Yesterday we took a look at whether or not the Los Angeles Rams’ have improved, worsened, or stayed the same in terms of talent level at QB. Today, we look at the running back situation...
It’s Todd Gurley’s world, and the rest of these guys are just living in it. In what was essentially a 12-game rookie campaign in 2015, Gurley carried the ball 229 times. Tre Mason received the second most touches last year (75), and a good chunk of those were prior to Gurley being activated or in the final game of the season where Gurley watched from the sidelines. In the twelve games played between Week 4, when Gurley took over as the starter, and Week 16, Mason carried the ball only 41 times. Benny Cunningham saw 37 touches on the year; 15 fewer than wide receiver Tavon Austin.
It remains to be seen who will earn the RB2 spot for the Rams in 2016, as Tre Mason - who was arrested in March - was not with the team during OTA’s. And, as Jeff Fisher, recently stated "In our minds, we just have to prepare ourselves that Tre’s not going to be here."
Whether "not going to be here" means present day, when the season kicks off, or ever remains to be seen. And it’s a moot point really, as Mason was pretty much a non-factor in the Rams’ offense last year. The position battle for the RB2 in Los Angeles will be a fun one to monitor this offseason, with Benny Cunningham figuring to be the heir apparent to Mason, should he not be around due to suspension...or release. Youngsters like Malcolm Brown and Aaron Green could also be in the mix.
Gurley is healthy, and will have an entire offseason to prepare for the upcoming year. He has openly stated that he hopes to improve his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield this offseason. There’s little reason to believe he can’t accomplish that, making touches that much more scarce for the other guys on the team’s depth chart.
Tavon Austin, as aforementioned, figures to factor heavily in the run game this year, as well.
Better, Worse, or Same?
Same. While Gurley could be in line to claim the league’s rushing title in 2016, the Rams haven’t done anything that could be deemed improvement...and clearly they didn’t need to. Mason may or may not be gone, and one of the young UDFA’s could prove to be a pleasant surprise during the preseason. But none of that will really matter unless Gurley needs a breather, which is about the only time any of the guys listed above will get to touch the ball.