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.

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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.

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.

Josh McDaniels has five weeks to prove himself?

DENVER - SEPTEMBER 19: Head coach Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos looks on against the Seattle Seahawks during NFL action at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 19, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

In a recent interview with AOL Fanhouse’s Thomas George, Broncos’ owner Pat Bowlen said that head coach Josh McDaniels will be back in 2011. But quickly after that report was published, the team issued a statement that contradicts Bowlen’s comments.

When asked if McDaniels would be back in 2011, Bowlen told George, “Yes he will. I am not interested in making a coaching change.” He even went on to say that he was “very happy with Josh” and that McDaniels was doing a “good job.”

But after news started to spread about Bowlen’s comments, the Broncos issued a written statement that stated the following:

“This has been a very trying and disappointing season for all of us,” Bowlen said in a written statement. “We haven’t had the success we had hoped to achieve. Josh McDaniels is the head coach of the Broncos, and you always strive for stability at that position. However, with five games left in the 2010 season, we will continue to monitor the progress of the team and evaluate what’s in the best interest of this franchise.”

Read between the lines and Bowlen is essentially saying that McDaniels has five weeks to campaign to keep his job. But given the talent level of the Broncos’ roster, is it fair for Bowlen to expect anything than more inconsistency from this team? Even after blowing out the Chiefs a couple of weeks ago, it was evident in a recent MNF game that Denver can’t hang with the likes of San Diego or other playoff teams in the AFC. So is Bowlen creating a situation where he knows McDaniels will fail?

Of course, the current state of the Broncos is do in large part because of McDaniels’ shoddy decision making. He pissed off Jay Cutler to the point where he had no choice but to trade him, then he sent Brandon Marshall packing last offseason. He also traded Peyton Hillis for Brady Quinn, which could go down as one of the worst deals in NFL history if Hillis continues to play as well as he has, and traded multiple picks in order to draft Tim Tebow (a major project at quarterback) in the first round last April. (Oh, and there was also that little issue of McDaniels getting fined because a member of his video staff was caught video tapping one of the 49ers’ walk-through practices.)

The Broncos are what they are because of McDaniels. Now it’s up to Bowlen to decide whether or not to allow McDaniels to finish what he started or send him packing after only two years. If he fires him, then he just creates a new set of problems. Will the new coach want to work with Tebow? Because if not, then what do you do with him? The Broncos can’t afford to have that pick wasted on a backup or an H-back (assuming the new coaching staff would move him to another position).

Bowlen has a tough dilemma on his hands.

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