Rams running back Todd Gurley has 44 carries this year, an average of 14.67 attempts per game. Coach Sean McVay hopes to get Gurley more.
The objective is to get Gurley to 25 in one game.
“That’s the hope,” McVay told reporters on Wednesday. “If you look back at our Denver game last year, it comes [to] mind when you mention that. There were some different things where what they were doing. He got into a really good rhythm and he ended up having about that many carries and 200-plus yards. [Editor’s note: Gurley had 28 carries for 208 yards.] You’d like to be able to say that because that means everything is going really well. Each game ends up representing new challenges and different responses from us, based on what we think is the best way to move the ball.”
McVay has a simple vision for what it takes to get Gurley going.
“I think we have to have more plays,” McVay said. “Being efficient on those early downs and being able to sustain drives. The more plays we get, the better it is for everybody because the more opportunities and the more of a rhythm that we can get in where we’re able to kind of do a handful of different things. That usually goes hand-in-hand with really everybody having good games.”
Still, Gurley’s total snaps are 15 percent lower than they were a year ago.
“I think it’s really, more than anything, the feel of the flow of a game, getting Malcolm [Brown] involved, too,” McVay said. “We love Todd. Todd’s been extremely important. He still is and he’s going to be as the season progresses. But Malcolm’s a guy that we want to get involved as well and we feel like the way that those guys have kind of balanced it out has worked out through the first three games. We just haven’t really gotten enough opportunities to get things going. Especially in those first halves. . . . Those touches are limited. When things are really going, you’re hitting on all cylinders, usually everybody’s getting an opportunity and you can do a handful of different things because now you’re forcing the defenses to change it up. Really, that’s what it boils down to. I think everybody ends up benefitting when we all play better collectively.”
McVay eventually was asked the question that the other questions danced around: After two years of the offense running through Gurley, is his load being managed in 2019?
“A lot of the looks are predicated on do we want to run, or do we want to pass?” McVay replied. “You want to get Todd Gurley involved as much as possible but sometimes I’m not going to force the run versus certain looks. As much as you want to get him involved, I think the big underlying theme is let’s just be more efficient offensively and I think everybody will end up benefiting from that.”
Looming over the entire topic is the fact that Gurley’s knee became a problem last year, and the likely reality that the Rams are trying to keep it from becoming an issue again. Although much was written and said about the knee during the offseason and training camp, it has been relegated to elephant-in-the-room status.
But the elephant is definitely there, and the Rams are surely hoping that Gurley will be at full strength when their next postseason run begins.