Ram's Make Final Cuts: Say Goodbye to Avery and Gilyard

By Craig Phelps

The St. Louis Ram’s cut their roster down to 53 today; cutting one key receiver and several players who may have had an impact on this year’s team.

Notables released by the Ram’s:

WR Donnie Avery – Avery, 27, was clocked at a 4.34 40-yard dash earlier this season.  However, he missed the entirety of the 2010 regular season with a knee injury; Avery faced a minor setback earlier this season but seemed to recover.  The Rams choose to stay with another injury-potential, high impact player that is a few years younger in former Mizzou Tiger WR Danario Alexander.  Avery’s response to being cut via Twitter (@donnieavery): “Its been real St.Louis. I had a good 3 years. The feelings were mutual. We both thought I need a fresh start somewhere else. #NoHardFeelings

WR Mardy Gilyard – The Ram’s 4th-round pick in the 2010 draft showed flashes of potential last year but never had a true grasp of the offense.  With a new offensive coordinator in Josh McDaniels who enjoys a more complex style of play, the likelihood that Gilyard could keep pace with the rest team is very slim.  Gilayard’s response via to being cut Twitter (@MardyGilyard): “Jus got released isshhh is getting real na ugh!!!!”

QB Thaddeus Lewis – While he was cut from the 53 man squad, do not be too surprised if he is placed on the practice squad this year.  Lewis impressed head coach Steve Spagnuolo this pre-season and was fighting with QB A.J. Feeley for the number two quarterback spot.  He has the ability to run when needed and has a quick release.

RB Keith Toston – Toston had a total of 54 yards on 19 carries last year backing up both Steven Jackson and Kenneth Darby.  Toston, however, was making a name for himself this pre-season.  The young running back has potential to be a solid special teams guy for a team out there.  If Jerious Norwood was not picked up during the off-season, Toston would probably be on the Ram’s roster.

LB Zac Diles – While the excess number of wide receivers on the Ram’s pre-season roster drew a lot of attention prior to Saturday’s trimmings, the next closest race revolved around the linebackers.  Similar to the receivers, the majority of the linebackers closely resembled each other.  Diles agent, Brian Ayrault, response via Twitter (@BrianAyrault): “Zac Diles has been released by the Rams after never being given a full and fair opportunity to compete. Zac will find work quickly.”

T Renardo Foster – Foster’s  agent, Brian Ayrault, response via Twitter (@Brian Ayrault): “Renardo Foster has been released by STL. Renardo was the swing OT for STL last yr. He dominated C. Johnson in his start against CAR last yr”

Other released players:

DB Tim Atchison, TE Demarco Cosby, DB Tae Evans, DT Marlon Favorite, DT John Henderson, T Kevin Hughes, WR Greg Mathews, T Ryan McKee, DT Daniel Muir, DB Jonathan Nelson, G Quinn Ojinnaka,  TE Fendi Onobun , RB Chase Reynolds, DE George Selvie.

Notables to remain on the roster:

TE Mike Hoomanawanui – Illinois Mike totaled 13 receptions for 146 yards and 3 touchdowns last year.  Lance Kendricks is likely to be Bradford’s new primary TE target, but Hoomanawanui is a dynamic player and potential game changer when he is healthy, which has been his only downfall over his college and pro career.

WR Danario Alexander – Similar to Hoomanawanui, Alexander is a dynamic player and a potential game changer when healthy.  He is quick off the line and provides a downfield threat for Bradford which can help open things up in the middle for slot receivers like Danny Amendola.  The release of Avery should give Alexander confidence as the Ram’s primary big play receiver.  Alexander’s left knee has been under the knife on five different occasions creating some doubt for his long-term potential.

WR Mark Clayton (signed earlier this week) – Clayton quickly became one of the young Bradford’s favorite targets last year, making 23 catches for 306 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns in the 5 games before facing a torn patellar tendon on October 10 against Detroit.  Clayton, 29, is a dynamic player who can either play in the slot or stretch the field.

The St. Louis Ram’s begin practice for their Week 1 match-up against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday.

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