Going into the 2016 season, Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley was the face of the Rams.
TV commercials. Billboards.
The expectations were huge. Our own Sean Wilkinson offered the following in his roster preview series’ installment on JTG:
All Rams fans expect Gurley to make a legitimate run at a rushing title in 2016. With all do respect to Steven Jackson, Torry Holt, and Aaron Donald.... Gurley is the first legit MVP candidate the Rams have had since Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk.
After two weeks, Gurley is 25th in the NFL in rushing yards (98), 39th in yards per carry (2.72) and has yet to score a touchdown. He’s averaging less than a yard before first contact with defenders, one of the worst rates in the NFL.
If you take his first two games from 2016 and put them with his final eight games last year, the numbers just look very...unremarkable.
In those ten games, he’s averaged 62.9 yards per game on 17.1 carries per. That’s 3.68 yards per carry. Seven touchdowns. One game over 100 yards. One game over 90 yards. Just three games over 70 yards...
It’s not great.
There are some ways that we can do a little bit better job of opening some lanes for him. The biggest thing is knowing how to protect against all the different blitzes, the nine-man fronts, to be able to open some lanes. Basically he'll continue to see those things and he'll gain the experience and learn, just vision-wise. 'Hey, this looks good. But there's somebody standing in that hole. I may have to squeeze it through here, pop out the other side.' Those type of things.
It's a group effort. Our entire team, we have to do a better job of blocking. Our receivers have to dig people out. And then we just have to be able to read and put ourselves in the best situation. I think the coaches are starting to do that for us. We're putting ourselves in some better situations so we can open up some holes for Todd.
That’s Rams G Rodger Saffold on the inability to get sufficient production out of the running game thus far. And he’s not wrong about any of it.
The question is...why hasn’t it happened? Saffold’s entire comment is couched in a conditional future tense. That they “have to” and “can do” and that the coaches “are starting to do.”
It’s Week 3. That’s kind of the thing that should be expected by Week 1.
The Rams took Todd Gurley with the 10th pick of the 2015 NFL Draft. They went on to have the worst offense in the NFL last year.
At what point should Rams fans be concerned that for all his individual talents, the offense as a whole continues to struggle and it might be burying Gurley in the process?