Eric Dickerson, one of the greatest running backs in NFL history, played for the Los Angeles Rams from 1983-87. In 1984, he set the NFL single-season record with 2,105 rushing yards.
Dickerson, 56, retired in 1993, but based on the Rams’ performance Monday night in San Francisco, Los Angeles may want to give him a call.
That’s how bad the Rams looked in their season-opening 28-0 loss to the 49ers.
“You can’t determine a season by one game, but that one game was very, very, very ugly,” Dickerson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “It was embarrassing, really. You’re back on the West Coast, a rivalry game against the 49ers and you get blown out like that – it was an embarrassment. It really was. The team just didn’t play well, especially on offense. They let their defense on the field too long. The defense can’t hold up that many plays. Every time it’s a three-and-out punt, three-and-out punt, three-and-out punt, interception, three-and-out-punt, interception – it’s hard on the defense.”
The Rams managed just 10 first downs and 185 yards of total offense. They looked helpless for much of the night, as Todd Gurley and Tavon Austin were rendered ineffective.
Dickerson, the former No. 2 overall pick out of SMU, is trying to focus on the positives.
“It’s great to have the franchise back in L.A.,” he said. “It brings a lot of excitement of the city, especially the city of Inglewood, putting that new stadium there, jobs, having a football team. Football is bigger than it’s ever been right now. It’s everywhere. Everybody wants to have a football team. You have an identity with a football team. You’re talking about a city that had the Rams for, what, 50 years and all of a sudden they left. To have them back now – don’t get me wrong, it’s growing pains. People are still mad that they left and they want to embrace them back, but you know how it is in L.A. You’ve got to win. You’ve got to put a product on the field.”
Gurley might be the most talented running back in football, but he’s going to struggle to showcase his ability with Case Keenum under center. He rushed 17 times for 47 yards (2.8 yards per carry) on Monday, this after averaging 4.8 yards per carry and rushing for 1,106 yards and 10 touchdowns in 13 games as a rookie.
Gurley, 22, is a special talent, yes. But he needs help.
“When you don’t have a quarterback and you don’t have a great offensive line, it’s going to be a problem,” Dickerson said. “With Todd – and I’ve been saying his since day one – after last season, he’s going to see eight- and nine-man fronts. They’re going to say, ‘Hey, we don’t believe that Case Keenum can beat us. So we’re going to stack the line of scrimmage and we’ll see.’ So it’s just going to make it tough on Todd. I don’t know if he can be that guy that can carry the ball 30 times (a week). I don’t think he wants to do that, and I don’t want that for him. He’s very talented, but you have to get him some help.”