In the end, LA Rams cut potential and kept production

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

What was the thought process used by the LA Rams to stock their 53-man roster in the end? When the team has a choice between veteran players who may have struggled in the past or rookies who show promise, the Rams opted to go with the veteran. That seemed to be the theme throughout the roster but was apparent when the team opted to go with offensive lineman Bobby Evans over rookie offensive lineman AJ Arcuri.

Now the question is, will the LA Rams regret the decision?

The strategy makes sense on several fronts. First and foremost, if the LA Rams want to keep as many players with the team as possible, then the Rams’ strategy makes perfect sense. NFL front offices are vigilant right now, having a game or two under their belts, in now understanding how rosters and players align, and season-ending injuries are already beginning.

So teams are eager to scan the NFL waiver wire for help. If that fails, then the next best option is to sign a promising player off the practice squad of another NFL team. Veterans are far more likely to attract the attention of NFL teams that need roster help. There is plenty of video and statistical evidence to support the decision to sign a veteran, even one who is marginally acceptable.

Rams roster sticks with veterans early

Rookies, even those who are promising in the preseason, remain unknown and untested. For NFL front offices, that is frequently too much risk of uncertainty to bear. So NFL GMs look for veterans, but the Rams have placed few, if any, at risk on the practice squad.

Another benefit to the strategy is founded on where the LA Rams are right now. This is a team that has just earned one ring and looking for a second one. Whether or not the team wins Super Bowl LVII, the team rightfully expects more from a veteran today than from a rookie tomorrow.

Will the team regret the decision? That’s hard to say. With the Rams already suffering from three injuries to offensive linemen, there is a growing concern that the team will rely heavily upon their backup offensive linemen this year. The Rams fans clearly want the team to invest in younger offensive linemen who had demonstrated a higher upside in the preseason.

But the LA Rams front office is not there yet. The team did add a veteran offensive lineman Oday Oboushi to the practice squad, and while the hope is that he will show enough to stick around, the Rams do not have a good track record of developing veterans into more significant roles off their practice squad.

We’ll see. The Rams have lost rookie Logan Bruss for the season, starter Brian Allen for up to four weeks, and Joe Noteboom is trying to fight off an MCL strain to play in Week 2.  This could be a year that depends heavily upon backup OT Alaric Jackson, backup OG Tremayne Anchrum, and even backup AJ Arcuri.

The 2022 NFL season is young. But injuries are already piling up on the LA Rams at outside linebacker, running back, and offensive line. Is the Rams roster built to absorb so many early-season injuries? Or will the Rams’ front office need to work its magic one more?

Stay tuned . . .

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