3 ways LA Rams Darrell Henderson erupts in 2020

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /
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LA Rams Darrell Henderson
(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

Henderson needn’t be the main course

And that’s where the Rams need to refocus. Perhaps the team should treat the running game like a committee, and tweak the plays to feature the strengths of each running back. The committee approach to establishing a dominant running game in the NFL still works.  In fact, more and more teams are slowly creeping towards that concept. However, success with a committee requires the team to plan for different plays for different backs.

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With RB Cam Akers, he excels when he has a dedicated blocker or two to shield him during initial contact. He can run outside or inside, but his best running plays seem to occur when he has a crease and a blocker. He uses the blocker very effectively to neutralize the initial defender and then streaks on to daylight.  RB Malcolm Brown is most effective when he squares up, lowers his shoulders, and hits the hole in full stride.  Any energy running to a sideline or not up or down the field is wasted energy. He is most effective in the red zone because he is such a punishing rusher. But he can be effective in other situations, particularly when facing the smaller faster defenses of the NFL. His style wears them down over time, opening up other running plays later in the game.

No entree, nice appetizer

Henderson is not built to be an NFL cow-bell runner. That is, he is not designed to be the 30+ carries per game. But he is good for an occasional 20 carry game.  So how can the Rams use him in this offense? A solid goal for the young man this season is 100+ carries aiming towards 400-500 yards rushing.  But he won’t gain yardage unless the Rams give him the right blocking schemes and plays.  Since he attacks the perimeter so well, the Rams could design a series of plays from a two-tight-end formation. In one play he takes the handoff inside the tight-end. In a second version the Rams pitch the ball out to him and he attacks the perimeter. A third option could give a similar look but instead become a passing play to Henderson on a wheel route.  A fourth option could be a pass to a tight end running the seam on a post route.

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Each of the four plays challenges the defense at a different part of the field, and all four plays begin from the same formation and motion, making the defense unable to diagnose the play until the play is underway. That is merely one of many plays the Rams can stick into a playbook to make better use of Henderson in the Rams offense. With the team adding RB coach Thomas Brown and new offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, Henderson will be given more and better opportunities with the Rams in 2020. The rest will be up to him. He’ll advance from a no-win to a can’t-fail situation.