August 30, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; Baltimore Ravens cornerback Danny Gorrer (36) intercepts a pass intended for St. Louis Rams wide receiver Brian Quick (83) during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE
The St. Louis Rams released wide receiver Nick Johnson on Friday afternoon. That moves leaves the team with seven receivers on the roster and the ability to defer a decision on which of those players go and which ones stay. As far as the order of the depth chart, that still looks a little murky.
Austin Pettis starts the season with a two-game suspension, the conclusion of his four-game suspension he got hit with late last season for a banned substance violation. He does not count against the roster while he is suspended, so, for now, the Rams effectively have six receivers on the roster.
The wild card here is whether or not one of those players gets dealt. General manager Les Snead suggested Wednesday morning on the NFL Network that other teams were interested in the receivers on the bubble. They gain some trade leverage since team cannot just wait for them to cut one of the last seven players. If teams really are interested, it might help the Rams get a defensive tackle to round out the depth chart there.
Danny Amendola is clearly entrenched as the starter, one of two starters. Jeff Fisher has been pretty clear that the team plans to use the players in something of a rotation, and the tight ends figure to play a heavy roll in the passing game as well.
After Amendola, it would seem like one of Brandon Gibson or Steve Smith is second on the list.
Ideally, Brian Quick would be the other outside receiver, his height and hands long missing from the Rams' rotation. However, Quick came to camp facing a steep learning curve, and will need more time to grow into a starting role. Chris Givens has a clear role with the team, and he saw a surprising amount of snaps with the starters on Thursday night.
Pettis has seen more than his fair share of work with the ones, catching a beauty touchdown pass from Sam Bradford on a nice crossing route against the Ravens second-team defense. He could be in the mix for the second spot on the depth chart once he returns to the roster.
Last but not least is Greg Salas, who has seen most his work on special teams and with the third string.