The deadline for trimming the 80-man roster down to 75 players is Tuesday, August 31. The St. Louis Rams got a head start on their cuts this weekend, releasing CB Marcus Brown, OL Joe Gibbs and FB Jamie McCoy. Donnie Avery to the injured reserve list puts the Rams roster at 76, leaving one more move to be made by Tuesday. Which player will it be?
The Rams play their fourth and final preseason game on Thursday, against the Ravens, and many of the starters will not play, if tradition holds. Sam Bradford will start, but even he won't see as much time as he did against New England last week. In any case, with this week's game dedicated to sorting out the Rams depth chart, finding a player to release isn't as easy as it sounds, especially with some of the injuries the Rams have.
For instance, the Rams have 14 defensive backs still on the roster, but with James Butler out and Kevin Payne possibly not able to play this week because of a sore hammy, any cuts to that unit may leave the Rams without enough warm bodies to defend Marc Bulger this week, if the starters don't work much.
Similar situation with the offensive line, a group equally as populous as the dbacks right now. John Greco hasn't been playing because of a pectoral muscle and now OT Phil Trautwein will be out five to seven weeks with an MCL injury. If the starters don't play much this week, that would make it hard to cut from that group.
A couple positions that won't be impacted by this Tuesday's cuts are the offensive skill positions, with the QB, RB, TE and WR battles still needing answers which will come Thursday night. With just 9 linebackers on the roster right now, I wouldn't look for the next cut to come from there either.
There are 13 defensive linemen on the roster, and one cut could come from that group, depending on who the coaches want to see playing time from this week. I suspect they'll make a cut to either the defensive backs or the offensive line, depending on the injury situation this week. Remember, many of the guys that could get cut this week might well end up back on the practice squad when NFL teams set those up next month.
The final wave of cuts are due on Saturday, Sep. 4, when rosters go from 75 to 53 players.
The Rams really need to have John Greco healthy this week and playing as much as possible against the Ravens. Greco is a big guy and is needed on the depth chart. Should one of the Rams starting OTs miss time, Adam Goldberg would be moved from his spot at RG and Greco would seem to be a better choice to replace Goldberg than Hank Fraley, who is mostly a center. I also wonder about Greco at RT. His mauling style may be better suited to the interior, but he did play tackle in college.
A few people have asked about recently released WR Antonio Bryant. Forget about it. He's not healthy, and the Rams don't need any help adding injuries to their roster. Along those same lines, Laveranues Coles' name has come up a few times too, but he doesn't look like he has much left, didn't last year either.
Lots more roster math coming up, so stay tuned.