The St. Louis Rams can’t seem to get a hold of their running back problem. Todd Gurley is unlikely to play in the season opener. Tre Mason is now injured with a hamstring strain. That leaves them only with Benjamin Cunningham, and that isn’t a lot.
When the Rams drafted Gurley, they were saying they believe his previous injuries won’t matter in the future, and that they see him as their first-team running back for the next few years. Mason? He had a good rookie season (765 yards, 4.3 per carry, 4 touchdowns) but the Rams thought passing up on Gurley wasn’t smart.
The way Gurley has been rehabbing and getting back to himself, it was clear that the Rams weren’t too enthusiastic about putting him on the field for week 1. Mason is there, so why risk Gurley when they’re not sure he’s 100%? But now things are more complicated. Mason has a hamstring injury. It might not mean out for months, but for at least one week, there’s a big problem to address.
Is Cunningham good enough to lean on? He ran for 246 yards on 66 carries last season, scoring three touchdowns. He had similar numbers during his rookie year, but there wasn’t any plan for serious progress from the undrafted player out of Middle Tennessee. He was supposed to be the backup’s backup at best.
The preseason is painful and full of injuries, and the Rams have gotten used to it. Since Steven Jackson left, the team has struggled in the ground game, although Mason looked like a pretty good option for lack of a better one. Now that Gurley is around, the Rams feel they have the running back they’ve been waiting for, but they’re going to wait a little bit longer before they actually get to see if he was worth the first round pick.