Aug
0

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.

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Aug
0

Banks’ tryout with Chargers is over

Wide receiver Gary Banks has been released by the Chargers. (Dave Martin / Associated Press)

It’s the end of the line for Gary Banks — at least for now.

The Chargers announced their cuts to trim the roster to 75 players on Tuesday and among them was Banks, who was hopeful of making the squad as a wide receiver with the prolonged absence of Vincent Jackson (deadlocked in a contract dispute). But San Diego’s depth still proved to be too deep, with Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee, Buster Davis and Josh Reed.

Banks — who has just one reception for 11 yards this preseason — had been performing well, but as Scott Bair of the North County Times offered to NFL.com on Monday, “he goes about his business in a professional, yet unspectacular manner that helps him blend in when, in fact, he needs to stand out.”

With his release, Banks now becomes a free agent and is available to be claimed off waivers by another team.

Aug
0

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 NFL.com’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

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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

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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

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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

Aug
5

Seahawks release Foley

Defensive end Ricky Foley has been released by the Seattle Seahawks, his agent, Paul Sheey, has told The Vancouver Sun.

The move comes as teams begin to trim their rosters down to 75 players by the Tuesday deadline.

Sheey indicated that there is interest by other teams in signing Foley.

    “He either gets awarded to another NFL team via waivers at 1 p.m. today (Aug. 30), or he clears waivers and is a free agent as of that time,” Sheehy told The Sun. “All signs point to him being in an NFL uniform tomorrow (Tuesday), but we’ll have to wait and see how the process plays itself out today.”

Foley has an uphill climb to earn a spot on a team’s 53-man roster. Foley is attempting to make the difficult transition from the Canadian Football League to the NFL.

Aug
0

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.

Aug
0

Bucs’ Grimm continues to turn heads

Cody Grimm continued to display his surprising speed on Saturday night against the Jaguars, helping out his cause as he tries to make the Buccaneers’ final 53-man roster. Watch Grimm display that speed in preventing a Jaguars touchdown, and listen to what the announcers have to say about him.

Sounds like good news for now.

Aug
0

Blount takes heavy dose of hazing

The Tennessee Titans capped training camp with some rookie hazing on Thursday.

It was probably to be expected that rookie running back LeGarrette Blount would take a heavy dose of hazing. Blount had at least three water coolers get dumped over his head, The Tennessean reports.

    “He has become a very popular teammate,” coach Jeff Fisher said of Blount.
Aug
3

With Reed out, Foley gets boost

Last week, Lawrence Jackson was traded.

This week, Nick Reed was sidelined following knee surgery.

It is this set of events that now has Ricky Foley backing up veteran Chris Clemons at what the Seattle Seahawks call their “Leo” speed rush position.

Reed will be out several weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday to clean up a troublesome knee. While Foley should get an opportunity for more playing time, the Seahawks might also see what Aaron Curry and Dexter Davis can do in that “Leo” role.

Aug
0

Gado gets his chance before Blount

Before the Tennessee Titans’ latest preseason game against the visiting Arizona Cardinals, coach Jeff Fisher had indicated that newly signed running back Samkon Gado likely wouldn’t play on Monday night. Gado played, and even went into the game before LeGarrette Blount. Fisher told The Tennessean why he made the move:

    “He’s a smart guy that’s been around the block and (initially) I didn’t want to put him in a position where he’d risk muscle pulls or injuries, that kind of thing because he hasn’t been to camp. So we communicated each day. He did extra work after practice and felt good. He said, ‘I feel good,’ and we said, ‘OK, we’ll try to get you some carries.'”
Aug
0

Blount helps seal Titans’ victory

Instead of throwing punches, LeGarrette Blount provided the knock-out blow in the Tennessee Titans’ 24-10 win over the visiting Arizona Cardinals on Monday night.

Getting all nine of his carries in the fourth quarter — spelling recent Titans addition Samkon Gado in the backfield — Blount ran with authority and produced a game-high 42 yards. Blount was the fourth Titans running back to get action in Monday’s game, behind Chris Johnson, Javon Ringer and Gado.

Gado also showed well, scoring two touchdowns on just seven carries.

The competition for the third spot on the depth chart appears to be between Blount and Gado, with Johnson entrenched as the starter and Ringer as the No. 2 back.

With starters often going deeper in the third preseason game, the battle could come down to how Blount and Gado play in the Titans’ final preseason game.