It was only practice and there was no tackling allowed, even though all the players were in pads.
However, watching St. Louis Rams rookie running back Todd Gurley blaze his way through a hole and down the field to the end zone Wednesday, it conjured up at least the thought of better days ahead for the offense.
Even the defensive starters on the sideline were cheering after the play as Gurley, the former University of Georgia star and 10th overall pick in the draft, continues to push toward making his NFL debut by slashing through the second-team defense.
“I heard them,” Gurley said of the cheers. “Coach always harps on us for finishing our runs. The hole was there and I felt good, my momentum already just swung me to the end zone.”
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Rams coach Jeff Fisher continued his weekly dance with the media about whether or not Gurley will play, though Gurley was not listed on Wednesday’s injury report.
Fisher and the team’s medical staff has the final say on when Gurley will be unveiled.
“He’s had two good days,” Fisher said after Wednesday’s practice. “He had a good day today in pads and he had a good day in the three-quarter speed practice yesterday. So he’ll get a day off tomorrow and we’ll see how he is Friday.”
Gurley said he got more reps Wednesday, which could be a sign he might be in play Sunday when the Rams (1-1) play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Edward Jones Dome.
“It’s definitely getting there,” said Gurley, a 6-foot-1, 226-pound rookie who ran for 3,285 yards and scored 44 touchdowns at Georgia. “It’s definitely getting there. I definitely feel a lot better. Getting those reps is helping me a lot.”
If the Rams came to and asked him if he was ready, would Gurley say yes?
“Yeah I would,” he said. “I’m just kind of going with the flow. Taking it a day at a time, not looking too far ahead. I feel good. I feel real good.”
That wasn’t enough for reporters as the next questioner asked Gurley to slap a percentage or number on his condition, say, from 1 to 10.
“Of course I’m going to say 10,” he said. “I can’t have me saying I’m a ‘7’ on TV. I feel good man, I definitely feel like myself again. I’m starting to feel good again.”
The solid practice seemed to have Gurley at least thinking about his first NFL carry. Benny Cunningham got the start at running back in the season opener against Seattle and Tre Mason was the starter Sunday in the loss to the Redskins.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said. “I feel good. Today was great, we had a great day today. I really wasn’t thinking about it too much, I was just going out there and just doing me. I felt good.”
Rams quarterback Nick Foles was asked how the addition of Gurley could help the offense.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with that, that’s for Coach Fisher,” Foles said. “Todd’s a talented guy. We all know what he did in college. Just having him out there, he looks great in practice. He’s looking good moving around. Great vision and just a real smooth runner.”
Rams guard Rodger Saffold also dealt with Gurley queries.
“I'm going to say that yes, I'm going to see him, but at the same time I'm going to be like ‘I have no idea,’’’ Saffold said. “We'll see what they say, but you think you see him him getting reps you'd think he plays.”