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Mutual respect among Gurley, Anderson key to their budding partnership

Todd Gurley is the Rams' feature back. There's no doubt about that.

Even after C.J. Anderson has come in and averaged 140 yards in his three games as a Ram — including 123 last week in the Divisional-round victory over the Cowboys — nobody is questioning Gurley's status as the top dawg on Los Angeles' offense.

But having Anderson to supplement what Gurley can do? That's been a benefit for everyone.

"You can't do it all by yourself. It's [not] a one-man team. It's good to have him," Gurley said on Thursday. "I got hurt for a reason and it seems like that was one of the missing pieces we were missing. He came in, did his thing and he's still doing his thing."

"I think we respect each other's games," Anderson said. "We respect each other as players — what I've done in this league and what he's done in this league and what he has accomplished and what have I. I ask questions, he ask questions, I think that will help us. I think also just knowing him a little bit in our times of playing in the league and playing running back, knowing him a little bit, having a relationship helps. But, I think seeing how he works and seeing how I work, I think it puts us together. It's been going well so far."

Cornerback Aqib Talib — who won Super Bowl 50 with Anderson on the Broncos and has gotten to know Gurley well over the course of the 2018 season — described the partnership with one of the Rams' core principles.

"We're predicated on, 'We not me,' you know? So, it's 'We not me,' man," Talib said. "Todd understands — he likes it, he actually likes it. He's happy with it. He's fresh."

But the freshness goes both ways. Anderson joked on Thursday, "I'm the freshest running back in the league" — but he's really not wrong, especially when it comes to the NFC title game. Gurley played 825 regular-season snaps, for one. Then Saints running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram played 658 and 350, respectively.

Anderson? Just 152 — 98 over the final two weeks of the regular season with L.A.

"I'm not going to say they're [not] still fresh, but I'm fresher than Mark and Alvin and Todd, for sure. I think that helps a lot," Anderson said. "I've played over 1,000 snaps or 600, 700 snaps in this league and when you get to this point in the season, you start to lay back. I'm out there flying around on practice, just being a kid having fun. Part of it, I look faster than everybody else – part of it because I'm fresh."

The Rams are hoping that element combined with Anderson's strong rushing ability will help lead the club to a 'W' in New Orleans. And Gurley isn't concerned whether it's him or Anderson carrying the rock, as long as L.A. comes away victorious.

"I don't care how we win," Gurley said. "We can win the next game, 2-0. It doesn't matter who's making plays — as long as we win, honestly, I could care less."

And that attitude is something head coach Sean McVay respects.

"This experience gives you even more of an appreciation for how special of a player and person Todd Gurley is," McVay said. "Then, I also think he's such a smart player. He understands that he's helping us out. He's helping our team out. He's helping our offense.