EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Before parting ways for the final time, the St. Louis Rams handed out some in-house hardware Monday afternoon.
Team MVP: In the least surprising vote of all, defensive end Robert Quinn took home the team's Most Valuable Player award after posting (the official) franchise record of 19 sacks and seven forced fumbles this year. "It’s a great honor for them to do that," Quinn said. "It means a lot. I would definitely prefer to keep going on and going home this early, me personally and everybody else want to come back even stronger next year and make a playoff run."
Reaction: The Rams had other players posting solid years but this is a no-brainer. Quinn was the best player on the team and the best defender in the league in 2013. On his current trajectory, this could be the beginning of a long string of these awards.
Rookie of the Year: Running back Zac Stacy took home the honor after posting 973 yards and eight total touchdowns in just 12 games as the team's starter. Stacy took the job in Week 5 and never looked back.
Reaction: A good case can be made for Stacy, but I would have gone with linebacker Alec Ogletree. He has a bigger body of work and was a starter from Day 1. Along the way, he unseated James Laurinaitis as the team's leading tackler and finished third in the NFL with six forced fumbles. Close call but Ogletree should have had the edge here.
Carl Ekern Spirit of the Game Award: This honor is given to the player who best exemplifies sportsmanship, work ethic, and commitment to his teammates according to its official description and Laurinaitis took it home this year.
Reaction: It's not my place to quibble with an award that really can only be given by those who see the day to day, behind the scenes efforts of a team, but I wouldn't take umbrage with this one regardless. Pretty much all of those words in the description: sportsmanship, work ethic, commitment to teammates are at the very core of Laurinaitis' character. I imagine this award could very easily stay in his possession for some time.