Todd Gurley

Ramsey, Gurley Expected To Play In Week 7

Jalen Ramsey‘s expected quick recovery from a back injury that kept him out of his final three Jaguars games appears set to commence. Sean McVay expects the recently acquired cornerback to play Sunday, per ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry (on Twitter).

It’s not certain if Ramsey will be available for a full workload, but he’s expected to suit up against the Falcons. So is Todd Gurley, per McVay. Both have been removed from the Rams’ injury report. This represents big news for a Rams team seeking to snap a three-game skid.

The Rams send two first-round picks and a fourth-rounder to the Jaguars for Ramsey, who has not played since Week 3. But with many believing the All-Pro corner’s absence was related to his trade request, and not necessarily the back injury that cropped up, it should come as no surprise the 24-year-old standout will be available in his first Rams game.

Gurley got through a limited practice Friday. The All-Pro running back missed Week 6 because of a quad injury. Rams backup running back Malcolm Brown is doubtful to play this week, leaving Gurley and rookie Darrell Henderson in position to share time Sunday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rams Rule Out Todd Gurley For Week 6

Todd Gurley‘s quadriceps issue will keep him out of the Rams’ Week 6 game against the 49ers, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com tweets. The team previously listed the All-Pro running back as doubtful.

This will keep a key Rams weapon off the field for a pivotal NFC West matchup. Gurley had played in each of the Rams’ five games, and although his usage rate and yardage numbers are down, the two-time first-team All-Pro had scored five touchdowns.

Malcolm Brown stands to start for Los Angeles in its home tilt, with rookie Darrell Henderson seeing additional time. Henderson has only played two offensive snaps this season, receiving one carry. The Rams matched the Lions’ RFA offer sheet submitted to Brown this offseason and have given him 26 carries through five games. While Brown’s operated as Gurley’s backup, he has a team-high (among running backs) 4.4 yards-per-carry average and two TDs.

Gurley’s knee resided as one of this year’s top talking points. That issue may or may not be impacting the fifth-year running back’s workload, but it’s a thigh contusion that has interrupted Gurley’s 2019 instead.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Todd Gurley Unlikely To Face 49ers

The Rams’ latest key NFC West matchup will likely unfold without Todd Gurley. The quadriceps injury the All-Pro back has encountered will bring a doubtful designation, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com tweets.

Gurley has not missed a game since December of 2018, but instead of the problematic knee issue the two-time first-team All-Pro and the Rams spent the offseason addressing cryptically, it will be a quad malady that has him on the verge of sitting out Sunday’s game against the unbeaten 49ers.

Malcolm Brown will be set to start in Gurley’s place, with third-round rookie Darrell Henderson mixing in. The Rams have also declared Aqib Talib out for Week 6. The Rams have used Brown sparingly this season, giving Gurley 64 carries to Brown’s 26. Brown has also caught just one pass compared to Gurley’s 14. Neither have been particularly effective pass catchers this season, and Gurley is well off his recent prolific paces. Brown is averaging 4.4 yards per carry, however.

A first-team All-Pro in 2017 and ’18, Gurley is averaging 4.2 yards per carry behind Los Angeles’ remade offensive line. His 338 scrimmage yards are noticeably behind the prodigious paces he set in his age-22 and age-23 seasons, which ended in 2,093- and 1,831-yard totals. Now, this quadriceps issue becomes a concern — as do the Rams’ chances of dropping to .500.

A rib injury will sideline Talib, who has been less available in L.A. compared to his Denver days. Talib missed eight games last season, landing on IR for half of it.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Rams, 49ers, Johnson

Todd Gurley has made it through five games without a knee-related absence this season, which could be considered a victory based on the suspicion surrounding the Rams running back this offseason. But the two-time first-team All-Pro has encountered a quadriceps issue and is “up in the air” for Week 6, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Rams initially viewed this as a minor malady, but Gurley is not a lock to suit up against the 49ers. The fifth-year running back has been productive but a cut off his All-Pro form this season. He has yet to post a 100-yard rushing game and, with 338 scrimmage yards, is well off the pace of his past two slates. It would not surprise if the Rams exercised caution here and turned their Week 6 backfield reins over to Malcolm Brown.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • The knee and quad injuries Dee Ford suffered early in his 49ers stay have limited his workloads this season. Ford has played just 33 snaps over the past two games and has not gone through a healthy performer’s practice work. The 49ers holding Ford out of Wednesday and Thursday practices throughout the season would not be a surprise, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. The trade acquisition still rates as a top-20 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus, but has played just 97 snaps this season.
  • After injury trouble and role changes, Arik Armstead entered this season with an uncertain future. But his first four games of a contract year have helped change his status, and John Lynch now indicates the fifth-year defensive lineman will be a sought-after commodity if he reaches the 2020 open market. “What Arik needs to do is keep on playing at that level and he’s going to make his life really easy because a lot of people are going to coveting him, along with us,” Lynch said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. The 2015 first-round pick arrived during Jim Tomsula‘s one-year stay and missed 18 games between the 2016 and ’17 seasons. But Armstead bounced back to play 18 in 2018 and grades as PFF’s No. 14 edge defender through four games. The 49ers have DeForest Buckner extension talks on tap for 2020; they may have to consider the franchise tag for Armstead.
  • An unorthodox Trent Williams destination: the NFC’s Los Angeles team. While other teams have much bigger offensive line needs, Sean McVay coached Williams in Washington. The Redskins also moved the longtime left tackle to guard for a 2018 game. That would be where Williams would play if the Rams traded for him, with Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein entrenched at tackle. The Rams remain confident in left guard Joseph Noteboom, but Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic notes (subscription required) the team desires immediate improvement up front. PFF grades Noteboom as its fifth-worst full-time guard.
  • While Gurley may miss Week 6, David Johnson is also in danger of a Sunday absence. The Cardinals running back is dealing with a back injury and has missed two practices this week. A 2018 fourth-round pick out of Fordham, Chase Edmonds will start if Johnson cannot go. Johnson has not missed a game since a wrist injury sidelined him for 15 2017 contests.

Extra Points: Gurley, Longacre, CBA

In his first day on the field at Rams training camp, Todd Gurley looked like vintage Gurley, The Athletic’s Vincent Bonsignore writes.

The All-Pro back looked like his old self early, showing an ability put plenty of weight on his knee and cut without any apparent issue. That knee, of course, underwent reconstructive surgery in college and gave him issues down the stretch in 2018, leading to C.J. Anderson‘s breakout stint in the playoffs.

As Bonsignore writes, that he looked good doesn’t mean much at this point. It’s all about getting him on the field and keeping him there over the course of a 16-game season. The Rams will be sure to take it easy with Gurley, but this is a great first step for one of the league’s most dynamic playmakers.

A healthy Gurley, who led the league in rushing touchdowns for a second consecutive season in 2018, would make the reigning NFC champions the conference’s favorites once again thanks to its loaded offense and talent-rich defense.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Buccaneers safety Orion Stewart was carted off the field on Sunday with an apparent serious right knee injury, Eduardo Encina of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The safety was covering Cameron Brate when their legs tangled, leading Stewart to come down awkwardly. A free agent acquisition in 2019, Stewart was working with the Bucs’ second unit.
  • Colts defensive end Jabaal Sheard suffered a knee injury in training camp and is expected to “miss some time,” Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio writes. Just how long that “some time” is remains unclear, but the defensive end didn’t return to practice on Friday due to swelling and soreness. Colts head coach Frank Reich said the injury isn’t season-ending.
  • Just four days after the Cardinals signed linebacker Matt Longacre, the team released him on Sunday, Florio writes. The move comes just a day after the team activated Brooks Reed from the physically unable to perform list. In 2018, Longacre appeared in 13 games with the Rams, recording one sack and 17 tackles.
  • Lions defensive lineman Mike Daniels said he received interest from 13 teams but decided to join Detroit because he wanted to play for head coach Matt Patricia, Florio writes. Though the pair have never worked together before, Daniels called the coach “a genius.”
  • Originally, a meeting was to be held on Monday to discuss the Collective Bargaining Agreement between owners and the NFLPA. That will no longer take place, as the meeting has been rescheduled for early August, Florio writes.

NFC West Notes: Gurley, Gaines, Cardinals

Todd Gurley‘s limited offseason (and the Rams‘ cryptic remarks on their All-Pro running back’s injured knee) has created some uncertainty about how the fifth-year player will be used this season and if he will be as healthy as he looked to start last season. A March report indicated Gurley is dealing with arthritis in his knee, and while Gurley nor the Rams confirmed that, his trainer did. But Travelle Gaines does not believe Gurley’s limitations now, which have induced an individualized workout plan, should point to the 24-year-old runner being on a pitch count when the Rams’ playoff push ensues.

Everybody knew when Todd came out of Georgia that there would be some kind of arthritic component to his knee, which is part of every surgery whether it’s a shoulder, a knee, an ankle,” said Gaines, via CBS Sports, about his client, who underwent knee surgery in 2014. “He’s now at the year-five mark; all we’re doing is managing that. If we can pound him less in the offseason while keeping his weight down, working on his strength, working on his agility in short areas, that’s going to give him a better chance to be healthy Weeks 14 through 17 when they really count.”

Gurley missed Weeks 16 and 17 but bounced back to blaze for 115 yards on 16 carries in the divisional round. However, he gained just 45 yards the rest of the way, leading to speculation about the severity of his injury. He and the team have insisted the knee problem isn’t a major concern, but it will be hard to know for sure until the regular season begins. Here is the latest news coming out of the NFC West:

  • Considering the changes made to their coaching staff and quarterback room, the Cardinals may be this offseason’s most overhauled team. Steve Keim also is open to more changes before training camp. “We had a lot of success in the past when we have had late-summer signings,” Arizona’s GM said (via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com) to the rest of the front office in the trailer for the latest Flight Plan, which is chronicling the team’s offseason. “There are players out there that we can find that will make this football team better.” The Cardinals have added talent late in the offseason, from John Abraham to Tre Boston, in recent years. They ranked 32nd in both yards and points last season, so further offensive augmentation wouldn’t be uncalled for.
  • One of Keim’s top defensive investments ran into off-field trouble recently. Robert Nkemdiche was arrested for speeding and driving on a suspended license on June 6, Clayton Klapper of ABC 15 reports. The former first-round defensive lineman told police he was on his way to a Cardinals OTA workout that morning. Police also found a “white powdery substance consistent with cocaine” in a credit card case in the vehicle, Klapper adds. However, police did not and will not test the substance. The Cardinals, who did not pick up Nkemdiche’s fifth-year option in May, alerted the NFL in regards to the personal conduct policy.
  • Moving back to the Rams, their defensive line will have a new starter — after Ndamukong Suh‘s free agency departure — and one of their rookies may be tabbed for the job. Fourth-round defensive tackle Greg Gaines may be the frontrunner to start at Los Angeles’ nose spot, Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic writes (subscription required). The 300-plus-pound Gaines played alongside Vita Vea at Washington in 2017 and in 2018 recorded a career-high 4.5 sacks.

NFC West Notes: Gurley, Rams, 49ers, Gould, Shanahan, Seahawks, McDougald

One of the biggest stories of this NFL offseason has been the drama surrounding Todd Gurley‘s knee. Gurley clearly wasn’t right down the stretch last season, and C.J. Anderson ended up taking the bulk of the Rams’ running back snaps during their Super Bowl run. Gurley’s health has been clouded in secrecy, with conflicting reports emerging seemingly every week. We’ve heard everything from Gurley having arthritis in his knee and it being degenerative, to him being just fine. Gurley stayed away from the team’s OTAs so he wasn’t available to reporters, but he finally broke his silence this week at minicamp.

Gurley tried to quell any concern at his press conference, saying “I had bigger problems to worry about coming out of college. This is small,” per Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com. Gurley is presumably referring to the ACL tear that he had coming out of Georgia. While it’s nice to hear that Gurley doesn’t sound too concerned, it doesn’t mean we should expect him to be a workhorse in 2019. The Rams raised a lot of eyebrows by drafting Memphis running back Darrell Henderson in the third round back in April, and it’s very likely they’ll take it easy with Gurley early on to keep him fresh for a playoff run.

Here’s more from the NFC West:

  • The 49ers have had one of the best kicking situations in the league the last couple of years, as Robbie Gould has been incredibly consistent. San Francisco is hoping for big things this season as Jimmy Garoppolo returns from his torn ACL, and Gould is a big part of their plans. Unfortunately the two sides are in a bit of a contract standoff, as Gould still hasn’t signed his franchise tag and is demanding a trade. Gould may wait until the last minute to show up, and that’s just fine with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan. “If he doesn’t want to show up until Week 1, it is what it is,” Shanahan said on Tuesday, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports. “I’ll take a very good kicker at any time, whether it’s Week 1 or on third down, just one play before we’re going to have to kick.” Gould is set to make $4.971MM under the tag in 2019, but is holding out for a longterm deal. Judging by Shanahan’s comments, it doesn’t sound like the 49ers are going to blink anytime soon.
  • Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald is recovering from a recent knee surgery, and now we have more details. McDougald revealed to reporters that he played with a partially torn patellar tendon in his knee from Week 8 on last year, and that he initially tried just rehabbing it before opting for surgery last month, per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). McDougald also said “for sure” when asked if he’d be on the field at the start of training camp. McDougald, 28, started all 16 games for Seattle last year after being a part-time starter in 2017.
  • In case you missed it, Sean McVay fully committed to Jared Goff recently, saying there’s a “zero percent chance” he doesn’t get extended.

Rams Notes: Peters, Johnson, Gurley

The Rams have a lot on their plate coming up. As they look to defend their NFC championship, they have a bunch of players who will need new contracts soon. One of those is cornerback Marcus Peters, who is heading into the final year of his rookie deal. Rams coach Sean McVay said back in March that the team wanted to extend Peters, but there hasn’t been much progress since then. There’s no guarantee that anything gets done, and Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic notes that while the “Rams have shown a tendency to lock up players they consider core pieces,” that “they’ve also been selective, if not entirely reluctant, to do so with defensive backs.”

Peters is surely looking for a huge payday, but he was inconsistent during his first season in Los Angeles last year. Bonsignore points out that just in the past few years they’ve let corners Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins and safeties Rodney McLeod, T.J. McDonald and Lamarcus Joyner all walk in free agency, choosing to replenish through the draft and in trades. The Rams gave up a lot to acquire Peters from the Chiefs, but it doesn’t sound like they’re quite sold on him. Bonsignore writes that “it looks like a situation they’ll table until next March,” so it doesn’t sound like Peters will get a new deal before the season starts. If that’s the case, he’ll need to prove himself with a bounce back 2019.

Here’s more from Los Angeles:

  • While Bonsignore pointed out an interesting trend about the Rams and defensive backs, in the same piece he noted it’ll soon be broken. Not necessarily by Peters, but by safety John Johnson. He writes the Rams “have made it clear they intend” to lock up Johnson, although he does caution that he “probably won’t get a new” contract until this time next year, as he still has two years left on his rookie deal. Johnson, a third round pick in 2017, has blossomed into one of the league’s best young safeties. He’s thrived in Wade Phillips’ defense, racking up four interceptions and 11 passes defended last year.
  • The Rams have been impressively tightlipped about the health of Todd Gurley. Ever since Gurley was hampered down the stretch last season and ended up splitting time with C.J. Anderson, it’s been impossible to pin down specifics. Reports have varied from him having arthritis in his knee that could potentially derail his career, to insisting that everything was fine. While the Rams have tried to put a positive spin on everything, Jay Glazer of The Athletic hears that Gurley’s knee “is a concern.” Glazer does write that “it’s not all doom and gloom” in Los Angeles, but he makes it sound like something that’s unpredictable and could blow up at any time. All the Rams would say recently is that they have an “individualized workout plan” for their star running back this offseason. Gurley has been staying away from the team’s OTAs, so he hasn’t had to answer questions from reporters yet. We should hopefully have more clarity on the situation soon.
  • In case you missed it, the Rams extended Troy Hill on Thursday.

West Notes: Raiders, Rams, Broncos, Chiefs

During the Raiders‘ negotiations for wide receiver Antonio Brown, the Steelers asked Oakland for a second-round pick, and head coach Jon Gruden was inclined to hand it over, as he explains to Peter King of NBC Sports. “Free-agency’s about to start and I’m thinking, ‘Man, all these slot receivers are going for $10MM. Some of these players are going for $15MM. Why don’t we just give [the Steelers] the second? Get Antonio Brown!’” In the end, the Raiders sent a third-round (No. 66) and a fifth-round pick (No. 141) to Pittsburgh. Based on Chase Stuart of Football Perspective‘s trade chart, those two choices equal the value of the 41st overall selection, so the Raiders did essentially part ways with a second-rounder. Oakland also guaranteed Brown $30.125MM and increased his three-year earning capacity to more than $50MM.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • The Rams aren’t giving up any more details about the status of Todd Gurley‘s left knee, but the club does have an “individualized workout plan” for the star running back, one that doesn’t involve him participating in OTAs, as Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com writes. Gurley’s knee condition — the one that forced him to miss the final two games of the 2018 regular season and limited his action in the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl — is likely an issue that needs to be “managed” and cannot be “fixed,” as Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News tweets. The Rams not only matched restricted free agent running back Malcolm Brown‘s offer sheet this offseason, but traded up to draft Memphis back Darrell Henderson.
  • At one point this year, Broncos cornerback Chris Harris thought he would be traded out of Denver, as he tells James Palmer of NFL.com (Twitter link). Just before the draft, Harris demanded either a new contract or a trade, and he ultimately got his wish, with a new deal arriving on Tuesday. While the veteran defensive back didn’t receive an extension, his total 2019 payout was increased from $8.9MM to $12.05MM. Harris will receive some of that money in the very near future: he got a $650K bonus for reporting to organized team activities, and will get another $600K for showing up at training camp.
  • New Raiders guard Richie Incognito is now a client of Lil Wayne’s Young Money APAA Sports agency, as indicated by agent Ken Sarnoff’s recent tweet. Incognito’s representation won’t earn much of a commission on his one-year deal with Oakland, as it’s a minimum salary contract. Given his lengthy off-field history and his year off from football, Incognito isn’t a lock for the Raiders’ roster.
  • Free agent tight end Nick Keizer will work out for the Chiefs, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). A 2018 undrafted free agent out of Grand Valley State, Keizer was waived by the Ravens at final cutdowns but was on Baltimore’s practice squad/offseason roster from November until earlier this month.

NFC Notes: Gurley, Panthers, Cowboys, Giants

Much has been made about Todd Gurley and his knee, which caused him issues in the 2018 postseason. The Rams didn’t do much to quiet those rumors when they tabbed Memphis running back Darrell Henderson with the No. 70 pick in the draft.

The team, however, is adamant the pick of Henderson has nothing to do with Gurley’s status, Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams writes. Though the team did mention monitoring the perennial Pro Bowl back’s workload.

“Like we have said all along, we anticipate Todd being a huge part of this like he has been the last couple of years,” head coach Sean McVay said. “As far as managing the workload, those are things that we talk about with Todd and as you continue to get educated on, is that something that we should do for the long haul or something that is or isn’t going to affect Todd most importantly and how does that affect our team? But we added a really good playmaker was a big thing.”

Henderson was one of college football’s stars in 2018, rushing for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns on just 214 carries. His 8.9 yards per rush was no fluke, as he posted the exact same average as a sophomore in 2017.

It will be interesting how the Rams handle their backfield in 2019. In addition to Gurley and Henderson, the team also matched an offer for running back Malcolm Brown.

Heres’ more from around the NFC:

  • Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore has hired Drew Rosenhaus to represent him, per Sports Business Journal’s Liz Mullen (via Twitter). Rosenhaus and Robert Bailey will team up in repping the Maryland product, who posted 788 yards on 55 receptions in 2018.
  • The Cowboys are expected to be extremely cautious with cornerback Byron Jones, who underwent offseason hip surgery, the Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota tweets. Machota mentioned Jones, a breakout star in his first season as a cornerback, will be “highly managed,” but they do expect him to be ready for the start of the season.
  • Sticking in Dallas, new slot receiver Randall Cobb said he signed with the team because he wanted to play on a contender, Machota writes“Once I talked to everybody I knew this was the place,” Cobb said. “I definitely believe in this team. I felt like I wanted to be on a team that was a contender and I definitely believe that we have the ability, it’s just putting the pieces together.” Cobb replaces Cole Beasley in the slot, after the latter left for Buffalo early in the 2019 offseason.
  • The Giants will bring back veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweets. Though the team drafted three cornerbacks, Giants general manager Dave Gettleman left no doubt Jenkins would be back, saying, “Janoris has a bunch of puppies he has to train.”