An uneventful bye week for the Los Angeles Rams has now passed and Les Snead wasn’t able to pull the trigger on any major additions. Still, Rams fans confidence has risen after dropping dangerously low, fueled by rumors of a possible trade for Carolina Panthers edge Brian Burns, a measure of offensive progress in their last game, and a handful of players returning from injury and suspension lists.
Tight end Brycen Hopkins was recently reinstated after his suspension. Defensive tackle Bobby Brown, cornerback Troy Hill, and wide receiver Van Jefferson are ready to be activated and expected to ready for next Sunday’s game with the San Francisco 49ers. Center Brian Allen and cornerback Decobie Durant have convalesced while remaining on the roster.
At any moment, edge Daniel Hardy and running back Kyren Williams will be designated for return after stints on the Injured Reserve List. Safety Jordan Fuller, guard David Edwards and center/guard Coleman Shelton are still a couple weeks out and finally, there no status reports on the time table for return from the Reserve/Non-Football List by linebacker Travin Howard and safety Quinten Lake.
What are the Rams to do with all the bodies?
Currently, L.A. has 50 players on the active roster 15 on the practice squad. If Brown, Hill, and Jefferson are indeed activated this week, no roster moves will be necessary. As Hardy, Williams, Fuller, and Edwards return, corresponding moves will be made. But who?
Here’s the Rams current roster and their snap count percentages:
Matt Stafford (99.74) John Wolford, Bryce Perkins
Nothing to see here, Sean McVay has kept three QB’s for the second consecutive season.
Darell Henderson (63.09), Malcom Brown (6.81), Cam Akers (29.06)
Brown was a stop-gap addition and wouldn’t be missed. Akers is the picture of a dead man walking and will probably have to be released, hard to expect an opposing team offer much, if anything, after his injury and the Rams public handling of his situation.
Our top 5️⃣ plays on offense through the bye. pic.twitter.com/iIVNbQUpMJ— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) October 20, 2022
Cooper Kupp (98.95), Allen Robinson (91.36), Bennett Skowronek (83.77), Brandon Powell (14.92), Tutu Atwell (6.02), Lance McCutcheon (.26)
No need for fans to worry about McCutcheon being released. Even though the receiver room is a little roster heavy, there are plenty of cut candidates without the future potential of the small-school fan favorite.
Tyler Higbee (92.15), Kendall Blanton (6.54), Brycen Hopkins (4.45)
Blanton has been under-whelming since his return, he is just not a good enough blocker. Hopkins was almost invisible before his suspension and did anyone really notice he played nine offensive snaps versus Carolina?
Alaric Jackson (81.68), Bobby Evans, Jeremiah Kolone (49.21), Oday Aboushi (14.66), Rob Havenstein( 98.95), Brian Allen (17.54), Matt Skura, Ty Nseke
Egad! The question with the the Rams OLine is not who should go, but rather, who should be kept? Seriously, odds are high on Kolone and Skura as Allen returns to play in the interior and multiply as Shelton and Edwards heal up. Nseke has past ties (2015-16) to McVay from the Washington Redskins/Football Team/Commanders and is the only backup with pro tackle experience.
Aaron Donald (87.22), Greg Gaines (83.52), A’Shawn Robinson (57.10), Marquise Copeland (23.30), Jonah Williams (7.67), Michael Hoecht (2.56)
After his kickoff return, was I the only one who said. “Look at that big SOB run... wonder if he could play tight end?”. Last year, the Rams tried to sneak Williams through waivers, and he was claimed, but seven down linemen might be a little much and he is only getting about five defensive snaps per game.
Leonard Floyd (80.68), Justin Hollins (51.42), Terrell Lewis (48.58)
Numbers alone preclude any moves here, unless it’s an addition.
Off ball linebacker
Bobby Wagner (99.72), Ernest Jones (69.60), Christian Rozeboom (0), Jake Hummel (0), Jake Gervase(0)
It would seem that one of the three backups could go. Not one snap at LB for Rozeboom, Hummel, and Gervase, all their reps have been on special teams. Wagner has missed one of 352 defensive snaps and when Jones comes off the field, it’s for a secondary player.
Taylor Rapp (74.15), Nick Scott (95.45), Terrell Burgess (23.30), Russ Yeast (.28)
Yeast has only been active in four games and received about 12 special teams snaps in each of those, but positional numbers should make the Rams look elsewhere.
Jalen Ramsey (97.44), David Long (33.81), Derion Kendrick (62.50), Robert Rochell (4.83), Decobie Durant (6.53), Shaun Jolly (0)
Jolly is as good as gone and I’m sure he knew that when signed. He has played four total snaps and if L.A. wants to keep him, he would likely clear waivers and be signed to the practice squad.
Same time same place next week? Mhmm https://t.co/I7XCSpUtE9— RAMS ON FILM (@RamsOnFilm) October 21, 2022
Place kicker Matt Gay, punter Riley Dixon, and longsnapper Matt Orzech
Gay is solid, Dixon is serviceable, and while Orzech has had some blocking/communication problems, but there is no one else on the roster and initiating tryouts this late doesn’t seem in the cards.
RB- Ronnie Rivers (.79)
WR- Austin Trammel
TE- Jacob Harris (.26), Roger Carter, Jared Pinkney
OL- Chandler Brewer, A.J. Arcuri, Max Pircher
DL- Earnest Brown, T.J. Carter, Elijah Garcia,
E- Keir Thomas (.85), Brayden Thomas, Zach Van Valkenberg
S- T.J. Carter
Tight end Jacob Harris has been activated to the active roster three times, the league limit for elevations. If the Rams move him up again, he must be terminated from the practice squad and be officially signed to the 53. Offensive lineman Chandler Brewer has garnered two elevations and running back Ronnie Rivers, one.
The roster seems safe from subtraction for the time being, Bobby Brown, Troy Hill, and Van Jefferson can be integrated without cuts. Down the road, obviously the Cam Akers situation needs to be addressed, but after that, Shaun Jolly, Jeremiah Kolone, and one of the linebackers, likely Jake Gervase, should be next on the chopping block. Kendall Blanton, Matt Skura, and Russ Yeast are not far behind.
Jonah Williams may have to go, simply because of the DLine numbers. To save him, I would cross train Michael Hoecht at tight end, and move up Jacob Harris up from the practice squad. Both are huge, athletic guys and should progress with meaningful practice snaps. Blanton and Hopkins, to a lesser extent, have just not progressed.
The trade deadline is November 1, only one week left for L.A. to add outside upgrades. If they don’t, the roster moves will internal, mostly bookkeeping transactions. Can the Rams win with what they have, or what they will get back from injury?