One of the players who really made a big impression with the Rams this preseason is back with the team -- on the practice squad, specifically -- after having been cut earlier this week. Ben Guidugli, tight end and undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati (which gave us Mardy Gilyard
, but don't hold that against them), was cut to make room for the Rams to sign veteran tight end Stephen Spach
Spach was the depth move, I suppose, what with Mike Hoomanawanui proving so unreliable in the health department, but I was very discouraged to see Guidugli cut from the final roster. I might have been a bit more inclined not to mind if I thought Spach was any kind of impact player, but he looks to my eye to be roughly the same player as Billy Bajema, and when coming up with a list of things the Rams needed to do to be a competitive team in 2011, "Double the number of Billy Bajemas available," was not on there.
So, I was disappointed to see Guidugli go, who seemed to me like just the sort of versatile threat the Rams hope they have with Illinois Mike. Luckily, he'll be around at least for the immediate future.
Personally, I would like to see Guidugli lining up in the backfield at the fullback spot, even over the team's current fullback Britt Miller
. Miller is obviously the more experienced player, as well as an extremely solid lead blocker, but I really like the versatility a guy like Guidugli brings, able to flex out to tight end, come out of the slot, or play fullback. Sort of the H-back or F-back role made so popular by Joe Gibbs
and later Norv Turner
Still, I can't blame the Rams for not heading into the season with an experiment in the backfield. Steven Jackson has been far more effective in his career running behind a fullback, as opposed to coming out of a single back formation, and as he transitions into more of a pure power running style it will be more important than ever for Jackson to have running lanes to exploit. Miller is exactly the kind of power blocking presence that could ensure a healthy running game for the Rams this year. I just wonder how much he'll actually be on the field considering how seldom Josh McDaniels's offense uses a true fullback.
Sadly, it appears my biggest training camp mancrush, Schuylar Oordt
, is not coming back. Oordt, also a tight end, was among the earlier rounds of cuts
, and I was hoping he might be back on the practice squad. Unfortunately, with Guidugli already on the practice squad, I can't imagine the team using two slots of their eight allowed just on tight ends. Good night, sweet prince.