The 2016 Los Angeles Rams are down to the 75-player cap. With the decisions to get them there are the cuts that didn’t happen.
Here are some of the big names up in the air as we head toward the cuts to the 53-man roster coming on Saturday (and my latest 53-man projection which was immediately proved erroneous with the cut of DE Quinton Coples):
Dylan Thompson was never going to make it to Week 1. The big question is whether or not Sean Mannion will.
I’m not 100% he will.
The real key here, and I think this will be a theme for the 53-man, is the turnover among the special teams core. Bear in mind, the Rams lost out on prime ST contributor Daren Bates this offseason. So with Chase Reynolds in the mix here, I think the question is whether the can get his special teams contributions, or close enough to it, out of someone who offers more as a running back (see: Malcolm Brown and/or Aaron Green).
Two down in Marquez North and David Richards. Ten more to sort between. Assuming Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt and new favorite son Pharoh Cooper are all safe, that’s a seven-man bubble with Bradley Marquez, Brian Quick, Mike Thomas, Nelson Spruce, Duke Williams, Paul McRoberts and Austin Hill all scrapping for space.
Benson Browne leaves to give this final week’s snaps to veteran Justice Cunningham and rookie Temarrick Hemingway. Huge Thursday night game looming for both.
A couple of completely anticipated moves here.
The big two left here? OT Isaiah Battle and OL Eric Kush. Can they make the mix? And from the 10 a year ago, are Andrew Donnal, Demetrius Rhaney and Darrell Williams still required components?
The Coples cut was the surprise of the day. It wouldn’t have been overwhelming if it came on Saturdya. Today though, it begs the question as to whether it was made to open snaps on the D-line (presumably for DEs Matt Longacre and Ian Seau if not new FA DLs Dominique Easley and Cam Thomas) or for general space at other positions.
No other position on the Rams’ roster is as undervalued as linebacker. Quarterbacks a second, but not necessarily close. The position decisions here are almost entirely special teams decisions. Given how difficult it can be to make your special teams cuts, I’m not surprised at all that Darreon Herring was the lone selection today.
Much like the linebacker position, the special teams evaluation here is in flux. The Rams just wrapped up their second practice of three tonight. With tomorrow’s practice and Thursday’s game coming, it makes sense to save as many of them as you can to get more ST tape on everyone involved.
Wise to trim the specialists in K Taylor Bertolet and LS Jeff Overbaugh. While it was fine to bring them in to ensure K Greg Zuerlein and LS Jake McQuaide were pressured to provide their best in the tune-up, there’s no reason to keep them around with so much special teams evaluation needed elsewhere.