Danario Alexander must have known that the most dedicated bunch of St. Louis Rams fans were watching on Tuesday. Through two hours and a little more of practice the former Mizzou Tiger was making some spectacular catches, leaping skyward to pull down a ball well out of reach for most cornerbacks. On Wednesday, Alexander was back on the sidelines, watching his team practice without him.
"Yes, WR Danario's still struggling," head coach Jeff Fisher said. "He's not quite 100 percent, so we backed him down."
Alexander is a paradox for the decisionmakers at Rams Park. His raw talent is on par with many of the league's top receivers. After all, this is a player that was once above Jeremy Maclin on the depth chart at Mizzou. Injuries ultimately pushed him down the rotation in Columbia and could push him off the roster completely in St. Louis.
"Well, yeah obviously he's got some talent and we just have to keep him out there," Fisher said after Monday's practice. "That's going to be the key. Getting back today, still we're going to watch his reps and try to increase the reps and make a decision whether or not we'll allow him to participate this weekend."
Hamstring issues have sidelined him throughout camp, and this represents an obvious setback. He practiced some this week, practiced hard by the first-hand look of it, and it proved to be too much.
A team as focused on the run as the Rams will be less likely to hold any more than six roster spots for receivers. Three of those roster spots are spoken for with Danny Amendola, Brian Quick and Chris Givens. Steve Smith almost certainly has a fourth. The determining factor for the remaining spots will come down to a handful of issues, including whether or not a player can contribute on special teams.
The latest injury news also would seem to put Danario's status for the preseason opener on Sunday in doubt. If he does miss that game, it makes his bid for a roster spot that much more of a hard sell.