LA Rams Brown sees RB Akers running “between the tackles and play in space” as the team takes inventory for a renewed running attack
The void left behind by former LA Rams featured running back Todd Gurley is a huge as that of the Grand Canyon. After all, not only did Gurley dominate the NFL, but he dominated the Rams rushing attack. Since 2015, he accounted for approximately 2/3rds of the teams running game, plus he contributed heavily to the passing game as an outlet receiver who could turn it upfield for significant yardage.
Now, the Rams must identify the strengths of their current roster of running backs to find suitable answers to the question: Where will Gurley’s yardage come from?
That’s up to LA Rams’ new running backs coach Thomas Brown. While he isn’t making definitive statements about snap counts for players, he does like the mixture and versatility of the LA Rams current stable of running backs.
The Rams currently have (in descending order of seniority) RB Malcolm Brown (5-foot-11, 222-pounds. 69 carries for 255 Yds 5 TDs), RB Darrell Henderson (5-foot-8, 208-pounds, 39 carries for 147 Yds 0 TDs), RB John Kelly (5-foot-10, 205-pounds, 3 carries for 9 Yds 0 TDs), rookie RB Cam Akers (5-foot-10, 217 pounds), and rookie RB Xavier Jones (5-foot-11, 208-pounds) on the roster. For the group? This group collectively ran the ball for 111 rushes for 411 yards and 5 TDs in 2019. So yes, there is a lot to work out in training camp for this season.
Despite the hopes for some big back/fullback this season, the Rams remained with conventional running back prospects. Perhaps that is for the best, as there is a great deal of work to do with the ground attack this season. You see, the Rams averaged just 3.7 yards-per-carry in 2019. That is the lowest average in head coach Sean McVay’s tenure. For comparison, the Rams averaged 4.9 yards-per-carry the previous season. The average would have been less, but the Rams began to find some running room with two tight ends and attacking the perimeter of defenses.