SportsPulse: NFL insider Mike Jones dives into what went horribly wrong for the Rams on Super Sunday.
The Los Angeles Rams were put in an extremely tough spot late in the 2018 season. Todd Gurley was battling a knee injury, Malcolm Brown was already on injured reserve and John Kelly hadn’t yet shown enough to earn a heavy workload.
With Gurley uncertain for Week 16, the Rams signed C.J. Anderson after surprisingly cutting Pharoh Cooper. Right up until the morning of their Week 16 game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sean McVay expected Gurley to play, but he was made inactive, giving the reins to Anderson.
Gurley missed the season finale as well, and it may have been because his knee injury was worse than initially thought. Anderson discussed a variety of topics on Fox Sports 1’s “Undisputed” on Tuesday, including Gurley’s knee.
“Undisputed” host Skip Bayless asked Anderson, “How hurt was Todd when you got there?”
“He was more hurt than what we thought,” Anderson replied. “The injury was a little bit more than what everybody in the building thought, including himself.”
Bayless asked if he’d call it a “sprained knee,” and while Anderson said Gurley didn’t tell him exactly what the injury was, he indicated that’s what it was.
“Yeah, he’d never really tell me. It was tough. I would say sprained knee,” Anderson said. “Obviously, it’s the same knee injury he’s had before in his career. Obviously I had surgery on my meniscus and once you have a knee, you always have a knee. So it aggravates and if he was getting a lot of touches earlier in the year — obviously him being one of the best backs, that probably was the case.”
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McVay and the Rams called it knee inflammation, which can be a lingering issue and result from a heavy workload, which Gurley’s had the last two years. No player in the NFL has more touches than him since the start of 2017, so he’s taken a pounding the past two seasons.
The Rams insisted Gurley was healthy for the postseason, but he got just 14 carries in the conference championship and Super Bowl combined, leading many to speculate what McVay’s plan was. Anderson shed some light on what he knew about the situation, telling Bayless that he was fine taking the backseat to Gurley if that’s the approach L.A. wanted to take against the New Orleans Saints.
“When we came in, we knew both of us were going to be used,” Anderson said. “Now, I don’t think it was a hot-hand thing because it was more like – it was up front. I was receptive to tell like, ‘If Todd wants to go he wants to go.’ And I was OK with that. Obviously he got them there, 21 touchdowns this year, what he’s done in this league since he’s been in has been great. So it was more like, ‘C.J., we’re going to play you, but if our guy wants the ball and if he wants to go and he wants to do this, then we’re going to roll with 30,’ and that was OK with me.”
Anderson appeared willing to help the team however the Rams needed him to, which shows how selfless he is. But based on his comments, it seems as though Gurley wasn’t fully healthy.
The way he makes it sound is that Gurley could’ve gotten the majority of the touches if he wanted, but perhaps he didn’t feel 100 percent and couldn’t handle his typical workload.
Either way, this situation remains a mystery that we may never get answers to.
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