Saturday the Rams make their way to Denver, Colorado to take on the defending champion Broncos. Usually these are the games where the starters play an extended amount of time on the field to get themselves into true game speed, while for others this could be their last shot at making the roster. NFL teams will have until Tuesday at 4 P.M. ET to trim their rosters down to 75 players. Jeff Fisher will have some decisions to make after the game in Denver and he’ll be taking a good look at certain players. However don’t look for Fisher to deliver a message to players that are on the bubble.
“There’s really no need for a message…” Fisher said after Monday’s practice. “If they don’t realize that there’s a cut-down after the third preseason game, they’re probably not smart enough to play and help us play. No, we just want to try to give everybody an opportunity to play. We still have a few guys that haven’t gotten any play time. At the same time, we’re trying to get our starters ready for the regular season. It’s the hard part of the business. But, everyone is going through it. We just want to prepare in this week so each and every one of them get a chance, if they do get on the field, to excel.”
Basically the players who are fighting for a spot on the team should know about Tuesday’s cut day and should use that as extra motivation. What do cuts usually come down to and will they be based off things that only the coaching staff can see?
“I don’t want to say they’re obvious…” Fisher said. “ because all these guys have given us their heart and soul since prior to the draft and the OTAs, but we have hard decisions to make, and some of them will maybe get an opportunity for a practice squad. Some of them maybe get an opportunity with other clubs, and then some of them will come to the realization that their childhood goal is over, and I need to go on with my life.”
It’s been said before that certain players that are third team or battling for a spot on the 53 man roster are also auditioning for the other 31 teams in the NFL or a spot on the practice squad. Some might be playing their last NFL game on Saturday because they got cut and no other team claimed them. NFL can be a rough business and nothing will change that. But one area that can make or break players is special teams. When asked on how he’ll manage the special teams roster, Fisher gave some insight on what they’re looking for.
“We’ll sit down as a staff and identify those guys that have an opportunity to unset somebody. And so, we have to be sure to put them in positions to where we can evaluate. And it may be a guy in punt protection, or a guy at kickoff return, or punt return, it’s usually the case. Our offensive line, we’ve got a solid group from top to bottom – they’re getting a lot of play time. Again, I just hope we can have a time-of-possession game that’s somewhat balanced, because it’s just not fair for the one side of the ball to 45 to 48 snaps. You need close to 60 snaps so you get everybody involved.”
Expect to see those players on special teams go all out to impress Jeff Fisher. Jobs will be earned and a huge part of it will be on special teams. If Fisher and the staff see a few players that can unseat others ahead of them then their odds at being a Los Angeles Ram for another week will be pretty good. Saturday will be make or break day for some Rams players.
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