Do you expect the LA Rams to showcase a bit of offensive magic this year? If you do, then you are in the majority. The secret to magic performers, also known as prestidigitation, is to create the focus of the audience in one direction and then do the real work of the magic simulation in the other direction. In many ways, that is one of the LA Rams‘ best advantages in 2021. This offense, before it ever takes the field, is already getting a ton of press coverage, a lot of media buzz, and the impact of all this media hype is to focus attention upon a few of the key offensive players on the team.
Of course, there are the ever-rising expectations of the new veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford. There is the ensuing belief that he will elevate the play of both wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. And there is even the belief that second-year running back Cam Akers will put up Top-Five running back numbers this year. And yes, we believe that some of that will come to pass as well.
But it takes the effort of the entire team to win consistently in the NFL. That means that while the stars of the team will twinkle and shine, some of the heavy-lifting on this team will be done by players who won’t necessarily be headlining the post-game writeups on a regular basis. Sometimes that heavy lifting won’t necessarily be done by the biggest most powerful players. In 2021, look for some of the biggest plays to be made by some of the less-huge contributors. I like the potential contribution of wide receiver DeSean Jackson. I love the potential contribution of Darrell Henderson.
If you add a small bit of scorpion pepper or dragon pepper to any dish, the flavor goes from meh to holy-cow-my-mouth-is-on-fire range. That’s because that small amount of pepper has done the heavy lifting for the flavor of that dish. That’s how the LA Rams offense should approach the contribution of Henderson. In a fashion not unlike how the New Orleans Saints have historically used running backs like Mark Ingram or Alvin Kamara, they have maximized his effectiveness by spreading his role between an occasional rusher and occasional receiver, to the point where just having him on the field creates indecision on the defense.