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Thursday morning one-liners

Oakland Raiders v Baltimore Ravens Getty Images

The Bills are an awful 2-13 in AFC East games under Chan Gailey.

For the Dolphins, tonight brings a test of whether they’re legitimate playoff contenders or not.

The Patriots’ league-best turnover margin could get a boost against a Colts team near the bottom in that category.

The latest Tebow-gate has reduced the Jets/Brian Schottenheimer reunion to a footnote.

QB Dennis Dixon is happy to be back on the Ravens practice squad, even as the Steelers were considering him.

Bengals WR A.J. Green’s big first half has him leading all receivers in Pro Bowl voting.

Browns K Phil Dawson is fired up about going home to Dallas this weekend, since he had a “Doomsday Defense” poster on his wall as a kid.

Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall was back in practice, meaning they could have their top three backs available this week.

Texans WR Andre Johnson now has more catches than any NFL receiver who played in Texas.

The Colts had a short injury report, listing only two guys who will be out, CB Vontae Davis and TE Coby Fleener.

The best the Jaguars can hope for is that the Texans will overlook them.

The Titans haven’t won three games in a row since 2009.

Broncos DE Robert Ayers will likely get more of a chance this week, with Elvis Dumervil injured.

The Chiefs filled their practice squad by finding a local product.

This is not the week the Raiders need a banged-up secondary, with the Saints on deck.

If blaming Norv Turner, A.J. Smith and Philip Rivers is getting old for you, save a few whacks for the Chargers offensive line.

Cowboys CB Morris Claiborne knows opponents are targeting him now.

The Giants are working on getting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Another week, another lineup for the Eagles offensive line.

After losing their last must-win game, the Redskins have a series of them coming up.

Bears WR Brandon Marshall was just trying to show some love to his alma mater, but ended up exposing a bare Bear on Twitter.

The Lions’ perpetually injured secondary is  entering a stretch of games against some of the league’s top passing games.

The return of Packers CB Sam Shields could cut into the snaps for Casey Hayward.

Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press says Gov. Mark Dayton’s anti-Vikings-PSL rant is six months too late.

Falcons WR Julio Jones was held out of practice with a sore ankle.

New Panthers signing Jeremy Bridges is already getting reps with the starters at RG.

The Saints weren’t surprised at all that former assistant Dennis Allen became a head coach.

With Quincy Black on IR, the Bucs are counting on LB Adam Hayward stepping up.

Cardinals LB Daryl Washington is earning notice for his pass-rush ability.

Rams DE Eugene Sims is hoping to get back onto the field this week.

For 49ers RB Frank Gore, this week’s game against the Bears doesn’t lack for motivation: “They’re coming off a big loss and we [expletive] tied.”

The Seahawks continue to shuffle WRs on the practice squad, one of the sore spots on the active roster.

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Differing reports about Montee Ball trade talks between Broncos and Cowboys

Montee Ball, Ed Stinson AP

Montee Ball has slid down the Broncos depth chart this offseason and ran as the team’s fourth tailback in their third preseason game, giving some reason to wonder whether the 2013 second-round pick will remain with the team for a third season.

The Broncos would surely prefer to get something in return for Ball rather than just cut him loose to become a free agent and there are reports in Denver that there are discussions afoot to do just that. Vic Lombardi of 104.3 The Fan and Benjamin Allbright of Mile High Sports 1430 AM are both reporting that the Broncos and Cowboys have discussed a trade that would send Ball to Dallas.

No one should be getting a star ready for Ball’s helmet, however. Those reports have been followed by ones from Ian Rapoport of NFL Media and Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram saying that no talks are going on between the two teams regarding Ball.

The Cowboys have maintained confidence in their running backs throughout the offseason and would start the season with Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar as a committee in the backfield if they don’t acquire another player at the position. Ball ran 16 times for 27 yards on Thursday night in his most extensive playing time of the preseason.

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Texans says Tom Savage will miss significant time with shoulder injury

Tom Savage, Shane Ray AP

The Texans are going to need another quarterback, and an alarm clock.

According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Texans coach Bill O’Brien said quarterback Tom Savage would miss significant time because of the shoulder injury suffered in last night’s preseason finale.

O’Brien said Savage would not need surgery, but would get more tests to determine the severity of the injury.

That leaves the Texans with just starter Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett, and O’Brien acknowledged they’d look at the possibility of bringing in another quarterback or at least keep one on the practice squad.

Any tests Savage has in the next day will also determine his own future, and whether they want to carry him on their 53-man roster, or place him on injured reserve.

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Washington dumps “envelope fee” policy for will call

dividendscashinenvelope Getty Images

At a time, NFL desperately wants fans to choose to buy tickets to football games, the franchise in Washington nearly made fans less likely to buy tickets to football games. For a change, the latest example has nothing to do with the quality of the on-field product.

Via ESPN.com, the franchise imposed a $50 “envelope fee” for tickets left at will call. And the team already has dumped the policy.

“It was a policy that was implemented to combat scalping at the stadium,” team spokesman Tony Wyllie said. “Our ticket office has historically exercised discretion in enforcing the policy. It is an outdated policy, and we no longer require payment. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

Strangely, the article from ESPN.com doesn’t make it clear that the team already has abandoned the policy. Upon reading the headline (“Redskins bar non-season-ticket holders from will call amid stir over fee”) and initially reviewing the article, it seems as if the team hasn’t gotten rid of the policy, even though it has.

Even more strangely, the article lists the franchise’s various recent embarrassments, without mentioning the biggest one: An admission by the wife of the General Manager that she posted on Twitter a suggestion that an ESPN reporter obtains information by trading sexual favors, which came after the G.M.’s wife initially denied it.

Then again, maybe none of this is strange. Maybe this is an example of how ESPN will subtly retaliate against the team for the attack on one of its own.

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Bills place McKelvin on NFI, release 17 players

Leodis McKelvin AP

The Bills announced a bunch of roster moves Friday afternoon, most notably placing veteran cornerback Leodis McKelvin on the reserve/non-football injury list.

That designation means McKelvin is out for at least the first six weeks of the season. He broke his ankle last November and early in training camp suffered a setback in his rehab and had a follow-up procedure done on the ankle.

Earlier this week Bills coach Rex Ryan said McKelvin was making “encouraging” progress but that there was still no timetable for his return.

A longtime starter, McKelvin had four interceptions last season before the injury. In part because of the injury and in part because McKelvin turned 30 on Friday, the Bills used a second-round pick on cornerback Ronald Darby last spring.

The Bills also cut Quentin Groves, Dezmin Lewis, Will Campbell, John Conner, Andre Davis, IK Enemkpali, Andre Fluellen, Bronson Hill, Darryl Johnson, Alex Kupper, BJ Larsen, Merrill Noel, Tobias Palmer, Cyril Richardson, Matt Simms and Cierre Wood.

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Cardinals cut Matt Shaughnessy, two running backs

Arizona Cardinals v St. Louis Rams Getty Images

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians thought running back Chris Johnson looked “extremely sharp” in his preseason debut for the team on Thursday night and a couple of early cuts out of Arizona make Johnson’s chances of sticking around for more action in the desert look pretty good.

Josina Anderson of ESPN reports that the team has cut running backs Robert Hughes and Paul Lasike. Hughes was talked about as a short yardage option out of the backfield for the Cardinals this season, but he played sparingly in the preseason and the team has opted to roll with other backs. Hughes ran seven times for 11 yards last season and caught eight passes for 140 yards.

Lasike was an undrafted free agent out of BYU and had two carries and a catch in the preseason.

Anderson also reports that the team is releasing veteran defensive end/outside linebacker Matt Shaughnessy. Shaughnessy missed eight games with a knee injury last season and has made 19 starts for the Cardinals over the last two seasons.

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Chris Johnson got 12 touches in his Cardinals debut, and needed it

Chris Johnson, Gerald Rivers AP

New Cardinals running back Chris Johnson ran the ball 11 times and also caught a pass in his first preseason game with the team on Thursday night, and he said afterward that he had to get that kind of workload to get ready for the regular season.

“First couple drives, I still felt a little rusty,” Johnson said, via the Arizona Republic. “Then I started getting in my groove. The more times they hand the ball off, the more I start to feel it. It was something that I needed.”

Johnson picked up 45 yards on the ground and 10 on his catch, and the Cardinals seemed to like what they saw.

“I thought Chris looked extremely sharp,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said.

Johnson is many years removed from being “CJ2K,” but it’s reasonable to think he could hit 1,000 yards if he gets a solid workload in Arizona this season. The Cardinals’ running game was one of the worst in the league last year, and getting Johnson up to speed would go a long way toward turning that around.

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Bills cut quarterback Matt Simms

Matt Simms, Larry Webster AP

The Bills cut a quarterback who wasn’t going to be their starter, but not the really expensive one.

According to Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News, the Bills have waived quarterback Matt Simms.

The former Jets project was clearly fourth behind the three-headed monster of Tyrod Taylor, Matt Cassel and EJ Manuel throughout the preseason, so that part of it isn’t necessarily a surprise.

It remains to be seen how many they keep, and whether Cassel is one of them after losing the starting job to Taylor. Cutting him would save them $4.15 million in base salary, but it would cost them face also, after trading a pair of picks to the Vikings for the veteran.

But Simms was always the odd man out, so this was sort of inevitable.

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Texans waive Louis Nix, Kenny Hilliard

Louis Nix AP

The Texans drafted defensive tackle Louis Nix in the third round of the 2014 draft, but their opinion of him has apparently soured over the year-plus he’s spent with the team.

According to multiple reports, the team has waived Nix as they make the necessary alterations to their roster to reach the 53-man limit by Saturday afternoon. Those reports also have the team waiving 2015 seventh-round running back Kenny Hilliard.

Nix could return to the practice squad if he isn’t claimed off waivers, but his time with the Texans will come to an end without ever appearing in a regular season game if this is indeed the end of his run in Houston. Nix was placed on injured reserve with a wrist injury last September, although he returned to start every preseason game this summer while Vince Wilfork got some veteran rest on game days. The Texans drafted Christian Covington this year and he appears set to back up Wilfork.

Hilliard was behind Alfred Blue, Jonathan Grimes and Chris Polk in the competition to replace Arian Foster while Foster recovers from groin surgery. The LSU product would likely be a practice squad candidate if he doesn’t land elsewhere.

There are also multiple reports that the Texans have cut defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick and wide receiver Damaris Johnson.

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Ravens announce five cuts

Tom Nelson AP

The Ravens have announced the first of the moves they’ll have to make over the next two days in order to reach the 53-man limit.

Among the players dropped from the roster was wide receiver Tom Nelson, who was known as safety Tom Nelson during the early days of his NFL career. Nelson played for the Bengals in 2009 and 2010 after making the team as an undrafted free agent and saw action in four games for the Eagles in 2011. That was the last time Nelson played in the league, so making the move to receiver was a big leap to take in order to continue his professional career.

Nelson caught five passes for 57 yards in the preseason. The Ravens also waived wide receiver Daniel Brown, leaving them with seven wideouts on the roster at the moment.

Linebacker Andrew Bose, tackle Blaine Clausell and cornerback Quinton Pointer were also waived as the Ravens dropped to 70 players.

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Keep up with NFL cuts with our PFT 53-man roster trackers

FRANCE-LEFT HANDED Getty Images

NFL teams are going to remove 704 players from the payroll in the next 24 hours or so, as teams have until 4 p.m. Saturday to get to the 53-man roster limit.

It’s a lot to follow. But fortunately for you, we’re here to help.

We’ll be keeping up with the action as it happens, and will continue to until teams are down to the regular season limit.

You can click the link for a list of AFC cuts, and here for the NFC.

Hit refresh often, because this stuff happens fast. And, because we’re nice enough to compile them for you.

Thanks.

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Falcons trading for Andy Levitre

New York Jets v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

Guard Andy Levitre fell out of favor with the Titans this offseason and was thought to be on the roster bubble with Tennessee dropping to 53 players by Saturday afternoon’s deadline.

The bubble has burst for Levitre with the Titans, but, as someone may well have said at some point, when one bubble bursts another opens.

On Twitter Friday, Levitre tweeted “#RiseUp,” which is a slogan used by the Falcons and PFT has learned, via a league source, that Levitre’s post was in fact a reference to a trade that will send him to Atlanta. The compensation going back to Tennessee is unknown at this time.

Levitre came to Tennessee on a six-year, $46.8 million contract before the 2013 season and played all 32 games for the Titans over the last two seasons, but his performance wasn’t up to the expectations that accompanied Levitre from his successful stint with the Bills. Byron Bell replaced him at left guard this summer, which would have made him an expensive backup for the Titans.

He’ll move into a zone blocking system with Kyle Shanahan running the Falcons offense and should be able to mount at least a challenge for a starting job given the underwhelming current crop of interior linemen in Atlanta.

UPDATE 1:11 p.m. ET: The deal has been announced. The Titans will receive a 2016 sixth-round pick and a conditional 2017 draft choice from the Falcons.

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Jay Ajayi suffered a cracked rib Thursday night

Jay Ajayi AP

Running back Jay Ajayi dropped a bit lower than expected in the draft because of concerns about his knee and now a rib injury may limit his chances of making an impact in his rookie season with the Dolphins.

Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports that Ajayi, who wound up going in the fifth round, cracked a rib during Thursday night’s preseason finale. The injury came during a good game for Ajayi, who ran nine times for 66 yards and caught two passes for 37 yards against the Buccaneers. It was a step in the right direction for Ajayi, who missed the first two preseason games while dealing with hamstring issues in August.

“I thought he ran hard,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. “He made a guy or two miss, showed toughness inside, and caught the balls that were thrown to him, which is always a good place to start.”

There’s not much chance that the Dolphins are going to cut Ajayi, but his absences early in camp didn’t help him in the competition for playing time with other backup options to Lamar Miller. If the Dolphins want to go with Damien Williams, LaMichael James and/or Mike Gillislee, they could place Ajayi on injured reserve and let this year serve as a redshirt season.

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Bills to release linebacker/puncher of people IK Enemkpali

Buffalo Bills v Cleveland Browns Getty Images

Tyrod Taylor doesn’t have to worry about getting punched in the face, or at least as much as he did previously.

According to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, the Bills have released linebacker IK Enemkpali, who they had in for a few weeks after he broke former Jets teammate Geno Smith’s jaw.

The Bills had some interest since coach Rex Ryan drafted him during his last year with the Bills, but they apparently decided he wasn’t worth keeping around.

While Enemkpali has some pass-rush potential, he also has problems keeping his hands to himself off the field.

In addition to his former teammate who owed him $600, Enemkpali has also punched an off-duty cop and a man who was posing as a woman named “Missy Lee” whom he met on the internet and arranged to have sex with.

And now, he has punched his ticket out of Buffalo.

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Report: Eagles trying to trade Najee Goode

Jimmy Garoppolo, Najee Goode AP

There were points this offseason when people wondered whether the Eagles were interested in trading linebacker Mychal Kendricks, but those thoughts went out the window when the Eagles signed Kendricks to a contract extension.

That guaranteed a crowded group at inside linebacker since the Eagles also have DeMeco Ryans, Kiko Alonso and 2015 third-round pick Jordan Hicks on track to make the roster with former Packer Brad Jones and Najee Goode also in the mix. The Eagles are reportedly trying to thin that herd through a trade.

Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Eagles are trying to trade Goode before the Saturday afternoon deadline to cut the roster to 53 players. There’s no word on what they might be looking for in return, but anything more than a pick in the final rounds would be a stretch.

Goode was a fifth-round pick in 2012 and has played 18 games in three years with the team. He missed 15 games last season after tearing his pectoral muscle in the season opener.

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Report: Steelers trade punter Wing to Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

The news of the Giants releasing punter Steve Weatherford Friday morning came as a surprise. Now, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports the Giants have added his replacement, Brad Wing, in a trade with the Steelers.

That means the Steelers are likely going with Jordan Berry as their punter. Wing punted for the Steelers as a rookie last season.

Berry averaged 49.8 yards per punt in the preseason, about a yard better than Wing. Berry was working an overnight shift at McDonald’s a year ago in his native Australia before getting an office job in hopes of saving enough money to return to the United States and give the NFL one more try, and it appears now he’s landed an NFL gig.

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