Lance Dunbar was added to the Los Angeles Rams‘ active roster Saturday and is expected to serve as the new backup for star running back Todd Gurley, a need in the wake of Malcolm Brown‘s recent knee injury.
Dunbar, who spent the previous five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, was signed as a free agent but missed the entirety of the offseason program and training camp because of a pre-existing knee issue. He began the year on the physically unable to perform list, but has been practicing with the Rams over the last two weeks.
Dunbar won’t have much of a workload, given that Gurley ranks third in the NFL with 190 touches and gadget receiver Tavon Austin has acted as something of a change-of-pace running back. But Dunbar has proven to be effective catching passes out of the backfield and could also play a role on special teams.
“He’ll be a guy that we’re counting on,” Rams coach Sean McVay told the media from the team facility on Friday.
“I think part of the reason we brought him here is he’s a pretty versatile guy out of the backfield,” offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur added. “He’s got very good receiving skills. He’s a guy that’s been in the league for six years, so he’s got that veteran experience, as well.”
The Rams also promoted Johnny Mundt from the practice squad to replace Derek Carrier as the No. 3 tight end for Sunday’s home game against the Houston Texans. Carrier (hamstring) and outside linebacker Robert Quinn (illness) are each doubtful for the Week 10 game from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Brown suffered a high-grade MCL sprain during Sunday’s 51-17 win over the New York Giants, but will not require surgery. The Rams also have Justin Davis, an undrafted free agent out of USC, as an option at running back.
To create room on the active roster for Dunbar and Mundt, the Rams waived offensive lineman Andrew Donnal and transferred defensive back Isaiah Johnson to the practice squad. Dunbar will wear No. 25.