Josh Freeman

Posts Tagged ‘derek hardman’

REAR ENTRIES: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

November 29, 2012 at 01:23am by Scott   •  3 Comments »

rearentry154

MCCOY KISSES THE RING: Gerald McCoy went up to the podium at One Buc today and paid his respects to Peyton Manning, who he will be going against this Sunday. And by “paid his respects”, I mean verbally blew him. Like a really slow, deep verbal blowing. I’d cut and paste a quote from it, but you really have to read it all. And McCoy was really excited to let everyone know how much he loved Manning. He interrupted his own press conference to extoll Manning’s greatness. Pay attention to the SoundFX episode from this week and you’re going to hear McCoy ask for Manning’s autograph on the field.

ROSTER SPOTS FILLED: The Bucs filled out the roster spots left by the two players put on injured reserve with guard Derek Hardman and David Gilbreath, a wide receiver/returner who was recently waived by Pittsburgh. Hardman is more versatile than Jeremy Trueblood and the Bucs are one offensive line injury away from the Arena League, so it was a good move. And the Bucs’ return game has netted only slightly more than squat, so if Gilbreath can keep the Bucs from starting drives in their own endzone, fine. I said the same thing about Roscoe Parrish, though, so it’s apparently harder than it looks to find decent return men. Or a decent burger. Can you tell I’m hungry?

I also have to note that a safety was put on IR and a cornerback was suspended, yet neither of the two replacement players were in the secondary. So congratulations LeQuan Lewis and Danny Gorrer. I wonder if Peyton is intimidated.

I SHOULD PAY MORE ATTENTION: I pulled up the Bucs roster to make sure I knew Gorrer’s first name and started scrolling through it a little more carefully. Holy shit, there are a lot of unknown dudes on there. Here are some names for you. Without looking them up, have you ever heard of them or know what position they play? Aaron Morgan, Matthew Masifilo, David Douglas. Okay, I guess that’s only three, so I do know most of the roster. But still… I don’t even recognize those names from college. And who’s this guy LeGarrette Blount?

Because 11 DBs Wasn’t Quite Enough

September 05, 2012 at 11:33am by Scott   •  6 Comments »

I mean, who really needs the guy who already replaced Davin Joseph once?
The Bucs just announced that they waived Derek Hardman, the guard who replaced Davin Joseph in 2010, so they could sign cornerback Brandon McDonald. Because why the hell not? If five DBs is the nickel and six DBs is the dime, what do you call it when you put eleven DBs on the field at the same time? The $10-bill defense? Someone come up with a name for it because that’s what they’re shooting for.

Things I Saw During The Chiefs Game

August 15, 2011 at 10:24am by Scott   •  4 Comments »

Your leading rusher Friday night.
No one looked really good rushing, except Josh Johnson who led the team. LeGarrette Blount ran tough but didn’t have any breakaways and Allen Bradford looked like shit, although he didn’t benefit from a first-team blocking unit. Out of the running backs, Kregg Lumpkin looked the most consistent and even Armando Allen had a 16-yard run. Blount is the kind of runner that gets better as the game rolls on, so I’m not too worried about it, but the Bucs may be leaning on Earnest Graham as the backup halfback if no one else really steps up.

The entire starting offensive line looked excellent. Davin Joseph was particularly aggressive for a preseason game. Ted Larsen has nothing to worry about; he’s locked in as the starting left guard again. The backup lines, though, look rough. Two penalties each on Demar Dotson and James Lee have to be discouraging for the coaches, and Brandon Carter allowed a sack on Johnson by pretty much standing there and looking confused. Carter can’t beat out Jeremy Zuttah and it isn’t looking good for him against Derek Hardman, either.

Speaking of Johnson, I said something on Twitter that he was looking inconsistent. I took it back a couple plays later when he started slinging bullets exactly where they needed to be, and he looked awesome the rest of his time behind center. But I wanted to say it here for good measure: Josh Johnson was really sharp.

Dezmon Briscoe could start for any team in the league, and he’s the Bucs’ #3. Everyone should feel really good about their depth at receiver. If Arrelious Benn hurts anything else, Briscoe is stepping in and not giving the position back. Seriously, Benn better watch out.

If you’re a relative of Devin Holland and you still haven’t gone to the Bucs’ web site to see his name on the official roster, you better do it soon. Holland arrived a full second into Zeke Markshausen before the ball did. That’s the same kind of shot that almost killed Clifton Smith a couple years ago, but even that asshole (I forget his name now) only arrived a fraction of a second too soon. Maybe one of the dumbest special teams mistakes I’ve ever seen.

Not bad play from the backup tight ends. Kellen Winslow obviously has nothing to worry about, but Luke Stocker‘s injury may push him to third string if he can’t get on the field soon. And that would be tragic for all of us. TRAGIC, I SAY.

Jock Sanders had punt returns of 21 and 13 yards. Preston Parker‘s longest was 10.

Speaking of special teams, the Chiefs had three punt returns for a total of -1 yard and two fair catches. Now that’s a punt return unit.

Kyle Moore is currently the third-string left defensive end, but he was able to get two sacks on Kansas City while Da’Quan Bowers didn’t get any. Now that I think about it, Bowers didn’t make the stat sheet. Starter Michael Bennett got credit for a half-sack that he shared with Dekoda Watson for a safety. Bowers has looked impressive in camp, but the coaches obviously didn’t think he was ready for the starting job and it looks like they were proven right, at least for one game.

Was Anthony Gaitor all over the place, or was I just imagining it? He had a sack and a pass defensed and a tackle for loss. Oh, and that hit by Ronde Barber to start the game? Sweeeeet.

Corey Lynch came so close to blocking another punt. This kid has a gift for it.

Mason Foster didn’t show up much on the stat sheet, but that kid can fly. Even though he wasn’t the one making the tackles, I saw him pressure the quarterback and rerouting runners into other guys. He looked really fast.

I tried to get the chat going but I wasn’t having much luck doing it on my phone, so I mostly used Twitter during the game. I don’t have a TV where the computer is, don’t have a working laptop and still haven’t invested in an iPad yet (the donate button is on the left, by the way), so for now you can follow me on Twitter during the games or poke your head out the window for my super-secret smoke signals.

Bucs On The Clock On PTTD

March 22, 2011 at 10:13am by Scott   •  1 Comment »

Here is last night’s Path to the Draft segment on the Bucs, hosted by the yummy Stacey Dales who interviews Rick Stroud for the piece. Not for nothing, but Stroud looks like he’s in a perpetual state of bearing down in this segment. Someone please tell this man to pinch next time before they turn the camera on.

Anyway, its not all that informative. These segments generally deal with guessing who will be the team’s first-round pick, and Stroud mentions Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), Aldon Smith (Missouri) and Adrian Clayborn (Iowa) as possibilities. He also says the Bucs will look for a traditional 4-3 defensive end and “for the first time they’ll consider that hybrid player as well”. So he basically contradicts himself in one sentence. He also mentions that Davin Joseph is a priority to re-sign, which sounds like a great idea to me. If only there had been a way to do that before the CBA expired and lock him up for the long term so that the team would have one less thing to worry about once hunting season on free agents is finally declared. But hey, Derek Hardman should be just as good, right?

So for those of you who were wondering where you could watch an uncomfortable man tell you news that you already knew, your wait is over.

Can’t Not Be Feelin’ Dis: Guards And Centers

March 03, 2011 at 02:45pm by Scott   •  2 Comments »

Scaring the shit out of you since 2006.
CURRENT ROSTER: Davin Joseph, Jeremy Zuttah, Ted Larsen, Brandon Carter, Derek Hardman, Marc Dile, John Malecki, Jeff Faine

The top guard on this list is also the top priority for the Bucs. Davin Joseph is a free agent with five years of service, so the Bucs went ahead and tendered him as a restricted free agent. That’s not going to stick, so it’s most likely he’ll be unrestricted by the time anyone can do anything about it. The Bucs want Joseph back and they’re prepared to pay him, but they’re not going to go nuts with it, either. If some team out there really wants him, they can outbid the Bucs and he’ll be gone. I don’t think that’s happening, though. Joseph is exactly the kind of player that Pat Morris likes on his line: big and powerful. And I just don’t think he commands elite guard pay around the league, so I don’t think there will be too much of a bidding war for his services.

Zuttah has been serviceable and occasionally disappointing, but he is good enough to fill in gaps as a backup for any interior line position. He functions best as a center, which seems to be proven out by the fact that Ted Larsen beat him for the left guard spot but Zuttah held onto the center job after Jeff Faine went down. He gets pushed around too much at guard but holds up better at center. I have no idea why that should be, but I think the tape makes the case. Either way, Zuttah is still under contract and will compete for starting jobs, but he’s not in any real danger of getting cut in 2011.

Larsen impressed the coaches enough in November to give him the starting left guard job over Zuttah. When discussing both guys, Raheem Morris said this:

“You know, Larsen played well,” said Morris, “With Zuttah, we have rotated those guys before even before he went to center. Maybe we can play both, but right now Larsen played really well and we have a tough time just taking him out completely. So we will have to mix both guys in and let them play a little bit or just play Larsen the whole time.”

He was searching for nice things to say about Zuttah while making sure everyone knew Larsen was the guy. As an undrafted rookie, Larsen exceeded everyone’s expectations and he is going to be in the mix for a starting job.

The team is really high on Carter, and even if they weren’t, they probably wouldn’t tell him to his face.

Teams cut him by text.

Coaches are going to give Carter a chance to compete and I see something bigger than the practice squad for him next year.

Hardman filled in at right guard after Joseph was lost and did a fair job, although he didn’t make anyone forget about Joseph. Hardman proved he is worth further evaluation and development, but right now he’s not the long-term answer in case Joseph is lost to free agency. He will compete in camp but I think his role is as a backup at best.

Dile just keeps lingering around, doesn’t he?. If he was going to break through as a potential starter, I think it would have happened by now. While he languished on the practice squad, the Bucs brought in other undrafted free agents and waived players to fill in for injured starters. Dile is purely depth and while he may stick around as camp meat, I can’t see him doing any better than the practice squad in 2011.

Malecki is another swing guy, but he’s just camp meat at this point. He would have to impress the shit out of the coaches in order to be taken seriously as a threat to guys like Zuttah or Larsen.

I don’t think Faine is cut next year, but I think it could be his last for the Bucs. He still hasn’t played a full 16-game season and isn’t showing the same strength off the ball as he used to. And although I don’t think the Bucs’ front office is the kind of group to hold this against a man, Faine’s involvement with the union and his comments during negotiations can’t be endearing him to the suits. But he is the best center on the team right now and that’s enough to keep him entrenched for 2011.

The Bucs could use some real quality depth in the interior line, but they won’t spend a first-round pick to get it. For versatility and experience in the second or third round, Clint Boling (Georgia) is a good choice. He can play any interior line spot, has good feet and is a nasty bastard. He has tons of starts in the SEC and is very durable. He needs to get stronger at the point of attack and he isn’t what you’d call all that “athletic”, but that kind of thing can easily be corrected with time in the weight room and he can play the game.

You want a road-grater that will still be available in the third or fourth round? Check out John Moffitt (Wisconsin). Wisconsin is known for cranking out some quality offensive linemen with attitude and that’s what Moffitt is. He’s old for a Senior (25) and is a great leader with a lot of Big 10 experience, but most of all he’s strong. I know he only did 23 bench reps, but trust me, he pushes defensive tackles back when it counts. He plays high and needs to work on technique, but would be a good developmental guy.

If Joseph does wind up getting snatched by another team, I’d look for the Bucs to make a play at Deuce Lutui. Lutui was drafted in the same class as Joseph and is coming off his rookie contract as well. The Bucs were interested in both guards at the time and, while I think Joseph is the better guard, Lutui is not a huge step down.

Justin Blalock is an intriguing possibility, assuming the Falcons allow him to hit free agency. He started off shaky but has improved steadily since he was drafted in 2007. He can play either guard position and probably hasn’t reached his full potential yet. I’m not sure what he will command in free agency, but I’ll bet it’s less than Joseph and he could certainly beat out Larsen or Zuttah for the left guard spot today.

There, the offense only took a month. Tune in next week when I start on the defense and maybe I can finish before the damn draft.

Bucs Stick Joseph With RFA Tender

February 24, 2011 at 01:34pm by Scott   •  No Comments »

Davin Joseph is a 300 pound monster who will eat your face if you fuck with him.
Man, I wouldn’t want to be the guy who had to tell Davin Joseph that he was getting a RFA tender today.

In an effort to make it difficult for him to sign with another team, the Bucs will tender Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph as a restricted free agent, his agent confirmed Thursday.

Joseph, whose contract has expired and is set to become an unrestricted free agent March 4, would likely receive a one-year tender worth $3.168-million. Because of the current labor talks, the RFA tender may not be binding. But if it were upheld, the Bucs would have the right of first refusal on any offer Joseph might receive in free agency. If they failed to match that offer, the Bucs would receive a first- and third round pick as compensation.

If the Bucs had placed the franchise tag on Joseph, he would have been guaranteed $10.7-million for 2011 as soon as he signed. The RFA tender is about $7.5-million less and is just about as restrictive. If there is a new CBA and the length of time to qualify for unrestricted free agency is anything less than six years, the tender won’t matter and the Bucs will have pissed off a key component of their offensive line. Joseph is a smart guy and he knows business is business, but he’s got to be thinking that the team is doing anything they can to squeeze him.

If the tender is somehow upheld (I don’t see how the union would agree to continue with a six-year requirement for unrestricted free agency, though) I expect Joseph would take the same approach Donald Penn did and just not sign. The only problem with that strategy is that Penn’s position is considered more critical than Joseph’s. Penn had added leverage because he’s a left tackle. Also consider that Derek Hardman wasn’t awful in Joseph’s place.

The Bucs definitely have the upper hand in these negotiations, I just don’t know why they have to continually exert it for the sake of cash. They have said that re-signing Joseph is a priority, so why not step up the negotiations with him and get a long-term deal hammered out before the deadline so they don’t have to risk pissing him off with a low-ball tender. And before you tell me in the comments, yes, this is a smart business decision by the Bucs, but sometimes you have to consider what you’re doing to the relationships of the people who do the work.

Freeman Leads A Comeback (Except In Reverse)

December 06, 2010 at 11:09am by Scott   •  13 Comments »

You got your ass kicked by a dude wearing creamcicle orange.
For the fifth time this year, the Bucs lost to a team with a winning record, and for the third time in a row, they kept it close. That makes the loss hurt worse, but it’s still good news for the future. It’s nice not getting blown out anymore

Josh Freeman didn’t have a great game, although I thought it was better than Baltimore. He was off on a lot of passes (especially to Arrelious Benn, whom he evidently needs to develop better chemistry with) and made some bad decisions, one particular one being his decision to not just run a couple yards for a first down and instead throw the ball to Cadillac Williams who fell down while getting open. Can’t we learn anything from Brett Favre‘s playoff game last year? He missed Micheal Spurlock and missed Ryan Purvis and got picked a couple times (even though that one got reversed, it doesn’t make the decision to throw it any better). His receivers dropped a couple and he did make a couple nice throws, but in the end it was a second game where he looked human. A GIANT HUMAN WALKING THE EARTH. Also, I love it when a quarterback gets called for a personal foul. The game was essentially over at that point anyway, why not blast the guy who picked you off?

I made fun of the reporters who were comparing LeGarrette Blount to Mike Alstott after one game (remember the “B-Train”?), but every time he drags tacklers around for ten yards, you can’t help but see the similarities. Blount is still hesitant on some carries and lets the penetration get to him in the backfield, but that should go away with experience. Cadillac Williams is pretty much an afterthought in the running game now and spends the bulk of his snaps in pass protection. And Earnest Graham threw a touchdown pass, which I thought was awesome at the time, but then when the game was over I remembered that play and realized they probably couldn’t run it again this season and that it was kind of wasted on a loss. It was set up perfectly, too. There was no one on the right side of the field. Graham could have done The Worm into the endzone before anyone touched him down.

Mike Williams was targeted 14 times by Josh Freeman. He caught five of them for 59 yards, which is still a good day, but maybe, I dunno, spread that thing out a little more. Kellen Winslow, still the best receiver on the team, was targeted four times and caught three for 26 yards. I think other teams have figured out that Williams is the #1 receiver and are taking him away. Seven different receivers caught the ball and eight were targeted, but it just seems like Freeman is forcing it to Williams when there are other options on any given play. Maybe if Freeman had thrown better balls I wouldn’t be thinking this way.

Benn’s 28-yard run after the catch was brilliant. It’s no wonder they want to get the ball into his hands more. That kid has a long stride. It looked like he was covering five yards with every step. And Sammie Stroughter‘s catch while falling backwards was, no shit, one of the best catches of the season. It’s not going to be on a highlight reel because it wasn’t one-handed or a toe-tapper on the sideline, but it was brilliant.

The only problem I saw with the offensive line was when Ted Larsen got blown up by Jonathan Babineaux and Freeman got sacked. Otherwise, aside from some pressure here and there, they looked pretty good. Blount had a good day running the ball and Freeman stayed pretty clean (officially the Falcons had 3 QB hits). It was especially impressive since Jeff Faine went out for a while and had to be replaced by Jeremy Zuttah, which made Derek Hardman come in at right guard. Despite all the changes, there were no penalties called on the offensive line. I thought it was a good game up front.

Up front by the offense, I mean. Up front on defense seemed to be lacking. Gerald McCoy, specifically had a bad game. No sacks, no tackles, and a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty which took the Falcons out of 3rd and 17 to give them an automatic first down on a drive that ended with a touchdown. Matt Ryan wasn’t sacked at all. The best thing you can say is that Michael Turner only rushed for 88 yards (3.7 YPC), which is an improvement over the last Falcons game, but this game still felt like a step backwards for the defensive line.

If Aqib Talib and Ronde Barber don’t drop their interceptions, I think the Bucs win this one. That said, I thought it was a great game by the secondary except for Myron Lewis, who got beaten for a touchdown to Michael Jenkins even though it wasn’t a great pass by Ryan. After Talib went down, E.J. Biggers filled in for him and did an excellent job. The only real big play he let Roddy White have was a 25-yarder in the fourth quarter. Sean Jones got his first interception and had a nice runback while Corey Lynch filled in pretty well for Cody Grimm and even had an interception of his own. Ryan’s passer rating was 62.8, which is pretty bad for a guy as highly touted as he is.

Unless the rest of the NFC starts to fall apart, this game probably puts the nail in the coffin of the playoffs for the Bucs. They may go on a three game winning streak starting next week, but they have too much ground to make up and the tiebreakers don’t fall in their favor, either. I guess it could happen, but the Packers, Saints and Giants would all have to go on historic losing skids for the playoffs to be possible for the Bucs. The next few games are very winnable, though, and the Bucs could finish the season strong going into next year, which really helped them out this season. And the first person to start wishing for losses to get them a better draft pick in 2011 is getting kicked in the throat. You know it’s gonna happen.

Chris Pressley Has Left The Building

October 23, 2010 at 12:37pm by Scott   •  4 Comments »

Chris was so mad he was released that he went home and shot his television.
I’ve been waiting a year to use that line.

But no, seriously, the Bucs released Chris Pressley today in order to make room for Derek Hardman, the man with the name all the ladies love.

Derek Hardman had a particularly busy stretch on the practice field this week, filling in…

I cut the quote off there because it made me laugh. Come on… “Hardman”, “stretch”, “filling in”. It’s hilarious, right? By the way, I’m 13-years old.

But I guess the Bucs are one Jeremy Zuttah ankle away from having some depth problems on the offensive line, so they needed to bring someone in. The other thing this implies is that Erik Lorig must have impressed in his duty at fullback if they have the confidence to release Pressley while Earnest Graham is still nursing a gimpy hamstring. I saw Lorig finish a block last week to the ground and beyond. It was like he was trying to push the dude through a trap door in the grass. I don’t know if that was the proper technique for that particular play, but I like his enthusiasm.

Clifton Smith Released, Other Things Happen

September 06, 2010 at 10:02am by Scott   •  1 Comment »

Whatever Lumpkin did make Mark Richt make this face.
I was a fan of Clifton Smith for a while because his story was so attractive. The underdog, against all odds, that sort of thing. But his fumbling was a chronic condition and didn’t look like it was getting solved. He started off camp fumbling his first two carries and then he fumbled a kickoff return against the Chiefs. So it was time. My biggest regret about his release is that I didn’t get to use the headline “Peanut Brittle”. I was saving it for when he got hurt and had to sit out an extended period. A blogger for the next team he signs with is free to use it.

Derek Hardman was also released. He lasted a day longer than I thought he would.

These cuts were made to make room for offensive lineman Ted Larsen and running back Kregg Lumpkin, the same positions that were just released. That’s a little unusual and speaks to how bad they thought they needed to upgrade.

Larsen, a sixth-round pick of the Patriots in April, will serve as the primary backup to starting center Jeff Faine. Lumpkin, meanwhile, is a big back with receiving ability who adds depth at a positon that is a bit thin.

Lumpkin played for Georgia, so I’m somewhat familiar with him. I knew he was signed by the Packers after going undrafted a couple years ago, but then I lost track of him. I remember him having an injury history, which I believe followed him into the pros with Green Bay. I don’t think Carlos Brown was claimed off waivers and I don’t see that he signed anywhere yet, so I guess the team was unimpressed enough with him that they signed a total stranger instead of him. Larsen is a rookie out of North Carolina State that was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth-round. Logan Mankins is still holding out and Nick Kaczur was just injured last week, so they really need some depth in their offensive line, which makes me suspect that Larsen isn’t so great, but I have nothing to go on except speculation. Larsen is a local boy, though. He went to school at Palm Harbor High, or whatever the hell they call it now. This regime seems to have a soft spot for locals, which is fine by me. They gave Darrell Pasco a shot and he promptly flushed it, but at least they were more than fair about it.

Roster Breakdown: Offensive Line And Tight Ends

August 09, 2010 at 02:19pm by Scott   •  5 Comments »

Uncle Fester will beat your ass.
Donald Penn: Lock. Showed up after his holdout in shape and playing well.

Keydrick Vincent: I’m listing him among the starters because I think he wins the starting left guard job. He’s too big and too powerful to ignore. Now they have this just mass of beef on the left side to grate the road and create some running lanes that weren’t there before.

Jeff Faine: Lock. Faine has taken a few practices off, but that’s not all that unusual. I seem to remember him doing the same in previous camps. When he has practiced, he seems to do well against Roy Miller. Brian Price has gotten past him a couple times.

Davin Joseph: Lock. Looks great. Has mostly handled the rookies, but they got their licks in once or twice. Joseph gets downfield in a hurry which is going to be huge with all these screens they’re running.

Jeremy Trueblood: Lock. With all the time Truelbood and Joseph have spent together, they’re pretty much a single unit now, able to adjust their assignments instantly. Trueblood has gotten pushed back on a few bull rushes, but if he gets a chance to anchor, he’ near impossible to move. His best camp yet.

Jeremy Zuttah: Lock. Even though I think Vincent will start, Zuttah is too versatile and has too much experience to cut loose. He can play any interior position. He hasn’t had a good camp so far, but he’s not going anywhere.

Jonathan Compas: 50/50. Compas started out camp really shitty, but he has picked it up over the last couple practices. He got blasted by Price and Dre Moore on more than one occasion. Was practicing at guard to give Zuttah some more competition, but that experiment seemed to fizzle out with Vincent’s signing. Most likely competing against Marc Dile for the ninth spot.

Donovan Raiola: Meat. He’s gotten some extra playing time with Faine sitting out, but is a camp body. There are enough options at center without him.

Marc Dile: 50/50. Somehow keeps hanging on. He is practicing with the second and third teams and still gets beaten his share of times against backup defensive linemen. I think Compas has a better chance of hanging on, but if the team decides to keep ten linemen (not likely), he may be #10.

Demar Dotson: Probably. His upside is too big to ignore. He seems to have found a groove on the right side and will most likely backup Trueblood. He holds his own against starting defensive linemen, although he can get played by guys with experience. Good lateral movement.

Xavier Fulton: 50/50. Has been hot and cold, but I haven’t heard anything special about him except that the coaches want him to do well. Maybe it’s because they have a draft pick invested in him or maybe it’s because depth at true tackle isn’t so great. If Penn went down, they’d probably feel better about Fulton on the left than Dotson.

Derek Hardman: Meat. Not much to say here.

James Lee: Probably not. Lee has a small chance because of his previous time with the team, but his false starts and poor play in the 1-on-1 drills doesn’t bode well.

Kellen Winslow: Lock. May be the best overall player on the team. Takes some practices off to rest his knee, but when he’s on, he’s spectacular.

Jerramy Stevens: Almost lock. Stevens takes Winslow’s place as the starter when Winslow is resting, and he has made some great catches. His blocking has improved and Josh Freeman seems to favor throwing to him. He has probably lost a step or two in speed. The only reason he would get cut is if numbers dictated that the team keep a more pure blocker, but I doubt it.

John Gilmore: 50/50. I have heard nothing about Gilmore except that he hasn’t practiced much. He’s on his ninth season now and will be 31 by week three, a mortal sin under this regime. He’s a good blocker and a better than average pass receiver, but there are younger options and I’m leaning toward leaving him off the roster prediction.

Ryan Purvis: 50/50. This will be the guy who takes over for Gilmore if that choice has to be made. He’s getting a lot of reps for a tight end this far down the chart. Much better pass receiver than a year ago and is pretty quick for a 260-pounder. Decent blocker. If that part of his game improves, his chances of sticking go way up. If the team decides to keep four tight ends, he’s almost a lock.

Jeron Mastrud: Probably not. He’s much better than during the OTAs, but he’s still obviously raw. His relationship with Freeman may get him a practice squad spot, but there’s no room for him on the roster unless another tight end contracts the plague or something.