The LA Rams have hesitated to commit to running the football. Well, perhaps it is more correctly stated that the Rams have hesitated to commit to running the football consistently this season. After all, the Rams rushed 40 times in Week 1 and defeated the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 30-13. The Rams rushed 38 times in Week 4 and defeated the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 29-23 in overtime. The Rams rushed 28 times in Week 6 and defeated the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 26-9.
Best of all, RB Kyren Williams exploded for 158 rushing yards and a touchdown in Week 6.
But in the aftermath of that Week 6 victory, the LA Rams have learned that they will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 7 without their top two running backs. By default, the last remaining running back on the active roster, rookie RB Zach Evans, is presumed to carry the load in Week 7.
But that may not be the case.
Because the Rams had already exhausted three elevations for veteran RB Royce Freeman, the Rams correctly opted to sign him to the 53-man active Rams roster. But the Rams did not stop there.
As expected, the LA Rams needed an immediate impact player and turned to former Rams RB Darrell Henderson Jr. to reinforce a depleted Rams roster at running back. While I pointed out that the Rams' trend to reunite with former players has not yielded positive results, the immediate need for a capable player was the highest priority at this point in time.
But the Rams front office was not done just yet. The Rams poached running back Myles Gaskin from the Minnesota Vikings practice squad. Just to be clear, Freeman and Gaskin have been added to the Rams' active roster. Only Darrell Henderson Jr. has been signed to the Rams' practice squad:
So how does the Rams depth size up for Week 7? Without concrete information to go on, this is how the Rams will likely organize their running backs to face the Pittsburgh Steelers.
- RB Zach Evans (rookie)
- RB Royce Freeman - short yardage / red zone
- RB Myles Gaskin - emergency player
- RB Darrell Henderson Jr. (Practice squad)
Even now, I am struggling over an internal debate. While the Rams were certainly impressed enough by Evans to draft him to the team, will the coaching staff trust him to carry the load in his first potential start?
Perhaps the Rams will attempt a running-back-by-committee approach, in which the Rams give Evans a series to play, and then pivot to veteran Royce Freeman for the next offensive series. There is a great deal to discuss and absorb from the LA Rams recent moves, and we will cover the impact and ramifications (pun intended) in future articles.