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Practice Report 10/27: Gurley, Offense Looking for Faster Start

Posted Oct 27, 2015

RB Todd Gurley talked about how the offense can get rolling sooner, while the Rams made a few roster moves -- including placing LB Alec Ogletree on IR/designated to return.

As the accolades and nominations for Todd Gurley keep rolling in -- he’s once again nominated to be the Pepsi Rookie of the Week -- the running back said the focus this week is to get the offense in a rhythm earlier in games.

“The biggest thing is to get rolling faster,” Gurley said after Tuesday’s practice. “If we can get things picking up a lot faster from the first play, we’d love that. But things don’t always work out as planned.”

From a schematic standpoint, Gurley said many of the early issues stem from the Rams not executing properly. It’s not necessarily that the opposition has been showing something different than what the club expects.

“Every team is going to kind of play their game or their scheme against us,” Gurley said. “They’re going to ‘do them’ regardless.”

What is encouraging, though, is that the Rams have been able to make offensive adjustments in the second half. They’ve outscored their opponents 38-16 in the third quarter, and Gurley leads all running backs with 213 yards rushing in the fourth quarter.

“That's definitely a big thing,” Gurley said. “When we come in at halftime and make those adjustments, it's all about execution. It's not like the stuff we're calling in the first half isn't working, we just have to execute. We have to go out there and run the plays correctly like coach called them.”

Gurley also said he can see that part of the Rams’ second-half strength comes from wearing down the defense over the course of the game.

“That's a part of football,” Gurley said. “Guys going hard on play 1 and a guy isn't going to be going as fast on play 60. It's just a part of the game and that mental toughness. With us, we want to keep pounding the rock or going at them with tempo and finish them.”

“[We’re] trying to wear teams down and hopefully we will keep doing that throughout the year,” Gurley added. “It's all about mental toughness in the fourth quarter.”

And it’s certainly noticeable when a defense starts to wear down. On Gurley’s second touchdown run late in Sunday’s victory, the running back broke through the arms of three Cleveland defenders on his way to the end zone.

“No running back wants to go down or get tackled by one guy -- even though it's the NFL and guys on the field are as good as you,” Gurley said. “But what's the point of being a running back if you can't break a tackle, you know?”

ROSTER MOVES

The Rams made a few roster moves between Monday and Tuesday, one of which was placing linebacker Alec Ogletree on injured reserve with a designation to return.

“We feel like he’s got a shot, so we wanted to protect him,” head coach Jeff Fisher said. “We waited a few weeks, just to protect the rest of the guys in the event that something went down. At this point, it’s important for us to do it from a timing standpoint.”

With the designation to return, Ogletree is eligible to practice six weeks from the date he was placed in IR. According to Fisher, that date was Oct. 26, which means he would be eligible to return to practice Dec. 7. Ogletree is then eligible to be placed back on the active roster two weeks from that date on Dec. 21. And so, in theory, the earliest Ogletree can return is the Week 16 contest against the Seahawks.

“We’re going to take a shot with him,” Fisher said. “It’s good for Alec, too, because it gives him hope and encouragement to come back.”

The Rams re-signed safety Christian Bryant, who had been waived on Oct. 23, and promoted defensive tackle Doug Worthington to the active roster.

Worthington has been with the club since mid-December last year, and is now receiving a chance to show what he can do on the active roster.

“My career has been that way with little ups and downs, but it's the Rams organization who gave me a chance last year, which was awesome because I didn't expect it,” Worthington said Tuesday. “This is the best defensive line in the NFL so I am very humbled and happy to be here.”

“Doug’s a big man. He can play the run. He’s stout. He’s smart,” Fisher said. “November, people start running the football. You look at our schedule down the road here starting with this week’s opponent, they’re going to run the ball. Doug’s a run-stopper. He’s a load inside and he’s smart.”

To make room on the 53-man roster, the Rams released linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar.