Rams running back Todd Gurley to make preseason debut against Chiefs

Rams running back Todd Gurley to make preseason debut against Chiefs
Rams running back Todd Gurley makes a cut during a drill in training camp recently. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Todd Gurley sat out the entire 2015 exhibition season — and that worked out pretty well for the Rams.

Gurley was still recovering from knee surgery that ended his final season at Georgia. The No. 10 pick in the NFL draft did not play until the Rams' third regular-season game. He finished as the league's third-leading rusher and was voted offensive rookie of the year.


The Rams are taking a different approach this season.

Gurley sat out last week's exhibition opener against the Dallas Cowboys, but he is expected to make his debut Saturday night against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Gurley will probably play a series or two, Coach Jeff Fisher said Thursday.

"A couple carries, maybe some protection stuff and … get him out," Fisher said. "It's the motions of going through and getting ready.

"Last week, he knew he wasn't going to play. This week it's getting ready, getting focused and make some plays."

Gurley said during off-season workouts that he intended to improve all parts of his game, including catching the ball out of the backfield. Last season, he had 21 receptions for 188 yards.

He has been doing extra work catching balls after practice and said he was progressing.

"We've been putting in a lot of different stuff on offense," he said. "It's been a great opportunity, especially on third downs."

Case Keenum will start at quarterback. Jared Goff will play a few series with the starters and will go into the third quarter, Fisher said.

He expects all players to be more sharply focused than they were last week before the first NFL game in Los Angeles in more than two decades.

"Some guys were on the field in pregame warmups asking for help because they needed tickets," Fisher said. "That shouldn't be the case."

Back from Brazil

Defensive end Robert Quinn was back on the practice field, a day after watching his sister compete in the Rio Olympic Games.

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, competing for Puerto Rico, made it to the semifinals of the 100-meter hurdles but failed to qualify for the final after hitting two hurdles and stumbling.


Robert Quinn said he left for Brazil on Sunday and was proud to have seen his 19-year-old sister in two races.

"I'm acting like I ran in the Olympics," he said, laughing. "I'm so happy for her. She had a legitimate shot at it. It just didn't work in her favor this time."

Quinn is coming off back surgery. He did not play in the exhibition opener and will be held out again this week to recover from the international travel, Fisher said.

Quinn was appreciative that Fisher allowed him to go.

"Since coach got here you always had that family mind-set – put your family first," Quinn said. "A moment like that, it's kind of like a wedding or graduation, one of those things you just can't miss.

"I think coach understood and didn't want me to miss the moment. To say you went to the Olympics is one thing, but to see your baby sister is another…. I think that's why he's loved; the players love him so much because he understands the family side."

Quick hits

The Rams announced the retirement of Lawrence McCutcheon, the former Pro Bowl running back who has served as a national scout the last four of his 42 years with the organization. McCutcheon played for the Rams from 1972-79 and ranks fourth on the team's all-time rushing list with 6,186 yards. He joined the team's personnel department in 1982.  "I had an opportunity to meet a lot of great friends, a lot of great personalities and had the opportunity to play with a lot of good football players," McCutcheon said when asked what he will remember most. "Just getting the opportunity to form some camaraderie and friendships and things that will last you the rest of your life." … Cornerback E.J. Gaines took a hard spill during a team drill near the end of practice. Gaines is coming back from foot surgery that sidelined him the entire 2015 season, and from a hamstring issue that kept him out against the Cowboys. "He's fine," Fisher said. "A little nervous, but he's OK."… Defensive back Michael Jordan intercepted a pass thrown by Goff after the ball went through receiver Brian Quick's hands and bounced off his chest and helmet…. Receiver Nelson Spruce (knee) and offensive lineman Isaiah Battle (knee) will not play against the Chiefs, Fisher said. Linebacker Mark Barron did not practice for a fourth consecutive day. Rookie tight end Tyler Higbee did not practice because of "flu-like symptoms," Fisher said…. New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi and several players, including pitcher C.C. Sabathia attended practice.