Mother's Day wishes for healthier QBs

David from Maryland wants to know what I expected from the St. Louis Rams' Sam Bradford as the quarterback prepares to play under his third offensive coordinator in three years, and with multiple new targets.

Mike Sando: Let's put a Mother's Day spin on this one, David. The hardest part of sports for any mother can be watching her child risk injuries during competition. The injury factor is critical for quarterbacks and the NFC West has demonstrated as much last season.

Alex Smith was the only NFC West quarterback to start all 16 regular-season games. He was the only one healthy enough to do so (to clarify, Smith was the only projected starter healthy enough to remain in the lineup all season; backups were healthy enough). His ability to hold up physically was the key to his season and a key to the 49ers' season.

Bradford suffered a thumb injury against Philadelphia in the season opener. He took a beating and eventually left the lineup for an extended period after suffering a high-ankle sprain against Green Bay. Bradford was much more impressive as a rookie in 2010. He was also much healthier, taking every snap.

Arizona's Kevin Kolb (toe, concussion) and Seattle's Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral) also had injury problems last season. Those injuries prevented them from reaching their potential.

The best NFC West quarterback in 2012 will probably be the healthiest one. There is some luck involved, but at least the Rams' new coaching staff plans to protect Bradford by putting greater emphasis on the run game. I'm expecting a better season from him as a result.