In a mildly surprising move, the LA Rams ignored any perceived need at wide receiver and added a familiar defensive back, Antoine Brooks, to the team’s active 53-man roster. That move created another vacancy in the team’s practice squad, which was filled by a rather familiar face, defensive lineman Jonah Williams.
In so doing, the Rams are signaling their trust in rookie wide receiver Ben Skowronek to contribute to the team’s offense. But perhaps even more so, the team is signaling trust in running back Buddy Howell and J.J. Koski to return punts and kickoffs.
So the speculation over the LA Rams roster spot filling up with a wide receiver is over, temporarily. Of course, the Rams do have one more roster spot to fill on their practice squad So roster moves are not over. Just paused momentarily. After all, the Rams must travel to face the San Francisco 49ers, then the team will enjoy a long-awaited NFL BYE Week.
Rams roster moves
While it is easy to consider roster moves in the second half-season as window dressing, that is a bit short-sighted. The Rams front office has clearly adopted a far more aggressive strategy of activating a pair of players from the practice squad to the active game roster each week.
While that strategy has not always resulted in promotions to the active roster, the strategy has been a solid source of adding players to the roster as vacancies appear via injuries. Some examples of practice squad players elevated this season include defensive backs Dont’e Deayon, Antoine Brooks, Tyler Hall, as well as running back Buddy Howell, tight end Kendall Blanton, and wide receiver J.J. Koski.
It’s a sound strategy. The process allows the Rams to audition younger players in game-time scenarios without the clumsy process of signing them up to full active-roster contracts without the need to waive them if they do not pan out.