Some familiar names were left behind today as the St. Louis Rams continue their journey through the 2011 season. The cut list, so far, includes promising young defensive end George Selvie, a host of undrafted free agents and some veteran offensive linemen once thought to be a lock for the final roster. The most familiar name on the list: 2008 second-round pick, wide receiver Donnie Avery.
Avery announced the news on Twitter moments ago:
Its been real St.Louis. I had a good 3 years. The feelings were mutual. We both thought I need a fresh start somewhere else. #NoHardFeelings
I wonder if the Rams tried to trade him, hence the silence on the receiver moves today. This tweet certainly makes it sound as though he was not traded. Earlier today, Jim Thomas from the Post-Dispatch said that a trade was still a possibility to clear up room at receiver. Avery has some potential, but could never really get over that hump with the Rams. I liked him for making the final cut, but McDaniels' offenses have never put much value on pure speed.
The cuts by the Rams include: DB Tim Atchison, WR Donnie Avery, TE Demarco Cosby, LB Zac Diles, DB Tae Evans, DT Marlon Favorite, T Renardo Foster, WR Mardy Gilyard, DT John Henderson, T Kevin Hughes, QB Thaddeus Lewis, WR Greg Mathews, T Ryan McKee, DT Daniel Muir, DB Jonathan Nelson, G Quinn Ojinnaka, TE Fendi Onobun, RB Chase Reynolds, DE George Selvie and RB Keith Toston.
Now, don't get your knickers in a bunch, the Rams will make some changes to this version of the 53-man roster, perhaps very soon. One player to keep an eye on is Eagles CB Joselio Hanson, who was released today. The Rams were said to be interested in Hanson earlier this week. Now, they figure to be one of several potential suitors.
Wide receivers: No surprises at the top of the depth chart. Mike Sims-Walker, Brandon Gibson, and Danny Amendola own the top spots. Also making the cut were the rookie draft picks, Greg Salas and Austin Pettis. That shouldn't be a surprise. Teams don't walk away from third and fourth-round picks after a month of play; it's rare to do it even when the offseason isn't nixed by a lockout. Dominique Curry also made the final cut, thanks to his inspired special teams play. Mark Clayton has been added to the PUP list, meaning his return will not happen until after week 6 at the earliest. Clayton is insurance for the others, especially Danario Alexander. That's seven receivers and Clayton on the PUP.
Tight end: The biggest surprise here was Ben Guidugli, who made the final cut as the Rams keep four.
Offensive line: Adam Goldberg, Hank Fraley and Drew Miller are the backups, for now. Miller earned it with solid all around play during the preseason.
QB: I'm a little surprised that Thaddeus Lewis was cut. Hopefully, he can clear waivers and land on the practice squad. A.J. Feeley's veteran presence on the bench for Sam Bradford probably earned him extra credit.
Linebacker: Congrats to Jabara Williams, a guy who showed nothing but heart and skill on the field this year, for making the final cut. Bryan Kehl, Chris Chamberlain and Josh Hull round out the depth chart behind the starters.
More moves to come? Don't be surprised. Right now, the Rams have five safeties and just four cornerbacks. I do not expect them to start the season with just four cornerbacks.
Two members of the Rams' 2011 draft class did not make the final cut, S Jonathan Nelson and CB Mikail Baker. Baker was injured/waived, and Nelson was released today. Don't be surprised if Nelson ends up on the practice squad.