Quarterback Sam Bradford’s ankle was a topic of conversation as recently as training camp, with reports that he may need offseason surgery if the ankle continued to cause problems.
But it looks as if Bradford finally has the ankle issues, which plagued him during the 2011 season, behind him.
“Obviously during the spring I could still feel it,” Bradford said. “But as time went along it just kind of went away. It was something that was really a positive thing in the fact that it didn’t bother me all year.”
For the first time, Bradford confirmed that surgery following the 2012 season was considered a possibility if the ankle problems didn’t go away. But that was several months ago, before the start of the season. So as he closed the 2012 campaign, Bradford said, “I don’t think (surgery) is even a possibility now.”
Bradford takes a lot of pride in staying on the field, and now has made it through all 16 games in two of his three NFL seasons. The 2011 season, when a high ankle sprain sidelined him for six games and limited him in several others, was another matter.
“Last year was extremely frustrating for me,” Bradford said. “It’s probably one of the hardest years I’ve had at any level of sport, having to sit out as many games as I did. So to be able to make it through this year completely healthy and play all 16 was something that I hope I can continue to do and not miss any games.”
Bradford established career highs this season in passing yards (3,702) and touchdown passes (21). He looks forward to some continuity in 2013, assuming offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer doesn’t leave for a head-coaching opportunity.
“You have no idea,” Bradford said. “I’m extremely excited about the future of this team and this organization. Hopefully for first time since I’ve been here we’ll come back with the same staff, with the same offense, and just be able to build on what we were able to do this year.
“It’s not easy changing offenses and changing systems, but I really like what we’re doing. I really like Schotty and what he was able to do this year. Hopefully he’s back. Hopefully this whole staff’s back and we can just fine-tune everything and start working on the little things.”
AWARDS FOR JACKSON
For the fourth year in a row, running back Steven Jackson was named the Rams’ most valuable player in voting by the players. Jackson also won the Carl Ekern Spirit of the Game Award and was named the team’s recipient of the Walter Payton Award for community service.
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins was voted rookie of the year, no mean feat considering the contributions of wide receiver Chris Givens, defensive tackle Michael Brockers, place-kicker Greg Zuerlein and punter Johnny Hecker in this year’s rookie class.
Also, wide receiver Danny Amendola was named the team’s winner of the Ed Block Courage Award for his efforts coming back from season-ending triceps and elbow injuries in the 2011 season opener.
In his first 15 games as a Ram, rookie running back Isaiah Pead had only five carries. But he doubled that total Sunday with five carries for 21 yards against the Seahawks.
According to coach Jeff Fisher, it wasn’t a spur of the moment decision.
“No, it was talked about last week,” Fisher said. “It actually was talked about a couple weeks ago, we just didn’t get to it last week (against Tampa Bay).”
Givens finished as the team leader in reception yards with 698, just 7 yards ahead of Brandon Gibson’s 691 yards. Amendola, who had a team-high 63 catches, finished third in reception yards with 666.
Against Seattle, linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar registered a team-high 13 tackles, according to coaches’ review of game film. Safety Quintin Mikell added nine tackles, while defensive end Chris Long had four quarterback pressures to go along with his three sacks.
Long finished with 11½ sacks and Robert Quinn added 10½, giving the Rams two players with double-digit sack totals for the first time since 2000.
The Rams finished the season ranked 23rd in total offense and 14th in total defense in the NFL.