If you had told me last season that the LA Rams were about to outright release change-of-pace running back Darrell Henderson Jr., I would have called that a misguided expectation. And yet, that is exactly what happened. So if that same person had told me that the LA Rams, who started this season with a robust running back room with five runners, would re-sign Darrell Henderson Jr. back to the Rams practice squad at mid-season in 2023, I would have been equally indignant in my disbelief.
But that is exactly what happened again.
Unlike the perception that the Rams are innovative and pushing the boundaries of NFL offensive strategy, the perception that the Rams are stuck in a closed loop of bringing back former players who struggle to find NFL success elsewhere, and after returning to the Rams, is becoming a bit of a pattern right now.
Perhaps Henderson should never have been released?
I'm not here to question the LA Rams need for a solid running back right now. That is most certainly the case, and former Rams running back Darrell Henderson Jr. did step right in after a year's absence from this Rams roster to rush 18 times for 61 yards, as well as rushing for a touchdown. But Henderson was even more effective when he stayed in to block, picking up pass rushers and allowing Matthew Stafford to have enough time to get off the pass.
The question that I have is about the Rams' decision-making process. Darrell Henderson is 26 years old right now. He played in 10 games in 2022, starting seven games, and was simply released. No warning, no explanation. With Henderson gone, the Rams discovered that Cam Akers was capable of handling the load, able to rush for 100+ yards to finish out the 2022 NFL season.
With Akers gone, Henderson walks in off the stree to put up 61 yards and a touchdown in his first week back. What am I missing here?
The LA Rams combination of Darrell Henderson Jr. with running back Royce Freeman appeared to be a very effective one-two punch from the Rams backfield. For now, I'd look for the Rams to attempt a similar strategy against the Dallas Cowboys. Even as Henderson remains on the Rams practice squad for the time being, another solid showing will likely place him in the queue to be signed to the Rams active roster.
Henderson is capable of gaining yards on the ground. Will this be the year that the Rams finally cut him loose to do so?