It’s that time of year again. No, not just training camp time; it’s PUP list time.
The Physically Unable to Perform list is always a useful tool for teams heading into camp as they can keep their players recovering from injuries who just aren’t quite ready to return to the field on the roster while also bringing in extra bodies to fill their respective spots. This is particularly useful in finding depth guys who will inevitably make a big impact during the course of a grueling 16-game schedule.
For the St. Louis Rams, tight end Lance Kendricks, safety Matt Daniels, and defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo will start camp on the PUP. Versatile rookie offensive lineman Barrett Jones will also begin training camp on an injury list of his own as he has been placed on the non-football injury list.
Daniels and Kendricks are recovering from knee injuries while Cudjo and Jones are both working their way back from foot ailments. Head coach Jeff Fisher told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Jones is close to getting back on the field. Fisher said:
“He’s not quite ready. He’s close, but he’s not quite ready. He’s doing really well right now. It’s a short time period, maybe a week or two.”
That’s certainly good news for an offensive line that was decimated by injuries all of last season. Jones was thought to have a legitimate chance to fight for a starting job with guard Rokevious Watkins’ suspension to begin the regular season.
As for the other injuries and how they will impact the individual camp battles, obviously it all depends on how long each player is sidelined. For Daniels in particular, both safety positions are up for grabs in camp so the sooner he can return, the better. Kendricks is hoped to improve entering his third season with Jared Cook now around to push him to get better. Cudjo was solid in his role as a situational guy last season, and he figures to stick in that spot this coming season so his absence is far from dire.
Clearly the Rams would like to have all of these guys back as soon as possible to help stoke the fire for what figures to be a big-time season for the NFL’s youngest team. There is a load of potential just waiting to explode on this roster, and competition always brings out the best in young players. Hopefully these guys all return to the fray by the time preseason action gets underway to really heat up the battles all across the roster.