The LA Rams running back Xavier Jones is ready willing and able to carry the ball. Will he get snaps soon?
As the LA Rams continue to progress this season, the players will continue the rate of dings and bruises. So the team needs to give their very productive running backs a bit of a reprieve. One way is to pass more often, but the Rams offense is running very well right now.
Curiously, the Rams have carried just two quarterbacks on this roster, but have now inflated the number of running backs to fives so far. They are Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson, Cam Akers, Xavier Jones, and Raymond Calais. So far Henderson suffered a minor hamstring injury, Brown has broken his little finger, and Akers has suffered a rib injury.
New cog for run game machinery
At some point, the Rams need to trust undrafted running back Xavier Jones to carry the ball, even for a handful of snaps per game. While I love what Malcolm Brown does with the ball in short-yardage situations, he gets a lot of work simply as the best blocking back. And I love what Darrell Henderson does with the football, but he was admittedly winded after 20 carries against the Buffalo Bills. I am confident that once healthy, rookie running back Cam Akers will take up his share of the workload.
Enter Xaver Jones. Yes, he was that running back who was the highest-scoring NCAA player from 2019. He was that player who was not invited to the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. And yes, he was a player who did not hear his name called at the 2020 NFL Draft. So far, all we’ve discussed are reasons why Jones should not be on the Rams roster right now. So how did he get there?
It’s tough not to enjoy the story behind Xavier Jones when you hear it. His football career resembles everyday dinnerware. Teams continue to want something nicer to set out, and yet he continues to get to the table. Now, he is waiting for his chance at the LA Rams table for running backs. So far, he is getting plenty of work on special teams. And he has a tackle so far. But the LA Rams did not bring him onto the roster to cover kickoffs or punts.
It’s time to line him up in the backfield and see what he’s made of. This 5-foot-11 208-pound workhorse is ideally suited for the Rams offense. He’s got the size of Brown, the power of Akers, and the burst of Henderson. But perhaps most of all, he is the fresh pair of legs on a team that needs to spread out the workload. He is the right player at the right place and at the right time.
The LA Rams have had success with rushers from Southern Methodist University. A previous runner, Eric Dickerson, proved to be a hugely successful running back in the NFL. While Jones will likely not have Dickerson’s panache for running for NFL records, he did manage to break Dickerson’s TD record at SMU. Both Dickerson and Jones played at SMU. Now both have played for the LA Rams. Nobody could get Dickerson off the field when the offense had the ball. So far, Jones cannot get onto the field whenever the offense has the ball.
The wear and tear factor may not seem like much to many who read this article. But it’s real. All three LA Rams running backs who have rushed so far have been banged up a bit. In fact, the pace of minor injuries after just two games prompted a call to bring in players from free agency for tryouts. The Rams have not publicly brought in anyone from free agency yet, which means that it’s time to give Jones some carries.
Do it now against the remaining two NFC East opponents. That not only will give the Rams a chance to evaluate how effective Jones can be but gives Jones a chance to get into the rhythm of an NFL offense before the team begins to face NFC West opponents.