I genuinely feel bad for the many NFL coaches and general managers who are tasked with cutting 37 men from a 90-player roster each season.
It's hard enough to determine whether to keep the overall better player on the roster or the guy who fits better with the team's system, but to cut a perfectly decent player who just isn't better than his in-team competition must be miserable. The only thing that could be worse would be to watch that same player succeed with a different team.
This article focuses on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who will most likely be cut and bring on a whole lot of regret in the coaching staff.
As good as Sammie Stroughter is as a kick returner (34 career kick returns for nearly 1,000 yards), he has a limited impact as a wide receiver and has played only 31 games in his three-year career. His best season was as a rookie in 2009, when he accumulated 777 total yards of offense.
Unfortunately for Stroughter, the Bucs have acquired an equally efficient kick returner who can also contribute on offense on a game-to-game basis. This man is Michael Smith, the seventh-round pick out of Utah State.
So far in the preseason, Smith has handled all 10 kick returns. Against the Dolphins in Week 1, Smith had a 74-yard attempt. Against the Patriots in Week 3, Smith handled all three kick returns and averaged 26 yards/return, with one KR of 39 yards. He currently leads the NFL in kick return yardage.
Smith is a decent running back as well. He runs a 4.32 40-yard dash, and that incredible speed shows up seemingly every time he takes a handoff.
Unless Stroughter can prove that he is worth keeping as a wide receiver, there is really no point in keeping him on the roster.
Maybe it's just that the cameraman really likes the number 50, but it seems like Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (spell that 10 times fast) is always onscreen with the second- and third-team defense. Whether this is true or not, it suggests that Te'o-Nesheim gets a lot of snaps, which in turn suggests that the coaching staff wants to see what the defensive end can do.
The third-year man appears to give full effort on virtually every snap, which makes it painful to look at his stat line and see that he has only recorded two tackles in three preseason games.
He's currently the third-string defensive end on the Bucs, but he will probably be cut as the team trims the roster down to the golden 53.
I'll miss his enthusiasm, but he's only the sixth-best defensive end on the roster.
One of the most delightfully bittersweet surprises related to the Buccaneers' free agents this preseason was the success of Kai Forbath. The former UCLA place kicker has landed all four field-goal attempts he has made this preseason, including one of 55 yards and another of 51 yards.
The bitter part is that Forbath will most likely not make the final 53-man roster. It's not anything that he did; it's just that the Bucs already have a great kicker in Connor Barth. Barth can sink field goals from 55 yards and was extremely accurate last season, making 92.9 percent of his FG attempts. He's as close to a franchise kicker as one can get.
Hopefully, Forbath finds success on another NFL team.
The best of luck to him and the other players featured in this article.