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That's Some Next Level: 53 Man Roster Edition

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53 man Rosters are set. Practice squads are formed. Surprises and stark realities for Bears trying to make it at the Next Level.

Hager recovers his second fumble in two weeks.  That's how you catch on at the Next Level.
Hager recovers his second fumble in two weeks. That's how you catch on at the Next Level.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to That’s Some Next Level - your weekly update on Bears in the NFL.  I think I read somewhere that "To everything there is a season."  We’ll the time and purpose for the NFL preseason is behind us.  And the regular season is now under the heaven.  And yea verily I say unto thee, let us now see how our former Bears survived the NLFs cuts to 53 man rosters. And let’s do it Old Testament style, just for giggles.

Phil Taylor (CLE)A time to heal. As noted here last week, the Browns waived Taylor in their first round of cuts.  I thought he’d catch on somewhere else quickly.  He worked out for the Steelers last week, but indications are that his knees are still an issue.  His 2015 salary is fully guaranteed. So maybe his best option is to take a year off and try to fully recover.  If he’s 100% in 2016, there’ll be a plenty of teams interested.

Kelvin Palmer (PIT) – A time to breakdown.  Palmer was injured in the fourth quarter of the Steelers final preseason game with Carolina. As it’s gone with Palmer most of this preseason, I couldn’t find any details on the nature or severity of the injury.  He was placed on the "Waived/Injured" list, which means he’ll get lump sum settlement equal to the salary he’d have earned during his rehab.  And that, as they say, is that.

Cyril Richardson (BUF)A time to build up.  Richardson was the biggest shocker of the 53 man cuts (at least the naïve and uneducated, like me).  Most had him penciled in as the second string guard, behind Richie Incognito.  But the Bills decided to take only 8 OL into the season (and four TEs!).  Slightly softening the disappointment, the Bills did add Richardson to their practice squad, where he can continue to improve.

Chance Casey (IND) A time to rend.  Casey was a long shot from the outset.  As a practice squad player for the last two years, he was a known quantity and likely not eligible to be on a practice squad in 2015 (see BTW below). The fact that he never saw much first-team, early game action with the Colts was an indication they wanted to explore other options.

Bryce Hager (STL)A time to dance.  Talk about earning it!  In 4 preseason games, Hager made a team-leading 22 tackles and recovered two fumbles.  He was active in special teams too.  He may not see a ton of playing time this year, but

Demetri Goodson (GB) – A time to keep. Seeing Goodson on the 53 man roster was a pleasant surprise! After barely making the roster last year, Goodson was inactive for 10 games. And didn’t have much to show for his preseason, missing many practices due to nagging injuries. But he apparently showed enough!

OK, this OT bit has officially worn thinner than REL 3305.  Get thee out of Tidwell.

Casey and Palmer join, J.D. Walton (MIA), Antwan Goodley (DAL), Levi Norwood (CHI), Tevin Reese (CIN) and Lache Seastrunk (DAL) as former Baylor Bears who’s Next Level career has probably run its course.   Cruelty and unfairness, played out in all its banality. Keep these guys in your thoughts and prayers.

It’s probably not worth listing the stat lines for the rest of the active Baylor Bears.  To do so would lend credibility and legitimacy to the 4th batch of preseason games.  Plus, must of our guys didn’t see the field for one reason or another.

Kendall Wright (TEN) and Terrance Williams (DAL) – You know you’re officially at the Next Level when you get that last preseason game off.  Unless you’re name is…

Robert Griffin III (WAS)Colt McCoy took every snap as Griffin is still "sidelined with a concussion," which apparently is a new euphemism for "we regret guaranteeing your 2016 salary against injury."

Bryce Petty (NYJ) – Petty didn’t play in the Jets last preseason game.  Instead, two veteran backups, Josh Johnson and Matt Flynn, saw all the snaps.  They must have left coaches underwhelmed, as both were released on Saturday. That sounds like a tacit endorsement of Petty’s progress. Or perhaps it speaks to Geno Smith’s recovery. Smith returned to practice Monday, participating in positional drills, and may be ready sooner than anticipated.

Matt Bryant (ATL) - Missed a 52 yd FG field goal with 5:01 left; the only blemish on his preseason stat line.

Jon Weeks (HOU)Texans were perfect on XPs and had no punts blocked.

BTW item of the week: If you enjoy reading IRS tax code or rental car agreements, the byzantine world of NFL Practice Squad rules is for you.  I read this twice, and still don’t understand it.  This didn’t clarify much.  This helped a little.

But here are a couple of nuggets that’ll give you an idea of how arcane the rules are around the formation of practice squads.

  • Practice squad rosters are limited to 10 players, UNLESS one of the players is foreign-born. Then they can have up to 11.
  • A player can only be on a practice squad for 2 seasons, UNLESS the team carries 53 players on its Active Roster at all times. Then a player may be eligible for third season on the practice squad. BUT teams are allowed only two third-season practice squad players.
  • Players are ineligible for practice squad after 2 two "accrued seasons" (defined as being active for 6 games), UNLESS they were the third string quarterback. Being active as third string QB doesn’t count against practice squad eligibility.

That's it for this week.  Regrettably, this feature gets shorter from here on out.  Until next week, good luck to all Baylor Bears at Next Levels everywhere, and that includes you!