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Gurley on Second NFL Season: 'Like a Nightmare'

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  • Gurley on Second NFL Season: 'Like a Nightmare'

    • By Chris Wesseling
    • Around the NFL Writer
    • Published: Jan. 24, 2017 at 02:53 p.m.
    • Updated: Jan. 24, 2017 at 03:05 p.m.

    After a successful debut campaign as the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year, Rams running back Todd Gurley suffered through a miserable second season.

    Mired in an inept Los Angeles attack, Gurley clearly regressed as a playmaker, finishing with the lowest yards-per-carry figure (3.2) of any back with 150 or more rushing attempts.

    In a Tuesday appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, Gurley was asked to categorize his 2016 season.

    "Like a nightmare. I still can't believe the season," Gurley said. "It was definitely a tough year, a learning experience for me. To be 4-12 this year? I don't want to feel that feeling again."
    Gurley made news in December, describing the Rams' attack as a "middle school offense" in the wake of back-to-back lopsided losses that led directly to the firing of coach Jeff Fisher.

    Provided a forum to explain that criticism, Gurley clarified that he was speaking strictly of the players rather than the coaching staff.

    "The week before, we played New England. I think we probably scored one touchdown and that was the last two minutes of the game," Gurley explained. "Then we go play Atlanta, and they probably put more points up on us on defense than we actually put up on offense."

    "It was frustrating. I kind of told it like it was, kind of how we looked. It was too many mental errors from everybody, including myself, just turning the ball over. You just can't have that."

    Gurley was gracious enough to let the coaching staff off the hook, but Fisher's offenses were dysfunctional for long stretches of his five-year tenure with the Rams.

    Erupting for more than 125 rushing yards in each of his first four NFL starts, Gurley drew lofty comparisons to Hall of Famers such as Gale Sayers and Eric Dickerson early in his rookie season.

    His rare talent was so obvious at the time that NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger raved, "My mom could scout Todd Gurley."

    Since that torrid start to his career, however, Gurley has reached the century mark just once in 24 games. No other running back since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger has played all of his team's games and averaged as many carries per game as Gurley (17.4) without reaching 100 rushing yards at least once in a season, per NFL Research.

    The Rams have enlisted new head coach Sean McVay to pull No. 1 overall draft pick Jared Goff out of his rookie-year tailspin. Beyond that quarterback-whisperer responsibility, McVay will have to find a way to free Gurley from the bad habits he picked up behind an offensive line that is too often overwhelmed at the line of scrimmage.

    The talent is there. Can McVay and his staff unlock the potential in 2017?




  • #2
    Since that torrid start to his career, however, Gurley has reached the century mark just once in 24 games. No other running back since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger has played all of his team's games and averaged as many carries per game as Gurley (17.4) without reaching 100 rushing yards at least once in a season, per NFL Research.
    This is what keeps nagging me about Gurley. As I've mentioned before, his issues are not a 2015 vs. 2016 dichotomy. He basically had a crazy good month to month-and-a-half......and nothing since.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by HUbison View Post
      This is what keeps nagging me about Gurley. As I've mentioned before, his issues are not a 2015 vs. 2016 dichotomy. He basically had a crazy good month to month-and-a-half......and nothing since.
      I agree with you. Though we can blame some of Gurley's struggles on the poor line play and lack of passing attack, he hasn't come close to his early season success in 2015. As far as I'm concerned, Gurley has a lot to prove if we're to accurately think he's a star player.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by HUbison View Post
        This is what keeps nagging me about Gurley. As I've mentioned before, his issues are not a 2015 vs. 2016 dichotomy. He basically had a crazy good month to month-and-a-half......and nothing since.
        I feel you Hub. That is one of my main concerns too. I have said that after his good month, he rode a wave of hype, but hasn't really produced as expected since.


        Gurley ran the ball 278 times this year. He only had 2 carries that went for over 20+ yards. You would think that even with a poor offensive line, an explosive, once in a generation back like Todd Gurley would have more than 2 carries over 20+ yards.
        Last edited by RockinRam; -01-25-2017, 11:05 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by HUbison View Post
          This is what keeps nagging me about Gurley. As I've mentioned before, his issues are not a 2015 vs. 2016 dichotomy. He basically had a crazy good month to month-and-a-half......and nothing since.
          yes, I am with you. It is on Gurley as much as others to prove him and them selves. He could simply be a flash in the pan......or not. we just don't know. But I for one would not say he is the man......just yet.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm glad Gurley included himself in the criticism of the offense, because he was definitely part of the problem.

            I'm still at a loss as to why the 2015 Gurley was able to regularly break tackles behind the line of scrimmage, create his own holes where there were none, and run to daylight for big yardage, while the 2016 Gurley was not. He looked like a completely different player.

            Hopefully, he can turn it around and return to the form that made him the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, a Pro Bowler, and a Second-team All-Pro.

            Comment

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            • Nick
              Todd Gurley has 'been loving' Sean McVay's offense
              Nick
              Todd Gurley has 'been loving' Sean McVay's offense
              By Jeremy Bergman NFL.com
              Published: July 8, 2017 at 03:25 p.m. Updated: July 9, 2017 at 08:28 a.m.

              Todd Gurley's first season in Hollywood was next to nightmarish.

              After a promising rookie campaign, the former Offensive Rookie of the Year saw his yards per carry average dip to 3.2 and barely saw any opportunities to break big runs behind an ineffective offensive line. It also didn't help that the Rams quarterbacks were the least feared signal-callers west of Florham Park, inspiring opposing linebackers and safeties to crowd the box and limit Gurley's options.

              But with new coach Sean McVay at the helm, Gurley is rejuvenated with hopes that his second go-around in the Coliseum will bear better results.

              "I hope so," Gurley said, when asked by Zig Fracassi on SiriusXM NFL Radio if he expects Los Angeles' offense to be more "Gurley-friendly" in 2017. "Yeah, Coach. Tell Coach we want it Todd-friendly."

              Gurley added that he has "definitely been loving" McVay's style of offense, which for now has the back focusing on daily preparation and being a "situational master." NFL Network's Gregg Rosenthal noted during minicamp that the Rams were moving the third-year back all around the offensive formation: in motion out of the backfield, outside the hashes, etc.

              Inspiring the tailback this offseason is the development of second-year quarterback Jared Goff, who had shown in minicamp to be a more than competent option at QB.

              "Oh, he's been getting better. Obviously, he didn't go No. 1 for no reason. He has the talent, and he's just been getting better," Gurley gushed. "He definitely had a great OTAs, great minicamp. Coaches have been doing a good job with him. Just his preparation, him being there all day, he's been great so far, man, so I'm definitely looking forward to it."

              The running back's comments this summer are a far cry from what Gurley was saying just seven months ago about the state of L.A.'s attack. Following the Rams' loss to Atlanta in Week 14 -- a defeat that proved career-fatal for then-coach Jeff Fisher -- Gurley mused that his unit looked like a "middle school offense out there." In January, he told NFL Network's Rich Eisen that the Rams' 4-12 campaign was "like a nightmare."

              It's still summer, and nary a Ram has yet to put on pads. But it sounds as if Gurley has already graduated from last year's middle-school nightmare to a professional dream.

              After all, as Gurley puts it, "It can't get any worse than it did last year."
              -07-09-2017, 08:01 AM
            • r8rh8rmike
              Struggling Rams RB Todd Gurley could see more targets as a receiver
              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, 05:27 PM
            • MauiRam
              Todd Gurley could be Los Angeles’ next big star 
              MauiRam
              By Rich Hammond

              OXNARD >> If, as the saying goes, stars are made, not born, what about those who are relocated?

              Todd Gurley is poised to be the next big thing in Southern California sports. The Rams running back still might go unrecognized walking down local streets, particularly when his trademark shoulder-length dreadlocks are pulled back, but given his recent face time on national TV, that seems certain to change.

              “Carl’s Jr.,” teammate Benny Cunningham said with a wry grin after a recent practice. “That’s his new nickname. You should call him that. He will like that.”

              Gurley has received copious good-natured ribbing for his role as as a burger-pitcher. In the commercial, Gurley — who speaks only a few words — is greeted by an agent and selfie-taking admirers as he coolly strolls through an office while wearing a hat with a generic “L.A.’’ logo.

              “Welcome to California, Todd Gurley,” shouts the agent, played by actor/comedian Jay Mohr.

              And welcome, perhaps, to a void that needs to be filled, that of major Southern California sports icon.

              Kobe Bryant has retired after an iconic 20-year career with the Lakers. Clayton Kershaw arguably is the best pitcher in baseball, but many viewers can’t even watch Dodger games. The Angels’ Mike Trout is highly marketable but seems reticent to display charisma in a public way. The top players for the Kings and Ducks are more likely to pitch products in Canada.

              Chris Paul is a contender, but at best he’s a very good player on a good Clippers team, and that franchise still is attempting to dribble out of the Lakers’ shadow.

              The throne has been vacated, and Gurley can fill it. He’s telegenic, intelligent, community-minded and is coming off a 2015 rookie season in which he rushed for the third-most yards in the NFL (1,106).

              It also doesn’t hurt that Gurley is represented by Roc Nation Sports, the agency founded by music star Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter.

              “The region is looking for someone to embrace,” said David Carter, Executive Director of USC’s Sports Business Institute, “and not only because football is back but because Kobe Bryant’s presence will be diminished. And as long as the Dodgers struggle to get their bearings on TV, their stars will not have as constant a light shone on them. All of this makes his timing ideal.”

              There’s only one question: Is this market ready to accept Gurley as a hometown hero? As of now, three months before the start of the NFL season, Gurley remains an outsider, and something of a quiet one.

              Bryant arrived as a teenager and grew up here. Shaquille O’Neal and Manny Ramirez were imported, but announced their arrivals with boisterous enthusiasm. Gurley? He’s been placed gently on Southern California’s porch like a FedEx package from St. Louis. The locals are just beginning to unwrap him.

              It’s a...
              -06-12-2016, 02:54 PM
            • Nick
              ESPN: Numbers say Todd Gurley missed holes in 2016
              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, 10:40 AM
            • MoonJoe
              Todd Gurley's Wish for the Season
              MoonJoe
              By Dan Carson – FOX Sports
              Sep 6, 2016 at 10:52a ET

              Todd Gurley is arguably the most tantalizing fantasy quantity of 2016.

              After flashing brilliance and steamrolling his way to Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2015, the St. Louis Rams' second-year back enters the coming season with high expectations for a breakout year.

              But the fantasy owner fever dream where the Rams force-feed the ball to their 22-year-old star like foie gras doesn't appear to be on the table, according to Gurley.
              In a feature published Tuesday by Bleacher Report's Dan Pompei, Gurley revealed that he would like to keep his rushes between 20 and 25 takes per game and will be increasing his role in the Rams' passing attack.

              "It's cool getting more involved in the passing game," Gurley said. "Better than having 11 guys coming straight at you when you are running the ball. You get to at least avoid a couple hits."
              Rams offensive coordinator says Gurley is transitioning naturally into his increased role.
              "He didn't do it a lot in college, but he's a natural catcher," Boras said. "He's learning a lot about protection."

              "Nobody wants to carry the ball 30 times a game," Gurley said. "It's not the 1980s no more."

              Indeed, it is no longer the '80s. And while they share similar frames, Gurley isn't Eric Dickerson. He's still gaining confidence from an ACL tear that wiped out the back end of his final year at Georgia in 2014, and maintains that this year will be special because he's finally stopped worrying about his injury.

              "I feel I can play a lot better than I did this year when I can focus on football and not worry about my knee swelling up," Gurley said. "Last year, I was focused more on my knee."
              Now, Gurley isn't focused on swelling so much as building.

              "I used to hate doing legs until I messed my knee up," Gurley said. "Now I know I need to do legs. Everybody says they hate leg day. That's my day."

              “Leg day—the vegetables of lifting.”...
              -09-06-2016, 09:33 AM
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