NFC West: Matt Caddell

Practice-squad update: Rams

September, 1, 2008
9/01/08
2:15
PM ET
Rams eligible for
practice squad
Pos.Current Status
Brock BerlinQB53-man roster
Chris LongDE53-man roster
John GrecoOL53-man roster
Donnie AveryWR53-man roster
Roy SchueningOL53-man roster
Chris ChamberlainLB53-man roster
David VoboraLB53-man roster
Derek StanleyWRPractice Squad
C.J. Ah YouDLPractice Squad
Russ WeilFBPractice Squad
Marc MagroLBPractice Squad
Lance BallRBPractice Squad
Dustin FryOLPractice Squad
Darius Vinnett
CB
Practice Squad
Mark LeVoirOL53-man roster (Pats)
Marques HagansWRPractice Squad (Chiefs)
Julius WilsonOLPractice Squad (Bucs)
Cortney GrixbyDBWaived
Nick CleaverTEWaived
Marcus RileyLBWaived
Donovan RaiolaOLWaived
Henry SmithDLWaived
Willie WilliamsDLWaived
Matt CaddellWRWaived
Tanard DavisDBWaived
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Rams have filled seven of eight spots on their practice squad. Cornerback Darius Vinnett was the notable addition; he previously slipped through the cracks when I listed Rams players with practice-squad eligibility.

Derek Stanley provides needed practice depth at receiver. Injuries continue to affect that position for the Rams.

The Patriots' signing of Mark LeVoir to their active roster surprised me. The Rams lack depth on the offensive line after placing Mark Setterstrom and Brandon Gorin on injured reserve. But the Patriots' might be even more desperate for help at tackle. New England has considered everyone but Bruce Armstrong as potential stopgaps at the position this summer. We'll see how long LeVoir lasts.

Update: The Chiefs signed Marques Hagans to their practice squad. Earlier in camp, a scout for another team asked me if I thought Hagans would earn a roster spot. Hagans' potential as a return specialist had caught his attention. 

Julius Wilson obviously has some talent. He went from the Dolphins to the Rams to the Bucs' practice squad in a short time period. Scouts must see potential.

I watched Wilson struggle terribly during the Rams scrimmage.

As noted then: "Defensive end Eric Moore beat [Wilson] for what would have been a sack on Brock Berlin. [Marc] Magro tossed Wilson to the outside and surged forward for what would have been a free shot on Berlin. Shortly thereafter, running back Lance Ball was gliding along for what should have been an easy touchdown, but a linebacker slammed him to the ground in front of Wilson as Ball crossed the goal line.

Rams eligible for
practice squad
Pos.Probable Status
Brock BerlinQBKeeper
Chris LongDEKeeper
John GrecoOLKeeper
Donnie AveryWRKeeper
Roy SchueningOLKeeper
Chris ChamberlainLBKeeper
David VoboraLBBubble
Derek StanleyWRBubble
C.J. Ah YouDLBubble
Russ WeilFBLikely cut
Marc MagroLBLikely cut
Cortney GrixbyDBWaived
Lance BallRBLikely cut
Nick CleaverTEWaived
Marcus RileyLBWaived
Donovan RaiolaOLWaived
Dustin FryOLLikely cut
Julius WilsonOLLikely cut
Henry SmithDLWaived
Mark LeVoirOLLikely cut
Willie WilliamsDLWaived
Matt CaddellWRWaived
Marques HagansWRWaived

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Rams' released 10 players in anticipation of the 53-man roster limit, which goes into effect Saturday.

I've singled out eight of them on our chart of Rams players with practice-squad eligibility. The eighth and ninth players released, veteran safety Jerome Carter, and cornerback Tanard Davis, have no such eligibility.

Expect the Rams to make their remaining cuts before the 6 p.m. ET deadline Saturday.

The Rams are carrying 66 players once they move Steven Jackson to the active roster from the exempt list.

Die-hard alert: Updated roided-out NFC West rosters here.

Earlier: The chart shows each of the Rams' players with practice-squad eligibility, according to the team.

Practice-squad rules can be confusing, and exceptions sometimes apply to relatively experienced players.

I've categorized each player based on his perceived likelihood of earning a spot on the 53-man roster. Those are rough characterizations. Teams still have not made decisions. It's conceivable that a player listed as a "keeper" could face his release.

(Read full post)

Practice-squad report: Rams

August, 29, 2008
8/29/08
12:20
PM ET
Rams eligible for
practice squad
Pos.Probable Status
Brock BerlinQBKeeper
Chris LongDEKeeper
John GrecoOLKeeper
Donnie AveryWRKeeper
Roy SchueningOLKeeper
Chris ChamberlainLBKeeper
David VoboraLBBubble
Derek StanleyWRBubble
C.J. Ah YouDLBubble
Tanard DavisDBLikely cut
Russ WeilFBLikely cut
Marc MagroLBLikely cut
Cortney GrixbyDBLikely cut
Lance BallRBLikely cut
Nick CleaverTELikely cut
Marcus RileyLBLikely cut
Donovan RaiolaOLLikely cut
Dustin FryOLLikely cut
Julius WilsonOLLikely cut
Henry SmithDLLikely cut
Mark LeVoirOLLikely cut
Willie WilliamsDLLikely cut
Matt CaddellWRLikely cut
Marques HagansWRCut

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The chart shows each of the Rams' players with practice-squad eligibility, according to the team.

Practice-squad rules can be confusing, and exceptions sometimes apply to relatively experienced players.

I've categorized each player based on his perceived likelihood of earning a spot on the 53-man roster. Those are rough characterizations. Teams still have not made decisions. It's conceivable that a player listed as a "keeper" could face his release.

As noted: Rosters spots are serious business for NFL players lacking job security. For some, the next 30 hours or so will determine whether they'll earn $17,352.94 per week or whatever the real world pays.

The minimum NFL salary is $295,000. Players get paid in 17 installments, one for every week they spend as a paid member of the organization.

NFL teams must trim rosters from 75 players to 53 players by Saturday afternoon. Teams can establish eight-man practice squads beginning Sunday. Practice-squad players earn a minimum of $5,200 per week during the regular season and playoffs.

Once a player signs with a practice squad, he can practice with the team. He becomes eligible to play in games only if a team signs him to its 53-man roster. Practice-squad players are free to sign with any team's active roster at any time during the season.

DraftRoundPickTeamRookie WRStartsRec.Yds. TD
2003254ARIAnquan Boldin161011,3778
200413ARILarry Fitzgerald 16587808
2003117ARIBryant Johnson8354381
20025149ARIJason McAddley8253621
20057226ARILeRon McCoy4181911
20034124SFBrandon Lloyd 1142122
20034106STLShaun McDonald110620
20075142ARISteve Breaston08920
2004131SFRashaun Woods071601
20076197SEACourtney Taylor05380
2003374STLKevin Curtis14130
2007376SFJason Hill0160
20055174SFRasheed Marshall01-10
20076210SEAJordan Kent0000
20077249STLDerek Stanley0000
2006384SFBrandon Williams0000
20065144STLMarques Hagans0000
20067218ARITodd Watkins0000
20067249SEABen Obomanu0000
20056192STLDante Ridgeway0000
20057223SFMarcus Maxwell0000
2004377SFDerrick Hamilton0000
20045157SEAD.J. Hackett0000
20036197SFArnaz Battle0000
20037224SEATaco Wallace0000
2002395STLEric Crouch0000

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

I put together this chart as a companion to the earlier entry on rookie receivers. This shows rookie stats for every receiver NFC West teams have drafted since 2002. Eighteen of the 26 started zero games as rookies. Only four reached 20 receptions as rookies. Arizona has been the only team to draft productive rookie receivers with any consistency.

A quick look at the NFC West's rookie receivers and their likely prospects for 2008:
  • Arizona: Injury problems prevented third-round choice Early Doucet from seriously challenging for the No. 3 job vacated by Bryant Johnson. Doucet should play in a reserve role. Undrafted free agent Lance Long appears headed for the practice squad if he doesn't earn one of the final roster spots. Long has impressed in camp.
  • San Francisco: Sixth-round choice Josh Morgan has been the surprise of camp. He could figure into the rotation if the 49ers continue to suffer from injuries. Undrafted free agent Cam Colvin appears headed for the practice squad.
  • St. Louis: Second-round choice Donnie Avery and fourth-rounder Keenan Burton should play more than most rookies at the position. Avery adds value as a return specialist. Undrafted free agent Matt Caddell has one catch for 5 yards during preseason.
  • Seattle: Undrafted free agent Michael Bumpus has played well enough to land on the practice squad if, as expected, he misses the cut.
The receiver position in general has confounded NFL teams. John Clayton explored some of the reasons in a previous column. As Clayton discovered, NFL teams have developed only six Pro Bowl receivers since 2001.

Plenty of intrigue in receiver races

August, 9, 2008
8/09/08
11:20
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

SeasonARISFSTLSEA
20076
6
6
6
20064
554
20056757
20046
665
20036
6
5
4
Average 5.66.05.45.2
WR on roster today10
101211

Races are heating up at receiver as teams work through their exhibition schedules.

I'll put the NFC West races in perspective with a little help from the graphics department.

The chart shows how many receivers NFC West teams have kept on their opening-day rosters over each of the last five seasons. The bottom row shows how many receivers each team is carrying now.

Arizona: Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are the starters. Steve Breaston tightened his grip on the No. 3 job by catching three passes for 50 yards in the opener, including a 34-yard grab. Rookie third-round choice Early Doucet is resting a sore hamstring, but the Cardinals will save a roster spot for him. Jamaica Rector and Jerheme Urban each caught four passes against the Saints on Thursday night. Lance Long has enjoyed a strong camp. Sean Morey, the fourth receiver last season, is fighting for a spot. Also in camp: Ahmad Merritt and Jemalle Cornelius.

St. Louis: Torry Holt and Drew Bennett are the starters. Second-round choice Donnie Avery and fourth-rounder Keenan Burton will make the team. Veteran Dante Hall has value as a return specialist. Dane Looker always seems to find a way to stick around. Reche Caldwell and Derek Stanley could be in the mix for a sixth spot. Stanley has value as a returner. Marques Hagans, Brandon Williams, Shaine Smith and Matt Caddell have a chance to state their cases when the Rams open their exhibition schedule at Tennessee tonight. Avery has a hip injury and probably won't play.

(Read full post)

Observations from Rams camp

August, 1, 2008
8/01/08
12:19
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

 
 AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
 Marc Bulger looks to bounce back after completing just 58.5 percent of his passes in 2007, a career low.

MEQUON, Wis. -- The quarterbacks, plural, are the first thing you notice about the Rams after spending two days watching the 49ers practice.

Marc Bulger and Trent Green command the ball and the offense. Arizona and St. Louis have four quarterbacks who would likely start for San Francisco. That makes this division a little harder to figure. The 49ers appear very good on defense and special teams. They will improve offensively with Mike Martz as coordinator. But it's tough to know how much the 49ers' offensive personnel might limit them. If Martz makes that offense even average, the 49ers are competitive.

Back to the Rams. Specifically, a few thoughts after watching the morning session at Concordia University:

  • Bulger is heating up. He throws darts on target in the face of the rush. Granted, he knows the defensive players aren't going to hit him in this setting. If you hit Bulger or most other quarterbacks, they aren't the same. But the dump pass he threw to Antonio Pittman against the rush was perfectly placed and delivered on time.
  • Tye Hill knocked down an end-zone pass to Drew Bennett. Great play, right? Well, almost. The ball hit Hill square in the hands in the vicinity of face level. He did not come close to catching it.
  • Bulger looks like a leader. Even when Brock Berlin was running the offense, Bulger stepped toward the huddle between plays to slap fives with a teammate. Not a big deal, but those are the types of things I look for at a practice. Demeanor and body language matter at quarterback.
  • Receivers Matt Caddell and Marques Hagans dropped passes today. The Rams do not have a clear-cut No. 2 receiver, but they have several players who might not be bad as the fourth or fifth receiver. Derek Stanley made a couple of plays on the ball, including a diving grab.
  • The usual one-on-one pass-rush drills weren't as extensive as I had hoped. Coaches were working with offensive linemen on picking up twists and the like. Rookie John Greco did stand out a bit in the one-on-one drills. He locked up Adam Carriker on consecutive pass-rush plays, holding his ground well. Greco was drafted as a tackle. He might project as a guard. Either way, the Rams think he could develop into a contributor.
  • Chris Long gets in the offensive tackle's face very quickly. There was nothing cute about his rushes in the pass-rush drill this morning. He went right at tackle Julius Wilson, recently signed from the Dolphins. Coaches worked with Long on finishing plays, with an emphasis on how he uses his hips. 
  • Clifton Ryan did beat Greco in a pass-rush drill. A scout familiar with the NFC West told me last night he compares Ryan to Seattle's Craig Terrill. Both are high-effort defensive tackles. The scout called them "gutty and quick" three-technique defensive tackles.
  • Former San Diego, Green Bay and Indianapolis defensive end Blaise Winter looks like he could still play at age 46. Winter is working with the Rams' strength-and-conditioning staff. He also worked with some of the offensive linemen after pass-rush drills. He demonstrated techniques to re-establish proper hand placement, including a vicious move with the elbows. Players seemed to respond well to him. Winter is a motivational speaker. As his site says, "In a world where people are in need of the personal touch Blaise Winter reaches for the soul."
The Rams have another practice late this afternoon. I'm looking forward to their scrimmage Saturday.

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