LA Rams Brown sees RB Akers running “between the tackles”

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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LA Rams
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

Brown knows Akers well

I was curious if there was a connection between Coach Brown and RB Cam Akers. There was, as Brown discussed trying to recruit the young man to sign with his college. So what type of role does Brown envision for Akers?

"“…A guy that can potentially grow into an every-down back, that can I do it all I think. Can play between the tackles, can play in space. Obviously the pass protection aspect of it is going to be the biggest part for any running back, especially young backs, coming into this league with the different number of looks and pressures you’ll have a chance to go against week in and week out.” – Coach Brown per interview with Stu Jackson of"

And then, there is rookie Xavier Jones, who looms as a player to watch closely for the Rams.  Curiously, the interview did not mention either RB John Kelly or rookie RB James Garrett. Yesterday, the team announced waiving Garrett.

Key signs to watch for

The Rams will likely carry three running backs on the roster, with a fourth on the now 16-man practice squad. I expect the competition to be fierce between RB John Kelly and RB Xavier Jones. Brown emphasized pass-blocking and the results of 2019 suggest that the Rams will weigh the ability to pick up the blitz heavily in their decision-making process. Finally, there is a false presumption that the Rams will simply slide Akers into the roster and recast 2019 with Akers, Brown, and Henderson. I’m not convinced of that.

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While the lack of preseason really hurts his chances, I give Xavier Jones a long-shot to not only earn a spot on the practice squad but may push Malcolm Brown for the red-zone runs. Jones can break one in short-yardage situations, and that is something the team needs to find desperately. The Rams are under financial pressure as well. So the final roster cuts, if players are “close”, may come down to the salary cap impact. The LA Rams running back room is full of surprises this year.