Thursday was all about speculation.
Some players chose to inform their Twitter followers about their situation, while others just simply kept their thoughts to themselves. Though an official list will be hard to come by before Friday's 8 p.m. deadline, I thought I would name a few players who have made this roster reduction a difficult one.
At wide receiver, there was some talk before the Rams game that the club might be interested in keeping seven on the active roster. Possible? Yes. Probable? No. There were just too many other positions that needed the spot. The club will carry six and the battle was going to come down between Andre Holmes and Danny Coale.
Again, no official word, but it appears Holmes has won the spot. From my scout's eye, I could see what the personnel guys saw in Coale when it came to his route running and his hands. Where he was at a disadvantage was the injury he suffered that truly robbed him of an opportunity to potentially make this football team. Coale had missed so much time that other receivers like Kevin Ogletree, Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris took advantage of him being away from practice.
If Coale was able to practice this entire time, we might be talking about someone else that they were going to expose to waivers.
Outside linebacker Adrian Hamilton caught my eye from the first rookie camp after the draft. Hamilton more than looked the part physically, but I was really impressed with his ability to play on his feet when in college he had always had his hand on the ground. In practices against Doug Free and Tyron Smith, you could see the pass rush ability he brought to the team. His spin move gave these tackles fits.
Where Hamilton appears to have missed out is on special teams. There were games where he was put in position to make plays, but failed to take advantage of it and be a core guy. The biggest problem that Hamilton had was he didn't play with enough awareness, and in turn, his play suffered.
Next to the secondary, this linebacker group might be the deepest on the squad, but it's about more than just rushing the passer. You had better be able to block and cover too.
One of my favorite players this summer was defensive end Ben Bass. From where he came from, at Texas A&M, to where he is now is quite amazing. Here is a player that went undrafted and really unwanted until the Cowboys called him for an opportunity to come to a tryout during the rookie weekend in May. Bass might not be the ideal 3-4 defensive end because of his physical makeup, but if he played as a 4-3 end I think he would be outstanding playing on the outside shoulder of the tackle.
Bass is one of those players that keeps coming at you and is relentless in his effort. In the Dolphins game, he and Tyrone Crawford did a really nice job of playing the twist games inside. Bass isn't ready right now to help you down after down, but if he finds himself on that waiver wire, you hold your breath and hope you can get him back to develop.
I remember the first time I observed linebacker Orie Lemon one year ago in San Antonio, in his first NFL training camp. Lemon was the player that, when the squad went 9-on-7 run period, he was filling the hole with some serious stoutness. Lemon has always been a physical player, but in the Dolphins game he showed some great awareness driving underneath the running back in the slot, reading Matt Moore's eyes and snatching the ball out of the air.
It was a special defense where Rob Ryan dropped Lemon a little deeper in the zone and into a perfect position to make the play. Lemon is also one of those players that shows up on special teams, not only as a dependable blocker, but also as a point of attack player in the pile.
Offensive guard Ronald Leary started off well in the OTAs and minicamps, so there was a great deal of hope for the rookie from Memphis. Then camp started injuries forced he and David Arkin to take almost every snap in practice, and to his credit gave a great effort. But there came a point in time when Leary's game flattened out and he was not making the gains we had seen before. Where Leary does impress you is in his upper body strength, but he needs to do a better job with his technique, and that is something that can be learned.
There were too many times when he was in poor blocking position. I am always against exposing offensive and defensive linemen to waivers, but given his injury history, there might be a pretty good chance of getting him back on the practice squad.