Sean McVay stepped behind the lectern Monday and blamed himself for many of the Rams’ early-season offensive hiccups.
Their slow starts to games. Quarterback Jared Goff’s underwhelming numbers. The team’s occasional lapses moving the ball. McVay shouldered responsibility for each.
Todd Gurley’s stagnant production and usage numbers were no different.
McVay was asked if the team is using some sort of load-management plan with the fifth-year tailback, who battled a left knee injury in the offseason.
“No, we’re not doing anything like it,” he answered. “It’s more along the lines of, each week presents a different approach. It’s kind of the feel of the flow of the game. We want to get Todd involved. I’d like to do better of being able to give him a chance to get more into a rhythm than I’ve enabled him to do these first three games.”
It’s early, but Gurley’s 14.7 rushing attempts per game represent a career low. He made a limited impact in the Rams’ 20-13 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, carrying the ball 14 times for just 43 yards. After recording a career-high 89.4 rushing yards per game last year, the two-time all-pro is averaging just 67.7 rushing yards per contest this season.
The team gave Gurley a reduced workload during the preseason and notably involved his backup, Malcolm Brown, in the first two games. This Sunday, Gurley was featured more prominently, finishing the game as the only Rams player with more than four carries. But, behind an offensive line that was starting backup right guard Jamil Demby in place of injured Austin Blythe, he gained just 3.1 yards per attempts.
“I think it’s worked out good in terms of the balance, but I think there’s some things that you’d like to do a lot better job of giving Todd an opportunity to really get going,” McVay said. “Yesterday, I didn’t really represent that chance for him.”
Gurley’s struggles have been one of several early issues for the Rams’ offense to address. Though the team’s record is perfect -- they have started 3-0 in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2000-01 and are one of five undefeated teams remaining in the NFC -- their ability to move the ball has been anything but.
The Rams began Monday ranked seventh in rushing yards per game (123.7) and 22nd in passing yards per game (234.3). They’re eighth in scoring with 25.7 points per game, but have totaled just six first-quarter points and one first-half touchdown.
“There’s a lot of situations that, when you look at yourself as a coach, these are things that I’ve got to make better decisions, have a better feel for the flow of the game,” McVay said. “Get things communicated to our players so there’s clarity on their part.”
Goff’s numbers have tailed off too. Last season, the quarterback averaged 293 passing yards per game and recorded a career-best 101.1 passer rating. In this campaign’s first three games, he is averaging only 246 yards through the air and has a passer rating of 84.5, placing him 25th in the NFL among quarterbacks with at least one start.
“There’s a lot of things that we feel are very fixable,” McVay said. “That’s why we’re excited to move forward and see if we can do that this week.”
Raiders sign Dakota Allen
The Oakland Raiders signed linebacker Dakota Allen from the Rams practice squad, a Rams spokesman said.
Allen was selected by the Rams in the seventh round of last April’s NFL draft after he completed his college career at Texas Tech. He did not make the roster, but was signed to the practice squad.
Allen had a high profile because of his appearance on the Netflix documentary series “Last Chance U,” which profiled East Mississippi Community College when Allen attended the school.
McVay said Blythe (sprained ankle) and tight end Tyler Higbee (chest) are “both making good progress” after missing the team’s win at Cleveland. “They’ll still be day to day,” McVay said, “but the anticipation and hope is they’ll be able to play this week.” … McVay said the Rams have no new injury concerns after Sunday’s game. “We came away pretty clean,” he said. “Nothing different than the typical bumps and bruises, but guys are feeling good.”
Staff writer Gary Klein contributed to this report.