The LA Rams are moving into entirely new territory after parting ways with star running back Todd Gurley this offseason. It has shifted their focus at the position toward finding what can fulfill that massive void left after Gurley’s departure. With that said, the Rams are eyeing a particular game plan ahead of the 2020 season.
Rams shifting into new running back era after Todd Gurley
Over the first few weeks of the offseason, the writing was on the wall that Todd Gurley’s time in LA was coming to the close.
The Rams elected to move on from Gurley just before his additional $10.5 million salary-cap hit for the 2020 season became guaranteed. That brought a close to his highly productive stint with the franchise that saw him become one of the top running backs in the NFL.
It was a tough decision to make, but given Gurley’s struggles with his health, it didn’t allow him to perform up to the standards expected that came with his massive contract. Since then, LA has moved toward a youth movement at the position to guide them forward in 2020 and beyond.
Rams want a “clear-cut” starting running back
It has become an open competition for the Rams at running back this offseason with a few viable candidates.
LA has a veteran presence at the position with Malcolm Brown along with second-year back Darryl Henderson and rookie Cam Akers. The team has played their cards close to the vest with their game plan approach, but running backs coach Thomas Brown recently voiced that the Rams hope to have a “clear-cut” starter. (H/T Yahoo Sports)
“I think it’s whatever helps up win a football game,” Brown told reporters last week when asked how the running back situation will work out. “I think every single situation’s going to be different. Obviously, I think you’d prefer to have a clear-cut guy to take the majority of reps and having certain guys that have a role in that offense, but I think it’s all about how those guys continue to develop and what they do well for us offensively and what can help us win football games.”
These comments conflict a bit with head coach Sean McVay’s previous statements regarding taking a collective approach like the San Francisco 49ers. However, it does point out that the team isn’t opposed to having a workhorse option.
There isn’t any pressure toward getting that established immediately, but it should organically occur. LA has some promising young talent with Henderson and Akers, while Brown has proven to be a viable option when given the opportunity. Only time will tell what will unfold.
Expectations for 2020 season
Beyond what unfolds at the running back position, the Rams are heading into an intriguing 2020 season.
LA is coming off a disappointing campaign that saw them finish with a 9-7 record, falling short of reaching the playoffs due to injuries and inconsistency. The team has had several notable departures this offseason with Gurley, Clay Matthews Jr., Eric Weddle, and Brandin Cooks (via trade). Along with competing in the stacked NFC West, these changes have capped the expectations around the franchise.
The Rams still possess plenty of talent on their roster, but the 2020 season will see a much different approach to their offense under Sean McVay. There is plenty of doubt sprouting around the team’s ability to bounce back in the upcoming campaign. It’s a chance for the franchise to get back into the playoffs and much more.