Reconfigured running game
As far as Darrell Henderson? The LA Rams have had to ‘reconfigure’ their rushing offense plans on multiple occasions so far, and will likely be forced to do so several more times through the course of the 2021 NFL season. The reason? Well, with running backs falling so quickly to injury already, this year will be as much about designing a ground game around who is healthy and available as it will be about who is producing at an optimal level.
This all brings us back to Henderson and his optimal availability and workload.
Presuming that the LA Rams can and will land a viable rusher who can help carry the load, I think that the team will use the final game against the Denver Broncos to determine who starts (or at least gets the lion’s share of the carries) in the home opener against the Chicago Bears. I believe that the Rams will try to limit Henderson to 10-12 rushes per game, and may sit him for a game or two if he encounters any difficulties.
The Rams will have two weeks to work with a new running back before the Chicago game, which simply not be enough time to get him up to speed. That means that the team will likely run a Henderson, Jones, Funk configuration through the month of September 2021. After the new running back has a chance to prove his dependability in running, catching, and blocking in practice, he will begin to rotate in a bit, perhaps on a gameday where the team rests Henderson a bit.
In the end, the LA Rams will rely heavily upon the committee concept to stockpile yards and touchdowns on the ground. While that will be tough for anyone who wants to draft an LA Rams running back, I’m not convinced that any runners in the Rams backfield will offer much more than a good backup option to bridge BYE weeks. The real value on this Rams team will be found in the passing game. But as far as the running game goes? A good effort by the team, but a lot of little contributions by the players.