Dubsism

What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions

Do The St. Louis Rams Have The Balls To Cut Michael Sam?

michael sam

Sam: Running his way on to a practice squad near you.

In a word, no…because they can’t, and they know they can’t.

We all know the story here, because the ESPNs of the world have done nothing but try to make a story where there really isn’t one. Gay or straight, the issue is that Michael Sam is at best a marginal NFL player; the fact is that without his pronouncement of being gay, nobody would give a damn about him as a football player.

First of all, let’s cut through the guano here. The Rams were the NFL’s back-up plan in case nobody drafted Michael Sam.  With all the publicity Sam was getting, it was a potential public-relations problem if he were to go undrafted. The sports media community wanted their “barrier-breaking hero,” and it just didn’t matter anymore if he was worthy of actually playing in the NFL. If you doubt that, just look at what was an obviously staged scene at Sam’s home on draft day.  was completely staged.  After all, how many guys taken in the last minute of the last round of the draft have camera crews in their homes?

In other words, this means the Rams knew exactly what they were getting into when they selected Sam. The “distractions” that Tony Dungy caught so much shit for pointing out are very real. Once the Rams took him, there were stuck with him until the end; there are only four ways the relationship between Sam and the Rams ends this summer:

  1. Sam makes the team on his merits as an NFL player: That’s a prohibitive long-shot, I’ll get into why in a minute.
  2. Sam gets a roster spot even if he doesn’t really deserve it: That’s not very likely for two reasons. NFL roster spots are far too valuable, and there a real risk of getting accused of favoritism.
  3. Sam gets released outright:  His footprints out of town won’t even be cold yet and ESPN will softly accuse them of homophobia by writing shit like “Did Sam’s Sexuality Play a Role in His Release?”
  4. Sam gets put on the  practice squad: This is the most likely to happen, because it gives the Rams the best of both worlds; they don’t have to waste a roster spot on him, and they don’t have to release him.

We are two games into the pre-season, and Sam hasn’t really done much to change the math. Numbers don’t lie, and a lot of them are not in Sam’s favor.  The overall odds of a seventh round draft pick making an NFL roster on his first shot are long at best.  It doesn’t help matters the Rams are exceptionally deep at defensive end. Worse yet, Sam is very limited as an NFL defensive end; he really only is a “jail-break” pass-rusher.

To be fair, Sam has shown some upside; he tallied his first NFL sack last week against Green Bay.  But to be ever more fair, he’s playing against back-up level talent, and even then, defensive coordinators are leaving him unblocked more often than not.  Sam is too small to take on a head-on run block; he gets pushed all over the field. That means he isn’t really considered a threat, which does not bode well for his chances of making the Rams final roster.

Tonight’s exhibition game in Cleveland should tell a big part of the Sam story. If you tune into that in a few hours and see Michael Sam playing special teams, just pencil him in for the practice squad now.  If you will notice, you don’t see a lot of linemen playing on the kick squad.  The reason is big guys never do well chugging all the way downfield.  If they put him on special teams now, the Rams will be admitting two things we already all knew:

  1. Sam lacks the size to be an every-down defensive end in the NFL.
  2. Sam’s only hope to make the rosters i s on special teams.

Don’t look now, but it has already happened.  He’s played six special-teams snaps against the Saints, and three more against the Packers. That means the Rams already see the writing in the wall; they are expanding any possibility they can to keep him on the roster.

The biggest problem Sam has is the Rams are absolutely stocked for starting D-lineman; Robert Quinn, Chris Long, Eugene Sims, are locks to make the roster, and with William Hayes returing from an injury and looking to be fully recovered, Sam looks like the odd Ram out. Couple that with the fact that an undrafted free-agent from West Texas A&M named Ethan Westbrooks is getting more game time and is being played in games before Sam is another problem. Even by the best accounts, Sam is only an upfield pass-rusher, while Hayes can play both inside and outside.  Even if the Rams decided to get fatter at a position in which they already have more than sufficient depth, that would mean making a choice between Sam and a proven second-year player in Sammy Brown. Given Sam’s aforementioned athletic limitations, that doesn’t seen very likely.

That’s why you are going to see Sam on the kick team a lot tonight; not just because the starters always get the lion’s share of the snaps in the third tune-up game, but because the only way Sam is making the roster is to run on to it on special teams.

About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

One comment on “Do The St. Louis Rams Have The Balls To Cut Michael Sam?

  1. SportsChump
    August 23, 2014

    I agree with you wholeheartedly, Dub. Insightful piece as always.

    The best thing about (the most realistic) option four is that it will lead to a lot less media coverage (if that’s even possible) about the ultimate and inevitable Ram-Sam decision.

    Like

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