A position breakdown of the guys outside the "core group" that could make a huge difference in the 2011 season
With the preseason officially over and game week on the horizon we obviously have our "locks". Often it's guys outside the first 25 or so that will make or not make a decisive play in a number games each year. Nows the time to take a look at who could make up the bottom of the "Right 53" as well as a possible practice squad. Here's a position breakdown w some possibilities. Im sure mine will differ from some... Let us know what you think OFFENSE QB- I think all 3 are safe... For now. Should a veteran QB get a pink slip soon expect us too take a long look. Otherwise at this point I see Cassel and Palko on 53 w Ricky a possible 3rd qb on gameday. Or he could grow into an NFL qb on the practice squad.
RB- Tough one. Got a real crowded room in the backfield. My Spidey sense tells me Jamaal's safe. Joining him should be Mclean, and most likely TJ but between the Baldwin issue and a low YPC and Mclean very capable in short yard situations might not be as mich of a lock as he seems. Battle's a workhorse w a ton of ST ability and the coaches in his corner so look for him to find a way on. That leaves Cox and Bannon, and Dex who's I guess technically a WR but hasn't taken a practice rep there all camp while looking rather dangerous out of the backfield. My thoughts are Cox and Bannon will be sent packing but TJ could be a shocking cut
OL- Another spot that could have us scouring the waiver wire. Not very deep after our first 5-6. After the starters Huddys a lock while the oft injured Gaither seems to be a staff favorite. He should get the nod assuming he's healthy. Look for UDFA Butch Lewis out of USC and David Mims to get some consideration as well
WR- Prob the toughest spot of all to gauge w numerous spots locked and a number of viable candidates vying for 2-3 spots at max. The 3 B's have sewn up spots (Bowe,Breaston,Baldwin) while Urban has come on strong w a good camp as well. As I see it now that leaves veterans Terrance Copper and Keary Colbert along w youngster Verran Tucker jockeying for the last 2 spots. Coppers a proven vet who is very reliable and prob offers the most of the 3 on ST, that could give him the nod over Colbert but I wouldn't bet my house on either. Tucker has shown flashes of playmaking ability but has left one or two chances to lock down a spot on the field. Normally Id say keep TC and KC and maybe PS Tucker however very slim chance he clears waivers if they should try. So I give the 2 spots to TC and VT w Colbert either joining another team ASAP or being on call to immediately return should the need arise.
TE- Another interesting battle where normally Pope and Moeaki would make this competition nearly impossibly to crack however w Moeaki leaving the GB game w an injury that some are saying may be more serious then initially thought and youngster Slate flashing some ability now becomes more interesting. Slates receiving and ST ability have really shone though while veteran Oconnell has been singed up and UDFA Gantt hasn't has too many opportunities to show much. At this point I see one TE spot open after Pope and Tony and right now it belongs to Cody Slate. Anthony Becht may also get a look being recently signed as well
Now I'll quickly explore possible Practice Squad candidates bases on training camp and preseason games:
OL- -Butch Lewis has shown he can play throughout camp. Has been forced to take a lot of reps and has shown he may turn out to be a serviceable backup at numerous positions -David Mims is a large human being and despite being very raw, you can teach 6'8" so he may be a tackle project for Bill Muir on the PS
RB- - Shane Bannon out of Yale hasn't shown much since being the first man to carry for us this preseason. He's a big boy who can run a little though and w Battle not PS eligible this could be a serious option although i haven't seen much by ways of receiving skills from him.
WR- - Jeremy Horne could return to the PS for a while longer but he may have made enough plays between last years camp and now at WR and ST to warrant another team to take a shot and claim him. Still a possibility however. - Zeke Markshausen has caught a few balls for some short gains but may have given away his slim shot by dropping TD passes in Balt and vs St Louis. Doesn't seem to have much of a ST upside either lacking size and seemingliy not possessing much speed -Chandler Williams was let go earlier however from what I saw in St Joes def showed flashes. Rather impressive in 1 on 1's getting off the line w ease. However seemed like a different player once the bright list of the game came on. Numerous drops. - Chris Manno is another one of the more interesting cases. Was waived early on but at St joes seemed to fly around the field and catch the ball rather well. Not much game time at receiver but actually jumped out on ST again looking to posses very good speed and effort. Interesting story, coming from arena football. Prob raw but with some Big League coaching may be worth a longer look Josue Paul- Was rooting for him to make himself noticed w his big frame however he did in the wrong sense taking 3 ST penalties on limited opportunities and getting very little seemingly unproductive time at receiver. Coming from a small school, bright lights may have gotten to him
TE- -Charlie Gantt was a guy on many draft boards however fell into the Chiefs lap when all 32 teams passed. Big body posseses surprisingly good hands and if in fact Slate sticks o the 53 he could be a PS option.
Hope this helps us gauge where we may be. This took longer then expected, will follow up on defense soon. Let us know what you think