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RB Coach on Gurley, Pass Protection and Offensive Predictability

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  • RB Coach on Gurley, Pass Protection and Offensive Predictability

    Interesting comment from rams RB Coach re: Todd Gurley and pass protection (w/Rotoworld commentary):

    Rams RBs coach Skip Peete cited Todd Gurley's pass-protection ability as a skill Gurley must develop for his game to improve.

    Gurley left the field on most passing downs in favor of Benny Cunningham, a switch that telegraphed to the defense that the Rams were likelier to run with Gurley in the game. "This is going to blow your mind. ... I think the most important thing in this league, as far as a running back is concerned, is his ability to pass protect," said Peete, an 18-year RBs coach. "They think it’s easy. They’ve all come into the league comfortable as a runner." Cunningham is a free agent, setting up Gurley for an increased passing-game role and potentially improved rushing efficiency against lighter boxes if he can fine tune his pass blocking.
    In my mind, the key to this story is not that Gurley needs to improve in pass-blocking (hardly surprising, as most college RBs don't learn the skill) but, rather, the admission by Peete, a holdover from 2016, of how the Rams' offense was highly predictable. We all saw this and felt like opposing defenses were constantly one step ahead of the Rams' offense. Its nice to see Peete acknowledge this openly.

    I view Gurley as a back who can handle all 3 downs. He's big enough to pass block, and would be a valuable asset coming out of the backfield as a receiver more and more.

  • #2
    Yes, I agree, this is a very critical part of being a complete running back as we all know. I don't care how good of a runner you are, you won't be on the field for every down (especially 3rd down with longer distances) if you can't pass protect and/or pick up the blitz. Hell, at least slow them down my goodness.

    If you flashback to the Super Bowl also, you will recall that Devonte Freeman misses a key blitz/rusher that caused Matt Ryan to get sacked and fumble the ball leading to Patriots recovery and score, iirc. You can imagine how he felt after that game?! I would feel horrible myself!


    • #3
      Thing is Gurley showed real promise as a receiver in 2016, but he needs that pass blocking ability to remain on the field in those passing situations.

      Still, this team NEEDS to bring Benny Cunningham back


      • #4
        Still wonder what happened to the Zone Stretch play the Rams ran in 2015 and seldom used in 2016... In a Zone Stretch, it can be a run or a pass. Wouldn't take much for Gurley to block a pass rusher coming from the secondary

        There are just too many sub-schemes to run off the zone stretch to list. Nevertheless, having two RBs on the field would help with play possibilities with or without the zone stretch. And with the lack of draft picks this season it wouldn't be hard to get a 3rd RB who can catch the ball.

        The tone of the RB coach is spot was too easy to predict the Rams play selection


        • #5
          Originally posted by Tomahawk247 View Post

          Still, this team NEEDS to bring Benny Cunningham back.

          For sure!...


          • #6
            It's almost like it was a jr. high offense or something...
            "The disappointment of losing is huge!"

            Jack Youngblood


            Related Topics


            • 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.


              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,...
              -06-22-2016, 12:45 AM
            • Nick
              Gurley: It's like there are 12 people on the field
              by Nick
              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 49ers 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 49ers 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’...
              -09-24-2016, 07:53 AM
            • bruce4life
              Would you look at that running...
              by bruce4life
              We gp to the ghost screen, gurley counter tray play murliple times and Gurley has running room. I'd be willing to bet that thst specific playcall has only been called 9-10 times this year and has an average of over 5.0 a clip... If using austin that way allows for a more efficient offense then so be it.

              Gurley and cunningham actually had some room to run today which is promising. And we actually ran the ball in the 2nd half too which is promising ....
              -11-13-2016, 02:30 PM
            • ManofGod
              Todd Gurley: Thoughts
              by ManofGod
              Well fellow clan members here we are once again at the end of yet another abysmal season. We don't have a great deal to look forward to draft wise, but at least the coaching search should be interesting to say the least. This season was disappointing (to some, not me) in many areas but particularly as it pertained to our running game (or lack there of). I won't bore you with a long soliloquy, but Todd Gurley wasn't the same guy he was last year, so what as the issue, was it:
              A. The short comings of our piss poor offensive line?
              B. Poor play calling/play design from our alleged offensive coordinator
              C. Gurley pressing due to having nowhere to run for most of the season in addition to being hit in the backfield more times then I can count.
              D. A lack of power associated with losing weight in the offseason in order to be faster to & thru the hole his season.
              E. The dreaded "sophomore slump".
              F.. All the Above

              I for one being from the same area as Gurley & watching him for years believes that he is a special talent. I believe that he is closer to the guy from his rookie campaign than the guy we saw this past year. With that being said I am also a realist, and I know that with a new coaching staff there will also be a change in philosophy on both sides of the ball. A new coach brings in his "type" of players, which means that our roster will look different going forward. This past week there was word out of the Rams organization saying that Gurley wasn't "all in", and that his commitment to the team was in question. If this is true, then that got me to thinking. A good GM/HC combination will look for ways to improve the roster, rid themselves of ridiculous contracts, & acquire talent both in the draft and through FA. One way to improve the roster is through trades, given our current roster I feel that our biggest trade options would be both Gurley and Tavon Austin (as I wouldn't trade Donald & Quinn's injury history makes him almost virtually untouchable at this time).

              So the question for you all is this: (for all of my jr. GM's out there)...
              1) Would you trade Gurley at this time (gauging from a previous pole I believe many of you would).
              2) What do you think we could honestly receive for Gurley on the open market.
              -01-02-2017, 11:07 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, 10:40 AM