While we've got plenty to cover this week, I thought it might be worth taking an early look at the final 53-man roster and where some of the flashpoints are.
Bear in mind, this was the position breakdown of last year's roster going into week one of the regular season:
|# of players
A couple of notes about that breakdown:
- Both Isaiah Pead and Jo-Lonn Dunbar were both suspended to start the season, so neither went against the roster limit. Bear that in mind as we watch the WR battle this time around with Stedman Bailey sitting out the early quarter of the season this year...
- Rodger Saffold was listed as a tackle in the depth chart last year as the starting RT; Joe Barksdale was the backup for both tackle spots. Things have changed a bit...
- Note the number next to "QB"...
Notes noted, let's take a look at the major questions for each position for 2014:
This one comes down to Garrett Gilbert. The Rams went with just two QBs last year, and we know the Bradford/Hill duo is locked in for week one. The Rams could always stow Gilbert on the 53-man without bringing him on the gameday 46-man sheet, but it would be perhaps the most striking difference with last year's roster. Of course a year ago, Sam Bradford was coming off of a 16-game 2012 season. Now, he's recovering from an injury that sidelined him for more than half of the 2013 season. Cha cha cha changes.
Whither Isaiah Pead? Cunning eyes noted Pead didn't make Nick Wagoner's cut over on his turf at ESPN. IP's bandwagon has shrunk to pretty much Tevin at this point.
Big question for Fisher and staff here with Stedman Bailey out the first four weeks. The quintet of Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Kenny Britt, Brian Quick and Austin Pettis seem pretty locked in for week one. Would it behoove the offense to stash an extra wideout? Emory Blake's three catches for 41 yards on Friday didn't hurt his cause.
The big key here is the Alex Bayer-Justice Cunningham battle. Stay tuned.
This one seems in flux as well. with a couple players trying to expand this to a double digit position load. Plenty more preseason's needed to begin sorting this one out.
This is pretty much down to Michael Sam or not. I'd tell you to keep an eye on him, but the major national media seems to be helping us do just that.
It'll be another six-pack here. Bigger fish to fry elsewhere.
Here's some fish to fry. The Rams could certainly extend this position beyond the five they had on the roster last year. Three of last year's five corners (Janoris Jenkins, Trumaine Johnson and Brandon McGee) are locks, if you're of the same opinion as I am of McGee. Lamarcus Joyner's in. That leaves E.J. Gaines, Greg Reid, Marcus Roberson and Darren Woodard who started against the Saints. This is a multi-pronged battle to track.
This is special teams storage, so the question is if that outweighs the actual positional needs elsewhere ESPECIALLY if the Rams expand the QB listings three-deep. Tough decisions are going to have to be made, and I wouldn't be surprised if safety is one area where we see at least one if not a couple.
Stay tuned, folks.