ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 25: Kevin Ogletree #85 of the Dallas Cowboys runs the ball against Craig Dahl #43 of the St. Louis Rams at Cowboys Stadium on August 25, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
This week will reveal with NFL coaches and general managers have done their homework when it comes to roster management, with a pair of roster cuts due by Friday. A new crop of free agents also gives teams the chance to round of weak spots on their roster. The St. Louis Rams could be doing just that, seeking help for the safety position that has been exposed some in the preseason.
Ian Rapoport from NFL Network said this on Monday:
But a bigger issue is at safety. Quintin Mikell and Darian Stewart are fine, and Mikell can be really good. But they need depth there, and I'd be surprised if they didn't add someone at that spot when teams begin their cuts.
Anyone that has seen the Rams inconsistencies with cover-2, like massive zones and missed assignments, have allowed some big plays to burn the Rams defense. Aside from Stewart, the Rams are heavy on safeties who specialize in working closer to the line of scrimmage.
As for Stewart, injuries have kept him out all three preseason games so far. He did practice last week, but was not suited up against the Cowboys. Jeff Fisher's staff was pleased with Stewart in spring practices and his early work in training camp, but he now has some catching up to do.
"He's going to need to get some reps," Fisher said of Stewart last Monday. "We're going to get him some reps. Hopefully, he'll get through the week without incident and we'll get him plenty of reps in the next couple of weeks and we'll see where it goes."
Undrafted rookie Rodney McLeod has had a nice preseason, but is still a pretty raw player. Right now, I would bet that McLeod cracks the 53-man roster, thanks in part to excellent special teams play. The roster battle at safety could be between Craig Dahl and a player landing on the waiver wire this week that fits Fisher's defensive system.
Clearly safety play is among the bigger concerns for the defense.