The Rams went 7-9 and missed the playoffs, but there's still plenty of momentum for St. Louis to build on as it heads into the offseason, with a franchise quarterback and a young roster in tow.
And Sam Bradford thinks it would be a shame to see all that go to waste. That's why he's planning on bringing the offensive skill players together for workouts, quite possibly on his alma mater's campus in Norman, Okla., in the case that there is a work stoppage starting on March 4.
"We're going to have to," Bradford told me on Tuesday night. "We haven't worked that out yet; we haven't figured out exactly what we're going to do. But if the lockout happens, then I think it would be very beneficial for us to get together on our own and just start talking about our offense and what we're going do next year."
Despite being a bit shorthanded at the receiver position, Bradford did plenty as a rookie, throwing for 3,512 yards and 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions on 60 percent passing. The TD-INT ratio could improve, as should his yards-per-attempt average (6.0), but those numbers, for a neophyte quarterback, are nothing to sneeze at.
But Bradford also knows the challenge that lies ahead, in that he'll have to learn a new offense, quite possibly without the benefit of a full offseason. That's what makes the next few weeks important. Bradford will return to St. Louis to meet with new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who replaces now-Browns head coach Pat Shurmur, in the coming days, and Bradford hopes to learn enough of the offense to be able to run it in March, when coach-player communication could be severed.
"I've spoken on the phone with him several times, but we haven't met face-to-face yet," Bradford said of McDaniels. "It's something we'll be able to do next week, after the Super Bowl. Other than watching his offenses from a distance, I don't know a whole lot about him. So I'm really looking forward to getting to St. Louis and working with him.
"It looks fun. As a quarterback, you want to play in offenses like that, where they spread it out, they push the ball down the field, they do a lot of things to get the quarterback going with completions underneath. I'm looking forward to it. I think it's gonna be a blast."
One thing that has helped is the assist he got from a player whose development might still stand as the crowning achievement of McDaniels' coaching career.
After Tom Brady was injured in 2008, Matt Cassel, who hadn't started a game since high school, stepped in and guided New England to an 11-5 mark. That earned Cassel his place as a full-time NFL starter with the Chiefs, and now Cassel is appreciative enough to translate his old coach's ways on another quarterback.
"Cassel actually texted me the day after, couple days after we hired (McDaniels), told me that if I ever had any questions about the offense not to hesitate to call him, and he'd be happy to answer any questions," Bradford said. "To hear that from a guy like that, that's really cool, knowing I have a resource like that if I ever need anything."
With so much uncertainty ahead, it has to be comforting for the Rams to know they have a resource like Bradford, who's taking the game seriously enough to know that even March and April should be treated like they normally are.