Todd Gurley, Jared Goff should benefit from Rams' moves

Todd Gurley and Jared Goff both should benefit from the addition of left tackle Andrew Whitworth. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

LOS ANGELES -- Jared Goff is spending his offseason training with Tom House, the renowned quarterback guru who has also worked with the likes of Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Carson Palmer and Matt Ryan.

Soon, though, Goff will rejoin the Los Angeles Rams and begin to acclimate himself with another arrangement of newness.

He'll have a new head coach, former Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay, who has assembled a new offensive staff that features an offensive coordinator (Matt LaFleur) and a quarterbacks coach (Greg Olson) with extensive experience grooming NFL players at Goff's position. He'll have a new left tackle, Andrew Whitworth, who remains one of the game's premier pass-blockers at age 35. He'll have a new primary receiver, Robert Woods, hailed mostly for his precision as a route runner and physicality as a blocker. And he'll have a new weapon, Lance Dunbar, a backup running back who can also be a threat in the passing game.

Those moves -- not to mention the natural growth expected for a second-year quarterback -- should lead to vast improvement from Goff, the former No. 1 overall pick who struggled mightily as a rookie.

Really, though, the biggest beneficiary might be Todd Gurley.

Gurley went from the Offensive Rookie of the Year to one of the game's least productive running backs in a span of 12 months, from 1,106 yards on 229 carries in 2015 to 885 yards on 278 carries in 2016 -- the lowest in history for someone with at least 275 rushing attempts in a single season. He averaged 1.59 yards before first contact, the second-worst rate in the NFL. And it's easy to see why: the offensive line struggled, the passing game wasn't a threat, and so opposing defenses simply committed to stopping the run and felt comfortable enough to over-pursue.

Whitworth changes that.

His real strength is in pass-blocking, but Pro Football Focus graded him 17th among 79 qualified tackles in run blocking last season. The Rams still need a center, but Whitworth's presence alters the complexion of the entire offensive line, with Rodger Saffold locking down left guard and Greg Robinson shifting to the right side. In addition to that, the Rams have Cory Harkey, a very good run-blocker who doubles as a tight end and fullback. And now they have Woods, who excels as a blocker.

Goff could still use some more weapons -- specifically a taller receiver and another pass-catching tight end -- but simply having an effective Gurley out of the backfield would make a world of difference.

McVay was never truly able to get the running game going while calling plays for the Redskins these last two years, but he believes in a true balance of the run and the pass.

He hopes to make that happen in L.A.