L.A. and the running backs: “Fat, fat – I don’t care”
Is Todd Gurley hurt? Or was he replaced by a “fat” December newcomer? The Los Angeles Rams and their running backs – a somewhat tricky affair.
Who’s the better Running Back? It’s unbelievable that this question is asked at all, but after the (controversial) triumph in New Orleans there are still doubts about who should start for the Rams in the Super Bowl against New England in the backfield. Sean McVay himself is to blame for that, the head coach has already admitted that. “I have to tie him in better.” He meant Todd Gurley.
Why McVay says that? In the Championship Game at the Saints, Gurley of all people was not a factor, got the ball only five times into his hands (at a meager 13 yards), let two passes slip through his fingers and was therefore responsible for an early interception. The Gurley who was more successful in the Regular Season than any other NFL professional (21 touchdowns, third most Rushing Yards behind Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley), but also benefited from an outstanding offensive line.
Gurley comes back strong – and yet is put in the shade
In week 15, the 24-year-old had injured his left knee against the Philadelphia Eagles (23:30), was missing at the Arizona Cardinals (31:9) and at the end of the Regular Season against the San Francisco 49ers (48:32). Just in time for the play-off opening, Gurley returned in the Divisional round against the Dallas Cowboys (30:22), but his good performance (TD, 115 yards) was eclipsed by Backup C.J. Anderson (2 TD, 123 yards).
Already before Back Gurley, who had been dismissed early by the Carolina Panthers and Oakland Raiders, had represented more than worthily. In Arizona (167 yards) as well as against San Francisco (132) – admittedly against the two of the worst run defences – he had come up with more than 100 yards and scored a Rushing Touchdown. The curiosity: Anderson, who was actually only brought in as a short-term replacement, is the complete opposite of the well-trained Gurley, weighing in at just under 110 kilos at a height of 1.72 metres – and is thus successful.
The jokes about his figure leave Anderson cold: “Fat, fat – I don’t care. Nobody has it easy to tackle me. Anyone who has a comment should meet me for a day. Let’s see how it turns out.” Once the 27-year-old has picked up speed, it’s hard to brake him.
The Los Angeles Rams meet the experienced New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. This is what Sean McVay, Jared Goff and Andrew Whitworth want to do.
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And with that also a “problem” for Gurley. “You can say what you want,” replied the 2015 First Round Pick to the question of whether he was still injured in New Orleans or simply didn’t get a chance because of his weak performance. “We’re in the Super Bowl, that’s all I’m interested in. What don’t you all understand? It’s not about me. It was never about me. It was never about a single player.”
The fact is: When fit and in shape, Gurley is without a doubt the better back, especially because he can also be a weapon as a receiver. In the Regular Season, Gurley came on 580 receiving yards (four touchdowns), Anderson in six years NFL on 900 and five touchdowns.
It will also be a question of how the Rams open will cope with the Patriots front. Kansas City was particularly susceptible to the lightning packs in the championship game, feeling the pressure from the middle of linebacker Kyle Van Noy (two sacks). With L.A. in control of the Line of Scrimmage, Gurley and Anderson have an easier working day. It’s quite possible that McVay will also use both in the Super Bowl livestream; simply to bring different levels into the offensive game.