Saturday, September 3, 2011
St. Louis Rams cutdown analysis
By Mike Sando
Surprise move: The situation at wide receiver carried the most intrigue through training camp and the exhibition season. Mardy Gilyard, Donnie Avery and Danario Alexander seemed to have the most to gain, with Mark Clayton's recent signing adding another dynamic. Alexander made it. So did Dominique Curry, a dominant special-teams player last summer until he suffered a season-ending knee injury. Gilyard and Avery missed the cut. That surprised me a great deal given Alexander's injury history, Avery's recent surge and Gilyard's value on special teams. Clayton went onto the reserve/physically unable to perform list, meaning he'll miss the first six games.
Curry is a special-teams player and a receiver in name only. He made the team despite a broken hand. That's a victory for special-teams coach Tom McMahon.
Veteran defensive lineman Dan Muir, signed in free agency, was also among the cuts. Gilyard, a fourth-round pick in 2010, missed the cut. The team has drafted 16 players in the first four rounds since Steve Spagnuolo became head coach. Gilyard is the only one no longer with the team. He has no eligibility for the practice squad after appearing on the game-day roster more than eight times last season (11).
Unknown rookie Ben Guidugli was one of four tight ends to stick on the initial 53-man roster, beating out Fendi Onobun. Guidugli could be providing depth while the team waits to see whether Michael Hoomanawanui is available for Week 1.
No-brainers: The Rams weren't going to cut rookie receivers Greg Salas or Austin Pettis even though neither rookie lit up the preseason. They took precedence over Gilyard, who was selected when the Rams had a different offensive coordinator. Free-agent linebacker Zac Diles became expendable once the Rams added other veterans at the position.
What's next: Depth at cornerback was and is a potential concern. The Rams kept only eight offensive linemen, including veteran backup Adam Goldberg. They could be in the market for an interior offensive lineman with good size and strength. With seven wide receivers on the roster for now, the team has only four running backs. This is the initial 53-man roster, not the final one, however. There will be changes before Week 1, most likely.