I'm trying to come up with a Governor's Cup joke here. Every time I get a sentence down though, it erase it, too hackneyed. Let's face it, the Governor's Cup, with most of the starters on the bench, isn't the most exciting football you'll see all season. Might be better than some of those Rams games last season though. For the 20+ guys looking to survive the final roster cut, it is a big game, a last audition.
The Post-Dispatch has a pretty comprehensive look at the final roster as it stands. To kick off the morning, I thought we'd take a stab at predicting the 8-man practice squad. Before I jump in, some housekeeping. I swapped QnA with SBN's Chiefs blog Arrowhead Pride, and will have those up later. Don't forget to check out 3k's preview.
Now, the practice squad.
Roy Schuening, G - Reading about this guy after the draft, I fully expected him to cement a backup role for himself in camp. By all accounts he came to the league as force on the o-line. He could still, and after last season's experience with the o-line, you can bet they'll keep another OL on the practice squad. Probably means Dustin Fry's days as a Rams are numbered.
Marques Hagans, WR - This is a position that will get plenty of attention in tonight's game. Hagans and the others battling for an outside chance at the 53-man roster will get plenty of passes thrown their way as well as return opportunities. Hagans has been the best receiver of these fringe guys, but Derek Stanley has an advantage in the return game. Brandon Williams might be a better kick returner, so he has a decent shot at the practice squad too. Reche Caldwell might make it because of his experience, but he could probably find work complementing the depth on another team. This is the toughest spot by far to round out the bottom of the depth chart. The Rams kept two WRs on the practice squad to start the season last year, Stanley and Dominque Thompson, and it certainly looks like they'll do that again.
Lance Ball, RB - Ball will get a lot of carries tonight, passes too. The Maryland undrafted rookie has really impressed, and had the Steven Jackson holdout dragged into the regular season, there's no question he'd be on the team. He will make the practice squad.
Bruce Gradkowski, QB - Last season, when the Rams went with just 2 QBs on their active roster, they had to keep Berlin on the practice squad. Good thing they did too because they needed him. It's possible they'll keep Gradkowski this year, with Berlin favored to retain his old job at #3. However, it's not as likely.
Eric Bassey, S - This is a tough one too because the Rams have some nagging injuries to key starters. If Jerome Carter can play tonight and doesn't completely suck, they'll almost have to keep the 4th year vet to round out depth at safety by making him the fourth. I'm assuming they'll keep 4 safeties and 5 corners. Vinnett has special teams value. I wonder if they'll keep Macklin, a vet, and put Vinnett on the practice squad?
David Vobora, LB - This depends on whether or not the Rams keep 6 or 7 LBs. If they keep 7, he's on the 53-man, contributing on ST. That scenario likely puts Marc Magro on the practice squad.
C. J. Ah You, DE - I suspect they'll keep a DL on the practice squad, and Ah You is the best of the fringe guys at that position. That leaves them a little short at DT, potentially, with just Glover, Carriker and Ryan as the only full time DTs. Of course, DTs Willie Williams and Henry Smith have as many tackles through the preseason as Adam Carriker, so they'll be working hard to make an impression tonight.
That's my educated guesses at the practice squad. We'll have definitive answers this weekend. Stay tuned.