3 Rams who shocked everyone with their transformation in 2022
By Bret Stuter
Player I: Cam Akers
The LA Rams were very high on running back Cam Akers when he was drafted in 2020. And all the evidence was that he was a gifted, productive, and quite explosive running back who could handle the load for the foreseeable future. But then that 2021 NFL season happened, Akers suffered an Achilles Tendon injury, and I feared that the best of young running back Cam Akers might never come to pass.
Akers rushed back to the LA Rams roster in record time, but his initial efforts were not exactly the stuff that makes NFL highlight reels. That struggle to find his footing and burst carried over into the early games of the 2022 NFL season. It was so obvious at the time that I feared that Cam Akers might never again be the same after his Achilles Tendon injury.
Coming back from that type of injury requires two healing tracks. The body heals in about a year’s time. But the psychological impact of that type of injury is where many professional athletes seem to lose the battle. Truth be told before he had a dispute with Rams head coach Sean McVay, I suspected that Akers would never return.
Just like that, Cam Akers is back
He sat out two games. All the while he got angrier and angrier. Was it all part of a coach’s tough love to snap his star running back out of it? If it was, this was the elite level of coaching that Bill Parcells had mastered. Whatever the dispute, one thing is quite clear. Akers became so angry and pissed off that he forgot all about what his body might not do when he needed it to, and his power, his explosiveness, and his ability to put up chunks of yards were mysteriously back.
Is it too soon to project 2023 as Cam Akers’ first 1000+ yards season? I don’t think so. Cam Akers ended the 2022 NFL season with three consecutive games with 100+ rushing yards. The last time that had happened for the LA Rams? Rams running back Todd Gurley’s rookie season.
Is Akers the second coming of Todd Gurley? Not quite. But he is the second coming of Cam Akers, and that, I believe, could be quite impressive.