It’s easy to assume Tre Mason’s troubles last year at running back with the Rams was due to the presence of Todd Gurley, who ended up as the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.
But that would be a bit too convenient of an excuse.
Coming off a rookie season in which he rushed for 765 yards in 2014, the former Auburn running back is much too talented to run for just 207 yards his second season while averaging a paltry 2.76 yards per carry. Yes, Gurley cut dramatically into Mason’s touches. And that was bound to have an impact on production.
But there is no excuse for the poor performance from Mason when he did get his chances. Or missing the Rams bus to the airport in late November and being deactivated for their game against the Seattle. Mason is too good to fall off that far.
As he heads into a critically important offseason, the onus is on him to get straightened out. And that starts with a strong effort over the next six months and into training camp.
“Tre has got to have a great offseason program,” Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “That, in itself, is going to be a challenge for us because it’s going to take place out in Southern California. We’re expecting, hoping, that everybody comes in.”
That includes Mason, who can help solidify his role on the roster with a committed offseason. With the Rams envisioning an explosive running game interchanging the talents of Gurley, wide receiver Tavon Austin, fellow running back Benny Cunningham and Mason, he can help lift the Rams from a lethargic offensive team to a versatile, productive one.
Even in limited playing time.
“We drafted Tre for a reason. When you look at that position, when you’re talking about Todd and Tre and then Benny,” said Fisher. “I think that’s as good a group as you’ll find in the league, from a depth standpoint. Then the difference in their abilities and what they do. I think Tre realizes he has to put the commitment in, wherever he is, and have a great preseason.”