Fisher explains decision to cut Blount

The Titans didn’t have an easy decision when they released RB LeGarrette Blount after initially putting the undrafted free agent on the 53-man roster. Coach Jeff Fisher explained the call Tuesday.

Tennessee wanted to add special teams depth and, in order to do so, added LBs Tim Shaw and Patrick Bailey to boost the unit. The roster crunch left Blount on the outside looking in.

“That was an emphasis for us when we started camp, and we made the commitment that we were going to do whatever we could, and I think both Tim and Patrick are certainly going to help in that area,” Fisher said.

Blount landed on the Buccaneers’ 53-man roster, which had some Titans fans upset. It also leaves Tennessee with just two running backs (Chris Johnson and backup Javon Ringer) on the roster.

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Blount’s journey takes him to Tampa

Former Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount was claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday. Since Blount was claimed, he will be on Tampa Bay’s 53-man roster.

Blount, who went undrafted, was released by Tennessee on Sunday with the Titans hoping to re-sign him to their practice squad.

Tampa Bay has had its eye on Blount for some time and brought him in for a pre-draft workout. Blount now joins fellow “On the Fringe” participant Cody Grimm as a member of the Buccaneers.

Steve Wyche


Blount waived; practice squad next?

LeGarrette Blount‘s time on the Tennessee Titans’ 53-man roster was short lived.

Blount was waived by the team on Sunday to help make room for players who were claimed off waivers. Blount, along with linebacker Stanford Keglar, were waived when the Titans were awarded linebackers Tim Shaw and Patrick Bailey off waivers.

The Titans still have two spots available on the eight-man practice squad, which could be a landing spot for Blount with the Titans if he clears waivers. The Titans currently have six players on the 2010 practice squad: defensive lineman Hall Davis, wide receiver Dominique Edison, cornerback Pete Ittersagen, center Kevin Matthews, safety Myron Rolle and linebacker Patrick Trahan.


Blount does enough to stick with Titans

Oregon rookie LeGarrette Blount is part of the Titans’ 53-man roster.

Tennessee has released running backs Samkon Gado — Blount’s biggest threat — and Alvin Pearman, leaving Blount as the No. 3.

Best known for being suspended following a post-game punch of a Boise State player last season — a transgression that led to him going undrafted — Blount had a solid preseason and will be the Titans’ short-yardage back. Chris Johnson and Javon Ringer are the top two running backs.

Steve Wyche


Blount’s strong finale makes Titans’ decision tough

All LeGarrette Blount can do at this point is sit back and wait.

Blount, trying to make the Titans’ final 53-man roster after going undrafted in April, ended the preseason on a positive note, rushing 15 times for 59 yards and a touchdown in Tennessee’s 27-24 victory over the Saints on Thursday.

And so the situation stands like this with final cuts looming Saturday: Chris Johnson (duh), Javon Ringer and fullback Ahmard Hall are locks. That leaves Blount in the mix with veterans Samkon Gado and Alvin Pearman for at least one more spot in the backfield.

Gado rushed 13 times for 63 yards, including a 31-yard gain, while Pearman had six carries for 36 yards and a touchdown against New Orleans.

If there’s one thing Blount can hang his hat on is that he has made it difficult for Titans coach Jeff Fisher to cut him.

“If you take into consideration who was out there, you could justify and say, ‘Well, you couldn’t have done this with that group or this group.’ The bottom line is when you hand the ball off, you should make plays and we did,” Fisher said after the game. “We moved piles … we’ve got a lot of tough decisions to make over the next couple days.”


Last chance to make an impression

We’re winding down the 2010 version of On the Fringe and tonight’s final preseason games could be very important for all, but especially two of the four players we’ve followed. (San Diego wide receiver Gary Banks has been cut and is waiting for his next opportunity). Teams have to trim rosters to 53 players Saturday so the next few days for LeGarrette Blount, Ricky Foley, Alex Boone and Cody Grimm, will be precarious.

Let’s examine where our guys stand:

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tennessee Titans: He needs to show well when the Titans play host to the Saints. He figures to get some extended playing time, maybe as soon as late in the first quarter or early in the second.

The 240-pound Blount spent most of the preseason feeling pretty comfortable that he was the perfect short-yardage back. Then he got a dose of NFL reality when the Titans signed free agent Samkon Gado, who immediately played well — and ahead of Blount — in Tennessee’s Week 2, preseason victory over Arizona. Gado’s presence (19 yards on nine preseason carries) seemed to spur Blount (16 carries, 59 yards) but the undrafted rookie from Oregon needs to prove he’s more worthy than the fifth-year veteran.

I remember asking Blount during our initial interview for this project if he understood that teams can bring in players at any time to compete with him or replace him. I wasn’t sure if he understood the seriousness of it then. I’m sure he does now.

Chance to make the final roster: Pretty good

Ricky Foley, OLB, Jets: Foley was signed Tuesday after being cut by Seattle, so his knowledge of the Jets’ defense will be minimal, especially since they play a 3-4 scheme and he was working in a 4-3 front in Seattle. That change isn’t as easy as it seems.

I’d expect Foley to only be used on special teams and in some pass-rushing situations against the Eagles. He might get some extended action late. That’s not much time for the former Canadian Football League sack specialist to impress, so he better not waste a snap. He also needs to stay disciplined because Michael Vick can make you look bad on backside bootleg runs.

The Jets are looking for depth with OLB Calvin Pace out so Foley has a chance. The Jets clearly have had their eye on him, seeing as though they claimed him off waivers shortly after being released.

Chance to make the final roster: Questionable

Alex Boone, OT, 49ers: Boone will probably get in the game early and play extended snaps against visiting San Diego. Boone seems in really good position to make the team, having spent much of the preseason working as the No. 2 left tackle. The former practice squad player can’t afford to let down, though. He’s ascended up the depth chart, but a bad outing could show the coaching staff that maybe it doesn’t mean as much to him as they thought and he could get pushed back to the practice squad if there is a numbers crunch when rosters need to be trimmed.

Chance to make the final roster: Very good

Cody Grimm, S, Tampa Bay: Grimm has really turned heads over the past few weeks and is listed as the No. 2 free safety behind emerging standout Tanard Jackson. Grimm (eight tackles, one pass defensed) should play the majority of the game at safety and on special teams vs. Houston, which will test him repeatedly in the passing game.

Chance to make the final roster: Very good

Steve Wyche


Blount trying to deal with pressure

The clock is ticking for several players heading into tonight’s final slate of preseason games. A great performance could seal a roster spot, while a crucial mistake could land someone on the waiver wire.

Rookie running back LeGarrette Blount appears to be having a hard time focusing because of the pressure.

“It definitely weighs on your mind,” Blount told The Tennessean on Thursday, “the fact that this could be your job for the remainder of the year, and also it couldn’t. It is extremely hard to block it out. To be honest, I can’t block it out completely.”

Blount remains locked in a battle to make Tennessee’s 53-man roster with Samkon Gado, a veteran used fighting for a job, having been on five teams since coming into the league in 2005.

“When you worry about it, it affects your play,” Gado told The Tennessean. “I have learned as I’ve been in the league the most important thing is to make the most of your opportunity and not play on the defensive, play on the offensive.”

Blount and Gado will get to state their case one more time when the Titans host the Saints. Who will rise to the occasion?


Blount ‘a little on edge’ heading into final preseason game

LeGarrette Blount opens up about what he thinks his chances are of making the Titans’ final 53-man roster. His last chance to impress the coaching staff before final cuts is this week.


Insider takes: Cuts around corner

With teams needing to cut down to 75 players by Tuesday and down to the final 53-man roster right around the corner, it’s crunch time for’s On the Fringe guys.

We’ve already seen one casualty, as the Seahawks released Ricky Foley on Monday. Here’s how the rest stack up, according to the beat writers who have followed them daily during training camp and the preseason:

LeGarrette Blount has the bruising running style the Titans want for a change of pace to the lightning-quick Chris Johnson. Blount has the skills to be an effective runner in between the tackles, and is powerful enough to get the third-and-1 conversions. But the Titans already have a guy capable of doing those things in second-year back Javon Ringer.

Most people figured Blount entered training camp in a two-man battle with Stafon Johnson for a roster spot as the No. 3 back. When Stafon Johnson went down with a season-ending ankle injury, it opened the door for Blount even wider. Yet Blount has a lot to learn as a rookie, especially in pass protection. It’s why his chances of making this 53-man roster aren’t especially good. Blount’s best chance to stick around figures to be on the practice squad.

Jim Wyatt, The Tennessean


Everybody knew Cody Grimm had the name, but what about his game? Turns out the son of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Russ Grimm has played well enough as a rookie to earn his way onto the Bucs’ roster and perhaps in the safety rotation.

“Guys’ seats are always on fire,” defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said. “There’s always somebody ready to play and replace you.”

Grimm is one of those players. He is sixth on the team with nine tackles this preseason and may see more playing time with the concussion suffered by Sabby Piscitelli Saturday against Jacksonvolle.

Grimm still has room for improvement. Against the Jags, he entered the game in the third quarter and made a touchdown-saving tackle on Jaguars receiver Mike Thomas after an 18-yard gain. He also broke up a pass in the end zone to Thomas on second-and-goal. But on special teams, Grimm had a block in the back that wound up costing the Bucs 26 yards of field position.

Two steps forward and one back, but Grimm is moving in the right direction.

Rick Stroud, St. Petersburg Times


Alex Boone remade himself as a versatile offensive tackle this past offseason, with 49ers coach Mike Singletary calling his transformation “very impressive.”

The easy part? Shedding 40 pounds after being out of shape as a practice squad rookie.

The hard part has been switching sides to right tackle. His 305-pound frame is better fit to handle all the pulling he does in the run game, and he’s playing stronger after a summer spent in the weight room. But he’s up against veteran Barry Sims as the resident swing tackle, which probably spells another year on the practice squad.

David White, San Francisco Chronicle


While Gary Banks has had a solid, productive training camp, it’s been a bit too quiet. He goes about his business in a professional, yet unspectacular manner that helps him blend in when, in fact, he needs to stand out.

Banks doesn’t get chided for mistakes, but he doesn’t get singled out either. That puts him on the chopping block, especially on a Chargers team with so few open spots.

The Chargers do like Banks and his work ethic, which means the wide receiver might get cut on Tuesday to give him the best chance of landing with another team.

Scott Bair, North County Times


A bad sign for Blount’s chances?

Again, LeGarrette Blount was the last Tennessee Titans running back to get into the game on Saturday night against the Panthers.

Blount was fourth behind Chris Johnson, Samkon Gado and Javon Ringer. Hurting Blount as he auditions to make the 53-man roster wasn’t just that he got in late; he only had two carries to showcase his skills.

Blount’s got to hope he’s made a good impression on the Titans’ coaching staff.