Real, meaningful football is inching closer and closer by the minute. With the start of the regular season a short five days away, final roster cuts have been made to put every team at 53 active players. Every final cut period comes with confusion, heartbreak and relief. The Rams made sure to cover all three emotions this year.
Above is a picture of all of the players that the Rams left off of their final 53-man roster. Some of the cuts, such as Jordan Kovacs, Terrence Magee (roster preview) and Paul McRoberts (roster preview), are far from surprising, but a handful of the Rams roster exceptions seem curious.
LB Akeem Ayers
The termination of Akeem Ayers’s contract is an eye grabber. Ayers (roster preview) is not a wonderfully dynamic and truly game changing play, but he is a reliable run defender who has a place as a starting linebacker in the league. Considering the Rams lack of quality linebackers, the release of Ayers has to be related to contract disputes or some sort of locker room disagreement. From a pure talent and necessity stand point, the move makes very little sense.
OL Eric Kush
Eric Kush being left off of the final 53 is questionable, too. Throughout the course of the preseason, Kush (roster preview) proved to be the team’s best center behind the starter Tim Barnes. While Kush may not provide the same athletic profile as Demetrius Rhaney (roster preview), Kush is more of a bully and does better job of executing his assignment. It’s not a major cut, seeing as Barnes is the starter, but Kush would have provided depth along the interior, something that the Rams dipped into often last season.
RB Aaron Green, S Christian Bryant
The two notable heart crushers from this round of cuts are running back Aaron Green and safety Christian Bryant. Not only are they deserving of roster spots, but they had become two of the most entertaining and easy to root for players on the Rams in their short stints with the team. Cutting Green (roster preview) is easier to reconcile when taking into account how many quality running backs the Rams have, but he’s still a tough loss.
Losing Bryant (roster preview), on the other hand, is crushing and baffling. Despite the team’s issues in the secondary, Jeff Fisher and Co. only held onto three safeties. Bryant has more than enough ability to be on a team as a fourth safety, and should be on the team over a couple of the offensive linemen that the team kept.
WR Nelson Spruce
If nothing else, Rams fans can find solace in the rostering of Nelson Spruce. Spruce (roster preview), a clear fan favorite, had his preseason cut short due to an ankle injury, but that did not stop him from making the team. In his one preseason performance, as well as in training camp sessions leading up to said performance, Spruce looked like a capable short-to-intermediate receiver who could be counted on to move the chains. That is a key addition to a receiving group lacking consistency.
There will surely be a shake up in the roster within the coming days or weeks, especially along the offensive line. Upon the return of Garrett Reynolds (roster preview) and Darrell Williams (roster preview) from the Injured Reserve, players like David Arkin (roster preview) and Pace Murphy (roster preview) could be on their way out. The roster is not quite decided, but the team is now working within the constraints of a 53 man active roster and most of whom is listed on the team right now will likely be there come Week One.