The Ryan cut could be problematic for Mason Crosby as holders are an underrated part of the game. Kickers develop a certain feel for the guy holding. Now, Crosby may not whine about the whole thing as much as Longwell did when he lost his holder, but I worry this may affect more than just the punting. Ryan was a reliable holder and importantly, he and Crosby had the standard kicker bond.
As far as punting, Ryan was not terribly consistent, true, but this is a surprising move because Frost hasn’t distinguished himself. I’ll hold off on total judgment to see first if Frost can deliver, but I have to agree with Brother Steve when it comes to feeling bad for a quality guy getting let go. My guess is tha this is not a popular move in the locker room. For a guy who probably felt like he had the job in the bag since the start of training camp when he learned no competition would be brought in, this is actually quite brutal. And, he didn’t have a bad preseason. With a few exceptions, his punting I thought was quite good (a couple 50+ yarders backed us out from deep in our territory).
The Abdul Hodge cut doesn’t make sense to me. I understand why White would remain on the team because he is wild and effective on special teams. I like keeping him. But I think finding another player to cut would have been advisable considering Hodge’s upside. As Aaron pointed out, Hodge played most of his time as a back-up middle linebacker – just like Desmond Bishop. I (and many other Packergeek readers) have wondered on several occasions why Hodge and Bishop haven’t seen more time at the strong and weak side LB positions until recently (Bishop had played some at back-up strong side a few times in the preseason.) The philosophy of the team, that we hear every time the O-Line gets shuffled around, is that every player at a certain position should have some understanding for the other similar positions (for example tackles should work some at guard just in case of injuries etc). It is a sensible philosophy, but it begs the question: why didn’t Hodge ever get work at the other LB positions? Perhaps he did in practice and sucked – I’ll allow for that possibility (but I never did see it in a game). It’s also possible he wasn’t given a fair shake at backing up Poppinga or Hawk and now we face the possibility of losing a player who could very well go on to excel for someone else.