It’s often said that NFL practice squads are in a current state of turnover; that is, because their primary purpose is to provide players to the scout team for the regulars to practice against, things can change week-to-week. The St. Louis Rams took that adage to a new level on Wednesday, however, releasing safety Matt Daniels from the team and bringing back tight end Brad Smelley prior to their first official practice of the regular season.
Daniels, who had been on the active roster for the past two seasons, had been signed to the practice squad earlier to this week after having been released from the camp roster at the cutdown to 75 players last week. Smelley, who joined the Rams during the middle of training camp, was released on Friday as the team cut down to 53 players.
It makes more sense structurally to make this move, as Daniels was part of a group of six young safeties, of which he was actually the most experienced (along with starting free safety Rodney McLeod, who like Daniels made the roster in 2012 as an undrafted rookie). While rookie Christian Bryant, another practice squad member, can provide proper coverage at safety, the Rams obviously did not feel that they had the necessary compliment of tight ends on hand.
Five tight ends originally made the 53-man roster this past weekend, but the team released the fifth of them, Justice Cunningham, after acquiring quarterback Case Keenum on waivers. Cunningham, a second-year blocking specialist, had been dealing with a high ankle sprain and was released with an injury settlement, so it’s possible that he could return to the team once he recovers.