On Tuesday the Los Angeles Rams submitted their initial 53-man roster to the NFL. All the players who were at practice ultimately made the roster and there were early reports on who was out there practicing and who was not. But coach Sean McVay was there to speak to reporters to answer all the questions in regards to the team about the final roster and these were the takeaways I took from it.
Xavier Jones will require surgery
On the Rams initial roster, it listed running backs Darrell Henderson, Sony Michel, and Jake Funk. Many thought that Jones was a clear-cut candidate to make the team after displaying all his talent in camp in the preseason, especially with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Unfortunately, it seemed that the injury he suffered in the final game was more serious than we initially anticipated.
McVay reiterated “Unfortunately he’s going to require surgery which is a shame because he did a good job of putting together a really good camp. I thought he played well and had some hard-earned yards against Denver, those are the things that are really hard but he’s going to come back and he is definitely a guy we want to continue to work with.”
It was a difficult decision waiving ILB Micah Kiser
Linebacker Micah Kiser has been with the LA Rams since he was drafted in 2018 from the University of Virginia in the 5th round. Kiser showed a ton of promise in his early years with the team but unfortunately was bit by the injury bug multiple times. It was evident from Kiser playing in the 4th quarter of the final preseason game that either releasing him or trading him was imminent. When asked about the decision to release Kiser, this was McVay’s response:
“What a stud of a human being and incredible person. You talk about a guy that's consistently overcome adversity and responded the right way. Really what it came down to was we kept four (ILBs) which made it a really tough decision for us and there's a lot of layers that go into it but Micah Kiser is a guy who has shown that he can be a starting caliber player in this league. He is somebody that I think that I wouldn't be surprised if someone claims him, and if they do they’re going to get a great competitive tough football player. What it came down to was we kept those four (ILBs) and I could go into a lot of depth, part of it is defense and a special teams element that definitely contributes to some of those decisions. But Micah was one of the more difficult decisions organizationally and he continued to epitomize all the things that make him a stud of a human being because of the way he handled that and you’re not betting against him figuring it out whether it ends up being with us or somewhere else, you’re going to bet on him to be successful.”
Corey Bojorquez traded to Green Bay
Many thought that the Rams would move in a different direction at the punter position for the 2021 season, including myself. Bojorquez impressed the organization in both training camp and in the preseason including a 70 and 62-yard missile to the opposing team’s one-yard line.
Ultimately the team felt confident still in Hekker’s ability to play and decided to part ways with the 24-year-old Bojorquez by trading him to the Packers for a late-round swap of picks in the 2023 draft. What also helped them come to this decision was Hekker reworking his deal. To trade a punter for any draft value is a win but it was clear that they weren't going to keep both punters on the team.
“I think we had two starting punters on our team and clearly Corey did an amazing job of maximizing the upside and interest from teams out there knowing that both he and Johnny are two of the best guys doing what they’re doing. It’s a very specific position and so Les did a great job of exploring some options and I think what Johnny has done here as I mentioned long before I got here is something that doesn't go lost on me, doesn't go lost on us, and I am confident that he is going to be the productive player that he has been throughout the course of his career. I know he’s motivated in the right way and we are excited about him leading the way for us.”
Rams players are almost 100% vaccinated
With the exception of one player, the Rams are almost at the 100% vaccinated mark. McVay did not want to throw the one player under the bus but is not concerned with that individual, he stated “That person has done an incredible job of demonstrating all the precautionary measures that you would ask and that you would require.”
Bryce Perkins earned his spot from the preseason
McVay stated, “if you told me a few weeks ago if you envisioned keeping 3 quarterbacks on the roster I would’ve told you no.” Perkins was outstanding in the 10 quarters that he played, progressing with each moment he was out on the field. It is clear that the Rams did not feel like Perkins would have made it through waivers and they like how quickly he has been able to get up to speed within a year. McVay’s offense is an intricate one and for Perkins to grasp it and just run with it embodies the type of work ethic he has. Now, this is only the initial roster but I do believe this is a decision for the long term for possible life after Matthew Stafford. Wolford is also a restricted free agent at the end of the season and who knows what their plans are with him.