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Los Angeles Rams offseason analysis: Running backs

By in Press Enterprise on February 11, 2018

By Rich Hammond

Todd Gurley is not a bust. That word had been whispered after a dreadful 2016 season in which the Rams’ running back failed to gain more than 85 yards in a game.

No Rams player had more to prove in 2017 than Gurley, who had a fantastic season and led the NFL in yards from scrimmage and touchdowns. Gurley finished second to New England quarterback Tom Brady in voting for the NFL’s MVP award.

Now, Gurley’s challenge is to maintain a high level in 2018, and the Rams’ depth chart behind him might get tweaked. As part of an ongoing series, here’s an in-depth glance at the Rams’ situation at running back:

2017 STARTERS: Todd Gurley (1,305 yards, 13 touchdowns).

RESERVES: Malcolm Brown (246 yards, one touchdown), Tavon Austin (270 yards, one touchdown), Lance Dunbar (51 yards, one touchdown).

PENDING FREE AGENTS: Dunbar, Brown (restricted).

GRADING 2017

Of all the indictments of former coach Jeff Fisher — the list is long — the usage of Gurley in 2016 might be the worst. The Rams drew up bland plays for Gurley and didn’t execute them well, and most of the time Gurley was on the sideline on third down.

Coach Sean McVay revitalized Gurley, made him the centerpiece of the Rams’ offense and even (gasp!) designed pass plays for him. Gurley had an extraordinary season, and the Rams were undefeated in games in which he touched the ball at least 20 times. His 64 receptions led the team, and produced 788 yards and six touchdowns

Gurley had 276 yards from scrimmage against Tennessee in an MVP-caliber effort, and deservedly was named Offensive Player of the Year by The Associated Press.

It wasn’t all about coaching, though. Gurley reported for training camp in excellent shape and motivated. There were questions, at the start of the season, about whether Gurley did enough to […]    

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