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RBs Making Each Other Better

Posted Jun 8, 2015

With Todd Gurley, Tre Mason, and Benny Cunningham leading the way, the Rams have a talented stable of ball carriers.

The Rams’ first week of Organized Team Activities is in the books and among all the offseason adjustments, the running attack remains a key storyline heading further into June.

Todd Gurley’s name has entered this conversation as he waits to be cleared to go full speed. He was on the field last week, cleats laced up and ball in hand, but not running plays with the offense quite yet. Head coach Jeff Fisher mentioned after Thursday’s practice that Gurley is getting anxious.

“I am man, you know how it is sitting out for a long time. But you got to be patient,” said the 10th overall pick in the 2015 draft. “I feel good I just can’t play football right now. But you all see me running around a little bit and doing agility stuff. It’s day by day, just being able to get my rehab out during practice when they are doing individuals, and when the team stuff comes I get those mental reps.”

Tre Mason, entering his second year as a Ram, returns to the club after finishing the 2014 campaign second among rookie rushers totaling 765 yards at 4.27 per carry. Mason and Gurley spent their college days as rivals in the SEC, but knew each other fairly well during that time.

“I texted him during the draft and said don’t let any of that change, we always were cool and we even texted before the draft,” Mason said. “I’m happy he’s here now, and now we’ve got to win a championship.”

There is no set timeline for Gurley’s return and while he waits for the green light to hit the field full force, the Rams have a number of backs who have hit the ground running.

Mason’s not a veteran by league standards, but he did get the most touches at running back last year and is coming into 2015 with confidence.

“I feel a lot more comfortable and I know what to expect,” Mason said. “They brought me here to do that job. They have me here to run the football and catch the football and I am also trying to come back as a leader.”

Third-year running back Benny Cunningham returns to the Rams with the same mentality.

“I’m trying to be a leader with my work ethic, not really as far as stepping in front of the team and talking, but just going out and letting people see how I work,” Cunningham said. “Hopefully guys will see how I work and step up to the challenge.”

Strong leadership in the backfield is a necessity in the NFL and with quarterback Nick Foles becoming more comfortable each day, the running backs unit has taken notice.

“Nick is someone with a great attitude. You can tell he’s willing to work and willing to listen and make adjustments,” Cunningham said. “I feel like with any team with a new quarterback, we are just trying to mesh right now, trying to get a flow with each other on routes and play actions and things like that. The progression has been pretty good so far. I’m excited to see what he brings to the table during the season and games.”

While OTAs are no doubt a chance to become familiar with new teammates and the offense, it is also the beginning of a summer-long battle for spots on the depth chart.

Cunningham said at this point the group is really trying to push one another amid the competition and that they motivate each other to be the best they can be.

“We can only control what we can control, which is what we do on the field against the defense,” Mason said. “None of us call the shots, so hopefully it works out where everyone can be successful.”