23 and now can be picked up by a needy team willing to take a chance.

Jackson probably won't land in the AFC East, where Jackson would love the opportunity to play the Patriots twice a year.

Jackson has a home in downtown Miami. But the Miami Dolphins made a lot of maneuvers Sunday to pick up players and finalize their 53-man roster. They'll be hard-pressed to make room at a position where they have a backup (Ernest Wilford) pulling in $6 million in guarantees.

The Buffalo Bills aren't interested. They're happy with their receivers: Lee Evans, James Hardy, Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish. They're high on seventh-round draft choice Steve Johnson's future.

The New York Jets are deep enough at receiver with Laveranues Coles, Jerricho Cotchery, Brad Smith, Chansi Stuckey and David Clowney.

Pats bump John Lynch, Chad Jackson from roster

August, 31, 2008
Posted by's Tim Graham

Even though they already were at the 53-man limit, the New England Patriots made compelling roster cuts for the second straight day.

They released veteran S John Lynch and WR Chad Jackson, the 36th overall pick in the 2006 draft. We'll go more into those moves in a bit.

But for the sake of bringing you the news ASAP, the Patriots also announced their practice squad:

Dillard, Green-Ellis and Redd are rookies. Spann, in his third NFL season, is the most experienced.

Dolphins claim 3, waive 3, announce taxi squad

August, 31, 2008
Posted by's Tim Graham

DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins have picked up three players off the waiver wire, released three to make room for the newcomers and announced their practice squad.

Miami claimed:

Miami released:

Miami's practice squad consists of rookies:

Jets: Cutdown analysis

August, 30, 2008
Posted by's Tim Graham

Biggest surprise: The Jets decided to keep all four of their QBs, fueling speculation in New York Kellen Clemens might be on the move. Jets coach Eric Mangini defused that talk by suggesting Clemens would be on the roster opening day as Brett Favre's primary backup. Because Brett Ratliff had performed so admirably, many observers were skeptical fifth-round draft pick Erik Ainge would stick. Ainge looked shaky throughout training camp, but he closed out the preseason with a fine performance Thursday night.

The most significant veterans dropped were eighth-year CB Hank Poteat and ninth-year LB and special-teamer Matt Chatham. Poteat was beaten out by fourth-round draft pick Dwight Lowery. Marques Murrell showed the Jets enough to bump Chatham.

No-brainers: Division I-AA record-setting WR David Ball got lost at a position that includes Laveranues Coles, Jerricho Cotchery, Brad Smith, Chansi Stuckey and David Clowney. The same fate befell WRs Larry Brackins and Paul Raymond, who never had much of a chance.

TEs Jason Pociask and A.J. Schable were on the outside looking in at veterans Chris Baker and Bubba Franks and first-round pick Dustin Keller.

What's next: The Jets, like many other teams, will be looking for offensive line depth. They kept seven receivers and nine defensive backs, so those look like areas to trim if they find some players they like on the waiver wire.

Bills: Cutdown analysis

August, 30, 2008

Posted by's Tim Graham

Biggest surprise: The Buffalo Bills haven't had a go-to TE for years, but they must be confident Robert Royal is ready to claim that role. Royal is the only healthy TE on the roster after the Bills released Courtney Anderson and Tim Massaquoi. Anderson has 28 starts over his five NFL seasons, while Massaquoi played in four games without a catch last year for the Bills. Royal did have an impressive preseason, but behind him are Derek Schouman (knee) and fourth-round pick Derek Fine (recent thumb surgery), both of whom are out indefinitely.

No-brainers: DT Jason Jefferson spent three seasons as a Bills reserve, but he wasn't going to make the roster after they acquired Marcus Stroud and Spencer Johnson. His only hope was an injury or some other cataclysmic event, but Stroud has been a monster and Johnson has been solid, too.

The Bills also had to give up on 2007 fourth-round draft pick Dwayne Wright because he couldn't stop fumbling and was beaten out by Xavier Omon, a perceived project player who was drafted in the sixth round and earmarked for the practice squad.

What's next: The Bills were thin on the offensive line, and they released five blockers. The return of Pro Bowl holdout LT Jason Peters would help rectify that, but if there has been no progress made in his contract dispute, they might be interested in Cincinnati Bengals castoff Willie Anderson (if he's a better fit at LT he could allow Langston Walker to move back to RT) or perhaps more depth.

Dolphins: Cutdown analysis

August, 30, 2008
Posted by's Tim Graham

Biggest surprises: One sign of a bad team is their inability to cut good players. They don't have enough of them to have a surplus. While the New England Patriots were cutting starters such as CB Fernando Bryant and LB Victor Hobson, the Dolphins' most-experienced deduction was TE Justin Peelle, who has 39 starts in his six-year career. The fact a rebuilding team would cut a draft pick, sixth-round RB Lex Hilliard, also was surprising.

No-brainers: Virtually every player the Dolphins let go was foreseeable. TE Matthew Mulligan faced the longest odds. The undrafted rookie was up against veterans Anthony Fasano, David Martin and Sean Ryan. Mulligan, a basketball player, didn't begin playing organized football until he tried out for Division III Husson College. He later transferred to Division I-AA Maine and played just two seasons. Despite his inexperience, he's being considered for the Dolphins practice squad.

What's next: A flurry of waiver-wire pickups is likely. The Dolphins have been looking forward to this weekend as a preseason draft of sorts. For a team that went 1-15 last year and could not manage to attract many free agents in the offseason, rummaging through the castoff bin will strengthen the roster. Another team's 54th or 55th best player might be Miami's 47th or 48th.

The most likely place to trim are wide receiver and defensive end, where the Dolphins kept six players at each position.

Patriots: Cutdown analysis

August, 30, 2008
Posted by's Tim Graham

Biggest surprise: The Patriots knew they would have trouble replacing left CB Asante Samuel, the Pro Bowler who landed with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Patriots signed three veteran free agents and drafted two more.

Ten-year pro Fernando Bryant took the lead early and kept it, playing with the first unit throughout camp and the preseason, until now. The Patriots released him Saturday, turning the job over to second-round pick Terrence Wheatley, who's already listed as the starter on the team's unofficial depth chart.

Other surprise cuts were LB Victor Hobson, who started 48 games the past three seasons for the New York Jets, and reserve QB Matt Gutierrez, who outplayed Matt Cassel in the preseason.

No-brainers: Former Mississippi star RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, an undrafted rookie, was a long shot to begin with. But he certainly was doomed by the signing of LaMont Jordan. DL Santonio Thomas has hung around on the practice squad, but the Patriots are too loaded up front for him to make the final roster.

What's next: With the Patriots, one never can be too sure. They're shrewd and aren't afraid to make a stunning move, as Bryant and Hobson can attest. Cassel has looked so ineffective in the preseason, they could be on the lookout for a veteran in case disaster strikes and Tom Brady goes down for an extended period.

Poteat top name released by Jets

August, 30, 2008

Posted by's Tim Graham

The New York Jets have made 21 moves to meet today's 53-man roster deadline.

They placed S Cameron Worrell on injured reserve, released LB Matt Chatham and DB Hank Poteat and waived the following players:

WR David Ball
OL Jacob Bender
WR Larry Brackins
DB Rudy Burgess
RB Jehuu Caulcrick
OL Stanley Daniels
OL Kyle DeVan
OL Nate Garner
DB James Ihedigbo
DL Thomas Johnson
DL Bryan Mattison
OL Matt McChesney
LB Blair Phillips
DL Ropati Pitoitua
TE Jason Pociask
WR Paul Raymond
LB Brandon Renkart
TE A.J. Schable

No big surprises among Bills cuts

August, 30, 2008