Among the many things that went wrong for the Rams last season was running back Todd Gurley’s failure to build on his rookie season.
Gurley ran for 1,106 yards on 229 carries as a rookie, but dropped to 885 yards on 278 carries last year as the Rams went 4-12 in coach Jeff Fisher’s swan song. Gurley summed the year up as a “nightmare” and has spent the offseason working with his offensive linemen in hopes of producing better results in 2017.
Left guard Rodger Saffold said that the result of that work has been improved communication between Gurley and his blockers about what they are trying to do on each play.
“It’s more just kind of figuring out the speed out of the backfield that he needs,” Saffold said, via ESPN.com. “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.”
Communication wasn’t the only issue up front, something the Rams made clear by signing left tackle Andrew Whitworth and center John Sullivan to fill starting roles on the line this season. If they can give Gurley more space to operate and Gurley can do more with that space, it would be a big help to Sean McVay’s hopes of improving the Rams’ fortunes in his first season as head coach.