A day after wrapping up a 7-9 season, the Rams announced their team awards, which are decided by a team vote.
Defensive end Robert Quinn, who set a franchise record with 19 sacks this season, received the Daniel F. Reeves Memorial Award as the team MVP. The third-year pro also had 18 tackles for loss in the run game and finished second in the NFL with seven forced fumbles.
Quinn, named Friday to his first Pro Bowl, on Friday, finished half a sack behind Indianapolis’ Robert Mathis in the race for the inaugural Deacon Jones Award for the league’s sack leader. Jones, who coined the term “sack,” played most of his 14-year NFL career with the Los Angeles Rams.
“I’m happy for (Mathis); he’s had a great year,’’ Quinn said. “Personally, I had a great year, but I give a lot of credit to my defensive guys out there, D-line and all, because getting numbers like that is not a one-man show.’’
Quinn might have picked up sack No. 20 just before halftime Sunday if not for a holding penalty in the red zone.
“Shoulda, woulda, coulda,’’ he said. “You try to make plays out there. I guess I fell a half short. We’ve got some things to look forward to going into the offseason. I think guys are excited about what we can build on and get ready for next year.’’
Rams coach Jeff Fisher added: “Rob had a great year (and) he’s going to have many more great years.’’
RAMS CHAT: JIM THOMAS AT 1 PM
Other Rams’ honorees were:
• Linebacker James Laurinaitis earned the Carl Ekern Spirit of the Game Award given to the player who exemplifies sportsmanship, ethic and commitment to teammates. In addition to 144 tackles, Laurinaitis provided physical and inspirational leadership as a defensive team captain.
• The Carroll Rosenbloom Memorial Award for Rookie of the Year went to Zac Stacy, who led the team in rushing (973 yards) and scoring (eight touchdowns). The only Rams rookies to run for more yards were Eric Dickerson and Jerome Bettis.
“It’s all about opportunity,’’ said Stacy, who had just one 4-yard carry through the team’s first four games this season. “I was given a chance to play and I took advantage of it. Really and truly, I wasn’t thinking about the 1,000-yard mark all that much. I’m more excited about getting a chance to contribute to the success of the team.’’
• Tight end Lance Kendricks received the Ed Block Courage Award, an honor given to a player who overcame adversity. Kendricks, a third-year pro, hurt his knee in the offseason but worked his way back to earn an opening-week start. He finished with 32 catches for 258 yards and four touchdowns.
• As reported earlier, defensive end William Hayes is the Rams’ recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his community service efforts. For the second consecutive year, Hayes spearheaded the holiday drive to deliver turkeys to local families in need. He’s also involved in the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the St. Patrick’s Center and hosted a paintball event that helped raise money for school supplies for children in need.
PEP TALK FROM A LEGEND
Rams guard Brandon Washington was waiting for his car following the team’s 23-13 win over Tampa Bay on Dec. 22 when he was approached by NFL legend Jackie Slater.
“The first thing he told me was to be patient, that he didn’t play until his third or fourth year, that he was on practice squad, that when he got in he made sure he didn’t come out and that he ended up playing for 19-plus seasons,’’ said Washington, a University of Miami product who has spent a good portion of last two seasons waiting for a chance. “When he told me to stay patient, I was thinking to myself, ‘I’ve been waiting so long, Jackie,’ but it’s really amazing to me that I’d have a talk with him like that and then get an opportunity dress and play just a few days later.’’
The 6-foot-2, 320-pound Washington was inactive for the first seven weeks before being shifted to the practice squad for the next six. He returned to the 53-man roster but was not activated for the Rams’ games Dec. 15 and Dec. 22.
On Sunday, in his first regular-season action, Washington took 17 offensive snaps at guard.
“I knew we had a ‘jumbo’ package in the game plan, but I wasn’t sure if it was going to be me dressing or Harvey (Dahl) dressing,” said Washington, 25. “I’d been preparing for basically the last two seasons. It’s tough being a back-up in the NFL because you don’t get the reps, so you always have to be mentally ready.
“I didn’t want to have any stage fright, no under-the-lights fright; I just tried to stay composed and calm.’’
And how did he play?
“Brandon Washington goes into the game and plays his first snap in a regular-season game up there and he played pretty well,’’ Fisher said.
“I felt I did pretty good,’’ Washington said, despite some dismay “that my first NFL drive was in Seattle, on a stage like that, against a top defense like Seattle’s. My first drive (quarterback Kellen Clemens) comes into the huddle and he’s coming at us with two plays and I was like, ‘Holy Snap,’ we’re in two-minute. But it was all pretty exciting. Definitely gives you something to build off of. You get that taste of it, a little better feel for it and hopefully I can come back next season bigger, stronger and faster.’’
DEFENSIVE TAPE REVIEW
With 11 tackles overall and six solos, rookie Alec Ogletree once again led the Rams defensively Sunday. Ogletree, who also had a pass breakup and a quarterback hit, finishes as the team’s tackle leader, beating out veteran Laurinaitis (10 tackles, six solos), who paced the squad in each of his previous four NFL seasons.
According to the coaches’ review of the game tape, defensive tackle Michael Brockers also had 10 tackles, with six solos, while safety Rodney McLeod chipped in with nine stops.
The Rams, who had 11 quarterback pressures and four hits on Seattle’s Russell Wilson, picked up sacks from Quinn, Chris Long, Kendall Langford and Eugene Sims.