Thu. Jun 20th, 2019

Los Angeles Rams 90-Man Roster Preview: Todd Gurley

Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports

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Los Angeles, Calif. – When it comes to the Los Angeles Rams offense, one player has been the face of the franchise and the focus for opposing defenses – running back Todd Gurley. Over the past two seasons, Gurley has managed to make his name as one of the league’s best running backs and break into the MVP conversation.

For a running back, that’s not easy to do.

However, when you rack up over 3,800 all-purpose yards and 30 touchdowns, you get that recognition. That’s exactly what Gurley has done, but after a disappointing postseason, the running back will have a lot to prove headed into 2019.

2018 Recap

The Rams offense continued to run through Todd Gurley in 2018. Headed into Week nine, Gurley was on pace for 30 touchdowns and would have had a good chance to beat LaDainian Tomlinson’s singles season record of 31.

He was one of two running backs to rush for over 200 yards in a game and was in the MVP conversation until a Week 14 injury put him out until the divisional round of the playoffs.

Gurley went on to rush for over 115 yards against the Dallas Cowboys which would have fans and media alike presume that the knee injury he had suffered was fine. However, with just four carries in the NFC Championship game against the Saints and 10 carries in the Super Bowl against the Patriots, questions again began to arise.

What started as a season to remember ended as one to forget. Gurley remained with the stance that everything was fine, but didn’t show up for post-season media availability. It’s only going to be a matter of time before Gurley will prove one way or the other if he’ll be the running back that Rams fans have cheered on the last two years or if he’s going to be the running back that left fans wondering what was wrong in the playoffs.

Roster Battle

Gurley will not be battling anybody for a roster spot. Injury or not, No. 30 will be the Rams’ number one running back even if that means taking a smaller workload.

Three Plays on Tape

While simple, the play above shows just how special of a player Gurley is. Not all running backs are as much of a dual threat as Gurley is. Not all running backs are comfortable catching the ball out of the backfield While Danielle Hunter makes the incredible play of chasing down Gurley, the Rams running back has incredible vision when it comes to the screen. This has been a large part of the Rams offense under McVay and one reason it’s been so successful is because of Gurley.

This play just goes to show you how selfless of a play Gurley is. The Rams running back had potential to break the touchdown record. Instead, with a little over two-minutes to play, he runs along the goal line to take more time off the clock. Nobody has bought into “We Not Me” more than Gurley has.

McVay does a great job getting a lot of action to keep the defense unbalanced. You have Josh Reynolds coming behind on the end around and Goff sells it all perfectly. Gurley takes this play the distance in a 13-7 game in the playoffs against the Cowboys. Instead of potentially three, the Rams get seven.

Biggest Question

The biggest question for Gurley in 2019 will obviously be his health. Just how healthy is Todd Gurley? There have been reports about potential arthritis. There have been questions about his workload and how much he’ll be able to handle with the Rams drafting Darrell Henderson. These questions can only be answered on the field come September.

2019 Outlook and Role

Todd Gurley will head into 2019 as the starting running back for the Los Angeles Rams. It would be hard to expect 300+ touches like the last three years, but Gurley will still be a top-10 running back production-wise.

The Rams offense has run through Gurley since the team drafted him and it’s unlikely for that to change because he is such a special talent. Henderson will cut into his touches. The Rams didn’t draft the Memphis product in the third round for no reason. However, Gurley will still be the featured back.

Chances of Making Final Roster

Todd Gurley could show up to training camp in a wheelchair and he’d make the final roster. There are no questions here in that regard.

 


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