Todd Gurley and Sean McVay: Past, Present, and Future

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Todd Gurley’s Ressurection?

Todd Gurley ll. The name has been synonymous with the new age Rams and their explosive offense over the past two seasons under the guidance of Sean McVay. Although this season when Gurley’s name is mentioned, some Rams fans cringe while many opposing fans mock. We all know why. We’ve heard it all off-season and seen it throughout this season. Gurley’s knee potentially has a shelf life, plain and simple.

Nobody knows the specifics but it is fair to speculate that much at this point. Gurley knows this, McVay knows this and they have obviously been struggling with how to handle it. The word poorly would be a simple way of putting it. We can see it on Todd’s face post games and hear it in McVay’s eloquently repetitive comments on the matter. Everyone is frustrated and the compounding elements of the offensive line and Goff’s play this year has only made it look worse to the outside world.

While the situation may have been handled poorly most of the season, it is important to understand the position McVay and Gurley have been put in this year and I still applaud them for how they are individually trying to handle the situation. Things were sailing last year right up through that historic Monday Night Football game against KC, where post-game some in the media were already crowning the Rams as future World Champions. Then the wheels fell off for Todd and we all know the rest.

McVay’s Predicament:

Coming into this season McVay knew the problem he faced. He had just come off a painful Super Bowl loss where his superstar, All-Pro running back barely saw the ball or the field. Now with a new, record-setting running back contract looming over the heads of the entire organization, Sean had to come up with a new game plan for their face of the franchise.

I have never had the honor of meeting Sean McVay but at this point, I feel like I have a pretty good idea of the type of coach he is. I assume he and Todd sat down at least once, if not multiple times and had a lengthy conversation about how to handle his workload this season and prolong his career with the Rams. Now die-hard fans know Todd Gurley, they know him as a quiet and humble superstar to the media.

A guy that will sacrifice touchdowns and individual states to ensure team victories. A guy that will always mention his teammates before himself and never has anything bad to say about his team, outside of his epic and well-needed “middle school offense” comments during the Fisher era. Todd has handled the situation like a professional all season, while McVay has struggled, much to the frustration of fans, on how to properly deploy him.

After a confusing and sometimes miserable first half of the season, last Sunday night it became apparent against the Bears that the Rams loss in Pittsburgh was the final straw for McVay. Fans were at a complete loss as to how and why Gurley had vanished in the 4th quarter of a close game in which he had been carving up a Pittsburgh defense early.

Rams Tug-of-War

Whatever McVay’s initial philosophy was for Todd, it wasn’t working. It seemed he had no choice at this point. If he was going to keep the season alive and keep fan support, he had to unleash Gurley. And against a Khalil Mack led Chicago defense, McVay did just that by pounding the ball with Gurley behind a make-shift offensive line and down two, star receivers. And when things slowed down in the 2nd half, he adjusted and turned to Gurley again.

So the question on every Rams fan’s mind now is, “So which Gurley do we get next week?”. I myself, honestly am not sure. Has McVay finally flipped the Gurley switch for the remainder of the season or will he start second-guessing his decision and pull the cord again? Only the 33-year-old Sean McVay can answer that question. This is partly why I am writing this article in the first place and why I chose it as my first topic.

To all Rams nation, let us not forget how far our franchise has come in the last couple of years after over a decade of misery and mediocrity. A 30-year-old kid, along with Les Snead, turned this franchise around overnight. He turned a potential bust at QB into a highly productive NFL starter. He took a very gifted running back and put him into the elite class of some of the franchise’s all-time greats in Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, and Steven Jackson. Sean McVay took us back to a Super Bowl in just two years.

No Right Answer:

Has he made some mistakes along the way in coaching, play-calling and roster-building? Sure, he has but he learned from his mistakes and continued to grow as a head coach. But now the young buck is in a precarious situation, one many head coaches have never had to deal with.

There is probably no right answer when it comes to what to do with Gurley. If his knee is truly degenerating, the Rams can either ride and die with him until the wheels fall off, not knowing when that will be, or continue on the path of load management leaving everyone frustrated but potentially prolonging his season and/or career. But no matter the outcome of the season and how Gurley is used going forward, we as fans need to keep faith in our head coach that he will try and do what’s best for his team and for Todd.

Decisions for The Rams:

This franchise will be making some critical decisions over the next couple of years that will shape this team moving forward into their new stadium. Whether Todd Gurley is part of the team’s plans years into the future remains to be seen. But for now, keep the faith that McVay will get this right and that Gurley will carry this team into the playoffs if given the opportunity. No matter what the future holds for Gurley with the Rams, I would like to thank him for his part in resurrecting this Rams franchise back to glory.

Thank you, Todd, and thank you, Sean. Go Rams!


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