Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rams Starters Sit out Loss to Dolphins

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rams Starters Sit out Loss to Dolphins

Article excerpt

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. * Michael Sam and Ethan Westbrooks slugged it out one last time for a spot on the 53-man roster.

Backup quarterback Austin Davis put the finishing touches on an impressive preseason, completing 12 of 19 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown.

And undrafted rookie Trey Watts got plenty of work in his late bid to claim employment at running back.

As for the Rams regulars? They were in mothballs watching Thursday's preseason finale wearing ball caps on the sideline during a 14-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

If it were the regular season, seeing a 13-0 lead turn into a 14- 13 defeat in the second half would be a bitter pill for the Rams to swallow. But it's still August, and with this contest turned over to the subs from the outset, this was a battle for roster spots for a couple of dozen Rams.

The headliner on that front obviously was Sam vs. Westbrooks one last time. Sam was very active in the first half, and according to unofficial press box stats led the Rams with six tackles by game's end. But Westbrooks wasn't far behind with four tackles. One of those tackles came on his second sack of the preseason, and he added two quarterback hits.

"I'm gonna have to look at the tape, but Ethan was making a lot of plays every time I looked," Fisher said.

As for Sam?

"I really didn't see anything good or bad out of Mike ... but he played hard," Fisher said.

Fisher did say that Sam has shown enough in training camp and the preseason to show he belongs.

"I think he can play in this league yes," Fisher said. "As can some other guys on this team that had good preseasons."

With Sam on the threshold of history as the first openly gay player to make an NFL team, a horde of reporters waited patiently in the visitors' locker room at Sun Life Stadium afterwards, and then engulfed him when he was ready to meet the media.

"That was a very good day to see that I could play the run," Sam said. "I was very successful and made some plays and got some tackles."

Sam said he felt he has shown enough to make an NFL team, be it the Rams or someone else.

"I'm very confident that I'll be playing on an NFL roster this fall," Sam said. "I know I can play in this league."

Before the game Sam tweeted that the game would be his final exam. How did he fare?

"I did good," he said. "I give myself a B-plus. I've very proud of myself, like I said, of how I fought the run."

Now he must wait until 5 p.m. (St. Louis time) on Saturday to see if he has made the Rams' regular-season roster.

"You know what, it's not gonna be like the draft," he said, laughing. "I'm very confident that I'm going to sleep well tonight."

Only eight picks remained in the entire draft when the Rams selected Sam late in the seventh round in May.

But draft weekend was no picnic either for Westbrooks. …

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