St. Louis Rams: 5 Players the Rams Shouldn't Have Cut
The NFL required all 32 teams to have their rosters cut down to 53 players by September 4th.
The good new is that the players who were cut get to head to the lake for Labor Day, but the downside is that they now have to go job hunting—and apparently the economy is iffy at the moment.
However, getting cut does not necessarily mean it's the end of the line. Players who qualify can be retained as members of the practice squad, while others may be called back in if there's an injury.
But until further notice, many of the cut players have to assume that they will not be playing football in 2011.
While the good majority of cuts are undrafted rookies who were never going to make the team to begin with, almost every team has a handful of questionable releases, and the St. Louis Rams are no exception.
Some of these decisions may have been clear as day to coach Steve Spagnuolo and General Manager Billy Devaney, but they are certainly making the fans scratch their heads.
Here are five cuts that are making Rams fans lose sleep...
Quinn Ojinnaka (Offensive Line)
Quinn Ojinnaka is a 27-year-old veteran who had a great preseason for the Rams.
He is an extremely versatile lineman capable of playing every position on the line except for center.
Only the coaching staff has the full story on Ojinnaka, but from what we saw in the preseason he was very good at run and pass blocking.
He would have never been a starter for the Rams, but he would have been a great insurance policy if Jacob Bell or Harvey Dahl were to miss any time in 2011 due to injury.
Renardo Foster (Offensive Line)
Renardo Foster suited up for 10 games with the Rams in 2010, and he even started the game against the Carolina Panthers while Jason Smith was injured.
On top of the Panthers game, he also saw some action against the San Francisco 49er's.
And do you know what really stood out when Foster entered the field for the Rams? Nothing. But that's a good thing.
Whenever Foster played last season, there was usually an adjustment period for the first few plays that he was in the game, but the rest of the time the Rams offense did not skip a beat.
It's very doubtful that the same will ever be said about Adam Goldberg, who is on the Rams roster in place of Foster. In fact, if last season is any indication, then Sam Bradford should run for his life if Goldberg is ever depended on during a game.
It's still up in the air what the reasoning is for the Rams keeping Hank Fraley and Goldberg over Foster and Ojinnaka, but whatever the reason is, it certainly has nothing to do with who played better during the preseason games.
Keith Toston (Running Back)
Keith Toston was a member of the Rams roster for the entire 2010 season, which makes him ineligible for the practice squad, so there is very little chance that he'll return to the team at any point.
Though his numbers were not jaw-dropping this preseason, he clearly played with a lot of guts.
He was a long shot to make the team ever since the Rams signed Cadillac Williams and Jerious Norwood from free agency, so there's nothing really infuriating about the team cutting Toston. But still, he's the type of player that makes you wish the team could find room somewhere on the roster.
Thaddeus Lewis (Quarterback)
Thaddeus Lewis and A.J. Feeley were battling each other for the No. 2 quarterback job.
Lewis offered youth and promising potential, while Feeley offered veteran knowledge and experience with mentoring Sam Bradford.
This was one position battle where it might not have been the best player to win the job, but the player who helps Bradford the most.
Lewis clearly outplayed Feeley during the preseason. He completed 71.9 percent of his passes for 266 yards and had a passer rating of 96.6.
Also, he led the Rams on a game-winning drive during their second preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, and he was able to manage the offense and hang on to a narrow lead in their victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the preseason finale.
But still, at the age of 23 and with only one full year of experience under his belt, he just did not have the wisdom of Feeley, which is one thing that helped Bradford immensely during his impressive rookie season.
Lewis spent 2010 on the Rams practice squad, so he's still eligible for the practice squad once again in 2011. The Rams will likely try to keep him there, but there's a chance that another team could nab him for their own 53-man roster.
Donnie Avery (Wide Receiver)
Donnie Avery entered the NFL in 2008 as the Rams second-round draft pick. He was able to finish the 2008 season with a promising rookie year that resulted in 674 yards and three touchdowns.
Avery experienced a very similar second season, as he finished with 589 yards and five touchdowns.
During the 2010 preseason you could see it in every step he took and every catch he made—he finally found some swagger, and he looked to be on the verge of a breakout year.
Unfortunately, his 2010 season ended during the third preseason game against the New England Patriots when he caught a 32-yard pass and landed awkwardly, resulting in a torn ACL.
After months of rehabbing and recovering his explosive speed, Avery was finally back on the field for the Rams' second preseason game in 2011. His first reception was a 19-yard touchdown.
Avery finished his three preseason games in 2011 with six catches for 91 yards and a touchdown, as well as a 15.2 yards per catch average.
It's understandable why his knee injury in 2010 makes some people skeptical, but calling Avery "injury prone" is inaccurate. He played all 16 games in 2009 and was suited up for 15 games during his rookie year.
But if the issue is with his talent rather than his health, then that's hard to believe as well. He surely has more talent and promise than at least one of the receivers that made the roster.
Even though Austin Pettis was a third-round pick in 2011, he has been a ghost both during the preseason games and at training camp.
Dominique Curry is an exciting player, but he will never contribute to anything other than special teams, at least not anytime soon.
Danario Alexander is a rare physical talent, but he is only a second-year player and has already been through five knee surgeries. It's hard to imagine Alexander having a long and lustrous career.
But somehow, Pettis, Curry and Alexander all made the roster over Avery.