The deadline for NFL teams to trim rosters to 53 players is Saturday at 6:00 p.m. But the roster general managers turn into the league office at that time will evolve in the days prior to the season opener.
Veteran free agents started hitting the open market Friday morning. Teams often make those cuts first in order to give those players a chance to catch on elsewhere. And what about the St. Louis Rams? Jeff Fisher's roster is so young that most of the veterans will stick around. However, that youthfulness could lead the Rams to seek out some more experienced help.
And where could they use some veteran help?
For now, T.J. McDonald and Rodney McLeod are the starters. They're backed by a very inexperienced group. The two most senior players at the position, Matt Giordano and Darian Stewart, are hamstrung with injuries, pun intended. Giordano hasn't played but a few days in camp. Stewart's hamstring injury has had him on the shelf since early in the Green Bay game.
McDonald is locked in. McLeod's status is shakier, but he's earn the right to start. Finding a healthy veteran to round out the rotation still would help the group.
Based on the work done by Zac Stacy and Benny Cunningham in the preseason, the Rams have some pleasant young surprises to go with starter Daryl Richardson. But that success has mostly come against second- and third-string defenses.
It's unlikely, but possible, that the Rams could at least give a look at a savvy pass blocker to fill out the position.
Sam Bradford finally has two bona fide pass blockers on both his flanks. Unfortunately, both of those tackles have dealt with a list of injuries and surgeries over the last two seasons. Right now, Joe Barksdale is the third offensive tackle, and the depth chart gets iffy behind him.
Any tackle the Rams can get at this point is going to be a notch below Jake Long and Rodger Saffold, duh, but they could find one to upgrade their backup situation. Considering what the team has invested in Bradford, this is one area where the Rams cannot take chances.
No, Bradford's not going anywhere. However, some shaky play by Austin Davis and Kellen Clemens in the preseason -- although Clemens was better against a starter-less Ravens defense -- has to have the brass wondering about the backup situation. Brandon Bate explored that topic earlier.
There aren't many positions on the roster that could be noticeably improved by the players getting cut this weekend; that's a real sign of progress from where the Rams have been in the recent past. For Fisher and GM Les Snead the bigger question is really one of experience: do they want some veterans behind their younger players? We'll find out soon enough.