LA Rams running back dilemma: The Thomas Brown affair

Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Thomas Brown
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Thomas Brown affair

The LA Rams hired running backs coach Thomas Brown in 2020, and there were other NFL teams who were already lined up to hire him if the Rams passed him up.

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams /

Los Angeles Rams

He joined the team at a lull in the team’s rushing attack, a point when the Rams had parted ways with veteran Todd Gurley, and only had Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson on the roster. The Rams drafted running back Cam Akers and then signed undrafted RB Xavier Jones and claimed RB Raymond Calais off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers waiver wire.

The team needed multiple running backs because Thomas Brown does more than teaching Xs and Os. He gives running backs reasons why they do what they do. He shares life lessons.

His approach is not to scream from the sidelines, but to infuse purpose and meaning to his players. How do I know that Cam Akers will make it through this injury? Because as a rookie, he literally watched his running back coach Thomas Brown blow out his own Achilles Tendon, and took it all in stride. He proved to his players in his first season that adversity comes, and can be overcome. Few are capable of teaching in those moments. That is the caliber of Rams coach Thomas Brown.

There is coaching. There is leadership. And then, there is leadership by example. Running backs coach Thomas Brown hand-selected his running backs deliberately and purposefully.  Starting off with three barely recognized NFL running backs, the Rams rushing offense shocked everyone by putting up 698 rushing yards in the first five games in 2020. That was the most rushing yards by the LA Rams in their first five games since 1987. At the time, nobody knew who Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, or Malcolm Brown were. That’s not on the players, but on the passion and ability of Thomas Brown to craft NFL runners out of young men. Now, he will be called on to perform a mini-miracle once more