Rams training camp updates: Running backs


The St. Louis Rams continued their training camp this week with their third session in pads. There are a few positions up for grabs this summer, one of which includes the running back position.

It appeared the Rams had their man in rookie Tre Mason after a stand-out rookie season. However, the NFL draft would reveal other plans. St. Louis selected running back Todd Gurley with the tenth overall selection this spring. Only one problem, Gurley was fresh off of a season ending knee injury.

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Gurley’s knee injury has certainly slowed his progress. Early reports pegged Gurley to begin training camp on the NFI list, but he beat the odds and was able to start camp on time, however, on a limited basis. Gurley was an active participant in Monday’s practice, the first in pads for the Rams. He was not actively involved in the first team reps, but he completed individual drills that included 15-20 yard sprints.

Mason, on the other hand, is looking to prove he is the cow-bell back head coach Jeff Fisher is looking for in his new look offense. Mason spoke with ESPN.com noting his feelings on the situation.

"“Tre Mason is still here, give me the ball. I’m ready to rock. That’s how I feel about the situation.”"

Short and sweet.

Mason measures in at just under 5′ 8″ and 207 lbs. He is on the small side when it comes to starting running backs in this league, and it would appear that he fits the St. Louis scheme better as a change of pace back, and not the every down back he believes he is. Mason racked up just shy of 800 rushing yards and four touchdowns in just 12 games last season.

Aug 1, 2015; Earth City, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams running back Tre Mason (27) carries the ball at Rams Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Reports from Rams camp are that Gurley is on schedule in his recovery. The plan was always to take the high road and allow Gurley the time he needed to recover. This would slot him for a return anytime between Week 1 and Week 6 of the regular season. Mason has proven himself as a very capable back, and will certainly be utilized up until that point, and beyond.

The competition for the number one slot is in full effect, but Mason certainly has a sizable head start. The two seem supportive of each other in camp, but when Mason was asked about the situation he seemed defensive.

"“I’m an individual myself and I have got goals of my own…I feel like he’s my teammate now and if you guys need information on Todd Gurley you should ask Todd Gurley,” Mason said. “That’s how I feel.”(ESPN.com)"

Even when Gurley steps into action, he will need time to acclimate to the pace of play. Mason will be the number one back  heading into the season, and has an opportunity to put the depth chart in a strangle hold if he gets off to a hot start.

Don’t be mistaken though. Gurley was drafted in the top ten for a reason, he’s an explosive player. He will eventually get his shot. The interesting aspect of the entire situation will be how long Mason can hold off Gurley.

The competition at running back will be nothing but good news for St. Louis.