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Thread: Preseaon's over, so who remains?
Preseaon's over, so who remains?
Four preseason games under our belt, and now the Rams face their second round of cuts. This time, the team looks to trim their roster down to the final 53 players for the start of the regular season.
How much we've seen from everyone in this series of four exhibition games is debatable, but the Rams will have to closely examine the tape to find out who deserves to stay and who just hasn't shown enough to warrant a coveted spot.
Fortunately for the top brass at Rams Park, I've taken the liberty of already constructing what should be the final 53-man roster, based on information and opinions accumulated through training camp and the preseason contests. Scott Linehan, you can thank me later.
QB(3): Marc Bulger, Gus Frerotte, Ryan Fitzpatrick
The first two choices are easy enough. Bulger is a top ten quarterback in this league, and Gus Frerotte is as capable of a back-up as anyone could ask for. In the race for the third quarterback job, neither Ryan Fitzpatrick nor Dave Ragone have really broke out with amazing performances, but in this last game, Ragone sure had a pretty poor one. When you complete more passes to the opposition than you do to your own team, you really can't count on job security.
RB/FB(5): Steven Jackson, Tony Fisher, Moe Williams, Paul Smith, Madison Hedgecock
Assuming the Rams don't find a free agent that looks more appealing in this group, then this is the unit I see making it to the regular season. Jackson is primed for a breakout year if he's focused and has room to run. Fisher has shown enough for me to trust him as an adequate #2 runner. Moe Williams is the only question mark, but if we have to see a lot of him, it's not going to be good regardless. Expect the Rams to watch the free agent wire for a good third guy. At the end of the day, I think Linehan elects to keep both of these guys. Smith has been injured and really hasn't looked sharp blocking the last two games. Madison has also had his injury problems, but there's just no way a coaching staff can be confident enough to just take Smith into the season after this preseason. Plus, Hedgecock could always work as an H-back as well.
WR(5): Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Kevin Curtis, Shaun McDonald, Dane Looker
This shouldn't come as a surprise. Rather, the only surprise should be the lack of a sixth receiver on this list. But honestly, I haven't seen enough out of either Hagans or Pyatt to warrant spending a spot on them. Pyatt just didn't catch on as well as we'd hoped, and Hagans as a project player makes him better suited for the practice squad.
TE(3): Joe Klopfenstein, Aaron Walker, Dominique Byrd
Three tight ends are more than enough for the Rams, despite a decent showing by Jerome Collins in the preseason. The bottom line is, with two fullbacks on the roster, the Rams simply do not have the room to carry a fourth tight end, especially when you consider Hedgecock could likely serve in a TE-like role in emergency situations.
OL(10): Orlando Pace, Richie Incognito, Andy McCollum, Adam Timmerman, Alex Barron, Todd Steussie, Mark Setterstrom, Larry Turner, Blaine Saipaia, Drew Strojny
Five linemen and five back-ups. Sounds pretty easy. The Rams have one elite lineman in Pace, two promising youths in Barron and Incognito, and two guys who are probably enjoying their twilight years in the NFL. Behind them, you've got Steussie who despite past steroid use seems to be the only halfway decent back-up tackle. Setterstrom and Saipaia provide competent guard depth. Turner shouldn't have anything to worry about from Raiola, and Strojny is really the last line of defense at tackle.
DL(8): Leonard Little, Jimmy Kennedy, LaRoi Glover, Anthony Hargrove, Victor Adeyanju, Claude Wroten, Jason Fisk, Brandon Green
Despite being impressive early in the preseason, Matthew Rice hasn't done anything to unseat the back-up defensive ends. Really, this is a pretty safe area to predict. It's unlikely the Rams take more than eight defensive lineman into the season, and also unlikely they take less than eight. All indication is this is the final bunch.
LB(7): Pisa Tinoisamoa, Will Witherspoon, Brandon Chillar, Dexter Coakley, Jamal Brooks, Raonall Smith, Jon Alston
Tinoisamoa and Witherspoon will be cornerstones of this defense, and Brandon Chillar will really have to try to play up to their level to complete the starting unit. Jamal Brooks has seemingly shown more than Tim McGarigle at back-up MLB, meaning Tim joins Hagans on the practice squad. Coakley, Smith, and Alston round out the back-ups as obvious choices for their respective positions.
CB(5): Fahkir Brown, Travis Fisher, Tye Hill, Jerametrius Butler, DeJuan Groce
The real question here isn't really who stays and who goes. We know the top four on this list will be staying. The real question is whether or not Groce has shown enough to warrant staying on as the fifth corner. There's a strong case to be made that the Rams will only carry four corners and, should a fifth be needed, Ron Bartell could fill in. However I think the Rams may opt to keep Groce in an effort to allow Bartell to hang on at safety.
S(4): OJ Atogwe, Corey Chavous, Ron Bartell, Jerome Carter
This has been set in stone for a while now, and I don't think anyone really believed that Dwaine Carpenter was going to challenge for a spot on this final roster. Atogwe and Chavous should develop into a solid starting duo, and if Atogwe stutters in his growth, then the Rams can hope the athletic Bartell has made strides. Carter was a disappointment last season but still has the potential to be a dangerous hitter.
K/P/LS(3): Jeff Wilkins, Matt Turk, Chris Massey
Was there ever any doubt? Turk showed in game one that his punting was what the Rams have been missing for a while now. All that's left is to work on timing and coverage breakdowns. Massey is an essential special teams player, and Jeff Wilkins is nothing if not solid gold on field goals.
But the truth of the matter is this. Despite hedging out the weeds from this Rams roster, St. Louis still has some big question marks. How well will the running game perform in 2006? Will the line hold up? Is Marc Bulger suffering some growing pains in the new offense, or is he just his typical preseason self? Will Haslett's speedy aggressive defense hold up against teams who choose to run right down our throats? Is Will Witherspoon going to be a successful Mike linebacker in this league?
The Rams still have plenty to wonder about even after the roster questions have been answered. But the least I could do is take something off their preseason plate.
Re: Preseaon's over, so who remains?
i have one difference and it lies with brian howard over strongy.
ramming speed to all
Re: Preseaon's over, so who remains?
My question would be, who are our return guys out of this group? It sounds like McDonald will be returning punts, but do we have an answer for returning kickoffs?
Re: Preseaon's over, so who remains?
Nick, nice! Quite accurate as well.
My only probability and/or wish: J. Collins substituting D. Byrd at TE.
Re: Preseaon's over, so who remains?"Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod