LA Rams: 3 offensive vets who explode in debut on Sunday Night Football

Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams News Sony Michel
Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

Running back

Have the LA Rams been playing possum over the preparedness of veteran running back Sony Michel? All week we’ve read reports about the fact that Sony Michel did not have mastery over the Rams offensive playbook, but that he was intense, studying hard, and making progress. Of course, it’s the first game of the 2021 NFL season. Could the LA Rams perhaps have exaggerated Michel’s unfamiliarity with the Rams’ offense?

Even if Sony Michel cannot recite 1200 plays and the roles and responsibilities of each member of the offense for each of those plays, could he have learned and demonstrated proficiency in the 70 or so offensive plays likely to be used this week against the Chicago Bears?  Now that’s a strong possibility.

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The styles of Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel are completely different and require two different mindsets from the defense. Henderson’s forte is attacking the defensive perimeter. As such inside linebackers lean outwards and take good pursuit angles to stop him at or just beyond the line of scrimmage. Michel’s forte is attacking between the tackles. As such, inside linebackers need to lean inwards and prepare to wrap both arms around him as he breaks through the line of scrimmage.

The Bears likely prepared for this game expecting a heavy dose of Darrell Henderson. But as we’d pointed out previously, Sony Michel’s style of north-south running is better suited to the physical style of play of the Chicago Bears defense. Veteran Malcolm Brown averaged 5.7 yards-per-carry and scored the only rushing touchdown of the game. That is the type of performance that Sony Michel could deliver in this one.