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53-man roster tracker

NFL teams have until 9 PM EDT on Friday, August 31 to cut their rosters from 75 players to 53 players. We’ll track all the moves that every team makes to get down to 53 players right here.

Arizona Cardinals: Waived wide receivers DeMarco Sampson and Isaiah Williams, cornerback Crezdon Butler, linebackers Antonio Coleman, Clark Haggans, Colin Parker, and Quan Sturdivant, safety Blake Gideon, guard Russ Hochstein, defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin, cornerback Larry Parker, tight end Stephen Skelton, running back Alfonso Smith, defensive end Ronald Talley, defensive end Everrette Thompson, tight end Martell Webb, center Scott Wedige, and tackle D.J. Young. The Cardinals also waived/injured linebacker Brandon Williams and wide receiver Stephen Williams, and placed running back Javarris James and quarterback Richard Bartel on injured reserve.

Atlanta Falcons: Cornerback Dominique Franks and long snapper Joe Zelenka highlighted the Falcons full list of cuts. They also released fullback Mike Cox and placed safety Shann Schillinger on injured reserve, waived-injured wide receiver Kerry Meier and reached injury settlements with tight end Lamark Brown and guard Andrew Jackson. They waived the following players: linebacker Spencer Adkins, linebacker Rico Council, wide receiver Drew Davis, cornerback Dominique Franks, tackle Bryce Harris, linebacker Jerrell Harris, center Tyler Horn, wide receiver Marcus Jackson, cornerback Marty Markett, running back Dimitri Nance, defensive tackle Conrad Obi, defensive tackle Micanor Regis, wide receiver James Rodgers, linebacker Pat Schiller, cornerback Peyton Thompson, and safety Suaesi Tuimaunei.

Baltimore Ravens: Waived running back Anthony Allen, safety Omar Brown, linebacker Josh Bynes, linebacker Nigel Carr, guard Jack Cornell, receiver Dorian Graham, guard Cord Howard, nose tackle Nicholas Jean-Baptiste, nose tackle Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, guard Antoine McClain, defensive end Terrence Moore, quarterback Curtis Painter, receiver Logan Payne, safety Cyhl Quarles, linebacker Chavis Williams and guard Tony Wragge. Placed tight end Matt Balasavage, running back Damien Berry, guard Justin Boren, linebacker Ricky Brown, tight end Bruce Figgins and receiver Tommy Streeter on injured reserve.

Buffalo Bills: The Bills announced the following moves: Waived wide receiver Kamar Aiken, offensive lineman Mark Asper, tight end Kevin Brock, running back Zach Brown, linebacker Tank Carder, offensive lineman James Carmon, wide receiver Marcus Easley, defensive end Robert Eddins, defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, defensive tackle Jarron Gilbert, defensive back Isaiah Green, wide receiver Derek Hagan, defensive tackle Kellen Heard, wide receiver Ruvell Martin, linebacker Scott McKillop, punter Shawn Powell, wide receiver Naaman Roosevelt, defensive back Nick Saenz, offensive lineman David Snow, running back Johnny White, offensive lineman Keith Williams and placed offensive lineman Zebrie Sanders on injured reserve.

Carolina Panthers: Waived wide receivers Seyi Ajirotutu and Jared Green, running back Tauren Poole, offensive tackle Matt Reynolds, defensive tackles Ogemdi Nwagbuo and Ryan Van Bergen, along with linebackers Kion Wilson and David Nixon and cornerbacks Darius Butler and R.J. Stanford. The last of the Panthers’ cuts: Safeties Jonathan Nelson, Jordan Pugh, and Reggie Smith, tight ends Nelson Rosario and Joe Jon Finley, running back Armond Smith, guards Zackary Williams, Bryant Browning, and Justin Wells, defensive tackle Nate Chandler, and linebacker Jason Williams.

Chicago Bears: Got down to 53 by releasing quarterback Josh McCown, running back Armando Allen, linebacker Xavier Adibi, defensive end Chauncey Davis, receiver Rashied Davis and cornerback Jonathan Wilhite. Also waived receivers Joe Anderson, Terriun Crump and Brittan Golden; tackles Cory Brandon, James Brown and A.J. Greene; cornerbacks Cornelius Brown, Isaiah Frey and Greg McCoy; guard Ricky Henry; safety Mark LeGree; defensive tackle Jordan Miller; tight end Brandon Venson; defensive end Aston Whiteside; and linebacker Jabara Williams. Defensive tackle Nate Collins is on the reserve/suspended list.

Cincinnati Bengals: Waived quarterback Zac Robinson, running back Daniel Herron, fullback James Develin, fullback Jourdan Brooks, tight end Colin Cochart, wide receiver Vidal Hazelton, tackle Matt O’Donnell, guard Otis Hudson, center Reggie Stephens, defensive end Micah Johnson, defensive end DeQuin Evans, defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga, linebacker Grant Hunter, linebacker Emmanuel Lamur, cornerback T.J. Heath, cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris and linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy. Waived-injured defensive tackle Nick Hayden. Placed defensive tackle Pat Sims on PUP list and safety Tony Dye on injured reserve. Placed linebacker Dontay Moch on suspended list.

Cleveland Browns:  Released tight end Dan Gronkowski, quarterback Seneca Wallace, tight end Evan Moore, linebacker Ben Jacobs, defensive tackle Brian Schaefering, cornerback James Dockery, wide receiver Rod Windsor, defensive end William Green, guard Jarrod Shaw, defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron, wide receiver Josh Cooper, linebacker Quinton Spears, running back Adonis Thomas, defensive tackle Kiante Tripp, fullback Brad Smelley, receiver Josh Cooper, guard Stanley Daniels, center Garth Gerhart, defensive end Ernest Owusu, guard Dominic Alford, defensive tackle Brian Schaefering, guard Jarrod Shaw, tackle J.B. Shugarts. Placed linebacker Scott Fujita on reserve/suspended list.

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys announced that they have waived defensive end Ben Bass, cornerback Lionel Smith, linebacker Orie Lemon, linebacker Adrian Hamilton, defensive end Clifton Geathers, safety Eddie Whitley, cornerback Teddy Williams, cornerback Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, defensive tackle Robert Calloway, wide receiver Saalim Hakim, wide receiver Danny Coale, running back Lance Dunbar, wide receiver Tim Benford, running back Jamize Olawale, quarterback Rudy Carpenter, tight end Andrew Szczerba, tackle Jeff Adams, offensive lineman Pat McQuistan and fullback Shaun Chapas. Guard Daniel Loper was waived-injured.

Denver Broncos: Got to the 53-man limit with the following moves: They placed linebacker D.J. Williams and tight end Virgil Green on the reserve/suspended list. Defensive end Jeremy Beal was placed on injured reserve. They also waived the following players: Defensive end Jamie Blatnick, safety Rafael Bush, cornerback Drayton Florence, linebacker Jerry Franklin, defensive tackle Ben Garland, guard Adam Grant, tackle Ryan Harris, wide receiver Jason Hill, guard Tony Hills, safety Duke Ihenacho, tight end Cornelius Ingram, running back Jeremiah Johnson, linebacker Mike Mohamed, wide receiver Greg Orton, wide receiver Gerell Robinson, nose tackle Sealver Siliga, cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson, guard Wayne Tribue and quarterback Adam Weber.

Detroit Lions:  Waived punter Ryan Donahue, guard Pat Boyle, defensive end Ugo Chinasa, tight end Alex Gottlieb, wide receiver Nate Hughes, defensive tackle Edmon McClam, linebacker Carmen Messina, wide receiver Wallace Miles, defensive tackle Tracy Robertson, cornerback Ross Weaver, tight end Austin Wells, cornerback Alphonso Smith, receiver Patrick Edwards, guard Dan Gerberry, guard Rodney Austin, defensive end Everette Brown, safety Reshard Langford, receiver Lance Long, receiver Maurice Stovall and cornerback Justin Miller. Running back Mikel Leshoure is on the reserve/suspended list.

Green Bay Packers: Placed tackle Derek Sherrod on reserve/PUP and linebacker Vic So’oto on injured reserve. They also released tackle Shea Allard, wide receiver Diondre Borel, tight end Brandon Bostick, quarterback B.J. Coleman, fullback Nic Cooper, tackle Andrew Datko, guard Tommie Draheim, guard Sampson Genus, wide receiver Curenski Gilleylen, wide receiver Tori Gurley, defensive end Lawrence Guy, safety Anthony Levine, cornerback Otis Merrill, wide receiver Dale Moss, defensive tackle Daniel Muir, running back Marc Tyler, guard Greg Van Roten and guard Reggie Wells.

Houston Texans: Announced the following cuts: quarterback Case Keenum, safety Troy Nolan, center Cody Wallace, fullback Moran Norris, linebacker Shawn Loiseau, tight end Logan Brock, defensive end Keith Browner, defensive end David Hunter, receiver Juaquin Iglesias, defensive end Mitch King, offensive tackle Nate Menkin, linebacker Rennie Moore, tight end Phillip Supernaw, center Cody Wallace, guard Cody White, linebacker D.J. Bryant, nose tackle Loni Fangupo, running back Jonathan Grimes, receiver Jeff Maehl, fullback Moran Norris and safety Eddie Pleasant. Wide receiver Jerrell Jackson said on Twitter that he had been cut. Offensive lineman Rashad Butler is heading for injured reserve.

Indianapolis Colts: Announced the following roster moves: Waived wide receiver Jeremy Ross, running back Darren Evans, tight end Andre Smith, tackle Mike Tepper, center Zane Taylor, tackle Steven Baker, defensive tackle Jason Shirley, linebacker Greg Lloyd, tight end Kyle Miller, guard Hayworth Hicks, linebacker Jerry Brown,  safety Latarrius Thomas, defensive tackle Chigbo Anunoby, wide receiver Kashif Moore and long snapper Justin Snow. They waived-injured running back Deji Karim, defensive end James Aiono, linebacker Tim Fugger, cornerback Brandon King and safety Mike Newton. Placed wide receiver Jabin Sambrano and cornerback Korey Lindsey on injured reserve and released tackle George Foster from IR.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Waived quarterback Jordan Palmer, tight end Colin Cloherty, running back Richard Murphy, cornerbacks Rod Issac and Trumaine McBride, defensive end Odrick Ray, linebacker J.K. Schaffer, offensive tackles Will Robinson and Lee Barbiasz, safety Courtney Greene, defensive lineman Corvey Irvin, cornerback Leigh Torrence, wide receiver Demetrius Williams, offensive lineman Daniel Baldridge, defensive lineman Kendrick Adams, wide receiver Mike Brown, defensive end Ryan Davis, cornerback Antonio Dennard, guard D.J. Hall, linebacker Joshua Jones, and fullback Will Ta’ufo’ou.

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs waived wide receiver Junior Hemingway, defensive lineman Jerome Long, defensive end Brandon Bair, cornerback Mikail Baker, wide receiver Josh Bellamy, center Rob Bruggeman, fullback Patrick DiMarco, cornerback Chandler Fenner, guard Darryl Harris, linebacker Gabe Miller, tackle David Mims, wide receiver Jamar Newsome, safety Terrance Parks, center Lucas Patterson, guard Rich Ranglin, cornerback Neiko Thorpe and defensive back Donald Washington. They placed safety Da’Quan Menzie and quarterback Alex Tanney on injured reserve and released defensive lineman Amon Gordon and linebacker Leon Williams.

Miami Dolphins: Terminated the contract of veteran linebacker Gary Guyton and waived the following 18 players: Cornerbacks Vincent Agnew, Quinten Lawrence and Anderson Russell, offensive tackles Will Barker, Rey Feinga, Andrew McDonald and Lydon Murtha, defensive tackles Ryan Baker and Isaako Aaitui, defensive end Jamaal Westerman, linebackers Cameron Collins and Shelly Lyons, wide receivers B.J. Cunningham, Jeff Fuller, Clyde Gates, Chris Hogan and Roberto Wallace and guard Chandler Burden. Rookie defensive end Jarrell Root was waived/injured, cornerback Kevyn Scott was waived with an injury settlement and offensive lineman Ryan Cook was traded to the Cowboys in exchange for an undisclosed 2013 draft pick.

Minnesota Vikings: Released veteran quarterback Sage Rosenfels as part of their final moves. They also terminated the contracts of veteran defensive end Jeff Charleston, cornerback Chris Carr and safety Eric Frampton. They waived wide receiver Manny Arceneaux, defensive tackle Chase Baker, guard Chris DeGeare, fullback Ryan D’Imperio, cornerback Bobby Felder, defensive tackle Trevor Guyton, running back Lex Hilliard, guard Tyler Holmes, cornerback Reggie Jones, tackle Kevin Murphy, linebacker Corey Paredes, guard Austin Pasztor, defensive end Nick Reed, center Quentin Saulsberry, tight end Mickey Shuler and running back Jordan Todman. They also placed tackle DeMarcus Love on injured reserve.

New England Patriots: Rookie running back Jeff Demps was placed on IR, and they cut 22 players to get to the limit. They released wide receiver Deion Branch, quarterback Brian Hoyer, safety Sergio Brown, defensive lineman Marcus Harrison, wide receiver Jesse Holley, safety James Ihedigbo, offensive lineman Matt Kopa, center Dan Koppen, linebacker Niko Koutouvides, safety Derrick Martin, linebacker Jeff Tarpinian and safety Malcolm Williams. They also waived fullback Eric Kettani, defensive lineman Aaron Lavarias, tight end Alex Silvestro and wide receiver Kerry Taylor, along with 2012 seventh-round wide receiver Jeremy Ebert and rookie free agent tight end Tyler Urban and offensive linemen Derek Dennis, Dustin Waldron, Jeremiah Warren and Darrion Weems.

New Orleans Saints: Released kicker John Kasay, wide receiver Greg Camarillo and tight end Derek Schouman to get to the 53-man limit, along with the following moves: They waived linebacker Kadarron Anderson, defensivse end Braylon Broughton, linebacker Ezra Butler, quarterback Sean Canfield, defensive end Alex Daniels, tight end Michael Higgins, cornerback Nick Hixson, safety Jerico Nelson, guard DeOnt’ae Pannell, tackle Aderious Simmons, wide receiver Andy Tanner, guard Matt Tennant and linebacker Lawrence Wilson. They placed running back Joe Banyard, safety Jose Gumbs, cornerback Marquis Johnson and wide receiver Nick Toon on injured reserve, and linebacker Ramon Humber and defensive end Will Smith on the reserve/suspended list.

New York Giants: The Giants have announced the following moves: They waived/injured cornerback Bruce Johnson and cut wide receivers David Douglas, Dan DePalma and Isiah Stanback, defensive ends Craig Marshall and Matt Broha, defensive tackles Marcus Thomas and Dwayne Hendricks, linebacker Jake Muasau, tight end Larry Donnell, offensive linemen Chris White, Matt McCants, Selvish Capers and Stephen Goodin, defensive backs Laron Scott and Dante Hughes and quarterback Ryan Perrilloux. Cornerback Terrell Thomas and defensive tackle Shaun Rogers were placed on injured reserve.

New York Jets: Released the following 22 players to get to the 53-man limit: Running back Terrance Ganaway, wide receivers Royce Pollard and Jordan White, tight end Hayden Smith, offensive lineman Paul Cornick, linebacker Ricky Sapp, defensive back Donnie Fletcher, quarterback Matt Simms, wide receivers Joseph Collins and Eron Riley, offensive linemen Robert Griffin, Fred Koloto and Matt Kroul, tight end Tarren Lloyd, defensive linemen Jay Richardson and Martin Tevaseu, linebackers Marcus Dowtin and Brett Roy, defensive backs LeQuan Lewis, D’Anton Lynn and Julian Posey and punter Spencer Lanning.

Philadelphia Eagles: Released cornerback Joselio Hanson, quarterback Mike Kafka, wide receiver Mardy Gilyard, tight end Chase Ford, linebacker Keenan Clayton, guard Brandon Washington, safety Phillip Thomas, wide receivers Chad Hall and Marvin McNutt, guard/center Steve Vallos, tight end Brett Brackett, defensive tackle Landon Cohen, fullback Emil Igwenagu, tackle D.J. Jones, linebacker Adrian Moten, defensive tackle Ollie Ogbu, linebacker Ryan Rau, defensive end Monte Taylor, defensive tackle Frank Trotter, punter Mat McBriar, defensive tackle Antonio Dixon.

Oakland Raiders: Waived LB Kaelin Burnett, K Eddy Carmona, WR Derek Carrier, WR Brandon Carswell, DE Hall Davis, TE Kyle Efaw, DL Dominique Hamilton, OL Kevin Haslam, OL Nick Howell, LB Chad Kilgore, OL Dan Knapp, WR Eddie McGee, C Colin Miller, RB Lonyae Miller, WR Roscoe Parrish, WR Travionte Session, LB Nathan Stupar and S Curtis Taylor. Placed LB Aaron Curry on PUP and TE Tory Humphrey, P Marquette King and S Brandon Underwood on IR.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Placed linebacker Sean Spence on injured reserve, and released 21 other players to get to the 53-man roster limit. They cut veteran offensive lineman Trai Essex and waived-injured punter Jeremy Kapinos. They also released the following 19 players: Defensive backs Damon Cromartie-Smith, Terrence Frederick and Josh Victorian, linebackers Brandon Hicks and Marshall McFadden, defensive linemen Corbin Bryant, Igbinosun Ikponmwosa and Jake Stoller, quarterback Jerrod Johnson, running back DuJuan Harris, wide receivers Tyler Beiler, Toney Clemons, David Gilreath, Marquis Maze and Derrick Williams, and offensive linemen Ryan Lee, John Malecki and Chris Scott.

San Diego Chargers: Terminated the contracts of veterans Jacques Cesaire, Anthony Davis, Mario Henderson, Jacob Hester and Nick Novak. Waived Edwin Baker, Colin Baxter, Bront Bird, Charlie Bryant, Ricky Elmore, Daryl Gamble, Gregory Gatson, Logan Harrell, Arthur Hobbs, Robert Malone, DeAndre Presley, Damik Scafe, Stephen Schilling, Kory Sperry and Mike Willie. Safety Sean Cattouse was placed on injured reserve.

San Francisco 49ers: Traded safety Colin Jones to the Panthers for an undisclosed draft pick, and released the following 21 players to get to the limit of 53: linebacker Ikaika Alama-Francis, linebacker Eric Bakhtiari, running back Rock Cartwright, tackle Derek Hall, linebacker Joe Holland, defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie, linebacker Cam Johnson, quarterback Josh Johnson, defenfsive tackle Matthew Masifilo, cornerback Anthony Mosley, tight end Kyle Nelson, tackle Al Netter, wide receiver Chris Owusu, wide receiver Nathan Palmer, tackle Mike Person, tight end Konrad Reuland, linebacker Kenny Rowe, wide receiver Brett Swain, safety Michael Thomas, tackle Kenny Wiggins, linebacker Michael Wilhoite.

 St. Louis Rams: Released the following players, via the Post-Dispatch: quarterback Tom Brandstater, fullback Ovie Mughelli, running backs Ben Guidugli and Chase Reynolds, receiver Nick Johnson, tight end Deangelo Peterson, offensive linemen Tim Barnes, T-Bob Hebert, Joe Long and Bryan Mattison, defensive linemen Mason Brodine and Vernon Gholston, linebacker Sammy Brown and defensive back Kendric Burney. Receiver Austin Pettis has been placed on the reserve/suspended list. More Rams cuts: Defensive tackle Cornell Banks, center Tim Barnes, defensive end Jamaar Jarrett, linebacker Aaron Brown, tight end Cory Harkey, defensive end Scott Smith, and guard Jose Valdez.Seattle Seahawks: Waived wide receiver Kris Durham, wide receiver Deon Butler, quarterback Josh Portis, defensive back Phillip Adams, defensive end Pierre Allen, linebacker Allen Bradford, guard Paul Fanaika, guard Rishaw Johnson, wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, linebacker Kyle Knox, wide receiver Ricardo Lockette, tight end Sean McGrath, center Kris O’Dowd, defensive back DeShawn Shead, linebacker Korey Toomer and wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei. Linebacker Matt McCoy was placed on injured reserve and tight end Cooper Helfet and running back Vai Taua were waived-injured. Cornerback Walter Thurmond was placed on the PUP list and guard Allen Barbre is serving a four-game suspension.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Released running back Mossis Madu, defensive tackle Frank Okam, safety Larry Asante and defensive back Keith Tandy, per Pewter Report. They’ve also released defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, who is headed back to Chicago, per the Chicago Sun-Times. The rest of the Buccaneers’ 2012 cuts: Wide receivers Tiquan Underwood, Jordan Shipley, and Landon Cox, defensive backs James Rogers and Sean Baker, linebackers Rennie Curran and Jacob Cutrera, tight ends Drake Dunsmore and Zack Pianalto, kicker Kai Forbath, offensive linemen Jermarcus Hardrick, Moe Petrus, and Desmond Wynn (injured), running back Robert Hughes, fullback Cody Johnson, defensive linemen E.J. Wilson, Teryl White, and Jordan Nix, and quarterback Brett Ratliff.

Tennessee Titans:  Released receiver James Kirkendoll, per TitansInsider.com. Cut offensive lineman Kyle DeVan, tight end Brandon Barden, offensive lineman Michael Jasper, defensive end Malcolm Sheppard, defensive tackle Lamar Divens, tight end Cameron Graham, and wide receiver D.J. Woods, per the Tennessean. The Titans also cut defensive tackle Zach Clayton, wide receivers Devin Aguilar and Michael Preston, safeties Aaron Francisco and Tracy Wilson, cornerback Chris Hawkins, fullback Collin Mooney, and center Chris Morris. They placed on injured reserve defensive end Dave Ball, cornerback Terrence Wheatley, defensive tackle Leger Douzable, guard Ryan Durand, and linebacker Kevin Malast.

Washington Redskins: Released running back Tim Hightower, cornerbacks David Jones, Brandyn Thompson, and Travon Bellamy, defensive linemen Doug Worthington, Marlon Favorite, and Delvon Johnson, linebackers Donnell Holt, Bryan Kehl, and Brian McNally, wide receiver Terrence Austin, offensive linemen Erik Cook, Willie Smith, Tom Compton, and Grant Garner, running back Tristan Davis, quarterback Jonathan Crompton, receiver Anthony Armstrong, fullback Dorson Boyce, nose tackle Delvin Johnson, tight end Richard Quinn, linebacker Markus White, defensive lineman Darrion Scott. Defensive end Kentwan Balmer was placed on reserve/left squad, and safety Tanard Jackson was placed on reserve/suspended.

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Kyle Van Noy has surgery to repair core muscle injury

Kyle Van Noy, Rod Streater AP

The Lions are going to start the regular season without second-round pick Kyle Van Noy in the lineup.

Van Noy had surgery to repair a core muscle injury on Thursday and Tim Twentyman of the team’s website suggests that it could be an extended absence for the rookie. Twentyman writes that when the Lions are setting their initial 53-man roster this weekend they will have to decide whether “they’ll look at it week-to-week or place him on injured reserve with the designation to return.”

Van Noy played in the first two preseason games for Detroit, recording two tackles, before going out with the injury during the week leading up to the third game of the summer. If he’s going to be out for anything more than a few weeks, there’s a good chance that the Lions will avail themselves of the ability to bring him back from injured reserve because they’ll need the roster spot at some point in the early part of the season.

Tahir Whitehead started at strong-side linebacker for the second straight game on Thursday night. His 11-tackle, three-sack performance against the Jaguars last week was a pretty good audition for a regular role.

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Blake Bortles continues his strong preseason

bortles AP

The Jacksonville Jaguars insist that rookie quarterback Blake Bortles will spend 2014 on the bench, behind starter Chad Henne. But Bortles sure looks like he’s ready to start in the NFL right now.

Bortles continued his strong preseason performance today in the preseason finale against the Falcons, completing four of his six passes for 86 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown pass to fellow rookie Marqise Lee. That touchdown pass was a thing of beauty: Bortles stood in the pocket with pressure in his face and threw the ball about 50 yards in the air, right into Lee’s hands.

Overall, Bortles is now 32-for-51 for 521 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions, in the preseason.

So why isn’t that enough for Bortles to earn the starting job? Because Jaguars coach Gus Bradley has said all along that there’s nothing Bortles can do to earn the starting job, at least as long as Henne is healthy. The Jaguars have stuck to their plan of giving Bortles a year to learn, while Henne plays.

But if Henne struggles, that’s going to be a difficult plan to stick to. Bortles looks too good to ride the pine. Unless Henne makes the Jaguars a surprise playoff contender, expect Bortles to start as a rookie. Even if it won’t come in Week One.

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Five Questions: Arizona Cardinals

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals won seven of their final nine games last season as they made a late-season push for a playoff spot in a difficult NFC West. The defense finished the year ranked 6th in the league and Carson Palmer passed for over 4,000 yards.

They’ve lost some significant pieces to that defense this offseason and the offensive line continues to have some questions despite the addition of Jared Veldheer at left tackle.

The NFC West looks imposing once again and the Cardinals are looking up at Seattle and San Francisco for bragging rights in the division.

Here are five questions that could ultimately determine whether the Cardinals can rundown the top of the division this season:

1. Have the Cardinals lost too much defensively?

The Cardinals defense was one of the best in the league last season. However, they’ve lost three major pieces from that unit this year.

Karlos Dansby left in free agency for the Cleveland Browns, Daryl Washington was suspended for the season due to repeated substance-abuse violations and Darnell Dockett suffered a torn ACL in training camp.

That leaves a major void that the Cardinals may not be able to fill through the middle of their defense.

Arizona has added Isaac Sopoaga, Ryan McBean, Tommy Kelly, Larry Foote and Ernie Sims in an attempt to patch some of the holes, but the production lost from the departed pieces is significant.

2. Is Carson Palmer able to limit turnovers?

Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer passed for 4,274 yards and 24 touchdowns last year. The problem with those numbers is that they came along with 22 interceptions and three lost fumbles.

With the continued emergence of receiver Michael Floyd, the Cardinals passing offense became a more dynamic unit last season. However, Palmer turned the ball over too many times and it came back to cost Arizona all too frequently.

Palmer is still a capable quarterback but the turnovers have to come down this season. With the defense looking potentially weakened due to the losses we already detailed, the Cardinals will need to maximize every opportunity they have to possess the ball.

One thing that would help Palmer?

3. Can the offensive line hold up to allow the offense to function at a high level?

Veteran Eric Winston is gone, leaving the right side of the Cardinals offensive line again in doubt.

Paul Fanaika and Bobby Massie have both been fairly pedestrian at best in their opportunities to play in Arizona.

Jared Veldheer is a nice addition at left tackle. Lyle Sendlein is a capable center and second-year guard Jonathan Cooper has great potential. However, the right side could be problematic.

Arizona’s offense has weapons. With Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Ted Ginn and John Brown at receiver and Andre Ellington in the backfield, the potential for a strong offense is there. But the offense line must be able to perform to give their skill players the opportunities they need.

4. Is Arizona capable of dethroning Seattle and/or San Francisco in the NFC West?

Coming off their Super Bowl victory, the Seattle Seahawks look to be as strong as their title team from a season ago.

However, the San Francisco 49ers don’t look nearly as untouchable.

San Francisco’s first-team offense has struggled mightily this preseason to produce points. NaVorro Bowman will miss a sizable chunk of the season. Glenn Dorsey is out for the year and nothing appears to be in sync right now for the 49ers.

Arizona finished 2013 as one of the hottest teams in the league and is the only team in two years to win a game in Seattle. With the strength of the NFC West, it’s likely Arizona will have to supplant either Seattle or San Francisco to find themselves in the postseason this January.

5. Can Andre Ellington carry the rushing attack?

Andre Ellington proved to be a terrific change-of-pace option for the Arizona Cardinals at running back last season.

Ellington carried 118 times for 652 yards and three touchdowns last season as a secondary option to starter Rashard Mendenhall. Now with Mendenhall gone, Ellington will get his chance to be the lead back for the Cardinals.

Ellington started just one game last season as a rookie but posted an impressive 5.5 yards per carry average in the chances he received. Will he be able to duplicate that production with an expanded role?

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Five Questions: Chicago Bears

Philadelphia Eagles v Chicago Bears Getty Images

There will surely be moments this season where the Chicago Bears look like contenders — legit contenders. They will look this way because of their offense, which is loaded with top-tier talent at quarterback (Jay Cutler), tailback (Matt Forte) and wide receiver (Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery). In fact, the Bears may look their very best when they are behind and it’s time for Cutler and Co. to pass Chicago back into the game.

Assuming the 2014 Bears stay healthy on offense, they are going to have more than enough highlights for the annual NFL Films season-review video. But can the Bears do enough in the other phases to be a playoff team? Are they going to be a lamentable 8-8 or a you-don’t-want-to-face-them-in-January 10-6 or 11-5?

Here are five questions to weigh about these intriguing Bears:

1. Will Jay Cutler be named to the Pro Bowl for the second time in his career?

We hear you: The Pro Bowl doesn’t matter, you say. Look at some of the recent rosters — the game has lost luster being moved a week before the Super Bowl, which precludes players from the conference winners playing in the NFL’s all-star affair. And what’s the deal with the new captains system? Why not call it the “Rock N’ Jock Football Jam” and get it over with?

Well, in the case of Cutler, a Pro Bowl selection would be a big deal. And we’re talking about a selection right off the bat, not an addition to the roster because of injuries/defections at the position.

Here’s why this would be notable:

It means he played all or nearly all of a full season. Considering he’s missed at least five games in two out of the last three seasons, 16 Cutler starts would be a welcome development for Chicago.

It means the Bears’ offense likely would have met the high expectations set for the group entering this season. There haven’t been many, if any, Chicago offenses with this much talent. If Cutler shines, the Bears’ skill position players should stand out, too.

He would have beaten out several other capable quarterbacks along the way. Consider the NFC’s depth at the position: Aaron Rodgers. Drew Brees. Russell Wilson. Colin Kaepernick. Nick Foles. Tony Romo. Cam Newton. Matt Ryan. Matthew Stafford. Robert Griffin III. Eli Manning. If Cutler is one of the NFC’s top three initial selections at the position, he likely will have had a monster year.

2. Was the Bears’ preseason debacle at Seattle an aberration — or a chilling hint of where the club fits in the NFC’s pecking order?

In the third preseason game for both clubs last Friday, Seattle converted all seven third-down attempts in the first half, running out to a 31-0 halftime lead on Chicago. Yes, it was just an exhibition, but it was the most important of the preseason games — the closest to a real dress rehearsal. And under the somewhat-bright lights, Chicago wilted. At best, it’s a throw-out performance, one not to be taken at face value. At worst, it’s a loss that suggests Chicago’s ceiling isn’t at high at all.

3. Is Chicago’s defense materially better than a season ago?

It better be. The Bears’ run defense was the NFL’s worst a season ago — and the pass defense wasn’t much better, frankly. Chicago spent big in free agency to improve the defensive line, signing defensive ends Jared Allen, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young. Then, in the draft, the club added secondary help in Round One, selecting Kyle Fuller.

The moves were a nod to the obvious — the Bears needed to get deeper and more talented on defense. If indeed the Bears have succeeded in this regard, it should show up early in matchups against the Bills (Week One) and Jets (Week Three) — clubs without much offensive punch.

4. Will the special teams be a weakness?

For years, the Bears’ special teams were a major strength, but entering 2014, they are, at best, a question mark outside of steady kicker Robbie Gould. The Bears’ coverage units are worth monitoring; Chicago really struggled in his regard at Seattle. The Bears also need a returner to emerge to replace Devin Hester. And Chicago is untested at punter and long-snapper, too.

5. Can the Bears survive their first nine games?

After beginning their season at home vs. the Bills on Sept. 7, the Bears then play 6-of-8 away from Soldier Field, with road trips to the 49ers (Sept. 14), Jets (Sept. 22), Panthers (Oct. 5), Falcons (Oct. 12), Patriots (Oct. 26) and Packers (Nov. 9). This will be a test of the Bears’ resolve and their readiness. They probably will have to shake off some adversity and perhaps steal a road game or two early to give themselves a chance to make the most of having five of their last seven at home. If the Bears are truly playoff contenders, they can emerge from these first nine games with a winning record. However, if they start slowly, it’s probably unreasonable to expect a strong stretch run.

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League isn’t saying whether Ray Rice would be a second-time offender

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Getty Images

With the NFL introducing a new domestic violence policy that includes the possibility of a lifetime ban for a second offense, an obvious question arises regarding Ravens running back Ray Rice.

Does Rice’s first offense, which was handled so badly that the NFL had to tear up the entire policy, count as a “first offense” under the new policy, putting him in line for the far more serious penalties that apply to a second offense?

Via Clifton Brown of CSNBaltimore.com, the league has declined to respond to that question.

We are not going to address that,” an NFL spokesman told Brown.  “Each case will be addressed individually on its merits.”

The NFL spokesman also declined to address whether Rice’s suspension could be increased from two games to six under the new policy.

The notion that each case will be addressed on its merits represents another way of saying, “We’ll decide what we want to do in each given case.”  And that’s a subtle but real difference from the adherence to “precedent” that the NFL cited in initially defending the decision to suspend Rice for only two games.

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No comment from Cowboys, yet, on Peterson conversation

Jones Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys have issued no comment in response to the comments from owner Jerry Jones to Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, reportedly in response to Peterson’s stated desire to play for the Cowboys after his time with the Vikings ends.

But while the Cowboys currently are saying nothing, don’t be surprised if Jones addresses the topic at tonight’s preseason game against the Broncos.

Also, don’t be surprised if Jones points out that he didn’t initiate the call, and that he was merely being courteous to Peterson, out of respect for the man and the player.

And don’t be surprised if the NFL, which has issued a “no comment” in response to the revelation, quietly investigates the situation.

Finally, don’t be surprised if the Cowboys face some scrutiny for failing to immediately notify the league office of Peterson’s stated interest in joining the Cowboys, since the tampering policy clearly and expressly contemplates a report to the NFL if/when a player under contract with one team contacts another team.

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NFLPA on domestic violence penalties: If we believe due process rights are violated, we’ll intervene

Trumka, Labor Leaders Call For Boycott Of Hyatt Hotels Getty Images

The NFLPA has weighed in on the letter sent by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to team owners on Thursday concerning the increased penalties for domestic violence.

The union knew that the league was planning to put a new policy in place under the existing personal conduct policy and their statement shows no sign that they will fight against its implementation generally, but that they will step into individual cases if they feel that the due process rights of their members are at risk.

“We were informed today of the NFL’s decision to increase penalties on domestic violence offenders under the Personal Conduct Policy for all NFL employees. As we do in all disciplinary matters, if we believe that players’ due process rights are infringed upon during the course of discipline, we will assert and defend our members’ rights,” the statement reads.

The NFL’s letter lays down a firm line against domestic violence that the NFLPA would look bad fighting against in general terms. It is left unclear what would constitute a violation and when Goodell would issue a punishment under the revised policy, however, and that grey area is one where the NFLPA could get involved during specific cases in the future. How much their involvement would matter with the league retaining the right to hear appeals is also unclear, but that hasn’t stopped the union from registering their complaints in the past.

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More scrutiny on RG3’s throwing mechanics

rg3 AP

When Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III burst onto the scene with a spectacular rookie year in 2012, he was like nothing the NFL had seen before: A good enough athlete that he could have been an Olympic hurdler, playing the quarterback position.

But when Griffin’s rookie year ended with a major knee injury, and he looked like something less than an Olympian when he tried to run in 2013, many questions were raised about whether Griffin really had the fundamentals to be an NFL quarterback. There were questions about Griffin’s footwork as a passer and questions about his ability to read through his progressions, although many of those questions came from people who lack the credentials to question an NFL quarterback’s passing fundamentals.

Say what you will for Ron Jaworski of ESPN, but he does have the credentials. And Jaworski says that Griffin looks fundamentally flawed as a passer.

“He’s still developing,” Jaworski said on ESPN Radio, via the Washington Post. “We’ll see what Jay Gruden and this new offensive staff can do for him. But clearly he’s got to learn to play from the pocket. His mechanics have regressed, by the way. They have regressed in the fundamental way of throwing the football: his throwing slot, his footwork, his inability to remain consistent in that. When you and I talk all the time, the word that comes up a lot in my mind is consistency. And we see a lot of players in this league, they make great throws. They can make a great play. But you have to do it on a consistent basis. That’s what separates the great players from the guys that have short careers.”

Griffin declined across the board as a passer last year: His passer rating, completion percentage, passing touchdowns and yards per pass were all down, while his interceptions were up. And his performance in the preseason hasn’t done anything to assuage the concerns of those who think the 2013 version of Griffin is the version we’re going to see going forward. If what Griffin really needs is work on his mechanics, then there’s no more important priority for Gruden in his first year in Washington.

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NFLPA has no comment on new domestic violence penalties

Rice AP

The NFL issued on Thursday a new policy regarding domestic violence, which calls for a six-game suspension in the aftermath of a first offense and, possibly, a lifetime ban for a second offense.

The NFLPA has no comment at this time on the revised penalties.

The league informed the union that a new policy was coming. Because the domestic violence penalties are covered by the personal-conduct policy and because the league already has full discretion to impose penalties for off-field misbehavior, the NFL believes it has the latitude to revise the conduct policy.

The NFLPA apparently won’t be challenging that change as a general matter. It’s possible that arguments regarding the unilateral changes to the policy will be made within the context of specific incidents of player discipline.  With the league retaining the power to resolve all appeals, however, it may not matter much.

And while it’s never popular to defend domestic abusers, a potential lifetime ban for a second offense could, in some cases, be a bit on the strong side.  Especially for a league that saw fit to suspend Ray Rice only two games for knocking out his then-fiancée.

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Adrian Peterson: I would love to retire as a Viking

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

The NFL had no comment on the report that Vikings running back Adrian Peterson told Cowboys owner Jerry Jones that he wants to play for the Cowboys after his tenure with the Vikings comes to an end, but Peterson was willing to address it on Thursday.

In a statement released in tandem with one from the Vikings, Peterson admits that he spoke to Jones but says that he never told the Cowboys owner that he wants to leave Minnesota.

“This was a casual conversation between NFL colleagues in which I never indicated I wanted to leave the Vikings. I have always said I understand the NFL is a business but that I would love to retire as a Viking,” Peterson said in the statement.

The Vikings’s statement said they were focused on the 2014 season and, as they have “consistently communicated,” they consider Peterson to be an “integral” part of the organization.

Peterson is signed through the 2017 season in Minnesota, so it will be a while before Peterson can choose to play anywhere else unless the Vikings decide to move in a different direction. It would take a pretty severe drop in production for that to happen, which will make this a non-issue unless the league decides the conversation between Jones and Peterson crossed a line.

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NFL institutes new policy on domestic violence with 6-game ban for first offense

Ray Rice Press Conference Getty Images

The NFL was roundly criticized for suspending Ravens running back Ray Rice two games under the personal conduct policy after Rice was charged with assaulting his then-fiance and current wife during an incident at an Atlantic City hotel in February.

The league was also criticized for being tone deaf in their response to the criticism, but it seems someone in the league office was paying attention. According to multiple reports, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to owners on Thursday outlining much stiffer penalties for domestic violence and making the rare admission of fault by saying he screwed up when disciplining Rice.

“My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families. I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values. I didn’t get it right,” Goodell wrote, per Albert Breer of NFL Media.

Under the new policy, which falls under the personal conduct policy overseen by Goodell, players would be suspended at least six games for a first offense and would face a lifetime ban for a second. The letter also specifies that the new penalties apply to all NFL personnel, not just players.

There’s still some questions to sort out about what will qualify as a first offense (and whether it will apply to cases already in progress before the adoption of the policy, like the one involving Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy) in regard to the way charges are handled in the legal system, but it’s a quick and significant turnaround from the league’s previous attempts to defend Goodell’s decision on Rice and one that brings penalties for acts of domestic violence closer to where many feel they should have been all along.

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Brady is indeed upset about Mankins trade

Brady AP

When the Patriots didn’t re-sign receiver Wes Welker in the aftermath of quarterback Tom Brady’s team-friendly deal (with a paltry $30 million to sign), someone close to Brady reportedly was enraged.  This time around, with left guard Logan Mankins abruptly traded to the Buccaneers fewer than two weeks before the start of the regular season, Brady reportedly is “very upset.”

Indeed Brady is, per a source familiar with Brady’s thinking on the topic.

While Mankins arrived after the Patriots won their third Super Bowl title, he had become one of the most important veterans on the team.  His departure makes the offensive line a little bit worse, which in turn puts a little more pressure on Brady to make it all work.

The trade arose in part from a reported unwillingness of Mankins to take a pay cut. Mankins’ refusal, as one source has speculated, possibly traces at least in part to contentious contract negotiations between the Patriots and Mankins in 2010 and 2011, which at one point included Mankins making comments about owner Robert Kraft’s integrity and the team reportedly conditioning a new contract on a public apology, which never was made.

While “The Patriot Way” routinely includes moving on from key players a year too early in lieu of doing so a year too late, a few players get the benefit of doubt.  Mankins didn’t.

Brady eventually may — unless he makes too big of a stink about key players like Mankins being dumped.

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League has no comment on report of Peterson-Jones conversation

Jones Getty Images

In response to the report that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson talked about Peterson playing for the Cowboys when his time with the Vikings ends, PFT contacted both teams and the league office for comment.

The first comment has arrived.  And the first comment is that the NFL has no comment.

Often in cases of potential rules violations, the NFL will say that the matter is being investigated.  While that may be the case as to the Jones-Peterson conversation, the league isn’t saying so.  The league isn’t saying anything.

And before anyone suggests that the league will look the other way because Jones is one of the more influential owners, keep in mind that Jones received a $100,000 fine in September 2009 for talking about the CBA talks.  Also, Jones’ team lost $10 million in cap space for treating the uncapped year of 2010 as uncapped.

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Report: Bills have been willing to trade T.J. Graham for “several months”

TJ Graham AP

The Bills are reportedly willing to listen to clubs interested in making a deal for a receiver who’s started the majority of Buffalo’s games over the last two seasons.

The club has had third-year wideout T.J. Graham available in trade for “several months,” ESPN’s Adam Caplan reported Thursday.

The 25-year-old Graham has caught 54 passes for 683 yards and three TDs since joining Buffalo in 2012. He has appeared in 31 games, making 17 starts. However, Graham is currently listed as one of Buffalo’s third-string wide receivers.

Graham (5-11, 188) has excellent timed speed; he was clocked at 4.41 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine. A third-round pick of the Bills in 2012, Graham has two years left on his contract and would be subject to waivers if Buffalo released him.

NFL clubs must reduce their rosters to 53 players by Saturday afternoon, and Graham surely isn’t the only player who has been made available. It will be interesting to see if any clubs can get deals done in the next two days, whether they are player-for-player swaps or trades involving a low-round conditional draft pick.

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Cowboys waive 2013 fourth-rounder B.W. Webb

Josh Morgan, B.W. Webb AP

The Cowboys waived linebacker DeVonte Holloman this week because his neck injury led doctors to advise against continuing his playing career, but there was no medical reason why they waived another member of their 2013 draft class on Thursday.

The team announced that they have waived fourth-round cornerback B.W. Webb. Webb’s spot on the roster will be taken by running back Phillip Tanner, who the team is likely only re-signing for Thursday night’s preseason game.

Webb had 16 tackles in 15 games for the Cowboys last season, but his most memorable moment in a Cowboys uniform probably came this summer during a joint practice with the Raiders. An on-field scuffle wound up near the fans watching the session and one of them took a swing at Webb with a helmet, causing the cornerback to react with a punch back in the direction of the helmet-wielding fan. Webb faced no discipline as a result of the altercation.

It’s not a great sign that a team as needy on defense as the Cowboys have decided they don’t want Webb, but he’s young enough that he’ll likely draw another look on an active roster or practice squad this season.

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