So the LA Rams fanbase is finding early divisions already. It’s no longer a question of the Pro Goff vs. Con Goff debate over how fans felt about starting quarterback Jared Goff. Yes, Goff is gone, and so far, everyone is to some extent pro QB Matthew Stafford. It’s nice to have everyone on the same page.
Well, it appears that a homogenous opinion only applies to the quarterback situation right now. When it comes to the running back room, there are as many as four different opinions running rampant right now. There are those who are pro-Darrell Henderson, those who back Xavier Jones, and finally, those who believe in rookie Jake Funk. Finally, there are those who believe that the Rams need to sign or trade for a veteran running back.
But I believe that there is plenty of room for three productive running backs on this LA Rams roster. Let me explain.
The LA Rams will be counting on veteran running back Darrell Henderson to lead the way in the backfield this year. But unless you have ignored all of the signs so far, Henderson seems to attract injuries. He was very limited by them in his rookie season. He had multiple injuries last season that limited his availability.
And he has already recorded two incidents already this season. That’s three years with multiple injuries in each season. That’s not exactly fertile ground to base a 17 game 300 carry season on. So don’t. Limit Henderson to 8-10 carries a game. That is plenty of work to get 500-900 yards and six touchdowns, and for the Rams this year, that is plenty of production.
Los Angeles Rams
Jake Funk is a rookie. Rookies are historically welcome additions to the backfield, as they are fresh legs, unfamiliar faces, and each promises the potential for 1,000 yards rushing without ever taking a single NFL snap.
Still, the problem with all that is the fact that it typically also comes with the drudgery of plunging into the line of scrimmage without the football on a play-action pass, burying their face into a blitzing defender, or sometimes simply playing the decoy while the football goes elsewhere. Jake Funk is an incredibly fast young man who can be very difficult to catch racing to the end zone. But he is new to the team, and therefore still hasn’t learned the right pace to run yet.
Xavier Jones is a bit more NFL savvy, having spent the season on the active 53-man roster in 2020. While he didn’t see any action on the offense, he was present and accounted for at each and every practice session offered by the Rams organization.
That’s an entire football season of coaching from running backs coach Thomas Brown. Jones may not be the fastest guy on the LA Rams roster, but he is certainly fast enough to follow his blockers to and through the hole escorted past the defense and into daylight. And it was this same Xavier Jones who ripped off 23 TDs in 12 games in 2019, good enough to be the top scorer in all of the NCAA.
The Rams got it right in 2020 by rushing three running backs. While nobody put up more than 625 yards rushing, the overall team was good enough to be a Top 10 rushing offense. That same sharing-the-load can be just as effective this year. We don’t need to take sides in this one. The Rams rushing attack has enough room, and opportunity for all three RBs to succeed.