After losing two consecutive games, the suddenly reeling Rams must rectify several issues, including the recent struggles of quarterback Jared Goff.
But Goff, at least, presumably is fine physically.
That is not the case for running back Todd Gurley, who played through a left knee issue during the Rams’ Sunday night loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
On Monday, coach Sean McVay said that Gurley was dealing with knee inflammation and that he would be listed as day-to-day heading into the game Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals at Glendale, Ariz.
The NFC West champion Rams are 11-3 and have clinched a home playoff game. But they are still vying for a bye through the wild-card round and, possibly, the No. 1 overall seeding in the NFC playoffs.
“If he’s able to go, we want him to be able to go,” McVay said of Gurley during a news conference in Thousand Oaks. “But it’s something that, whether you’re playing for the playoffs or whether you’re not, we’re always going to be smart with a player like Todd.”
Gurley had surgery on his left knee in 2014 after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament while playing at Georgia. The Rams selected Gurley with the 10th pick in the 2015 draft, and he has developed into one of the NFL’s top running backs. Rewarded with a $60-million extension before the season, he has responded by scoring an NFL-best 21 touchdowns.
If Gurley does not play Sunday, the Rams could turn to second-year pro Justin Davis or rookie John Kelly. Davis was forced to leave the game Sunday because of a shoulder injury and his status will be determined as the week progresses, McVay said
Even with Gurley, the offense has mostly staggered since the Rams defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 54-51 last month.
The 30-23 loss to the Eagles, coming after a Dec. 9 loss at Chicago, gave the Rams their first regular-season two-game losing streak under McVay.
They conclude the season with games against the Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers.
“It will tell us a lot about ourselves, how we finish the season,” Gurley said Sunday.
On Monday, neither McVay nor his players were fretting.
“The story isn’t written yet,” McVay said, “and we’ve got a say in how we finish that off.”
The Rams clinched their second consecutive division title with a Dec. 2 victory at Detroit, becoming the first NFL team to lock up a playoff spot. Players dismissed the suggestion of a letdown since winning the division.
“It’s not a thing where we’re slacking off because we already won the NFC West,” linebacker Mark Barron said. “That’s not the situation. That’s not what’s going on.”
Said cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman: “There’s no complacency.”
After the loss to the Eagles, McVay said that the Rams needed to “figure this out, and figure it out fast.” But Barron said that McVay on Monday stressed an approach that called for the same urgency the Rams have operated with throughout the season.
“To go and try to change everything — that throws everything off track,” Barron said. “So we’re staying the course.”
Linebacker Dante Fowler played last season for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who lost their last two regular-season games before making a run to the AFC championship game.
So he was not panicking about the Rams’ situation.
“I just don’t see it really being a big deal,” Fowler said of the two recent losses. “We want to finish out the season, but we’re ready to get ready for the playoffs.”
During the game against the Eagles, cornerback Marcus Peters left the bench area and verbally confronted a fan in the stands at the Coliseum.
“It wasn’t nothing, man,” Peters said after the game. “Just making a little bit of fun with the people out there that be heckling and stuff.
“It wasn’t nothing. Don’t take it too personal.”
McVay said he “had a good discussion” with Peters after viewing a video of the exchange.