Todd Gurley’s workload has been up and down all season, with little explanation behind it. It doesn’t sound like Sean McVay is about to offer one, either.
On Wednesday, McVay admitted that Gurley’s production has varied, adding that much of it is “not exclusive to what [Gurley] can control.”
McVay on Gurley's season: "There's been some different reasons why the production is what it is – and a large part not exclusive to what he can control."
— Cameron DaSilva (@camdasilva) December 18, 2019
Gurley, of course, has had lingering left knee issues for a while now. The Rams have been very careful about his workload, even when he’s producing. He’s gotten 20 or more carries on just two occasions this season, and he’s down to 3.9 yards per carry, a full yard less than last season.
What can Gurley do to change it? Not much. Things like game script matter too, but the Rams don’t want Gurley getting hurt. He’s going to have games where he can’t get it going and they go away from him. McVay sounds like he’d like to reward Gurley with more usage to reward his production, but the running back’s health comes first, even if he’s looked perfectly fine lately.
Todd Gurley scored on a touchdown run in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, and he showed off a beastly move on the way to the end zone.
Gurley scored on a 7-yard touchdown run on first and goal and stiffarmed the heck out of Tre Flowers to get there:
Dismissed with authority! pic.twitter.com/PH53kQ52U2
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) December 9, 2019
What a power move by Gurley.
The touchdown marked Gurley’s ninth rushing score and 10th overall touchdown on the season.
Todd Gurley had his best game in months against the Chicago Bears on Sunday night, providing encouragement as the Los Angeles Rams head into the stretch run.
Gurley’s performance — and his apparent health — are good signs, and according to coach Sean McVay, may lead to more touches for the running back going forward.
“I think so,” McVay said when asked if Gurley would have a bigger role moving forward, via Lindsey Thiry of ESPN. “That’s an ideal situation. Anytime you get Todd involved like that, it’s usually always a good thing for our offense.”
Gurley entered Sunday night’s game having failed to get 20 carries in a game all season. The Rams gave him 25, blowing away his previous season-high of 18. Part of his limited usage has been the Rams’ clear concern about the health of his left knee. So far, it appears to be holding up successfully.
The Rams may have gone easy on Gurley in terms of workload early in the season so he’d be fresh and able to take on a bigger role for a playoff run. If that was the plan, it seems to be working out well so far.
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley took a shot at the NCAA with a T-shirt he wore when speaking with the media on Thursday.
Gurley, who played college ball at Georgia from 2012-2014, had a shirt that spelled out NCAA and had an acronym that said “Not Concerned About Athletes.”
Todd Gurley’s shirt pic.twitter.com/6EouPnRc5f
— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) October 10, 2019
It’s trendy to take shots at the NCAA, but Gurley has more of a personal case against the organization than others.
Gurley was suspended during his junior season in 2014 for being paid to sign autographs. He only played in six games that year.
Under California’s new “Fair Pay to Play Act,” which doesn’t go into effect until 2023, some college athletes would be able to profit off their image and likeness.
People love to bash the NCAA, but they also ignore all the great things college football players are provided, such as debt-free educations that can be valued at around $250,000, meal plans, top health and strength care, athletic clothing, and monetary stipends. Despite the NCAA’s rigidity and pitfalls, many college athletes do receive a good deal. You just won’t hear that from Gurley.
There have been questions about the health of Todd Gurley dating back to last season when his knee was bothering him late in the year, but it is a relatively new injury that could force him to miss Sunday’s important divisional game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Gurley left last Thursday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks with a quad injury, and he has not practiced this week because of it. His status for Sunday’s game is considered “up in the air,” Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 10, 2019
While the injury is not considered serious, the Rams are likely to play it safe with any Gurley ailment after the way he seemed to wear down last season. They matched an offer sheet for Malcolm Brown last offseason and spent a third-round draft pick on former Memphis star Darrell Henderson with a goal of helping to manage Gurley’s workload, so it would not be a surprise if he missed a game.
Gurley has yet to have 20 touches in a game this season, and there were reports early in the year that the Rams are legitimately concerned about how his arthritic knee will hold up. The former Georgia star has still managed to score five touchdowns and is averaging 4.2 yards per carry, but the Rams are understandably doing everything they can to protect his long-term health.
The Los Angeles Rams are 3-1 after losing Sunday at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 55-40, and they face a short week as they travel to Seattle on Thursday. One person who definitely is not happy about the trip is Todd Gurley.
The Rams running back said after Sunday’s loss that he wasn’t looking forward to the game because Thursday night games “are the dumbest thing ever.”
Todd Gurley, on preparing for the Seahawks on a short week: "You know how I feel about Thursday night games – I feel like they are the dumbest thing ever."
— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) September 30, 2019
Thursday night games historically put road teams at a disadvantage. They have very little time to prepare for their opponent and lose even more of that time due to travel, unlike the home team, which doesn’t have to deal with that inconvenience. Additionally, players only have three days of recovery before playing again, which isn’t nearly enough time for their bodies to get better, often resulting in a lower quality of play and some injuries.
Gurley is far from alone on the opinion; several players have criticized the game for the aforementioned reasons.
Running back Todd Gurley’s touches have been closely monitored this season on account of his ongoing knee troubles, but coach Sean McVay is holding out hope he can get back to where he was in 2018.
Gurley, particularly early in the 2018 season, was regularly afforded 25 touches per game or more. That has yet to happen this season, as Gurley hasn’t even seen 20 touches in any of the Los Angeles Rams’ first three games.
McVay offered some hope that Gurley’s usage may increase as the season goes on.
When asked if he could see a game where Todd Gurley would have 25 touches, like he often did last season, Sean McVay said: “That’s the hope.”
— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) September 25, 2019
As gifted as the 25-year-old running back is, the Rams clearly have legitimate concerns about the health of his knee. To be clear, he isn’t appearing on injury reports or anything like that, but it has been an ongoing problem. McVay is trying to be optimistic, but the reality is the Rams aren’t eager to overwork their running back.