The Los Angeles Rams are coming off their first loss of the preseason, but there are plenty more pressing decisions that lie ahead for the organization.
The fact of the matter is that the regular season is around the corner – a little less than two weeks away. Rams head coach Jeff Fisher has already trimmed down the roster from 90 to 76 players with one more cut to be made prior to the 4 p.m. ET Tuesday deadline.
The list of cut players includes veteran defensive lineman Quinton Coples, who signed a two-year deal with the team in the offseason. Following Monday’s practice, Fisher was quite frank when discussing the decision to part way with Coples.
“‘Q’ did a good job coming in here. We started him off at defensive end, and then we asked him to move to tackle, just to give him a chance inside to see,” Fisher said. “I really appreciated everything that he did – his attitude and going from end to tackle, if you’ve never been in there, is quite a change. He worked really hard at it. Out of fairness to a player like ‘Q,’
“I didn’t see him making the team and that’s exactly what I told him. I wanted to give him a chance and give him an opportunity to get out there early to see if he could find work. If not, we’re going to keep the door open for him.”
The 26-year-old was selected with the 16th overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft by the New York Jets. He split last season with the Jets and Miami Dolphins. In the first two preseason games with the Rams, he recorded four tackles, forced two fumbles and a sack.
The Rams will make their final cut down to a 53-man roster after Thursday’s preseason finale against the Minnesota Vikings. Fisher believes that the game will hold much significance for various reasons, but none more important than evaluating the players on the fringes of making the regular-season roster.
“It is. We value each and every rep, whether it’s out here at practice or whether it’s in the fourth preseason game,” Fisher said. “There are some decisions that are going to be made based on some performances there. In addition to that, you’ve got some guys that we’re grooming to play in specific special teams positions when the regular season starts, so they need to get experience at those positions.”
It’s clear that the Rams have many critical decisions to make in the coming days ahead of the regular season. On a lighter note, Fisher has yet to determine whether or not to start rookie quarterback Jared Goff in the final preseason game.
“I haven’t decided yet,” Fisher said. “That’s a good question. Do you think he should?”
Los Angeles also has not made a decision on if presumed starter Case Keenum will play on Thursday night. Keenum has played well enough in the preseason to show the Rams that he can handle first team duties.