LA Rams: The X factor of RB Xavier Jones could mean starting role

Mandatory Credit: John McCoy-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: John McCoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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Touchdown time

So scoring is ultimately the goal, right? Well, then he should certainly be on the shortlist for the LA Rams right now, perhaps even before the untimely heartbreaking injury to Cam Akers. The Rams want to score points, need to score points, and that falls right into the wheelhouse of second-year running back Xavier Jones. The X-Factor. Professor X. Weapon X.

Name him however you wish. The guy can score. He just needs the opportunity, which he should be getting this season.

When the LA Rams signed Xavier Jones after the 2020 NFL Draft, I liked the signing a great deal. Jones was an under-the-radar addition who showed tremendous promise for the team. Unfortunately, Jones arrived at the NFL after the threat of the coronavirus pandemic altered much of the offseason. With almost no training camp and no preseason games, it was a Herculean effort even to make the team’s 53-man roster. But that was pretty much the last anyone heard from him in 2020.

Now it’s a new season, and this time it comes amidst a full training camp, three preseason games, and a renewed opportunity for someone to seize. Right now, that opportunity seems to be leaning towards either Xavier Jones or rookie running back Jake Funk.

Of course, Xavier Jones has been with the team for a year.  He will need to use that advantage to ensure that he takes full advantage of this opportunity. Like right now:

The LA Rams may be powered by the arm of quarterback Matthew Stafford, but it’s the ground game that does the precision work. When the football gets near the goal line, the LA Rams offense has historically geared down and carried it over the goal line. Todd Gurley set that trend for head coach Sean McVay. Malcolm Brown helped to continue that tradition. Now the LA Rams must find a new running back to carry that baton.

No, I’m not getting too optimistic. Jones will have a tough haul, and will likely have some difficult games. That’s how it goes in the NFL, so there is no reason to expect anything different for the LA Rams.  When the pads go on, we’ll know a great deal more about the Rams rushing offense. For now, there is reason to hope. Xavier Jones was not invited to the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. He did not hear his name called out in the 2020 NFL Draft. He did not get to play in any preseason games in his rookie season.

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Xavier Jones faces tremendous odds. But he’s beaten them consistently to this point. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt one more time. After all, the LA Rams need to put up more points this year.  Scoring?  That is what running back Xavier Jones excels at.