What We Learned This Week in the NFL Preseason:
- Teams make roster cuts early
- Arizona Cardinals Rashard Mendenhall out with knee injury
- Jets having QB troubles
- Steelers Jarvis Jones released from hospital for chest injury
It’s cut down day in the NFL. Technically, teams have until Tuesday afternoon to shed the excess weight from their rosters down to 75 players but a few teams took the opportunity to trim down over the weekend. Among the notable players cut from other teams include Josh Cribbs from the Raiders who everyone remembers from his as a kick returner with the Browns. Remember, “We’ve been dead Indians in his cowboy movie enough.” Tomlin said in a press conference leading up to a game against the Browns in December of 2011. Visanthe Shiancoe was cut from the Baltimore Ravens, who are still searching for the tight end to replace Dennis Pitta for the season.
The Steelers cut their roster down to 75 Sunday by releasing 11 players and placing others on the reserve, waived, and injured lists. LB Sean Spence was placed on the PUP and OG Justin Cheadle and CB DeMarcus Van Dyke were placed on the waived/injured list. Rookie DE Nick Williams was placed on the reserved/injured list. The notable players released were WR David Gilreath, QB John Parker Wilson, LB Stevenson Sylvester, and RB Baron Batch. You had to see that move coming with Batch with the acquisition of Felix Jones last week. If Baron had been showing that he could have contributed anything on the rushing game or special teams, he would have gotten his roster spot but unfortunately he hasn’t contributed much so far in camp or the preseason. I hear he makes a tasty salsa though.
Speaking of running backs, former Steelers and current Steelers West running back Rashard Mendenhall is nursing a knee injury and has been sent for an MRI. Mendy hurt that same knee he tore his ACL on at the end of 2011. The severity of the injury isn’t known yet but its bad timing for the Cardinals. Mendy was running well the past two weeks in the preseason and this could be a costly setback. What’s to worry about though? You have Carson Palmer, you’re good.
One team that is actually worse off at the quarterback position than a team starting Carson Palmer, if you can believe that, is the New York Jets. The Jets started Geno Smith at quarterback for their all-important third preseason game against the Giants on Saturday night. In response to the dress rehearsal, Smith threw three interceptions in the first half and looked generally not NFL-ready, but pretty Jets-ready if you ask me. Then Rex Ryan, in his infinite wisdom, decided to play Mark Sanchez in the fourth quarter behind the second string offense. Sanchez went on to fumble his first snap and then get injured on the following possession. Ryan blew up at the media during the post-game press conference following the Jets’ win in OT over the Giants when asked about the decision to play Sanchez. Time out for a second. Why do preseason games go into overtime? Seriously, why in the world wouldn’t they just end in a tie? The final scores don’t matter, the outcomes don’t matter. Why subject everyone involved to extra preseason football? It seems totally unnecessary. Ok, end of rant. Now back to the Jets and their dumpster fire of a team. The press is actually calling for the firing of Rex Ryan in negative Week 2 of the season. Has a coach ever been fired in the preseason before? I might have been wrong when I said that the Jets weren’t even going to be entertaining this season.
Steelers top draft pick Jarvis Jones was having an outstanding preseason. He was showing himself to not only be capable of taking the starting position away from Jason Worilds, but also that he could just be the defensive playmaker the Steelers have been needing. Unfortunately, we can’t have nice things. Jones went down during the fourth quarter of the game after he came down hard intercepting a pass (the interception was nullified by a Josh Victorian Penalty) and appeared to have the wind knocked out of him. Jones was taken to the hospital following the game for further examination. He was released Sunday after tests were negative on his chest injury. Hopefully it’s minor because his production this season could be major.