With the fourth and final game in the books, it's time for one of the worst part of the season for over 20 individuals -- they will be without a job. Some players will make our practice squad, and some players will get looks from other teams. Nonetheless, it'll be a nerve-racking over the next two days for everyone on the bubble.
I thought I was relatively set on my 53-man roster prior to the Bears game, but guess what happened? Throughout the game, I saw about seven-eight of our backup players helped off the field due to injury. I'm sure the trainers were simply being careful, but now they have seven-eight more excuses to just toss someone on the IR. That, along with some strong and inconsistent play from various players, will call for some tough cuts. Here is my second and final official roster projection for the Cleveland Browns 2008-2009 NFL season:
The above list contains 53 players that I kept, and 24 players that I cut or were already cut. I placed seven people (represented by an asterisk [*]) on the practice squad. League rules allow for eight players to be on the practice squad, so at the moment my projection is that we'd sign one person from a different team after they've cleared waivers.
Here is a list of people who did not appear on the roster due to injuries:
DL Chase Pittman (Projected Injured Reserve)
LB Beau Bell (Projected Injured Reserve)
CB Daven Holly (Injured Reserve)
WR Kevin Kasper (Injured Reserve)
WR Joe Jurevicius (Physically Unable to Perform List)
DE Christian Mohr (International Practice Squad Exemption)
General Roster Projection Notes
- Roster Additions: Compared to my first roster projection, these are two new players appearing on my final roster: DL Ahtyba Rubin and CB Travis Daniels.
- Roster Subtractions: Compared to my first roster projection, there are the two players that were removed in favor of the additions above: WR Steve Sanders (cut) and LB Beau Bell .
- Biggest Change: It would probably be the subtraction of rookie LB Beau Bell. Ideally, it'd be nice to get him some experience this year, and he should be back a fourth of the way into the season. Here's how I look at it though: who is he going to play ahead of? Right now, the team has to like Andra Davis, D'Qwell Jackson, Leon Williams, Kris Griffin, and Shantee Orr ahead of him if necessary. Bell has also missed valuable training camp time and would be behind. Sitting him for the season could be the best option.
- Different Story: Why then, did Martin Rucker not go on the injured reserve too? It's easier to go out there and catch the ball than to learn a whole defensive system, and Rucker was drafted as an immediate need I believe: we want a better pass-catching tight end than Steve Heiden when Winslow is in the slot.
- Jeremy Perry: This was my biggest oddball addition probably, but there is a method to it. Last season, Perry actually made our final roster. He was cut right before Week 1 though so that the team could sign punter Paul Ernster (due to Zastudil's injury at the time). Perry has had multiple years with former defensive backs coach (now defensive coordinator) Mel Tucker, which helps his odds. Then, if we sign a veteran cornerback soon (like Ty Law), we can waive him again without affecting the status/hopes of a player we'd rather have on the practice squad (A.J. Davis).
- Defensive Line Changes: The Browns spent a fifth-round pick on Ahtyba Rubin, and I don't think we want to risk letting him go. On the same note, Louis Leonard has looked pretty good by my assessment, and we all saw how much depth we lacked at the position last year. One injury, and we'd be down to a rookie in Rubin as our lone backup. Because Rubin made my final roster now, I was able to place Melila Purcell on the practice squad. I also shoved Chase Pittman on the injured reserve due to his "injury" from last night's game.
- Travis Key: I am literally dying to put Key on my roster instead of Perry for several reasons. I love playmakers, and that's the only thing Key has done since being signed. However, I was unable to assess his special teams abilities, and I don't think he'd see any playing time unless an injury came up. Getting him through to the practice squad would make me very happy though.
- David McMillan: Like last time, sorry -- Alex Hall appears to be way ahead of him on the depth chart, and he never really stood out the entire preseason. Unless Antwan Peek gets IR'ed, McMillan is gone.
- Mixed: Not really sure why I put LB Chase Ortiz on the practice squad; it was more so just to get a linebacker on there.
- Isaac Sowells: Yesterday I really made an effort to pay attention to him, and I was disgusted by how horrible/lazy he looked at defending some pretty weak pass rushing attempts. I was ready to cut him on impulse, but my initial reasons for keeping him still have to take precedence. Also, depending on the severity of Rex Hadnot's injury, if Ryan Tucker is at guard on opening day, he won't be available for backup tackle. And, remember: we kept Nat Dorsey last year despite how bad he played.
And that's a wrap. I'm going to use this as my entry to the Cleveland Browns 53-man roster projection contest, so hopefully I did a pretty good job. Please share your opinions and any changes you would've made to my list.