Sam Bradford and Michael Sam were going to be must-see players in St. Louis this season.
And now they’re not.
Bradford tore his ACL and will miss the entire season, and Sam was cut from the 53-man roster and was not even retained on the practice squad. In fact, no team claimed Sam, who is currently unemployed.
“I will admit, (I’m not surprised that he didn’t make) the practice squad here or the team here, but (I’m) surprised that no one actually picked him up for their practice squad,” former Rams defensive tackle and current radio analyst D’Marco Farr said on The Morning Show. “There’s probably what, 120-125 edge rushers regardless of which scheme you use – either two outside backers or two defensive ends coming after the quarterback. So if you rank them in terms of preseason (performance) – now, I haven’t looked at everyone – but he might be 128th out of 125. So he’s not a starter. He’s not a backup. But he’s definitely a developmental guy. He’s a lot better than some other guys I’ve seen the Rams keep on practice squads or other people keep on practice squads.”
Farr admitted he was surprised at how well Sam played in the preseason.
“Coming out of Mizzou, I thought he was a run-around guy; I thought he was just an effort guy,” Farr said. “But this guy can play defensive end. He’s good. He’s got great technique. He knows how to work.”
There’s something else Farr likes about Sam: He doesn’t take crap from anyone.
“He might be a little overly sensitive when people try to give him the business after a play, but he will fight you,” Farr said. “He will come back at you. He’s just a normal football player – another seventh-round pick trying to make a football team. It just didn’t work here.”
Bradford, meanwhile, is a crushing loss for a team hoping to make some noise in the NFC West this season. Farr said the Rams were pretty devastated for about 24 hours following Bradford’s injury but then moved on. They had to.
“You know how it is,” Farr said. “When you go to battle with teammates, they’re your family. You see Sam on the ground after almost a year trying to get back to this point so he can play again. And within 40 snaps of his comeback, he tears up the same knee again, so you’re devastated for him.”
“But as far as the season being lost, no, that never crept into the minds of the players. It was more of, ‘Okay, (we’ve) got a backup. It’s the next man up. Get Shaun Hill in here.’ When they brought him in, it was an instant upgrade over what they had last year in Kellen Clemens as a backup. Kellen gave it all he had and finished the year 4-5. God bless him. He gave the Rams everything he had.”
“But Shaun Hill, to me, is an upgrade. Shaun Hill – to a lot of people here – is an upgrade over what you had. You kind of had to expect you might lose Bradford. You hoped that you didn’t, but the possibility was out there that you might lose him again. So Shaun Hill being here, he’s a veteran, he’s a leader, he’s got a decent arm, and he’s got great command of the huddle and the offense. Brian Schottenheimer’s offense isn’t that complicated, and he knows it back to front. So there was some devastation, but that all went away after 24 hours.”
Still, Farr sees the Rams finishing tied for third with Arizona in the NFC West. The Rams are big in the trenches, they can get after the passer and they can run the football. But if they win, they’re going to win close, and they’re going to win late.
“You’re hoping that maybe Seattle takes a step backwards, and you hope that San Francisco implodes,” Farr said. “Then you’ll see where it falls from there.”