Scooped: First Cut is the Deepest

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Scooped continues with a recap of the third pre-season games and the first round of cuts to 75. Teams have until 4 PM today to get down to 75 players. Most teams have begun making cuts already. Let’s take a look.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings opened their new stadium (US Bank) against San Diego with an up and down performance. Bridgewater was 12/16 for 161 yards and 1 TD to build a 12-10 half time lead. Jerrick McKinnon had some nice runs with Adrian Peterson not playing. The Vikings had a nice first drive but had to settle for a field goal on a long first drive and got a short field after a Harrison Smith pick when the ball bounced of Keenan Allen. The short field only led to a 29 yard play field goal drive. The Chargers responded with 10 points with a 39 yard Melvin Gordon rushing TD as the highlight.

The Vikings cut Sean Hicky (OL), Austin Shephard (OL), Terrence Plummer (LB), Claudell Louis (DT), and Brad Sorensen (QB) and still have more moves to make.

The Vikings are looking to trade center John Sullivan which would be a big move. Joe Berger played well last season for Sullivan and has outshone him this pre-season. This would hurt the Vikings depth but Sullivan might not be worth a backup spot at his high price tag.

Detroit Lions

The Lions starters (sans Eric Ebron) moved the ball against Baltimore but only got a field goal in the first three drives. Detroit punted after one first down on the first drive and notched a field goal on the second drive with a long drive. Detroit missed a 53 yard field goal on the 3rd drive with another long drive.  There was a poor snap by the rookie long snapper on the missed field goal. Long snapper Jimmy Landes has since been placed on IR and will require shoulder surgery. This may explain his woes this pre-season.

There were two poor calls by the referees which cost the Lions 10 points. A pass interference by the Ravens on Marvin Jones in the end zone and bogus personal foul penalty on Reiff cost the Lions extra yardage took away points. Ameer Abdullah had an 11 yard run (and 4 YPC in his first action) and Riddick busted a nice 34 yard game (which set up the missed field goal). The Lions run game (5.3 YPC) and pass protection was improved. However, sure handed receiver (Tate 2, Abdullah, Riddick) dropped 4 balls costing the Lions drives.

The Lions final two offensive drives of the half were poor even though Prater booted an impressive 60 yard field goal to end the half. Stafford threw an interception on 3rd and 6 which set up a short Ravens TD starting at the 15 yard line and a 20-3 lead.

The Lions defense was solid despite the score with Levy and Slay playing on the first 2-3 drives (bend but didn’t break). Ngata and Krhyi Thonrton each had a sack for the Lions but the pass rush lacked some with Flacco moving the ball for two field goals and one turnover on downs in Lions territory.

However, Detroit fell apart with backup CBs and LBs on the 4th Ravens drive which ended up with a TD by Ryan Mallett. Backup Darrin Walls was beat badly on a go route for the first Ravens TD. The Ravens had 11 and 13 yard runs on the 3rd drive (FG) and a 17 yard run with a bogus personal foul on the 4th drive to set up their first TD (Mallett passing TD). Baltimore led 20-6 at the half but the score made it look worse than the Lions actually played on defense.

Detroit started their cuts down to 75 with some big names. Steven Ridley was cut last week. Geoff Schwartz was too injured during camp and pre-season and was surprisingly cut. The Lions traded Jeremy Kerley for guard Brandon Thomas (3rd round pick by SF in 2014) which aided the Schwartz cut. Matthew Mulligan was cut which is good news for the health of Eric Ebron (ankle) or Brandon Pettigrew (ACL recovery). Crezdon Butler (CB), Quinshad Davis (WR), Devin Bell (K), Louis Palmer (DT), Deonte Gibson (DE), Quenterrus Smith (DE), Rashaad Reynolds (CB), Chase Farris (Guard) were also cut. The Lions have 3 more moves to make to get to 75.

Green Bay Packers

Rodgers played in his first pre-season action and went 6/9 for 60 yards and a 1 TD to Randall Cobb (6 yarder on a WR screen). The Packers starting offense looked sharp. Lacy had 7 carries for 45 yards on the day and is ready to roll this season. Green Bay punted on their first 7 play drive but had a 14 play TD drive to tie the game at 7 (though Green Bay converted a 4th down). Third string QB, Joe Callahan, took over after the first two drives but the Packers didn’t score again until the second half. Brett Hundley is still hurt with an ankle injury.

The Packers defense allowed one TD early to the 49ers on a 53 play drive. They were strong the rest of the first half not allowing any more points during the half.

Ed Williams (WR), Peter Morell (P), Demtris Anderson (DL), Randall Jette (CB), Jemell Johnson (WR), Derrick Matthews (LB), Kennard Backman (TE) were all cut by Green Bay.

Chicago Bears

The Bears offense played awful in their pre-season game and Chicago was shut out by the Chiefs in the first half. Cutler was 6/15 for 45 yards. Langford had 6 carries for 17 yards. There was too much pressure allowed and the Bears miss Kyle Long (shoulder) at right guard.

The Bears defense was more stout allowing two field goal drives and one late touchdown drive in the first half. The Bears are still missing Pernell McPhee and Kyle Fuller due to injury and Tracy Porter got a concussion during the game. Chicago is glad that game is pre-season only which means nothing for the regular season.

Chicago has cut Daryl Young (FB), Keith Browner (DL), Kieran Duncan (WR), Derek Keaton (WR), John Kling (OL), Senorise Perry (RB), Darrin Peterson (WR), Joel Ross (DB), Gannon Sinclair (TE) and Martin Wallace (OL).

There is one more pre-season game on Thursday for all teams and then the final cuts to 53 by Saturday at 4 PM. The regular season is so close I can taste it.