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Tennessee Titans cut RB Dexter McCluster, keep QB Alex Tanney

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans cut 22 players Friday, trimming their roster to the NFL-mandated 53 players. Here's a closer look at the final cuts:

Most significant move: Mike Mularkey repeatedly expressed affection for running back and return man Dexter McCluster. He named him a captain last season right after becoming interim coach and has said McCluster is a game-wrecker, the term he uses for explosive players. But the Titans parted ways with McCluster. Mularkey said DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry can break off big plays, which means a scat back is not needed. The Titans would use receiver Tre McBride to return kicks and safety Kevin Byard to return punts right now, though waiver claims could impact that.

Most significant non-move: Keeping Alex Tanney as a third quarterback was unexpected, but the Titans clearly feel Tanney would be grabbed up by someone if he was let go. They could be aiming to eventually try to get him to the practice squad. Mularkey said while backup Matt Cassel would work some scout team, Tanney would take the bulk of the work playing the role of the next opposing quarterback for the benefit of the defense. Mularkey conceded Tanney won't be active on Sundays if Marcus Mariota and Cassel are healthy. That seems like a real luxury, and I think once other teams get settled at quarterback -- if not sooner -- we could see Tanney cut as they try to get him to the practice squad.

The lone undrafted: Defensive end Mehdi Abdesmad is from Montreal and played at Boston College. He came to the Titans as an undrafted free agent and earned the only spot that went to a rookie who wasn't a draft pick. At 6-foot-6 and 284 pounds, he gives the Titans a different sized guy than many of their linemen and an ability to bat more passes. He appeared a long shot because another undrafted, USC nose tackle Antwaun Woods, was second on the depth chart ahead of second-rounder Austin Johnson for the bulk of the preseason. But Mularkey said Johnson had actually passed Woods.

Adjusted numbers: The Titans kept five tight ends and four receivers on this day a year ago. Now it's a more sensible three tight ends and six receivers. Mularkey said the team is comfortable with Delanie Walker, Anthony Fasano and Phillip Supernaw as the tight end trio. He also said McBride's ability to work as a returner and a gunner added to his value as a receiver, and that veterans Harry Douglas and Andre Johnson had made plays whenever called on.

Titans moves: Waived FB Sam Bergen, TE Jerome Cunningham, TE Alex Ellis, RB David Fluellen, LB Curtis Grant, S Marqueston Huff, WR Justin Hunter, T Tyler Marz, C Ronald Patrick, OL Will Poehls, OL Jeremiah Poutasi, CB Kalan Reed, S Curtis Riley, WR Ben Roberts, K Aldrick Rosas, RB Bishop Sankey, LB Justin Staples, LB J.R. Tavai, WR Andrew Turzilli, CB B.W. Webb, NT Antwaun Woods. Terminated veteran RB Dexter McCluster.