The LA Rams running game seemed to start off in 2019 with a promising future, as veteran running back Malcolm Brown appeared to step up in a more significant role for the offense. After languishing in a limited rotational role on offense, Brown seemed to have unlocked a niche role for the Rams in 2019. In the first four games of the season, Brown rushed the ball 25 times for 111 yards and two touchdowns. While that was an average day on the job for a featured running back, it was a glimmer of hope that Brown could be the “other guy” to take some of the pressure off teammate Todd Gurley, while continuing to punch the ball in on the ground.
That glimmer soon faded after a minor injury benched him for several weeks. By the time he had returned to the offense, carries were much less frequent. In fact, taking the lead from fantasy football gurus, Brown was likely a player whose value was entirely dependant upon the health of teammate Todd Gurley.
Brown eyes upside
Now with the parting from Gurley, Brown stands to benefit in some ways. He will likely get the ball in the red zone as the team learns just how durable and ball-security-conscious rookie running back Cam Akers will be for the team going forward. That may not be much, but it’s a far cry more work than he’s had with the Rams over the past five seasons. Brown is a player who needs work to get into the rhythm of the game. That was not going to happen as long as he fell behind Gurley on the team’s depth chart.
While he is likely to slide even further behind as the team has invested valued draft picks in both rookie running back Cam Akers and sophomore running back Darrell Henderson, he is in a do or bust season. If he fails to show up with a career season, he will likely not be back to compete next season. What does that mean in statistical production? Well, he proved he can carry it over the goal line with five rushing touchdowns in 2019, he’ll need to replicate that scoring effort, while upping his rushing to 400+ yards this season. Now for the final player facing a do or bust season, none other than team-leading receiver Cooper Kupp.