Quarterback Ragone among cuts

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Fitzpatrick took the No. 3 quarterback spot, while Davis knocked Williams off the roster.

ST. LOUIS -- With Stephen Davis in a Rams uniform, the St. Louis Rams cut veteran Moe Williams and nine other players Saturday to get down to the league-mandated 53-man roster.

Davis, a three-time Pro-Bowl running back released by Carolina in the spring, signed with St. Louis on Friday.

Rams coach Scott Linehan indicated Davis would play in the season opener Sept. 10 against Denver despite not being in game-day shape, which led to the thought of keeping four backs on the roster.

"It was certainly considered but then you have to lose a fullback or a tight end," Linehan said. "At the end, it all adds up to the number we planned from the start. It's never perfect, but right now it's the best 53 to get ourselves ready for next Sunday."

The Rams signed Williams in early August to help fill the gap created by the loss of Marshall Faulk, who will miss this season with what likely is a career-ending knee problem.

Williams, in his 10th year in the league, spent the last four seasons in Minnesota, where Linehan served as offensive coordinator from 2002 through 2004. Williams didn't do much during his month in St. Louis, gaining 41 yards on 18 carries in the preseason.

Davis said it was difficult to see Williams go.

"I've known Moe from when we played each other in [college]," Davis said. "I got a lot of respect for him, because he's a great football player. When opportunities come, you just got to make the best of them.

"You hate to see things like that happen, but I'm pretty sure he'll get something."

Also released Saturday were quarterback Dave Ragone, tight end Jerome Collins, cornerback DeJuan Groce, defensive tackles Brian Howard and Tim Sandidge, linebacker Tim McGarigle, guard Tony Palmer, running back Fred Russell and wide receiver Dominique Thompson.

Linehan served as the offensive coordinator during Ragone's first three years at Louisville and helped bring the quarterback to St. Louis in a trade with Cincinnati during the summer.

But in choosing the No. 3 quarterback behind starter Marc Bulger and Gus Frerotte, the Rams went with Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Ragone went 16-of-29 during the preseason but also threw two interceptions -- one of them Thursday night against the Miami Dolphins, a game in which he had no completions.

"It's like I told Dave [Saturday] morning when I met him: not one game made the decision," Linehan said. "He worked an uphill battle and improved and did well and better in every game until the last one. He'll have some feelers from other people."

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