Rams get back to practice on what Jeff Fisher calls a 'difficult day'

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams had their first official practice since Saturday's preseason loss to the Indianapolis Colts. It was a quick, one and a half hour workout but it came after one of Rams coach Jeff Fisher's least favorite activities: cutting players.

Fisher annually makes it a point to break the news to the players in person when they're being released. He did so again Monday when the team trimmed its roster to 77 players through a mix of roster moves. They still have two more moves to make to get to the league-mandated total of 75 by Tuesday.

"We just appreciate all the young guys' efforts," Fisher said. "They came in here and they got opportunities and they got better and they should feel good about what they did. They helped us become a better football team. Cutdown day is a tough day."

The Rams made 12 roster moves Monday, releasing 10 undrafted rookies, terminating the contract of wide receiver Damian Williams and placing cornerback E.J. Gaines on injured reserve. Fisher said the moves can be difficult to make this week because there's still a final preseason game to play on Thursday night. Since many of the starters won't play at all or will be limited in their work, that means many of the players released Monday would have played prominent roles on Thursday.

That puts the onus on the coaching staff to figure out who they can release and who they need to keep to make the numbers work.

"That was why some of the moves ended the way they did because you have got to take into consideration playing the fourth preseason game, the end of the game, how you finish, your numbers and things like that," Fisher said.

The only player qualifying as even a mild surprise on the initial cuts was cornerback Imoan Claiborne, who had played well in preseason games and was known for landing a punch on Dallas receiver Dez Bryant in joint practices with the Cowboys almost two weeks ago.

"He's played good," Fisher said. "He's a defensive practice squad candidate but just because of the other positions and numbers, it just didn't work out for us. We've got depth there, the other two young guys are doing good. Those are our decisions. We have to stand by our decisions."

The Rams have two more immediate decisions to make to get to 75 and then will make 22 more by Saturday at 4 p.m. ET when they must get down to their initial 53-man roster.

  • The Rams practiced indoors Monday because of lightning in the area. Fisher said the Rams' rule is that anytime there is lightning in a 12 to 15 mile radius, the team will practice inside.

  • Among those not practicing: RB Tre Mason (hamstring), CB Brandon McGee (foot), OL Andrew Donnal (finger), G Jamon Brown (ankle), LB Daren Bates (knee), G Rodger Saffold (shoulder), DT Michael Brockers (shoulder), LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar, DT Doug Worthington and DT Nick Fairley (collarbone).

  • Without projected starters Saffold and Brown, the Rams used Demetrius Rhaney at right guard and Garrett Reynolds at left guard with the starting unit. Tim Barnes took his turn as the top center.

  • Safety Cody Davis had yet another interception on a deflected pass in team drills. He's been getting one seemingly every other day in practice for the past couple of weeks. ... Receiver Brian Quick and quarterback Case Keenum connected on a deep ball over cornerback Trovon Reed for a would-be touchdown.

  • The Rams have one more practice Tuesday before a Wednesday night walk through at Scott Air Force Base and Thursday's preseason finale.