In today's Labor Day edition of Around the Pound, we talk about the rest of the Browns' practice squad, what's up with cornerback Quincy Butler, how the Ravens' passing game got a whole lot better, and some brief notes on my assessment of the Chicago Bears game.
Practice Squad Sees the Return of Jordan Norwood
The Cleveland Browns signed two more players to the practice squad -- WR Jordan Norwood and RB Andre Anderson. If Norwood's name sounds familiar, it should. He was a member of the Browns roster all of training camp last year and had a decent chance at making the roster. I had hoped he would initially make the Browns practice squad, but the Eagles chose to sign him to their practice squad instead. Now, Norwood is back and would probably have a great chance of coming up if one of our receivers goes down with an injury. He had 4 catches for 35 yards in the preseason with Philadelphia.
Anderson comes over after spending time in camp with the Buffalo Bills. The undrafted free agent out of Tulane finished the preseason with 16 carries for 73 yards, a 4.56 yards per carry average. He also had two catches for 18 yards.
Norwood and Anderson join the team's other practice squad members: OL Pat Murray, OL Paul Fanaika, DL Brian Sanford, DT Travis Ivey, CB DeAngelo Smith, and S Larry Asante.
Brett Ratliff Headed to Jacksonville
I was surprised to hear that QB Brett Ratliff was headed to the practice squad of the Jacksonville Jaguars. I guess it makes sense since he hasn't played in many games actually, but with how long he's been in the league the thought of placing him on one just slipped my mind.
Revis Ends Holdout, Ravens Sign Houshmandzadeh, Leinart Finds New Team
A few teams got a lot better after cutdown day, namely the New York Jets and the Baltimore Ravens. First off, the Jets reached an agreement with cornerback Darrelle Revis on a new contract, further bolstering their defense as the season gets ready to begin. Revis received a four-year deal with $46 million, with $32 million guaranteed. See reaction at Gang Green Nation.
Additionally, it looks as if the Ravens have signed wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. That means three big-name receivers have come to the AFC North this year -- Terrell Owens, Anquan Boldin, and now Houshmandzadeh. Baltimore now features a group with veteran Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin, Houshmandzadeh, and Donte Stallworth (when he returns from injury). The Browns' cornerbacks are going to have their hands full with those guys. The threat of covering them, along with the Ravens having Ray Rice in the backfield, sounds mighty dangerous. See reaction at Baltimore Beatdown.
Lastly, quarterback Matt Leinart quickly found a new team: the Houston Texans. Ummm...what? I really don't understand why the Texans felt the need to grab Leinart so quickly. They already have a sure-starter in Matt Schaub, and for an emergency backup, I don't really think Leinart has proven anything. See reaction at Battle Red Blog.
Did We Sign Quincy Butler?
Despite Abram Elam's tweet that the team signed cornerback Quincy Butler yesterday, as of today there haven't been any definitive sources saying that the team has done so. The Browns haven't waived anyone yet either, according to the transaction wire.
Chicago Bears Game Review: Cliff Notes Version
Considering the Browns waived a bunch of players that played in the Bears game, it doesn't seem to make much sense for me to go back and comment on the players as if they had a chance of returning to the team. So, here is a cliff notes version instead:
- It was probably the best effort we've seen from Colt McCoy this preseason, although it still wasn't a great one despite the fact that he went 13-of-13. He had a rough first quarter, fumbling on his first exchange and also trying to tuck the ball and run when he did have time to throw for a change. He seemed to get a little better working off of playaction and I liked the throws he delivers to the running backs over the middle. He could use the year of sitting on the bench.
- It was a real shame to see Montario Hardesty go down, but it's best to not even think about the "what could have been." We still have a tough runner in Peyton Hillis to work with, and I was pleased with the acceleration James Davis showed. Davis had the type of game he needed to secure a roster spot in the absence of Hardesty.
- We saw a few nice hits from safety Larry Asante, but when I look at the fact that we were able to keep him on the practice squad, I don't mind that at all. This will probably tick golanbatrac off, but having Nick Sorensen and Ray Ventrone contributing on special teams aces, something that worked well last year, should help our special teams unit be just as effective this year.
Phil Dawson missed a 58-yarder, but had the distance and later drilled a game-winning field goal. I'm as confident as I have ever been in Dawson. I have to give a little bit of credit to Reggie Hodges too, who I felt has booted the ball with a little bit more hang time recently. Maybe I'm just imagining things. The two big special teams players were Jason Trusnik (two tackles) and DeAngelo Smith (two tackles, one blocked punt).
- From my last roster projection before cuts, I correctly picked 49 of 53 players (92.4%) who would be on the Browns' roster, which isn't too bad. The players I missed were three linebackers (Eric Barton, David Veikune, Titus Brown) and WR Carlton Mitchell. The players who I thought would make the team but didn't were RB Chris Jennings, OT Scott Kooistra, CB Brandon McDonald, and S Larry Asante.