Rams roster spots and roles are on the line in preseason finale

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Tutu Atwell has been nether the microscope since the NFL draught past spring, and not lone due to the fact that he’s an amoeba adjacent to different Rams players.

The 5-foot-9, possibly 165-pound second-round prime has shrugged disconnected doubts astir his pro shot potential, and is looking to unafraid roles arsenic a wide receiver and punt returner earlier the Rams’ roster is chopped from 80 to 53 connected Tuesday.

That makes Atwell similar a batch of Rams reserves and rookies going into the last preseason crippled astatine 6:05 p.m. Saturday against the Broncos astatine Empower Field astatine Mile High successful Denver.

“I watched him intimately successful the crippled (last Saturday),”  backmost Matthew Stafford, who isn’t playing successful preseason games, said of Atwell’s eight-catch, 46-yard show against the Raiders. “I thought helium did immoderate truly bully things, threatened immoderate radical with his speed.

“He’s conscionable developing. He’s different feline (for whom) each accidental helium gets is going to beryllium a immense positive for him, making definite that helium learns from those.”

Atwell, who played 92% of violative downs portion first-string wide receivers Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, DeSean Jackson and Van Jefferson sat out, answered the accustomed questions astir his quality to popular up aft hard hits.

“It comes from the heart. You’ve got to person heart, wherever I’m from. That’s what I was brought up on,” helium said. “Get backmost up, nary substance what.”

Atwell has jockeyed (pardon the expression) with Trishton Jackson, Landon Akers and J.J. Koski for preseason reps astatine wide receiver. But he’s looking similar the Rams’ first-call punt returner, with rookie moving backmost Jake Funk returning kickoffs. Those competitions changed aft moving backmost Raymond Calais’ ft injury.

“I’m getting the consciousness of it. It’s precise fun,” Atwell said of returning punts, thing helium got small accidental to bash successful assemblage astatine Miami.

Coach Sean McVay held astir 3 twelve Rams first- and second-stringers retired of the Rams’ 13-6 nonaccomplishment to the Chargers and 17-16 nonaccomplishment to the Raiders astatine SoFi Stadium.

Again this Saturday, the absorption volition beryllium connected battles for spots connected the 53-man regular-season roster and 48-man game-day roster for the Sept. 12 opener against the Bears astatine SoFi Stadium, and for pecking bid astatine positions and peculiar teams.

The astir salient question is whether the Rams dump 10th-year punter Johnny Hekker and spell with the little costly Corey Bojorquez. Both missed Saturday’s crippled aft Hekker tested affirmative for COVID-19 and Bojorquez was identified arsenic a adjacent contact. Hekker remained connected the NFL’s COVID-19 reserve database Friday.

Otherwise, first-unit positions look set, opening astatine quarterback, wherever it’s Stafford backed up by John Wolford, with the Rams hoping Bryce Perkins tin wide waivers and onshore connected their signifier squad.

This week’s commercialized for Sony Michel solidified a running-back radical with Darrell Henderson, Jake Funk and Xavier Jones.

At choky end, down Tyler Higbee and Johnny Mundt, McVay said it’s inactive a contention among rookie Jacob Harris and Kendall Blanton and Brycen Hopkins.

The combat for last backup roles connected the violative enactment has seen Bobby Evans, Chandler Brewer, Alaric Jackson and Tremayne Anchrum play 100% of snaps successful 1 oregon some exhibitions.

On defense, antiaircraft lineman Bobby Brown III, extracurricular linebackers Justin Lawler and Chris Garrett, wrong linebacker Ernest Jones and safeties J.R. Reed and Brontae Harris person been among the players signaling large plays against the Chargers and Raiders and hoping to marque bully 3rd impressions successful Denver.

McVay said helium feels “pretty good” astir the possibilities for the 53-man roster, and present it’s astir “how guys signifier that relation for themselves,” arsenic good arsenic what players who mightiness beryllium chopped tin amusement teams that could prime them up connected waivers.

“There’s inactive a batch of things to beryllium determined arsenic acold arsenic that goes,” McVay said.

General manager Les Snead said the cardinal decisions are astir roles connected the 48-man game-day roster.

“They mightiness not beryllium battling for, let’s telephone it a 53rd oregon 53 spot arsenic we telephone it, (but) they could beryllium battling for a helmet, jersey and enarthrosis pads connected crippled day,” Snead said. “There’s inactive decidedly immoderate jobs open. Things are going to alteration successful Denver, successful immoderate signifier oregon fashion.”

The Broncos are 2-0, outscoring the Vikings and Seahawks 63-9, Teddy Bridgewater completing 16 of 19 passes and Denver picking disconnected backup quarterbacks 3 times.

If the Rams lose, it volition beryllium their archetypal winless preseason since they went 0-4 successful 2015, their past play successful St. Louis.

Rams astatine Broncos

When: 6:05 p.m. Saturday

Where: Empower Field astatine Mile High successful Denver

TV/Radio: Ch. 7/ESPN 710

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