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Rams Cut Long Snapper Chris Massey

So, you’re Chris Massey, you’ve been the Rams’ long snapper for nine years, and you’ve done a heck of a job at it, maybe a handful of bad snaps, out of hundreds of opportunities, the whole time you’ve played. This morning, you’ve got to be wondering why the blue hell the Rams cut you.

I know I am. Chemistry in sports, period, is a fickle thing. Then you’ve got NFL kickers, who are fickle creatures anyway. When you get the harmony the Rams have had, for years, between punter and long snapper, between long snapper, holder and placekicker, you don’t mess with it. You see a good thing and you leave it alone. However, the Rams have decided to take really their first questionable step this offseason and turn the job over to rookie Jake McQuaide. At risk is the timing and rhythm of the most important part of special teams. I don’t know why you would mess with that. Brown, Jones and Massey had become a well-oiled machine.

Actually, there’s only one reason you would do it. It’s actually very legitimate. And Nick Wagoner is full of baloney to be saying on the Rams website that this was a “football” decision vs. an economic decision. What, Massey’s suddenly Rick Ankieling his snaps all over the place? No. He costs twice as much as McQuaide, and the Rams are hard up against the salary cap. (Tip of the cap to playmaker at RealRamsFans for spotting that originally.)

It’s not like Massey’s hitting the bricks because he only plays one position; long snapping’s all McQuaide is here to do. It’s not like Massey isn’t good on special teams besides his long snapping duties. Chris Massey has been nothing but a sure thing here for nine years. This is the riskiest and therefore dumbest move the Rams have made this offseason. Sure, Josh Brown and Donnie Jones are veterans. Sure, they’re going to have weeks to get their timing down with McQuaide. But you don’t give kickers things to think about. Kickers who have to start thinking become kickers who start screwing up.

The silver lining here: a long snapper’s never going to be NFL or Super Bowl MVP. Massey replaced Jeff Robinson, himself a hell of a good long snapper and special teams player, in ’02, without incident. McQuaide must be able to do the job, or they wouldn’t even be thinking of dumping a guy whose play has been near-perfect for a decade.

So I “get” the move. Doesn’t mean I have to like it. When you’ve got a good thing going in your kicking game, you do not mess with it. It’s like the Rams just walked under a ladder and threw a rock at a mirror.

Hopefully, I’m just superstitious.

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