Every year, teams have to let some players go. Even though the Jets did a good job of bringing back a healthy percentage of their main free agents, they chose not to bring everyone back. Although it’s only preseason, I’ll be keeping track of the progress on these guys so we can at least start to form some views on whether letting any of these guys loose was a mistake or a smart move.
After the jump, all the details from Week Three, because all of the expendables have already seen action apart from Steve Weatherford, who you can see in action against the Jets tomorrow night.
Drew Coleman: Jaguars
Coleman wasn’t really thrown at this week, although he did see plenty of reps as a slot corner, because the Bills ran a lot of three-wide looks. Coleman assisted on a tackle down at the two yard line after a four yard QB keeper and was credited with a solo tackle after a big hit on Tyler Thigpen just short of the marker on a third down QB scramble. He seems pretty secure in that 3rd CB/nickelback role.
Vernon Gholston: Bears
Gholston was a slight victim of circumstance this week, as he ended up not getting many reps. The starters played into the third quarter and then, once it was time for the second unit to play, the Bears had the ball for 18 of the next 21 minutes. Gholston failed to record a pressure or a tackle and was driven to the inside on one five yard run over to his side. Some Bears bloggers/beat writers seem to suggest he hasn’t secured his place on the team yet.
Brad Smith: Bills
The Jets were often criticized for “never” letting Brad Smith throw from the Wildcat formation, despite his college QB pedigree. Further evidence as to why that didn’t happen much was provided this week, as Smith took a Wildcat snap and dropped back to throw. He actually had Stevie Johnson wide open, but threw an ugly, wobbly, floating duck that Johnson caught three yards out of bounds. Smith did perform much better when running from the Wildcat, breaking several tackles to turn a loss into a six yard gain and trucking a linebacker as he took a four yard keeper down to the two yard line. On another run to the outside, he looked to have converted on 3rd and short, but was called for a facemask penalty on the defender he hit with a stiff arm. He also got some reps at WR, but wasn’t thrown at, although he did gain five on an end-around. All told, he had 19 yards on four carries.
Jerricho Cotchery: Steelers
Cotchery missed this week’s game after picking up a hamstring injury during the week.
Braylon Edwards: 49ers
A thoroughly frustrating game for Edwards, who was shut out by a Houston defense that was one of the worst in the league against the pass last year. The Niners ran plenty of plays where he was the primary option, but the first two of these saw the quarterback sacked immediately after the line messed up their protection. Another was thrown behind him and he could only get one hand to it. That was as close as he got to catching a ball all afternoon as the next throw to him was deflected at the line (although the Niners did get the first down on a roughing call) and the last throw was easily intercepted. He didn’t bother to chase after the player who intercepted the pass, which led to a touchdown return.
Steve Weatherford: Giants
As noted above, Jets fans will get a look at Steve Weatherford in his efforts to win the Giants’ punter job from the incumbent Matt Dodge on Monday night.
Ben Hartsock: Panthers
Hartsock only got a couple of reps as a blocking tight end in the first half. In the second half, he was often lined up in the slot, which hardly plays to his strengths. He was targeted twice late, with a pass behind him being broken up and another being caught for a six yard gain. His roster spot is not yet secure.
Shaun Ellis: Patriots
Ellis still hasn’t played for New England. He was expected to be in uniform for the game against Detroit, but they ultimately left him home.
James Ihedigbo: Patriots
Ihedigbo got plenty of reps as a free safety, which again doesn’t really seem to play to his strengths. He had one solo tackle on a 20 yard pass completion in front of him in the first half and was credited with an assist after falling on a pile. Unfortunately, he made several mistakes, missing a tackle on the edge to lead to an eight yard run and another in the flat to lead to a fifteen yard gain. He was late getting over on a dump off pass over the middle with seconds left in the first half and was unable to make the tackle at the goalline. When finally given the chance to redeem himself on a bad throw, he dropped a diving interception attempt. Ihedigbo doesn’t yet look comfortable in New England’s scheme.
Kellen Clemens: Redskins
Clemens got several chances in the fourth quarter, but was unable to put any points on the board, other than a field goal which came after a turnover by the Ravens, deep in their own territory. He ended up 4-for-8 for 33 yards and was also sacked, had a third down pass batted down at the line and threw an interception on a pass where he didn’t see the slot corner and threw it straight at him. Each of his four completions were basically dump offs, although one did go for a 14 yard gain. Baltimore took a four point lead in the last minute and, after driving the Redskins to midfield, Clemens’ Hail Mary pass with no time remaining on the clock was broken up seven yards short of the endzone.
Jason Taylor: Dolphins
Taylor had an eventful game, although it didn’t really translate to the stat sheet. It does look like they are planning for him to be a key contributor this year, which didn’t seem to be the case last week. Taylor came in for Koa Misi on passing downs early on, then replaced both Misi and Wake for a couple of series each. Despite the heavy workload, he only recorded one tackle and couldn’t get anywhere near the quarterback when matched up with Donald Penn, despite trying all kinds of moves against him. He did almost get a pressure after beating a fullback and then finally registered a pressure against Penn’s backup, James Lee. After that pressure, Taylor and Lee ended up rolling around on the floor in a hilarious slap-fight. Taylor’s best highlight was probably spooking Lee into a false start penalty. He also had a costly penalty himself, as he dropped into coverage and was called for illegal contact, negating a safety that would have given Miami a 12-10 lead and the ball.