Los Angeles Rams: Todd Gurley’s knee could open another door
The Los Angeles Rams potentially have a massive issue on their hands in Todd Gurley’s knee, although it can open another promising door for LA.
Just like the game of baseball, there are some unwritten rules in football. The Los Angeles Rams went against one of the popular unwritten rules, for teams at least, by signing Todd Gurley to a contract extension.
This is not completely unseen in the NFL but teams usually are wary of signing running backs to expensive extensions. The shelf life of a running back in the NFL is not that long and NFL front offices already have to deal with pinched cap space as a result of a 53-man roster.
However, some running backs are just worth it and we have seen that throughout the years. Gurley has become one of those backs, and to many, is the best running back in football.
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While he is worth the money in terms of his production, the Rams are already finding out why this is an unwritten rule.
Gurley missed the last few games of the season and ended up having a very small role in the team’s Super Bowl run. The team was very quiet about the entire situation but it was obvious that something was bothering Gurley.
Heck, if Gurley was 100 percent healthy then the stagnant offense probably could have gotten going in the Super Bowl, which very well could have led to a different result.
Fans were hopeful that these issues would subside with the offseason but they have grown worse. Gurley was seen limping outside of an LA restaurant, which has made us worried about Gurley’s future with knee arthritis.
This is not the end of Gurley’s career and even if he is just 80 percent of what he once was, he will still be an elite running back.
However, the Los Angeles Rams need to be more conscious with Gurley and not use him so frequently. It is just better to have him 100 percent in December, January and February rather than September and October. If that means lessening his workload early than so be it.
Where one door is closing another door will open and with Gurley presumably taking fewer snaps there has to be someone to stand in.
The immediate running back that comes to mind is Malcolm Brown, who has been the team’s backup running back for four seasons now.
And while Brown will definitely see more time, the Rams can see something special happen before their eyes if they give that playing time instead to John Kelly.
The Rams selected Kelly in the sixth-round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Kelly thrived in college at Tennessee with over 1,000 yards from scrimmage in his junior season in just 11 games. Anyone that watched Tennessee Football knew that Kelly had the necessary skills to become a productive NFL running back.
Kelly showed Ram fans his promise in the preseason. Kelly rushed for 197 yards and three touchdowns on 46 carries in three preseason games in 2018.
His strong preseason didn’t really mean much for his regular season playing time, though. Kelly carried the ball 27 times in 2018, all in the last three weeks of the year, and finished with just 74 rushing yards.
That might have soured some fans on Kelly and made his preseason performance look insignificant. However, while it was not against first-team defenses, Kelly did show he has the tools and the athleticism to at least be a threat in the running and passing game.
He does not need to take the torch from Todd Gurley and doesn’t even need to be the primary back to fill in time for the Rams.
The Los Angeles Rams just need to trust in their second-year running back in 2019. If they do, special things will happen.