There has only been one full week of football, and Gurley, who many envision as the next superstar running back in the NFL, was already needing a rest. At least that was the designation the Rams gave on the injury report.
Could it be that the 22 year-old who is just starting his second year in the league is physically overwhelmed by carrying the ball 17 times for 47 yards on Monday Night Football? Or is it possible that the expectations he set for himself in a record setting four game stretch in his rookie season are starting to feel a bit unrealistic?
“I feel like I was trying to do too much, or wasn’t patient enough in my reads.” Gurley said about his struggle to break loose in the game against the 49ers, in which he averaged 2.8 yards a carry.
Of course that it is a definite possibility. It could also be that after rushing for 100+ yards in each of his first 4 games as a rookie, he is starting to feel the pressure of only having done it once in the last 10 games and reality is finally starting to set in.
What he had was definitely a great start to his career and it made for a very catchy headline. “The lightning fast back with a great cut step and track star speed, caught the world by surprise…” and then they figured him out.
The key to stopping Gurley is simple: don’t let him get outside of the hash marks and make sure to have someone waiting for him in every hole.
In his first full game of 2015, Gurley gouged the Cardinals for 146 rushing yards. In the next game he played against them, they held him to 41. Likewise with the 49ers who allowed him to rush for 133 yards the only time they saw him last year and then dropped that number to 47 in Week 1 this year. Someone must have discovered his Kryptonite.
For some reason, as big, fast and strong as this kid is, he shies away from contact, except for at the goal line, where he still resembles a twisting, turning, tornado, more than he does a bulldozer or a battering ram. In the open field he prefers to run for the sideline or drop to the ground the minute someone steps in front of him.
So sure, it may sound like confidence when Gurley predicts victory against a Seahawks team who the Rams beat twice last season, and who allowed 87 yards to the young running back, but it seems more like an act of desperation from a kid who just got embarrassed by one of the worst defenses from last season. If you don’t want to feel like you’re trying too hard, why would you give yourself the added pressure to do so?
It’s not T-Gur’s fault that fan’s still obsess over him even though he fell from being some form of football deity, to just another player or that they still smile at his commercials and draft him in the first round of their fantasy drafts.
It’s almost as if he can sense that someday they will point and laugh at him just like they do every other “could have been great” running back, and then, no Hall of Fame induction or Rookie of the Year trophy will be big enough for him to hide behind.
It will be sad if such an exciting career that seemed to be loaded with potential and glory, fades away so quickly. However the truth of the matter seems to be…
In the beginning of last season, Todd Gurley was breaking out, this year he is simply breaking down.