Are Rams making mistake pinning hopes to Todd Gurley?

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Nearly from the moment the St. Louis Rams used the No. 10 overall pick in this year's NFL draft on running back Todd Gurley, coach Jeff Fisher made it clear he envisions Gurley being the centerpiece of his offense moving forward.

Fisher has made a career of leaning on his running backs to power his offense. Think Eddie George and Chris Johnson in Tennessee. Fisher even acknowledged he views Gurley as his new George in St. Louis after George texted Fisher upon the Rams selecting Gurley.

But while it sounds good on paper and Fisher has had some success with players like George and Johnson carrying the load, Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders, says it's a mistake in today's NFLInsider.

Schatz's major point is that the NFL is a passing league and teams that commit exclusively to being a run-first team often can't come up with enough points to win consistently. But there are plenty of other arguments in the piece about why it's a risky proposition.

In one comparison, Schatz points to the Minnesota Vikings in 2012 when Adrian Peterson had his best season and yet the Vikings still only ranked 15th in Football Outsiders' DVOA ratings as an offense. That team went 10-6 and lost in the first round of the playoffs.

And Schatz is absolutely right that the Rams will need more from their receivers, offensive line and quarterback in order to be a good offense. But one thing that has to be factored into the equation is that while Fisher is leaning on Gurley as the centerpiece of his offense, he's not leaning on him to be the centerpiece of the team.

In fact, it's quite clear Fisher and the Rams view the defense as the group that will do most of the heavy lifting. That unit still has plenty of proving of its own to do, but the pieces of a dominant defense look to be in place. If that group lives up to expectations then it would go a long way toward helping a Gurley-led offense succeed and the Rams get back to a winning record for the first time in 11 years.


A roundup of Wednesday's Rams stories appearing on ESPN.com. ... In the Ram-blings, we opened the day with a look at how the latest happenings in San Diego could affect the Rams and Los Angeles. ... In this week's Buzz video, I looked ahead to some unanswered questions that have to be answered in training camp. ... The Rams defense is looking for a faster start and more consistency in 2015. ... We then tried to look at both sides of the Rams' desire to sign Nick Foles to a long-term contract. ... Center Demetrius Rhaney is an unknown to many but shouldn't be counted out in the battle for the starting job.


At 101sports.com, Anthony Stalter writes that the Rams aren't the only NFC West team with issues on the offensive line.

At FoxSportsMidwest.com, Elisabeth Meinecke offers an interesting look at the doctor who helps the Rams with some alternative methods.

At stltoday.com, Joe Lyons writes that cornerback E.J. Gaines is ready to build on his 2014 success.

Jim Thomas participated in his weekly chat.

At cbssports.com, three NFL writers build their perfect 53-man rosters with only one random Rams mention.