This week of joint practice with the Miami Dolphins leading up to PS3 on Thursday night has a little less urgency than we were previously used to, because there will be no preliminary roster cuts as in the past.
That’s because back in May the NFL owners voted to eliminate the first roster cut-down period.
“In a move that improves chances for roster longshots but also intensifies a frantic, end-of-preseason period for head coaches and general managers, NFL owners voted to eliminate the first cut-down period forcing teams to trim their roster to 75 before the final preseason game.”
“This move essentially gives 480 players (15 per team) the chance to remain on the roster for one final audition. Already desperate for more film, the league’s bottom-of-the-roster players should consider the decision a major victory.”
If you’re like me, you may have forgotten about this roster cut rule change. I am conditioned to report on the first round of cuts which used to come after PS Game 3.
As Connor Orr continues, “For those who have long adored the reality TV show Hard Knocks, [having two] cut down days had become a staple of the league calendar — a time of extreme highs and lows for players looking to hang on and coaches searching for hidden gems on other rosters. Trimming 37 players at once will make for some enjoyable, organized chaos.”
In the past, this PS 3 week was one where many general managers had already compiled a list of players on other teams likely to be released and potential scenarios where they could add key pieces. Under the new rules, they will have to be more quick-footed, as the market will be flooded with an influx of potential talent all at once.
Connor Orr also points out: “On the bright side for coaches, they will not have to strip their rosters before the fourth preseason game — often a week where teams simply hope to avoid any major injuries. As time wears on in that final game, they could give themselves one more live look at a player battling for a final spot on the season roster.”
So while the new schedule for roster cuts takes away a lot of the drama which would normally be associated with the Eagles PS3 game against the Dolphins, it does create a new opportunity for players on the bubble to make their mark.
My understanding is there will be no “live” hitting or tackling down to the ground when the Eagles and Dolphins practice together this week. But you know how that goes sometimes. There is always the likelihood of an “accidental” collision, like in Sunday’s Eagles practice. As Chris McPherson reported, a linebacker and cornerback Rasul Douglas collided with wide receiver Shelton Gibson on a pass attempt in the middle of the field. The pop forced the ball out for an incompletion.
For those of us impressed with rookie DE Derek Barnett so far, he sat out Sunday’s practice with what the team is calling a “lower body” injury. Not sure exactly what a “lower body” injury really means…why can’t the Eagles be a little more specific in their injury reports? I see this same kind of elusive injury reporting from John Harbaugh’s Ravens, too. John will tell you a player is resting because of a “minor knee soreness”, then 12 missed weeks of playing time later he will tell you the player “is making good progress.” The player in this case, WR and 1st-round pick Breshad Perriman, ended up missing his entire rookie year with “minor knee soreness”.
Anyway, with Barnett temporarily (we hope!) out of action, it just means more 2nd-team reps for Steven Means, fresh off of his two sacks in the win over the Bills on Thursday night.
Offensive lineman Josh Andrews hasn’t been practicing due to a hand injury.
Defensive end Derek Barnett was out with a “lower-body” injury.
Wide receiver Bryce Treggs remains sidelined with lower leg soreness.
Wide receiver Paul Turner is still recovering from a shoulder injury.
P.S.—in the photo above, that’s the “ToddFather”—alumnus Todd Herremans — visiting the team practice. Still looks like Herremans can play, eh?