The LA Rams turn of events today may have season-long repercussions. It’s a sudden change of fortunes for the team, a downturn on a season that had very little margin for error. This is a team where the starters are counted on to not only play but to lead the team’s younger players. Of course, sorting out the young from the seasoned veterans can be a daunting task for a team with the youngest roster in the NFL.
Right now, from the beat writers on the block to the big boys at ESPN, the NFL Network, Fox Sports, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, and everywhere in between are crafting articles about players who could be signed by a desperate Rams organization as a soothing balm to make the sudden injury to featured RB Cam Akers less ouchy. But the word from head coach Sean McVay right now is: “We’re good”
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) July 20, 2021
So let’s resolve this problem in an unconventional way. The real issue for the LA Rams offense is not the fact that RB Cam Akers is lost for the season. Rather, it’s the fact that his production for the team is no longer an option. That means the number of plays, the number of carries, rushing yardage, receiving yardage, and touchdowns scored will all need to come from other offensive weapons.
So far, we’ve been hearing promising reports about the Rams rookie tight end, or is he wide receiver, Jacob Harris. In fact, the reports are so glowing that some have already become skeptical.
Jacob Harris is a vibe. pic.twitter.com/K5YxALRSMg
Folks, throw all caution and rhetoric you’ve seen so far out the window. The LA Rams are going to sort through offensive weapons very rapidly in training camp, with an eye on replacing Cam Akers’ production, not just replacing his offensive snaps as a running back. How long do you think it will take before the Rams offensive guru and head coach Sean McVay taps rookie Jacob Harris and asks him to be ready for more intensive workouts?
Jacob Harris 50% dynasty rostership ✅ pic.twitter.com/x30MGtgdyQ
— Josh Lefko (@JLefkoNFL) July 16, 2021
Is this the year for the Rams to go five eligibles and an empty backfield for a noticeable portion of their offensive plays?
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Necessity is the mother of invention. That invention could simply be a very small step from blowing the coaching staff away in OTAs, to deploying an incredibly fast, athletic, offensive weapon in the red zone whenever the team needs to score. From what I can translate, that will be anytime this offense gets within the 20-yard line.
McVay will never go for it…
Who are we kidding? McVay loves to pass the ball. If he had his druthers, he would pass the ball on all four downs, and forego punting. Deploying a weapon like 6-foot-5 211-pound Jacob Harris will force defenses to commit a linebacker in coverage, a linebacker who will lose each and every footrace to the end zone. If defenses go with a defensive back, Harris’ size will give him the advantage to win each and every jump ball.
And quarterback Matthew Stafford knows a thing or two about throwing to a 6-foot-5 receiver in the end zone.
Is this the plan? No. But it serves to illustrate how incredibly richly talented this LA Rams roster truly is. If the Rams chose to do so, they could counter the injury to RB Cam Akers in any number of ways. But seriously, doesn’t going empty backfield to put Jacob Harris on the field within the 20-yard line strike anyone else like a typical McVay move?
The LA Rams wanted to make the 2021 offense more explosive and less reliant upon the running game. The buildup for this season was about chewing up big gains in single plays, and putting up touchdowns rather than field goals by dropping deep passes behind defensive coverages. The Rams planned to test defenses horizontally and vertically.
Perhaps the offense will add a third dimension to test NFL defenses. Height. Will it work? Desperate times call for desperate measures.