Tomorrow (Tuesday, August 26th), by 4:00 p.m. eastern time, NFL teams have to have their rosters cut down from 90 players to 75. The Colts started this process this morning by cutting 11 players, but their roster is still at 79 players. Even if you were never very good at math, you can tell that the Colts still have four more cuts to make by tomorrow afternoon - and then by Saturday they have to be from 75 to 53.
The cutdown to 53 players is generally regarded as the hardest to make, but Colts head coach Chuck Pagano talked to the media today about how difficult these cuts so far have been for him too.
"We said from day one it was going to be extremely difficult because we felt like the 90-man roster this year compared to year one is a heck of a lot different," Pagano said. "We're deeper at every position, we've got more competition at every position. Everybody says, ‘Hey, getting to 75 is easy, and 53 is much tougher.' We let go of some good football players, some really good football players yesterday. It wouldn't surprise me to see any of those guys get picked up probably sooner than later. What we try to do regardless is tell all those guys that you keep working your craft, you keep studying, you keep staying in shape, doing those type of things because whether it's Week 1, Week 8, Week 14, you can find yourself right back here. It was a lot more difficult this year than at any point in previous years."
Pagano also said that because of injuries to certain guys, that impacts who they keep. Certainly don't want to expose or lose somebody that's done a good job that you feel like is a 53-man roster type guy or a practice squad guy," Pagano said. "But again, when you have injuries at certain positions, it may cost you a good player. Hopefully that won't happen."
In other words, Pagano is already saying that the cuts have been more difficult than in previous years, and the Colts are really only getting started, with 11 players already cut and 26 still needing to be cut by the end of the week. This is actually a good sign for the Colts that the cuts are difficult, because it means the talent is much deeper overall this year. But for the coaches, and for the players, it's still rough - and perhaps even rougher.
Across the 32 NFL teams this week, with everyone getting down from 90 players to 53, there will be 1,184 players cut. Just let that number sink in for a moment: this week, teams will cut 1,184 players. And that doesn't even account for players who make the 53-man roster and then are waived in order to make room for a signing from another team's cuts. This week is probably the roughest of the entire year for the NFL, for players, and for coaches. For Chuck Pagano, it's already really rough, and there's still 26 more cuts to go.