Will LA Rams QB Bryce Perkins wildcat the Bears on SNF?

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

From the moment that the LA Rams added running back Cam Akers to the 2020 roster, the option to run a version of the Wildcat formation with this offense came along with him. You see, the 2020 roster carried just two quarterbacks, which meant that in any game, injury to then-starter Jared Goff would automatically place backup quarterback John Wolford under center. But in the rare but disastrous circumstances of a second quarterback injury, this time to Wolford, who would the Rams turn to then?

Well, one option was running back Cam Akers, who pushed hard for that role due to his playing the dual-threat quarterback in high school, before focusing his efforts on becoming a running back exclusively. That led to some speculation over the Rams offense incorporating some version of the wildcat formation with Cam Akers in the backfield.

To elaborate, a wildcat formation is a direct hike of the football to a player in the backfield who is not the quarterback and can become either a running or passing play. The LA Rams did eventually use a wildcat formation in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs to score a touchdown.

Of course, Cam Akers is out for the season with a torn Achilles Tendon, so the wildcat play will be returned to the dusty shelf of the offensive play vault.

Or will it?

Wildcat II: Revenge of the wildcat?

It seems to me that if a running back who used to be a dual-threat quarterback in high school and run the wildcat, then why not a quarterback who can run very effectively with the ball? After all, the New Orleans Saints have been rather effective with using quarterback Taysom Hill as a rusher/receiver in their innovative offense. The LA Rams have three quarterbacks on the roster, and one, Bryce Perkins, is a very versatile and dangerous weapon

So now the question is, can the LA Rams augment their running back shortage with a temporary does of dual-threat Bryce Perkins in a wildcat role? Or perhaps in a Taysom Hill role?  While your imagination volleys that one back and forth over the net, the LA Rams are currently contemplating having all three quarterbacks active for gameday.

Inbound innovation alert

In the past, the LA Rams infused quite an innovative scheme to defeat the Chicago Bears. After an embarrassing loss in 2018 by the score of 15-6, the Rams have gone completely away from their normal offensive tendencies. In 2019, the Rams used tight end, Johnny Mundt, in the backfield as a power blocker, next to the offensive tackle as an extra blocker, and off-tackle as a big-bodied blocker downfield. In 2020, the Rams used Mundt as a pass receiver. The offense also scored with the help of Malcolm Brown, Gerald Everett, and Josh Reynolds, none of that trio remain with the team this year.

So what curveball will McVay throw at the Bears this year? As we had cited in previous preview articles, the LA Rams know that this game will be center stage for the nation, and 30 other teams in the NFL. That’s the type of stage where one play, one deep pass, one direct snap to quarterback Bryce Perkins in the backfield will suddenly be dissected, analyzed, and planned for by the 13 remaining teams that the Rams have yet to face (they’ll face three NFC West rivals twice).

Should the Rams elect to use Perkins in a unique role, he could be extremely effective in many ways. Wildcat run or pass is only one of several options. And the Rams offense, still getting Sony Michel up to speed, will need every bit of surprise and leverage available.

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Perkins may or may not be used in a very creative way for the home opener of Sunday Night Football to face the Chicago Bears. But the fact that we are talking about the possibility may be enough. You see, if we are contemplating the possibility, you know that the Chicago Bears’ defensive planning must be as well.