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Sam Bradford suffers high ankle sprain

St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford

The St. Louis Rams announced that quarterback Sam Bradford suffered a high ankle sprain during Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. The team’s statement on Twitter stated that Bradford “will be day to day this week but certainly limited in practice this week.”

Bradford’s 2011 season has been a nightmare as the Rams have gone 0-6. After 5 games he only has three TDs against 2 interceptions, and his completion percentage is down from 60% in 2010 to 52.8% this season. The Rams implemented a new offense after losing offensive coordinator Pat Shurmer and his West Coast offense, so Bradford has had to adjust to Josh McDaniels as his new coordinator. McDaniels has had his own problems after two tough years as the head coach in Denver.

A sophomore slump isn’t uncommon for NFL quarterbacks, so Rams fans shouldn’t panic, but Bradford needs to be on the field, and this injury may slow him down for a while.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Uncertainty will rule in Week 1 of the NFL

St.Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) delivers a pass durring the first quater at the Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis on August 13,,2011. UPI/Robert Cornforth

Predicting games in the NFL has become more difficult over the years with the emergence of parity in the NFL. The first couple of weeks always produce a number of shockers.

This year things should be even more unpredictable with the aftermath of the NFL lockout. You have a number of teams installing new systems, with other teams adding new quarterbacks. If you’re going to bet on the NFL in week 1, you’re going to have to watch developments in the preseason so see how different players and teams are responding to the changes. On the other hand, you also can’t put too much stock in the preseason. Hence the dilemma. But that also presents opportunities for astute observers.

Here are a couple of players and teams to keep an eye on:

Colt McCoy – He’s off to a great start in Cleveland. Cleveland is installing the West Coast offense, which typically takes a long time to master. Nobody will suggest that McCoy has “mastered” it after one preseason game, but it’s clear that he’s taking to the system, and that’s consistent with what experienced scouts thought about McCoy. He obviously has all the intangibles, and now he has an offense that is a closer match to his skill set.

Sam Bradford – Pat Shurmer is coaching McCoy this season in Cleveland, and last year Bradford excelled in Shurmer’s system. This season, however, Bradford gets a new system and coordinator with the arrival of Josh McDaniels. McDaniels has a good track record with quarterbacks, but we’ll have to see how Bradford adjusts. He didn’t get off to a great start in his first preseason game but there’s plenty of time.

The Bengals – This could be a disaster, as the Bengals might be going with rookie Andy Dalton. This kid has some ability, but jumping from TCU to the NFL is quite a leap. He wasn’t that great in his preseason debut, so we’ll have to see how he develops. The Bengals might be in the early running for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.

The Redskins – This will be the real test of the Shanahan ego express. Who knows who will start, and we’ll see if the Shanahans are as smart as they think.

Donovan McNabb – Can he still play? Will he do better under coaches that give him a longer leash?

These are just some of the questions leading up to the season, so get to work! At least it’s more fun than reading up on labor issues . . .

2010 Year-End Sports Review: What We Learned

Years from now, when people look back on 2010, what will they remember as the defining sports moment? Uh, they can only pick one? We discovered that Tiger Woods likes to play the field and that Brett Favre doesn’t mind sending pictures of his anatomy to hot sideline reporters via text message. We found out that LeBron listens to his friends a little too much and that Ben Roethlisberger needed a serious lesson in humility. But we also learned that athletes such as Michael Vick and Josh Hamilton haven’t blown second chance opportunities (or third and fourth chances in the case of Hamilton). It was also nice to see a certain pitcher turn down bigger money so that he can play in a city that he loves.

We’ve done our best to recap the year’s biggest sports stories, staying true to tradition by breaking our Year End Sports Review into three sections: What We Learned, What We Already Knew, and What We Think Might Happen. Up first are the things we learned in 2010, a list that’s littered with scandal, beasts, a Decision and yes, even a little Jenn Sterger.

Contributors: Anthony Stalter, John Paulsen, Paul Costanzo, Drew Ellis and Mike Farley

Tiger Woods gets around.

We hesitate to put this under “golf” because the only clubs involved were his wife’s nine-iron hitting the window of his SUV and the various establishments where Tiger wined and dined all of his mistresses…over a dozen in all. This was the biggest story of the early part of the year, but it got to the point that whenever a new alleged mistress came forward, the general public was like, “Yeah, we get it. Tiger screwed around on his wife. A lot.” He has spent the rest of the year attempting to rebuild his once-squeaky clean image, but it’s safe to say, we’ll never look at Tiger the same way.

Golfer Tiger Woods apologizes for irresponsible and selfish behavior during his first public statement to a small gathering of reporters and friends at the headquarters of the U.S. PGA Tour in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida,on February 19, 2010.   UPI/Sam Greenwood/Pool Photo via Newscom

LeBron wilts when his team needs him most.

Say the words “LeBron” and “Game 5” in the same sentence and NBA fans everywhere know exactly what you’re talking about. In the biggest game of the season, LeBron looked disinterested, going 3-of-14 from the field en route to a 120-88 blowout at home at the hands of the Celtics. There were rumors swirling about a possible relationship between LeBron’s mom and his teammate, Delonte West, and there’s speculation that LeBron got that news before tipoff and that’s why he played so poorly. Regardless of the cause, LeBron played awful in that game, and it turned out to be his swan song in Cleveland as a member of the Cavaliers. Talk about leaving a bitter taste.

You can auction off your talented son’s athletic abilities and get away with it.

The NCAA set a strange precedent this season while dealing with the Newton family. The always inconsistent and completely morally uncorrupt NCAA decided in its infinite wisdom that despite discovering that Cecil Newton shopped his son Cam to Mississippi State for $180,000, and that is a violation of NCAA rules, that Cam would still be eligible because it couldn’t be proven that he knew about it. Conference commissioners and athletic directors around the country spoke out about the decision, while agent-wannabes and greedy fathers everywhere had a light bulb go off in their own heads: As long as we say the player doesn’t know about it, it could go off without a hitch. What was Cecil’s punishment in this whole thing? Limited access to Auburn for the last two games of the season. Easy with that hammer there, NCAA. Read the rest of this entry »

Broncos fire Josh McDaniels – too soon or not soon enough?

ENGLEWOOD, CO - SEPTEMBER 21: Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniel addresses the media during a press conference to discuss the death of Bronco wide receiver Kenny McKinley at the Denver Broncos Headquarters at Dove Valley on September 21, 2010 in Englewood, Colorado. McKinley, 23, was found dead in his home on September 20, 2010 in Arapahoe County, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

That was quick.

It hasn’t even been two full years since the Denver Broncos hired Josh McDaniels and now he’s unemployed and they’re searching for a new head coach. Following the team’s 3-9 start, the Broncos fired McDaniels on Monday after he led them to losses in 17 of their last 22 games.

Looking at his brief track record, it’s hard to argue with the decision. Immediately upon arriving to Denver, McDaniels started a feud with then-starter Jay Cutler, who was eventually traded to Chicago for a first round pick and parts (uh, Kyle Orton). Then McDaniels led the Broncos to a 6-0 start in 2009, only to collapse down the stretch to finish 2-8. In the offseason, he was part of the contingent that sent No. 1 receiver Brandon Marshall to Miami.

He also had a hand in dealing Peyton Hillis to the Browns in exchange for Brady Quinn, who is now third on the Broncos’ depth chart behind Orton and rookie Tim Tebow. Hillis, meanwhile, hasn’t stopped bowling over defenders since he arrived in Cleveland and has established himself as a feature back.

McDaniels also had a hand in trading away multiple draft picks in order to select Tebow in the first round of April’s draft despite the warning signs that he was a massive project as a passer. Not lost on anybody was his inability to retain Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator following the ’09 season or how he was recently fined because a member of his video department was caught taping one of the 49ers’ walk-through practices in London earlier this year. Spygate 2, anyone?

But even considering all of that, was it enough to fire McDaniels right now? You can’t even properly grade his first draft class yet and nobody has the faintest idea what will become of Tebow. The Broncos didn’t have to commit to him through 2011 but what about through the rest of 2010? And who are you going to replace him with right now? “Wink” Martindale?

McDaniels’ short tenure in Denver was obviously filled with way more misses than hits, but it’s not like the Broncos improved their situation by firing him now. If anything it was a lateral move but then again, sometimes what’s best is to cut your losses and start anew.

Is Josh McDaniels better off not playing Tim Tebow?

Oct 24, 2010; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Invesco Field. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 59-14. Photo via Newscom

For a moment, let’s take a walk in Josh McDaniels’ size 10.5 shoes. (Actually, I have no idea what size shoes he wears, nor should I. That would be creepy.)

If he benches Kyle Orton and starts Tim Tebow the rest of the year, he would appease fans that mercifully had to watch Orton complete only nine of his 28 pass attempts against the Chiefs on Sunday. They want to see Tebow play because he offers a glimpse of what the future may look like. (And while the future may look grim, the present isn’t anything to write home about so what’s the difference?)

But McDaniels’ job status might as well be attached to Tebow’s right arm. If he plays the rookie and Tebow is Jimmy Clausen-like bad, management may ultimately decide that he shouldn’t be calling the shots anymore. After all, since arriving in Denver he jettisoned Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, traded Peyton Hillis for Brady Quinn (yee-ikes) and dealt multiple draft picks in order to select the project that is Tim Tebow.

Why give the Broncos’ front office any more reason to fire him?

The downside, of course, is that Orton continues to struggle and McDaniels is fired anyway without having the opportunity to coach Tebow on the field. If you’re McDaniels, why not take a shot with Tebow and hope you catch lighting in a bottle? After all, you can’t get much worse than Orton’s performance on Sunday so why not?

But the other problem is that Orton is due $8.8 million in 2011 and he’s earned the right to finish the season (his effort on Sunday notwithstanding). Plus, there’s a real good possibility that Tebow isn’t ready to see the field so it would be selfish of McDaniels to start him and risk stunting his career. Akili Smith and Joey Harrington are just two examples of quarterbacks who weren’t ready to take the field when they did and we all know how their careers turned out.

If I were to make a guess, I would say McDaniels will keep his job for at least another year. It’s hard for a team to invest in a coach only to let him go after only two seasons. I don’t agree with most of McDaniels’ decisions to this point, but two years is hardly enough time to put your stamp on a team. If the Broncos show zero signs of improving next season, then McDaniels should go. But for now, they might as well see what he’s got.

Should McDaniels see what Tebow’s got in the meantime?

Update: Well, clearly I’m a moron because Josh McDaniels has been fired. Nice work, Stalter.

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