In what has been a whirlwind of a past 48 hours, the LA Rams have finally settled on a roster…maybe. The team originally got down to a 52-man roster, one less than the maximum, sparking instant speculation that the team would be signing someone who had been cut from a team recently.
New place, familiar face?
The Rams did just that on Sunday, bringing in second-year linebacker Justin Hollins to compete in the middle of Brandon Staley’s defense. Hollins already knows the scheme, having played under Staley last year in Denver, and linebacker was a need for the Rams. That meant fans weren’t surprised too much by the signing. The team was heading into the season with a set 53-man roster, everything made sense. Then the team went out and made a bit of a splash, signing running back Raymond Calais from the practice squad of the Bucs, leaving fans scratching their heads. Is this a lack of faith in Cam Akers? In Darrell Henderson? In both?
Why Calais can help the Rams
Calais is listed as a running back, but his best skill may actually be returning. As an All Sun-Belt performer in 2019, he led the conference with a 28.5 yards per return average. That sounds good to the fans, but what is wrong with Nsimba Webster? He seemed likely to be the returner this year, will he now be handling one or neither of the jobs? That remains to be seen, but what is clear is the Rams have to free up a roster spot. My prediction there is that they will be placing someone on the special three-week short term IR in the near future, or they will release someone they hope to sneak onto the practice squad–like Xavier Jones.
How we got here?
On Sunday the Rams announced that they had named fifteen players to the practice squad; and just like with the roster, they left one spot open. Because veterans are allowed onto the practice squad this year, it is of benefit for the team to have a spot open for as long as they can. You never know when someone becomes available that you really need for your roster. Sometimes you don’t want to get rid of a veteran because of his great practice habits, and for depth reasons. Now there is a way to keep him, granted he wants to stay.
As mentioned in the tweet above, four players can be elevated to “protected status” so that they cannot be signed to other teams. It will be interesting to see who the Rams pick; though Bryce Perkins and Christian Rozeboom seem like locks.
Rams RB on the mend
Running back Darrell Henderson (hamstring) is “trending in the right direction” and has Sean McVay optimistic about his availability for the opener, according to JB Long. Henderson hasn’t practiced since august 22, potentially leading to the necessity to sign Calais. Even if Henderson gets back to practice this week, the lack of repetitions would lead me to believe he won’t be making a huge impact come Sunday.
A Crack in the wall?
As the Rams try to solve the riddle that is Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, the Cowboys are searching for answers as well. Right tackle La’el Collins was placed on IR on Monday. The big man leaves behind a huge hole in one of football’s best offensive lines. Collins has perennially been one of the best at his position, but won’t be able to be out there this week.
The Rams will undoubtedly be scheming up ways to attack the Cowboys backup lineman. This is the main reason that Sean McVay and Les Snead felt the need to let go of Wade Phillips. Brandon Staley is supposed to be a master at the “Chess game” of football, and this will be his first test.
Check back this Friday for the game preview edition of Rams Roundup!
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