What the LA Rams didn’t show in the season opener

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Ground game

The LA Rams may not want to run veteran running back Darrell Henderson into the ground, but I do not expect much help from rookie running back Jake Funk in week two, or even in the month of September. As is often the case, the Rams are getting the mileage out of Funk’s rookie campaign by using him as a gunner on special teams. With two tackles already, he is a valuable asset for ST Coordinator Joe DeCamillis.

That proficiency may ensure Funk’s roster spot, but it may be counterproductive to his opportunities to carry the football. After all, if he’s already contributing, why ask for more from him before he’s 100 percent ready to deliver? I’m not sure that Funk will be handling much in terms of running with the football until mid-season.

That is not the case for veteran running back Sony Michel, however. While he only played for three offensive snaps and carried the football just once for two yards, that was merely the appetizer. I’d look for Michel to get about a third of the offensive snaps in the upcoming week against the Indianapolis Colts.  He is ramping up to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

When the Rams faced the Buccaneers in 2020, it was their strongest runner, Malcolm Brown, who had modest success. While Brown rushed three times for 20 yards, Henderson rushed eight times in 2020 for only five yards. This year, the Bucs have a healthy Vita Vea who stuffs the run as well as anyone. If the Rams hope to run the ball with any success, they’ll need to run with power.