Professional football can be a brutal business and nothing is more brutal, and nothing hurts more, than being “cut.” When Coach tells a player to leave their playbook (tablet) and clean out their locker, it is devastating, especially if it is the first time.
Most players that will be dismissed this week expect it. They know who they are. Some have already packed and are just waiting for the official word. Others “hope against hope”, but when notified, they accept the decision philosophically then turn their attention to one of the other 31 teams.
This year, Tuesday, August 26 at 4:00 PM is the deadline for every NFL team to reduce its active roster to 75 players. General Manager Ozzie Newsome has indicated that some cuts could be made before the deadline. So, which current Ravens are likely to be nudged from the nest? Here is our list of the players we think will likely be cut:
- Center Reggie Stephens – Stephens was a seventh round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010. Since being released by the Bengals in 2011, he has been on the practice squads of several NFL teams. Stephens has not played in any regular season NFL games.
- Punter Richie Leone – Leone was signed as an undrafted free agent. He has had one punt during pre-season for 40 yards. Although Sam Koch’s numbers have fallen off a bit, he is one of the best placement punters in the NFL. Koch will continue to punt for the Ravens.
- Wide Receiver Mike Willie – Willie was a practice squad player with the San Diego Chargers. He was released by the Chargers for the second time in August, 2013. The Ravens signed him as a free agent in June of this year, but he has not played during the preseason.
- Cornerback Mario Norman – Norman is a former Arena league player. He is 28 years old and was signed as a rookie free agent. He has had one tackle during the preseason on limited playing time.
- Tight End Nathan Overbay – Overbay is a former Houston Texan. Houston waived him in November, 2013 and the Ravens signed him in December. Even with Owen Daniels missing some time, Pitta and Crockett are “locks” and it is unlikely the Ravens will keep four Tight Ends.
- Wide Receiver Jace Davis – Davis, who signed as a rookie free agent, has made one catch during the preseason for five yards. He has almost no chance of making the team.
- Outside Line Backer Levi Brown – There is simply no room for this undrafted free agent and he did nothing to “Wow” the coaches.
- Defensive Tackle A. J. Pataiali’I – Another rookie free agent that did nothing to distinguish himself.
- Offensive Tackle Brett Van Sloten – Yet another rookie free agent. Van Sloten simply has no future with the Ravens.
- Fullback Shaun Chapas – Chapas previously played for the Dallas Cowboys (practice squad) and was also on the Detroit Lions practice squad. He was most recently waived by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Ravens aren’t likely to keep two Fullbacks.
- Running Back Cierre Wood – Wood, another ex-Texans reserve has shown nothing during the preseason. While Rice is suspended, the RBs will be Bernard Pierce (if healthy), Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Teliaferro. When Rice returns, Forsett might be looking for a job.
- Quarterback Keith Wenning – this will be a move to get Wenning on the practice squad.
- Wide Receiver LaQuan Williams – Williams played in 12 games during his rookie year with four receptions for 46 yards. He was injured during most of his sophomore year (2012) and was waived by the Ravens in 2013 and re-signed in 2014. I think the Ravens finally realize that Williams has the talent but the desire is questionable. Look for Ozzie Newsome to end this drama.
- Corner Back Sammy Seamster – Steamster is “raw” with some potential but the Ravens have better Corners and more will be available next week. Steamster might end up on the practice squad or with another team.
The great Boston Celtics Coach Red Auerbach once said “An acre of performance is worth a whole world of promise.” Many of these young men have potential but they all failed to convince Ravens’ coaches that they deserved sufficient playing time to show what they could do. When the initial cuts have been made, the players “on the bubble” can begin to worry. [subscribe}