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  • Gurley: It's like there are 12 people on the field

    Rams' Todd Gurley will try to break through against Tampa Bay
    By Gary Klein
    September 23, 2016, 7:05 PM

    Todd Gurley lined up in the backfield, looked across the line of scrimmage and saw a crowd.

    A large one.

    The San Francisco ***** and Seattle Seahawks stacked defenders to stop the second-year running back. Only the allowable 11 defensive players were on the other side of the ball, but it seemed like more.

    “It’s been crazy,” Gurley said Friday. “I’m like, ‘There’s 12 people on the field!’ It’s definitely a lot of people.”

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to employ a similar strategy Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

    The Rams are 1-1 and tied for first place in the NFC West, but they have yet to spring Gurley for a long run that was a staple of his performance last season, when he was voted the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year.

    Gurley has rushed for 98 yards in two games. His longest run went for 11 yards, and he is averaging only 2.7 yards a carry.

    Not coincidentally, the Rams are the only NFL team that has not scored a touchdown.

    Gurley lamented opponents’ strategy to stop him but said there was an upside.

    “Sometimes that’s a good thing because if you get past that first level, then you’re gone,” he said. “But you have to get past that first level first.”

    Last season, Gurley rushed for only 48 yards in 21 carries in a 31-23 victory over the Buccaneers. But it was a memorable performance that included a milestone.

    Gurley scored on a three-yard touchdown run that put him exactly at 1,000 yards.

    He finished the season with 1,106 yards, and joined Eric Dickerson and Jerome Bettis as the only Rams rookies to rush for 1,000 yards.

    “That was a pretty good night for us,” he said of the victory over Tampa Bay, “and the offense was actually rolling.”

    The Rams had a good night against the Buccaneers but finished the season ranked last in the NFL in offense.

    That’s where the Rams are again this season after a 28-0 defeat by the ***** and a 9-3 victory over the Seahawks.

    So getting Gurley on track remains a priority.

    “It takes 11 guys to protect the quarterback, it takes 11 guys to be able to run the football,” offensive coordinator Rob Boras said. “It’s just like anything, when things aren’t going well in business or in football, it’s not always the same guy.”

    Veteran guard Rodger Saffold said it should come as no surprise that defensive coordinators with a season’s worth of film to study have devised ways to try to stop Gurley.

    The situation is reminiscent of what former Rams running back Steven Jackson encountered, Saffold said. Jackson was a 1,000-yard rusher every season from 2005 to 2012.

    “He kind of knew, ‘With so many people inside, I’ve got to bounce’ and he’d break a tackle and get 12 or 15 yards,” said Saffold, who played with Jackson for three seasons. “[Gurley] has the same ability, but we have to make sure … when he makes that first guy miss, we don’t have two or three more guys coming after him.”

    Gurley did not play in the first two games last season, got a few carries in his debut and then produced the first of four consecutive 100-yard games.

    “Here’s Game 3,” Saffold said of Sunday’s matchup. “He’s just going to continue to get better. We just have to take care of him.”

    Other offensive linemen indicated that it was only a matter of time before Gurley breaks free.

    “We just have to do our jobs,” guard Cody Wichmann said, adding, “Once we start clicking, all 11 of us together, that’s when Todd’s going to break long plays.”

    The Rams are “real close” to making that happen, left tackle Greg Robinson said.

    “It’s just little things,” he said. “If we get on those linebackers and get Todd one-on-one with those safeties it will be interesting.”

    Gurley no doubt would welcome the opportunity.

    But first he needs to get through the crowd at the line of scrimmage.

    “We know what they’re going to do,” he said of opponents. “They’re definitely going to stack the box … It all comes down to executing.”

    Quick hits

    The Rams waived cornerback Steve Williams and promoted defensive back Isaiah Johnson from the practice squad….The Rams practiced Friday and then departed for Tampa.


  • #2
    Gurley's lack of yards comes right down to the OL. I wonder what happened to the Stretch Zone Running play the Rams where using with his first season. Mostly I count off-tackle and edge plays being employed with Gurley--those a POWER plays with the intent of the OL punching a hole and sealing the lane for the RB. Oddly since Stretch Running plays never have linemen down field crossing the line, there should be an OPTION side to the player where the QB fakes the hand off and throws across the Grain--certainly would give the TE something better to do then just added protection--and lets not discount T. Austin lined up on the strong side of the formation to run the slant or pull to the weak side of the play to catch the ball out in the flat.

    Nevertheless the Rams are playing into the hands of their opponents... if you can't block and shove the ball down their throats (Imposing your will on their defense), then the result is predictable and born out in the Monday Night Disgrace and the lack Luster Win. most teams just need to stack 7 in the box with a Safety (8th man) outside of the box to look for the run and play the short pass and of course Gurley is nullified. The Rams will get a few first downs...gain some yards...score some points...but the net result is that its containable and the opponent is always within 1 score of beating the Rams

    Comment


    • #3
      It also doesn't help that we take him off the field on 3rd down most of the time. It's almost always going to be a pass when Gurley isn't in the backfield. At least keep the D honest in that respect. I also understand the dude needs breathers, which is fine, but I'd just like to see him on 3rd down more often.
      Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Varg6 View Post
        It also doesn't help that we take him off the field on 3rd down most of the time. It's almost always going to be a pass when Gurley isn't in the backfield. At least keep the D honest in that respect. I also understand the dude needs breathers, which is fine, but I'd just like to see him on 3rd down more often.
        Its my 3rd year in a row I being BEGGING to run a two back offense. Outside of TA & K. Britt who else can the Rams rely on in the passing game? If there is another, I have yet to see him make an impact--if I was an opposing DC, I wouldn't be bothered to see the Rams throw a wrinkle in their normal scheme by running a "BUNCH" loaded pass formation--its safe to assume tis a WR-screen play and I'd defense it as such. So long as Britt is covered or TA is being spied what is the worry.

        With a Two RB set--that would get my attention. A potential FB blocker--or two other targets to catch a sling pass or short pass while the Rams run deep 2 WR and a TE is in the formation--that would worry me. The last play I'd want to try is a Blitz off the edge and leave a void & its just as risky to blitz up the middle depending on where either a RB or TE might go

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        • #5
          I seem to recall a certain Rams player rushing for 2105 yds during the '84 season. Even though defenses knew he was coming. And that Rams team was NOT a passing threat.

          Jeff Fisher was going on during a hard knocks episode about how they NEEDED #30 and he was not to be touched. Why do they need him? Benny can rush for those numbers.

          Rams offense under Fisher - They can't Run and they can't Pass. Yeah, that pretty much sums it up : ZERO OFFENSE

          Comment


          • #6
            Yes and yes to the above four posts.

            Gurley's lack of yards comes right down to the OL. -- Ram Dragoon

            Back to basics indeed.

            Let's get some old school FB running game! -Corey Harkey is an excellent piece in that equation.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by RealRam View Post
              Yes and yes to the above four posts.




              Back to basics indeed.

              Let's get some old school FB running game! -Corey Harkey is an excellent piece in that equation.
              I'd want to try something a bit different then Harkey...

              I'd want a Man Mountain...about 6'1 to 6'2 and 300+ pounds who has a very fast short burst of speed...enough of a bruiser to bury any DL-men or whammy Block a LB after either the defending NG and DT get a double team (verse a 3/4) or double team the DE and DT (verse a 4/3)... Once Gurley gets into the second level its an easy pickup of 3yards at the least and should average 5+ yards forcing the secondary to make the tackle (not an appealing prospect for DBs having to face an entire game of Gurley).

              The only possible defense is an additional LB or an addition big body on the defensive line... the result T. Austin can finally earn that big money contract. Its a damned if you do--damned if you don't matchup against the slot WR when an offense owns the point of attack and can unleash havoc in the second level

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Curly Horns View Post
                I seem to recall a certain Rams player rushing for 2105 yds during the '84 season. Even though defenses knew he was coming. And that Rams team was NOT a passing threat.

                Jeff Fisher was going on during a hard knocks episode about how they NEEDED #30 and he was not to be touched. Why do they need him? Benny can rush for those numbers.

                Rams offense under Fisher - They can't Run and they can't Pass. Yeah, that pretty much sums it up : ZERO OFFENSE
                I think you will find that the O Line was Far FAR better than the product on the field today

                __________________________________________________________
                Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by RamDez View Post

                  I think you will find that the O Line was Far FAR better than the product on the field today
                  Oh yeah, no doubt about that.

                  However, we all know who built the current line and we all know who is in charge of their development. Fisher, he just can't get the job done. He talks about wanting to run first. How it all starts with the run. That's his philosophy and yet he can't build it and put it on the field.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Curly Horns View Post

                    Oh yeah, no doubt about that.

                    However, we all know who built the current line and we all know who is in charge of their development. Fisher, he just can't get the job done. He talks about wanting to run first. How it all starts with the run. That's his philosophy and yet he can't build it and put it on the field.
                    This is my rub when I hear that the o line is suspect TODAY. This is Fishers FIFTH year and we are still talking about an embattled o line. Geez......

                    Comment

                    Related Topics

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                    • MauiRam
                      Stat Breakdown: Todd Gurley II and the Zone Block Scheme
                      by MauiRam
                      FINLEYJUN 21, 2016

                      It seems, just as the running back position was slipping into "by committee" systems, a game changing athlete comes around with a do it all skill set. Adrian Peterson showed us in 2007 that backs like this still existed, and now Todd Gurley II has arrived.

                      Gurley, the tenth overall selection in the 2015 NFL draft, exploded onto the scene with four straight 120+ yard games in his first four starts. Gurley continued to impress finishing his season with 1,106 yards and 10 TDs to earn himself a trip to Hawaii and Rookie of the Year honors. With sights set on an even better sophomore season, lets take a look into Gurley's 2015 and see where he was good, where he struggled, and what we can expect heading into 2016.

                      Optional...

                      To understand Gurley's success in the Zone Block Scheme (ZBS), I would like to direct you to (after you finish this article) to Brett Kollmann's Film Room Video that goes extremely in depth on the Rams style of the ZBS. The link will be at the bottom of the article. To paraphrase, the Zone Block scheme is a run game philosophy where the offensive line flows laterally down the line of scrimmage with the intent of stretching the defense and opening up a hole for the running back to run through. The responsibility of the running back is to flow with the play and read outside to inside. This means he is looking to get to the edge first (over the outside shoulder of his most outside blocker) and if it is not open, then he will look one gap to the inside. He will continue to read one gap at a time until he finds an opening. If no opening is there, usually a cut back lane is available so the running back can take it to the other side of the field. This system thrives with running backs who have great vision. Elite speed is not necessary as very successful backs such as Terrell Davis and Arian Foster, who both ran 4.6 in the 40 yard dash, were able to utilize the ZBS successfully. The difference with Gurley, is that he does have elite speed, great vision, and is perfect for this type of scheme.

                      The ZBS works different against different defenses and particularly struggles against the 3-4. This is due to the down lineman in a 3-4 focusing in on controlling 2 gaps instead of penetrating like you would see in a 4-3 defense. Since the 3-4 uses 2 gap control, the big Nose Tackle will clog up the middle, preventing cut back plays. Alignment in the 3-4 also leaves the Guard uncovered, which can confuse assignments for the line. A response for 3-4 defenses is to switch to a man block scheme and pull those uncovered guards to where the 3-4 defense is at a disadvantage as they try to flow with the play and end up flowing right into a down block. The reason I am pointing this out, is because the Rams and Todd Gurley had MORE success against 3-4 defenses, averaging almost 40 more yards a game and two more yards per carry. The answer is in Brett Kollman's video,...
                      -06-21-2016, 11:45 PM
                    • Nick
                      ESPN: Numbers say Todd Gurley missed holes in 2016
                      by Nick
                      Numbers say Todd Gurley missed holes in 2016
                      9:15 AM ET
                      Alden Gonzalez
                      ESPN Staff Writer

                      LOS ANGELES -- The fault of Todd Gurley's disappointing 2016 season for the Los Angeles Rams usually falls on the circumstances that surrounded him, specifically a shoddy offensive line and a non-threatening passing attack that caused defenses to stack the box and suffocate Gurley every time he touched the football.

                      But Gurley himself didn't take advantage of opportunities.

                      ESPN NFL Insider K.C. Joyner tracks the situations when running backs receive good blocking under a stat called good blocking yards per attempt. Good blocking, in this instance, roughly refers to the times when offenses do not allow defenses to disrupt a rush attempt. In 2015, while on his way to being named Offensive Rookie of the Year, Gurley averaged 10.9 good blocking yards per attempt (GBYPA) on 73 carries, the highest rate in the NFL. In 2016, Gurley averaged 6.8 GBYPA on 101 carries, 38th among the 43 running backs with triple-digit good blocking attempts.

                      It validates what Jamon Brown alluded to at the end of the season, when he talked about how Gurley and the offensive line "have to get back on the same page." And what running backs coach Skip Peete talked about six weeks later, when he said that sometimes Gurley went away from the playcall.

                      "The past is the past," Gurley said when asked last week about the holes that he missed. "We all put in a great effort and tried to do what we tried to do, but things just didn't work out for us on game day. We came up short a lot of times. Too many times."

                      Veteran offensive lineman Rodger Saffold, currently the starting left guard, saw improvement in the communication with Gurley during the offseason program.

                      "It's more just kind of figuring out the speed out of the backfield that he needs," Saffold said. "Once you get that down, then you kind of see the mesh of what we're trying to get done. He knows what we're trying to do on the offensive line as far as front side and back side. So, he knows where the play is going. Inside, with our wide zones and our inside zones, I think he's attacking where we want the ball to go a lot better. And I think he’s letting things develop, too. Letting things develop on the inside, but on the outside he’s really pushing that edge, and it’s opening up some things for him."

                      Gurley, the 10th overall pick out of Georgia in 2015, went from rushing for 1,097 yards through 12 starts in 2015 to rushing for 885 yards through 16 starts in 2016. Those 885 yards were the fewest ever for a running back with at least 275 carries in a single season. It vaulted Gurley out of the discussion for the elite running backs in the game, mere months after he was thought to be in position to lead it.

                      Rams quarterback Jared Goff still considers Gurley "one...
                      -06-21-2017, 09:40 AM
                    • r8rh8rmike
                      Struggling Rams RB Todd Gurley could see more targets as a receiver
                      by r8rh8rmike
                      Struggling Rams RB Todd Gurley could see more targets as a receiver

                      Oct 3, 2016
                      Alden Gonzalez ESPN Staff Writer

                      THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Monday that Todd Gurley is "very close" to breaking off big runs.

                      He's been saying that for four weeks now.

                      Gurley was held to a mere 33 yards on 19 carries in Sunday's 17-13 win over theArizona Cardinals. That's 1.74 yards per attempt, the lowest rate among his 16 career NFL starts.

                      For the season, Gurley has amassed only 216 yards on 82 carries, ranking 44th among 45 qualified running backs (Adrian Peterson is the only one below Gurley, but Peterson has only played in two games). Stretching back even further, Gurley has been held below 100 yards in 11 of his last 12 games.

                      "As long as I keep winning, I can care less," Gurley said after his team's third straight win on Sunday. "It don’t even matter to me.”

                      But the winning probably isn't sustainable if Gurley isn't effective.

                      Fisher said "the line of scrimmage was full of Cardinals" on Sunday, as is normally the case. So the Rams used Gurley a little bit more in the passing game. He hauled in a one-handed catch on a lob pass that turned into a 33-yard gain early in the third quarter, then converted a key third-and-8 down the stretch, running out to the flat, catching Case Keenum's throw, cutting to the inside and gaining the extra yardage two plays before Brian Quick caught the winning touchdown.

                      Gurley finished with five catches for 49 yards, giving him a more respectable 82 yards from scrimmage.

                      Pass-catching ability is an underrated part of Gurley's game, a skill that wasn't on display very often during a rookie season that saw him finish as the NFL's third-leading rusher.

                      But the running lanes haven't been there frequently enough for Gurley this year. He's averaging the NFL's third-fewest yards before first contact (0.90), with teams continuing to dare the Rams to beat them through the air. According to Pro Football Reference, Gurley is the first running back in history with 80-plus carries in his team's first four games and less than 2.75 yards per attempt.

                      "Obviously the running game hasn’t been going as well," Gurley said Sunday night. "But hey, I got a couple passes in the backfield. That was key."

                      Look for the Rams to continue exploring that....
                      -10-06-2016, 04:27 PM
                    • AvengerRam
                      Gurley's struggles... we've seen this before.
                      by AvengerRam
                      Todd Gurley finished his rookie year with a 4.8 ypc average.
                      This year, after 6 games, he has a 2.9 ypc average.

                      Believe it or not, we've seen this before.

                      In 1993, Jerome Bettis ran for 1,429 yards as a rookie with a ypc average of 4.9.
                      The next year, he finished with only 1,025 and a ypc average of 3.2.

                      Two years later, Bettis was a Steeler, and he finished with 1,400+ and 1,600+ yards in his first two seasons in Pittsburgh (with ypc averages in the 4.4-4.5 range).

                      While the reasons for Bettis' struggles (some felt it was over-use) may not have been identical to those impacting Gurley (OL play, playcalling), I think there is something to be learned from what happened with Bettis.

                      Don't give up on a talented RB. Fix the problems around him.

                      I'm really not interested in evaluating whether Gurley may have missed a hole or two. Perhaps he has, but on the vast majority of his carries, a hybrid of Barry Sanders and Eric Dickerson would have been stopped for no gain.

                      Gurley has not forgotten how to run. He is likely very frustrated, and it may be impacting his patience. But when I watch other teams, I see RBs, at least on occasion, getting 2-3 yards downfield before getting hit. I see holes opening. I see defenses getting fooled. I'm not seeing any of that with the Rams offense. Whether its the design, the playcalling, the blocking, or a combination of all three, the degree of difficulty Gurley is facing is unprecedented.

                      Well... almost unprecedented. We've seen this before, and we should not make the same mistake again. I'd hate to see Todd Gurley going to the Hall of Fame and citing his time in another city as the reason for his great career....
                      -10-17-2016, 07:59 AM
                    • r8rh8rmike
                      Gurley Sheds Non-Contact Beanie: 'I Can Do Everything'
                      by r8rh8rmike
                      Gurley sheds non-contact beanie: 'I can do everything'

                      By Kevin Patra
                      Around the NFL writer
                      Published: Sept. 7, 2015 at 07:36 a.m.

                      Todd Gurley won't play in Sunday's Week 1 opener, but the St. Louis Rams' running back is making strides.

                      The first-round pick told the team's official website that he's shed the non-contact beanie he'd been wearing in practice.

                      "I can do everything," Gurley said Sunday when asked about his practice limitations. "The beanie's off, so I'm good."

                      Coach Jeff Fisher already ruled the running back out for this week's season kickoff versus the Seattle Seahawks. Gurley, returning from an ACL tear, said he understands why the team is being cautious, even if he's starving to play.

                      "I definitely would want to be playing, but I know it's going to be a long journey," Gurley said. "You have to be patient and when the time comes it comes. I'll be ready for it."

                      "I've been waiting this long, so why not wait a couple more weeks or so?" he added.

                      Gurley was pegged as the centerpiece of the Rams' offense when drafted No. 10 overall out of Georgia. Most expect the rookie to see the field within the first month of the season, but the Rams will likely employ a committee approach as they ease Gurley back into action.

                      By season's end, the Rams hope they can fully ride the man many draft analysts pegged as the best back to enter the NFL since Adrian Peterson. Patient fantasy football owners pray that's true, so they can also saddle him down the stretch of the make-believe playoff season.
                      -09-07-2015, 11:29 AM
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