By Curtis 'Concudan' Egan
The NFL rules for the formation of the practice squad did not change with the new CBA. They allow a team to designate up to 8 players who will be able to practice with the team, but will not count against the 53 man roster. Teams will have to cut down to by September 5, which makes the practice squad a topic of the moment as we head into the last week of preseason football. Teams will have to reach an 80 man roster by Tuesday, 8/30/11.
To be eligible for the Practice squad a player has to fit the following conditions:
A player on the practice squad is fair game to all other teams. Any player can be signed by another team. So teams are always cautious about placing players they are really interested in on the practice squad. A practice squad player makes $5,700.00 per week. They can be let go at any time by the team, their salary is not guaranteed.
- Have no prior accrued seasons in the NFL. (No more than 6 games on the active roster).
- Have one prior accrued season in which the player was on the active roster for no more than 8 games.
- Have been on practice squad with a particular team no more than 2 prior seasons unless the team never had their active roster go below 53 players during the two years the player served on the practice squad.
If a team signs a player from the practice squad of another team, that player counts against the 53 man roster of the signing team for three weeks, this is even in the event the new team releases the player prior to the three weeks time. If a player is promoted from the practice squad to the 53 man roster, they also count against that team’s roster fro 3 weeks. They are then guaranteed a veterans or rookies minimum salary for those three weeks.
Looking at all of that the Chargers have several players who are practice squad eligible. The team has to cut the player, and wait for them to clear waivers, and then they can sign the players to the practice squad.
The eligible players are (as I see it, with my 20/20 homervision):
Colin Baxter, Center
Bront Bird, LB
Mike Blanc, DE
Curtis Brinkley, RB
Ramon Broadway, CB
Vincent Brown, WR
Charlie Bryant, DT
Charles Davis, TE
Hutch Eckerson, OT
Andrew Gachkar, LB
Darryl Gamble, LB
Marcus Gilchrist, CB-KR
Richard Goodman, WR
Stephen Harrison, CB
Vidal Hazelton, WR
Michael Huey, OG
Carl Ihenacho, DE
Cameron Kenney, WR
Jeremy Leman, LB
Cory Liuget, DE
Shawnberry McNeal, RB
Jonas Mouton, LB
Isaac Odim, RB
Ryan Otterson, OT
Travon Patterson, WR
Nick Polk, FS
Dean Rogers, FB
Damik Scafe, DE
Stephen Schilling, OT
Ricky Schmitt, P
Traye Simmons, CB
Frank Summers, FB
Brad Taylor, TE
Bo Thran, OT
Jordan Todman, RB
Scott Tolzien, QB
Bryan Walters, WR
Shareece Wright, CB
Eric Young, OT
Conc’s Low Down
Here is the Low down on the players, why they are eligible, and will or will not make the cut to the practice squad.
Colin Baxter (R), 6-3, 310
As a center Colin probably has least competition to make the practice squad. Other than Nick Hardwick, the Chargers list only Scott “please don’t make me say this” Mruckowski as a center, and Scott is a combination Center/guard. However I doubt the Chargers will keep Colin on the 53 man roster, I think give the light load in camp at center, that he could end up on the practice squad as insurance against an injury, that is unless someone is cut by another team that would peak the Chargers interest...
Bront Bird (R), 6-4 250
A prototypical sized 3-4 line backer. He showed well in his first game against Seattle with 5 solo tackles and 1 assist. He followed that up with 3 solos and an assist against the Cowboys. He may have shown enough to be a practice squad hopeful, but with only 8 players allowed it is a steep hill. If the team keeps 2 linebackers on the practice squad I think he has a good chance of making it.
Mike Blanc (R), 6-3 209
Another linebacker sized defensive end. Played in the first preseason game and failed to light up the sky.
Curtis Brinkley (2) 5-9, 208, 3 games in 2010
Ok I will shamelessly admit it. I am a Brinkley fan. Nick-named Boonah by his late Grand mother, he struggled through rehab his first season with the chargers after suffering gun shot wounds at home in Philadelphia. Curtis was activated to the 53 man roster from the practice squad in 2010. He played in 3 games that season. He has a steep hill to climb to make the 53 man roster and his being hampered by a hamstring hasn’t helped his case. With the Chargers taking Todman in the draft the task of holding onto a roster spot, or a practice squad spot becomes even harder for #44.
Ramon Broadway (R), 5-9, 190
Played in the first two preseason games and was active. He made 8 solo tackles and 3 assists. He defended two passes, and that may be enough to give the team reason to consider bringing him back to the practice squad.
Vincent Brown (R), 5-11, 184
A third round draft choice who has been sidelined most of the preseason with injuries. He will be given the time to get well, but eventually he will have to earn his spot on the turf, not in the tub.
Charlie Bryant 6-8 (R), 320
He is a very big body at defensive tackle. However the uphill climb at that position is tremendous and the young man has not distanced himself from the pack.
Charles Davis 6-6 (1), 260
He played two games in preseason without a catch. Charles was brought in as insurance against Antonio Gates not being able to play. Gates looks good to go, so Charles unfortunately will go as well...
Hutch Eckerson 6-6 (R), 310
C’mon! With a name like Hutch, and a Viking sounding last name who could not root for this kid? However, a cool name and a big body are not going to land you on the team unless you are a cover boy quarterback.
Andrew Gachkar (R), 6-3, 228
Being a 7th round pick does not make you a lock for either the 53-man roster or the practice squad. Andrew played in the first two preseason games and registered 3 solo, and 3 assisted tackles. I cant see him making the 53 man roster, but has a shot at making the practice squad if he clears waivers.
Darryl Gamble (R), 6-2, 255
Gamble came in as an undrafted free agent and has played well enough that the Chargers may have to find a spot on the 53 man roster as he will most likely not clear waivers to make it to the practice squad.
Marcus Gilchrist (R), 5-10, 193
Second round pick, is making the team and will not have to worry about the practice squad.
Richard Goodman 6-0 (1), 192
Richard was activated to the 53 man roster from the practice squad in 2010. He played in 3 games that season.
Stephen Harrison (R), 5-11, 190
He has been the invisible man so far. He would be an extreme long shot to make the practice squad.
Vidal Hazelton (R), 6-2, 220
No receptions, no flash, no chance…
Michael Huey (R), 6-5, 310
He has played in all three preseason games. He is a very large tackle, but has not made a lot of noise in camp. He signed a three year deal with Chargers but that will not keep him on the roster.
Carl Ihenacho (R), 6-3, 245
He is more the size of a 3-4 line backer and will not be playing DE for the Chargers. He has seen action in all three preseason games and has registered 4 solo tackles and 5 assists. Linebacker is a very important position in the 3-4 defensive scheme but I am not shown the team enough to make the 53 man roster, but might be enough to earn him a spot on the practice squad as insurance against a midseason injury.
Cameron Kenney (R), 6-1, 200
Played against Seattle, and had no receptions. Need I say more?
Jeremy Leman (1), 6-2, 240
The Chargers signed Leman, a linebacker from the University of Illinois, to the practice squad Dec. 1, 2010, where he remained for the last five weeks of the regular season.
Corey Liuget (R), 6-2, 240
I feel stupid even typing his name. He is on the roster, he will not be on the practice squad, he would never clear waivers… But technically he is eligible so I list him like a mindless drone that I am…
Shawnberry McNeal (1), 5-9, 190
Singed a 2 year contract in May last season, and was waived in September. He was picked up by the Redskins and added to their practice squad, then released. He was resigned to another two year contract on 8/3/2011.
Jonas Mouton (R), 6-2, 240
Another draft pick that will not see a pink slip in his locker. 53 man roster for this kid.
Isaac Odim (R), 6-0, 210
Isaac got 4 attempts against Seattle in the preseason opener and has not been seen since. He is the equivalent of the Red Shirt Star Fleet security guard that is put out as the salt sucking vampire fodder…
Ryan Otterson (1), 6-5, 291
Ryan spent last season on the Chargers practice squad. He was signed to a reserve/future contract on 01/12/2011.
Travon Patterson (R), 5-9, 175
Patterson has been MIA throughout camp… He caught 3 passes in the first two games for 29 yards. Not enough to maintain a hope of going the practice squad.
Nick Polk (1),
Nick bounced around from the Texans to the Broncos last season and did not stick. He was signed to another two year contract on 8/3/2011.
Dean Rogers (R), 6-2, 250.
Played against the Seahawks and registered a reception for 4 yards. This is not enough to make the roster or practice squad on the running back rich Chargers roster.
Damik Scafe (R), 6-2, 300
Played in the game against the Cardinals and registered a solo tackle and an assist. He is a big body and strong, not sure that is enough to get him to the practice squad though.
Stephen Schilling (R), 6-5, 308
A work in progress 6th round draft pick. Being a 6th round draft pick does not ensure you a spot on the roster, he seemed to struggle with false starts in his first game which can be expected of a rookies first time at the dance. However Schilling’s play has caught the eye of the Coaching staff, and that may be enough to keep him on the sidelines.
Ricky Schmitt (1), 6-3, 215
Ricky played one game for San Francisco last season. Mike Scifres has been not only reliable for the Chargers, not missing a game in the last 7 seasons, but has a great overall average in the 46 yards per punt range. Ricky has a tough mountain to climb, and I don’t see the Chargers feeling they have to keep and extra punter in their back pocket.
Traye Simmons (1), 5-9, 180
Traye was the captain of the practice squad last season. He spent all 16 games on the squad. The team felt they wanted to keep him around and see how he developed. Unfortunately Traye has not been making the highlight reels. He has one more game to impress, if he does not I cant see the Chargers keeping him around for a second season on the practice squad.
Frank Summers (1), 5-10, 255
Frank is an impressive specimen. Broad shouldered, stout and built like a truck. He came into camp and caught the coach’s eyes and then was slowed by an injury. There is a saying in the big leagues; “you make team on the turf not in the tub”. However given the Chargers use of full backs, and the injury record the last few seasons I think Frank has a good chance of landing on the practice squad.
Brad Taylor (R), 6-3, 240
So far in preseason he has 2 receptions for 10 yards. Not enough to make the cut.
Bo Thran (R), 6-5 295
Three games into preseason and not much from Bo. I do not see him being asked back to the practice squad.
Jordan Todman (R), 5-9 193
Jordan is the heir apparent to Darren Sproles, as well as the first 6th round pick for the Chargers this draft. Jordan will not be cut to chance another team picking him up off of waivers, he will make the 53 man roster.
Scott Tolzien (R), 6-3, 210
Scott impressed in camp early. There was talk that the Chargers might not risk cutting Scott and risk another team collecting him off of waivers. However, he did not throw a pass against Arizona, and was sacked 3 times in his two preseason games, while losing a fumble. The Chargers will probably look to risk placing Tolzien on the practice squad, they have ran with only 2 QBs on the roster in previous seasons.
Bryan Walters (1), 6-0, 190
Bryan has had a good preseason. He spent the last five weeks of last season on the practice squad. This season he has been given a chance to return the ball and ran a kick off back 103 yards against Seattle for a touchdown, and caught a late touchdown against Arizona. A long shot to make the roster; he might have made himself a niche on the Special Teams which would allow the Chargers to forego the risk of trying to get him past waivers.
Shareece Wright (R), 5-11, 182
Shareece was one of the Chargers 3rd round draft picks this year. No way will he be going to the practice squad.
Eric Young (R), 6-3, 304
Eric played in the first two preseason games. He is big, but I am not sure he has shown enough to have caught the Coach’s eye. He may have caught the eye of the Turk though…
Who are your 8 choices for the practice squad?