The NFL preseason is officially over and the regular season begins next week. As always, rosters need to be finalized. By Friday at 9 pm EST, NFL teams had to trim their rosters to 53 players and several former Cards players were affected. Here is how a number of them fared out, along with how other former Cards did this preseason.
-Bilal Powell (pictured) of the New York Jets once again made the Jets regular season roster and is competing with Joe McKnight for the no. 2 running back/3rd down back position. Terrance Ganaway, the rookie running back for Baylor is out of the running as he was among those cut. Powell finished the preseason with 26 carries for 92 yards, averaging 3.5 yards per carry. McKnight finished with 19 carries for 73 yards, averaging 3.8 yards per carry. Neither players reached the endzone, but apparently no one else on the team wanted to, either. For comparison’s sake, cemented starter and primary back Shonn Greene rushed 29 times for 94 yards, averaging 3.2 yards per carry. Of course, he was going against ones, where Powell and McKnight went against mainly twos and threes. Powell appeared to be the superior back during the preseason, and the fact that McKnight started a fight at practice and is involved in a USC benefits scandal right now, signs should point to Powell winning the job, but you never know with the NFL, especially when pertaining to the Jets.
-Former Louisville wide receiver and occasional defensive back Josh Bellamy made the Kansas City Chiefs roster as an undrafted rookie free agent, at least according to what he put on Twitter. His stats were nothing special, catching 2 balls for 25 yards this preseason, but really stood out in camp, and it appears the Chiefs thought enough of him to keep him on, perhaps if nothing else, in a special teams role. We should all be very proud of the former Card.
-A former teammate of Bellamy’s and another undrafted rookie was not as lucky, as the Chiefs cut former Cards linebacker Dexter Heyman. That is a shame for a player that was so valuable to the Cards last year. Hopefully, his leadership qualities and athletic potential will land him a job on another team.
-While he did not finish his career with the Cards, instead electing to follow former Cards defensive coordinator Ron English to Eastern Michigan, former safety Lattarius Thomas did play for the Cards and played well when on the field. Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent for the Colts, he did not make the final roster, but was added to the practice squad. Best of luck to the young man. He hit a stroke of bad luck after his freshman year, a very impressive one in which he started for the Orange Bowl winning team, with injuries and was Kragthorped bad. Card Nation will certainly be pulling for him as he tries to impress the Colts.
-Former Cards RB Michael Bush is now out of the hellhole that is the Oakland Raiders organization and after rushing for nearly 1,000 yards last season, he now finds himself on a Super Bowl-contending Chicago Bears team as a change-of-pace back for Matt Forte. He played minimally in the preseason, but showed flashes why he could be the most valuable no. 2 back in the league this year. If he is not on your fantasy team already, and no one else had the football smarts to pick him, then get him quick. He will see the endzone quite a bit this year.
-In quite a shocking move, one victim of cuts was former Card receiving great Deion Branch, who was let go by the Patriots. This move makes little sense. Yes, he is a little older now at 33, but still has enough in him to help a team with Super Bowl aspirations, especially the Patriots. The New England offense likes to use short, undersized, but lightning quick receivers to spread across the field where Tom Brady can simply dump off a short pass where the receiver takes it several yards after catch. They have Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd, but did not want Branch as a third option? Seems strange, especially with the chemistry Branch and Brady have. Hopefully someone picks him up, and the Colts may be a solid fit. He lives in Carmel, Indiana, and a young team in a rebuilding phase could use another vet with Super Bowl experience to play out of the slot (especially with Austin Collie’s injury woes).
-Another former Card who finished his career up with another team was also among those cut, as former running back Anthony Allen was let go by the Baltimore Ravens. Allen was battling to be the team’s backup running back to Ray Rice, but did not show enough to remain on the active roster. He was, however, signed to the practice squad, so good luck to him as he battles his way back. One local name that appears set to make the roster, however, is not a Louisville player, but former Western Kentucky star Bobby Rainey, who got hosed on draft day. Good for him.
-Former Cards Tight End Gary Barnidge is another one who seems safe. Barnidge had a rather impressive preseason for the Carolina Panthers, reeling in 6 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. With Jeremy Shockey no longer on the team, Barnidge may get some looks from second year QB Cam Newton, but still will likely be no higher than no. 2 on the depth chart behind Greg Olsen.
-Harry Douglas, the former stud wide receiver for the Cards, is still going strong with the Atlanta Falcons and expects to be the no. 3 receiver behind Julio Jones and Roddy White. The team is allegedly very high on him, and while he has shown flashes, he has yet to completely break out. He should get several looks out of the slot this year.
-Another member of the Falcons was not as lucky as Douglas, as former Cards QB great Chris Redman, who has been the backup QB (and spot starter) since Bobby Petrino took over for a month, was finally let go. If this is Redman’s final hurrah, he should be very proud of his career in the NFL, as he was regarded as one of the more valuable backups during his time with the Falcons. In any case, he ended up with a far better and more respectable career than his former rival and one of the biggest NFL draft busts in history, Tim Couch. He always will have that.
-Amobi Okoye, the former Cards defensive tackle taken 10th overall in the 2007 NFL Draft, was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after reaching an injury settlement, having undergone arthroscopic knee surgery in June. He had originally signed a 1-year, $2 million deal in the offseason. He has yet to live up to his billing as a no. 10 overall pick, but at only 25, he still has time to prove otherwise. Hear’s hoping another team takes a chance on him.
If I missed anyone or you want to report on anyone, please feel free to do so in the comments section.