NFL Nation: Aundrae Allison
The Jets did all right without Pace. They went 3-1, beating the Houston Texans, New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans before losing to the New Orleans Saints.
Vernon Gholston replaced Pace in the starting lineup last season. Pace's proxy this time around will be six-time Pro Bowl pass-rusher Jason Taylor.
The Jets' first six opponents this season:
- Week 1 Baltimore Ravens
- Week 2 New England Patriots
- Week 3 at Miami Dolphins
- Week 4 at Buffalo Bills
- Week 5 Minnesota Vikings
- Week 6 at Denver Broncos
- Week 7 Bye
In other Jets news, they released receiver Laveranues Coles and waived receivers Aundrae Allison and Marcus Henry and defensive lineman Rodrique Wright.
Coles is expected to retire. He was brought in to compensate for Santonio Holmes' four-game suspension to start the upcoming season.
Apparently, head coach Rex Ryan couldn't count on Wright after imploring him in last week's "Hard Knocks" episode. Ryan, upon learning defensive lineman Ropati Pitoitua had torn his Achilles tendon against the Carolina Panthers, approached Wright on the sideline.
"Hey, you going to make this [expletive] team?" Ryan said to Wright. "This kid just tore his [expletive] Achilles. Or do I need to pick somebody else up?"
With a big assist from ESPN Research, I'm working on an interesting post for later today that will summarize and contextualize most of the inanity from Minnesota's wild 30-27 victory Monday night at New Orleans. For now, let's catch up on postgame reaction from the press box and the Vikings' locker room.
Vikings coach Brad Childress threw punter Chris Kluwe under the bus for kicking twice in the second half to Saints punt returner Reggie Bush, who returned both for touchdowns. According to Childress, Kluwe had been instructed to punt out of bounds both times.
Here's what Childress said about Kluwe, courtesy Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
"Both of those kicks are supposed to be out of bounds, and when you say to somebody kick the ball out of bounds, that's what you expect to happen. That's what I expect to happen with a professional football kicker."
Asked if Kluwe is struggling with directional kicking, Childress -- quite amazingly after such a big victory -- said: "You know what? If he can't do that, I'll find someone that can kick the ball out of bounds."
Meanwhile, receiver Bernard Berrian admitted he ran the wrong route on a 33-yard touchdown reception in which he nearly collided with teammate Aundrae Allison. According to Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune, Berrian was supposed to run a post-corner route but broke off the pattern when he saw the ball in the air.
There were plenty of other heroes for the Vikings. Cornerback Antoine Winfield returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown, forced a fumble after sacking Saints quarterback Drew Brees, made three tackles behind the line of scrimmage and batted away a key pass.
Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press had the line of the night, writing: "The Vikings' most consistent play was to say, 'Yes, Mr. Referee, we'll take the penalty.'" That was Powers' way of suggesting the Saints did as much to lose this game as the Vikings did to win it.
Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune praised quarterback Gus Frerotte for saving the Vikings' season.
We'll have more on this game later Tuesday and I'll plan to cover Childress' scheduled news conference at team headquarters.
Surfing around the rest of the NFC North:
- Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports the Packers worked out four punters on Monday, including former Pro Bowler Scott Player. The workouts suggest the Packers are close to dumping incumbent Derrick Frost.
- Packers coach Mike McCarthy didn't mince words about the performance of mainstay left tackle Chad Clifton: "Chad didn't have a very good day" Sunday against Atlanta. Coaches are upset with his fundamentals, according to Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- McCarthy also is disappointed in the Packers' run defense, writes Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal. "They need to keep the game in order, and it starts with stopping the run, and we're not doing a very good job of it," McCarthy said.
- The Chicago Bears expect defensive tackle Tommie Harris to play Sunday at Atlanta, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times. Harris returned Monday from a one-game suspension.
- Rookie defensive tackle Marcus Harrison has been a pleasant find, writes David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.
- The Detroit Lions are planning another offensive shift: Coach Rod Marinelli is paring down the playbook. "I feel like we're a little bit scattered right now," Marinelli said Monday. Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press has details.
- Marinelli is sensitive to suggestions that he won't use his young players, writes John Niyo of the Detroit News. Marinelli, correctly, attributes that sense to an illogical public outcry for second-year quarterback Drew Stanton.
View the Vikings' official list of cuts here, where you can also access their 53-man roster as it stands now.
Biggest surprise: There were no shockers among the releases. Probably the biggest surprise was the release of receiver Martin Nance, who had a productive preseason. Ultimately, however, it was going to be hard for him to beat out Aundrae Allison or Robert Ferguson. Otherwise, there were some mild surprises among the players the Vikings kept - at least for now. Tight end Garrett Mills was a summer disappointment because of a leg injury but he remains one of four tight ends on the roster. The other surprise was safety Michael Boulware going on injured reserve. Boulware played in the preseason finale Thursday at Dallas and was not a part of the post-game injury report.
No-brainers: Quarterback Brooks Bollinger was destined to be a roster casualty as soon as the Vikings drafted John David Booty in the fifth round. Booty didn't have an impressive summer, but he would have had to fall on his face for the Vikings to keep Bollinger another year. Meanwhile, linebacker Rufus Alexander wasn't the same this summer as he attempted to return from major knee surgery.
What's next: Several young players made the final 53-man roster but could ultimately become practice squad material. By making them part of their initial roster, the Vikings will avoid exposing them to the first round of waivers. That list includes linebackers David Herron and Erin Henderson, as well as cornerback Husain Abdullah. They could be the first to go if the Vikings sign any veterans or make any waiver claims this weekend.