NFC West: Ernest Reid

Post-camp roster analysis: Rams

September, 1, 2010
The St. Louis Rams hold the No. 1 priority for waiver claims and they'll probably put that status to work following the mandatory reduction to 53 players Saturday.

With that in mind, let's take a position-by-position look at the Rams' roster heading into their second season under coach Steve Spagnuolo (current roster counts listed in parentheses):

Quarterbacks (4)

Average number kept since 2003: 2.9

Keepers: Sam Bradford, A.J. Feeley

Looking safe: Keith Null

On the bubble: Thaddeus Lewis

Comment: Lewis has played well enough to intrigue the Rams, but probably not well enough for another team to claim him off waivers. That makes Lewis a natural choice for the practice squad.

Running backs (5)

Average number kept since 2003: 5.3

Keepers: Steven Jackson, Mike Karney

Looking safe: Kenneth Darby

Not sure what to think: Keith Toston, Chris Ogbonnaya

Comment: The Rams are carrying as many running backs as teams typically keep, but multiple spots could be up for grabs depending on which running backs become available via waivers. I'd rather list Toston, Ogbonnaya and Darby in one group until it becomes clear which backs -- and which types of backs -- hit the waiver wire. Ogbonnaya showed potential last season and looked good early in camp, but his performance hasn't carried over to exhibition games and that could cost him. Perhaps expectations were too high. Darby's toughness and special-teams contributions could help him. Toston runs hard and could land on the practice squad.

Wide receivers (9)

Average number kept since 2003: 5.3

Keepers: Laurent Robinson, Mardy Gilyard, Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson, Keenan Burton

On the bubble: Dominique Curry

Also: Brandon McRae, Jordan Kent, Danario Alexander

Comment: Curry stood out as an undrafted steal during camp. He has excellent size and has showed good ability on special teams. Burton's durability should remain a concern, but that's the case with Robinson and even Gibson at this point. Gibson's value rises with Donnie Avery on injured reserve.

Tight ends (6)

Average number kept since 2003: 3.0

Keepers: Billy Bajema, Mike Hoomanawanui

Looking safe: Fendi Onobun

Not sure what to think: Daniel Fells, Darcy Johnson

Also: Dennis Morris

Comment: But wait, Fells is the incumbent starter, right? Yes, but he hasn't been durable and there's so much to like about the rookies Onobun and Hoomanawanui. Bajema is an obvious keeper for his blocking and all-around game (he has caught the ball well on limited chances). Johnson has shown toughness and blocking ability, so he could be an option if the team wants to move on from Fells. Perhaps I'm over thinking things here, but the emergence of Onobun and Hoomanawanui during camp creates dilemmas.

Offensive linemen (13)

Average number kept since 2003: 9.3

Keepers: Jason Brown, Jacob Bell, Rodger Saffold, Jason Smith, Adam Goldberg, Hank Fraley

Looking safe: John Greco, Roger Allen III

Also: Eric Young, Drew Miller, Ryan McKee, Renardo Foster, Tim Mattran

Comment: It's tough finding nine keepers here, so the Rams could be active in the waiver-claim game. Greco's versatility works in his favor. Are the Rams still high on Allen's prospects? I know they liked him last season, but that was before reconstructive knee surgery. Trading Alex Barron made sense in the big picture, but the Rams would have better depth here if Barron were still around.

Defensive line (12)

Average number kept since 2003: 8.6

Keepers: Chris Long, Fred Robbins, Clifton Ryan, James Hall, Gary Gibson, Darell Scott

Looking safe: George Selvie

On the bubble: Victor Adeyanju, C.J. Ah You, Jermelle Cudjo

Also: Ernest Reid, Eugene Sims

Comment: Durability concerns could cost Ah You. Adeyanju also could be on the bubble depending on what options the Rams have beyond their own roster. Cudjo has made a positive impression during camp and preseason. Same goes for Selvie, although an injury sidelined him part of the time.

Linebackers (9)

Average number kept since 2003: 6.3

Keepers: James Laurinaitis, Larry Grant, Na'il Diggs, Chris Chamberlain

Looking safe: Bobby Carpenter

On the bubble: David Vobora, Josh Hull

Also: Devin Bishop, Cardia Jackson

Comment: Carpenter has gotten some work at defensive end. Perhaps his presence in an emergency capacity at that position could allow the Rams to keep one fewer defensive lineman, at least early. Chamberlain is probably the best special-teams position player on the Rams, enhancing his value. Hull could provide depth behind Laurinaitis because he's a true middle linebacker, whereas Vobora can back up every position. That could be a close call.

Defensive backs (14)

Average number kept since 2003: 9.7

Keepers: Oshiomogho Atogwe, Ron Bartell, Justin King, Bradley Fletcher, James Butler, Kevin Payne, Craig Dahl, Jerome Murphy, Kevin Dockery

Looking safe: Quincy Butler

On the bubble: Darian Stewart

Also: Brett Johnson, Marquis Johnson, Antoine Thompson

Comment: James Butler's knee injury probably makes keeping Payne a higher priority. Stewart could be a candidate for the practice squad.

Specialists (3)

Average number kept since 2003: 2.7

Keepers: Josh Brown, Donnie Jones, Chris Massey

Comment: Strong group here.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic passes along comments from Matt Leinart and Ken Whisenhunt after an eventful Monday at Arizona Cardinals headquarters. Leinart: "I feel like I've outplayed the competition, training camp, preseason. I think my play speaks about that. For me, this goes beyond the football field. The philosophy is you want the best 11 guys to play. I feel like I've proved that with my performance. I don't really know what else I could possibly do, so it probably goes beyond football. For me, I just really want an explanation, and I haven't been given one." I'm thinking Whisenhunt isn't looking for philosophical pointers from his quarterback. Just a thought.

Also from Somers: It's looking as though the Cardinals will be without inside linebacker Gerald Hayes for the regular-season opener.

More from Somers: Leinart and Whisenhunt have spoken, but it's looking like Derek Anderson will start the regular-season opener.

Darren Urban of has this to say about the Leinart-Whisenhunt dispute: "Does anyone really think Whisenhunt would move away from Leinart if he believes Leinart gives him a better chance to win than Anderson? I just can’t see it. Maybe Anderson starts. Maybe Leinart does. Either way, I am guessing Whiz wouldn’t jeopardize his chances at victory by making a QB choice based on anything else. The man has an engineering degree. He thinks through everything and he makes decisions very deliberately. This isn’t Denny Green, making spur-of-the-moment emotional choices -- like John Navarre starting in Detroit."

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams running back Steven Jackson feels no need to play in the final exhibition game. Coach Steve Spagnuolo said he's undecided on whether Jackson might play. One consideration could be getting Jackson and rookie Sam Bradford more work together before the regular-season opener. Jackson on whether he wants to play Thursday: "No. But if Coach wants me to go out there, I'm fully prepared to play however long the 'ones' are going to be out there. But me personally, no, I don't want to play."

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says winning five games would equal a successful season for the Rams.

Also from Thomas: Players on the fringes of the Rams' roster fight for jobs. Ernest Reid: "I was working as a youth counselor, and in security, just bouncing around jobs," Reid said. "Finally, I decided I just wanted to finish my football and see where it takes me."

Tony Softli of 101ESPN St. Louis explains how he used to make roster decisions when he was with the Rams. Softli: "I rank the team from 1-60, from the best players to the worst, Blue to Green. Blue players are difference makers with blue production, Red players are starters and heavy contributors, Orange Players are back-up special teamers with limited production and Green players are high percentage of free agents that won’t make the team. I pick the starting eleven on offense and defense. That’s 22 players. Add the second string players and you get 44. I then add a Kicker, Punter and snapper to bring the total to 47. Once I get to 47, I then choose six players I just could not go without to bring the total to 53."

Matt Maiocco of says Joe Montana watched part of practice at 49ers headquarters Monday. Maiocco: "Montana's last known visit to the 49ers' practice facility with the entire team present was June 2002 when he took part in a video for NFL Films on quarterback mechanics with Bill Walsh and several former teammates."

Also from Maiocco: Kurt Schottenheimer's role in formulating the 49ers' roster.

More from Maiocco: a look at how the 49ers' defensive players fared against Oakland in the third exhibition game. On Reggie Smith: "He entered as part of the 49ers' first sub defense. He admittedly made a mental mistake when he allowed Louis Murphy to run past him in the slot for a 74-yard touchdown just before the half. But he was also in coverage on the final fourth-down play when Gradkowski tried to get the ball deep to Watkins."

More yet from Maiocco: a look at how the 49ers' offensive players fared. On Brian Westbrook: "He played six snaps in his 49ers debut before leaving the game with a cramp in his hamstring. He carried twice for 17 yards. He was stuffed for no gain on his first attempt, then took a handoff out of the shotgun formation on third and 6 for a 17-yard burst up the middle. He is considered 'day to day'."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee updates 49ers injuries. Sounds like tight end Vernon Davis is doing well.

Also from Barrows: Where do Alex Boone and Diyral Briggs stand with the 49ers? Keeping Briggs on the roster seems like a priority to me. He's shown enough during preseason for another team to pick him up, I would think.

More from Barrows: a 53-man roster projection that Nate Davis would like. I don't think keeping three quarterbacks is necessarily a given.

Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat sizes up the 49ers' options at punt returner.

Also from Barber: a look at 49ers roster battles.

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says veteran Travis LaBoy isn't sweating out looming roster cuts.

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says 49ers coach Mike Singletary took a low-keyed approach when given a chance to praise David Carr.

Clare Farnsworth of says Chester Pitts will get limited practice work this week for the first time since joining the Seahawks. Pitts was a good player before suffering a knee injury that required microfracture surgery. It's a significant development for Seattle if Pitts recovers well enough to start this season.

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times checks in with Deion Branch, who feels good physically and also about his situation in Seattle. General manager John Schneider told Branch not to worry about rumors questioning whether Branch would return for a fifth season with the team.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Seahawks rookie Golden Tate has to work on being patient.

Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says an elbow injury sidelined Aaron Curry in practice Monday.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune hasn't seen much from the Seahawks' running game to this point of the exhibition season. Boling: "Of the three leading candidates for carries at tailback, Leon Washington has picked up 3.5 yards a try, while incumbents Justin Forsett and Julius Jones are both at 2.8. Give them a break … it’s not like there’s exactly been room to romp. There haven’t even been much in the way of flashes as the banged up offensive line apparently is still learning the blocking scheme with a shuffling cast of performers."

John Boyle of the Everett Herald says Marcus Trufant is looking to regain his Pro Bowl form. So far, so good.
A year ago, 49ers draft choice Bear Pascoe was generating buzz after catching several passes during the team's postdraft minicamp.

Some thought Pascoe might become a good second tight end, mostly as a blocker. Despite early reviews, Pascoe did not earn a spot on the 53-man roster.

The lesson: Let's not get too excited about what happens or what is perceived to have happened when players are running around in shorts during late April and early May.

We do know this: A few players earned spots on NFC West 80-man rosters after participating in postdraft camps on a tryout basis. Teams still have most of the next three months to evaluate their rosters and decide which players to bring to training camp. Teams will also release players to make room for draft choices to sign or for other reasons.

The Cardinals, perhaps seeking depth in the secondary and for the return game, signed cornerback Justin Miller after he participated in minicamp on a tryout basis. The move makes sense because Henderson was the Jets' defensive coordinator when they selected Miller in the second round of the 2005 draft. The Cardinals previously acquired safety Kerry Rhodes from the Jets.

Miller has made his greatest impact on special teams, returning five kickoffs for touchdowns (two with the Raiders in 2008, two with the Jets in 2006 and another with the Jets in 2005). The most recent Scouts Inc. report on Miller called him a player with the talent to succeed as a cornerback. "But he is undisciplined in his effort and technique, which has led to marginal performances," the report concluded.

The Rams, who went into their postdraft camp with seven players from the NCAA Division II level, added two more among the four tryout players they signed Monday. The rest of the division has eight Division II players (five in Arizona, two in Seattle and one in San Francisco).

Newly signed Rams receiver Dominique Curry played at California University of Pennsylvania. Defensive tackle Ernest Reid -- featured here -- played at the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D. The Rams also signed Fresno State cornerback Moses Harris and Nevada cornerback Antoine Thompson.

The 49ers announced they have signed California-Davis receiver Bakari Grant after Grant participated on a tryout basis. I'll add the Seahawks' signings when I get them (no promises, however, as high winds just knocked out power and I'm working on battery for the time being).

Update: Seahawks cut Patrick MacDonald and Reggie Carter. They signed Joe Toledo, formerly of the 49ers, and Chris Richards.