In football, the staff member responsible for telling a player to report to the coach's office so that he may be told of his release is actually called the Turk. If you've ever watched Hard Knocks, he's the guy always saying, "Bring your playbook." But Blue Oyster Cult didn't popularize a song called, "Don't Fear the Turk" and like the Grim Reaper, the Turk seeks out players and brings them to their inevitable career death. Hence the title of this post.
Today is the day all NFL team rosters must be cut down to their maximum of 53 players, certainly not any coaches favorite part of the job but still a necessary evil. Inevitably, it comes down to a handful of very difficult decisions at just a couple of positions. Here's a look at some of the more difficult decisions the Saints coaching staff will have to make today.
The Wide Receiver Dilemma
Rod Harper, Courtney Roby and Adrian Arrington are the three players in the mix for one, maybe two, available spots. Harper's performance against the Dolphins on Thursday night should have assured him job security. Probably the most difficult decision of the day - if the coaching staff decides to keep six receivers - is between Arrington and Roby. Arrington has shown flashes of brilliance as a receiver and tremendous upside, making him incredibly difficult to part with. On the other hand, Roby's special teams and return abilities give him a shot to crack the lineup. I'd keep Arrington...Bush and Harper can return punts.
Running Back Crunch
Mike Bell is a lock for the third spot behind Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas but I am beginning to think Payton will go with four players at this position. Lynell Hamilton has to be considered the clear cut favorite for that job but P.J. Hill and Herb Donaldson are also in the mix, Hill moreso than Donaldson. I think they're both gone and Hill is asked back to the practice squad if he's not picked up by another team, which is very likely.
Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter, Randall Gay and Malcolm Jenkins have all got to be considered a sure thing to make the roster this season, meaning Leigh Torrence and Danny Gorrer are left to choose from for the fifth spot. Torrence is probably the favorite here but Gorrer has impressed some. Don't think it's enough, though.
I still think the Saints will decided to place Chip Vaughn on IR to free up a valuable roster spot. This would leave only Chris Reis for the fifth spot. The question then becomes whether or not to actually keep a fifth safety on the roster. Knowing that Gregg Williams values the safety position and Reis has always been a special teams ace I think he stays but it's a tough call.
This one baffles me. Marvin Mitchell may make it because he is the only one penciled in at the middle linebacker spot behind Vilma, leaving Troy Evans, Jonathan Casillas and Anthony Waters all fighting it out for possibly just one position (I think Dunbar makes it). But if those guys are versatile enough, I'd prefer to see Casillas and Waters given a chance instead. In fairness, Evans has looked pretty good recently as well and contributes well on special teams. Wouldn't want to be the coaches for this one.
To Harrington or Not to Harrington
If the Saints wanted to only go with two quarterbacks this season, Joey Harrington is definintely the odd man out. Mickey Loomis said Thursday before the game that he gets nervous having only two quarterbacks on the roster and that Thursday nights matchup was not a tryout for Harrington, so I'm inclined to believe he's staying. Still, ya never know.
It is pretty safe to assume the following players will certainly not make the team: