LA Rams roster cuts: RB Ronnie Rivers cannot win the last roster spot, although he did.

Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Ronnie Rivers
Los Angeles Rams Offseason Workout Ronnie Rivers / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages

Throughout the preseason, LA Rams running back Ronnie Rivers looked large and in charge. The 5-foot-9 rusher who weighs 195 pounds seemed to glide comfortably and effectively behind offensive linemen who were themselves competing for a roster spot. And perhaps in the grand scheme of things, it only made sense. After all, he was returning to the same Rams roster that had signed him to the practice squad nearly one year earlier. So everything was quite familiar to him.

The same cannot be said of RB Royce Freeman, a veteran power back who stands 6-foot-0 and weighs 238 pounds. He was signed on July 30, 2023, and has been trying to familiarize himself with the Rams offense in the past several weeks.

Nor can the same be said of rookie RB Zach Evans, another rusher who stands 6-foot-0 but weighs just 215 pounds. Evans was a surprise selection by the Rams in Round 6 of the 2023 NFL Draft, a place that nobody expected him to fall to on the draft board.

How Ronnie Rivers won the competition

In terms of preseason performances, the competition for the third and what could be the final RB slot on the LA Rams roster was fierce. Here is how it played out:

  1. Ronne Rivers | 21 carries | 105 yards | 0 TD | 5.0 YPC
  2. Zach Evans | 23 carries | 77 yards | 0 TD | 3.35 YPC
  3. Royce Freeman | 13 carries | 46 yards | 1 TD | 3.54 YPC

If you look at the competition, you would correctly conclude that the LA Rams' third running back should be Ronnie Rives. But that creates a problem. Can you guess what it is?

The LA Rams had already fast-tracked RB Kyren Williams to the 53-man roster. It just so happens that Kyren Williams also stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 194 pounds. So in terms of size and style, he is already identical to Rivers, but the Rams coaches believe him to be the more dangerous runner.

Likewise, LA Rams featured running back Cam Akers is very similar in size and style to rookie RB Zach Evans. Akers stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 212 pounds.

Why Ronnie Rivers should not win the competition

The only 'different' style of rusher is veteran RB Royce Freeman, whose 6-foot-0 stature and 238-pound frame is ideally suited for tough yards near the goal line and to move the chains.

Place settrings for a meal include a spoon, a fork, and a knife. A spoon cradles liquids and small bits of food, a fork spears solids and holds large chunks of food in place to cut into smaller pieces, and a knife cuts food into smaller pieces. If Royce Freeman is the knife in this analogy, the Rams options are to set up their roster with one spoon and two forks.

So too the Rams can set up the roster with the three 'best' rushers, but who grinds out the tough yardage? That has been a problem for the Rams offense in the past. The LA Rams need to have the right player on the roster for the right role.

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While the Rams will likely keep Cam Akers, Kyren Williams, and Ronnie Rivers on the roster this season, I fear that the team is missing out on including a wrecking ball type of runner who can punish defenders and wear them down over the course of a game. But in just over 24 hours, we will know for certain.