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Spags And Devaney Scrub The Roster Clean
Spags and Devaney scrub the roster clean
By Jeff Gordon
STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
Quarterback Brock Berlin had a productive preseason for the Rams. So did receiver Ronald Curry, who led the Rams in catches after arriving from the Detroit Lions.
Safety Todd Johnson appeared to be in good shape, too, given his stellar reputation as a special teams player.
But all three players are journeymen types at this point in their careers. They are good enough to play, but none offers much more room for improvement.
And the new Rams regime is all about finding room for improvement. So Berlin, Curry and Johnson were just three of the veterans sacrificed during the weekend’s roster shuffle.
When Rams general manager Billy Devaney and coach Steve Spagnuolo set out to overhaul a team, they don’t fool around. Time and again, they picked training camp longshots over more experienced players.
The Rams lost 27 games the last two seasons. Devaney and Spagnuolo set out to scrub the roster clean.
Injuries to veteran defensive linemen Adam Carriker (shoulder) and Eric Moore (hand) accelerated the turnover, since both were moved to the injured reserve list.
All this activity left the Rams woefully thin in experienced depth, but possessing a fresh perspective moving forward. There are a lot of hungry guys on this team.
Many of them seemed destined to join the workaday world this week. Instead, they are in the NFL.
Keith Null landed the third-quarterback role. The rookie from West Texas A&M got the gig based on his still-raw potential. He has a big arm and he made a swift adjustment from his collegiate spread offense to the Rams’ West Coast-style offense.
Defensive end C.J. Ah You had a great preseason, proving disruptive from the Lindenwood scrimmage right through the preseason. This practice squad graduate made it as the fifth defensive end, a luxury the Rams can afford because James Hall and Victor Adeyanju can also play inside.
Safety David Roach beat out Johnson, despite a rocky preseason. In scrimmages and preseason games, he made glaring mistakes that led to big plays. But his physical potential showed through during the day-in, day-out preseason grind.
Guard Roger Allen III appeared to have no shot to make the team, given all the interior line depth in camp. And yet the undrafted rookie from Missouri Western made the roster while ’08 draft pick Roy Schuening moved on to the Oakland Raiders practice squad.
Eric Young edged fellow youngster Phil Trautwein to get the fourth offensive tackle job, for now anyway. The Rams had hoped veteran Renardo Foster would make a strong bid for that job, but he didn’t impress during the preseason.
Rookie running back Chris Ogbonnaya didn’t make the roster, but he returned to Rams Park as a member of the practice squad. He flashed considerable potential during the preseason while playing mostly with the deep reserves.
Cornerback Cord Parks, linebacker Dominic Douglas and receiver Sean Walker fell into the same category. All three showed promise during the Rams preseason and all three got to return in the lesser role.
Of the group, Walker is most important right now. The Rams have just four receivers on the current roster, so he is positioned to move up.
The Rams added defensive tackle LaJuan Ramsey, 25, and safety Anthony Smith, 25, off the waiver wire. Neither have much experience but both are still developing as players.
Smith had a terrific preseason in Green Bay but still didn’t make the team. Ramsey has some history with Spagnuolo dating back to his Philly days.
Devaney and Spagnuolo wanted to wedge as many developing players as was feasible on the 53-man roster. They passed on a long line of bigger name players -– on their roster and on the waiver wire -– to make this happen.
They will continue to adjust the mix as opportunities arise. But as they assess players, they will continue valuing effort and growth potential over NFL game experience.
Consider the culture at Rams Park changed. These guys may make some mistakes this season, but they will play with urgency.
They will have no other choice.
Re: Spags And Devaney Scrub The Roster Clean
I love the purge that Devaney & Coach Spags have done. Although We might have a learning curve to contend with, I love the fact they are turning the Rams into their vision of what a rebuilding project should be.
The ship has definitely been turned & seems to be heading in the right direction, of course only time will tell & there is still needed improvement at many positions plus added depth.
Let the season begin, GO RAMS
Re: Spags And Devaney Scrub The Roster Clean
Next on my radar....Bell. That guy had a bad preseason. He better step it up.
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