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Thread: Gordon: Strong Finish Will Force Rams To Make Tough Cut

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    Gordon: Strong Finish Will Force Rams To Make Tough Cut

    Gordon: Strong finish will force Rams to make tough cut

    BY JEFF GORDON
    Friday, September 2, 2011

    When head coach Steve Spagnuolo, general manager Billy Devaney and the rest of the Rams staff convenes to melt down the roster today, their decisions will be difficult.

    Fierce job competition charged the atmosphere out at Rams Park and fueled the 4-0 preseason finish.

    How times have changed.

    In recent years, finding 53 players to keep was the issue, not deciding on which 53 to keep. The braintrust would have made its first round of cuts, then eagerly monitored the waiver wire to see who the other teams cut.

    This summer, the Rams are faced with a different dynamic: Choosing which capable players they must turn loose after their encouraging 4-0 preseason.

    Most of the “bubble” players that needed to excel Thursday night in Jacksonville did so. Here is the quick rundown of the positions prompting the heaviest debate:

    Defensive ends George Selvie and Eugene Sims continued pushing C.J. Ah You for work behind veterans Chris Long and James Hall and first-round pick Robert Quinn. The Rams applied good pressure from the outside all night. With Hall battling a minor back injury, Spagnuolo may feel compelled to keep them all. Remember, he likes to line up four defensive ends in some pass rush situations.

    Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis followed an unimpressive outing from No. 2 quarterback A.J. Feeley by putting on quite a show. He hit 12 of 15 passes for 164 yards against the Jaguars. Will the Rams keep three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, which many coaches loathe to do? Would they dare put an inexperienced player in the No. 2 slot? It’s a thought. Lewis has playmaking flair. He operates very well under duress. His mobility gives him an X factor. The Rams have to make room for him, right?

    Receiver Danario Alexander made one of his trademark big plays, using a nice burst to gain separation down the left sideline for a 43-yard grab. DX’s ongoing knee problems placed him firmly on the roster bubble this summer. The team suggested he undergo still another minor knee operation to clean up his oft-repaired joint, but he played on despite swelling and pain. By doing so, he made the coaching staff’s decision very difficult.

    Rookie receiver Greg Salas was a beast, again. His ability to convert third down passes in traffic makes him an outstanding prospect. He played ahead of fellow rookieAustin Pettis throughout the preseason. The Rams really didn’t intend to take two wide receivers in the draft. The staff picked Pettis over Salas in the third round, by a small margin. Then the war room was stunned to see Salas sitting there in the fourth round. So the Rams grabbed him, too. That turned out to be a very good move.

    Mardy Gilyard made a couple of late catches, hoping to offset an inexcusable drop and some shaky punt fielding early in the game. After coming to camp as a seeming longshot, Gilyard made a nice overall push to make the team. Will the Rams try to hoard receiving assets by storing Mark Clayton on the physically unable to perform list while opening with seven receivers on the roster? Might the team be able to recoup a draft pick for one of these guys?

    Safeties Jermale Hines and Jonathan Nelson continued their spirited battle with veteranJames Butler for a roster spot. Butler has seemingly lost a step, but would Spagnuolo subtract his experience from the secondary to keep Nelson? That might not be a bad idea, given Nelson’s upside in pass coverage.

    Running back Chase Reynolds got props from Spagnuolo after the game. The potential special teams warrior ran very well in garbage time. But then again, Keith Toston ran well –- as did injury-plagued Jerious Norwood, who showed that his wheels are coming back. The team has moved on nicely from the Samkon Gado Era at running back. There is plenty to choose from behindSteven Jackson and Cadillac Williams. This is one more spot where a tough call must be made.

    Complicating the decision-making process is the likelihood that some very interesting names will hit the waiver wire Saturday. More excruciating decisions could follow once that happens.

    The last few roster spots could be in flux all season, more so than usual because of the lockout and the abbreviated player evaluation period.

    The bottom line for the Rams: Fewer holes and greater depth than this team has enjoyed since the “Greatest Show on Turf” left town.


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    Re: Gordon: Strong Finish Will Force Rams To Make Tough Cut

    For now "A Happy problem"

    Time to see how it pans out in regular season

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    Re: Gordon: Strong Finish Will Force Rams To Make Tough Cut

    Interesting story about how the Pettis/Salas picks went down. Of course, Gordo's sources are as suspect as any at the PD,imo. Could even be a revisionist leak to justify cutting AP. The winners write history.

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    Re: Gordon: Strong Finish Will Force Rams To Make Tough Cut

    In recent years, finding 53 players to keep was the issue, not deciding on which 53 to keep. The braintrust would have made its first round of cuts, then eagerly monitored the waiver wire to see who the other teams cut.

    This summer, the Rams are faced with a different dynamic: Choosing which capable players they must turn loose after their encouraging 4-0 preseason.
    If you don't read anything else from this article, read this quote!

    This, my friends, is why the Rams were what they were for the past half decade.

    Also important to note that any discussion including the word "braintrust" which implies the joining of Jay Zygmunt to that mix is said sarcastically. There is no shortage of fingers to be pointed for the debacle that has been the Rams roster, but if a focal point must be selected, it is Jay Zygmunt. Zygmunt leaves and now we are trying to find players to cut rather than trying to find players to stick.
    TekeRam likes this.
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    Re: Gordon: Strong Finish Will Force Rams To Make Tough Cut

    Something else from this article that strikes my curiosity.....

    I don't think Gilyard makes this team as a receiver. If he does make it, it's as a return man.
    I think the team wants Norwood around as a change-of-pace back. But's that pretty light duty for a full roster spot.

    Wouldn't it be great if Norwood were a great return guy, thereby making Gilyard expendable?

    Oh wait....he is!

    Why haven't they utilized Norwood as a return man just as Atlanta did (when he wasn't injured)?
    "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

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    Re: Gordon: Strong Finish Will Force Rams To Make Tough Cut

    Quote Originally Posted by HUbison View Post
    Something else from this article that strikes my curiosity.....

    I don't think Gilyard makes this team as a receiver. If he does make it, it's as a return man.
    I think the team wants Norwood around as a change-of-pace back. But's that pretty light duty for a full roster spot.

    Wouldn't it be great if Norwood were a great return guy, thereby making Gilyard expendable?

    Oh wait....he is!

    Why haven't they utilized Norwood as a return man just as Atlanta did (when he wasn't injured)?
    Hub, frankly it's a simple answer to me. Because if they used Norwood in the preseason, he might get hurt. Use the guy who you're going to cut anyway.

    Seriously though, I've never had to think about who to keep on the 53 in a long while. We actually need to stuff people on the PUP to secure them. How awesome is that?!?
    I believe!

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