EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams handed out their 2015 team awards on Monday with little in the way of surprises.
All awards are voted on by the players. Here's a look at who took home what trophies after another disappointing 7-9 season:
MVP: DT Aaron Donald -- Well, yeah. Donald has already emerged as the team's best player in just his second season in the NFL. That he won this award solidifies that standing, but it's really only a harbinger of things to come. According to the coaching staff's review of film, Donald finished with 11 sacks, 29 quarterback hits, 49 quarterback pressures and 22 tackles for loss. For his work, Donald earned a second straight Pro Bowl bid and is in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year.
"He gets my vote for defensive MVP," coach Jeff Fisher said. "It’s nothing against J.J. Watt or anybody else, but maybe they’ll have co-(winners)."
It's unlikely Donald will win the award, but expect his name to be a fixture in the debate for years to come. He's that good.
Rookie of the Year: RB Todd Gurley -- Another one that didn't require a lot of thinking. Gurley finished third in the NFL in rushing (1,106 yards) and scored 10 touchdowns despite playing in only 13 games with 12 starts. Like Donald, Gurley also earned a Pro Bowl nod in his first season, and the Rams strongly believe that he will continue to ascend as he gets further removed from the ACL injury he suffered in 2014.
"We’ve said that all along," Fisher said. "You come off this injury and that first year back, you can see the light and things. But, with an offseason program and strength and conditioning, he should be a different running back next year."
Carl Ekern Spirit of the Game award: TE/FB Cory Harkey -- According to the team, this award goes to "the player who best exemplifies sportsmanship, hard work and commitment to teammates." Harkey has long been considered one of the team's emotional leaders and hardest workers. He contributes at tight end, fullback and on special teams and is often found giving fiery pregame speeches to his teammates before kickoff. This is the second year in a row Harkey has won this award.
Ed Block Courage award: WR Brian Quick -- He bounced back from what some medical personnel believed could be a career-ending shoulder injury and returned to play, though he didn't have much on-field impact. He finished with 10 catches for 102 yards in 13 games. That he was even able to play at all after a long and strenuous offseason garnered him the recognition as the Rams' nominee for the award, which goes to a player who overcame some form of adversity.
"He spent the whole offseason rehabbing, so he didn’t get to spend the whole offseason preparing from a football standpoint," Fisher said. "So, I think he was set back. But, he’s healthy now. He’s lucky to be playing. The blow that he took there was potentially very dangerous to that shoulder in the game. He came away from it without an issue. He needs to have a really good offseason this year, and become much more consistent."