THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — When Sean McVay was asked Wednesday if there was a reason behind running back Todd Gurley’s recent increase in carries, the Los Angeles Rams coach responded, “Me not being an idiot.”
A day later, Gurley didn’t disagree.
“He said it. I didn’t,” Gurley said Thursday, a small grin on his face. “That’s all I got to say.”
Throughout much of the Rams 7-5 season, McVay has been eager to rely on the passing game and hesitant to commit to the run.
The focal point of McVay’s offense the past two seasons, Gurley has yet to produce a signature game, the kind that earned him a four-year extension, with $45 million in guarantees, before last season.
However, recently, Gurley’s role has increased.
The Rams relied on the All-Pro back to grind out a Week 11 win over the Chicago Bears, as he tied his season high, rushing for 97 yards on a season-best 25 carries.
Then, in a Week 13 blowout over the Arizona Cardinals, he rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.
In each of those games, Gurley had at least 100 scrimmage yards, a mark he reached in only one other instance this season, a Week 1 win over the Carolina Panthers.
“He’s done a nice job handling a bigger workload,” said McVay, whose 7-5 Rams have only an 18 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index.
“It’s been fine,” said Gurley, when asked how he’s responded to the larger workload. “Obviously, what is it? Week 13, Week 14? Everyone’s kind of feeling the long season. Just got to do what you got to do to get your body right and your mind right for each Sunday.”
It was uncertain going into the season how Gurley would be utilized because of issues surrounding his left knee, which kept him sidelined for the final two games of the 2018 season.
But Gurley and the Rams have repeatedly said that his knee is fine, while McVay has continued to deny that Gurley has been on any sort of load management program this season.
“It has nothing to do with that,” McVay said. “It was really just, you’re just kind of working through the 2019 season — the best way to utilize all of our players and figuring out what our identity is.”
When asked if he would like to continue with the increased amount of carries through final four games, Gurley said, “I mean it doesn’t matter. … Team sport, only one person can get the ball.”
In 11 games this season, Gurley has averaged 58 yards on 14 carries, down from the 89 yards on 18 carries that he averaged in 2018.
After producing back-to-back seasons rushing for more than 1,200 yards, Gurley has rushed for 642 yards on 154 carries.
He has yet to rush for 100 yards in a game, after doing it six times last season.