Might Rams be interested in bringing back Todd Gurley? Nope
What the Rams plan to do at running back has yet to be determined.
What they don’t plan to do is more clear.
In his first face-to-face meeting with reporters Monday, coach Sean McVay dampened speculation of a reunion with free agent running back Todd Gurley, once the centerpiece of the Rams’ offense.
“I don’t think that’s something we’re exploring right now, just the veteran route,” said McVay, in search of answers at the position in the wake of the season-ending torn Achilles tendon Cam Akers sustained while working out last week. The Rams open training camp Wednesday at UC Irvine.
“Todd has obviously been a huge part of a lot of good things for the Rams. I know for me personally, I’m very grateful for all the good things that Todd did and what it meant for our team’s success and the leader that he was.”
After the Rams released him, Gurley signed with the Atlanta Falcons before last season and wound up running for 678 yards and nine touchdowns. Recently, Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson told TMZ Sports that re-signing Gurley would be a “no-brainer” for the Rams.
If Matthew Stafford is going to bring excitement to the Rams this season, it won’t be from the podium. Where could he use some help? A running game.
McVay didn’t permanently close the door on the possibility — “To say that you would never do it, you don’t want to pigeonhole yourself into that…” — but said he’s focused on the running backs currently on the roster, in particular Darrell Henderson.
“He’s the most established guy in that room,” McVay said of the third-year back who ran for 624 yards and five touchdowns last season. “You can see when he gets the ball in his hand and puts his foot in the ground, there’s a burst and he’s sturdy too.
“I think he is a complete back, very similar to how you’ve heard me talk about Cam. Our biggest challenge is not figuring out if he’s capable of doing it, it’s finding that sweet spot of, all right, how do we maximize Darrell Henderson while also getting some of these other guys involved?”
All that will be worked out during practice, and in games that count. McVay is sticking to his philosophy of resting starters in preseason games.
“I can promise you,” the coach said, “you’re not seeing Darrell Henderson in the preseason.”
A major part of establishing a running game is getting the right combination of blockers up front. Of primary concern is who is snapping the ball to new quarterback Matthew Stafford. Center Austin Blythe signed a free-agent deal with Kansas City, leaving a void at the position.
Still on the roster is Brian Allen, who started nine games in 2019 but has been sidelined for much of the last two seasons because of a knee injury.
The plan is to slide Austin Corbett from right guard to center.
NFL players need to wake up and get vaccinated. Those who don’t put their teammates in jeopardy in more ways than affecting the outcome of a game.
“I feel really good about Austin’s ability to do that,” McVay said. “We know he has played really high-level ball at the guard position. Brian Allen has played good ball for us too. I think we’re really in the midst of figuring out what is the best collaboration and collection of those five guys looks like.”
He added: “When we line up the first-team period, Austin will take that first rep.”
Wide receiver Tutu Atwell — the Rams’ top draft pick, taken in the second round at No. 57 — has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. If he is vaccinated, Atwell can return after testing negative twice 24 hours apart. If he is not vaccinated, he will be in quarantine for 10 days.
Go beyond the scoreboard
Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.