Roster Battles: Helped and Hurt

Lane Adkins' analysis of who became more and less likely to make the cut or move up the depth chart based on their play Saturday night.


- OL Pat Murray stepped in and played at LG with the second unit and performed well. In the face of many blitz packages, Murray was solid and is in play to become a depth player along the line.

- CB Brandon McDonald has had an outstanding training camp and his strong showing continued against the Packers. McDonald was solid in man and filled his zone well in two and three.

- Rookie CB Joe Haden continues to improve every time he steps on the field. Against the starting Green Bay receivers, Haden was not over-matched and had excellent coverage in most cases. Haden started for the injured Eric Wright.

- OLB Marcus Benard has shown glimpses in practice sessions that he may have the skill set to be more than a one-dimensional pass rusher from the OLB spot. Against the Packers, Benard dropped in coverage successfully on numerous occasions. Every time Benard hits the field, he makes plays.

- RB James Davis did the little things that can make or break a player on the bubble. While decent when gaining the opportunity to carry the ball, it was his special teams play that was noticeable. Davis made a couple key blocks in the return game which helped lead to positive yardage.

- DL Swanson Miller was physical and active working with the second team defense and others later in the Packers game. MIller was able to maintain position, was not moved easily off the ball, and displayed good burst. With a large number of relatively inexperienced defensive linemen in camp getting reps, Miller should gain a closer look.

- OT Scott Kooistra has been solid in training camp sessions and played well against the Packers. Gaining more meaningful reps due to the ongoing issues of health and injury issues of Tony Pashos, Kooistra presently is the backup at RT and third on the depth chart at LT.


-  Rookie OT Casey Bender did not perform well. Bender was often beaten on quick moves by the DE and OLB. He was stood up and pushed into the backfield often. At a position which could be there for the taking, Bender has fallen behind.

- RB Chris Jennings has had a quiet training camp and did not display positives in the game against Green Bay. The RB was slow to the hole and was held up when attempting to come out of the backfield in the passing game.

- ILB David Veikune continues to look the part physically, but remains a step behind on the playing field. While the Browns may have done him little justice a season ago working the rookie between ILB and OLB, he has been working solely at ILB since, with little result. Whereas Veikune appears to struggle, the undersized Kaluka Maiava continues to improve.

- Rookie defensive linemen Brian Sanford and Kwako Danso are both raw linemen and this showed late in the game. Both were moved off the ball due to being slow when engaging.

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