The Saints released nine players, trimming their roster to sixty-six. They will cut thirteen more players before tomorrow's deadline. Among the released was linebacker Dhani Jones, who didn't have a very remarkable preseason. It wasn't that Jones played poorly during the games, but he wasn't very noticeable, even when playing against second-and third-teamers, guys who he should dominate. Look for him to latch on with somebody else soon.
Also among the released were offensive lineman Rob Petitti, receiver Derrick Doyle and Brian Ferentz, whose father Kirk coaches the Iowa Hawkeyes.
So who should not be in the next batch of cuts?
- Supposedly, Pierre Thomas was on the bubble, but based on his performance from this preseason, he's clearly the third-best runner on the team. Now, obviously Antonio Pittman gets some bonus points for being a draft pick, since no front office wants to admit failure on a pick before a single game is played, but based on their numbers, Thomas has been a much more effective player than Pittman. Pittman put up superior numbers during his college career, but he did so behind a semi-pro line at Ohio State. Thomas, on the other hand, played for a school that doesn't pay their players (much), so the talent surrounding him at Illinois wasn't quite as good. The Saints could risk cutting Thomas and trying to put him on the practice squad, but some running back-starved team would almost certainly pick him up. Better to cut Pittman or Aaron Stecker.
- Another guy who won't last on the practice squad is Chris Reis. The Ramblin' Wrecker made two interceptions during the preseason, to go along with a number of nice plays on special teams. With the Saints' secondary lacking playmakers, they would be wise to keep a guy like Reis around. Even if it means cutting ties with an older guy like Jay Bellamy.
In other news, the Jaguars plan on trading or releasing Byron Leftwich. While it's probably unrealistic to expect that the Saints could (or would) outspend a quarterback-starved team like Atlanta, should he hit the open market, the team should always look to find upgrades at key positions. Jamie Martin and Tyler Palko have both been up-and-down in the preseason; if the price for Leftwich stays reasonable (read: fifth-round pick-ish), he would be a nice upgrade at the backup quarterback position. In a pinch, he might also be able to play defensive tackle. Maybe.