In the comments yesterday, strugglemonkey raised a good question: why cut Alston?
Alston surprised coaches, fans and players in the preseason this year with some pretty inspired play. Instead the Rams opted for keeping Quinton Culberson and Tim McGarigle. All three players had a great preseason, as a matter of fact.
I suspect Alston's release finally had something to do with his in between status: is he a safety or a linebacker? Ultimately, Culberson and McGarigle posses the size and probably aren't quite as a time intensive player development investment as Alston. I wonder how much special teams play figured into this. I would think Alston would be a great special teams player with his speed and versatility. However, the Rams special teams were nothing special (oh pun!) this summer, so ultimately Alston must not have cut the mustard there. Recall that Linehan has demonstrated a preference for defensive players on the bubble who can contribute on special teams as well as their normal role.
Culberson was a beast this summer, racking up 10 tackles in the four preseason games. McGarigle's interception and pass defense in the Governor's Cup sealed the deal for him I suspect. The Raiders nabbed him quickly, so all the best to Alston this season.
The secondary lesson in the Alston cut is that suspensions hurt the team in more than one way. Per the official story, with Fakhir Brown sitting out the first four games, Linehan felt the need to add another CB to the practice squad, Josh Lay, to "get the team through practice."
Here's the Rams 2007 practice squad. Remember, other teams can sign guys off of another team's practice squad without much in the way of red tape.
Brock Berlin, QB
John David Washington, RB
Darius Vinnett, CB
Derek Stanley, WR
Dominique Thompson, WR
Dustin Fry, C
Keith Jackson, DT
I guess I kind of wonder about the need for two wide receivers on a team deep with them already. Because of the no hassle process for other teams and injuries, Fry and Jackson are the least likely to be with the Rams all season. Now if someone's looking for Oscar cache...
I think Rice might have been a good addition for the Rams, but not at the expense of Hall's starter status, not to mention the $3 million guaranteed the Broncos gave him.
Here's a good post comparing the 2006 and 2007 New Orleans Saints to the 1999 and 2000 Rams. The key similarities, 1) worst-to-first stories behind offensive machines and 2) serious concerns on defense.
Some house keeping news. I'm heading out of town on vacation this afternoon, so my posts will be sporadic. I'll be checking in, and will be around on the weekend for some more game talk, to set up an open thread, and watch the Rams beat the Panthers in some sports bar in New Mexico. I would really encourage community members to use the diaries; I'll check in and put the new ones on the front page. Regardless of vacations, etc., I would encourage everyone to use the diary feature, after all what makes this site great is the community aspect of it.
With less than a week until opening kick off, it's a good time to revisit this preview from 3k. We know a lot more about the Rams now than we did then, so it's a great time to go back over the match ups for this game.
The TST fantasy football league is underway, and even though I don't normally insist on sharing my fantasy team foibles with everyone, I do want to say, I GOT STEVEN JACKSON!!! What about that suckas! Oh, I can taste sweet, sweet victory now. (Come on, get in on the trash talk before I run away with it all.)