By Tuesday’s NFL roster deadline, they will know whether they did enough to open the season as reserves on the 53-man roster for the defending Super Bowl champion Rams.
“You’d be hard-pressed to think that they haven’t done what they could to earn that,” coach Sean McVay said Saturday after the Rams’ 16-7 loss to the Bengals.
Perkins made his case in the preseason by completing 35 of 49 passes for 399 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. He also rushed for two touchdowns.
Matthew Stafford is playing through right elbow tendinitis, and John Wolford is nursing a right thumb injury. Perkins positioned himself for an opening game roster spot for the second consecutive season, and he could push Wolford for No. 2 on the depth chart.
How does McVay make his determination about whether to keep two or three quarterbacks?
“Ultimately, it is about the play,” he said.
Perkins is confident he can find a home — with the Rams or another team.
“I put out some good tape,” he said, adding, “If it’s not here, I know it’s somewhere. I feel like I can play in this league.”
McCutcheon caught 15 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns in the preseason.
Starting wide receiver Van Jefferson’s status for the Sept. 8 opener against the Buffalo Bills is doubtful because he is still recovering from knee surgery, so McVay is expected to carry eight receivers.
Here is a breakdown on what the Rams’ opening game 53-man roster could look like:
Quarterbacks: Matthew Stafford, John Wolford, Bryce Perkins
Stafford’s workload was managed from before the start of training camp. He looked sharp during two joint practices with the Bengals, and he said that he will not be limited as the Rams prepare for the Bills. Wolford was injured during the first practice with the Bengals. He sat out the second and did not play in Saturday’s game as a precaution because the injury affected his passing mechanics, McVay said. He is expected to be available for the run-up to the opener. In Wolford’s absence, Perkins took second-team reps in practice against the Bengals and got to play the entire game.
Running backs: Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, Kyren Williams, Jake Funk
Akers is still nursing what McVay has described as a “soft-tissue” injury, but Henderson ran at full speed for trainers Saturday and apparently will be ready for practice. In their absence, Williams did so well that McVay opted not to play the rookie against the Bengals for fear of possible injury. Funk is a valuable special teams player.
Wide receivers: Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, Van Jefferson, Ben Skowronek, Tutu Atwell, Brandon Powell, Jacob Harris, Lance McCutcheon
Jefferson accompanied the team to Cincinnati but did not participate in practices. During practices with the Bengals, Kupp looked to be in midseason form and Stafford connected with Atwell on long passes. The 6-foot-5 Harris has shown improvement.
Tight ends: Tyler Higbee, Brycen Hopkins
Higbee did not play during the preseason, and Hopkins was held out against the Bengals because he played his way into an important role.
Offensive linemen: Joe Noteboom, David Edwards, Brian Allen, Coleman Shelton, Rob Havenstein, A.J. Jackson, Tremayne Anchrum, Bobby Evans, A.J. Arcuri
Evans, a fourth-year pro, played in every preseason game, a clear indication that he was on the bubble. The loss of rookie Logan Bruss because of a season-ending knee injury might provide a reprieve for Evans, who has started games at right tackle and guard. Arcuri improved through the preseason.
Defensive linemen: Aaron Donald, Greg Gaines, A’Shawn Robinson, Marquise Copeland, Michael Hoecht
Donald, Gaines, Robinson and Copeland got work against the Bengals during practices, which ended with a brawl between the teams. Hoecht made several plays during the preseason.
Inside linebackers: Bobby Wagner, Ernest Jones, Christian Rozeboom, Jake Gervase
With Travin Howard expected to begin the season on injured reserve, that opens a spot for inside linebackers who can play special teams. Gervase has experience, and Jake Hummel also had a productive preseason.
Outside linebackers: Leonard Floyd, Justin Hollins, Terrell Lewis, Chris Garrett
Lewis did not participate in practices with the Bengals as the Rams continue to manage his knee issue. Garrett was hampered by injuries last season and through much of the preseason. He finally got to play against the Bengals, and he pressured the quarterback several times. An injury suffered by rookie Daniel Hardy presented opportunity for Keir Thomas, an undrafted rookie who might land a role.
Cornerbacks: Jalen Ramsey, Troy Hill, David Long, Robert Rochell, Decobie Durant, Derion Kendrick
Ramsey, who had offseason shoulder surgery, said last week that he was getting closer to full strength. Hill and Long showed their experience during practices with the Bengals, and Rochell also had moments. Kendrick made an impressive hit in the game against the Bengals, while Durant missed a few tackles. Both rookies showed during three preseason games that they can contribute.
Safeties: Jordan Fuller, Nick Scott, Taylor Rapp, Terrell Burgess, Russ Yeast
Rapp and Scott are entering the final year of their rookie contracts. Fuller continues to make strides in his recovery from ankle surgery.
Specialists: kicker Matt Gay, punter Riley Dixon, long snapper Matthew Orzech
Gay was a Pro Bowl selection last season. Dixon has replaced Johnny Hekker and blended smoothly with Orzech and Gay as the holder for field-goal attempts.