Monday, September 3, 2007

Fitz traded to Bengals

The Rams were minus one quarterback Saturday morning when they took the field
for practice at Rams Park, and sent another packing a few hours later when they
sent their final roster cuts into the NFL office.

The day began with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick traded to Cincinnati for a
seventh-round draft pick in the 2008 draft. It’s believed to be a conditional
pick, with Fitzpatrick needing to be on the Bengals roster a certain number of
games in order for the Rams to receive the seventh-rounder.

Later in the day, the Rams placed No. 4 quarterback Brock Berlin on waivers.
That leaves the Rams with only two quarterbacks on their active roster, a
growing trend in the NFL.

"I think there were six or seven (teams) last year (with two quarterbacks), and
I think there could be more including ourselves this year," Scott Linehan said.
"Either way you’re giving up something, so we’ll have to have a contingency
plan for a third. We’ve got a couple ex-quarterbacks on our roster. We’ll
figure out what kind of plays we’d have to run with those fellows."

That would be wide receivers Drew Bennett and Marques Hagans, who were both
quarterbacks in college. In the meantime, the Rams plan to sign Berlin to the
practice squad if he clears waivers by Sunday afternoon.

The Rams made several other moves to get down to Saturday afternoon’s roster
limit of 53 players. Offensive lineman Todd Steussie, who underwent surgery for
a broken foot Friday, has been placed on the injured reserve list, ending his
season. Cornerback Fakhir Brown’s four-game suspension for violating the NFL
substance abuse policy began Saturday afternoon, meaning he does not count
against the 53-man roster.

Besides Berlin, the Rams released seven other players -- according to league
sources -- to reach the 53-man limit: wide receivers Derek Stanley and
Dominique Thompson; offensive linemen Dustin Fry and Jeremy Parquet; linebacker
Jon Alston; defensive tackle Keith Jackson; and cornerback Darius Vinnett.

As of late Saturday afternoon, the Rams had not confirmed those cuts or made an
announcement on released players.

The biggest surprise in the group was Alston, a third-round pick in 2006, who
although raw and unpolished, had seemed to make substantial progress over the
course of training camp and the preseason. But it appears that rookie free
agent Quinton Culberson has won Alston’s roster spot. Fry (fifth round),
Stanley (seventh round), and Jackson (seventh round) were ’07 draft picks.

Even with Saturday’s roster moves, there could be more moves forthcoming before
the roster settles in. The Rams still have nine defensive linemen -- one more
than usual -- with ends Trevor Johnson and Eric Moore both on the roster as of
Saturday afternoon. The release of Vinnett left them with only eight defensive
backs -- one fewer than usual.

In addition, all four tight ends -- Dominique Byrd, Joe Klopfenstein, Randy
McMichael, and Aaron Walker -- remained on the roster as did fullback Madison

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