Bradley Fletcher's time with the St. Louis Rams is drawing to a close. That much should be obvious by his reduced playing time, something that Fletcher himself talked about this week, reconciled to his status as the fourth corner on the depth chart, despite being the second-best corner on the team.
From the Post-Dispatch:
"A change was made for the betterment of the team. My role has changed and now I'm just ready to do whatever else I can do to help the team win."
Yeah, that's pretty much what players are supposed to say when they've been relegated to the bottom of the depth chart, unless they're bitching about it in the press. Fletcher is not bitching about it in the press, and that's admirable.
But why not play Fletcher and give the Rams a better chance to win each week? Case in point, last week against the Jets when the Rams desperately needed to be pressing receivers at the line. Instead, they left a nice cushy zone for Mark Sanchez to make people forget, however temporarily, how bad he is.
"Right now we're trying to win football games and be a better team; get our record to where we want it to be and try to make a push for the playoffs."
Or not. The coaching staff is putting the workload on the youngsters, most notably Trumaine Johnson who has replaced Fletcher as the team's third corner. Fletcher had one snap last week. Clearly the Rams are getting Johnson ready for a bigger role next season, and that's fine, especially with Fletcher a free agent after this year.
And speaking of free agency, I don't understand why the Rams seemed so reconciled to letting Fletcher walk after this season. Sure, the economics of a deal could make it difficult, but this season, the earlier part of it anyway, is a good reminder of just what a luxury a talented, deep secondary can be.
Keep an eye on whether the trend continues today. Cortland Finnegan saw most of the snaps covering Larry Fittzgerald the last time these two teams played, but Fletcher was in the mix as well, matching up his physical style of play.
I know team priorities change, but it just seems odd to see Fletcher relegated to so few snaps with the team obviously struggling in the secondary.