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Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay continues to confuse with answers on RB Todd Gurley on Rich Eisen Show

Confusing. Interesting, but confusing.

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay talks to RB Todd Gurley during pregame warmups before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sep. 23, 2018.
Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay talks to RB Todd Gurley during pregame warmups before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sep. 23, 2018.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay went on the Rich Eisen Show today and spoke about a variety of topics.

Of course, one of the major lines of questioning pertained to RB Todd Gurley, the status of his knee and how much it impacted the Rams’ postseason.

McVay’s responses were...confusing.

Eisen: Was that kid hurt during the playoffs?

McVay: He was obviously banged up at the end of the year. And I think to his credit, he did everything to get himself ready to go. Had a great game against Dallas in the playoffs where you see the explosiveness for the 35-yard touchdown run. The New Orleans game really was more of a result of how the game played out, kind of the flow of the game. We weren’t able to get the run game going much and didn’t start out great. Couldn’t have been more impressed with what a stud and what a pro he was and how he handled that.

And then in the Super Bowl, he made some big time runs. Really when you look at the way that that second half started, Rich, he made a couple big time runs. Pops a wide zone that he levels it off, and then he breaks one out on the left sideline where [New England Patriots S Patrick] Chung ended up hurting his arm. There’s a couple plays here and there where it’s 3-3 in the fourth quarter. He breaks a run that ends up getting called back on holding that you just never know.

Really offensively as a whole because Todd has been so successful and done such a great job, people have the tendency to think something was wrong. Really it was more of I didn’t give ourselves a chance to get anything going. So, our offense didn’t produce. It wasn’t really Todd, and the opportunities were so limited. That’s where I’ve gotta do a better job of putting our players in situations to make those plays.

Eisen: Because this could be coming from a fantasy football lens of the world. He was so integral, it just seemed he touched the ball way much more in the first 13, 14 weeks and I know he got hurt toward the end of the year. And in the playoffs, he’s on a bike. He’s standing and his helmet underneath his arm.

It was just strange, to be very honest with you.

McVay: It was. And it was a weird deal where he’s so tough. He’s pushing through different things.

Eisen: Is he trying to get he in your ear?

McVay: Oh no, Todd is a pro’s pro. And really, he is such a mentally and physically tough guy that he would never be like that at all.

It was unique, because C.J. [Anderson] comes in. Did such a good job those last couple weeks. And really, it’s, “Ok. How can we find a way to make sure that we’re smartly putting together gameplans and utilizing the guys?” Because he did miss those last couple of games. In an ideal scenario, it plays out like Dallas.

You can expect Todd to be the focal part of our offense again as we move forward. He’s feeling good. He’s in a good place. I just think the natural ebbs and flows when you play 19 games, and I know he missed a couple with the amount of work that he got, it just worked out that way at the end of the year.

He got a very similar workload in ‘17. The anticipation for us is he’s in a good place. He’s feeling good. He’s going to continue to be a central part of our offense going into the ‘19 season, and I don’t see that changing.

Eisen: Is there a possibility you put him on a little bit more of a limit in the first 12 weeks of the season?

McVay: You know, I wouldn’t say that.

I think we’ve just got to do a good job of monitoring how he’s feeling throughout the season. And again, it’s football. And things can occur in a game that maybe make you wake up more sore than you were before.

He’s always been so good about being able to communicate to us. I think what you really saw was a warrior pushing through the Philadelphia [Eagles] game, and then that led to missing a couple of games.

He’s the only one that can tell you exactly how he was feeling, but I know the way that guy goes about his business and I have all the confidence in the world that he’s gonna do a great job physically, mentally getting himself ready to go so that he’s peaking at the right time when our first game opens up.

Look. A lot of that simply doesn’t make sense. But it’s not necessarily new. It’s just strange to claim Todd Gurley had four carries against the Saints because the Rams “weren’t able to get the run game going much” in the same game that C.J. Anderson had 16 carries. And it’s confusing to now acknowledge that Gurley was “banged up at the end of the year” when back on February 1, McVay claimed Gurley was “100%.”

I totally understand the impetus to try to not play up the injury throughout the playoffs. There’s a professionalism to putting your head down and doing your job even with nagging injuries that won’t prevent you from playing regardless of whether you’re the highest-paid running back in the league or if you’re the 46th guy on the 46-man gameday active roster. And I certainly appreciate the gamesmanship that goes on with not disclosing the variety of issues guys are carrying physically throughout the season that don’t get reported until we learn they had surgery in the offseason.

But this was an injury that (a) clearly affected the Rams’ gameplay and (b) clearly affected Gurley’s availability. I don’t think it’s unfair to ask if either are going to continue to be the case even though the Rams opted not to bring back the guy that was so crucial to their plans that it left Gurley, as Eisen put it, standing on the sidelines holding his helmet in his hands. Instead, they decided to bring back a complement for Gurley that has never been anywhere near that crucial to their gameplans. Maybe Malcolm Brown will have a huge year. But it sure sounds like McVay’s not necessarily planning on it. And that’s just confusing if we’re taking him at his word.

The Athletic’s Rich Hammond put it well in response:

As a fan, I understand the adherence to the competitive nature of the story.

I don’t understand why the Rams, McVay and Gurley himself opted to mislead instead of simply avoid the issue at all.

Eisen also asked McVay about the improvement of QB Jared Goff:

And the infamous no-call against CB Nickell Robey-Coleman in the NFC Championship:

McVay and Gurley as well as Goff, DT Michael Brockers and DL Aaron Donald will all address the media on Monday around 3pm ET/12pm PT.

Expect some kind of update, one way or the other.