In the past several weeks I have been asked, told through Twitter, received emails , and even asked in the grocery store if the Rams should put quarterback Sam Bradford on injured reserve. I held off answering that question because I truly believed that he would bounce back from his injury and show the ability to play at a high level.
With Bradford aggravating his high ankle sprain, which forced him out against San Francisco last week, the Rams signed Tom Brandstater from the practice squad to the active 53-man roster for the second time this season as the backup to A.J. Feeley.
Feeley finished last week’s game against the 49ers with some bumps and bruises. Coming out of the game he was very aware of having a dislocated left ring finger, but on Monday, it was discovered that he also suffered a fractured right thumb on his throwing hand. OK, so the hits just keep on coming.
With the Rams’ preparation having started Wednesday for their game on Monday Night Football against the Seattle Seahawks, they were staring down the possibility of Brandstater starting his first game in the NFL and taking his first snap. He would be going against a team that is trying to make a push for a wild-card spot, in an environment where Seattle’s “12th man” will be revved up after a day of partying and getting ready for NFL’s largest stage next to the Super Bowl, Monday Night Football.
With the Houston Texans having their own issues at the quarterback position, they had previously signed veteran journeyman Kellen Clemens as well as Jake Delhomme after placing both Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart on injured reserve. However, now wanting to sign an aged veteran (41 years old) in Jeff Garcia who last started 11 games in 2008 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Texans cut Clemens on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the Rams claimed Clemens on waivers, putting him on the 53-man roster. In order to do this, the Rams needed to create a roster spot, so they placed guard Jacob Bell (right knee) on injured reserve, which makes that number grow to 14 total (not counting those players previously released from injured reserve. But, who’s counting?
So, the Rams, who started the season with two quarterbacks on the roster, as of Wednesday they now have four (Bradford, Feeley, Brandstater and Clemens) headed into Thursday’s practice sessions, preparing for Seattle. In my opinion, if Bradford is unable to make smooth drops, change direction and more important protect himself through mobility with burst and acceleration, put him on injured reserve.
It is not about giving up on the season, it is not about the lack of pride or not wanting to win. It is about getting your franchise player healthy. I wrote a blog several weeks ago after Bradford was injured about high ankle sprains. When researching with several of my medical sources around the country, all of them kept saying the same thing: symptoms could last 2-7 months and the best rehab is rest.
By placing Bradford on injured reserve this week, that will allow him a chance to heal through rest for four weeks, so he can have a productive offseason in the weight room, on the field in OTAs (organized team activities) and minicamps. For Bradford to head into the offseason needing rehab to finish out a season that was lost four weeks ago when you talk about playoff opportunities, the right thing to do is protect the Rams’ investment.