Lance Dunbar's prolonged injury has helped rookie head coach Sean McVay realize something: Todd Gurley is a very talented receiver.
The Rams signed Dunbar because they liked his pass-catching ability. They were hopeful he could mimic Chris Thompson's role in McVay's offense during his two-year stint in Washington. But a lingering knee issue has kept Dunbar from practicing, and there is no timetable for his return. His injury has the Rams wondering when Gurley will actually be able to take a break this season.
The Rams hope to eventually establish some depth behind Gurley by drawing from outside the organization. For now, though, Malcolm Brown is the favorite to become Gurley's backup.
"Regardless of whether Lance is available or not, we always knew that Todd would be the lead dog," McVay said. "And it's just kind of us figuring out what is that fine line between him being at his best, while making sure that he gets his touches necessary, and then also being mindful of having somebody that can spell him so that when the fourth quarter rolls around, and to finish the game, he feels good.”
After a strong rookie season, Gurely managed just 885 rushing yards on 278 carries (3.18 YPC) in the Rams’ anemic offense. Fantasy owners drafting him in the late 2nd round are banking on new head coach Sean McVay’s ability to turn around the offense, especially the running game. McVay was the OC in Washington from 2014-2016 and his teams finished in the No. 19 to No. 21 range in rushing yards all three years. However, his offenses did have two top 10 finishes in rushing touchdowns (2014, 2016) which is a reason for optimism when it comes to Gurley. If he’s on the field on third down, it will certainly raise his floor as a fantasy asset.