NFC East: NFL Roster Analysis 2010

Washington Redskins cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
9/04/10
9:48
PM ET
Check here for a complete list of the Washington Redskins' roster moves.

Surprise move: No huge surprises for coach Mike Shanahan, but he managed to let the suspense build by waiting until 9:08 pm ET to release his roster moves. I was mildly surprised to see running back Ryan Torain end up on the list. He played well for Shanahan in Denver, so it seemed like he would make the roster.

The biggest name on the list was obviously Willie Parker. He was buried on the depth chart throughout camp and never really had a shot at making the team. The Skins will go with aging backs Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson. Washington tried to move former third-round pick Chad Rinehart but couldn't find any takers. It's almost like Shanahan and GM Bruce Allen are trying expel all of Vinny Cerrato's draft picks.

No-brainers: Pretty much all of their moves fit in this category. Terrence Austin had his moments at wide receiver but maybe he can find a spot on the practice squad. I thought Robert Henson out of TCU was going to be a decent player, but he never really recovered from an embarrassing tweeting incident last season.

What's next: The Redskins will scour the waiver wire for defensive backs. They traded cornerback Justin Tryon and former Mr. Irrelevant Ramzee Robinson was released. Bruce Allen and Shanahan need to be looking at T.J. Houshmandzadeh. As of now, the Redskins may have the worst receiving corps in the league.

Any receiver who was waived today could appear as a starter in this offense. Roydell Williams remains one of the stalwarts of this bunch. And Devin Thomas will get one more season to try to meet expectations.

Philadelphia Eagles cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
9/04/10
7:40
PM ET
Check here for a full list of the Philadelphia Eagles' roster moves.

Biggest surprise: At the last minute, the Eagles were able to move Stacy Andrews and his reduced (but still too large) salary to the Seahawks for a seventh-round pick in 2011. Andrews had been a huge disappointment for the Eagles and now they feel fortunate to receive anything in return for him. Of the cuts, safety Quintin Demps was probably the biggest surprise. He ended up in Andy Reid's doghouse last season, but he made strides this offseason in having a better attitude. But with rookie Nate Allen claiming the starting safety spot, Demps apparently became expendable. He was a decent return man, but not good enough to warrant a roster spot. Guard Max Jean-Gilles was released, but he'll be brought back Sunday. The Eagles missed the 6 p.m. ET trade deadline on Andrews, so that's why that happened with Jean-Gilles.

No-brainers: I lot of folks were pulling for Chad Hall as a return man, but he simply didn't have enough success in the preseason. Wide receiver Jordan Norwood catches everything, so he'll be a good practice squad candidate. Tight end Cornelius Ingram will probably make it through to the practice squad as well. You knew it was a bad sign for Macho Harris recently when he was bouncing between positions. Looked like a player at this time last year but he never took the next step.

What's next: General manager Howie Roseman will be on the hunt for safeties and cornerbacks. I like the trade for defensive end Antwan Barnes from the Ravens. He was an excellent fourth-round pick for the Ravens in '07 and he has a lot of explosion coming off the edge. He'll be a good fit in the Eagles' up-the-field pass-rush, according to some AFC scouts I spoke to Saturday. Unlike the Cowboys, I think the Eagles will continue to churn the bottom of this roster. We'll keep you posted throughout the rest of the holiday weekend. It's interesting that the Eagles kept six cornerbacks and the Cowboys three. The Eagles only kept two tight ends, so they'll be looking around for help at that position.

Dallas Cowboys cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
9/04/10
7:16
PM ET
Biggest surprise: The Cowboys are trying to become one of the first NFL teams to begin a season with only three cornerbacks. I seem to recall the Giants being in that situation in Week 2 last season, but it wasn't really their choice. The Cowboys cut veteran cornerback Cletis Gordon after he had, by all accounts, an excellent training camp. He struggled in the last couple preseason games and that may have done him in. Gordon had somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 interceptions in camp. It's also mildly surprising that former reality TV star Jesse Holley was released. The Cowboys decided to keep special teams ace Sam Hurd over Holley. It remains to be seen whether Hurd agreed to accept a paycut. He's owed $1.7 million this season. The Dallas Morning News reported Saturday that Hurd refused to take a pay cut. We'll try to get to the bottom of that this evening. It was a little surprising to see the Cowboys release nose tackle Junior Siavii. He's been pretty steady this preseason, but it looks like they'll go with youth behind Jay Ratliff.

No-brainers: There's no room on this roster for four running backs and that's why Herb Donaldson and Lonyae Miller were released. One of those players could end up on the practice squad. I thought Miller was the better player, but it seemed like Donaldson received more snaps in the preseason. I loved guard Mike Tepper's backstory coming out of Cal, so perhaps he can land on the practice squad. Bryan McCann is an intriguing prospect at cornerback. I talked to two different teams who have been scouting him in the preseason, so he might have a tough time making it through to the practice squad.

What's next: I'd probably mix in another cornerback before the first game but maybe they think fourth round pick Akwasi Owusu-Ansah is versatile enough to help them in a pinch. The Cowboys only kept two tight ends, so I'd definitely try to get Martin Rucker on the practice squad. Look for the Cowboys to scour the waiver wire for backup offensive linemen. Coach Wade Phillips hates cutting players once they have "made" the 53-man roster but the Cowboys have to protect themselves. I think this roster is pretty vulnerable in some areas. We'll keep an eye on things tonight and Sunday.

List of Cowboys players cut:
OT Will Barker
OG Travis Bright
DE Marcus Dixon
RB Herb Donaldson
TE DajLeon Farr
CB Cletis Gordon
WR Jesse Holley
WR Manny Johnson
OLB Curtis Johnson
CB Bryan McCann
RB Lonyae Miller
LB Steve Octavien
TE Jason Pociask
TE Martin Rucker
DT Jimmy Saddler-McQueen
LB Brandon Sharpe
DE Junior Siavii
OL Mike Tepper
CB Jamar Wall
CB Teddy Williams

New York Giants cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
9/04/10
6:49
PM ET
Check here for a full list of the New York Giants' roster moves.

Biggest surprise: Did anyone see Andre Brown's release coming? Tom Coughlin had raved about the progress of the second-year running back, but apparently returning from a ruptured Achilles tendon in last year's training camp was too much. He looked really quick early in training camp, but then he got banged up and missed some valuable time in the preseason. Still, I thought the Giants would hold a spot for him. They may have a difficult time getting him to the practice squad because of his pedigree coming out of North Carolina State. I guess we shouldn't have been surprised by Rhett Bomar's release with the arrival of Sage Rosenfels. It will be difficult to get Bomar through to the practice squad.

And the release of wide receiver Derek Hagan is mildly surprising. He'd been outstanding on special teams, but reports from training camp indicated that he'd grown tired of that label and wasn't as enthusiastic in his approach. That will get you beat with Coughlin.

No-brainers: Some of the defensive backs on the list simply didn't make enough plays in the preseason. When Sha'reff Rashad was given the chance to cover Santonio Holmes, it was something close to a disaster. I saw flashes from him at times in camp but he didn't take it to the field. And you can't be surprised to see fullback Jerome Johnson released with the presence of Madison Hedgecock on the roster. Quarterback Dominic Randolph was only around because of the Eli Manning injury.

What's next: You had better get these young receivers -- Duke Calhoun and Victor Cruz -- ready for immediate action on special teams. The Giants made some tough decisions to go light in other areas because Calhoun and Cruz showed up big time in the preseason games. Now, they must reward Coughlin for his trust. At one point, the Giants liked Guy Whimper as a backup guard. But I guess they thought he was a progress-stopper now. The Giants kept all of their healthy draft picks and it will be interesting to see how much of an impact they have.

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