Todd Gurley was talking about what he would like his team to improve on in the second half and couldn't really think of anything.
"What's that quote?" he asked. "'If it ain't broken, don't fix it?'"
Yeah, something like that.
Gurley's Los Angeles Rams are rolling as they head into their Sunday matchup at home against the Houston Texans, a broken team without defensive end J.J. Watt and quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Rams are 6-2, leading the NFL in point differential while averaging 29.13 offensive points per game, and Gurley is right in the middle of it all.
He leads the NFL with 10 touchdowns, ranks second with 1,024 scrimmage yards and can't seem to hide the giddiness that stems from it.
"You know, when you're doing good, stuff is good," Gurley told reporters from the team facility earlier this week. "Everybody's good. Y'all [the media] are good. We're good. When you're doing bad, it's everybody's fault. My fault, his fault, and it kind of is everybody's fault, because you're doing bad."
Gurley knows exactly what that feels like. The Rams were 4-12 last year, finishing a 10th consecutive season with a losing record. Their offense gained the NFL's fewest yards for the second consecutive year, no hope seemingly in sight. But sixth-year general manager Les Snead added the right pieces and first-year head coach Sean McVay has made it all work.
Left tackle Andrew Whitworth and center John Sullivan helped improve a deplorable offensive line; Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp sparked an inferior receiving corps. Through that, Jared Goff -- the first Rams quarterback in 10 years to be named Offensive Player of the Week -- looks like a new man as a second-year player, averaging an NFC-leading 8.3 yards per attempt while ranking 10th in the NFL with a 59.0 Total QBR.
Gurley has already tied his career high in touchdowns and has already reached a career high in receiving yards (338). He managed only 885 rushing yards in 278 attempts last season, but has already gained 686 yards in 161 attempts this season.
In eight games this year, Gurley has amassed 413 yards before an opposing defender has made contact with him, third-most in the NFL.
In 16 games last year, Gurley totaled 442 yards before first contact, ranked 20th.
His mood now directly reflects his change in circumstances. Gurley was terse and dismissive in most of his dealings with the media throughout the 2016 season. But this year he is engaging, thoughtful, light-hearted. On Thursday, when told he was clocked at 20.62 miles per hour in last Sunday's 51-17 win over the New York Giants, just a hair faster than Woods and Watkins, Gurley cracked: "I've been knowing that I'm faster than those guys, so I'm not really worried about that."
Asked about Johnny Hekker, who set a record for punts downed inside the 20-yard line last season but has been used a lot less frequently this year, Gurley said: "I'm pretty sure we've worn his leg out a lot since he's been here for six years."
Then Gurley was relayed what Goff recently said about being skeptical of McVay’s trick plays, until seeing how well they usually work.
“Yeah, that sounds like me on every play," Gurley said. "I’m like, ‘Aw, this ain’t gonna work.' That’s usually how that goes, though, man."
Gurley brought up a play that involves Kupp running a hitch, catching the football, then pitching it to Tavon Austin as he streaks across the field. The Rams ran that in practice last Wednesday and Gurley thought, "Yeah, right." Then the Rams tried it against the Giants, and Austin picked up 9 yards.
"We have so much stuff in our offense, man," Gurley said. "It’s definitely hard to defend when you’re doing stuff like that."
The Rams don't just have a significantly improved offense. They have a defense, overseen by celebrated coordinator Wade Phillips, that ranks third in the NFL in defense-adjusted value over average, an efficiency measure . They have a special teams unit that includes the game's best punter (Hekker), the NFL's highest-scoring kicker (Greg Zuerlein) and a continually improving return specialist (Pharoh Cooper). And they have relatively good health, which is certainly not the case for the division-rival Arizona Cardinals (without Carson Palmer and David Johnson) and Seattle Seahawks (now without Richard Sherman).
Everything is looking up now for the Rams when not long ago, everything seemed so bleak.
Gurley can appreciate a turnaround like that.
"Just to go through times like that and be able to be where we're at right now, definitely take it in for appreciation a lot more," Gurley said. "You enjoy the moment, because you know how bad it is when you're doing bad."