NFC North: NFL cuts 082713

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Less than three hours after his woeful performance in practice, kicker Zach Ramirez was released by the Green Bay Packers.

Ramirez, who missed 10-of-16 kicks during Tuesday’s practice, was the only cut among the Packers’ nine roster moves that got them down to 75 players. Their remaining moves were injury related.

Just two days earlier, the Packers had three kickers on their roster. But after releasing Giorgio Tavecchio on Monday and Ramirez on Tuesday, they had only veteran Mason Crosby.

I’ll have more on whether Crosby nailed down the job or not in my practice report, which will be posted shortly.

To get down to the NFL-mandated 75 players by 4 p.m., the Packers placed four players on season-ending injured reserve: tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee), receiver Kevin Dorsey (toe), running back DuJuan Harris (knee) and linebacker Jarvis Reed (ankle). And they moved four players to reserve/physically unable to perform: safety Sean Richardson (neck), tackle Derek Sherrod (leg), tackle JC Tretter (ankle) and defensive end Jerel Worthy (knee).

Players on PUP can begin practicing after Week 6 of the regular season and then have a five-week window during which they can return to practice. Once they begin practicing, teams have three weeks to decide whether to activate them. ESPN's Mike Sando has the full explanation of the PUP rules.

UPDATE: Per the NFL’s official transaction wire, both Dorsey and Reed were waived/injured. That means the team will eventually work out injury settlements with both players, which would pay them for a portion of the regular season that they would have missed due to their injuries. While it’s possible the Packers could re-sign them, injury settlements often mean the end of a player’s career with that team.

Lions roster at a glance

August, 27, 2013
We noted earlier Tuesday that the Detroit Lions released place-kicker Havard Rugland. As it turns out, Rugland was the highest-profile name involved in the Lions' push to a 75-man roster.

The three other players released Tuesday were: receiver Terrence Austin, cornerback DeQuan Menzie, tight end Cameron Morrah and tight end Matt Veldman.

Each NFL team must reduce its roster to 53 players by Saturday at 6 p.m. ET. Here is a numerical look at the Lions' roster by position, based on how they are listed on the team's web site:
  • Centers: 2
  • Cornerbacks: 7
  • Defensive ends: 5
  • Defensive tackles: 8
  • Fullbacks: 1
  • Guards: 6
  • Place-kicker: 1
  • Linebackers: 9
  • Long-snapper: 1
  • Punters: 2
  • Quarterbacks: 3
  • Running backs: 6
  • Safeties: 7
  • Tackles: 5
  • Tight ends: 4
  • Wide receivers: 8
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears whittled to the 75-man roster limit Tuesday by finalizing an injury settlement with quarterback Matt Blanchard.

A second-year veteran, Blanchard fractured a knuckle on his left hand during the team’s win over the San Diego Chargers. Prior to the injury, it appeared likely the Bears would try to keep Blanchard on the 53-man roster or waive him in final cuts with the expectation of adding him to the practice squad.

The problem is there’s no way a team can release an injured player without reaching a settlement.

“I’m just disappointed he was injured. I really liked his progress. I think we resonated that through the times we’ve talked here,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “I think everybody has an idea how we felt about Matt while he was here.”

Blanchard’s settlement makes him ineligible to return to the Bears until after Week 10. After the timeframe for the settlement expires, Blanchard can sign with another team. So it’s likely the quarterback would sign with another club after the length of the settlement -- which is commensurate with the time a player is expected to be out due to the injury -- has expired because he can’t rejoin the Bears until 2 1/2 months into the season.

In making the decision, Trestman said he hasn’t “even thought about” the timeframe for Blanchard’s recovery, adding that “we’ll just see how it goes as we move forward.”

When the team hit the practice field for the portion of Monday’s workout that the media is allowed to view, Blanchard wasn’t out on the field with the rest of his teammates. With the team going into the final exhibition game Thursday not expecting to play any of its starters, it’s likely the team would have played Blanchard for a significant amount of repetitions.

Instead, the Bears will divvy up the snaps to recently-signed quarterbacks Jordan Palmer and Trent Edwards, with the former set to start.

“They’re both really smart guys and knowledgeable. They’ve practiced well,” Trestman said. “I expect that they’re gonna do well.”

Blanchard spent the majority of the 2012 season on the practice squad.
Kickalicious, we hardly knew ye.

As NFL teams move toward Tuesday's 75-man roster limit, the Detroit Lions ended their experiment with Norwegian place-kicker Havard Rugland. It was fun while it lasted. Seriously.

Expectations for Rugland were as low as possible when training camp began. He was a complete newcomer to the game and had drawn the Lions' attention for reasons that had little to do with his capacity to be an NFL kicker. His viral YouTube video of trick kicks was one. The other was the fact that he kicked with his left foot, which would allow the Lions to use the same operation in practice as they would with veteran David Akers, who is also a lefty.

Rugland proved a quick study, developing enough to get three field goal opportunities this preseason. He made all three, including one from 50 yards and another from 49. But coach Jim Schwartz said earlier this month that "this isn't a circus show," and it was clear from then on that the job was Akers' as long as he proved healthy.

My sense is that Rugland showed enough to get onto the NFL's scouting radar, even if it is just for future workouts. He has a genuinely strong leg and it's clear that he's coachable. He made legitimate progress for a player who had never worn a football helmet before this year.

Note: The Lions also released cornerback DeQuan Menzie. They have three more roster spots to eliminate by Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline.