Rams could be without Michael Brockers for first month

The news could have been worse for Michael Brockers.

But the St. Louis Rams defensive tackle could be sidelined for the first month of his rookie season after suffering a high-ankle sprain in the first quarter of Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Baltimore Ravens.

His right ankle was in a cast up to his knee today, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The first-round draft pick had turned in a terrific training camp for the Rams and looks poised for fine things. A medical exam revealed the extent of the injury.

The temporary loss leaves St. Louis thin at defensive tackle. Keep an eye open for the Rams possibly looking to add players in the middle of their defense.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Steelers reduce roster to 53

Efficient. That definition describes the Pittsburgh Steelers – even in their roster cuts.

While other teams' final cuts are still yet to be made or yet to be announced at least, the Steelers have wasted no time in setting their 53-man roster hours ahead of tonight's deadline.

According to the team's website, the Steelers have let go of 21 players and put linebacker Sean Spence on injured reserve. Most notable among Pittsburgh's cuts are offensive lineman Trai Essex, who played in 76 games for Pittsburgh and punter Jeremy Kapinos, who was waived/injured.

Other cuts included defensive backs Damon Cromartie-Smith, Terrence Frederick and Josh Victorian, linebackers Brandon Hicks and Marshall McFadden, defensive linemen Corbin Bryant, Igbinosun Ikponmwosa and Jake Stoller, quarterback Jerrod Johnson, running back DuJuan Harris, wide receivers Tyler Beiler, Toney Clemons, David Gilreath, Marquis Maze and Derrick Williams, and offensive linemen Ryan Lee, John Malecki and Chris Scott.

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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com

Eagles decide to cut Mike Kafka

The Philadelphia Eagles were very high on Mike Kafka as a backup to starting quarterback Michael Vick a year ago.

Now, Kafka is out in Philadelphia. The Eagles informed the former Northwestern quarterback he would be let go after the team failed in a bid to trade him. The decision was made to go with journeyman Trent Edwards on the roster along with rookie Nick Foles, who performed well in preseason.

There was great competition at the QB position,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “That’s what football and training camp is all about. In the end, we had to make the difficult decision to let Mike Kafka go.

“Mike is a class act, a student of the game and a great person and I think he’ll have no problem finding a job in the National Football League very soon. On the other hand, I’m proud of the way Trent Edwards conducted himself since the early days of the offseason workouts. He had to fight for everything he earned this summer. He improved each and every day and made the most of every opportunity.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

QB Wallace among Browns final cuts

Backup quarterback Seneca Wallace has been let go by the Cleveland Browns, according to multiple reports.

Wallace's departure in Cleveland comes as a bit of a surprise, at least on the surface, as many speculated that Colt McCoy would be the odd man out, once he lost the starting job to rookie Brandon Weeden.

The Browns also let go of tight ends Evan Moore and Dan Gronkowski among their cuts.

With Wallace's release, the backup quarterback market is beginning to get saturated. Just today Wallace, Brian Hoyer, Mike Kafka and Josh McCown have all been released. Earlier in the week, the Bills released Vince Young as well.

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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com

Report: Cardinals will roll with John Skelton at QB

At this rate, it will go down as one of the worst trades in the NFL in a long time.

A long, long time.

The Arizona Cardinals not only packaged plenty to trade for quarterback Kevin Kolb, they paid him. Now, Kolb will be on the bench when the team opens the season on Sept. 9 by hosting the Seattle Seahawks. That is because Adam Caplan reports the team has chosen to go with third-year man John Skelton as the starter.

Neither player performed particularly well during preseason. Based on the investment in Kolb, you’d have to imagine he was afforded the benefit of the doubt. But that is no longer the case and now Skelton will be leading the Cardinals.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Report: Tanard Jackson receives indefinite suspension

Tanard Jackson has taken a wrong turn.

The veteran safety, who has a history of substance-abuse issues, has been suspended by the NFL indefinitely for violating the league’s drug policy. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports first reported the news.

Jackson was a productive player for the Buccaneers but he ran into drug problems and was eventually cut loose. He landed in Washington and now it appears his future in the NFL is in jeopardy. According to Glazer, Jackson is still appealing the suspension. He could be eligible for a review in one year.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Koppen, Branch, Hoyer among Patriots cuts

The New England Patriots have some big names among their final cuts, including long-time center Dan Koppen, who re-signed with the club in the off-season after missing most of 2011 with a broken ankle.

Various reports also had the Patriots letting go of veteran wide receiver Deion Branch and cutting second-string quarterback Brian Hoyer, which leaves only Ryan Mallett behind Tom Brady.

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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com

Boise State at Michigan State: 3 things to watch

Opening weekend of the 2012 college football season continues Friday night with a very intriguing matchup in East Lansing as Boise State hits the road for a clash with Michigan State.

Chris Petersen lost a lot of talent from his one-loss Broncos squad last fall, while Mark Dantonio hopes his Spartans offense could keep up with the team's physical and imposing defense.

Let's take a look at three things to watch in the tilt between the Broncos and the Spartans on Friday evening.

Joe SouthwickUS PRESSWIREJoe Southwick is replacing the winningest QB in NCAA history.

1. Dueling new starting QBs: Both Boise State and Michigan State will be replacing longtime starting signal-callers: the Broncos no longer have prolific Kellen Moore, while the Kirk Cousins era is over for the Spartans. Enter Joe Southwick and Andrew Maxwell, respectively. The junior Southwick has been the backup for the past two seasons and displayed his talent in the spring game. He'll have D.J. Harper, a senior who has waited for his fulltime opportunity, to help him out at running back. And receiver Matt Miller and tight end Gabe Linehan give Southwick dependable options. At MSU, I've heard nothing but good things about the junior Maxwell, who also has served as a backup for the last two seasons. The central focus of this offense will be on the run game, led by Le'Veon Bell, but Maxwell possesses the goods to deliver in the team's passing game. The receiver corps was depleted with the losses of B.J. Cunningham, Keith Nichol and Keshawn Martin, but Bennie Fowler could be a gamebreaker and Keith Mumphery could have a breakout campaign. Both of these offenses should be solid by midseason. But can they get off to strong starts in Week 1?

2. On the defensive: Both the Broncos and the Spartans were able to rely on very good defenses last season, which helped carry them to successful campaigns. Dantonio can rely on another sound unit this fall. But Petersen will be replacing stars Shea McClellin, Tyrone Crawford, George Iloka and Billy Winn. That's a lot of veteran talent to lose. So this is a season in which we'll see how good of a staff Petersen has put together, because the new starters will have needed to be coached up. All of those two and three-star recruits from years past are now juniors and seniors, and the recent higher-star recruits that have been sprinkled in will get their opportunities as well. Tackles Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe and Michael Atkinson are proven defensive players, but who will step up at end? Weakside linebacker J.C. Percy will be the strength of the linebacker corps, but can sophomore Blake Renaud step up in the middle? Cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and Jerrell Gavins are veterans of the Boise 'D,' but can a pair of sophomores step up at safety? The good news for Bronco fans is that MSU is breaking in several key new starters on offense. Meanwhile, Pat Narduzzi has a ton of talent on his Spartans defense, a unit that is one of the most physical outside of the SEC. William Gholston is a star at end, Max Bullough leads a strong linebacker corps and cornerback Johnny Adams is the veteran of a sound secondary.

3. Boise magic: We know the story. Every season, the Broncos are supposed to get tripped up in an early-season showdown and never be heard from again. But whether it was Oregon, Virginia Tech or Georgia, no team has been able to thwart Boise and end its big-game magic. Petersen's squad has won its last six games against BCS conference teams, its last loss coming to Washington early in the 2007 season. The only thing that has stood in this team's way the last few years has been a couple of missed field goals. And while so much veteran talent has been lost to the NFL, it's never wise to discount the Broncos. Friday night will be a tough test under the lights in East Lansing, but is there a little bit of magic left even with a turned-over roster?

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

Texans obtain fullback Clutts

The Houston Texans have acquired fullback Tyler Clutts from the Chicago Bears in exchange for cornerback Sherrick McManus, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

In a related move, the Texans released fullback Moran Norris to create a spot for Clutts, who will backup James Casey.

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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com

N.C. State vs. Tennessee: 3 things to watch

North Carolina State and Tennessee meet in an ACC-SEC showdown Friday night in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff at the Georgia Dome.

Tom O'Brien's Wolfpack could be a darkhorse ACC contender, while Derek Dooley enters a make-or-break 2012 campaign with the Vols.

Let's take a look at three things to watch in the clash between the Wolfpack and the Vols on Friday evening.

Mike GlennonUS PRESSWIREMike Glennon is rising up NFL Draft boards.

1. These QBs are pros: We'll get a chance to see two of the best quarterbacks in the country match up at the Georgia Dome, with the Wolfpack's Mike Glennon and the Vols' Tyler Bray likely to be high NFL Draft picks. The senior Glennon threw 31 touchdown passes last year, which were the second-most in N.C. State history behind the 34 thrown by Philip Rivers in 2003. He'll have speedy Tobais Palmer and freshman Charlie Hegedus as well as redshirt freshmen Hakeem Flowers and Maurice Morgan as his top receiver targets. But Bryan Underwood's injury is a tough blow. Meanwhile, the junior Bray is a tall, lanky pocket passer who can also make throws on the run. Losing Da'Rick Rogers was a big blow to this team, but Justin Hunter and junior college transfer Cordarrelle Patterson give Bray quality options to make plays through the air.

2. Hit the ground running: As prolific as the Tennessee passing game could be this fall, this team will struggle to make a bowl game if the rushing attack is subpar once again. The Vols ranked 116th nationally in rushing while recording just 11 touchdowns on the ground in 2011, but Rajion Neal and a host of running backs should be able to provide a consistent rushing attack after a strong offseason. And a veteran offensive line will help. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack need a lead back to emerge to improve on a rushing attack that ranked No. 109 in the country last fall. An experienced offensive line will help, but sophomore Tony Creecy must be able to carry over his impressive offseason work onto the field. O'Brien named Creecy the No. 1 back over senior James Washington and sophomore Mustafa Greene with a consistent performance. He was N.C. State's second-leading rusher last year with 382 yards on 103 carries. Washington led the team with 897 yards on 226 carries in 2011, while Greene recorded 597 yards on 134 carries as a true freshman in 2010 but missed last season with an injury. Expect all three backs to get carries, but whoever is on the field needs to keep defenses honest so Glennon can make plays through the air.

3. Amerson vs. Hunter: The Wolfpack's secondary is one of the best in the nation, led by junior cornerback David Amerson, who led the nation and set an ACC record with 13 interceptions in 2011. Expect to see him lined up pretty consistently against Vols star receiver Justin Hunter. The Wolfpack, however, apparently will be without No. 2 cornerback C.J. Wilson because of an unspecified eligibility issue. Wilson has yet to be cleared by the NCAA. The loss of Da'Rick Rogers may have tilted the advantage in this contest to the Wolfpack's secondary, but losing Wilson may have evened the score despite N.C. State's experience at safety.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave