NFC West: 2014 NFL roster analysis

St. Louis Rams cut-down analysis

August, 26, 2014
Aug 26
Most significant move: None of the Rams' moves really registered much of a blip on the radar, though parting with defensive end Sammy Brown and safety Matt Daniels in this round might qualify as something of a surprise. Brown and Daniels have spent time on the active roster over the past two years, but both have had similar problems staying healthy. Daniels was once a core special-teams player, but he suffered season-ending injuries in each of his two seasons. Brown has shuttled between the practice squad and active roster but spent most of this camp watching from the sideline. It was seemingly inevitable that both would be released but maybe a mild surprise for it to happen during the first round of cuts.

Sam still here: It's no surprise that defensive end Michael Sam made it past the first round of cuts given his draft status and production in the team's first three preseason games. Sam and undrafted rookie lineman Ethan Westbrooks continue to wage one of the more intriguing battles for a roster spot. Both have made strong cases that they belong in the NFL. The question becomes whether the Rams have room to keep both or if they will have to make a difficult decision. At this point, it wouldn't surprise to see another team claim either of them should they be exposed to the waiver wire. The Rams could theoretically keep 10 defensive linemen but would have to sacrifice at other spots. Injuries at cornerback and quarterback could also keep the Rams from going heavy elsewhere. Certainly, Sam and Westbrooks should get plenty of opportunities to make closing arguments Thursday night in Miami.

Rams' cuts: CB Jarrid Bryant, P Bobby Cowan, OT R.J. Dill, WR Jordan Harris, LS Jorgen Hus, FB Kadeem Jones, LB Johnny Millard, WR T.J. Moe; OT D.J. Morrell, LB Pat Schiller (waived injured), S Matt Daniels, DE Sammy Brown

Quarterback Sam Bradford (knee) and center Demetrius Rhaney (knee) were placed on injured reserve. Last week, the Rams placed running back Isaiah Pead on injured reserve and did not replace him on the roster. That brings the total to 75.
Most significant move Tuesday: Nothing surprising on the seven moves Tuesday to get to the 75-player limit after making eight roster moves Monday. However, moving rookie defensive back Eric Pinkins to the reserve/non-football injury list means the Seahawks could bring Pinkins back after the sixth week of the regular season. Pinkins (6-foot-3, 220) was a sixth-round draft pick from San Diego State. He played safety in college, but the Seahawks coaches want to convert him to a cornerback.

Vets to IR: Of the three players placed on injured reserve, cornerback A.J. Jefferson was a bit of a surprise. Being on the IR list means a player is done for the year. Jefferson had an exceptional game in the preseason opener at Denver, but suffered a high-ankle sprain. Now the question is, do the Seahawks want to keep him around all year or just reach an injury settlement? That’s likely the plan for guard C.J. Davis, who went on IR Tuesday. MLB and special-teams captain Heath Farwell probably will have surgery to repair a groin injury he suffered Friday night against the Bears.

Seahawks moves Tuesday: Waived/injured are DT Michael Brooks, WR David Gilreath and LB Horace Miller. Placed on injured reserve are Farwell, Jefferson and Davis. Placed on reserve/non-football injury is Pinkins.
Most significant move: It was already known that All-Pro inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman would miss half of the season after his gruesome left knee injury in the NFC title game last January, but it was made official with Bowman being placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list on Monday. As such, he has to sit out at least the first six weeks of the season. At the end of that sixth week, Bowman then has three weeks to begin practicing and once he does get on the practice field, he has three weeks to join the active 53-man roster. In short, Bowman could be in a game as soon as Week 7 at the Denver Broncos and as late as Week 15, at the Seattle Seahawks, to be eligible to play in the postseason.

Wild card: Marcus Lattimore entered training camp fully expecting to be practicing after missing all of last season recovering from the injury to his right knee suffered in 2012. Alas, he never made it. Now, being placed on the reserve/non-football injury list, Lattimore must sit out at least the first six weeks of the season. Still, coach Jim Harbaugh insisted earlier this summer that Lattimore would be a part of this team this season. And with Jewel Hampton waived, you wonder if the 49ers are holding an active spot for him down the road.

49ers’ cuts: QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, S D.J. Campbell, TE Kevin Greene, RB Jewel Hampton, P Colton Schmidt, LB Kion Wilson, WR Devon Wylie all waived while WR David Reed was released. RB Marcus Lattimore, FB Trey Millard, CB Keith Reaser and G Brandon Thomas placed on reserve/non-football injury list and LB NaVorro Bowman, TE Garrett Celek and DT Kaleb Ramsey were put on the reserve/physically unable to perform list. Also, LB Blake Costanzo was released from injured reserve.
The Arizona Cardinals made 13 moves to trim their player roster to 75. NFL teams have to get down to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Most significant move: Releasing kicker Jay Feely. This was a move that was widely expected throughout the past few weeks and was likely sealed when Feely missed a 48-yard field goal attempt Sunday night against Cincinnati. Feely struggled last season with his kickoff depth and hang time, and unveiled a new approach during the preseason that gave him a few more yards, but when a coach loses confidence in a player, like Bruce Arians did last season, it’s hard to regain that, especially when the next option is a 23-year-old with a booming leg.

Starks’ run ends: Max Starks’ reunion with Arians lasted about three and a half weeks, but his time with the Cardinals was hampered by an ankle injury. He weighed about 345 pounds when he signed with Arizona on Aug. 1, down from his last reported weight of 370. Starks could’ve found a role as Arizona’s swing tackle, but after playing in just two games last season, he likely needed more time to get into game shape. But with the ankle hampering his progress, Starks went from working with the second team to the third team.

What’s next: Reducing their roster from 75 to 53 will leave the Cardinals with a few tough decisions. Receivers Brittan Golden or Walt Powell have played well enough to be kept on the roster, although Powell may have the upper hand because of his return ability. Whether Nate Potter is kept on the roster or put on practice squad will be another move to watch. Linebacker Marcus Benard has played steadily and been a quiet force throughout camp, but he may be squeezed out because of numbers and the addition of Desmond Bishop. And Teddy Williams, who Arians moved from wide receiver to cornerback, could be an option to be released, although his job could be saved because of a possible role on special teams.

Cardinals moves: Cut K Jay Feely, T Max Starks, QB Ryan Lindley, LB Keenan Clayton, LB JoJo Dickson, C Tom Draheim, WR Reggie Dunn, LB Derrell Johnson, S Orhian Johnson, WR Kevin Ozier, DT Justin Renfrow, CB Brandon Sermons, RB Damien Thigpen.
Most significant move: It's a bit of a surprise Jackson Jeffcoat didn't make it to the Seattle Seahawks' last cut. Jeffcoat, the son of former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Jim Jeffcoat, was an All-American last season at defensive end for Texas. It was surprising he didn't get drafted, but the Seahawks signed him as a rookie free agent immediately after the draft. Jeffcoat (6-foot-3, 255 pounds) was seen as a possible rush end at the Leo spot for the Seahawks, but they moved him to outside linebacker three weeks ago, believing it would give him a better chance to make the team. However, Jeffcoat struggled learning the position. And he had no chance to make the team at defensive end with rookie Cassius Marsh and veteran O'Brien Schofield playing well as backups.

Some will return: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made it clear he would like to bring a few of these players back, which probably means they would add a couple of them to the practice squad if they clear waivers. "They invested in us and we've invested in them," Carroll said on 710 ESPN Seattle. "We talk to them about where they may fit in our future." Rookies who could be practice-squad candidates are Jeffcoat, running back Demitrius Bronson and wide receiver Kevin Smith, the University of Washington product who showed good hands in practice. The Seahawks brought in veteran offensive lineman Wade Smith to possibly add depth up front, but Smith was expendable when the team saw good things from Stephen Schilling, who has played guard and center. CB Terrell Thomas, a seven-year NFL veteran who played for Carroll at USC, may catch on with another team.

Seahawks' cuts: Terminated veteran contracts of G Wade Smith and CB Terrell Thomas. Waived OLB Jackson Jeffcoat, OT Cory Brandon, RB Demitrius Bronson, S Mike Dobson, WR Kevin Smith and CB Thomas Wolfe.