Grading LA Rams Initial 53-man roster to projections

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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The LA Rams have jumped through the hoops, made tough decisions, and have successfully arrived at their initial 53-man roster with moments to spare. When the smoke cleared, there were more than a few surprises in store over who the LA Rams chose to part ways with at this juncture. While many of those players will hopefully be re-signed to the Rams practice squad, nothing is guaranteed.

Waiving players who have committed their NFL hopes and dreams at making the roster is a tough chore for coaches. Good coaches, like those who fill the Rams coaching staff, invest a bit of themselves with each player who they welcome to the team. And so, parting of ways is not an easy task and one that takes a toll on coaches and players.

On a more positive note, many of the players who were waived will likely be re-signed to the team’s practice squad. Due to rule changes earlier this season, the NFL has increased the practice squad to 16 players.

Now, how do our 53-man roster projections compare to the LA Rams’ initial 53-man roster? Let’s find out:

Special Teams (Us: 3, Rams: 3) Grade: S (satisfactory)

SPECIALISTS (3): Matt Gay (kicker), Matthew Orzech (long snapper), Riley Dixon (punter)

Differences: Okay, we admit this was a slam-dunk. Once the LA Rams waived P/K Cameron Dicker, the remaining three special teams specialists had their positions sewn up.

Somewhat concerning is how incredibly effective opposing teams have enjoyed returning punts against punter Riley Dixon. While his gross punting is okay, the returns significantly shrink his net punting average, which is a characteristic of his NFL career to date. Will the Rams add a punter to the practice squad? Will the Rams revisit punter competition at some point this season?

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I fear that they might.