Advertisement
Rams

Rams cut Troy Hill and make several experimental roster moves

Rams cut Troy Hill and make several experimental roster moves
Rams cornerback Troy Hill battles with Buccaneers running back Mike James during a game on Sept. 25.
(Jeff Haynes / Associated Press)

As the Rams began preparations for the high-scoring New Orleans Saints this week, Coach Jeff Fisher on Tuesday made several personnel moves and said he was experimenting with others.

Cornerback Troy Hill was released, three days after he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The Rams also placed linebacker Josh Forrest on injured reserve, released cornerback Dwayne Gratz and promoted cornerback Michael Jordan and linebacker Nic Grigsby from the practice squad.

And Fisher, following up on comments he made Monday regarding “repeat mistake-makers” and possible changes in personnel along the offensive line, acknowledged experiments with different groupings.

Advertisement

“I’m not going to confirm or deny any lineup changes,” he said. “but there’s a chance that there may be one or two.”

Left tackle Greg Robinson has been the Rams’ most problematic lineman.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2014 draft has drawn numerous penalties throughout his career, a trend that has continued through 10 games.

In Sunday’s 14-10 loss to Miami, rookie quarterback Jared Goff scrambled 11 yards for an apparent first down in the fourth quarter. But the play was nullified because of an illegal block in the back by Robinson.

Advertisement

“It was not necessary,” Fisher said. “He’s pursuing, he’s hustling downfield, he saw a color and he pushed. It was unfortunate because that was a big first down for us that was called back.”

Veteran Rodger Saffold, who has started every game this season next to Robinson at left guard, is the Rams’ most experienced and versatile lineman and he has played left tackle. He also has played right tackle and right guard since he was selected by the Rams in the second round of the 2010 draft from Indiana.

Second-year pro Jamon Brown has started at right guard but is capable of playing left guard. He has been inactive for several games because of a hand injury but practiced last week. Cody Wichmann, the starting right guard, also can play on the left side.

The release of Hill thins the Rams’ experience at cornerback going into a matchup against Saints quarterback Drew Brees and the NFL’s most productive offense.

Hill, 25, was arrested Saturday after he crashed his white Mercedes-Benz into the back of a big rig on the westbound Ventura Freeway near Encino, according to the California Highway Patrol.

He was inactive against Miami and Fisher said Monday that he was “very, very disappointed” in Hill but was gathering more information “before I make a decision.”

He made it Tuesday.

 “I didn’t think he put the team first,” Fisher said. “I got information, and we made the decision.”

Advertisement

Fisher said he did not rule out another possible opportunity for Hill, who started four games and was fourth on the team with 38 tackles.

 “I think people deserve second chances in life,” Fisher said. “I think he learned from it, but I was just disappointed in his choices.”

Cornerback E.J. Gaines said he had spoken to Hill, who attended Ventura St. Bonaventure High, was undrafted out of Oregon and had stints with the Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots before signing with the Rams.

“It’s just a tough situation,” Gaines said. “I’ve talked to him, just trying to keep his head up and everything. It’s tough any time you lose anybody on the team.”

Hill’s release was the latest move by a franchise that hit multiple bumps in its attempt to replace cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who signed with the New York Giants as a free agent.

The Rams had put the franchise tag on Trumaine Johnson — with a one-year salary of nearly $14 million — paving the way for Jenkins’ departure.

The Rams tried to fill the void by signing Coty Sensabaugh, who had played four seasons for the Tennessee Titans, mainly as a slot corner. Sensabaugh signed a three-year, $15-million contract with the Rams, but he was seemingly miscast from the start and was released after three games.

Gaines, coming off a foot injury that sidelined him the entire 2015 season, suffered multiple lower-body injuries during training camp, forcing Sensabaugh to play on the outside opposite Johnson.

Advertisement

Hill replaced Sensabaugh during the Rams’ victory over Seattle in Week 2 and started for the first time the next week at Tampa Bay. He also started at Arizona, and then moved into a reserve role when Gaines started against Buffalo.

Sensabaugh was inactive against Tampa Bay and was released the day before the Rams played at Arizona. The Rams signed Gratz off waivers from Jacksonville a few days later.

Hill returned to the starting lineup after Johnson suffered an ankle injury against Buffalo.

Jordan, who played in college at Missouri Western State, and Blake Countess, who played at Auburn, are now the backup cornerbacks.

gary.klein@latimes.com

Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @LATimesklein


Advertisement