THOUSAND OAKS — Two days after a 41-0 exhibition loss to the Denver Broncos and less than 24 hours before the deadline to submit final 53-man rosters to the NFL, the Rams sweated through practice on Monday afternoon, when temperatures topped 100 degrees in much of the San Fernando Valley.
Despite the fact that the Rams also slogged across the preseason with a winless record produced by an aggregate score of 109-34, hope sprang eternal as they eyed their Sept. 10 season opener against the Seahawks in Seattle and whittled their ensemble in the meantime.
“It’s always the toughest part of the job, these couple of days, and you never take it for granted because you never know,” veteran tight end Tyler Higbee said. “We’ve got a good group of guys that have been competing all camp and we’re looking forward to getting it going for real.”
No coaches or executives were made available to discuss competitive position battles Monday, though Coach Sean McVay will speak at practice Tuesday and General Manager Les Snead will address the media via a video call on Wednesday. By then, the world will know which 53 men comprise a roster that one analyst recently described as the most chaotic in all of football.
For Higbee’s part, he expressed optimism about the “good group of veterans and good group of young guys learning from those veterans” in both the tight end and wide receiver rooms, which will include rookies like receiver Puka Nacua and tight end Davis Allen. Higbee was also enthused by the health of quarterback Matthew Stafford, who appears likely to be backed up by rookie Stetson Bennett based on preseason and practice reps.
“(Stafford) looks great, I don’t know how else to put it. He looks healthy, he looks good and he’s throwing some great footballs,” Higbee said. “We’re always a better team with No. 9 out there.”
The Rams made 14 cuts on Monday: defensive tackle Taron Vincent, linebacker Ryan Smenda Jr., tight end Christian Sims, tight end Camren McDonald, receiver Lance McCutcheon, offensive lineman Sean Maginn, defensive back Jordan Jones, defensive back Tanner Ingle, receiver Tyler Hudson, defensive back Vincent Gray, defensive back Tyon Davis, defensive back Timarcus Davis, receiver Braxton Burmeister and linebacker Kelechi Anyalebechi.
That left them with more than 20 players who would hear less than ideal news Tuesday as the moves brought the Rams’ head count to 74, or 75 with the addition of a veteran offensive lineman for whom they traded Sunday but that had not yet passed his physical.
REINFORCING THE LINE
The Rams finalized the terms of a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday for guard Kevin Dotson. The Rams traded their 2024 fourth-round draft pick and their fifth-rounder in 2025 for Dotson, a fifth-round selection in 2024 and a sixth-rounder the following year.
Dotson, 26, started at left guard for Pittsburgh last season, competing on every down of every game. He became expendable, however, after Pittsburgh signed former Philadelphia Eagles lineman Isaac Seumalo, who was named an alternate for last year’s Pro Bowl. Dotson might provide depth for the Rams more than anything else at this point.
Dotson’s 39 NFL games (30 starts) of top-level experience could help solidify a line that has had more moving pieces than a Swiss watch across the course of last season and this year’s training camp. Higbee said that while he had confidence in his neighbors at the line of scrimmage, new bodies are always welcome, especially ones who stand 6-foot-4 and weigh more than 320 pounds like Dotson.
“It all starts up front with us being physical and I’m excited to see those guys do this year staying healthy,” Higbee said.
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