The time is nearly here for the Los Angeles Rams — and the other teams in the NFL — to trim their roster down to 53 players ahead of Week 1. Sean McVay was recently asked about how many wide receivers the Rams plan on making active on game days, and the seventh-year head coach shared some insight on the team’s current plan.
“That’s a good question. I don’t know that I have an ideal,” McVay said. “A lot of times my mindset goes to, what does the 48 look like on game day? And there’s different ways you can get to that. I would say that probably would be anywhere between five and six, if I was going to guess who I anticipate being active on game day. Now what the active roster looks like, there could be a little bit more flexibility and there’s a lot of things that affect that relative to other position groups. Who are the guys that are right on the cusp of, in that 53? But in a lot of instances, my mindset and mentality goes to, what does the 48 look like not exclusive to just the 53? And that’s typically been in the five to six range for us.”
Under McVay, the Rams have typically had five or six receivers dress on game days as each team can make 48 of their 53 players active. It appears the Rams will deploy the same strategy this season, beginning in Week 1 versus the Seattle Seahawks.
With the Rams preparing to make roster cuts in the coming weeks, we’ll be predicting the six wide receivers that will be active in the season opener against the Seahawks.
In the early going of training camp, Kupp suffered a hamstring injury that prompted fans to hold their breath. The Rams have remained adamant that it isn’t a serious injury and the most recent update is that he’s expected to return to practice this week, putting him in line to be ready for Week 1.
Kupp figures to enter this season as Matthew Stafford’s go-to weapon again after both of them dealt with injuries in 2022. Unless Kupp suffers a setback or a separate injury, all signs point toward him being on the field in Week 1 versus the Seahawks.
Following the trade of Allen Robinson earlier this offseason, it’s been clear the Rams view Van Jefferson as the team’s No. 2 wideout. Jefferson is entering his fourth season and is in the final year of his rookie contract, giving him extra motivation entering 2023.
The former second-round pick dealt with a knee injury last season and the Rams have deployed a strategy for him to limit his workload in practice ahead of the upcoming season. Nothing indicates that he won’t be a full-go in the first week of the season and he’ll join Kupp as a definitive starter in the offense.
For the second straight week of the preseason, the Rams didn’t have Atwell dress versus the Las Vegas Raiders. That seemingly means the Rams have a clear plan for Atwell in the offense and they are content with where he’s at entering the regular season.
After failing to record a single stat as a rookie in 2021, Atwell flashed as a vertical threat in 2022, registering 298 yards and a touchdown on 18 receptions. The undersized wideout will need to provide more than just downfield plays to maintain his role in the offense, but he will at least begin Week 1 on the active roster.
Nacua hauled in a touchdown in his preseason debut against the Los Angeles Chargers, but the Rams didn’t have him log a snap versus the Raiders. The rookie wideout has turned heads throughout training camp and practices, earning him a role in the offense.
What Nacua can bring to the offense is valuable as his after-the-catch ability, physicality, and run blocking are traits that should translate well in McVay’s system. It’d be a surprise if Nacua isn’t active in Week 1 versus the Seahawks, even if he sees a limited role to begin the season.
With Atwell and Nacua sitting out the preseason contest against the Raiders, Skowronek was among the starting wide receivers for the Rams. At best, it seems like Skowronek is the No. 5 wideout on the depth chart, and there’s a chance he’s competing for that spot with Demarcus Robinson.
Amid injuries a season ago, the Rams used Skowronek in a variety of spots, even the fullback position. Skowronek does bring versatility to the offense, making him a likely candidate to be on the active roster in Week 1 when the Rams take on the Seahawks.
Robinson was a late addition to the Rams’ receiver room this offseason, and the veteran wideout has impressed in practice thus far. That being said, he was among the few wide receivers that saw snaps for the Rams in their second exhibition game versus the Raiders.
Considering that Robinson has previous experience on special teams, and he can be a solid complementary piece at wide receiver, he’s trending toward being active to begin the upcoming season. If there is a wideout in danger of being inactive in Week 1, it’s either Skowronek or Robinson.