It's time to let your voice be heard again Rams nation! It's time to vote for the Rams MVP for 2012!
Last season, Chris Long won in a very close race with James Laurnaitis. This season, the voting may be even closer. Not a single Rams player really stood out this year as the best player on the team. They had no pro bowlers and no players who really had great seasons. What the Rams had was a very solid team and a group of young players who all played well.
Because of that, we will first hold a round of voting to decide the top three, and then have a final vote between those top three for the TST MVP award. I will present the case for each candidate that I deem worthy.
Steven Jackson: 257 rushes, 1042 yards, 4 TDs, 38 rec, 321 yards.
The team voted him their MVP. He rushed for 1000 yards for the 8th straight season. He's the heart and soul and all that cliché stuff.
Sam Bradford: 82.6 rating, 59.5% completion, 6.72 yards per attempt, 3,702 yards, 21 TD, 13 INT
Sam Bradford had his best year of his short career. Playing with a weak supporting cast, he played at an above average level, which is admirable when Brandon Gibson is the most reliable target and the offensive line could do little to protect him, though they were much improved later in the season. It wasn't a great season by Sam by any means, but he was able to keep the team in most games and played well late in games.
Cortland Finnegan: 101 tackles, 1 FF, 3 INT, 1 TD
The Rams brought in Finnegan at a high price to help change the mentality of the defense. He did. His toughness rubbed off on his fellow Rams defenders, and he helped to create what may be the best defense in the St. Louis Rams history (emphasis on St. Louis). He has had better years in coverage, but it was his edge and toughness that the Rams benefitted from most. Also, he baited Josh Morgan into a penalty in Washington to seal the win.
Danny Amendola: 63 rec, 666 yards, 3 TD
Amendola only played in 11 games, and it was obvious the offense missed him in the 5 games he missed due to injury. He is the straw that stirs the drink for the Rams passing attack (Another cliché FTW!).
Saffold had a great year for the Rams. He was one of the best pass protectors in the NFL (Shoutout to Will from Ramsherd.com with that article), when healthy that is. He only played in 10 games. It's very frightening to imagine what the Rams offensive line would have looked like down the stretch without Saffold. If Saffold can stay healthy, he will be a key player for the Rams offense moving forward.
Chris Long: 33 tackles, 11.5 sacks
Chris Long for the second year in a row was one of the league leaders in QB pressures. In some games he appeared to not make an impact, but that's largely because he was constantly double teamed. He is the one player on the Rams defense that opposing offenses game plan around.
Robert Quinn: 29 tackles, 1 FF, 10.5 sacks
Quinn did not demand the double team that Chris Long did, but his speed off the edge led to his first double digit sack season in his second year. He will only get better.
Michael Brockers: 31 tackles, 1 FF, 4 sacks
If I had to point to one main reason the Rams defense took a step forward this year, it would be the greatly improved rush defense and if I had to point to one main reason for that, it's Michael Brockers. He's only a rookie, but his tremendous strength at the point of attack was essential to the Rams run defense this year. He wasn't consistent technique wise, but the raw talent is there. Oh boy, he's going to be a good one.
James Laurinaitis: 142 tackles, 2 INT
James took a step back in the run game this year, but he continued to be one of the better MLBs in pass protection according to Pro Football Focus. He was the quarterback of a very good Rams defense (cliché number three!!).
Janoris Jenkins: 73 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 4 INT, 4 TD.
He was very shaky in coverage at times, but the man is a true ballhawk. Without Janoris' two TDs, the Rams would not have defeated the Cardinals in Arizona, and the Tampa Bay game could have turned out much differently without his momentum changing pick six. He is a strong candidate for defensive rookie of the year, and by that I mean he should win it, but seeing as the Rams get little attention from the media, he probably won't.
Quintin Mikell: 101 tackles, 3 sacks, 4 FF
Mikell started off the season very poorly, but as he got more and more comfortable in his role as an in the box safety, his play improved down the stretch. He was a very effective blitzer in particular.
Greg Zuerlein: 23/31, 7 from 50+
Greg struggled these last few games, but he still had a great rookie season. His performance against Seattle at home was one of the best performances from a kicker I've ever seen. He was 4/4 and he set the record for longest kick by a Ram with 57 yards, then broke it again with one from 60.
Craig Dahl: Stats?
I vote Dahl, because without him, who would we have been able to blame for everything? Who would have brought the consistent comic relief with his play? Who would have been our scape goat? His value was unparalleled.
Please remember that this poll is to get the top three candidates before we have a final vote. Thanks for voting!!