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Vinny B: Todd Gurley proves he's the old Todd...

September 10, 2019 04:05PM
This is a good read. Gurley is one tough RB. IMO its pretty clear his knee is a problem and will have to play with it. I love this team. Love Whitworth and how he talks about Todd here


Todd Gurley proves he’s ‘the same old Todd’ in Rams’ victory over Carolina

CHARLOTTE — It isn’t often that an NFL locker room turns into the couch on which people unload their inner-most feelings. Then again, Andrew Whitworth isn’t your typical football player, Todd Gurley isn’t an ordinary running back, and the rampant rumors Gurley had to endure about his injured left knee isn’t an ordeal Whitworth remembered a friend ever having to deal with.

These realities came crashing down on Whitworth, the Rams’ towering left tackle, as he stood at his locker late Sunday afternoon after the Rams’ 30-27 season-opening win over the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. In the fourth quarter, the Rams leaned heavily on Gurley, who responded with 64 of his 97 yards rushing. Forty-one of them came on a decisive, seven-play, 57-yard touchdown drive for a 30-20 lead. He then carried two times for 12 yards to pick up a key first down that helped burn the Panthers’ final timeout and allowed the Rams to run out the clock.

Gurley’s clutch running was exactly what the Rams’ offense needed after a bit of a sputtering start to the 2019 season behind quarterback Jared Goff, who was unable to find a consistent throwing rhythm. With the passing game limited and the Panthers mounting a late comeback, the Rams desperately needed Gurley to move the chains and run the clock.

He delivered.

“Four-minute situation. Get a first down. Get out of here. Go back to L.A. with the win” is how Gurley explained it.

It was much more than that, of course, given everything that’s transpired since last December after Gurley went down with a knee injury and missed the last two games of the regular season. He returned a shell of himself while disappearing in the NFC championship game and the Super Bowl. The doubts about his health set off a wild offseason in which Gurley’s days as one of the NFL’s best running backs were deemed over.

Everywhere, that is, but within the Rams family.

“I tried to tell everyone he looks exactly the same and no one wanted to believe me,” Goff said.

Or as right tackle Rob Havenstein told The Athletic: “I didn’t hear a thing. I didn’t hear the rumors. I heard what I saw on the field. And that was just a guy that was preparing. Running hard. Getting his body right. And that goes right to the heart of who Todd really is.”

Gurley’s offseason was filled with speculation about his wounded left knee putting his career in jeopardy, as well as reports about him suffering from arthritis or a degenerative left knee that potentially could prevent him from being the same player again. With his jaw clenched tightly, he quietly went about the business of reworking his body and mindset in order to silence the noise once and for all.

And he responded the best way possible: with his actions.

“It makes me emotional just thinking about it,” Whitworth told The Athletic, his eyes intense and piercing. “What he’s been through. What people have said about him. It pisses you off. You want nothing but the best for him. And to see him go out today and play and show why he is who he is, it makes me so proud.”

“Because let’s be real,” Whitworth continued. “There’s not many people in the world, much less sports or anywhere, that can handle that kind of pressure. It’s hard when people are pointing at you and everything they’ve said or gone with. The topics they ran with. To handle it the way he’s handled it, what a great example for young kids. For everybody, really.”

By no means was Sunday a vintage Gurley performance. He has had monster games before — record-breaking performances that took our breath away en route to the Rookie of the Year Award and NFL Offensive Player of the Year honors — and that certainly wasn’t the case against the Panthers.

The manner in which he was used on Sunday — deliberately paced with light action early, heavy action late — figures to be the new norm. The Rams have enacted a load management program to preserve Gurley for the long haul of this regular season and many more to follow.

He had 14 carries, well below his regular usage rates, and played approximately 70 percent of the Rams’ snaps, far less than the 86 percent he participated in last year. To make up the difference, backup running back Malcolm Brown got 11 carries for 53 yards while alternating series with Gurley through most of the first half.

But it’s worth mentioning this isn’t in response to an existing injury. It’s a proactive approach in order to maintain the highest level of Gurley for as long as possible. That version of Gurley eluded the Rams last year when overuse throughout the early part of the season wore him down later in the year. That, combined with Gurley taking some big hits in early December against the Eagles, led to a prolonged healing process that hobbled him into the playoffs and Super Bowl. Ultimately, it led to the rampant speculation he was damaged goods and a player on the decline.

The Rams understood the cause and effect of riding Gurley as hard as they have the last few years, and they were determined to alter their approach. And so a plan was developed going all the way back to OTAs in which Gurley would practice less — and differently — and, as we saw on Sunday, be used in games in a way that keeps the big picture in mind as much as the immediate goals.

Whitworth himself has been the beneficiary of a practice-and-preparation process designed to prolong rather than exhaust. He understands it better than anyone.

“The reality is … from the moment he’s been here, he’s been a workhorse,” Whitworth said of Gurley. “People have pounded him. Us included. You know what, keeping him on the field that long and keeping him to where he’s getting that many touches … it’s tough. On anybody. So the reality is, there’s been some overuse there. So it’s time to find ways, as I’ve found out in my career, you find other ways to really prepare yourself outside of it always having to be about football.

“Not all of us are quarterbacks (who aren’t) always touched or stressed. To go through the actual physicality that a (running) back takes, that a lineman takes, a tight end even —snap in and snap out — that’s a hard thing to do. So to start finding ways to prolong your career is important. But it also takes a work ethic, too. Because nobody is standing there telling you (that) you have to have it. There’s no peer pressure with guys around you. You’re on your own a lot of times in those situations. So hats off to him with the way he’s been able to handle it.”

But again, it’s worth reiterating that the Rams’ plan isn’t to protect a wounded Gurley. It’s to preserve a healthy Gurley. That important point seems to have been missed. And his performance in the fourth quarter on Sunday should quiet the talk that Todd Gurley is no longer Todd Gurley. The Rams have known the truth for some time now.

“We were seeing the stuff you guys weren’t,” guard Austin Blythe told The Athletic. “Especially in camp. He looked awesome. His speed through the holes. His cuts. We knew what he had, that he was the same old Todd.”

“We always knew it,” Havenstein said. “You could have asked me that last year, two years ago. Three, four years ago when he came into the league. That guy is a dog and always will be. The way he is as a person, a player, a teammate, you see it in practice. You see it after a win like today or after a conditioning period. You know who he is, what you are going to get. The guy is an incredible talent and an even better person.”

And in the often hard world that is an NFL locker room, Gurley’s response left the biggest Rams player of them all a bit emotional.

“You know, there’s different ways to deal with stuff like that, with adversity,” Whitworth said. “But the best way, really, is don’t talk about it. But when you get your opportunity, go show who you are. Todd did that today. And I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2019 04:12PM by Speed_Kills.

  Vinny B: Todd Gurley proves he's the old Todd...

Speed_Kills566September 10, 2019 04:05PM

  Well you just made my day... LOL...

JamesJM123September 10, 2019 04:12PM

  yeap its a great read - Vinny is putting out some quality stuff nm

Speed_Kills89September 10, 2019 04:31PM

  Maybe I'll start reading him...

JamesJM85September 10, 2019 04:45PM

  Gurley 14 carries 97 yards - Kamara 13 carries 97 yds

Speed_Kills122September 10, 2019 05:04PM

  Gurley usage

LMU9393September 11, 2019 03:03AM

  Those Receiving touches are going to go to TEs

RockRam73September 11, 2019 03:16AM

  Re: Those Receiving touches are going to go to TEs

LMU9355September 11, 2019 03:28AM

  Re: Those Receiving touches are going to go to TEs

zn70September 11, 2019 03:33AM

  Re: Gurley 14 carries 97 yards - Kamara 13 carries 97 yds

zn77September 11, 2019 03:49AM

  I would expect Gurley's touches/targets to be more like Kamara's

RockRam73September 11, 2019 04:45AM

  Re: I would expect Gurley's touches/targets to be more like Kamara's

zn73September 11, 2019 05:47AM

  Re: I would expect Gurley's touches/targets to be more like Kamara's

max57September 11, 2019 06:22AM

  Re: I would expect Gurley's touches/targets to be more like Kamara's

zn52September 11, 2019 06:36AM

  Re: I would expect Gurley's touches/targets to be more like Kamara's

max49September 11, 2019 07:04AM

  Re: I would expect Gurley's touches/targets to be more like Kamara's

zn52September 11, 2019 07:05AM

  Re: of course but what I am getting at is

Speed_Kills59September 11, 2019 06:53AM

  Re: of course but what I am getting at is

dzrams49September 11, 2019 01:26PM

  Re: thats not true

Speed_Kills51September 11, 2019 01:43PM

  I agree

max52September 11, 2019 02:04PM

  Re: Yes, I think it's true!

dzrams41September 12, 2019 06:45AM

  I think we’ve just entered the new McVay RB era...

Rams4337September 12, 2019 07:07AM