"He did a great job of getting it out into the open field and there was a couple where he's reading it one gap at a time on some of the schemes we have, and you can feel his speed once he gets to the corner. He's a guy that has been motivated and has been a standout throughout the offseason program, and it's been the same throughout camp. We're expecting big things from Todd."
As it stands now, the Rams seem like a box of disjointed parts: a section of a defense built to win now with a Super Bowl-caliber defensive coordinator, an offense led by the youngest head coach in NFL history and a second-year former No. 1 overall pick at quarterback. Gurley could be the one asset that binds some of the Rams' strengths together and gives them a semblance of identity. A supreme athlete with the ability to take over games, Gurley was stalled behind a patchwork offensive line last season, forcing him out of the breezy-yet-punishing style that defined his rookie season.
A good running game changes everything for a quarterback and defense, which is why Gurley was one of the main pulls for any prospective head coach sizing up the available gigs this offseason. The addition of left tackle Andrew Whitworth at least gives Gurley one reliable rushing lane. For perspective, the Bengals ranked third in the NFL in rushing plays run between the left guard and left tackle, and second in the NFL in rushing plays between the left tackle and tight end, according to NFL GSIS statistics.
Even if Gurley is not what he was during his rookie season, seeing him float back toward four yards per carry (Gurley dropped from 4.8 in 2015 to 3.2 in 2016) would be a major improvement for an offense that boxed itself into a corner in 2016. Even the slightest running lanes could allow for that violence to translate to the regular season again.