In the NFL teams are limited to a 53 man roster during the regular season. During OTA’s, Training Camps, and the preseason teams are faced with the daunting task of evaluating and cutting about 30 players.
Over the time frame coaches develop bonds and admiration for many of the players that they have to cut to make the 53 man roster. Some cuts are easy to make while others are very difficult, and linger till the very last moment.
Here are a few of the cuts this season the Houston Texans had to make that were the hardest for the coaches and players to swallow.
The hardest cut made on the Texans 2010 roster was the only original Texan remaining on the roster, Kicker and 12th year veteran Kris Brown.
If it was not the hardest he would have been cut immediately at the conclusion of the 2009 season ending game against the New England Patriots. During the game Brown missed two field goals and, the icing on the cake, an extra point.
For the last first seven years that the Texans organization has been in existence Brown has kicked for an average of 99.4% on extra points, and a 78.5% average on field goals. In 2009 he dropped to 97% on extra points, and 65% on field goal attempts.
Looking back there were several games that might have had a different outcome if the foot of Brown would have been truer in 2009, and the Texans might have made the playoffs last season. This spurred the Texans to sign veteran kicker Neil Rackers from the Arizona Cardinals, and create a kicking competition for the 2010 season.
After a very good preseason for both players the Texans finally landed on Rackers. For the coaching staff, players, and the Houston community Brown’s contribution will be missed. He had ingrained himself into the hearts of many Houstonians over the last eight years.
Near the end of the preseason Brown incurred an injury to his foot, Planters Fasciitis. This is a nagging pain around an athlete’s heel, and obviously detrimental to a kickers performance.
Brown will be on the Texans injured reserve list until the legal issues around his injury are ironed out, and then should show up on another roster kicking close to 100% once again.
Fourth year running back Chris Henry was signed by the Texans in 2009 to add depth and size to a depleted and unproductive running game. Henry a 5’11’’ tall 234 pound thumper from Arizona State was drafted by the Titans in 2007 to be there feature running back.
However, Henry was cut by the Titans in 2009, and now in 2010 he has been cut by the Texans. Henry had an outstanding OTA’s and training camp with the Texans. He looked, in practice, like he could be a solid contributor to the Texans running game. Many Houston fans were pulling for Henry, and wanted to see him succeed as a change of pace running back for the team.
Alas, Henry was unable to translate his practice effort to game tape. He seemed confused in pass protection situations, and never really applied his size and speed on the field.
He had ample opportunity to in the last preseason game against Tampa Bay on Saturday night with 16 attempts, and only 51 yards averaging 3.1 yards a carry.
Not enough to make a roster looking to dramatically improve their running game from last season.
Third year defensive tackle from Mississippi State Deljuan Robinson is another difficult player to see leave the Texans roster. Over the last two seasons Robinson accumulated 33 tackles over 27 games played.
The endearing aspect of Robinson is that he was signed off the practice squad, and then became an impact player in 2008. He was offered another number, and seceded to keep his practice number as a reminder of where he came from.
This preseason the Texans were bound to shed a couple of defensive tackles, and it came down to a choice between Robinson and third year behemoth from Texas Frank Okham. In the 2010 preseason Robinson had a total of three tackles, while Okham had five tackles.
One of the most surprising cuts the Texans made this week was the release of sophomore scat back Jeremiah Johnson.
Johnson from the University of Oregon spent his rookie season on the injured reserve list due to a shoulder injury he sustained during training camp.
This year he came out of the gate healthy rushing for 17 time this preseason for 107 yards, and an average of 6.3 yards a carry. This is a productive number.
The Texans wanted capture more footage of Johnson in the last preseason game against the Buccaneers on Saturday; however he sustained an injury to his toe. The injury would keep Johnson out of the regular season for possibly four games, and this was too long for the Texans to swallow.
Johnson looked good this training camp, and could sign on with the practice squad, or be picked up by another team later this season.
Another cut made by the Texans was the release of seven year veteran from Purdue Jacques Reeves. Reeves was acquired in 2008 by the cowboys and was picked up to start opposite Dunta Robinson.
Over the 2008 and 2009 season Reeves played in 28 games and had 83 tackles and five interceptions. He struggled with some injury issues, but was one of the better veteran performers the Texans had at the position.
Until the arrival of now starter Glover Quin, it was hoped that Reeves would hold down his side of the field on a full time basis.
This training camp the Texans have been very pleased with the performance of their extremely young corners, and as a result there was no room for the veteran.
For the last four years the Texans have had Center Chris White on the roster. White a six year veteran out of Southern Mississippi has been with the Texans as long as head coach Gary Kubiak.
In the last four seasons he has played in 26 games with eight starts in 2009, due to injuries to Chester Pitts and Mike Brisiel.
White a solid backup for the last four years has been supplanted by rookie guard from Colorado State Shelley Smith as one of the Texans backup guards.
Sophmore third string quarterback from USC John David Booty had a rollercoaster of a preseason for the Houston Texans.
Booty showed flashes of poise on moment then made some poor decisions the next. Booty ended the preseason for two interceptions and two touchdowns. His effort was strong, and at times looked to deserve the nod over veteran backup Dan Orlovsky.
Orlovsky threw for two interceptions and one touchdown during the preseason.
Booty’s preseason ending performance outshined Orlovsky’s proving that Orlovsky is not a solid backup. So, Booty was cut to make room for Arizona Cardinals Matt Leinart to join the roster and eventually take Orlovsky’s spot.
Rookie undrafted free agent from Arkansas Malcolm Sheppard, was a fan favorite to make this team. Showing flashes of ability during training camp only was able to land one tackle during the entire preseason.
Undrafted rookie free agent Jack Corcoran was a player who could add depth to the full back position for the Texans. However, as in years past the Texans will enter the regular season with only one full back, veteran tyrannosaurus Vonta Leach.
Another rookie free agent released worth noting is wide receiver from North Alabama Bobby Williams. Williams had a fantastic camp, and should have enough tape to land with another team sooner then later.