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Rams O-line 'going to make it easier' for Todd Gurley

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Todd Gurley needs help.

The Los Angeles running back has rammed against brick walls in the first two games of the season. Gurley has compiled just 98 yards on 36 carries, for a measly 2.7 yards per carry.

On many plays, Gurley has to shed tacklers just to get back to the line of scrimmage. In each of the past two weeks, the star running back has earned more yards after contact than before contact. In Week 2 versus the Seahawks, Gurley averaged 0.6 rushing yards before and 1.9 yards after getting hit, per Pro Football Focus.

The offensive line knows it needs to help out Gurley.

"We need to make sure that we understand this -- he's still a second-year player," left guard Rodger Saffold said, via ESPN.com. "He's still going to have to continue to learn. But that's not on his shoulders. We'll never put that on his shoulders. We put that on ours. So we're going to make it easier for him to be successful."

The first four starts of his career went for 141.5 yards per game average. Then NFL defenses loaded the box, holding Gurley to 62.9 yards per game in 10 starts since.

"He has the same ability," Saffold said of Gurley. "But we need to make sure that we're cleaner, so that when he makes that first guy miss, we don't have two and three more guys coming after him."

The Rams have spent draft picks heavily on the offensive line in the past several seasons. The group hasn't been disastrous, especially when you consider every team is throwing the kitchen sink at Gurley. When five men are trying to block eight and nine, the numbers don't add up.

"But there are some ways that we can do a little bit better job of opening some lanes for him," Saffold said. "The biggest thing is knowing how to protect against all the different blitzes, the nine-man fronts, to be able to open some lanes. Basically he'll continue to see those things and he'll gain the experience and learn, just vision-wise. 'Hey, this looks good. But there's somebody standing in that hole. I may have to squeeze it through here, pop out the other side.' Those type of things.

"It's a group effort. Our entire team, we have to do a better job of blocking. Our receivers have to dig people out. And then we just have to be able to read and put ourselves in the best situation. I think the coaches are starting to do that for us. We're putting ourselves in some better situations so we can open up some holes for Todd."

Until Case Keenum and the Rams passing game start consistently taking advantage of defenses daring them to pass, it will be tough sledding for Gurley and the offensive line.

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