All it took for some fans was one step.
After an offseason of repeated dramatic upticks regarding Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley’s knee, that first handoff from QB Jared Goff to Just Todd was enough to make fans feel better about Gurley’s upcoming season. About a return to his last two years as one of the most dynamic and productive players in the NFL.
Except that it didn’t actually merit anything in terms of that upcoming season.
While it was a comfortable symbol, it was in the end just a symbol. And an empty one at that.
For all of the drama surrounding Gurley’s knee from the end of the 2018 regular season into the playoffs, it’s somewhat easy to forget that Todd Gurley, yanno, actually played in those final games. It’s not as if his knee completely fell apart and he wasn’t able to run the ball at all. Sure, he might have taken a back seat in a sense to RB C.J. Anderson from late December through Super Bowl LIII, but he did have 10 carries in the Super Bowl (three more than Anderson, FWIW). And it’s not as if he was held out of the NFC Championship or Divisional Round entirely.
It felt as if after the last five months, fans just wanted Gurley to prove he was able to run at all as if he hadn’t been able to in the first place:
Gurley remains a fantastic athlete and a professional. That latter note is worth pointing out as the Arizona Cardinals release DL Robert Nkemdiche not because of a degenerative knee condition but a lack of professional discipline. While the PR effort from Gurley and Head Coach Sean McVay hasn’t been without its hiccups, Gurley deserves praise for the professionalism required since re-aggravating the knee in Week 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles last year. You get a sense of both Gurley’s professionalism and the dedication of the Rams’ medical staff led by Senior Director of Sports Medicine and Performance Reggie Scott in Gurley’s remarks after practice yesterday:
Ultimately though, it all matters very little in comparison to what lies ahead after the preseason ends.
Whatever takes place in training camp or the four preseason games in which Gurley is all but certain to receive exactly 0 snaps and carries, it won’t hold a candle to the impact of what happens in Week 1.
While fans celebrated Gurley’s appearance yesterday, there was also the first showing of 2019 NFL Draft third-round rookie RB Darrell Henderson. And reserve RB Malcolm Brown is perhaps still in the mix as well.
There are decisions to be made beginning a little more than a month from now. Those decisions will occur on a week-to-week basis meaning there’s little to take from late July for a decision to be made the week beginning September 2.
It felt good yesterday to see Just Todd Gurley getting the ball from our System QB and taking off.
It looked good.
It just didn’t matter much.