Todd Gurley came into the NFL with a lot of hype surrounding him and immediately lived up to it. Despite having to miss some time as a rookie due to the torn ACL that he suffered at Georgia, Gurley played in 13 regular season games in his rookie season. In those 13 games, Gurley made some in the media begin talking about him potentially being the best running back in the league.
Throughout the 13 games he played as a rookie, Gurley racked up 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns on 229 carries. Those numbers average out to 4.8 yards per carry. Unfortunately, Gurley did not back up his rookie season very well in 2016.
Last season with the Los Angeles Rams, Gurley carried the football 278 times for 885 yards and six touchdowns. He left a lot of fans disappointed, and there are some concerns about whether he really is as good as his rookie season made the team begin believing.
All of that being said, why should fans expect to see Gurley bounce back with a huge season in 2017?
Improvement on the Offensive Line
The Rams made improving their offensive line a priority this offseason. They were able to replace Greg Robinson with a three-time Pro Bowler in Andrew Whitworth. Following that move, the Rams brought in veteran center John Sullivan, who was a star on the line in Minnesota until two years ago when health issues brought him down.
Even if Sullivan isn’t able to get back to full strength, the addition of Whitworth will help Gurley in a big way.
Jared Goff’s Experience
It was obvious last season that the Rams were going to lean on Gurley each week. Jared Goff was a rookie who struggled mightily and didn’t look ready to lead an NFL team. He still has some issues to work through, but the Rams will try to put the football in Goff’s hands much more than they did last season, which will take pressure off of Gurley.
Overall Potential and Talent
Last season may not have been a “fluke,” but it certainly wasn’t what fans should expect. Gurley has a long track record of putting up big numbers, and that will not change moving forward. One rough season is normal for young NFL players, and he will put it behind him and get back to success in 2017.
New Head Coach, New System
Jeff Fisher is not a “bad” head coach, but he certainly wasn’t working out for the Rams. Sean McVay is the new head coach in town and has made it clear that he is expecting a big season for Gurley. Having a new system will be a help for Gurley, and his new head coach could help unlock his full potential.
Expect to see Gurley come out looking to prove himself to start the 2017 season. He is an extremely competitive player, and last season can’t be sitting well with him. Gurley will have a chip on his shoulder, which should cause opposing defensive coordinators to lose some sleep when game-planning against him.
Do you think Todd Gurley will turn his career back around in his third NFL season? What kind of season are you expecting him to put together? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Rick Osentoski/AP Images]