So much for a weekend off. The St. Louis Rams made a long list of roster moves to comply with the NFL's Friday evening deadline for a 53-man roster and kept right on going through the weekend. They may not be done. Some of the roster moves were surprising, shipping off once-promising young players that carried a share of the franchise's hopes not so long ago.
Players get a year to coast on their draft status. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the circumstances. New leadership washes all that away, reserving the right to bring in their own guys as part of the team building process.
Take a look at the player released this weekend.
Greg Salas, WR - The Rams traded him to New England in a move that surprised many who watched him play last season. Salas has plenty of potential, but he did nothing to separate himself from the logjam at receiver. The Rams' roster is jammed with receivers of mid-tier NFL quality, and the team ready for them to break through. With two new rookies, there was no room for holdovers at the same place on the developmental curve. Given the pressure on Sam Bradford, the Rams needed a few experienced hands to complement the youth at receiver.
Jerome Murphy, CB - Off the top of your head, cite one example of strong play from Murphy since being drafted in 2010 that made you think he has a bright future at corner? You can't because you've barely seen him on the field. Most likely, you're scratching your head on this one because Murphy was a third-round pick by a staff that had some success with young corners.
Michael Hoomanawanui, TE - Illinois Mike looked like he could catch everything thrown his way as a rookie, but he could never catch a break with health. He reported to camp in the best shape of his life, but the Rams had a glut of tight ends with similar skill levels. He was purely league average.
Quinn Ojinnaka, OT - This move was the most surprising of the bunch considering that he had been starting through the preseason. He became a fan favorite, but on the field he was mostly pretty mediocre, struggling against more powerful defensive linemen. He came to the Rams as a guy that's bounced around as a backup; there's a reason for that.
Really, how many of these guys were differencemakers for the Rams? None. They were backups, a couple of them who still had some interesting upside to them. These are the kinds of changes to be expected from a team with new management. The players added to in their place, especially Terrance Ganaway and Kellen Heard, are in line with what the approach of the new coaching staff.
Transitional season is a nice way of saying this is a young team that is going to struggle as they learn the ups and downs of the NFL. Fisher has been pretty clear about his players learning on the go, a trial by fire. Tweaks at the fringes of the roster are about finding players that fit the new philosophy and determining whether or not they can be a part of the future. Many of them will not make the final cut for 2013.
Welcome back to rebuilding.