Davis — who rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns last weekend — shares a group chat with Gurley, who he met during the college recruiting process. The two running backs will see each other again on Sunday.
Mike Davis essentially stiff-armed the question.
It’s important to explain, before this goes any further, that the Seahawks’ second-year running back once shared the same recruiting class as Rams running back Todd Gurley II. According to Rivals, Gurley was the No. 5 running back in the 2012 class, while Davis ranked No. 7 at the position. As you’d expect, the highly touted four-star prospects were being pursued by many of the same schools, and because of that, they became familiar — even friendly.
In the SEC, Davis (South Carolina) and Gurley (Georgia) met three times, with the most memorable collision coming in 2013. In a 41-30 Georgia victory, Davis piled up 198 total yards and a touchdown, and Gurley countered with 140 total yards and a pair of scores.
To this day, they share a group chat with other notable running backs, appropriately titled, “The RBs.” According to Davis, “We always communicate.”
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So, back to that question …
Does the communication shut down when you’re preparing to play each other on Sunday?
“No!” Davis responded emphatically, standing in front of his locker on Wednesday. “We’ve already been talking smack to each other. It doesn’t shut down during the week. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”
To this point, at least, there’s been plenty of smack to go around. In his first start of the 2018 season last week, the 5-foot-9, 217-pound Davis rushed 21 times for 101 yards and snared his first two NFL touchdowns.
And Gurley? Well, all the former first-round pick has done through his first four games is rank second in the NFL in rushing yards (338), second in rushing touchdowns (4) and fourth in running back total yards per game (133).
Moreover, the Rams are undefeated. And the running back they gave a four-year, $60 million contract extension to this weekend is a primary reason why.
“Todd has always been a good player,” Davis said. “Especially in college, oh my God. You just see it, and he’s kept it up, ever since high school, college and the NFL.”
The Seahawks know this better than most. In a 42-7 drubbing at CenturyLink Field last December, the 6-1, 224-pound Gurley wrecked Seattle to the tune of 180 total yards and four touchdowns.
The Rams running back won’t surprise the Seahawks on Sunday.
But that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to successfully slow him down.
“You’ve seen the film. He’s special,” said Seahawks defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. “He’s a receiver. He’s a runner. He’s powerful. He’s explosive. He has great vision.”
Added middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who was limited by a hamstring injury for the Gurley game last December: “We know they’re going to give him the ball. They’re going to get (it to) him with screens. They’re going to get (it to) him with runs — outside runs, inside runs.
“Our goal is to meet him everywhere. My goal is to meet him everywhere he goes.”
Davis’ goal, on the other hand, isn’t simply to add some extra group chat ammunition. He’ll also be looking to find the end zone for the second consecutive week. The fourth-year pro is expected to rotate with returning running back Chris Carson (hip) and first-round rookie Rashaad Penny.
The Seattle offense, which has rushed 73 times and produced a pair of 100-yard rushers in the last two weeks, will have to bulldoze through a black hole in the middle of the Rams’ defensive line.
“These three inside guys that they have are as good as you get,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said on Wednesday. “(Ndamukong) Suh’s right there on the center, and he’s a big-time player. Aaron (Donald) is a fantastic player, and (Michael) Brockers is really big-time. They moved him to play 5-technique for them and it’s worked out really well.
“So with the running game, if we’re going to be successful we’re going to have to work those guys and block them and get some space on the line of scrimmage.”
If they can do that, the 2-2 Seahawks will stand a chance.
The smack talk has already started. Let’s see which running back backs it up.