The LA Rams roster was relatively healthy after the win against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 12. But even relatively healthy comes with more roster moves. And in preparation for Week 13, the LA Rams have made three more such moves. So, what happened? Well, Shelley injured his hamstring against the Cardinals and was unable to return.
Hamstring injuries are tricky. Even if the pain subsides, the damaged area remains quite vulnerable to reinjury. So in the case of a football player with just six games remaining on the schedule, that type of injury often leads to ending their season
The Rams chose wisely, and opted to place Shelley on IR. While that will commit Shelley to four weeks away from football, the move is likely a season-ending decision for Duke Shelley. In his place, the Rams signed defensive back Shaun Jolly had suffered a hamstring injury after a great training camp, and was signed to the team's practice squad in mid-October 2023.
Rams returned to familiar faces
But the decision to sign Jolly off the Rams practice squad created an opening there. As a result, the Rams opened a slot on the practice squad, and wasted no time in filling it by signing recently released OT Zachary Thomas:
As a result, the Rams were able to retain a promising and young offensive lineman. Thomas struggled a bit in limited work in 2023, but he has all the makings of a solid future offensive lineman, given enough time and patience.
With the exception of Jolly, the trio of moves to the Rams roster will have no bearing on the LA Rams chances of success against the Cleveland Browns in Week 13. But this is an LA Rams team that must continue to keep an eye trained on the future.
Why these moves mean more than warm bodies
It's these subtle moves that can pay huge dividends for the Rams down the road. That is why we try to give more than a sentence to the actions. DB Shaun Jolly is a feisty 25-year-old defensive back who has seen limited work in two games for the Rams on special teams. Duke Shelley, while on IR, is a 27-year-old veteran defensive back who has seen spot duty for the Rams on defense and special teams, and has been very effective so far this season.
OT Zachary Thomas is a 25-year-old who was drafted by the Chicago Bears in Round 6 of the 2022 NFL Draft with the 186th overall pick, and was signed by the Rams off the Bears practice squad one year ago. He has appeared in two games for the Rams this season, once to replace an injured teammate Alaric Jackson, and once in a special teams role.
I like how the Rams roster has been changed by these three moves. The Rams have given one player a chance to heal fully, while improving the relationship and commitment with two promising young players who may simply need more time to shine.