Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio updated his power rankings today ahead of training camp for most teams, and he’s got the Los Angeles Rams lower than most for a reason I wholeheartedly disagree with:
7. Rams (No. 3): If Todd Gurley‘s best days are behind him, the Rams will be regrouping, at best, in 2019.
I don’t necessarily take issue ranking the Rams 7th, but to do so because of a running back flies in the face of the evidence we’ve seen over the last 20 or so years with the rule changes and technical advancement of the passing game.
It’s not that Todd Gurley’s isn’t a fantastic running back. He is. But that doesn’t make him especially valuable to the Rams’ offense as a whole. He’s a running back and running backs are ultimately replaceable as long as you have a capable offensive roster elsewhere and ESPECIALLY if they’re among the top-paid running backs.
The Rams themselves proved this after Gurley re-aggravated his knee in Week 15 in adding C.J. Anderson who had been released by two teams already by that point. Anderson proceeded to run for 422 yards in the next three games.
While Anderson is no longer around, the Rams spent a 2019 NFL Draft third-round pick on rookie Darrell Henderson and have underrated backup RB Malcolm Brown in tow as well. Should Gurley’s knee severely limit his availability at any point this season, the Rams shouldn’t face a severe drop off on offense.
In the end, the Patella Novella has more impact in terms of drama and attention than what it will mean to the Rams’ offense overall.