Rams make roster cuts official

2013-08-31T16:10:00Z 2013-08-31T18:01:06Z Rams make roster cuts officialBy Jim Thomas jthomas@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8197 stltoday.com

4 p.m. Saturday update:

The Rams made it official on Saturday, releasing 20 players to reach the 53-man roster limit. The list is as follows:

WR Emory Blake

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DE/DT Mason Brodine

DE/LB Sammy Brown

QB Austin Davis

S Cody Davis

DT Garrett Goebel

S Rashard Hall

OL Sean Hooey

LB Josh Hull

WR Nick Johnson

TE Phil Lutzenkirchen

CB Andre Martin

OT Ty Nsekhe

TE Zach Potter

FB Eric Stevens

CB Drew Thomas

WR Kyle Veltung

DE R.J. Washington

CB Darren Woodard

OT D.J. Young

Nsekhe (ankle) was waived injured. The Rams also placed RB Isaiah Pead (one game) and LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar (four games) on the reserve-suspended list.

The team also announced it had reached an injury settlement with OG Ryan Lee, who was waived-injured in the cutdown to 75.

As the roster currently stands, 29 of the 53 players are in their first or second years in the NFL. 

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Our earlier story on the Rams' roster cuts:

Nothing’s official yet, because the Rams have yet to turn anything into the NFL office. They will wait until Saturday afternoon.

But the roster shaping is basically done in terms of the first version of the team’s 53-man roster. On a busy Friday at Rams Park, the team told at least 18 players they were being released.

There were unconfirmed reports that a 19th, wide receiver Justin Veltung, also was being released. A 20th could very well be offensive lineman Sean Hooey, who has been shelved for the past couple of weeks with an ankle injury but may now be healthy.

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If Veltung and Hooey are indeed released, the Rams will be at 53. The team had to release only 20 players from its 75-man roster instead of 22 because running back Isaiah Pead and linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar begin their NFL suspensions now that the preseason is over and do not count against the 53-man roster.

There were a few mild surprises among Friday’s cuts, but nothing earth-shaking. A rundown of where the roster stands following Friday’s developments:

• At the moment, it appears the Rams will enter the regular season with just two quarterbacks because Austin Davis is being released. That means Sam Bradford will be backed up by Kellen Clemens, who was impressive Thursday night against Baltimore. Davis is practice squad eligible. Clemens did it the hard way, rallying from a 0.0 quarterback rating two weeks ago against Green Bay to complete 13 of 18 for 188 yards against Baltimore with a 105.8 passer rating.

“His rough night in Green Bay — he played a little bit later, didn’t have as great a supporting cast, and Green Bay was doing a lot of exotic pressures,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “He was under siege. Last night, he had protection, which he would if he’s going to be in the game with the starters. I thought he executed and did a nice job.”

• In what could be a feel-good story at running back, Chase Reynolds is currently on the 53-man roster. Reynolds has banged around for two years on the practice squad but always seems to fare well in preseason play when given a chance. He scored the game-winning touchdown against the Ravens and could make his first NFL roster — if only for a week — because of the Pead suspension. Also, it looks like the Rams will open the season with no true fullback because undrafted rookie Eric Stevens was let go.

• There were two tough cuts at tight end, with rookie free agent Philip Lutzenkirchen and four-year NFL veteran Zach Potter released. Potter caught a TD pass last week in Denver. That leaves just four tight ends: Jared Cook, Lance Kendricks, Cory Harkey and Mike McNeill. Harkey is out with a slight fracture of the leg for the next two or three weeks, so the Rams are banking on Kendricks being ready to go for the Sept. 8 season opener, or else they will be thin at the position.

• At wide receiver, if Veltung has indeed been released, it looks like the Rams are keeping only their so-called “Big Five” of Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Austin Pettis, Brian Quick and Stedman Bailey. Nick Johnson, who caught his second pass of the preseason, is gone. So is Emory Blake.

• Things went according to chalk on the offensive line, with Ty Nsekhe and D.J. Young both released. That leaves the Rams top-heavy with 11 O-linemen on the roster for now, although it becomes 10 if Hooey goes.

• There were some tough cuts on the defensive line with end-tackle Mason Brodine and end R.J. Washington released. Both had their moments in training and the preseason. Brodine had a fumble recovery against Baltimore. It looks like the Rams will keep nine defensive linemen, with impressive undrafted rookie Gerald Rivers apparently making the squad. End-linebacker Sammy Brown, who was injured most of camp, was also released, as was undrafted rookie tackle Garret Goebel.

• In a mild surprise at linebacker, Josh Hull, one of the Rams’ core special teams players in recent seasons, is being released, a victim of more fleet-footed competition in the form of undrafted rookies Ray Ray Armstrong, Daren Bates and Jonathan Stewart.

“I thought we saw improvement out of the young linebackers, so I think that obviously has increased their chances, especially on special teams,” Fisher said.

• There was lots of activity in the secondary, with cornerbacks Andre Martin, Drew Thomas and Darren Woodard being told they were being released, as well as safeties Cody Davis and Rashard Hall. Those moves left the Rams with 10 defensive backs. Safety could be a little tenuous because Darian Stewart (hamstring) and Matt Giordano (calf) are injured, although Giordano is close to returning. Martin is a St. Louisan from McCluer High.

But keep in mind, this current roster is hardly set in concrete, as Fisher alluded to following the 24-21 victory over the Ravens.

“The roster may look, initially, a little different than it has in the past,” Fisher said. “We may carry more at one position and fewer at the others and look for outside help.”

Such was the case last season, with the Rams claiming four players off waivers in the first two days following the league-wide deadline to reach 53 players: RB Terrance Ganaway, DT Kellen Heard, OT Nsekhe and OG Shelley Smith. In addition, the Rams traded WR Greg Salas to New England for a future draft pick during that time period.

With that in mind, none of the bubble players who survived Friday’s activity should put a down payment on a home just yet.

Follow Jim Thomas on twitter @jthom1

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