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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


Sean McVay hopes copying Kyle Shanahan’s running back strategy will benefit Rams

Jul 21, 2020 at 3:15 PM--


Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Maybe San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan should be very flattered.

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay was recently asked on The HelliePod how he hopes to address his team's running back situation now that his former featured back, Todd Gurley, is in Atlanta. He hopes to take a page out of his close friend and division rival's book.

San Francisco had three running backs that rushed for over 500 yards last season, contributing to the league's No. 2 ranked rushing attack. Only the Baltimore Ravens, benefiting from the legs of quarterback Lamar Jackson, gained more rushing yards than the 49ers' 2,305.

The Rams rushing attack ranked No. 26 in the NFL with 1,499 yards and were swept by Shanahan's 49ers last season.

While Raheem Mostert emerged as the 49ers' best back by the end of the season and into the postseason, Shanahan also relied heavily on both Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman. Both Mostert and Coleman had 137 carries each while Breida had 123.

McVay wants to follow the same strategy in Los Angeles, at least to start, hoping that featured back eventually emerges.

"I think it will naturally just work itself out," McVay told Dan Hellie. "You look at that success San Fran had last year with that running back-by-committee approach, and what I thought Kyle and really their players did a great job of is, 'Hey, we're going to have an open-mind approach, we're going to be committed to trying to have some balance, and then we'll go with the hot hand or whoever really expresses himself as deserving of the carries.'

"We feel good. We've got three guys really on our roster that have played football when you look at Darrell Henderson, John Kelly's another guy, (and) Malcolm Brown has consistently produced really in that number two role behind Todd. And (rookie) Cam Akers is a guy that we're excited about.

"So we've got four backs that we feel are all NFL legitimate real starting-caliber backs."

The 49ers and Rams are scheduled to meet in Santa Clara on October 18 and then in Los Angeles on November 29.






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