The 2016 season was quite a disappointment for the Los Angeles Rams for many reasons beyond just missing the playoffs for the 10th consecutive year.
One of which was the significant step down in production from All-Pro running back Todd Gurley following a stellar rookie campaign. Despite much of the focus centering on the development of quarterback Jared Goff, first-year head coach Sean McVay indicated on Wednesday that it is equally as important to get Gurley back on track in 2017.
Clearly, what he did in his rookie year, I think it sets the expectations where this guy is going to be a great back year-in and
Last season, Gurley's overall performance was a shadow of his breakout first year as he struggled mightily racking up only 885 rushing yards with six touchdowns while averaging 3.2 yards per
According to NFL.com, he is the first running back since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger to participate in all of his team's games and average as many carries per contest (17.4) without amassing a single 100-yard rushing performance for an entire season.
Gurley's lack of production came from a variety of reasons stemming primarily from porous blocking up front on the offensive line. At the same time, he also shoulders part of that blame for his inability to break through in any game. That said, McVay believes that the statistics don't tell the entire story of how the former Georgia product performed last year.
"I think what you still see is a lot of times you have a tendency to just look at the stats instead of the actual tape," McVay said. "I think you still see a natural runner who’s got a great body, he has a natural feel for how to work edges on people. And I think that showed up in spurts last year."
Gurley has demonstrated in his brief career that has the ability to be a game-changing talent out of the backfield. This was made quite clear in his rookie season after he became the first rookie running back to record 125 or more rushing yards in his first four career starts while piling up 1,106 rushing yards in just 12 games played.
Although his production tallied off in 2016, Los Angeles appears more than confident that he can recapture his top form in his third season.