To reach that number, the Rams made four moves Tuesday afternoon, including placing quarterback Sam Bradford and center Demetrius Rhaney on injured reserve. St. Louis also released safety Matt Daniels and defensive end Sammy Brown.
That Sam made it through the first round of cuts is of little surprise after he posted two sacks against the Cleveland Browns on Saturday night.
Through three preseason games, Sam — the first openly gay active player in NFL history — has five tackles and three sacks. Rams coaches’ film review also credits the rookie defensive end with two quarterback pressures and a quarterback hit.
Although Sam has done some work on special teams as a blocker, Rams coach Jeff Fisher emphasized Tuesday that Sam will be judged solely on his work on defense. Anything else would be considered a bonus.
“It’s rare that you get a defensive end that’s going to go out and contribute on all four of your core special teams,” Fisher said. “So special teams is not part of the equation for Mike.
“We’re giving him every opportunity to do so, and he’s participated in special-teams practices and everything, but that’s not going to be part of the criteria for the evaluations.”
As for how Sam is stacking up against others vying for roster spots, namely fellow lineman Ethan Westbrooks, Fisher refused to tip his hand.
“I think they’re both doing well right now,” Fisher said. “No different than any other positional races on this football team. They’re both doing well. You know me, I’m not going to say who’s one or who’s two.”
Like the rest of the league, the Rams must trim their roster to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET