McVay on RBs Gurley and Anderson: “I think you can expect to see a good balance of both.”
The Rams are fully anticipating having running back Todd Gurley between the white lines when they take the field against the Cowboys on Saturday. But with the way running back C.J. Anderson played in Gurley’s stead during Weeks 16 and 17, the Super Bowl 50 champion made a good argument that he should at least play a role in Los Angeles’ offense for the postseason.
That appears to be coming to fruition now, based on head coach Sean McVay’s Tuesday comments.
“If Todd’s able to go, we want to get him going,” McVay said. “But I think we want to get C.J. [going] as well. So I think you can expect to see a good balance of both — some different things that maybe gets those guys on the field. But CJ’s done a great job through the last couple weeks. But getting Todd back is definitely a big boost as well.”
A balance of both — that would be a bit of a different approach for a healthy Gurley, at least for this season. Aside from two games where the Rams rested their starters toward the end of the game, Gurley played at least 78 percent of offensive snaps in each of his games this season.
But when a veteran back like Anderson comes in and posts 299 yards in two games, it stands to reason that he’s played his way into a larger role.
And it certainly doesn’t hurt that Anderson has postseason experience, including playing a big role in Denver’s run to winning Super Bowl 50.
“It’s a playoff game, so it’ll be pretty fun,” Anderson said. “You got to be super detailed, I’ve said this plenty of times over the weeks, but you got to sustain drives, stay on the field on third down for us, don’t turn the ball over. Those are some of the biggest keys, very little detail things, some of the minor things that you probably don’t pay attention to — depth on routes — stuff like that. Those are very little things that win football games.”
As for his role for this game in particular, Anderson said he’s glad to be able to spell Gurley in any way possible.
“I think it’s big. It obviously speaks volumes to what type of player that I am,” Anderson said. “It feels good every time you can steal carries from an All-Pro back I guess you got to smile about that — no it’s going to be fun. The whole goal is when ‘30’ is out we don’t want to miss a beat. We want to be just as efficient in the run, just as strong in the pass and blitz protection — things of that nature — but obviously having playoff experience helps with that too.”
Check out photos from practice as the Los Angeles Rams prepare to face the Dallas Cowboys in Divisional Round.
Anderson noted he’s a lot more comfortable in the Rams’ offense now that he’s been with the team for a few weeks. But specific to the Dallas defense — which finished the year ranked No. 5 against the run — Anderson said L.A. will have to combat a unit that’s fast, physical, and tackles well.
“I think it’s just technique — technique and doing the stuff that we need to do,” Anderson said. “It’s about us.”
That’s why Anderson has been the sage veteran in the Rams’ running back room, giving out tips here and there to help the younger players — including Gurley — as they prepare for this Divisional round matchup.
“I just tried to take care of the guys in my room, myself and [John Kelly] ‘JK’, Todd, and [Justin Davis] ‘JD.’ I just tried to give them some tips, some pointers that I’ve noticed from Dallas in the last couple years from playing them and some tips and pointers that I’ve learned about them,” Anderson said. “Just sitting there when I was trying to learn the offense watching Todd and watching tape, just giving him some tips about himself — run, pass, when he’s getting the ball, when he’s doing this — so hopefully he can clean it up this week, so Dallas doesn’t pick it up.”