Time to temper expectations for Akers
Insurance seems to be a four-letter word in the planning of the LA Rams. It comes down to a question of risk tolerance. When taking a long journey by car, what type of traveler are you? Do you remove roadside emergency kits, spare tires with jack, and flares, in the effort to pack more goodies to enjoy along the way? Or do you keep the emergency gear just in case, knowing that you may never need any of the equipment, but thanking the stars above if you do and you wisely brought it with you?
The LA Rams certainly did not do themselves any favors so far to help the running game. The Rams opted to go with only two tight ends and eight offensive linemen in their initial 53-man roster. In 2021, the Rams opted for four tight ends and nine offensive linemen. The difference is three blockers, one of whom was a blocking tight end named Johnny Mundt.
Throughout the game, the LA Rams changed nothing on offense. Per Lineup.com, the Buffalo Bills defense saw three wide receivers, one tight end, and one running back throughout the entire game. The Rams’ offensive line surrendered seven sacks. The Rams’ running game could not average even 3.0 yards per carry. And yet on 67 offensive snaps, the offensive configuration was the same look. And boy, did that ever run right into the teeth of the Bills offense.
Is there anything ‘wrong’ with Akers? I can’t answer that. I can say that the LA Rams appeared, after post-game analysis, to leave him hanging out to dry. He played a total of 12 offensive snaps and carried the football on 25 percent of those plays for no gain. Henderson played on 55 offensive snaps and carried the football 13 times, a 23.6 percentage.
I’m not here to tell you that Cam Akers cannot make his way back from a devastating injury. I’m saying that the journey is a long one, and perhaps one strategy to consider is to put in some two tight end sets, or even an extra blocker, just to get Akers confident in running the football in live-action once more. Something along the lines of priming a hand-pump well to get the water flowing again.
I’m not even trying to second-guess anyone. The Rams won Super Bowl LVI, and the coaching staff deserves the benefit of the doubt. But LA Rams head coach Sean McVay said it best in his post-game press conference. The Rams were humiliated on a TNF stage in front of the entire NFL. But what he loves best is how will the team respond.
But don’t look for much sympathy or patience from LA Rams HC Sean McVay:
And then this:
That’s not a good sign for Akers. Not good at all.
Let’s hope that response includes some 12 personnel sub-packages. For that matter, let’s hope that the game plan concentrates on a far better mix of run/pass, and when passing, to more than just Cooper Kupp and Tyler Higbee. It’s just one game. But two games will begin to show how the Rams are trending.