Rams mailbag: Estimating Todd Gurley's impact

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Slowly but surely, we are inching closer to the start of the NFL regular season and the St. Louis Rams' Sept. 13 opener against the Seattle Seahawks.

After Sunday's second preseason game, the Rams will be halfway through their exhibition schedule. There's plenty of time for things to get sorted out until then, but there's also plenty of questions on your mind so let's not waste any more time.

As always, you can find me on Twitter @nwagoner. Please use hashtag #RamsMail to submit questions.

@nwagoner: I suppose the answer to that question starts with what your perspective is on what type of impact you believe Todd Gurley is supposed to have. For me, I don't think we can expect him to come in and instantly become the game-breaker that he was drafted to be. Some of that is a function of his rehab from the knee injury and some of it is from the likelihood that his offensive line is going to take some time to develop.

I expect Gurley to have a very limited role or potentially even sit the first game or two before he slowly starts working his way into the mix. He probably won't take on a full workload until a bit later in the season. If he comes in at that pace, then I suppose the answer for this year is no. We all know he brings a lot of talent to the table but as with any rookie -- let alone ones coming off major knee injuries -- there's always the possibility he won't pan out and play to his draft status. Gurley is no exception.

@nwagoner: No, I don't. And by no, I mean I don't see a scenario in which the Rams win the Super Bowl. Yes, crazier things have happened and the Rams even won their title in 1999-2000 as a major surprise,so we know you can never say never, but this is just too far-fetched to me. But to get to the heart of your question, the Rams' record will have very little to do with whether they stay in St. Louis or go elsewhere. If they win and attendance is high, it won't hurt St. Louis' case to keep the team. If they lose and nobody shows up, it won't help St. Louis' cause. But neither will be much of a deciding factor. This decision will be made by 32 owners that first and foremost want to make the decision that increases their own bottom lines and offers the best long-term option to keep that bottom line improving.

@nwagoner: As of right now, I don't really see how one could make the case to keep McGee. He's barely played or practiced in nearly a year. Claiborne has flashed some ability in the preseason and camp, and as I wrote back when they signed him, he's one of the undrafted rookies with the best chances to make the roster. That doesn't guarantee anything though. He still needs to perform and win the job, and it would help him if he can prove capable on special teams. And the Rams could always surprise and keep just four corners. That's not many but they've done it in the past and they could go heavy at safety. With the many nickel permutations they have available on the roster, that's not out of the question.

@nwagoner: He played and had his ups and downs. As you'd expect, he's a serious work in progress in pass protection, but he shows signs of being a very good run-blocker. He's not going to start this year, barring some major injury issues, and playing time is probably a similar situation. First things first, he needs to make the roster. I expect that to happen, but the Rams are going to have some tough decisions to make come cut-down days.

@nwagoner: As I've said and written in this space many times, I don't believe that's the case. I understand and even agree with those who believe they should be under a lot of scrutiny going into this year, but the sense I get from Rams Park is that isn't the case. Of course, things are always subject to change and a really awful season might change some thinking, but with another year left on their deals and the potential for relocation on the table, it seems the Rams are committed to the patient approach.