After closing the book on the Todd Gurley era last month, the Los Angeles Rams continue to evaluate their options when it comes to figuring out how to create the most effective backfield in 2020.
Gurley had a record-setting five seasons with the club – his 70 total touchdowns rank fourth in team history, while his 5,404 total rushing yards are fifth-most in team history – and replacing him, at least initially, will likely be a group effort.
"I do think what we do want to be, and this will progress naturally, is certainly a team that utilizes more than just one workhorse running the ball, has a different genre of skill sets and a complimentary-type running game," Rams general manager Les Snead said on a video conference with local media Monday afternoon. "Now with that being said, like anything, you could get in week four, and there's one singular running back on your team who is playing extremely hot and maybe that person starts getting more carries and things like that."
Rams head coach Sean McVay praised Gurley for his contributions to the franchise and said he thinks he'll do a good job for the Atlanta Falcons, who announced yesterday that they had agreed to terms with Gurley.
At the same time, McVay also said parting with Gurley reflects the confidence they have in the two running backs who primarily played behind Gurley in Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson. Brown carried the ball 69 times for 255 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games last season, and Henderson added 39 carries for 147 yards in 13 games in his rookie campaign while backing up Gurley last year.
However, that doesn't mean Los Angeles won't do its due diligence on this year's running back draft class.
The reasoning is two-fold: Snead's aforementioned vision for the backfield, and, according to McVay, new running backs coach Thomas Brown's ability to develop running backs in college who successfully transitioned into the NFL. Brown coached future first-round picks Sony Michel and Nick Chubb at Georgia in 2015 and also worked with Melvin Gordon at Wisconsin during Gordon's Heisman Trophy runner-up season the year before.
"In the draft, that will be something that that we'll look at," McVay said in a video conference with local media Monday morning. "Whether we decide to address that position with a draft pick or not, I think remains to be seen as we continue to navigate through the draft experiences."
Drafting another running back or not, the Rams will have a plan.
"We certainly don't replace the production, the way that (Gurley) has influenced and affected the game," McVay said. "But what we can continue to do is try to adjust and adapt."