NFC West: Antwon Burton

Catching up with the Rams' cut list

September, 10, 2009

Posted by's Mike Sando

Rams Player Released on Cutdown Pos. Current Team Capacity
Phil Trautwein
OL Browns Active Roster
Brock Berlin
QB Lions Practice Squad
Roy Schuening
OL Raiders Practice Squad
K.C. Asiodu
LB Rams Practice Squad
Eric Butler
TE Rams Practice Squad
Dominic Douglas
LB Rams Practice Squad
Chris Ogbonnaya
RB Rams Practice Squad
Sean Walker
WR Rams Practice Squad
Antwon Burton
DL -- --
Ian Campbell
DL -- --
Renardo Foster
OL -- --
Jerome Johnson
RB -- --
Tim Mattran
OL -- --
Cord Parks
DB -- --
Antonio Pittman
RB -- --
Mark Rubin
DB -- --
Tim Carter
WR -- --
Ronald Curry
WR -- --
Todd Johnson
DB -- --

The Rams' depth on the offensive line might be better than anticipated for a team with a 5-27 record over the past two seasons.

The team is carrying 10 offensive linemen, one more than typical, while John Greco recovers from wrist surgery.

An 11th, Phil Trautwein, landed on the Browns' active roster when Cleveland claimed him off waivers. A 12th, Roy Schuening, signed with the Raiders' practice squad. Another, tackle Renardo Foster, would seem to be a candidate for catching on somewhere eventually.

I've gone through the initial NFC West cut lists -- those players released at the 53-man deadline -- to see which ones have returned to their teams or caught on elsewhere.

The chart shows results for St. Louis.

Quarterback Brock Berlin signed to the Lions' practice squad after the Rams released him. Defensive lineman Ian Campbell briefly spent time on the Rams' practice squad before the team released him.

A few veterans -- running back Antonio Pittman, receiver Tim Carter, receiver Ronald Curry and special-teamer Todd Johnson -- remain available.

Rams: Cutdown analysis

September, 5, 2009

Posted by's Mike Sando

Biggest surprise: The Rams cut former special-teams captain Todd Johnson, a safety, and they also flushed out two veteran receivers they hoped would contribute, Ronald Curry and Tim Carter. Keeping rookie quarterback Keith Null over the more experienced Brock Berlin made sense because the Rams' top two quarterbacks, Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller, have lots of seasoning. The biggest roster surprise came when the team traded 2006 first-round cornerback Tye Hill to the Falcons. Free-agent addition Quincy Butler stuck on the 53-man roster after a strong training camp and preseason. He looked better than Hill, frankly, and the Rams' new leadership wasn't afraid to part with symbols of past failures. Placing defensive tackle Adam Carriker on injured reserve cleared another spot.

No-brainers: The Rams also released linebacker K.C. Asiodu, defensive tackle Antwon Burton, tight end Eric Butler, defensive end Ian Campbell, linebacker Dominic Douglas, tackle Renardo Foster, fullback Jerome Johnson, center Tim Mattran, running back Chris Ogbonnaya, cornerback Cord Parks, running back Antonio Pittman, safety Mark Rubin, guard Roy Schuening, tackle Phil Trautwein and receiver Sean Walker.

What's next: The Rams still need to make one move by the 6 p.m. ET deadline for complying with the 53-man limit. With only four running backs on the roster, counting fullback Mike Karney, the team probably needs to seek help at the position. Backup Samkon Gado suffered injured ribs in the final exhibition game. The Rams lack quality depth and they are starting over. As a result, the team could pursue players released from other teams.

Update: The Rams placed defensive lineman Eric Moore on injured reserve to comply with the 53-man limit.

Posted by's Mike Sando

The Rams' roster requires additional study after a thorough house-cleaning this offseason. With so many new faces, I feel less familiar with the Rams than with the other teams in the division. This initial look at the roster will hopefully help bring some focus.

Donnie Avery's injury and overall health concerns at receiver could influence how many players the Rams carry into the season at the position.

Marc Bulger's broken pinky shouldn't affect the roster as long as he recovers on schedule. Teams must reduce to 75 players by Sept. 1 and 53 players by Sept. 5. Those initial 53-man rosters sometimes change by Week 1 kickoffs. For that reason, I've been focusing on Week 1 rosters when setting baseline expectations for each position.

St. Louis Rams
Week 1 Roster
Counts since 2003
Fewest 2 5 5 2 9 8 5 8 2
Most 3 7 6 4 10 9 7 11 3
Average 2.8 5.5 5.5 3.0 9.2 8.3 6.3 9.7 2.7
Currently on roster
7 10 5 15 13 9 14 3

he chart provides a framework for how many players the Rams might keep at each position heading into the regular-season opener against the Seahawks.

Here's a quick look at which Rams players I might keep on the cutdown to 53 players:

(Read full post)

Posted by's Mike Sando

Rams Players Age 30 and Older
Pos. Age
Hollis Thomas
DT 35
Leonard Little
DE 34
Chris Draft
LB 33
James Hall
DE 32
Marc Bulger
QB 32
Todd Johnson
DB 30
Josh Brown
PK 30
Ronald Curry
WR 30
Randy McMichael TE 30

Newly signed defensive tackle Hollis Thomas becomes the oldest player on the Rams' roster. At 335 pounds, he also carries the highest listed weight among Rams players.

The Rams have parted with a long list of older players this offseason. Thomas projects as a situational run-stuffer. The Scouts Inc. report on Thomas described him this way, in part:

Thomas is primarily a run-stopper who often comes off the field in passing situations. He doesn't have a lot of speed and is missing burst and athleticism as a pass-rusher. As a run defender he is built low and does a good job of playing with leverage. Has good lower-body strength to play stout, with good awareness to locate and make plays in a short area. Shows good reactions and can stack it up quickly, showing good hand use and pad level. When taking on double-teams he will get narrow with his shoulders and try to split the mesh.

Provides a small target for combo blocks but will start to lose ground when attacked low. Has some success penetrating off the ball when attempting a quick swim move. Is missing overall quickness to run down [plays] or make tackles in space once he sheds or clears.

Overall, Thomas has limited pass-rush variety but is tough and physical against the run, playing low and using veteran recognition skills.

Thomas was with the Eagles when Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo was there. He presumably has familiarity with the defensive system Spagnuolo is implementing in St. Louis.

Pending additional moves, the Rams' defensive tackles now include: Thomas, Darell Scott, Clifton Ryan, Antwon Burton, Willie Williams, Adam Carriker and Gary Gibson.

Posted by's Mike Sando

CHICAGO -- Recollections from the Rams' morning practice Friday, delivered from Gate L2B at O'Hare Airport on my way back to the West Coast:

  • Tim Carter is faring well. Can the former Giants receiver sustain it after being out of the game? The Rams hope so. Carter caught an intermediate-depth pass toward the right sideline working from the slot. He has caught the ball well and surprised with his speed. Carter is the closest thing the Rams have to a veteran wideout.
  • Jonathan Wade is among those competing for the cornerback spot opposite Ron Bartell. He batted away a deep pass for Carter. Rookie Bradley Fletcher is also a factor, but some of the better cornerbacks Steve Spagnuolo has coached emerged in their second seasons. Spagnuolo pointed to Lito Sheppard.
  • Rookie Jason Smith welcomes contact. "77 jacks 99" was what I scribbled on my notepad after watching Smith, No. 77, take on Antwon Burotn, No. 99. Smith is physically impressive already, but he appears capable of adding weight.
  • Rookie James Laurinaitis moved from third team to second team after the Rams' rookie camp. Laurinaitis: "That first mini-camp I was just trying to line up at the front. I was not even paying attention to what the offense was doing. I was just running to the ball. Right now it's getting more of where I'm making calls, I'm communicating to the guys, getting comfortable and I'm starting to pick up on the offensive formation. Noticing little things in the wide receiver splits that gives you a way of [knowing] whether it's a play-action or what not. When you're able to get comfortable within the defense, then you can start paying attention to what the other guys are doing and I'm starting to make that transition now."
  • Second-year defensive end Chris Long lit up when asked about starting with a "blank slate" on a young team with a new coaching staff. His rookie season was a tough one. Long is looking forward to a fresh start. He is also making an effort to connect with rookies. He chatted and laughed with Smith and Laurinaitis while seated on the grass for stretching exercises after practice.
  • The one time I noticed tight end Joe Klopfenstein was when he bobbled a pass that linebacker David Vobora intercepted.

The Rams' camp ends Saturday.