devastating loss of Ron Bartell
for the season (as well as some other, somewhat lesser concerns), the Rams
have begun making what will surely be a major wave of roster moves. Most of the moves involve players on the practice squad, as the team tries to get its backup ducks in a row first.
Most notable of those moves (to me, at least, but I'm biased), was the addition of former Missouri Tigers
center Tim Barnes
to the practice squad. I've been on Barnes's jock since long before the draft this year
, hoping for the Rams to add such a quality local product. I also had thought he would go somewhere in the 5th-7th round range, so getting him without a using a draft pick is, to me, quite a bonus. He was with Baltimore
earlier in the preseason, but was cut in the final round of roster chopdowns.
He's not a difference maker, of course; my hopes for him are more developmental down the road somewhere. He's nimble and strong, though, and has a high football IQ. Coming from a spread offense he'll need some time to adjust to the pro game, but I've always felt Barnes could be a very good center for some team willing to take the time to bring him along. He excels in pass blocking already, but his run blocking technique and functional strength still need some work.
Some other notable roster moves:
- Safety Jonathan Nelson was cut from the practice squad. I really like Nelson, an Oklahoma product, but the numbers are against him at the moment with the Rams deep at safety and short on corners. Hopefully we'll see him back later in the season.
- Tom Brandstater was added to the PS as a third quarterback option. Brandstater is well known to Josh McDaniels after being drafted by the Broncos two years ago. He's a nice player, but I still have quite a bitter taste in my mouth over Thad Lewis being let go in favour of A.J. Feeley after Lewis consistently outplayed Feeley in the preseason. The Rams chose to drop Lewis and go with just two quarterbacks; now they're going back to two backup options, and I don't think either of them is as good as Lewis.
- Running back Chase Reynolds was cut from the PS. Disappointing to see the all-time leading rusher from Montana let go; he had true game-changing speed. Still, with Jerious Norwood already on the roster, Reynolds was probably a bit redundant. (Although, to be honest, I would prefer Reynolds to Norwood. Just saying, is all.)
There will likely be several more roster moves made today, as the Rams try to sort out some stopgap measures. With Steven Jackson's immediate availability uncertain, it wouldn't surprise me to see the team bring in a running back for a brief appearance. Keith Toston is still out there, so far as I know, and would present an intriguing option. He already knows the offense, and even a brief stay with the team would give him a chance to get some more film on his resume for the rest of the league. Not sure if the Rams would want to go down that road, as Toston is not practice squad eligible, but as a plug and play fit he might work out nicely.
In trying to deal with the potentially