We know that when it comes to the LA Rams offense, not many fans appreciated the durable steady power running of RB Malcolm Brown. In fact, the LA Rams organization may have underestimated his value to this offense, allowing him to sign a contract via the NFL Free Agency market with the Miami Dolphins.
Unlike other members activated from the team’s practice squad to contribute on special teams, RB Malcolm Brown is familiar enough with the LA Rams offense that he could see a surprisingly significant role for the Rams in Week 4.
And I’m here for all of it.
The Rams are not playing coy about Brown’s role in this one. In fact, perhaps against better judgment, LA Rams head coach Sean McVay has already indicated that Brown may see action tonight. I think that may be the key to the LA Rams’ offensive success.
Let’s just talk this out. The LA Rams’ passing offense is struggling because defenses are exploiting the Rams’ impotent rushing attack, and keeping four defensive backs in a shell to keep everything in front of them. The best way to beat that defense is to force defenses to put eight men in the box. How does an offense go about making that happen?
Run the football.
So here we are, back to that same old routine of pointing out the virtues of running the ball, and how that controls the game clock, keeps the defense fresh, and opens up the passing game by forcing defenses to focus on stopping the run. Malcolm Brown may be the best player in the NFL for the role in the Rams offense of slogging through and forcing opponents to place more defenders to stop the run.
Restoring that RUN DMC committee approach
In his NFL career, Brown has played in nine games against the San Francisco 49ers, all for the Rams. In those games, Brown has rushed 50 times for 190 yards. That averages out to nearly six runs and 21 yards per game, an average of 3.8 yards per run. But he has also caught 12 of 15 passes in those games for 52 yards. In total, Brown has averaged 29 tough yards against the 49ers in nine games.
The LA Rams had a Top-10 rushing offense in 2020. In that year, veteran RB Malcolm Brown rushed 101 times for 419 yards and five touchdowns. That was an average of 26.2 yards per game. In that same year, rookie Cam Akers rushed 145 times for 625 yards and two touchdowns. That was an average of 48.1 yards per game. Likewise, teammate Darrell Henderson rushed 138 times for 624 yards and five touchdowns that year. That averaged out to just 41.6 yards per game.
But by season’s end, the LA Rams ran 473 times for 2018 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns. That averaged out to 126.1 rushing yards per game, and better than one rushing touchdown per game.
So the Rams do not need 100 yards rushing out of Brown in this one. 30 yards will do. Throw in a rushing touchdown, and it’s even better. That is the beauty of a running back by committee approach. No single player has to dominate in the game. But rotating fresh players and chipping away at the defense will pay huge dividends.
Everyone contributed to the Rams’ rushing success
The 2020 LA Rams’ ground game success with their three running backs allowed QB Jared Goff to gain 99 yards on the ground and score four touchdowns. WR Robert Woods added 155 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns to the mix. Even tight end Gerald Everett lumbered for two yards and a touchdown that year.
The secret to that year’s ability to run relied upon the simple fact that Darrell Henderson ran away from defenders, Cam Akers ran around defenders, but Malcolm Brown ran through defenders.
Without Brown, nobody is wearing down the defense. Nobody can get the tough yards to move the chains to control the clock. Nobody is there to get that key block on a defender to give QB Matthew Stafford to hurl a long pass downfield. And nobody notices, because when it comes to Fantasy Football scoring, almost none of that is counted.
There are limits to what you can learn about an NFL team because there are limits as to what is actually being measured and what it really means. When the LA Rams resigned Malcolm Brown, All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald was thrilled at the news. Why? Because he doesn’t play Fantasy Football. He plays for the LA Rams, and he knows that Malcolm Brown is the key to the LA Rams’ offense’s success. Better yet, it starts in Week 4.