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MJD: Rams want Todd Gurley to be 'fresh year-round'

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  • MJD: Rams want Todd Gurley to be 'fresh year-round'

    MJD: Rams want Todd Gurley to be 'fresh year-round'
    By Jeremy Bergman
    Around The NFL Writer
    Published: June 6, 2019 at 09:19 p.m. Updated: June 6, 2019 at 11:15 p.m.

    The curious case of Todd Gurley's left knee reportedly has the Los Angeles Rams concerned for the running back's health and altering how Gurley will be used going forward.

    Gurley told NFL Network analyst and Rams radio color commentator Maurice Jones-Drew this week that he is not hurt. But Jones-Drew said the Rams are planning to use Gurley less in the 2019 season.

    "I think you can expect (22 touches per game). But he may not be on the field for 80 snaps," Jones-Drew said on Thursday's edition of NFL Total Access. "He may be on the field for 60 or 50 snaps instead of having to be on the field for 16 games playing 80 snaps to 90 snaps a game. That's not gonna happen anymore."

    Gurley played on 74.7 and 75.8 percent of Los Angeles' regular-season offensive snaps in 2017 and 2018, respectively. That equates to 50.4 snaps per game in 2017 and 56.6 snaps per game in 2018. TGIII has also averaged 22.7 touches, 135.3 total yards and 1.4 touchdowns per game over the last two years.

    The back's snap rate took a sizable dip last postseason, however, when he played just 56.2 percent of the Rams' offensive snaps and 38 snaps per game, giving way to free-agent pickup C.J. Anderson after suffering a knee injury in Week 15.

    Anderson is no longer with the organization, but the Rams have surrounded Gurley this offseason with a solid committee in Malcolm Brown and third-round rookie Darrell Henderson. Rams brass did that with a purpose, Jones-Drew said.

    "The plan starts with drafting Darrell Henderson out of Memphis," MJD explained. "Now Todd was a guy where, last year, Todd was on the field 80-plus percent of the time. You don't want that. You want Todd to be able to come in and be explosive in spurts. Malcolm Brown got hurt. Todd had to take over, be the only guy. They only had two backs that were active. Now you're going to three, four backs that'll be active.

    "From there, we're not going to run Todd in OTAs and get tread on the tires in OTAs. ... This plan has been laid out between Todd, his personal trainer and coach McVay and the organization on what they're going to do. And they've all bought into it and they're all working well doing it."

    This strategy jives with what NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport's reporting earlier this week that Gurley's days of "being the straight-up, every-down bell cow are probably over."

    Gurley has not been practicing with the team during offseason workouts, instead taking part in the "planned training program," as explained by MJD. The RB is also reportedly trying to shed half a dozen pounds down to 218 in an attempt to lighten the load on a knee that held him back down the stretch of last season.

    "Todd has a plan to be ready throughout the course of the season," Jones-Drew said. "They want to be sure that they don't run Todd as much as they did last year and the year before all to where he can't perform the last two games of the year, he's got to take a rest to get him prepared for the playoffs. They want to make sure he's fresh year-round and I think that's important because Todd Gurley is an exceptional player."

    The Rams begin their three-day mandatory minicamp on June 11.

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  • RockinRam
    Gurley on Second NFL Season: 'Like a Nightmare'
    by RockinRam
    • 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?...
    -01-24-2017, 05:32 PM
  • Nick
    Where in the World is Todd Gurley?
    by Nick
    Forgive my weak attempt at a Carmen Sandiego reference, but I think the question needs to be asked again and again until we have an answer.

    Through the regular season, Gurley averaged 18.2 rushes per game and four receptions per game. In the playoffs, he rushed the ball ten times a game on average and caught four passes in three contests.

    This offense is built through Gurley. The strength of the running game is what makes play action so effective. Finding ways to get the ball in Gurley's hands should be priority number one for anyone making decisions about this offense, yet it seems like after his injury, and more specifically after the Dallas playoff win, Gurley just disappeared from the gameplan.

    There are some people across the internet - I know because I've seen the responses in the Twitter feeds of those who cover the Rams - who are abandoning ship on Gurley. I think it's way too soon for that kind of overreaction. But it really does make you wonder, in the biggest game of his career, why Sean McVay didn't do more to make Gurley a focal point of the gameplan.

    The Rams insist he's completely healthy, and Gurley does as well. I wouldn't be surprised, though, to find out in a couple of weeks that he had some nagging injury that needs cleaned up over the offseason. Still, it would be rather baffling if that's the case after so much insistence to the contrary.

    It kind of makes me wonder if there's something else going on behind the scenes, some kind of personal issue that Gurley is going through and the Rams have been trying to help him by easing his workload or not putting too much on his plate. I have no evidence or anything to base this off of, aside from just the mere speculation that will occur when someone who normally is so heavily part of a gameplan gets left behind so strangely.

    Either way, the Rams need to spend this offseason looking in the mirror and figuring out why, when all the chips were on the table, they kept their stud workhorse on the sidelines as much as they did. Maybe Gurley just needs an offseason away from football to get back to his normal self or to recover from whatever ails him. Let's hope that's the case, and we're not looking at the symptoms of a bigger problem here, either for Gurley or McVay....
    -02-04-2019, 04:04 AM
  • MauiRam
    Todd Gurley could be Los Angeles’ next big star 
    by 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, 01:54 PM
  • Nick
    Todd Gurley has 'been loving' Sean McVay's offense
    by Nick
    Todd Gurley has 'been loving' Sean McVay's offense
    By Jeremy Bergman
    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, 07:01 AM
  • r8rh8rmike
    C.J. Anderson: Gurley Was 'More Hurt Than We Thought" When He Signed With Rams
    by r8rh8rmike
    C.J. Anderson says Todd Gurley was 'more hurt than what we thought' when he signed with the Rams

    Gurley barely saw the field in the playoffs, but the Rams have insisted that he was completely healthy

    by Sean Wagner-McGough
    15 hrs ago • 4 min read

    It's been two weeks since the Super Bowl and the mystery surrounding Todd Gurley's strange absence has yet to be cleared up.

    All along, the Rams have maintained that Gurley was healthy during the playoffs and attributed his lack of playing time to football reasons -- with Gurley saying he simply got out-played by C.J. Anderson in the NFC Championship Game and Sean McVay saying he didn't do a good enough job getting his star running back involved. To no one's surprise, neither of those responses have been considered satisfactory answers to the biggest mystery of the playoffs.

    On Tuesday, Anderson provided more support to the theory that Gurley was dealing with a knee injury during the playoffs, hence his decreased workload. During an appearance on FS1's "Undisputed," Anderson revealed that when he arrived in Los Angeles, Gurley was more hurt than anyone initially thought, including the Rams and Gurley.

    "He was more hurt than what we thought," Anderson said. "The injury was a little bit more than what everybody in the building thought, including himself."

    So what was the injury? Anderson described it as a sprained knee, but he couldn't call it that with any kind of certainty.

    "He'd never really tell me. It was tough. I would say sprained knee," Anderson said. "Obviously, it's the same knee injury he's had before in his career. Obviously, I had surgery on my meniscus and once you have a knee, you always have a knee. So it aggravates. If he was getting a lot of touches earlier in the year -- obviously, him being one of the best running backs that probably was the case."

    Gurley dealt with a knee injury at both the beginning and the end of the regular season, which led to the Rams sitting him for their final two games of the season and signing Anderson to fill in. Anderson played well in relief of Gurley in Weeks 16 and 17, rushing for 299 yards and two touchdowns as the Rams secured a first-round playoff bye.

    When it came time for their playoff run to begin against the Cowboys in the divisional round, Anderson and Gurley shared touches, and both of them thrived. Gurley rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries while Anderson racked up 123 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.

    Gurley certainly looked healthy.


    But Gurley was almost entirely absent in the NFC title game, garnering four carries for 10 yards and dropping a couple of passes in the early going while Anderson carried the ball 16 times for 44 yards.

    -02-20-2019, 07:38 AM