THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Los Angeles Rams running back and reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley isn’t concerned that missing the preseason could lead to a slow start to the regular season.
“That is everyone’s dream to not play in the preseason,” Gurley said, adding, “Some guys just like being out there to get a feel for it and to see. But not this guy.”
Coach Sean McVay on Thursday said that Gurley would not play in the preseason.
“We’ve done a little bit different approach in terms of working him out just with some things going on just in his lower half,” McVay said. “Just getting him up to speed in the way that we’ve kind of felt like to get him at his best.”
McVay also was uncertain whether quarterback Jared Goff would play in the preseason.
Earlier in the week, McVay said the plan was to play Goff against the Houston Texans on Saturday, behind an offensive line that would not include left tackle Andrew Whitworth and center John Sullivan. McVay expressed confidence that young linemen could provide adequate protection in place of the veterans.
But on Thursday, McVay said right tackle Rob Havenstein could be sidelined because of an ankle injury and that he would not rely on three backups to protect Goff against a defense that could feature J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.
“I wouldn’t feel great about going against those guys without our line,” McVay said. “But we’ll see what happens.”
Goff said he was not worried that a lack of preseason playing time could affect his preparation for the season. The Rams face the Oakland Raiders in Week 1 on Sept. 10.
“Whatever they decide to do, I’m on board with,” Goff said. “I think we got a lot of good work in training camp through different situations that may come up. But planning to play and see what happens.”
Last season, Goff led the highest-scoring offense in the NFL, averaging 29.9 points per game, as the Rams won their first division title in 14 years and made their first playoff appearance since 2004. Gurley scored a league-best 19 touchdowns, rushed for 1,305 yards and caught 64 passes for 788 yards. Goff passed for 3,804 yards and 28 touchdowns with 7 interceptions.
Earlier this month, Gurley and Goff participated in joint practices with the Baltimore Ravens but sat out the first preseason game along with most other starters.
McVay also sat most of his starters last week against the Raiders, citing injury prevention and the need to maintain a competitive game plan for when the teams meet again in the season opener.