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

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Foley awaits next NFL chance

Former Canadian Football League star Ricky Foley‘s time with the Jets lasted just a few days — he was placed on waivers Friday afternoon. His time with New York might not be over, though.

Should the outside linebacker clear waivers today, there is a probability that he will be re-signed to the eight-man practice squad, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Though Foley would like to get claimed off waivers and be on a team’s 53-man final roster, the odds of that are slim.

Remaining with the Jets, albeit on the practice squad, is the next best alternative, the source said. Foley views the situation with the Jets as a positive, with playing in a 3-4 and getting to work with Jets coach Rex Ryan as major factors. The Jets also had interest in Foley before he signed a free-agent deal with Seattle this summer.

The Seahawks released Foley last week as they trimmed their roster to 75 players.

Steve Wyche


49ers’ Boone earns roster spot

Alex Boone appeared to be in good position to make San Francisco’s roster heading into final cuts, but can breathe a little easier now that the 49ers have finalized their 53-man roster.

Boone, a once promising college player out of Ohio State, had to battle issues with drinking just to get a shot in the league. But the former practice squad player’s commitment to sobriety and hard work on the field turned his chance with the 49ers into a roster spot.

While the offensive tackle’s future in the NFL is no guarantee, Boone has at least made the final cuts for now.

Take a look at who did get released here.


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.”


Grimm’s quiet night might not matter

Cody Grimm didn’t exactly make the biggest bang in his final preseason game Thursday against the Texans, but that might not be an issue as Grimm’s strong preseason has him in a pretty good position to make the Buccaneers’ final 53-man roster.


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?


Foley excited about second chance

Ricky Foley touched base late Tuesday night, shortly after joining the New York Jets, who claimed him off waivers after he was released by Seattle earlier this week. To say he’s stoked to get another opportunity in the NFL is an understatement.

“It’s on,” he texted me.

Foley is going to have to show some promise in a hurry. He’s in that purgatory of being a body to help the Jets finish out the final preseason game against Philadelphia on Thursday and being someone they feel has the potential to possibly provide depth at outside linebacker. Starter Calvin Pace is out for several weeks after fracturing his foot, and veteran Jason Taylor isn’t being counted on to be an every-down replacement.

Possibly working in Foley’s favor is moving to a 3-4 scheme in New York. Foley is more suited as an outside linebacker/situational pass rusher playing in space than he is an in-line defensive end. He struggled adjusting to playing on the line of scrimmage as an end in Seattle’s 4-3 front.

Also potentially helping Foley is that head coach Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine were assistants with the Baltimore Ravens when Foley tried out for them in 2006. That history and Foley’s production in the CFL in 2009 (league-high 12 sacks) is why the Jets inquired about Foley before he signed with the Seahawks.

That said, Foley didn’t last long in Baltimore, and he ended up playing in the CFL with British Columbia until signing a free-agent deal with Seattle.

— Steve Wyche


No surprises in Banks’ release

As could almost be expected, wide receiver Gary Banks is taking the glass-half-full approach to being released Tuesday by the San Diego Chargers.

“When one door closes, others open,” Banks’ agent Bradley Hamilton told me late Tuesday night.

Hamilton said some teams have already reached out regarding Banks, but it didn’t sound like anything was imminent.

Banks’ release did not come as a surprise. Although the Chargers — particularly coach Norv Turner — loved Banks, he simply didn’t flash enough to give himself a legitimate chance. Turner told me that Banks didn’t do anything wrong, didn’t make mistakes and that his effort couldn’t be questioned.

That boils down to Banks simply not measuring up to the rest of the Chargers’ talent.

— Steve Wyche


Jets claim Foley off waivers

Ricky Foley, who was released by the Seahawks, was claimed off waivers by, of all teams, the New York Jets on Tuesday.

We say it like that because, via his Twitter page, Foley’s agent, Paul Sheehy, put the transaction this way: “From On The Fringe to Hard Knocks!”

Indeed, the move to the Jets means Foley might get a little exposure on the popular HBO series chronicling Jets training camp. Foley is getting a second chance after Seattle released him Monday.

Foley tried to make it as a defensive end with the Seahawks and was working behind Chris Clemons, Nick Reed and Dexter Davis.