Evaluating the Rams Roster

Posted Aug 20, 2014

Get Jeff Fisher's thoughts on the first round of roster cuts, including potential positional changes from 2013.

Training camp coming to an end today means the first round of cuts aren’t far away. In fact, the roster will have to reduce from 90 to 75 by 3 p.m. CT on Tuesday.

With plenty of practices and two preseason games under their belts, players have just a few more opportunities to make sure they’re making a good impression with every rep.

When it comes to the evaluation process, though, head coach Jeff Fisher said that it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The coaches do consider who a player goes against when looking at the film.

“You have to look at that and who the matchups are against, the corners and the receivers, or the linebackers and the tight ends and the running backs,” Fisher said on Sunday.

A specific example of that competition was Green Bay defensive end Jayrone Elliot, who put together a dominating sequence in the fourth quarter.

“One of the first things I asked was who is Elliot that had three sacks at the end of the game,” Fisher said. “Where’d that guy come from? He played well. He’s a good pass rusher.”

A significant part of the process also comes from watching special teams. Fisher said all coaches watch those plays and evaluate players at different positions than their own.

“The offensive line coach gets a chance to watch at the DBs and may be asked to grade the DBs and certain positions on special teams,” Fisher said. “That’s the one key thing that you look at -- it’s the matchup, the 1-on-1 matchups, and the athletic abilities as you’re evaluating the younger players.”

Additionally, this is a time when teams will start looking at players around the NFL who could help. However, Fisher said that injuries to players like offensive lineman Demetrius Rhaney and running back Isaiah Pead do not necessarily mean the Rams will pick up someone this week to substitute.

“I think we’re good right now,” Fisher said. “We’ve got depth, we’ve got flexibility. Mike Person, for example, played all three offensive positions -- played 71 snaps [Saturday] and played tackle, guard, center. So we’ve got depth there.”

At the same time, St. Louis will try to improve the team if and when there’s an opportunity.

“This is the time you typically continue to evaluate the bottom half of your roster and watch the waiver wire,” Fisher said. “We’ll make room with Isaiah’s spot and if someone’s out there then we’ll consider it, but not looking to replace position for a position at that point, no.”

At present, the most important thing for any player is to put in his best effort on each snap to make every decision more difficult for the coaching staff. That way, even if it doesn’t work out in St. Louis, the odds get better that one of the other 31 teams will come calling.