McDaniels endorses Bradford

BY JIM THOMAS
Friday, December 30, 2011

Despite the injury problems and the downturn in production for Sam Bradford, Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels still thinks the former No. 1 pick has what it takes to be an elite NFL quarterback.

"Sam is an extremely talented player," McDaniels said Thursday. "Nothing that's happened this year has changed Sam Bradford's future or his outlook going forward. I think in some ways, going through seasons of adversity can really be a positive for a young player or a coach or anybody, for that matter, in your life.

"Nothing comes easy. Sometimes it's good to learn those lessons young so that it makes you really understand, and you really cherish the opportunity to continue to do it and try to get better. And then when you do have a chance to be successful and win big, you know how hard you worked and how much it took for you to get there. ... I still think he's got a bright future."

Gordy's year

In a season full of failures, cornerback Josh Gordy continues to be one of the Rams' modest success stories. Signed to the practice squad Sept. 6 following his release in Green Bay, Gordy makes his ninth start of the season in Sunday's finale.

Although he still needs to work on his tackling, Gordy intercepted his team-high third pass of the season last Saturday against Pittsburgh.

"I told Josh, 'You're not going to be in the Hall of Fame, but you've improved as much as any player has in the last six, seven weeks,'" defensive coordinator Ken Flajole said. "I give him the credit and I give his position coach (Clayton Lopez) the credit."

Fan appreciation

For the third season in a row, the Rams are making their final home game "Fan Appreciation Day.'' Fans attending Sunday's noon kickoff at the Edward Jones Dome against San Francisco can purchase hot dogs, soda and other food items at half-price. All souvenir merchandise also will be on sale for half-price.

Fifty charter PSL owners have been selected to be part of a "fan tunnel" on the field as the Rams come out of their locker room for the game. In addition, 50 other fans not necessarily PSL holders will be randomly selected to receive signed player jerseys at halftime.

"There'll be giveaways, from iPads to pizzas throughout the game," said Kevin Demoff, the Rams' executive vice president of football operations. "And there will be a few other surprises."

Starting at 10:30 a.m., Rams players on the injured reserve list will sign autographs on the upper and lower concourses and in the Bud Light Party Zone.

"It's obviously been a disappointing year on the field," Demoff said. "But our fan base has remained passionate, they've remaining respectful, and this is our way of thanking them."

Sellout extension

In an effort to get Sunday's game on local television, the Rams received a 24-hour extension to meet NFL sellout requirements. With the extension, they have until noon today to either sell the remaining tickets, find corporate sponsorship to purchase those tickets or buy the remaining tickets themselves.

Only nine Rams regular-season games have been blacked out during their 17 seasons in St. Louis, with the last blackout coming in the 2009 finale.

keep it going

The record is 2-13, but coach Steve Spagnuolo isn't ready for the Rams' season to end Sunday.

"The disappointment will be that there's not another game," Spagnuolo said following Thursday's practice. "That's just how I feel. I mean, we're in it for the game. I enjoy practice and I enjoy the preparation and all of that, but the fun of competing against somebody else we'll miss that, and we'll have to wait to whenever it is that we play again."

Injury update

Once again, Bradford (ankle) and A.J. Feeley (thumb) did not practice Thursday. Kellen Clemens is expected to start his third consecutive game for the Rams at quarterback.

Running back Jerious Norwood did not practice because of illness; practice squad offensive lineman Ryan McKee also was sent home because of illness. Defensive end Chris Long (ankle) had limited participation. Linebacker Brady Poppinga (illness) and cornerback Josh Gordy (abdomen) were full participation.