The current 53: Rams offense

September, 1, 2013
9/01/13
1:14
PM ET
A look at the current incarnation of the Rams offense, where reinforcements may be needed and how the depth chart could look when the season begins.

Quarterbacks (2): Sam Bradford, Kellen Clemens

Bradford is the starter and, like nearly every starter in the league, his health is of the utmost importance. Every offseason move the Rams made to bolster the offense was done with Bradford in mind. He's the unquestioned leader of the offense and his improvement will largely determine whether the offense takes a big step forward in 2013.

Clemens won the backup job with a strong performance in the preseason finale. He brings a calming presence and veteran leadership to the locker room. Still, the Rams could continue to look for help at this position even though it's difficult to integrate a new quarterback this late in the process. With only two on the roster, don't be surprised if the Rams at least add Austin Davis (or maybe someone else) back to the practice squad.

[+] EnlargeDaryl Richardson
Rick Osentoski/USA Today SportsDaryl Richardson is expected to get the bulk of carries this season for St. Louis.
Running backs (4): Daryl Richardson, Zac Stacy, Benny Cunningham, Chase Reynolds

Richardson is the starter as coach Jeff Fisher announced a couple weeks ago and he figures to get the majority of the carries. That doesn't mean he'll get all of them, though. Stacy could work his way into the rotation, particularly in goal-line and short-yardage situations where his bruising style is more suited. Cunningham could also get some work and may even get a crack at the kick-returner job.

Reynolds is a core special-teams guy and should the numbers work in his favor will get a chance to contribute in that area, at least for one week while the Rams await the return of the suspended Isaiah Pead. Fisher has indicated that Pead will still be in the mix to get carries once the regular season begins. How many remains to be seen.

Wide receivers (5): Chris Givens, Austin Pettis, Tavon Austin, Brian Quick, Stedman Bailey

There are no surprises on this list as these five were basically entrenched in their roster spots from day one. Givens and Pettis are the odds-on starters on the outside with a lot of Austin in the slot mixed in. Quick came on as camp went along and has a chance to break through to the starting lineup at some point opposite Givens. For now, Quick is likely to be used in select situations, including the red zone where his size can be an asset. Bailey probably won't contribute much to the offense right away but was a pleasant surprise on special teams during the preseason and could chip in there for the time being. It's probably unlikely the Rams will add here unless a potential kick returner would come available.

Tight ends (4): Jared Cook, Lance Kendricks, Cory Harkey, Mike McNeill

This position is a bit tenuous for the Rams going into week one as Kendricks is returning from offseason knee surgery and Harkey isn't likely to be ready because of a leg injury. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer seems to have big plans for tight ends in this offense, so having at least two healthy and ready to go is important. Assuming health, Cook and Kendricks figure to get a lot of work together. Both players can line up all over the place and Cook has already gotten in sync with Bradford. When he returns, Harkey is a pure blocking type who has some pass-catching ability and McNeill falls in as more of a jack of all trades type who will do a little of everything. It's not completely out of the question the Rams could add another piece here, especially if they are weary of Kendricks' state of readiness.

Offensive line (10): Jake Long, Rodger Saffold, Scott Wells, Harvey Dahl, Chris Williams, Shelley Smith, Joe Barksdale, Tim Barnes, Barrett Jones, Brandon Washington

Long, Saffold, Wells and Dahl are set as starters with no official announcement at left guard made yet. Williams seems to be the favorite and if he indeed wins the job, it only further cements this unit as the team's most experienced. Assuming it's Williams, the backup group would be almost the complete opposite of the starters in terms of meaningful NFL playing experience. Only Smith and Barksdale would have NFL starts under their belt. Barnes and Jones provide interior versatility and Washington can play guard and tackle. Barksdale is solid as the swing tackles. Still, the Rams could be in the market to change a player or two at this position through waivers. They made four roster moves after the cuts to 53 last year and two of them were offensive linemen.

Nick Wagoner

ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter

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