Is it too late to make a lasting impression for players on the bubble of the Tennessee Titans’ roster?
Players certainly hope that a strong showing in the preseason finale against Green Bay might be enough to sway the coaches and front office personnel before cut-down day arrives on Saturday evening.
“You’ve just got to go out there and show your [expletive] and play your hardest every time,” said receiver Paul Williams, who faces fierce competition for a roster spot at his position. “It doesn’t matter what it is. But this is a big week. They’re cutting the squad down from 75 to 53. Those are some big cuts.
“You’ve just got to go out there and play,” he added. “Whatever happens happens. All I can really control is me and just go do my best.”
Tight end/fullback Casey Cramer has been through this routine many times. He was let go last year in final cuts, but was later signed by the Miami Dolphins and eventually rejoined the Titans at the end of the year.
“I’m enjoying every minute of it. The main thing I’m going to do is do the best I can with every opportunity, enjoy the whole process and encourage the people around me,” he said. “A lot of the rookies, this might be their first training camp, their first cuts, and they need some encouragement. I’ll let them know that we’re not defined by our careers, but by our relationships we have with others.”
Still, players’ livelihoods are at stake with a decision one way or the other, and that, as much as anything has many dealing with the discomfort of the unknown.
“In my situation, I can’t be on practice squad anymore, I have to make the 53,” cornerback Tanard Davis said. “I don’t think it’s more anxiety, it’s more just wanting to know what’s going to happen, so if I’m not going to be with one team, at least somebody else can give you an opportunity.”
Cornerback Cary Williams agreed that you can never be too sure where you stand when it comes to this point in the preseason.
“It’s definitely a big week, but every one is a big week for me, because it’s an opportunity to showcase talent,” he said. “I don’t take this week as any different than any other, but it’s just one more opportunity for me to go out there and make more plays and display what I can do.
Williams remarked that it’s all “up and down,” because players can never know where the organization wants to go.
“But I feel pretty good about what I’ve done,” he said, “and I can honestly say I’ve put forth the best effort possible, and I don’t feel ashamed if anything were to happen different.”
Many players feel that way, and quarterback Patrick Ramsey, whose future with the club could come down to whether the team keeps two quarterbacks or three, says you can’t play the worrying game at this juncture.
“I think any player in this locker room would tell you there are things they would like to do better,” Ramsey said. “Overall, I’m not going to say I played well or was complacent or anything like that, but I think I played pretty well throughout training camp. I’m just going to go out there and play and see what happens.”
After all, the decisions that will come down on Saturday aren’t personal, as Paul Williams points out.
“No hard feelings. I understand the NFL is a business and you’ve got to kind of put those kinds of thoughts aside and control what you can control,” he said.