Titans cut 19, roster stands at 56: who stays, who goes?

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The Titans today made most of the headway on the cutdown of the roster from the currently-permitted 75 players to the 53 man they must be at Saturday at 4 PM ET.   Per The Tennessean, The list of guys cut so far includes:

LB Rocky Boiman FB/TE Casey Cramer, CB Tanard Davis, OL Ryan Durand, CB DeMarcus Faggins, RB Rodney Ferguson, S Tuff Harris, WR Mark Jones, DT Mitch King, OT Cory Lekkerkerker, WR Phillip Morris, TE Matthew Mulligan, OL Jason Murphy, DT LaJuan Ramsey, S Nick Schommer, LB Josh Stamer, P A.J. Trapasso, OL Fernando Velasco, WR Paul Williams

After the cuts, the Titans’ roster looks about like this:


QB (3): Kerry Collins, Patrick Ramsey, Vince Young

RB/FB (6): Quinton Ganther, Ahmard Hall, Chris Henry, Chris Johnson, Javon Ringer, LenDale White

WR (5): Kenny Britt, Dominique Edison, Justin Gage, Lavelle Hawkins, Nate Washington

TE (4): Jared Cook, Alge Crumpler, Bo Scaife, Craig Stevens

OL (8): Eugene Amano, Leroy Harris, Troy Kropog, Kevin Mawae, Mike Otto, Michael Roos, Jake Scott, David Stewart

DE (6): David Ball, Larry Birdine, Jacob Ford, William Hayes, Jevon Kearse, Kyle Vanden Bosch

DT (5): Tony Brown, Jovan Haye, Jason Jones, Sen’Derrick Marks, Kevin Vickerson

LB (7.5): Colin Allred, Keith Bulluck, Ryan Fowler, Stanford Keglar, Gerald McRath, David Thornton, Stephen Tulloch

CB (5): Cortland Finnegan, Nick Harper, Jason McCourty, Ryan Mouton, Cary Williams

S (4): Vinny Fuller, Michael Griffin, Chris Hope, Donnie Nickey

K (1): Rob Bironas

P (1): Craig Hentrich

LS (1): Ken Amato

To get from 56 to 53, I see two names that jump out: RB Chris Henry and DE Larry Birdine.  Both players impressed at times during the preseason, but are behind too many other players to see a realistic shot of sticking around.  Beyond those two names, though, it’s difficult to choose the exact cut.  I still believe the Titans would like to keep only 9 defensive linemen, so I’d expect them to try to move one of the extra bodies, with Kevin Vickerson still the most likely candidate.

Thoughts on each position:
QB: I’ve been fairly insistent in my previous predictions that the Titans will in fact carry 3 QBs.  I’ll go back on that a little, though-Ramsey is a vested veteran, so if the Titans carry him on the roster Week 1, they’ll be on the hook for his salary for the entire season.  I could see them cutting him, then picking him back up after Week 2.  I don’t think they’re at a serious risk of losing him to another team if they cut him.

RB/FB: I know Jim Wyatt wrote Chris Henry has a $420,000 guarantee, but that won’t be enough to save his roster spot.  I think Ganther has a very good case for a spot as Hall’s backup and special teams guy, but he’s another candidate for a not-in-Week-1 cut.

WR: They have 5, when they’ve carried 6 or 7 in the past.  The question I have here is whether or not they’re willing to admit Hawkins looks like a mistake-they tend to hold on to guys too long (Paul Williams, Shad Meier, Byron Frisch), but seemingly continuous mental mistakes strongly suggest he’s not going to get better.  Matt Jones-maybe, I doubt it, for reasons discussed in this post.  In terms of other guys around the league who could get cut, nobody stands out as possibly fitting the blocker or return guy role they could be looking for with Hawk’s spot.  One name that intrigued me was Super Bowl hero David Tyree of the Giants, so I asked Giants fan Bill Barnwell of Football Outsiders about him:

[He’s] more of a pest than anything else, not really someone who can
sustain a block on a corner. Good special teams guy in his prime,
probably still worth the roster spot for that at the veteran minimum.

Call it a maybe, but whoever they bring in will have to play special teams to justify his roster spot.

TE:  This quartet looks pretty chalk to me.  Stevens is being kept at least as much for 2010 and beyond as for 2009.

OL:  This is another group where I’m pretty comfortable we’ve nailed the people who’ll be on the roster Week 1.

DE:  As noted above, Birdine is an odd man out.  I’ve mentioned Kearse’s name before, and have seen Ball’s as well, but I expect to see both next Thursday night.

DT:  They’ll hate themselves if they keep 5 DTs in addition to 5 DEs-that’s really a failure of roster management, and it’ll handcuff them.  The only alternatives are leaving themselves too thin elsewhere or letting go a good player they want in their rotation or for the future.  They really set themselves up for failure here, with Brown and Jones returning as clearcut guys, Vickerson as a very useful guy, and then both signing Haye in free agency and using a pick on Marks.  As I mentioned in my previous roster guess, 10 DL makes up too many of your inactives, though that’s more likely to be an issue later in the season.

LB: It seems like I keep underestimating Colin Allred-I was down on his chances of making the roster last season, and have excluded him from my previous roster predictions, favoring Josh Stamer.  Kudos to Andrew for what looks like a hit.  He may be the guy to go, though, if and when they add a body to the secondary. 

CB: With Mouton’s injury, it seems likely to me that they’ll add a body here.  The most recognizable name on the market right now is probably Rod Hood, who’s been cut by the Browns and then also the Bears in the last week or so.  He’d provide the veteran savvy the Titans lost when they cut DeMarcus Faggins, without being quite as bad a player.  He’d be somebody to go when Mouton was fully healthy.  I don’t know marginal corners around the league enough to mention any other decent options, but I’m sure the Titans do and are looking at them.

S: I know people don’t like Donnie Nickey, or liked Tuff Harris.  After Jones’ cut was announced, I thought Harris might be the beneficiary of a roster space thanks to punt returning ability, but apparently not.

K/P/LS: None of those should be news to anybody.

How bout you?  Who are your three cuts, and what positions might the Titans look to improve with players from other teams?

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9 Responses to “Titans cut 19, roster stands at 56: who stays, who goes?”

  1. Andrew Strickert Says:

    Drexel is planning on writing something tomorrow on waiver wire cuts who might help the Titans. The depth is shaky in the secondary and at WR so any additions should be at those spots.
    Birdine has got to be one of the final three cuts. Don’t know why his name hasn’t been announced yet.
    Henry or Ganther will go. I’ve liked Ganther for a long time and have to think the Titans are looking at his injury before keeping him. Is it possible they’re trying to trade Henry? It’s hard to imagine a team trading to get a guy who’ll probably be cut but it’s happened before.
    Ditto for Ryan Fowler. He could be traded if another team is willing to part with a late draft pick. I’m not sure you need to keep both Fowler and Allred. Fowler is a much better MLB, Allred is much better on teams. Which type is more valuable? Since the MLB usually comes off the field in nickel situations, it lessens the value for the Titans. I’d give the edge to Allred and his teams play.
    You mentioned the vested veterans’ salaries being guaranteed after Week One and Fowler’s $2.25M is the highest one of guys still on the bubble.

  2. Bob Loblaw Says:

    That Birdine hasn’t been cut suggests that they either have had some trade talks about him, or somebody else on the d-line, or that he’s pushing Kearse or Ball for a spot. I don’t know what Birdine’s contract looks like, but they have a bunch of linemen who all become FAs after this year.

  3. Scott Says:

    A few surprises so far – but nothing big. I thought both Jones and Faggins would make the team, if only because they provided a veteran presence at two positions where the Titans have very few veterans outside of their starters, and in the case of Jones is the only guy on the roster that has had success in the NFL in the return role.
    Despite Fisher’s comments about the return position, I have to think he will try to find someone on the waiver wire who could contribute at that position. I accept that Mouton, Britt and Ringer could all potentially return punts or kicks, but you would hate to take the risk of losing one of those guys to injury because they are returning a punt. I’d rather have a veteran on the roster who has that job as his primary responsibiity and has proven that he can do it well. The thought that Cortland or Griffin could be forced into returning kicks or punts just seems dumb to me, given the potential for injury and given that the Titans rely on them so much in the secondary.
    Stamer’s release also surprised me a bit. I assumed (without really knowing much about either guy) he was ahead of Allred on the depth chart and was a better special teams player, but I guess Fisher saw it differently in the end.
    And I agree with your comments Tom about the prospect of keeping 10 defensive linemen. Birdine has to be gone before the end of today and one of Kearse or Vickerson should be released as well. I wonder if the indecision, so far, on the DT and DE positions indicates that the Titans might be thinking that they made a mistake in signing Javon Haye to a big contract in the off season. He hasn’t stood out this pre-season and the only reason that I can think of that might compel the team to keep 5 DTs is that they are not happy with the 4-man rotation of Brown, Jones, Haye and Marks. If the Titans felt Haye was pulling his weight, then there would be no concern about letting Vickerson go – particlarly since William Hayes and Dave Ball could always step into play DT in a pinch.

  4. Jeff Says:

    Birdine has made plays all preseason. He’s impressed more than Ball has so far. Kearse may on the bubble as well as he’s not getting any younger and this is probably his last year in the league. The rookie McRath has made Stamer expendible. Seems every special teams tackle is made by the rook. Plus he’s led the team in tackles in a couple of preseason games. Plus, looks like we are keeping Nickey for ST so don’t know why we need to keep Stamer since ST is about all he’s good for.

  5. Tom Gower Says:

    Durand says he’s been told he’ll be on the practice squad if he clears waivers.

  6. JERRY Says:

    I guess allred shouldnt be a suprise because he was the only other defensive player to have a mic in his helmet last year besides bulluck. so that should say something as to how the coaches feel about him.

  7. Joel Bourgouin Says:

    I think they should get rid of Ramsey. If Kerry ever went down they can get a back without any problems. Which can’t be said for other positions on the roster.

  8. Alvin Says:

    Jones went because all he is is a returner, that position has to at least be a backup somewhere else. By letting him go this tells me they are keeping Ramsey (a mistake). This also tells me they are interested in trading VY.
    If I were making the decisions, I would have kept Jones cut Ramsey then pick him back up if you trade VY.
    I certainly hope we keep Vickerson, definitely going to make some roster if not the Titans. Got to think they have things in the works for keeping this many on the DL. And they have to bring in some backup at WR & CB.

  9. John Brewer Says:

    Consider this: Matt Jones was a better than average quarterback at Arkansas before the Jaqs made him a WR.
    Seems to me that would solve some backup QB problems for the Titans.

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