Rams Running Back Todd Gurley On Not Getting Touches In Fourth Quarter Against Steelers: ‘I’m Used To It’

The 2019 season has been the Curious Case of Todd Gurley for the Los Angeles Rams as the star running back has been nowhere close to the player that was the 2015 NFL AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, 2017 NFL AP Offensive Player of the Year, a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro.

Gurley dealt with a knee injury towards the end of the 2018 season and is believed to have a chronic arthritic condition in that knee. Coming into 2019 though, both he and the team maintained that he is healthy and ready for a starting running back workload once again.

So far this season though, the way the Rams have used him has not supported the notion that he is healthy. In eight games this year, Gurley has 104 carries for 428 yards and six touchdowns, also adding 15 receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown. Those 119 total touches are well below the 200 he had through the first eight games of last season.

Gurley’s load management program was on display in the Rams’ Week 10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers as he had 12 carries for 73 yards in the first three quarters of the game, good for a solid 6.1 yards per carry. The 25-year-old did not get a single touch in the fourth quarter though as he watched on while Malcolm Brown handled running back duties.

After the game, Gurley did not seem disappointed by his lack of touches, via Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic:

“Um, not really,” Gurley said when asked if he wanted the rock more, especially with the game on the line in the fourth quarter. “I’m used to it.”

Rams head coach Sean McVay, who handles playcalling duties, did not have an explanation for Gurley’s lack of touches:

“That was just kind of the rotation,” McVay said, when asked why Gurley wasn’t on the field to begin the fourth quarter. “Sometimes I’m on both sides of the headsets. There’s just a lot of trust for our coaches that have some of the (confidence) to be really able to say, ‘Alright, who’s in?’ Then I will be able to click back on, and then we know what we are going with.”

McVay then offered a better explanation on Monday, via Lindsey Thiry of ESPN:

I asked Sean McVay, again, why Todd Gurley wasn’t in late against the Steelers. pic.twitter.com/tcoR2jD7cq

— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) November 12, 2019

Another reporter followed up, and asked why Todd Gurley wasn’t in the entire fourth quarter. Sean McVay: pic.twitter.com/TAWthYvpob

— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) November 12, 2019

The Rams may not be willing to admit it, but it is clear that Gurley is not 100 percent healthy, which is why both his touches and production have gone down this season.

Gurley signed a four-year, $57.5 million extension with $45 million guaranteed last offseason so he is under contract through the 2023 season. It will be interesting to see how he is handled moving forward as at this rate, it is hard to see him being productive through the length of that contract.

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