Reducing your roster to the league's mandated 53-maximum can be stressful for coaches. Sometimes it's just a numbers game--maybe a player, arguably one of the better players on the team, loses his job because the depth chart above him is just better. Or perhaps there's a player with a salary that doesn't represent his value to the team. In other words, they have a younger player that's far more cost effective than the veteran making millions more. Cut.
Each time the coaching staff has to inform them that they have lost their jobs, forcing them to walk into the world without much on their backs. It is never an easy task to perform, especially with the younger players looking to make a career out of a dream.
And sometimes the decision is made much easier.
For example, Cincinnati Bengals rookie Trey Hopkins became one of the team's better preseason stories. Per Pro Football Focus, Hopkins finished the preseason as the third-best run blocker on the team, sitting behind offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse and guard Kevin Zeitler. Not necessarily a great pass blocker (allowed a team-high five quarterback hurries and a -1.9 grade in pass protection), Hopkins is a promising player -- though observations suggested that T.J. Johnson has overtaken Hopkins on the team's depth chart.
Unfortunately, we're not exactly sure what to expect with Hopkins at this stage. He was one of several players that were carted off the field last Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals but conflicting suppositions have generated a confusing prognostication. According to the mothership, the injury "has been called a fibula injury" and if it's broken, "that would end" his season. Coley Harvey with ESPN conjectures, for the sake of a roster prediction, that "we'll bank on the injury being more minor than it appeared."
Regardless, certainty will be presented later on Saturday as the team makes their final decisions.