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As Gurley Gets Closer, Cunningham Preps for Seahawks

Posted Sep 6, 2015

RB Todd Gurley said on Sunday he has taken off his non-contact cap for practice, which means he's one step closer to game action.

As head coach Jeff Fisher said on Saturday, the Rams have a few injured players who are getting closer to returning to the field. Though running back Todd Gurley will not play in the opener against Seattle, the No. 10 overall pick delivered some good news on Sunday afternoon.

“I can do everything,” Gurley said when asked about his practice limitations. “The beanie’s off, so I’m good.”

The “beanie” Gurley’s referring to is the yellow non-contact cap both he and wide receiver Brian Quick sported in training camp. The running back said coaches allowed him to take it off last week.

Even though he will be able to practice with contact, Gurley said he’s not disappointed he won’t be on the field to start the season.

“I definitely would want to be playing, but I know it’s going to be a long journey,” Gurley said. “You have to be patient and when the time comes it comes. I’ll be ready for it.”

“I’ve been waiting this long, so why not wait a couple more weeks or so?” he added.

But with Gurley out and Tre Mason likely questionable for next week’s game with his hamstring injury, many of the Rams’ carries on Sunday could go to running back Benny Cunningham. And as a former undrafted free agent, Cunningham relishes the chance to go out and be productive.

“You have to come in and prove it every day in this league, because there’s always talent -- whether it’s a free agent or somebody coming out of college -- who’s trying to take your spot,” Cunningham said. “So anytime you have the opportunity to kind of remind the team how valuable you can be, you look forward to those opportunities.”

Fresh off of his third training camp, Cunningham said he’s feeling good heading into the new year.

“I feel like I most definitely got better from my previous two seasons,” Cunningham said. “I have a better understanding of the game and what it takes to be a pro. So I’m just excited to go out here and have the opportunity to prove that.”

One factor that may aid the offense early on in the season is Cunningham’s experience with zone-blocking plays. Under new coordinator Frank Cignetti, the Rams have incorporated more of those concepts into their scheme.

“This is actually the scheme we used in college, so I’m pretty familiar with it,” Cunningham said. “Hopefully, with the repetitions of doing it at this level, it can kind of slow the game down for me and I can be successful in this new scheme.”

Despite the familiarity, Cunningham said he’s still had some adjustments to make.

“In college, you’re not doing it against the best -- the best players in the world,” Cunningham said. “So in preseason, I feel like I got a solid feel for it. And hopefully I can continue to build on that each day in practice.”

“I feel like with this scheme, it’s more [about] patience,” Cunningham added. “You’ve just got to be real patient and trust everybody when we’re running that scheme. It’s not a lot of difference, but with the outside zone that we’re doing now. But I think there’s a bigger difference in being patient.”

And so while there’s a chance Cunningham could take the bulk of the carries on Sept. 13, the running back is taking a humble and steady approach into the first game week of 2015.

“I’m pretty much trying to prepare myself for whatever happens so when my number’s called, I have a good expectation of what the gameplan is and what’s going on,” Cunningham said. “I’m just really excited to get the season started and ready to get this thing rolling.”