Notes on the cuts, and a final roster projection:
There were no surprises yesterday; of the (16) cuts, (11) were rookie FA, (3) were 1st year players and the other two (Codie and Loud) hadn�t shown much.� There are no cap implications; none of these men could have had top 51 compensation.� Now, the Stillers have (67) players; Sunday, they�ll have to be at (53) by 5:00PM Eastern Time.� Following is my final (53); there is no attempt here to project what the FO will do.�
(3) Quarterback:� Stewart, Martin and Maddox.� ������
This is no entirely cap-related.� The Stillers have scored (9) times in (3) preseason games.� Both Stewart and Martin have led (2) scoring drives, Maddox (5) and Graham (0).
(3) RB: Bettis, Zereoue and Fu.����������������������������������������������
Cut: (Faulkner), Rivers.
Most years, the Stillers carry (3) RB though there was a season when they carried (4) including ST captain Fred McAfee.� Rivers hasn�t shown me McAfee-like ability.�
(5) FB/TE:� Kreider and Janes with Breuner, Geason and Cushing.������
Cut: (Sprague and Gavadza), Witman and Tuman.
Most years, the Stillers carry (2) FB and (3) TE; when Whisenhunt coached the NYJ TE, that team carried a single FB and (4) TE.� It would be nice if the Stiller had (4) legit TE but sadly they do not.�� Ryan Sprague went out in the first set of cuts and Sprague had more pre-season receptions than �pass-catching TE� Jermane Tuman.�� Tuman showed his matador-esque blocking skills in Atlanta; he can�t block, he has (0) catches over (2) seasons, Tuman is to TE as Staat to NT.
Witman is an experienced FB but his back has kept him out of 2/3 pre-season games.� Witman is not reliable; that�s no fault of his but it is a fact.� This is not a cap move; the FB differential is 477-230, give or take.� Janes is a bit tall to play FB; he is listed at 6�-2�, an inch taller than Wit (and just a inch shorter than Tuman).� Bottom line: Janes is healthy and Witman is not and, unlike Tuman, Janes has yet to demonstrate that he can�t play a lick.� He might still; I reserve the right to change this slot if Janes stinks it out against the Bills!
The wildcard would be to keep Rivers, cutting Wit, Tuman and Janes while imagining that Fu could function as a back-up power-I FB.� IMO, Fu can�t do that and, further, Fu is the back-up power-I RB.� Amoz has skills but can�t run the same system as the Bus.� It makes no sense to drape Fu in FB drag and so, in sum, Janes is in by default
(5) WR: Spike, Ward, Toy, Brown, and Taylor
Cut:� (Getherall, Loud and Provitt), Baker and Blackwell.
����������� Trade:� Bobby Shaw
Most years, the Stillers carry (6) WR though many teams carry just (5).� IMO, the Stillers will be forced to carry (10) OL this season, (11) with Schneck.�� They�ve got to clear a spot somewhere and this is the place.� I like Tim Baker more than Chris Taylor but Taylor�s raw speed does balance the unit.� Brown can be a functional #4 and Taylor may be able to help on return teams.
(10) OL: Gandy, Faneca, Hartings, Tylski, Smith, Duffy, L.Tharpe, Nkwenti, Okobi and Vincent.
Cut: (Fehrman and Bobo), Mylinski and Ross.
Most years, the Stillers carry (9) but I like all (3) rookies listed.� It�ll come down to Vincent vs. Ross or some #6 WR or #10 DB.� Ross could be a #4 OT but, really, he has no more game experience than the rookies.
(7) DL:� Smith, Clancy, KVO, Hampton, Bailey, Combs and Hoke.
Cut: (Almanzer and N. Tharpe), Sullivan.
Most years, the Stillers carry (6) DL; most teams carry (8).� If the Stillers are going to play a 4-3 at all, they�ll need some bodies here.� Bailey showed me more than I expected; the #6 and #7 battle is between Combs, Hoke and Sullivan.� Sullivan can�t stay healthy and so, like Witman, he�s gone.
(8) LB: Porter, Bell, Holmes, Gildon, Fiala, Jones, Haggans and Kurpeikis.�
Cut: (Evitts and Smith), Thompson and Knight.
Most teams carry (15) Front 7 players and that�s the number here.�
(9) DB:� DW, Scott, Flowers, Alex, Townsend, Logan, Poteat, Simmons and Battles.
Cut: (Codie, Stukes and Sadler) Bell and Williams.
(5) CB and (4) safeties.� This comes down to Simmons, Battles and Bell for the last (2) spots.� Since the Stillers have a plenty of experience at safety, I�d keep the younger players.
(3) Specialists:� Miller, Brown and Schneck.
WR Baker and Getherall, a LB, a FB and a DB (maybe Sadler).
Veteran FA still available:� Graham, Witman, Shaw, Blackwell, Mylinski and Sullivan are all top 51 salaries.� With the savings, the Stillers may be able to afford both Cortez Kennedy and Erik Williams.� If Kennedy came in, I�d let Hoke go and, in the 3-4, move Clancy out to RDE.��� IMO, Williams would be as likely to displace Tharpe as Vincent; Tharpe is a technician but his conditioning puts limits on his PT.�