New York (CBS LA)- The Los Angeles Rams enter the 2019-2020 season as one of the favorites in the eyes of Las Vegas to make a Super Bowl run.
Sitting at 10-1 odds to win the Super Bowl along with the New Orleans Saints, the Rams are expected to once again be one of the NFC's best. But, after a 13-3 loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl 53 in February, no one knows how the team will respond.
Former Rams safety Adam Archuleta, who will be calling games once again this season for CBS, knows this situation all too well. He was a rookie on the Rams team that lost to Tom Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI. That Rams team was still in the midst of the "Greatest Show on Turf" days and expected to continue to contend for titles for years to come. The franchise didn't make it back until last year. How this year's version of the Rams deals with their loss to the Pats is the key thing that Archuleta is looking for heading into the season.
"Being able to recover from what happened seven or eight months ago is number one for the Rams," said Archuleta in an interview with CBS Local's DJ Sixsmith at NFL on CBS Media Day. "The other thing that we have to see is, which Todd Gurley are we going to see? To me that is the top question. It was such a story. There has been a lot of speculation on where the knee is and what kind of offseason he had. But that is a huge piece of the offense."
Gurley has been working his way back from a knee injury throughout much of this offseason and continues to attempt to regain full strength. The running back is unlikely to travel with the team to Honolulu this week when the Rams square off with the Cowboys in preseason action and no one knows how his recovery is going. That concerns Archuleta in terms of the team's hopes for the running back to once again be the dominant force he showed that he could be in the early part of last season.
"I have some questions about whether he can be the Todd Gurley of the first part of the season," said Archuleta. "Any time that you have a re-occurring injury like that, it can be tough."
The hope for the franchise and for fans is that Gurley will get back to full strength by the time that the season starts because he is the engine that makes the McVay offense roll. When he is healthy, it makes life easier for the rest of the offense because he commands so much attention from defensive players and coordinators.
"He's just so versatile. He is a gamebreaker and has the ability to hit defenses for big plays. If you're not perfect in your run fits, he will exploit the one-on-one tackle and hit home runs," said Archuleta. "The other thing is how he can help out in the passing game. You don't have to take him out on third down, they use him as a receiver and use special formations to get matchups on linebackers. He is really a guy that you can do anything with. So, as a defense, when he is in or out of the game, you can't really get a bead on what they are trying to do."
The Rams open up their season hosting Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, September 8 at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.
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