I wrote just yesterday about the harsh realities of life in the NFL. I made a somewhat bold claim that no New Orleans Saint really deserved to be cut from the team. But because of the said harsh realities, cuts had to be made.
A few readers made a good point that a player such as Chris Ivory does not have to be cut, but instead can be put on the PUP-List (Physically Unable to Perform List). But anyway, it's not as if a player of Ivory's significance would be cut upon the first batch of pink slips going out.
Surprisingly though a player of similar significance was released Tuesday—as the Saints have now released three starters from the 2011 playoff team—the team most successful in defense of a championship since the Patriots successfully defended their 2003 title.
Without a doubt, the most surprising cut announced Tuesday by New Orleans was that of starting defensive end Alex Brown.
Brown was brought in last offseason on a two-year deal to take Charles Grant's spot starting opposite Will Smith. In 2010, Brown did a fine job defending the run, providing some pressure on the QB and was looking like a shoe-in for the spot to start 2011 again.
But to quote Lee Corso: "Not so fast my friend!" The Saints shocked me, and perhaps part of the fanbase when they decided Brown was no longer in the plans.
Early speculation says that Cameron Jordan has quietly progressed enough to be given regular season reps at the spot alongside Turk McBride. A few weeks ago I predicted that defensive tackle Mitch King would require the Saints to consider keeping him. The fact he didn't get cut—and Brown did—shows he's at least made them think about it a bit.
As for Brown don't be surprised if he finds a spot somewhere in the coming weeks. The guy still has some game left in him.
I know so little about Allen—as apparently is the case with everyone else, since no picture can be found of him—that all I can tell you is that he played guard.
After that, I don't know. While Brown was a surprise as an early cut, Allen is the type of player who sadly was very much expected.
Butler was a second-year linebacker out of Nevada who managed to maintain a spot on the Jets' 53-man roster in 2010.
Just as he did nothing of note with them, the same could be said of his brief time in New Orleans. Butler is still a good athlete, and much like Brown, I'm sure he'll find someone to give him another shot sooner than later.
Despite the incredible depth at the running back position, Taylor is a guy I thought would at least make it past the first set of cuts. Taylor did a few nice things this preseason, but was undoubtedly shown up by everybody's new favorite nobody running back—Joique Bell.
Taylor has experience in the NFL, meaning he'll likely get at least one more shot before he has to call it a career. At the end of the day, trying to make it happen in New Orleans was just too difficult a task for him. And that's no fault of his.
Parson is another player who lost his job less because of his own abilities—and more because he was trying to make a very talented roster at a position where depth has been accentuated due to the lack of healthy bodies at that spot in recent seasons.
Similar to Taylor, I would expect Parson to get at least one more shot in this league. And given the Saints' struggles in recent years to stay healthy at the position—who is to say that chance won't come with the Saints?
Fayson is a player who transferred from Florida to Illinois in college in order to have success. Well it now appears that if Fayson is going to have success in the pros, he's going to have to do it with his second pro team as well.
Fayson is a talented kid, but trying to make a squad at the receiver position in New Orleans is about as tough as it is to clean a pig—in other words almost impossible.
The former Texas QB/WR was doing well in camp, and perhaps gave himself a chance to find a spot on some other team with the camp he had in New Orleans. Unfortunately, he simply was trying to make the wrong team at the wrong position.
Gay is not much of a known commodity, despite finding himself on several NFL rosters. He hasn't been able to figure out how to stick around with a team yet.
Doing so is a difficult task, but certainly his odds would seem better had he made it through the first cuts with the Saints.
Hurt—a rookie from Missouri State—found himself in the middle of a competition for one roster spot. He was clearly the least likely man to come out of that battle with a job when camp opened. And veterans Korey Hall and Jed Collins made sure he wasn't going to be the guy to win the battle.
With the fullback spot almost out of vogue in today's NFL, Hurt is playing catch up in trying to make an NFL roster spot anyway. But there are still teams willing to give guys like Hurt a chance. Time will tell if it works out for him.
Taylor was a center at UCLA who really only played one year for the Bruins—a team that is frankly a sad display of a football team (and I like UCLA).
But the Saints are good at finding gems, so it's a bit surprising that they have given up on him already. At least with a UCLA degree, Taylor ought to be able to make something out of himself if he never catches on anywhere in football.
McDaniel is a favorite of mine. I really like his game, and honestly believe he has a future in this league. I completely expected McDaniel to make it through the first cuts. Unfortunately he did not, but I still think he'd be a good guy to sign to the practice squad if he's available next Sunday or Monday.
That may not be the direction the Saints go, but I want them to. As with all these guys, only time will tell what they do.
Mickey Loomis, Sean Payton and the rest of the Saints personnel staff will continue to evaluate the men on their roster and on the 31 other rosters in hopes of putting together the best 53-man roster possible. It is a process—one that never really ends.
This article will continue to be updated as more cuts and roster signings are made as it relates to these players.
The Saints got closer to their 53-man roster Friday night by placing Running Backs Chris Ivory and Patrick Cobbs on the Injured Reserve list, along with rookie wide receiver Joseph Morgan, safety Paul Oliver, and Greg Romeus on the non-football injured list.
Those five player's seasons are effectively over before it even began.
Then the Saints began announcing players they had released from the 80-man roster. Tackle Jordan Black was among that group. He did some nice things in camp, but at the end of the day, this is just too deep of a roster for a guy who didn't come in with a guaranteed spot on the o-line.
Quincy Butler has started at times in the NFL for the St. Louis Rams. But the Saints already have one of the deepest cornerback rotations, so Butler's odds of making the squad were slim. He will almost undoubtedly find some work later in the season once guys go down with injuries.
Trumaine McBride is another player who has experience in this league, but with the numbers at the corner spot, it simply didn't work out with McBride. Given the Saints' recent struggles to keep corners healthy, it wouldn't shock me if Butler or McBride ended up back in black and gold before it's all said and done.
Tackle George Foster had to be a guy the Saints wanted to keep, but ultimately decided they needed more roster spots to be available at other spots. Foster was impressive in this training camp but in a numbers game, unfortunately had to be left off the roster.
Humphrey is a player I pretty much assumed had earned a spot on this roster as the third tight end. Apparently I was wrong. His absence means someone I didn't expect to make the team is going to be the third tight end.
Chris Taylor is a player who had already been taken off the roster but was formally released Friday night. This move really was no surprise.
The termination of the contracts of these two safeties is pretty surprising given both are very good special teams players.
Neither would have made huge contributions on defense, but had earned roster spots in the past based only on their special teams contributions. The release of these two players means the special teams units will look vastly different in 2011.
And that concerns me a bit.
Given the termination of Tory Humphrey's contract, the most surprising waiver move is that of tight end Tyler Lorenzen. He would've figured to be next in line in the tight end rotation after Humphrey. But neither will begin 2011 in black and gold.
Billings had a nice camp, but ultimately was trying to break into the NFL in the wrong city, on the wrong team.
Dexter Larrimore did some nice things as well, but again the defensive tackle spot is one with too much talent. This looks good for guys like Tom Johnson and Mitch King.
Finally Dwight Roberson's being waived is not very surprising. While a talented player, Roberson had too much room to make up on a roster already deep at the linebacker spot.
The Saints have more cuts to make to trim the roster down to 53, but the roster is starting to come into place.
Check back here for more analysis when the final roster is determined.