LA Rams already fixed 2 of 5 items on 2022 punch list

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams Roster Rams News Cam Akers
Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports /

Punch List: Item III – Can Akers still run for 100+ yards?

Whether or not running back Cam Akers proved that he still has it when running in the NFL remains an open debate. Did it seem that even with poor run blocking that Akers lost something? I’m not here to answer the question, but simply to highlight the fact that the question exists for the time being.

The sample size of Cam Akers rushing attempts was simply too small to draw any conclusions. And with the exception of the Arizona Cardinals defense, the Rams had to plow through some of the best rushing defenses in the postseason. So it was never truly a fair track, as the journey was more of a gauntlet that would test even the best running backs in the game.

It was clear that the Cincinnati Bengals middle linebacker Germaine Pratt keyed on RB Cam Akers whenever he was handed the ball. And it really didn’t help much to find offensive center Brian Allen double up on a defensive tackle, leaving Akers to face Pratt without the help of any blockers.  In Super Bowl LVI, Cam Akers averaged 1.6 yards per rush, Darrell Henderson Jr. averaged 1.8 yards per rush, and Sony Michel averaged just 1.0 yards per rush.

Rams roster running back decisions looming

But that does not help the LA Rams make the necessary off-season decisions. If the Rams trust Akers, which it seems they do because they have made no overtures to re-sign RB Sony Michel, then the team will need to improve their run blocking. (see Punch List: Item II). If they foresee expiring contracts of three running backs at the end of the 2022 NFL season, then the team may wish to hedge their bets by adding another running back to this offense in the 2022 NFL Draft.

We had mocked South Carolina workhorse, RB ZeQuandre White, to the Rams if that is the case. White, who should be familiar to Rams RB-to-TE Coach Thomas Brown, is a strong physical runner who can help the Rams either run the ball between the tackles, can serve as a lead blocker for Akers, or can simply roll out into the flat as a receiver.