After a strong preseason, the Los Angeles Rams hope to see John Kelly continue that success when it matters the most in the regular season, beginning in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders.
As the Los Angeles Rams continue to prepare for Monday’s game against the Oakland Raiders, all eyes will be on which backup players end up stepping up once the contest gets underway.
While Rams fans have the bar set high for players like Todd Gurley and Aaron Donald, it will be the depth beyond these positions along with other ones that could play a big difference in that first meeting on the road when taking on the Raiders.
That’s where rookie John Kelly could come into play, as the former Tennessee star will look to build off a strong preseason in which he took advantage of additional playing time with Gurley resting, and ended up leading the team in rushing yards.
For obvious reasons, Kelly isn’t going to be the leading rusher for Los Angeles during the regular season since Gurley is going to play as many snaps as possible. But even the best of running backs need a little rest from time to time, which Kelly will hopefully be able to benefit from as a rookie.
Even if Kelly has to worry about sharing carries with some of his teammates in Malcolm Brown and Justin Davis, McVay is smart enough to know that finding ways to get his rookie running back involved could work wonders.
It was one thing to be successful in the preseason when facing backups for the most part, but the true test for Kelly as a rookie will be seeing how he performs against opposing starters, which hopefully won’t be an issue.
Back in April, the Rams knew they had nothing to lose late in the draft when making the decision to select Kelly in the sixth round, and even though it was only preseason, the selection is already showing signs of being a steal.
Expectations are higher than ever for Los Angeles after last year’s surprise success, and any additional help from backup players, whether it’s Kelly or someone else, will give the team a much better chance of living up to the hype.
Clearly, Kelly never would have been selected in the draft if McVay and the Rams didn’t see some sort of potential, so now it’s time for the rookie to show the NFL world what he’s capable of, beginning on Monday night.