Quarterback Bryce Perkins and wide receiver Lance McCutcheon demonstrated a dynamic combination at times during the Rams’ preseason games against the Chargers, Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals.
By Tuesday’s NFL roster close, they’ll know if they’ve done enough to open the season as a reserve on the 53-man roster for the defending Super Bowl champion Rams.
“It’s hard to believe they didn’t do what they could to deserve this,” said coach Sean McVay on Saturday after the Rams’ 16-7 loss to the Bengals.
Perkins made his case last season, completing 35 of 49 passes for 399 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. He also rushed for two touchdowns.
Matthew Stafford suffers from tendonitis in his right elbow and John Wolford suffers from a right thumb injury. Perkins positioned himself for a starting spot in the opening game roster for the second year in a row, pushing Wolford into second place on the depth table.
How does McVay make his decision about keeping two or three quarterbacks?
“Ultimately, it’s about the game,” he says.
Perkins is confident he can find a home – with the Rams or another team.
“I put out a good tape,” he said, adding, “If it’s not here, I know it’s somewhere. I have the feeling that I can play in this league.”
McCutcheon caught 15 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns in the preseason.
Starting at wide receiver, Van Jefferson’s status for the Sept. 8 opener against the Buffalo Bills is in doubt as he’s still recovering from knee surgery, leaving McVay expected to carry eight receivers.
Here’s a breakdown of what the Rams’ 53-man lineup could look like in the opening game:
Quarterbacks: Matthew Stafford, John Wolford, Bryce Perkins
Stafford’s workload was managed from before the start of training camp. He looked sharp during two joint drills with the Bengals and said he won’t be restricted while the Rams prepare for the Bills. Wolford was injured in the first practice session with the Bengals. He sat out the second and didn’t play in Saturday’s game as a precaution because the injury affected his passing mechanics, McVay said. He is expected to be available ahead of the opening game. In Wolford’s absence, Perkins took over second-team replays in practice against the Bengals and was allowed to play the entire game.
Running backs: Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, Kyren Williams, Jake Funk
Akers is still suffering from what McVay described as a “soft tissue injury,” but Henderson ran at full speed for the coaches on Saturday and will appear ready to train. In their absence, Williams performed so well that McVay, fearing possible injury, decided not to use the rookie against the Bengals. Funk is a valuable Special Teams player.
Wide receivers: Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, Van Jefferson, Ben Skowronek, Tutu Atwell, Brandon Powell, Jacob Harris, Lance McCutcheon
Jefferson accompanied the team to Cincinnati but did not attend training. During practice with the Bengals, Kupp appeared to be in midseason form, and Stafford connected with Atwell on long passes. The 6-foot-5 Harris has shown improvement.
Tight Ends: Tyler Higbee, Brycen Hopkins
Higbee didn’t play preseason, and Hopkins was held off against the Bengals for playing his way into an important role.
Offensive Linemen: Joe Noteboom, David Edwards, Brian Allen, Coleman Shelton, Rob Havenstein, AJ Jackson, Tremayne Anchrum, Bobby Evans, AJ Arcuri
Evans, a fourth-year pro, played in every preseason game, a clear sign he was on the bubble. The loss of rookie Logan Bruss to a season-ending knee injury could give Evans, who started with the right tackle and guard, some breathing space. Arcuri improved in the preseason.
Defenders: Aaron Donald, Greg Gaines, A’Shawn Robinson, Marquise Copeland, Michael Hoecht
Donald, Gaines, Robinson and Copeland got work against the Bengals during practice that ended in a brawl between the teams. Hoecht made several games during the preseason.
Inside Linebackers: Bobby Wagner, Ernest Jones, Christian Rozeboom, Jake Gervase
With Travin Howard expected to start the season on injured reserve, this opens up a spot for inside linebackers to play against special teams. Gervase has experience and Jake Hummel has had a productive preseason too.
Fullbacks: Leonard Floyd, Justin Hollins, Terrell Lewis, Chris Garrett
Lewis did not participate in practice with the Bengals as the Rams continued to cope with his knee problem. Garrett has been hampered by injuries this past season and through much of the preseason. He was finally allowed to play against the Bengals and put pressure on the quarterback on several occasions. An injury to rookie Daniel Hardy presented an opportunity for Keir Thomas, an undrafted rookie who could get a role.
Cornerbacks: Jalen Ramsey, Troy Hill, David Long, Robert Rochell, Decobie Durant, Derion Kendrick
Ramsey, who underwent off-season shoulder surgery, said last week he was getting closer to full strength. Hill and Long showed their experience while training with the Bengals, and Rochell had moments, too. Kendrick scored an impressive goal in the game against the Bengals while Durant missed a couple of tackles. Both rookies have shown in three preseason games that they can make their contribution.
Collateral: Jordan Fuller, Nick Scott, Taylor Rapp, Terrell Burgess, Russ Yeast
Rapp and Scott are entering the final year of their rookie contracts. Fuller continues to make progress in his recovery from ankle surgery.
Specialists: Kicker Matt Gay, Punter Riley Dixon, Long Snapper Matthew Orzech
Gay was a Pro Bowl selection last season. Dixon has replaced Johnny Hekker and blended seamlessly with Orzech and Gay as field goal try holders.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/rams/story/2022-08-28/final-rams-53-man-roster-projection-nfl-cuts-deadline 2022 Rams 53-man roster prediction: Who will survive cuts?