The New York Jets released 22 players today to reach the maximum NFL roster limit of 53. The following is a position-by-position analysis of the cuts. We didn't skip tight ends, though — the Jets kept four, including Joe Kowalewski and Jason Pociask.
"We liked a lot of the things the different guys brought to the table," Jets head coach Eric Mangini said of those tight ends. "They all do bring different characteristics. They also have the ability to work in the backfield, which is nice. You can play a two-tight-end set but build a two-back set or you can stay in your traditional two-tight-end set with one back in the backfield. I like that. I think that causes a lot of issues for teams being able to move in and out of those things with the same player."
Here are the cuts by position:
Quarterback: Brett Ratliff
Ratliff, an undrafted free agent from Utah, never took a snap in a preseason game. The bigger story here, of course, is that the Jets chose to keep Marques Tuiasosopo, a seven-year veteran who played very well Thursday night in the summer finale against the Eagles. "Tui" led the Jets to 10 fourth-quarter points, including a 15-play drive to Mike Nugent's game-winning field goal.
"With the reps that I've had in practice and in games, I think I've shown I'm capable of operating this offense," Tuiasosopo said last week. "The things that didn't go well, I've learned from."
Running Back: Alvin Banks, Danny Ware
Running hard throughout the preseason, Ware finished fourth in the NFL with 183 yards on the ground. The Georgia product, who has a nice build at 6'0", 234, took advantage of increased time after Thomas Jones went to the sidelines with a leg injury.
"Certainly Danny Ware has made a nice case for himself coming into this weekend," GM Mike Tannenbaum said Thursday. "He's had some nice production. He was in a crowded backfield at the University of Georgia."
Wide Receiver: Chris Davis, Frisman Jackson, Evan Prall
The Jets signed Jackson, who spent his first four professional seasons with the Browns, in January. He played 12 games for the Browns in 2005, totaling 287 yards on 24 receptions. But the vet was probably edged out by Wallace Wright, who stood out on special teams late last season.
"To be honest I'm not a starter. If you're not going to start, you have to play special teams," Wright said this summer. "I'm just happy to be a part of the team. That's always been my ticket, anyway, so hopefully it will continue to be my ticket."
Offensive Line:T Marko Cavka, OL Na'Shan Goddard, OL Dominic Moran, OL Robert Turner, C Joe Villani
Villani, a hometown kid who grew up in Wantagh, N.Y., and earned All-Long Island honors at St. Anthony's High, comes from a family of Jets fans. He used to attend training camp as a child and survived the '07 camp until the final cut.
Defensive Line: DE Bobby Hamilton, DE Michael Haynes, DE/DT Kimo von Oelhoffen
Depth was the word we heard throughout camp when the D-line was addressed. Hamilton and von Oelhoffen are both 36 years old, so you can also say there was a bit of youth movement here.
"When you get to a certain age — 36 like I am — and have been in the league for a while, you always think and feel like you are on the bubble," Hamilton said. "You have to go out there and still play this. I feel like I'm always going to be on the bubble as long I'm still playing."
Rookie end Mike DeVito, the undrafted free agent from Maine, made enough plays at end to stick. The 6'3", 298-pounder is 23 and displayed a high-motor at camp.
Linebacker: Blake Costanzo, Anthony Schlegel, Jason Trusnik, Andre Wadsworth
While he won't suit up against the Patriots, Wadsworth gave a yeomanlike effort. The former third overall selection in the 1998 NFL Draft has missed the past six NFL seasons after more than a dozen surgeries.
"To me the battle is already won. To come back from the type of injuries that I have had and the surgeries that I have had and to make it through camp and not miss one practice, that is huge to me," he said last week. "To me, the battle is won and I've learned a lot about myself."
Schlegel, selected in the third round in 2006, played in just four regular-season games a year ago.
"You just take it in stride. I'm not a big worry guy. I just go out there and do what I can," he said before this cut. "As long as I can look myself in the mirror and say I did my best, that's all I care about."
Cornerback: Manny Collins, Alphonso Hodge
Even though Collins was signed almost a week into camp, the Rutgers alum never appeared out of his element. On Saturday, Mangini was asked about the Plainfield, N.J., native.
"I thought he did a good job with his opportunities," the coach said. "It is an ongoing process and he did get in a little bit later, but I was happy with his approach and he has a really good outlook on things."
Safety: Jamie Thompson, Raymond Ventrone
The Jets are set at safety with a strong quartet in Kerry Rhodes, Erik Coleman, Eric Smith and special teams specialist Rashad Washington.
And now the focus shifts to looking at the waiver wire and assembling a practice squad. With his family away, Mangini is even staying at the office a little later than usual.
"My wife and kids are in Jersey visiting her sister, so it's pretty easy to stay here the whole time. It's nice because you're able to clean up a lot of things that need to be cleaned up," he said. "There's quite a bit that goes on here, not just with the cuts but looking at the practice squad, looking at the group of cuts from the other teams and just sort of cleaning up that aspect prior to really getting into the full week."