It's been widely assumed here and elsewhere throughout the Rams corner of the internet that the team would bring back WR Dane Looker, if for nothing else other than his experience and need for depth at the position. Now, don't be so sure. In his chat over at STLtoday.com, Bill Coats had this to say about the team's dalliance, or lack thereof, with Looker:
Looker hasn't signed anywhere. I really thought the Rams would bring him back, given their youth and lack of personnel at WR, but they apparently aren't interested. Draftee Brooks Foster has been assigned Looker's No. 89.
Other than defying what stood as conventional wisdom, we shouldn't really be surprised. The Rams have gone to great lengths to jettison older players, even the big names weren't spared in the roster purges of '09. Looker, at 33, isn't much more than a role player at this point. That said, he could have been/could be useful for the Rams, but, other than experience and maybe some intangible like leadership, etc., what does he bring that one of the other, younger WRs on the roster can't offer?
Without Looker, they'll have to find another player to serve as holder for the field goal unit.
This doesn't mean the Rams won't resign Looker or find another WR as rosters get trimmed down in August. Injuries and the chance to evaluate players with the pads on could definitely shuffle team needs. However, with the direction the Rams appear to be heading, I'd be surprised if they brought in a player over the age of 30.
This is a good chance to take a look at the receivers likely to make the 53-man roster come September.They're likely to keep six WRs.
Shoo-Ins: Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton, Laurent Robinson
Somewhat less likely: Derek Stanley, Brooks Foster, Tim Carter
Much to prove: Chad Lucas, Jaret Byers, Nate Jones, Travis Brown, Horace Grant
The only player I feel comfortable about putting in the middle column is Derek Stanley, but I still don't thing he's got a guaranteed spot, especially since he's still recovering from an injury and others can emerge to return kicks. Foster gets a little extra boost since the Rams drafted him, but that's no given either. Carter is a younger, 28, veteran who rates as more likely than some of the undrafted guys and practice squad guys in the last grouping.
Right now, though, the Rams brass seems ready to go to battle with the receivers they've got, relative lack of experience be damned. It's not a common strategy, but there are examples in recent history of teams finding success with similar situations at WR.