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Sean McVay attributes increased Todd Gurley usage to “me not being an idiot”

Jared Goff and the Rams dismantled the Cardinals, but face a tough schedule the rest of the year and will need to improve to return to the playoffs.

The Rams had been careful with running back Todd Gurley for much of the season. In recent weeks, they’ve used him more extensively.

So what’s the reason for the heavier workload?

“Me not being an idiot,” coach Sean McVay told reporters on Wednesday. “I think he’s felt good and, really, he’s done a nice job with that. You look at the Chicago game and then kind of just going from there, you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you ended up making earlier on in the season. I think he’s done a nice job handling a bigger workload, but then also, you do have confidence in those other guys if they need to give him a spell.”

McVay denied the notion that he used Gurley less earlier in the season to save him for the playoff push.

“It has nothing to do with that,” Gurley said. “It was really just, you’re just kind of working through the 2019 season -- the best way to utilize all of our players and figuring out what our identity is. I think we’re still working through that, but didn’t have anything to do with [load management]. Shoot, we’re just trying to win a game. So certainly it wasn’t ever with the mindset of looking ahead before anything was accomplished.”

Many won’t buy this explanation. Given the issues Gurley dealt with last season, especially late in the year, it makes sense to be careful with him. He still has a lingering knee problem, an “arthritic component” as his trainer has called it.

Gurley’s touches in 2019 have unfolded like this: 15, 19, 14, 12, 18, zero (injured), 19, 10, 12, 28, 9, 20.

Gurley missed one game due to a quad injury unrelated to last year’s knee problems. And if it’s true that Gurley’s knee is fine and that his underutilization earlier in the year had nothing to do with concerns about saving him for later in the year, Gurley should be used far more aggressively during an upcoming run that includes games against the Seahawks, Cowboys, and 49ers.