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Thoughts on Gilyard, Rams' initial cuts

9/3/2011

The St. Louis Rams promised to begin alerting players of their release early Saturday.

Receiver Mardy Gilyard, communicating through his verified Twitter account via Rams beat reporter Jim Thomas, was among those getting the dreaded news.

Gilyard, a fourth-round choice in 2010, faced an uphill fight as a raw prospect trying to learn a new offense coming out of a shortened offseason amid increased competition. The Rams drafted two receivers this year. They got Donnie Avery back from injury, and Avery outperformed Gilyard in preseason.

Gilyard's immediate future appears clouded. Players with fewer than nine appearances on 45-man game-day rosters during their lone accrued season remain eligible for the practice squad. Gilyard played in 11 games last season, rendering him ineligible. That's a shame for him because Gilyard could use a place to develop. But with new coordinator Josh McDaniels taking over the Rams' offense, the dynamics changed for Gilyard and other holdovers.

Other Rams cuts so far, according to Thomas, included tight end Fendi Onobun and former Houston Texans linebacker Zac Diles, signed in free agency.

I thought Onobun might stick in the short term while the team figured out whether Michael Hoomanawanui would be available following a calf injury, but Onobun wasn't from the same physical mold. He's a converted basketball player without much of a blocking pedigree. Diles started 10 games last season. The Rams also added linebackers Ben Leber and Brady Poppinga in free agency, and Bryan Kehl had a strong camp.