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Sunday, September 2, 2012
How did depth charts hold up to cuts?

By Paul Kuharsky

Rosters have already been shuffled a bit, but before we get too far removed from the initial cutdown to 53, I wanted to look at them as they pertained to the unofficial depth charts of our four AFC South teams.

No one listed as an offensive or defensive starter on the Colts, Jaguars, Texans or Titans was let go.

I set out to gauge how many second-teamers disappeared and how many third stringers remained. (To be clear, I didn’t count a fourth-stringer. If you were listed lower than a third-stringer, you counted as a third-stringer. So there were more than 22 third-stringers.)

My thinking was the smaller the first number (cut twos), the more accurate the depth chart was and the bigger the second number (kept threes), the less accurate.

It’s hardly scientific, as injuries factor in, and a draft pick destined for a chance -- who might nevertheless be listed as a third-teamer based on seniority -- probably had a good chance of sticking.

Nonetheless, here are results based on my count:


Some exploration of the numbers...

The Texans have a pretty set starting lineup with a lot of secure backups. It was no surprise that it took a surprise -- the release of safety Troy Nolan --to dent the listed second team. The other cut was fullback Moran Norris, and the team traded to upgrade at No. 2 fullback. This was a pretty accurate depth chart.

The Colts kept a third quarterback, a fourth running back and a sixth receiver, growing the third-string number. That three of the second-stringers now gone were second stringers at all served was a testament to the Colts’ lack of depth: tackle George Foster is finished, guard Mike Tepper is probably not an NFL player and Greg Lloyd was too cheaply included as a piece of a trade for a guy that was cut in Philadelphia.

Jacksonville is thin on the offensive line, and had two unworthy/unready guys listed as backups in D.J. Hall and Daniel Baldridge. Same with backup middle linebacker J.K. Schaffer, an undrafted rookie not as good as the other linebacker backups. Second-team safety Courtney Greene lost out to third-string undrafted rookie Antwon Blake.

The Titans, meanwhile, had first-round draft pick Kendall Wright listed as a third-teamer though he’s been starting preseason games and is expected to start the opener with Kenny Britt suspended. Keeping four running backs and putting two second-team defensive ends on injured reserve boosted threes onto the roster. Tennessee can reward veterans on paper where they might hold down a rising kid with or without no draft status. See concussed end Dave Ball, who wound up on IR, and Pannel Egboh.