Every-Thing Sports

Jermaine Every: NFL roster cut with a twist...reality TV

The NFL should liven up the roster cuts. Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

In the third quarter of Saturday afternoon’s preseason game against the Texans, the Rams had a 3rd and goal from the 15-yard line. Running back John Kelly took a handoff and ran behind the left guard, through the Texans’ defense and into the end zone. At least two to three defenders missed tackles. It wasn’t the missed tackles that got me; it was the perceived lack of effort.  

I posted a tweet that read: “#Texans should cut those two guys who missed those tackles right now. Hand them plane tickets and call an Uber.” Not long after posting that, I began to think: what if the annual roster cut-down from 90 to 53, plus the 10 man practice squad, was done reality show style? What if guys were cut on the spot in practices and/or games? HBO’s Hard Knocks gives us some insight as to how cuts are made every training camp. But what if we spiced it up a bit? Here are some ideas I came up with:

“The Player:” In a Bachelor or Bachelorette style program, potential roster cuts are made known when guys come back into the locker room after practices or preseason games and finds his locker cleared out. That, or nothing but a black rose is in place of his belongings. Imagine the interviews with the guys who are cut that thought they secured a roster spot. The “reunion show” could be a where are they now programmed on Pro Bowl weekend. Guarantee this would get better ratings than the Pro Bowl itself.

Pickup game style: Some of the worst feelings as a kid was either not getting picked to play, or being the last pick when no one else is left to even out the teams. It’d be interesting to see teams fill out their final roster by calling out the names of the guys who made the team and handing them a jersey. The guys who are cut will receive an envelope with a thank you letter and a blank one-way plane ticket.

“The Ultimate Roster Spot Challenge:” It seems as if roster spots often come down to a numbers game. Coaching staffs have different preferences. Some keep three quarterbacks, some opt for two. Most of the 53-man roster is set and only the last handful of spots are up for grabs. What if the final spots are determined through a series of drills and challenges? Sure, the potential ninth offensive lineman can’t compete in a 40-yard dash with the potential sixth cornerback. But we could develop a point system based on drills, practice performance, preseason game play, and have coaches vote be final determining factor. Players will get an envelope with either a pink slip, or contract that’ll get opened in front of everyone in final team meeting one by one.

Too long NFL has stood for “No Fun League.” Hard Knocks has pulled back the curtain some. Allowing more celebrations has made it more enjoyable as well. Although the rules changes and anthem protest unrest has made it unbearable at times, there’s potential for growth in the appeal of the game. Roger Goodell, if you’re reading this, send me a tweet so we can discuss this, and my payout.


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Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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