The Rams have parted ways with last year's second leading tackler, and starting outside linebacker, Jo-Lonn Dunbar. The move may be a calculated risk to save some cap money (as our very own RamsFan1313 could easily explain), but at the very least the move shows that the Rams are not afraid to lose him. Dunbar's recent suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy was the catalyst for his fall from the starting lineup, and likely his exit from the team.
The writing was on the wall last Thursday night when Dunbar remained in the game in the 4th quarter along with 3rd and 4th string players. It was obvious he was firmly in Jeff Fishers dog house. If he remains available after his suspension is served, you would think the Rams would be interested in bringing him back? However, teams like the Cowboys, Titans, and Lions may be ready to pounce on such a productive player.
I would be excited to see Benny Cunningham back there week 1 as the starting kick returner, but something in my bones tells me we will see Austin or Givens assume that role to start the regular season. I could be wrong, but the Rams staff did not give Benny a lot of KR reps in the preseason, and I never saw him receive any in the Rams open practices so I would be surprised to seem him assume the starting role so unceremoniously.
In practice, Givens looked like the sharpest player returning kicks. Unfortunately, Givens will hopefully have a lot of other responsibilities on game day.
Rams #15 in the most recent ESPN power rankings. Given all the unknown factors about this team, that seems pretty accurate. The big question is, where will the finish?
Although the Cardinals will be without first round draft pick Jonathan Cooper, the rest of the team appears to be getting healthy at just the right time (or wrong time - for Rams fans) to start the season.
Given the current climate in the NFL, it sounds like both players lucked out that no criminal charges were brought against either of them for this alleged shooting. It sounds like if this would have happened at a public venue, it could have been a much bigger deal.
Stay classy Rams fans!