The 53-man roster limit was met by the Houston Texans by releasing 22 players, listed at the roster tracker at Pro Football Talk. The team went a step further by cutting OG Shelley Smith in order to make room for another right tackle. Rashad Butler suffered a torn triceps muscle in the 28-24 victory against the Vikings on August 30th. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports Butler has been placed on injured reserve and is lost for the 2012 season.
TE Logan Brock
On another team, with fewer established players at his position, Brock might have stuck. He made it into three of the four preseason games, and caught just about everything thrown at him.
Even three catches for 53 yards and some good blocks were not adequate for the job. His talents seemed like a good fit for the practice squad, but another tight end got the nod.
DE Keith Browner
The “undraftees” of this training camp contained a slew of defensive ends, but none had a heritage to match that of Browner. Having a father and three uncles who played in the NFL might have given him an edge.
But a year off from football in 2011 put him too far behind the curve. A single tackle in two games did not help his case either.
OLB D.J. Bryant
For Bryant, it first looked as if the difference from James Madison to the pros was just getting paid to play. Until the final preseason tilt against Minnesota, he showed a little something every time he entered the lineup.
Then he gave the Vikings all they could handle with three tackles, two sacks, and a tackle for a loss. The problem of too much freelancing and not enough coordination led to 562 yards of total offense given up by the second and third string of the Texans defense.
Combine that with not enough openings at OLB, and Bryant was let go. At the same time, he has all the makings of a practice squad project. But just as with Brock, another player was chosen in his stead.
NT Hebron Fangupo
The back injury to Shaun Cody was the best thing that could have happened to “Loni” Fangupo. He got to split time at NT with Earl Mitchell, then played most of the snaps versus Minnesota.
Strength was his calling card, but his efforts were often undone by poor footwork and “heavy” legs. Well, your legs might be heavy too if you were a little over six feet and weighed 320 pounds.
If you attend BYU, missionary work might delay your entry into everyday life. At 27 Fangupo may be late to the NFL, but could find work elsewhere due to his body type.
RB Jonathan Grimes
With 114 yards rushing and 2 TDs in the last preseason game, Justin Forsett cemented his place as the third running back. This unfortunately meant Grimes would not be the 48th William & Mary employee of the NFL.
Grimes racked up a total of 21 carries for 89 yards and six receptions for 58 yards. He looked like he was ready in all respects, but experience won out over youth.
Luckily for him and the Texans, it was eventually decided he was just what the practice squad needed.
NT David Hunter
Next to Case Keenum, Hunter was known as the other Houston Cougar. He saw only spot duty until the Vikings contest, then garnered five tackles and showed good lateral mobility.
When it came to engaging blockers he was less consistent and seemed more off-balance than on. He will get the time to learn to better use his hands and maintain his base now that he has made it to the Texans’ practice squad.
WR Juaquin Iglesias
The former Sooner appeared in every preseason game for the Texans. An opportunity no other fringe receiver in camp received, along with nine targets that led to 4 catches for 43 yards.
Iglesias was a third round draft choice for the Bears in 2009. His perceived talent has kept him bouncing around the league but has resulted in just one regular season appearance. It is hard to imagine what the next step is for him.
WR Jerrell Jackson
Jackson was injured throughout the preseason and was deprived of any training camp reps. Still hurting when released, it may take him considerable time to get back into playing shape.
OLB Delano Johnson
Another trainee who went crazy once he was given enough snaps. Check this stat line from the Vikings game: seven tackles, five solo, and 1.5 sacks.
Size, speed, and instincts are all part of his makeup. The depth chart just did not contain enough room for Johnson at the present time. Now that he has been added to the Texans’ practice squad, a more than adequate fill-in will be available if necessary.
QB Case Keenum
Keenum took advantage of being an NCAA record-setting member of the Houston Cougars. His playing time was limited, as was his performance.
Completing 50 percent of your attempts for a 68.8 rating will not place you on the active roster even if the fans are familiar with your college exploits. But if Gary Kubiak truly sees himself in Keenum, Case will find the time to reach his NFL potential on the practice squad.
DE Mitch King
King is one of those players with just enough ability to remain in the Contacts file for most every GM in the league. This explains why he was brought in when Tracy Robertson was cut early in camp.
He was up against Jared Crick for the final DE slot, and the fourth-round pick showed enough upside to make King expendable.
ILB Shawn Loiseau
Loiseau arrived from tiny Merrimack College with a reputation as tackling demon. With a total of 12 tackles in limited play, he did not disappoint whether on the field or special teams.
All his intensity could not overcome his lack of size and speed when compared with Mister Alexander or the recovering Darryl Sharpton. If Loiseau’s only responsibility was to play special teams, he might still be a Texan.
WR Jeff Maehl
Maehl was a resident of the 2011 practice squad for the Texans. He even dressed for three regular season games when Andre Johnson was out.
Come this season, the situation had changed. Lestar Jean was off IR, DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin were drafted, and return wizard Trindon Holliday claimed the sixth and final receiver spot.
Somebody up there in the front office must like him. There was enough promise shown by his four receptions in the preseason to catch on with the practice squad for the Texans.
LT Nate Menkin
Every time I trained my eyes on Menkin, the only player from Baylor-Mary Hardin to ever attend an NFL training camp, seemed to get beaten inside or outside by whomever he faced.
But Lance Zierlein, who eyes are more educated than mine when it comes to OL technique tweeted this:
While the Texans decided not to retain him, he could get the call when injuries start to take their toll in the regular season.
DE Rennie Moore
Moore made his mark in college as a defensive tackle at Clemson. His size (6’3’, 271) dictated a move to defensive end in the pros.
His few appearances in the preseason indicated how far down the depth chart he was. When given more reps in the fourth and final preseason game, one lonely tackle was his only stat.
FS Troy Nolan
This release is the No.1 head-scratcher in the final cutdown. The Texans chose to keep Quintin Demps and Shiloh Keo over a safety ranked as well above average by Pro Football Focus.
One reason could be the $1.44 million in dead money Keo had coming. This means if Keo is cut instead of Nolan, that money would be lost with nothing to show for it. Ultimately, a good all-around player may have been cut for special teams expert due to a deferred salary hit.
Another case where the salary cap turns around and bites the wrong guy. Right, Eric Winston?
FB Moran Norris
Experience only counts for so much, as do pure blocking skills. Norris was capable of leading the way for the ballcarrier, as evident in the block that sprung Justin Forsett for his first TD against the Vikings.
Norris was targeted twice in the same game and dropped both passes. Another James Casey he is not, and at 34 may need to consider life after football.
OG Shelley Smith
If RT Rashad Butler had not gone to IR, Smith could still be a Texan. According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, Houston needed to create a roster opening to pick up another offensive tackle.
Smith played sparingly in the preseason, but as time went on looked to be set for the active roster. After spending last season on injured reserve he must have thought he escaped “The Turk” this time.
SS Eddie Pleasant
A strong safety that does not even break six feet (5’10”, 211) would seem to have some built-in limitations. When you are nicknamed “The Missile” upon being signed as a UDFA, the scouts must see something special.
Pleasant made the most of his time on the field with an interception in the final preseason game and 11 tackles overall. The cliché “ a nose for the ball” definitely applies to this promising prospect who is headed for the practice squad.
TE Phillip Supernaw
Here is a cut that makes for another head-scratcher. Great name and some good special team plays for three tackles, but nothing that stood out in particular.
Then how does he end up on the practice squad? The Texans love to throw to their tight ends, but one catch for five yards does not show much faith in his receiving abilities.
Logan Brock has more receptions and targets, and then he is cut loose completely? Someone knows something I don’t.
C Cody Wallace
Rookie Ben Jones had most of the reps at center when Chris Myers was out. Wallace was not utilized at the position until it was too late, i.e., the last tuneup vs. Minnesota.
If Wallace is not picked up elsewhere, he might get called up if there are any serious losses in the interior OL.
OG Cody White
Basically in the same circumstances as Wallace, but the offensive line would have to be decimated and the waiver wire deserted before White would be asked to return.