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Tim Walton interviewing for Rams defensive coordinator

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There’s a new name in the mix for defensive coordinator with the Rams.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Lions secondary/third down packages coach Tim Walton is interviewing with the team for their defensive coordinator opening. The Rams have also spoken to Vikings linebackers coach Mike Singletary and former Browns coordinator Dick Jauron since making their decision to back away from Rob Ryan a moment or two after deciding to hire him in the first place.

Walton has been with the Lions for all four years of Jim Schwartz’s tenure, moving up from the collegiate ranks in 2009. Schwartz used to work for Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, which could help if a Schwartz recommendation holds particular sway with his old boss. There’s no timeline on a decision about the coordinator in St. Louis.

With one quickie divorce already this offseason, it stands to reason that they’re in no particular hurry.

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Report: Packers expected to keep just one backup for Rodgers

Scott Tolzien, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn AP

The Packers are looking likely to enter the season with just one backup for Aaron Rodgers.

The club isn’t expected to keep both Scott Tolzien or Matt Flynn on the 53-player roster, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reported Saturday. In short, the Packers are likely to decide between Flynn and Tolzien.

The 26-year-old Tolzien would be subject to waivers. He has practice squad eligibility. Flynn, 29, would be free to immediately sign elsewhere if released.

Tolzien had a strong preseason, completing 38-of-56 passes for 477 yards and three TDs with no interceptions. However, Flynn has risen to the occasion in relief of Rodgers throughout his career. What’s more, Flynn outplayed Tolzien in the 2013 regular season.

In all, both quarterbacks could very well end up on NFL rosters this season. But both won’t be on Green Bay’s 53-player roster, it appears.

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Panthers cut guard Chris Scott

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The Panthers’ offensive line has gone several changes in the offseason due to retirement.  On Saturday, the Panthers opted to make a change via termination of employment.

Per a league source, guard Chris Scott has been released.

In 2013, his first year with the team, Scott appeared in 10 regular-season games, with eight starts.  Rookie Trai Turner is expected to start at right guard for the Panthers in 2014.

Scott has four years of service, so he’ll instantly become a free agent.

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Browns part ways with veteran wideout Nate Burleson

Nate Burleson AP

The Browns didn’t do nearly enough to fix the wide receiver position this offseason, knowing Josh Gordon would be suspended.

But it seemed that bringing in Nate Burleson was a wise move, to lend some ballast to a young group.

But the Browns apparently thought they didn’t need him, as Burleson was cut this morning, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The Browns will be counting on Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins and a a number of young players, and you get the sense there will come a time when they wished they had a veteran in the locker room.

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Vikings set Fred Evans free

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An early surprise on 53 day comes from the land of 9,947 more lakes than that.

The Vikings have parted ways with veteran defensive lineman Fred Evans, per a league source.

Evans has served as a key member of the team’s defensive tackle rotation since 2007.  In 2013, he appeared in 14 games with three starts.

His departure should be regarded as good news in one respect.  If Linval Joseph wasn’t expected to be ready to return from getting shot in the leg after a preseason game, Evans probably wouldn’t have been cut.

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Idonije out in New York

Idonije AP

The Giants’ march to 53 includes a veteran defensive lineman who possibly is reaching the end of an intriguing road in professional football.

Per a league source, veteran defensive lineman Israel Idonije has been cut by the Giants.

He played at the University of Manitoba and wasn’t invited to the Scouting Combine.  So he showed up on his own, handing out tapes of his performances from a brown paper bag.

It didn’t work on draft day, but Idonije got an initial shot with the Browns before finding a nine-year home with the Bears.  Following the 2012 season, Idonije signed with the Lions for 2013.  He then re-joined the Bears earlier this year, but he was cut in June.

Idonije landed with the Giants in early August, but the Giants have moved on.  Idonije instantly becomes a free agent, able to sign with any team.  If he has the same relentlessness that earned him a spot in the NFL in the first place, Idonije may not be done yet.

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Reports: Washington cuts Zach Hocker, keeps Silas Redd

Silas Redd AP

Washington has reportedly made a decision in its kicker competition.

The club will waive rookie Zach Hocker, John Keim of ESPN.com reported Saturday morning. The seventh-round pick from Arkansas had been challenging incumbent kicker Kai Forbath.

In other Washington personnel news, undrafted rookie tailback Silas Redd is set to make the 53-player roster, Dianna Marie Russini of NBC Washington reported. The former USC and Penn State running back led Washington in rushing yards (157) and carries (34) in the preseason.

While Washington will keep Redd, it will be releasing second-year tailback Chris Thompson, Lake Lewis Jr. of SportsJourney.com reported. A Florida State product, Thompson was a fifth-round pick in 2013.

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Giants brush off Curtis Painter, keeping just two QBs

Zach Kerr, Curtis Painter AP

The Giants are working (slowly, painfully) on a new offense.

And they’re only going to keep two quarterbacks to run it.

According to NJ.com, quarterback Curtis Painter is among the early cuts for the Giants.

That leaves Ryan Nassib as Eli Manning’s only backup, and frankly, with the injury problems they had up front, a third quarterback would have been a luxury.

They’ve also released defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, defensive back Bennett Jackson, linebacker Dan Fox, fullback John Conner, offensive lineman Jamaal Johnson-Webb, tight end Kellen Davis.

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Report: Ravens release A.Q. Shipley

Keith Wenning, Dennis Pitta AP

The Ravens are reportedly releasing a veteran interior lineman with quite a bit of recent starting experience.

The club is parting ways with offensive guard A.Q. Shipley, Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reported Saturday. A nine-game starter for Baltimore a season ago, the 28-year-old Shipley could appeal to clubs looking for veteran line help.

The club will also waive rookie quarterback Keith Wenning and second-year offensive lineman Ryan Jensen, Wilson reported. Both are recent sixth-round picks.

Jensen and Wenning have practice squad eligibility should they clear waivers. So would rookie tailback Fitzgerald Toussaint, who is also being waived by the Ravens, according to the Sun.

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Welcome to 53 day

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Some call it cutdown day, referring to the fact that up to 22 players from each team will be bounced by 4:00 p.m. ET.  But why not celebrate the guys who made it?

So, at least for now (as in, until I press “publish” on this post), I’ll call it “53 day.”  Welcome to it.

We’ll be keeping up as best we can with the dizzying array of roster moves.  Here’s how it will work.

The latest breaking news that flows into PFT headquarters will be posted on our Twitter page.  We’ll post the information here immediately thereafter, and we’ll eventually (hopefully sooner than later) add the information to the official PFT roster tracker.

One last point — before any of the bubble players pops the bubbly, keep in mind that the aftershock from the flood of available players will prompt more roster moves and potentially claim the spot of a player who had made it.

In St. Louis, for example, defensive end Michael Sam could end up winning a roster spot for now — and he then could lose that spot if the Rams sign a veteran quarterback to back up Shaun Hill.

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Mike Flacco released by Chargers

Chargers Getty Images

Tight end Mike Flacco may one day be elite.  But not yet.  Not yet.

Flacco, the younger brother of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, will be released by the Chargers, per a league source.  Mike, who was signed as an undrafted free agent in May, had put together a solid preseason.  He lost out in a numbers game.

“This is a great place to learn how to play tight end,” Flacco recently said, via ESPN.com.  “Unfortunately, there’s some good tight ends in front of me on the depth chart. But between the coaching and guys in front of you to watch, it’s a great place to learn.”

The 27-year-old rookie will now hit the waiver wire, and maybe another team with serious needs at tight end about which I just wrote a few minutes ago (scroll or look down) will be interested.

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Kellen Davis done in New York

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It’s still unclear who’ll emerge as the top tight end for the Giants this year.  It’s becoming more clear who won’t.

Kellen Davis is the latest to be release, joining Dickensian antagonist Xavier Grimble as former Giants tight ends.  Davis had three catches for 12 yards in five preseason games.  He previously has played for the Bears from 2008 through 2012 before winning a Super Bowl ring with the Seahawks in 2013.

The Giants list Larry Donnell and Daniel Fells as the backup.  Adrien Robinson is the third tight end, for now.

Presumably, G.M. Jerry Reese and company will be watching the wire today for potential upgrades at the position, given that the three remaining players have scant NFL experience.

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Browns cut Dion Lewis

DionLewis AP

Running back Dion Lewis emerged from Pitt in 2011, joining another former Pitt tailback (LeSean McCoy) on the roster of the Steelers.  But for Lewis, a fifth-round draft pick, the NFL thing hasn’t gone nearly as well.

Traded for the Browns for linebacker Emmanuel Acho after two seasons, 24 regular-season games, and 171 total rushing yards, Lewis broke a leg last summer, missing all of 2013.  He returned to the team determined to make a dent in the depth chart.

Per a league source, it didn’t happen.  Lewis has been cut by the Browns.

He’s got fewer than four years of service, so he’ll hit the waiver wire before becoming a free agent.

The Browns apparently will start Ben Tate at tailback, with Terrance West and Chris Ogbonnaya behind Tate.

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Texans move on from Ricardo Mathews

Mathews AP

After four years with the Colts, defensive lineman Ricardo Mathews joined the Texans, who were looking to replenish depth after the departure of Antonio Smith and Earl Mitchell.

The Texans have decided to rely on their defensive-line depth elsewhere.  Per a league source, Mathews has been released.

Mathews appeared in 16 regular-season games each of the last two years, with six starts.  Because he has four years of service, Mathews instantly becomes a free agent.

PFT also has confirmed that the Texans have released linebacker Chris McAllister.  Undrafted out of Baylor, McAllister joined the Texans in May.  He’ll first be exposed to waivers, and then he’ll be eligible to sign with any team or practice squad.

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Eagles’ Travis Long suffers torn ACL

tajhboyd AP

The Eagles have lost some linebacker depth as Travis Long has been lost for the season.

Long, who spent last year on Philadelphia’s practice squad and was expected to make the 53-man roster this year, suffered a torn ACL in Thursday’s preseason finale, according to Philly.com. Long’s injury came on the series after he sacked Jets quarterback Tajh Boyd.

The injury is to Long’s left ACL. He tore his right ACL in 2012 during his senior season at Washington State, which is one of the reasons he went undrafted last year. But the Eagles thought he was coming along well after signing as an undrafted free agent and had high hopes that he’d be a contributor this year.

Although Long was not projected to start this year, he was versatile enough to play inside linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive end and multiple special teams positions, and he’ll be tough to replace.

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Lovie Smith says a patchwork offensive line can be fine

Lovie Smith AP

The Buccaneers’ offensive line has been a major question mark all year, and when the season opens next weekend the line will feature a bunch of guys who have never played together as a unit. And coach Lovie Smith says that’s just fine because, according to Smith, chemistry among offensive linemen is overrated.

“It’s been talked an awful lot about “the offensive line, they have to play together’’,’’ Smith said, via ESPN. “I don’t buy that at all. I think you get the best possible guys you can, and you make moves when you have to.’’

Smith said new arrival Logan Mankins can fit right in without having practiced with his teammates

“He knows how to get himself ready,” Smith said of Mankins. “He’ll have to change a little bit of terminology but not as much as you would assume. He’ll fit in right away and I don’t think that will be a big issue. Some of our other offensive linemen haven’t played a lot together. But these three preseason games, they’ve come together. Based on the way they played the last time they were together [in the third preseason game], we like where we’re at.”

At the moment, the offensive line looks like the Bucs’ biggest weakness. If Smith is right, perhaps the offensive line can be a surprise strength of a team going in the right direction.

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