NFC South: cutdowns

Buccaneers: cutdown analysis

August, 30, 2008
8/30/08
10:26
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Biggest surprise: The Bucs traded up to draft defensive tackle Dre Moore in the fourth round. Only a starter through about half of his college career at Maryland, Moore was more about potential than production. The potential never showed through training camp and the preseason and Moore was released.

No-brainer: Back in the offseason and as recently as a couple days ago, the Bucs were telling other teams they had trade offers for Chris Simms. It now seems obvious they must never have had any solid offers for Simms, who they ended up releasing. Simms had begged out of Tampa Bay months ago and the Bucs insisted on dragging him through training camp even though it was apparent he never was in their plans. What did they get out of that whole charade? Nothing. The end of this scenario wasn't that difficult to see because Simms hadn't played in a regular-season game in almost two years and the rest of the league knew Simms had no chance of sticking in Tampa Bay. The Bucs came off looking really bad in this situation and it could have been avoided if Tampa Bay had shown a little decency and Simms was given his release a lot earlier.

What's next: Kicker Matt Bryant had a tough preseason, but the Bucs are sticking with him because he's been solid in the past. But the Bucs aren't known for their patience. Bryant's going to be under the microscope. If he struggles at the start of the season, the confidence the Bucs have in Bryant could be lost. There are a lot of veteran kickers available and Bryant will start the season on a short leash.

Panthers: Cutdown analysis

August, 30, 2008
8/30/08
8:35
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Biggest surprise: Can't really say there was any shock at Carolina's moves. But I think it's fair to say the release of defensive end Stanley McClover was a big disappointment to the team. McClover had plenty of chances last year and in training camp. McClover had potential but never was able to get anything out of that and the Panthers decided to keep rookie Hilee Taylor. They could still look to add another defensive end.

No-brainer: A day ago, cornerback and return man Ricardo Colclough probably would have been on the roster. But Colclough was charged with driving while impaired early this morning and that probably prompted his release. The Panthers might put up with some issues from important players, but not from Colclough.

What's next: With Steve Smith suspended for the first two games, the Panthers still let veteran receivers Samie Parker and Travis Taylor go. They did keep undrafted rookie Dominique Thompson but it's likely they'll scour the list of newly-available receivers.

Saints: cutdown analysis

August, 30, 2008
8/30/08
4:17
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

The Saints got down to the 53-player limit by placing cornerback Greg Fassitt on the injured reserve list and waiving Andy Alleman, Tim Duckworth, Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Skyler Green, Lynell Hamilton, Orien Harris, William Kershaw, Taylor Mehlhaff, Buck Ortega, Tyler Palko, Josh Savage, Olaniyi Sobomehin and Joe West.

ANALYSIS

Biggest surprise: The release of Harris is a bit of a surprise with Hollis Thomas out with a triceps injury. Harris had a good camp and preseason. There's plenty of other depth at defensive tackle. Harris is a guy who could land on another team's roster quickly.

No-brainers: The Saints used a sixth-round draft pick on Mehlhaff and some assumed that meant he would be the kicker. But the Saints have made it clear they're going for it this season with all their other roster moves. They followed suit at kicker and kept veteran Martin Gramatica over Mehlhaff. Sure, Mehlhaff has the stronger leg. But Gramatica has made some big kicks in the NFL and the Saints may need some clutch kicks this year.

What's next: Palko, the third quarterback, was released. That leaves only Drew Brees and Mark Brunell. That's a strong combination with plenty of experience, but the Saints could look to pick up a younger quarterback to groom behind the veterans.

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

No real surprises in the first wave of cuts by the New Orleans Saints, but there was one other move that was a little disappointing.

The Saints placed rookie wide receiver Adrian Arrington on the injured reserve list, which ends his season. Arrington, a seventh-round draft pick, had been very impressive early in training camp and seemed to have a real shot to be the No. 4 or 5 receiver. But a case of turf toe sidelined Arrington and didn't seem to be getting much better.

The Saints couldn't afford to keep Arrington on the active roster. The one bright side is Arrington will get to spend the year sitting in on meetings and will have an opportunity to get completely healthy. That's just the opposite of what happened with rookie receiver Robert Meachem last year. Meachem wasn't able to be a factor in his rookie year because he was running with a limp for about half the season.

In other moves, the Saints released safety Lance Schulters, defensive end Jeremy Geathers, tight end Ronnie Ghent, defensive end Marcus Pittman, safety David Roach, guard Isaiah Ross and tackle Brian Stamper. That leaves the roster at 67 players and the Saints have to get down to 53 by Saturday afternoon.

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