Rams’ Gurley, offense try to benefit from growing continuity
IRVINE, Calif. (AP) Continuity paid off for the Los Angeles Rams‘ offense last season, starting with the same offensive line combination that played together in all but one game.
It certainly did for running back Todd Gurley, who signed a four-year, $60 million contract extension in July after running for 1,305 yards and scoring 19 total touchdowns last season behind that familiar front five.
”Whoever said money don’t make you happy lied,” Gurley said with a smile Wednesday.
The Rams expect even greater stability on offense to translate into continued success in head coach Sean McVay’s second season, a belief that has been reinforced during the start of training camp.
At this same stage last year, the Rams were working in new additions at left tackle, center and wide receiver while learning the basics of a new offense, and were still weeks away from trading for wide receiver Sammy Watkins. They return 10 of 11 starters for this year’s workouts at UC Irvine, with new acquisition Brandin Cooks replacing Watkins as the big play threat in the passing game.
Quarterback Jared Goff said the familiarity is paying dividends, especially during the transition from teaching the offense in the first few days to refining each element of a system that produced an NFL-leading 29.9 points per game.
”We feel like we’re in a good spot,” Goff said. ”Offensively, we’ve been starting to click. I think today was the first day you really felt that consistency starting to gel. We’re not so much installing anymore, we’re running the same plays over and over again and starting to get a good feel with it.”
”It makes everyone so much more comfortable just to come out here and just play our game. You don’t have to think about too much, and that’s what it is all about,” Gurley said.
For Goff, his increased comfort level entering his second season as the starter manifests in a better understanding of what opposing defenses are trying to do.
”It just continues to slow down,” Goff said. ”Your pre-snap process is a lot smoother, and you’re more under control of everything and are seeing things better.”
While Goff is playing faster, there has been no deceleration by Gurley after signing a contract featuring the most guaranteed money for a running back in NFL history. Goff and McVay both praised his relentlessness in practice, with a prime example coming when Gurley kept running towards the end zone as McVay was setting up the next play in the sequence.
”I got what I want, now let’s keep going,” Gurley said. ”Nothing doesn’t stop. The grind continues. It’s going to be even harder now, obviously, to be able to do what I did last year, and teams are going to game plan for it. It’s my job to go out there, put myself in a great position and try to work as hard as I can. As long as I do that, I feel comfortable with the players around me and the coaches around me to put me in a great position.”
With so much familiarity returning, Gurley is ready to build on his best season to date. But he understands his individual production is the result of what the offense does together, declaring that every running back is the beneficiary of the blocking he gets before Gurley backtracked.
”Obviously, Barry Sanders is going to do what he do, but it doesn’t matter what other running back you have back there. If you don’t have all 11 doing one thing, then it’s not going to work,” he said.
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