Todd Gurley isn’t an outspoken guy. He’s not someone who seeks the spotlight.
So when Gurley says that the Rams’ offense looks like a middle school offense, as he did in December, and then his head coach gets fired, it’s fair to wonder if Gurley’s comments influenced ownership to part ways with Jeff Fisher.
“Obviously we as a team didn’t do the job we needed to do as far as bringing wins, but maybe I shouldn’t have said that,” Gurley said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “But I was just speaking on us as far as teams and how we looked as players and as an offense.”
Gurley’s rushing numbers were down across the board this year. As a rookie in 2015, he carried 229 times for 1,106 yards (4.8 yards per carry) and 10 touchdowns. In 2016, he carried 278 times for 885 yards (3.2 yards per carry) and six touchdowns. He failed to record a 100-yard rushing day in 2016 and had just three games of 70+ rushing yards.
So when a quiet, no-nonsense guy like Gurley speaks up, people pay attention.
“Yeah, most definitely,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t know how much power you have until something actually happens. So for sure, you definitely got to be careful. Maybe I’ll say the same thing but word it a little differently.”
In any event, Sean McVay, 31, will be asked to do what Jeff Fisher, 58, was unable to do in five seasons with the Rams: make the playoffs. The Rams started 3-1 this year but lost 11 of their final 12 games to finish 4-12.
Gurley hopes that McVay brings a new “culture” to the team.
“Just bringing a different culture, a different mindset,” Gurley said. “Just us as players and coaches, just coming to work every day, getting prepared and getting all those mental and physical reps and making sure we’re on point. . . . Hopefully within the next week or so I’ll be able to talk to him. I called him after he got hired and just told him congratulations. I just kind of wanted to tell him congratulations and not talk too much ball. I know we’ll get into that pretty soon.”
Looking ahead to next season, the Rams will need better blocking for Gurley and more development from Jared Goff, who completed 54.6 percent of his passes for 1,089 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions as a rookie.
Gurley, though, saw a great deal of improvement from his fellow 22-year-old.
“Obviously everybody sees the interceptions and all that,” Gurley said, ‘but just his coming to work every day trying to prepare, being a good communicator with me on the field and just doing a good job of, even though he’s not a vocal guy, still trying to be out there and encourage us and lead us.”
For now, Gurley is drawing inspiration from the Falcons, who lost seven of their final nine games last season. One year later, they’re playing in the Super Bowl.
Gurley has only been in the league for two years, but he knows how quickly a team’s fortunes canc change.
“Yeah, for sure,” he said. “Obviously if you look back at the Falcons, just the season they had last year and being able to bounce back. Even the Cowboys, those guys, for having the No. 4 pick last year, and still being able to bounce back and do it with a rookie quarterback and rookie running back – anything is possible. You just got to keep working hard and believing.”